June 2009 Archive
-May 2009 - July 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.
2009-06-30: RNW Note - Other pressures conspired to delay our weekly look at print comment on radio to the extent that we will now combine it with next week's comment. We have, however, posted BBC listening suggestions.
And first BBC Radio 2 with from last Friday an "Appreciation of Michael Jackson" special (Disappears Friday around 18:00 GMT).
Sticking with the station we next suggest from Monday the final part of the six-part "Beverley's Gospel Nights" - this one "The Gospel According to Motown."
From Tuesday we suggest "Stonewall: The Riots That Triggered the Gay Revolution" plus "You Heard It At The Movies", an edition in which George Fenton asks: 'where does film music go from here?'"
On Wednesday we suggest "Mike Harding" for his interview with Chris Wood, who won two gongs at the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; from Thursday "Hot Gossip" and "Does The Team Think?" and from Friday the second part of the three part "Colour My World: The Tony Hatch Story" (This was bumped last week by the Jackson appreciation) and from Saturday "Feelin' Love: The Donna Summer Story."
From BBC Radio 3 we suggest throughout the week "Afternoon on 3" that this week features "Concertgebouw Matinee" and "The Essay" in which Susannah Clapp looks at various aspects of postcards.
Then from Monday we add "Night Waves" in which American writer Michael Goldfarb recalls the 1969 Woodstock festival plus "Jazz on 3" - Han Bennink, Evan Parker and Marc Ribot at Meltdown 2009; from Tuesday "Night Waves" again for more Goldfarb comments on 1969 and discussion of the French revolutionary Georges Danton; from Wednesday "Performance on 3" featuring members of the BBC Concert Orchestra performing Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars"; from Thursday "Night Waves" again for "International Edition/Moon Landing Anniversary"; from Friday "The Verb" in which Ian McMillan's guests include novelist Joe Dunthorne; from Saturday "Music Matters" in which Tom Service talks to Kaija Saariaho about "L'Amour de loin" at English National Opera plus "World Routes" - Samba Mapangala at the 2009 Sauti za Busara Festival in Zanzibar; "Jazz Library" on Nat King Cole ; "Opera on 3" - Berg's tragic opera "Lulu" and another "Jazz Libarary" - this time on singer Abbey Lincoln.
Finally from the station we suggest from Sunday "Discovering Music" - Saint Saens - Africa and Piano Concerto No 2 plus "Drama on 3" - a Liverpool Playhouse production of Roger McGough's version of Moliere's comedy "Tartuffe" and the "Sunday Feature" -"Remember, Remember" in which Susan Blackmore explores how we are outsourcing the memory of our lives to digital devices.
Turning to BBC Radio 4, we suggest through the week "Book of the Week" - "The Last Champion - The Life of Fred Perry, From Small Beginnings"; for three days from Monday morning "Iran: A Revolutionary State" and then on Monday itself we add "Start the Week" - also a download - plus "Quote... Unquote"; "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue"; "Iran: A Revolutionary State", "The Food Programme" - "The Clink - Prison Fine Dining Restaurant"; "Beyond Belief" for discussion on whether the UK is now a post-secular society with religions resurgent (also a download) "Analysis" - "Thought Patterns" on studies into humans' moral choices and "Frontiers" on stem cells.
From Tuesday we go for "The Reith Lectures" (also available as a download - and currently as it happens on "All in the Mind" from The Australian Broadcasting Corporation; "Law in Action" (also a download) on the controversial law of joint enterprise in which someone who did not actually commit an act can still be held responsible for it as when a member of a gang is involved in a fracas in which someone else stabs someone to death; another law-linked programme in "File on 4"which looked at the real cost to the UK's National Health Service of legal fees in medical negligence cases - often it would seem the no-win no-fee lawyers put in bills exceeding all other costs.
On Wednesday we suggest "Midweek" largely for the contribution from Claire Phillips, who is a British artist and campaigner who recently toured Death Rows across America, painting prisoners, their families, jurors and even an executioner in an attempt to humanise the death penalty; Another download in the form of "The Media Show" that this week came from the Radio Festival in Nottingham and "The Moral Maze" on the issue of the morality of retaining and potentially using nuclear weapons.
On Thursday we suggest "The Today Show" for a segment (that ran around 08:30 local time) involving former Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin Mackenzie and UK Digital Radio Development Bureau Chief Executive Tony Moretta discussing whether digital radio is better than analogue; another regular download - "In our Time" - this week on "Logical Positivism" ; "The Grandfather of Self Help" in which historian Kate Williams investigates the popularity of Samuel Smiles' 1859 book "Self Help"; and "Off the Page - Falling on Your Sword" in which Dominic Arkwright and guests explore the subject of the dignity in admitting defeat.
From Friday we suggest the second part of the "Three Rivers " series that we suggested last week -this edition looks at the River Mersey - starting from the River Goyt in the Peak District and ending in Liverpool; and another regular download in the form of "The Now Show."
On Saturday we suggest "Archive on 4- - I Did Not Interview the Dead" with the voices and immediate memories of Nazi concentration camp survivors, recorded in 1946 and note that the fourth and final edition of this year's Reith Lectures goes to air (All four are currently available on the BBC web site).
2009-06-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has dropped from Thursday's Open Meeting agenda the issue of allowing AM stations to use FM translators as fill-ins and instead gone ahead and adopted new rules that will allow the practice.
Formerly FCC rules had allowed only FM stations to use translators, a stance the agency had taken on the basis - discussed in NPRMs (Notices of Proposed Rule Making) in 1981 and 1990 that technological development would resolve AM's fundamental problems, that fill-ins were not required because of the nature of AM, and that to authorize use of FM translators might "exacerbate the fundamental problems of the service, rather than ameliorate them."
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) had petitioned the agency to reconsider its translator rules - although CBS, National Public Radio (NPR) and some others took the view that prior reasons for rejecting cross-service translators remain sound with some expressing concerns about increased interference to existing FM stations and others arguing that the FCC should address issues of digital broadcasting on AM before allowing AM stations to operate FM transmitters. [RNW comment: These seem basically to be organizations protecting their current patch rather than ones providing firm evidence to support their stance].
The Prometheus Radio Project, which supports LPFM stations, had argued that the proposal would take away possibilities from new low power FM (LPFM) entrants and argued that awarding FM translators to AM incumbents will do nothing to advance diversity since that channel will be merely duplicating an incumbent's signal. It also emphasized that the Commission should not allow the purchase or use of translators for the repetition of AM signals until the pending LPFM rulemaking is concluded and the priority issues regarding LPFMs and translators are resolved.
The NAB and some broadcasters including Saga Communications described Prometheus' concerns as unfounded with the NAB commenting that Prometheus provides no supporting evidence for its contention that the Commission should elevate the public interest value of LPFM service over AM stations [RNW Comment- Dare we say "Of course" - they're also protecting their patch and have a record of little regard for evidence if it goes against their case] and NAB saying there was little risk until a new LPFM filing window was opened.
The FCC said it believed Prometheus "makes a valid point concerning the potential impact on the LPFM service if we allowed AM stations to use future FM translator authorizations, particularly those currently on file as applications in our FM translator 'backlog' " but overall says, "we have reached the conclusion that our efforts to improve conditions on the AM band have been useful, but those efforts simply cannot overcome the technical limitations of the AM band."
It also notes that it has now had the "benefit of examining the experience of stations that have received special temporary authority ("STA") to rebroadcast their AM signals on FM translators " and adds that "This experience generally appears to indicate that cross-service translators have advanced the Commission's interest in localism, competition and diversity."
Under the new rules AM stations will only be allowed to use FM translators already in operation or for which there are current Construction Permits, and will not be allowed to use translators to extend their coverage area or drop AM transmissions. However daytime-only AM stations will be allowed to transmit over the FM translators during times they are currently off air. AM stations will also be allowed to c-operate in rebroadcasting the AM station's signal but only within LPFM rules, meaning that no adverts are permitted on these transmissions.
The FCC said it made the move to "permit AM broadcasters to better serve their local communities and thus promote the Commission's bedrock goals of localism, competition, and diversity in the broadcast media."
The move was welcomed by Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell who commented that the change, "gives a much-needed and overdue shot in the arm to AM radio stations" adding that it gave them "an opportunity to strengthen the contributions that they make in furthering our long-standing public policy goals of localism, competition and diversity in broadcasting."
"By permitting the nation's oldest broadcast service to use existing FM translators to fill coverage gaps within their authorized contours," said McDowell, "we hope to bolster AM stations' ability to clearly reach and attract local listeners throughout daytime and evening hours."
The decision was also welcomed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton commented in a news release, "AM stations broadcast some of the most localized programming in America, providing listeners with all-news, all-sports and all-talk formats focusing on community issues. Allowing the use of FM translators will help stations overcome some of the many technical challenges that are unique to AM broadcasting. We salute the FCC for recognizing the important role played by AM stations across the country."
FCC Report and Order (27 page 202 kb PDF):
2009-06-30: Arbitron has reacted to a request from the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for it to pass on its information about the impact of Arbitron's Portable People Meter ratings system, which has come under criticism for allegedly under-reporting audiences for minority stations and for under-representation of various demographic groups on its panels, by saying it welcomes any opportunity to discuss the system.
President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Skarzynski commented in a news release, "Arbitron welcomes any opportunity to discuss the importance of electronic measurement, the effectiveness of the PPM technology, the value of the data it produces and our disciplined approach to the deployment of the service across the United States. Arbitron looks forward to sharing with the Committee our expertise and insights based on our long history and extensive experience in gathering, distributing and supporting the currency that is used throughout the radio industry by broadcasters, advertisers, and agencies."
He added, "We maintain an ongoing dialogue with broadcasters, industry groups, advertising agencies, the Federal Communications Commission, and Congress as part of our commitment to continuous improvement program for the PPM service and technologies."
New York Democrat and House Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns had sent a letter to then Acting FCC chairman Michael J. Copps asking that the agency share the information it had gathered on the PPM
He wrote, "I remain deeply concerned that without deliberate and timely investigations into this matter, the increased used of PPM will further threaten the financial viability of minority-targeted radio stations many of these stations continue to suffer from significant downgrades in ratings, threatening the extent of their programming or even ultimate closure"
Reuters reported that Towns also expressed concern that concerned that the PPM hasn't been distributed within minority communities and that Arbitron missed a group of households that use only cell phones although he acknowledged that the company had has made an effort to correct some flaws in implementing the device as part of agreements reached with New York, New Jersey and Maryland over allegations that it undercounted minority listeners , paying settlements of USD 260,000 plus USD 100,000 the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and the Spanish Radio Association in the New York agreement, and USD 130,000 in the New Jersey agreement (For both see RNW Jan 7). There was no financial settlement in the Maryland case (See RNW Feb 6)
2009-06-30: CBS Radio News has for the third successive year taken the "Edward R. Murrow Overall Excellence Award" in the series of awards named after the network's celebrated reporter and commentator: Overall it took five national/network awards; National Public Radio (NPR) took 4 including the web site award, and ABC News Radio and World Vision took two each.
In the large market awards WTOP dominated taking five awards including overall excellence - nearest behind was KMOX-AM with two and in the small market awards WJBC-AM took the overall excellence award.
Overall 79 awards are to be presented to 51 news organizations at the RTNDA (Radio-Television News Directors Association) Awards Dinner on October 12 in New York.
In TV, NBC took five national awards including the Overall excellence Award whilst the CBS Evening News took the award for Network Newscast and 60 Minutes took three awards, for Hard News Feature, Feature Reporting and Investigative Reporting.
The radio awards this year were:
Radio Network/Syndication Service:
Overall Excellence -CBS Radio News.
Breaking News - National Public Radio (NPR) for Breaking the News of the Earthquake in Chengdu, China.
Continuing Coverage - CBS Radio News for Campaign 2008.
Feature: Hard News - CBS Radio News for Military Malpractice.
Feature Reporting - World Vision Report for Daily Talk.
Investigative Reporting - ABC News Radio for The Big 3's Private Planes
News Documentary - NPR for MEXICO '68: A Movement, A Massacre and the 40 Year Search for the Truth.
News Series - CBS Radio News for Too Close to Call.
Newscast - ABC News Radio for ABC Information Network Newscast.
Sports Reporting - NPR for Olympic Coverage.
Use of Sound - CBS Radio News for Mt. Rushmore.
Writing - World Vision Report - Michael Kavanagh.
Web Site - Web Site - NPR for Dirty Money.
Radio: Large Market:
Overall Excellence - WTOP-FM (Washington DC).
Breaking News Coverage
KGO-AM (San Francisco) for Northern California on Fire.
KMOX-AM (St Louis) for The Floods of 2008
Feature Reporting - KOA-AM (Denver) for Swingers.
Feature: Hard News- WTOP-FM for .Hidden Hunter
Investigative Reporting - California State University's Capital Public Radio for A Different Kind of Drug Problem.
News Documentary - Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ-FM for Death's Footprint.
News Series- University of Missouri's KWMU-FM for Gangs of North St. Louis.
Newscast - KMOX-AM
Sports Reporting - KIRO-FM (Seattle) for Olympic Mom.
Use of Sound - WTOP-FM for Cathedral Bells.
Website - WTOP-FM.
Writing - WTOP-FM Core Values (by Chris Core)
Radio: Small Market:
Overall Excellence - WJBC-AM (Bloomington-Normal, Illinois).
Breaking News Coverage - WRVA-AM (Richmond) for Building Collapse.
Continuing Coverage -WSLU-FM (Canton, New York) for The Impact of War..at Home.
Feature Reporting - WMSI-FM (Jackson, Mississippi) for An Oil Well in My Own Backyard
Feature: Hard News- WITF-FM (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) for Aftermath of the Luis Ramirez Beating Death.
Investigative Reporting - WAKR-AM (Akron, Ohio) for Bungalo 5 & Hot Spots
News Documentary - KSAK-FM) Walnut, California) for A Voice In Your Life.
News Series- WITF-FM for Impact of War.
Newscast - WDEL-AM (Wilmington, Delaware) for Delaware's Morning News.
Sports Reporting - WSLU-FM for Native Americans in Baseball's Past and Present.
Use of Sound - Vermont Public Radio's WVPS-FM for Oxen Exam.
Writing - WUOT-FM (Knoxville, Tennessee) for WUOT-FM Writing Compilation 2008
Website - WAKR-AM.
Website Non-Broadcast Affiliated- The Tyee, British Columbia.
Previous Murrow Awards(2008 Awards):
Murrow Awards web site (Has audio of winners):
2009-06-30: Mexican radio group Grupo Radio Centro, which in April announced an agreement with Emmis to programme the latter's KMVN-FM, Los Angeles, and also sell advertising on the station with an option to purchase (See RNW April 3), has said in its annual report that its 2008 broadcast revenues last year were up 12.3% on 2007 at MXN 735.1 million (USD 55.75 million at current exchange rates but 53.1 million at the December 21, 2008, exchange rate).
Its broadcasting income was up 21.5% to MXN 2828 million (USD 21.45 million today but 20.4 million in December) and net income was up 39.1% to MXN 126.7 million (Currently USD 9.6 million but USD 9.1 million in December).
At the end of April the company reported first quarter revenues to the end of March up 21.5% on a year earlier at MXN 155.8 million (Currently USD 11.8 million but then USD 11.3 million) with broadcasting income up 79.8% to MXN 24.3 million (Currently USD 1.84 million but then USD 1.76 million) and net income up more than seventeen-fold to MXN 14.6 million (Currently USD 1.11 million but then USD 1.06 million).
Previous Grupo Radio Centro:
2009-06-29: New Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski, who was sworn-in today by Supreme Court Justice David Souter, has wasted no time announcing details of his staff.
Saying of the team that that were "extraordinarily accomplished" Genachowski added, "The agency will benefit enormously from their leadership, from their private and public sector experience, and from their dedication to public service. I look forward to drawing on their diverse and strong talents to ensure that the FCC pursues policies that unlock opportunity, unleash innovation and job creation, protect consumers, and help address many of our nation's most pressing challenges."
The team includes Chief of Staff Edward P. Lazarus; Senior Counsellor Colin Crowell; Chief Counsel to the Chairman and senior legal advisor Bruce Liang Gottlieb; Legal Advisor - with particular responsibility for wireline competition and international issues - Priya Aiyar; Legal Advisor - with particular responsibility for media, consumer and enforcement issues - Sherrese Smith; Confidential Assistant Sherry Gelfand; Special Assistant Daniel Ornstein; and Special Counsel to the Chairman for FCC Reform Mary Beth Richards.
Genachowski also issued a statement thanking outgoing Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S.. Adelstein "for more than six years of outstanding public service" at the agency and adding, "Throughout his tenure at the Commission, he has tirelessly championed the public interest. The FCC and the public have benefited greatly from his rich understanding of media and technology policy, and his devotion to the democratic process. While I regret that I won't have the pleasure of serving with Jonathan at the FCC, I look forward to forging a strong partnership with him in his future work (Adelstein is moving to become Administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service.)."
Former Acting chairman Michael J. Copps both welcomed Genachowski and bade farewell to his fellow Democrat commenting that the former "begins what promises to be a public-spirited and distinguished tenure as Chairman. He knows the FCC well, brings impressive private sector and technology experience with him, and enjoys deserved renown for innovative thinking and new approaches" and sating of Adelstein, "Jonathan and I have worked closely together on so many issues that it makes it hard for me to imagine a Commission without him. Our thoughts most often run in the same direction, whether the issue is media, broadband, rural America, the disabilities communities, reaching out to non-traditional stakeholders or upholding a shared vision of the public interest. His intelligence, good judgment, wide experience and invariably good humour combined to make him a highly productive Commissioner across a wide gamut of issues. I will miss him here but wish him all good things as he moves ahead in the confirmation process toward becoming Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "
2009-06-29: The Local Radio Company has announced the sale of two English South Coast stations - Arrow FM, which serves Hastings, and Sovereign Radio, which serves Eastbourne: The two were sold for GBP 100,000 (USD 166,000) to Media Sound Holdings Limited which owns Bright FM, which airs in the Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Lewes areas, and Splash FM, which serves Worthing, Littlehampton and Shoreham.
In its announcement the Local Radio Company, in which UKRD now has a majority holding, says the two stations had net liabilities of GBP 1.71 million (USD 2.84 million) at the end of May this year.
Arrow had 21,000 listeners in the latest UK radio ratings and in the eight months to the end of May recorded an operating loss of GBP 118,000 (USD 196,000) after central costs in the eight months to the end of May on revenues of GBP 222,000 (USD 368,000) whilst Sovereign had an audience of 26,000 and recorded an operating loss of GBP 86,000 (USD 142,000) after central costs on revenues of GBP 309,000 (USD 512,000).
Last week the company announced that it is to close its High Wycombe station Mix 107 at the end of this month and hand its licence back to Ofcom - the station, which serves High Wycombe and Amersham to the west of London had an audience of 15,000 in the latest ratings and at the end of May its liabilities were GBP 1.17 million (USD 1.94 million) and in the eight months to then had recorded an operating loss after central costs of GBP 93,000 (USD 154,000) on revenues of GBP 285,000 (USD 472,000).
Earlier this month the company announced the disposal of Macclesfield station Silk FM "for a nominal consideration" to Dee 106.3 Holdings, which runs independent commercial Chester station Dee 106.3 (See RNW Jun 12) and of its of its Bournemouth station Fire Radio to Westward Broadcasting, a wholly owned subsidiary of Triple Media Communications Group, for around GBP 40,000 (USD 64,000- See RNW Jun 5).
Also announced last week was the appointment of a new senior management team from UKRD whose senior management has now assumed for the executive management of the Company.
The team includes UKRD CEO William Rogers, Group Finance Director Roger Humm, Group Programme Director Phil Angell, and Chief Technology Officer James Wenger. James Bryant, who was appointed managing director of the company's Local Stations Division by the Local Radio Company board prior to the take-over by UKRD is to remain in place for a short period to assist the new management team with the handover and resolution of a number of ongoing issues.
Previous Local Radio Company:
2009-06-29: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised community licences for Athlone Town and environs, East County Limerick, and South West Donegal (Killybegs - Milltown) with a deadline for applications of noon on September 1.
Each service is expected to provide a combination of speech and music programming of particular relevance to listeners in these specified communities.
2009-06-29: The lenders who were forced into financing the takeover of San Antonio-based Clear Channel by legal action from the company and private equity firms Bain Capital Partners and THL Partners may be about to get their own back according to a report in My San Antonio Business.
In the article David Hendricks writes, "The lenders evidently want to steer the company into bankruptcy so they can pick up the assets cheap and sell them. The lenders apparently believe that is the way to get the most amount of money back from the loans made when Boston-based firms Bain Capital Partners and THL Partners acquired the San Antonio company in one of the last big private equity deals as the credit crunch worsened."
He adds, "The lenders are getting even. They didn't want to finance the deal last year as the U.S. recession worsened. But the lenders had signed commitments in 2006. They tried to back out of making the loans but lost a lawsuit." And says analysts believe the company will have trouble meeting is scheduled payments alter this year leaving it with the option of selling stations itself of going into bankruptcy and seeing the enders put stations up for sale.
Author and radio industry forecaster Alec Foege, who last year published a book about Clear Channel's radio industry dominance, "Right of the Dial" told Hendricks, "The financial moves by Clear Channel were aimed at enriching the executive team at the expense of the shareholders. There's still financial acumen at the company, but it doesn't extend to solving its financial problems in terms of marketing its core product."
Foege said several companies would be prepared to bid on Clear Channel stations, especially those in large cities, putting forward the names of CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting Inc. and Emmis Communications as potential contenders.
Previous Clear Channel:
My SA Business report:
2009-06-28: The main regulatory news this week came on the political front with the US Senate approving the nomination of Julius Genachowski as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman and re-nomination of Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell and the President also sending to the Senate the nominations of Republican Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon Clyburn (See RNW Jun 26): their approval will take the FCC back to its full strength of five having been operating with three Commissioners for most of this year so far. Elsewhere the main announcement came from Australia where July 1 was formally set as the date by which DAB+ digital broadcasts have to commence.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has, as already noted, now formally announced that July 1 is the digital start-up day for Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney: All commercial digital radio services in those cities are required to be on-air by that date.
Commenting on the launch of DAB+ digital services, ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said, "The coming launch of digital radio in these cities represents the most significant development in Australian radio since the introduction of FM" adding, "Digital radio promises additional services, added features such as the ability to pause or rewind, greater ease of tuning and improvements in sound quality."
Chapman also congratulated the "radio industry and Commercial Radio Australia for their efforts to date in preparing for the launch of digital radio in metropolitan areas."
The ACMA also posed one other radio notice, its acceptance of an enforceable undertaking offered by Young temporary community broadcasting licence holder, Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc., not to exceed the five minute limit on sponsorship announcements.
The agency had found in two investigations that the station had exceeded the limits and Chapman warned that it would be "difficult to see Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc being successful in obtaining a long-term community licence if it proves unable to adhere to its licence conditions and the enforceable undertaking it has given to ACMA."
The ACMA had also previously imposed remedial directions on Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc, requiring it to encourage community participation in its service, as well as to refrain from exceeding the sponsorship time limit.
The ACMA also announced the award of temporary community licences - running a year from Jul 1 this year to Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc and Young District Arts Council Inc. The two groups will continue to share the 92.3 MHz frequency in Young, New South Wales, but the share details will change - previously each had a six-month licence but the week will now be split with Young District Arts Council Inc broadcasting from 12.00pm Sunday to 12.00pm Wednesday and Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc broadcasting from 12.00pm Wednesday to 12.00pm Sunday.
The split was decided by the ACMA as the groups were unable to agree and Chapman commented, "ACMA considered that a weekly split is preferable to a six-month split on this occasion, given the concerns of the two groups that it was difficult to maintain their audience, community support and sponsorship base if they were off air for six months at a time."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), made a number of radio-related postings including the following:
*Approved application by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to allow it to operate a 50-watts low-power, temporary FM transmitter in Caraquet to broadcast Caraquet's Festival acadien as well as the 4th Congrès mondial acadien: The transmitter will be added to the licence of French-language station CBAF-FM, Moncton.
*Approved application by Andy McNabb, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for authority to acquire from King's Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Incorporated the assets of Christian music station CKKK-FM, Peterborough.
The station will retain the format but in the application it was said that it had been losing money since its launch and was forced off the air at the end of March last year because the lease on its transmitter site had lapsed and it was unable to conclude a contract with the new owner of the site. King's Kid's maintained that, without the proposed transaction, CKKK-FM would, at best, be able to provide a minimal radio service.
In all figures provided showed cumulative losses, including investment in fixed assets of CAD 311,000 ( USD 269,000) and the CRTC noted that the transaction value of CAD 190,000 ( USD 164,000) would not will not cover CKKK-FM's combined start-up costs of CAD 13,900 (USD 12,000) and the cumulative losses.
Because of this McNabb had requested exemption from tangible benefits requirements usually levied in case of a sale but the commission in this case noted that it was normal for a station to encounter financial difficulties in its first few years - the station launched in Nov 2004 - and required the standard payment of 6% of the transaction value - CAD 11,400 (USD 9,900).
*Approved application by Newcap to relocate the transmitter of CHNO-FM, Sudbury, increase its antenna height, and increase its power from 11,000 watts to 100,000 watts. Newcap said that the proposed changes are required to improve signal reception and to reduce interference due to the mountainous terrain and the present location of its antenna.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) made just one radio posting - the announcement in principle of the re-award of Q102's Dublin licence (See RNW Jun 23) and in the UK Ofcom also had a quiet time as regards radio.
It posted its latest Complaints Bulletin in which it upheld one radio complaint (See RNW Jun 22) and also its latest Media Bulletin, which highlighted the release of the Digital Britain report (See RNW Jun 16) albeit it did not highlight radio issues involved in the planned switchover to DAB for national radio services.
It did note that Angel Radio from Havant Hampshire is to be one of 95 volunteering groups from across the UK winning this year's Queen?s Award for Voluntary Service: Angel has received the Award for its work to provide an entertaining and informative radio station specifically for the over 60s.
The radio station bans any music recorded after 1959 and they describe themselves as sounding like they are broadcasting with a wind-up gramophone attached to an old wartime valve transmitter. It is run by volunteers aged between 60 and 86 years whose library of 120,000 old 78rpm shellac records has been transferred to MP3 files.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , as well as heading towards full strength as already noted issued the agenda for an Open Meeting on July 2 that includes consideration of proposed changes that would allow AM stations to re-broadcast their signals on FM translation stations and was also involved in a number of enforcement actions.
In Texas it rejected an application from Terry Keith Hammond for the renewal of the licence of KBKH-FM, Shamrock, on the basis that his felony conviction for theft made him unsuitable to be a licensee: It added that revocation of the licence would have been warranted prior to renewal.
The agency had started a hearing to determine Hammond's fitness to hold a licence in September 2006, a hearing that amongst other things considered fitness to be a licensee because of a felony conviction ; whether he made false certifications and misrepresentations in applications filed with the agency - it said he "engaged in multiple instances of unauthorized operation of unlicensed radio broadcast stations in California, Louisiana, and Texas prior to his acquisition of the station"; whether he had violated rules governing operation of the station; and whether he failed to supply information required by the Commission under its rules.
The hearing also considered whether a forfeiture should be imposed for rule breaches in various sections for which the maximum penalty is USD 325,000.
Hammond had received the order designating the hearing but did not file a written note of appearance on which basis the Presiding Judge rules that he had waived his right to the hearing: The judge dismissed with prejudice the station's renewal application and the matters were sent back to the FCC whose media bureau terminated Hammond's authority to operate the station and deleted its call letters.
The agency also issued a number of penalties including the following:
*Issued USD 5,000 forfeiture to Bear Creek Mountain Resort for operating radio equipment without a licence. It had initially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 10,000 which appealed for reduction on the basis it had not been told by the supplier of the equipment that a licence was needed, that it had immediately applied for a licence when it discovered this was needed, and a history of compliance.
The FCC rejected all the arguments, pointing out in relation to compliance that the resort had not at the time held any licences it had no history of compliance, but it halved the penalty on the basis that the breach was not analogous to the operation of a pirate station.
*Issued USD 4,000 NAL to Service Broadcasting Group, LLC, licensee of KKDA-FM, Dallas, for neglecting to announce the material terms of a contest and failing to conduct the contest substantially as announced. The FCC had received a complaint that in a call-in contest the station offered as a prize "VIP tickets to be "up close and personal with Nelly," a musical artist, at Nelly's Blackout Party at the Opus Lounge in Dallas" but that in fact the winning listeners learned after waiting in the VIP line for over half an hour that their tickets only covered general admission with no special access privileges.
Service had responded to a letter of inquiry by saying that the station awarded event passes that guaranteed the winners' entry without having to wait in line and would qualify the winners to limousine transportation to the event for 10 people and an Applebottom prize pack and added that both its on-air announcements promoting the contest and its staff, in talking with winners when awarding the prize, described that the promised prize was limited to entry passes that would spare winners the necessity of waiting in line. It acknowledged, however, that "there were isolated unscripted remarks by Station DJs" that suggested that there would also be access to the VIP level, which would otherwise require payment and argued that while such VIP access was not guaranteed under the contest's rules, it was nevertheless provided gratuitously by a Universal Music promoter for those contest winners who were present at the event.
Service also said that, in a survey of 11 contest winners, eight winners confirmed that they used the tickets to access the event and that they enjoyed themselves but admitted that three surveyed winners who attended the event using the Station's passes were dissatisfied that those passes did not provide free VIP access.
The FCC in issuing the NAL noted that it found the complainant's citation of comments made by air staff to be compelling and noted several announcements that the prize granted "VIP" access without defining the term and in other cases defined it in a misleading manner. It commented that to the extent the station blamed comments made by staff that licensees were responsible for employees' actions or omissions.
*Issued USD 500 forfeiture to Soul's Harbor Assembly of God Church, licensee of Low Power FM Station WRDS-LP, Roscommon, Michigan, for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation of the station. It had initially issued an NAL for USD 7,000 to which the licensee responded by requesting reduction or cancellation because the failure was renewal and it was unable to pay: The FCC dismissed the first argument and said the financial information provided was insufficient to justify a reduction but it cut the penalty to USD 500 in line with previous LPFM station forfeitures.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-06-27: Latest Australian radio ratings show the leaders generally holding on to their places - the notable exceptions were in Sydney where Austereo's 2-DAY moved into second rank behind Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB, displacing ABC 702 and Melbourne where Fairfax Media's 3AW regained top rank, swapping places with Austereo's FOX FM, which was down to second.
In Sydney Alan Jones yet again retained his breakfast lead at 2GB - he is now approaching three-years of surveys in the top rank - although his share was marginally down - from 17.7 to 17.6, still well ahead of ABC702, which had a 12.9 share in second place. His performance helped keep 2GB comfortable in the lead overall with a 14.6 share followed by 2-DAY in highest FM rank with 10.8 and dominating the 10-17 (29.1 share), 18-24 (33.5 share) and 25-39 (16.7 demographics).
Austereo in its comments highlighted its FM lead on the east coast with "number one FM stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and online in every state" and noted the continuing lead for Kyle and Jackie O in the Sydney breakfast FM rankings where they took their share up from 10.7 to 11.4 per cent share and Hamish and Andy's (Hamish Blake and Andy Lee) increased drive time lead - up from 15.3 to 16.6 compared to second-ranked ABC702, whose share was down from 11.4 to 10.9.
Austereo Chief Executive Officer Michael Anderson said of the performance, "The level of consistency in the Today Network's leadership is fantastic and something we're very proud of.
"In these volatile financial times, we have managed to consistently offer a great product to clients and listeners which is of huge importance to the company.
"Our continued results on-air and online for both the Today and Triple M Networks help maintain Austereo's leadership in the Australian radio market."
He noted increased shares for Triple M in all day parts in Sydney and Brisbane, commenting, "The Triple M Network is continuing to grow and we're very pleased with the results especially in Sydney and Brisbane. Triple M Brisbane's The Cage saw a great result for breakfast with an increase of 2.3 points."
Austereo Chairman Peter Harvie noted that in the last radio survey of the Financial Year, Austereo had "performed with consistency and growth" adding, "The achievement of number one FM in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, number two FM Adelaide is a tribute to the creativity of our people. Significantly, total radio audiences have increased, reflecting the importance of the medium as a unique, robust player in a dynamically changing media world."
DMG noted growth for its Nova Network in the key 18-39 demographic, driven by strong growth in 18-24's which increased by 1.8% overall and also a strong performance by Vega in Melbourne - it was in sixth rank overall - up from eleventh in the previous ratings when its share was 3.8 and recorded "its highest ever share of 4.9% and strong increases in breakfast and the 40-54 demographic" and went ahead of Mix 101.1 and Triple M
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: ABC 891 with 14.0 (13.4) - same rank; 5AA with 13.7 (12.8) - same rank; Mix 102.3 with 13.3 (12.6) -same rank.
SAFM remained in fourth place but took its share up from 11.8 to 12.5 with 11.3 (12.5) -same rank whilst Triple M in fifth rank lost share from 11.5 to 10.4 and Nova in sixth rank took its share up from 9.5 to 9.8.
*Brisbane - B105 with 12.3 (12.4) - up from second rank; Nova with 11.8 (13.9) - down from first; 97.3 FM with 11.2 (10.0) - up from fourth.
ABC 612 with 9.8 (10.8) fell from third to fifth, behind Triple M, which moved up from fifth to fourth with 10.3 (9.1) .
*Melbourne - 3AW with 16.8 (13.3) - up from second; Fox FM with 14.0 (14.9) - down from first; ABC 774 with an unchanged 13.0 - same rank;
Nova 100 remained fourth with an unchanged 7.5 followed by Gold FM which retained fifth despite share falling from 7.0 to 6.7 whilst Vega leapt from 11th to sixth place with 4.9 (3.8).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 14.4 (14.7) - same rank; 92.9 with 13.2 (14.0) - same rank; 96 FM with 11.7 (11.0) - same rank.
6PR remained fourth with 11.0 (10.4) but Nova took fifth place, up a rank with 10.2 (9.4), exchanging places with ABC 720 with an unchanged 9.9.
*Sydney: 2GB 14.6 (15.6) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.8 (10.2) - up from third; ABC 702 with 10.6 (11.1) - down from second;
*Nova with 7.2 (7.0) was down a rank from fourth to fifth, behind WSM, which was up from sixth to fourth with 7.4 (6.5) and 2UE fell from fifth to sixth with 5.9 (6.5).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2009-06-26: Congratulations have been flowing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) following the Senate's unanimous confirmation of the nomination of Julius Genachowski as chairman and re-nomination of Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell for a second term.
The move means that the agency, which has been operating with three commissioners since the Republican previous chairman Kevin J. Martin and his colleague Deborah Taylor Tate stepped down, is likely to soon be back up to its full strength of five as the White House has also said it had sent to the Senate the nominations as Commissioners of Republican Meredith Attwell Baker and Democrat Mignon L. Clyburn.
Amongst those offering congratulations - which in its case also included approval of the Senate confirmation of Lawrence Strickling as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, Department of Commerce in which role he heads the National Telecommunications and Information Administration - was the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB): Its Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton in a statement said, "NAB salutes the Senate for confirming Julius Genachowski as the new FCC chairman and for granting a second term to Commissioner McDowell. We are also pleased that Larry Strickling has been confirmed as head of the NTIA. President Obama could not have picked three more qualified candidates for these critically important public policy positions, and NAB looks forward to working with all of them on behalf of America's free and local radio and television stations."
There were also internal congratulations from Commissioners Michael J. Copps, who is currently acting chairman, Jonathan S. Adelstein, who is to leave the FCC to become Administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service, and McDowell.
The last said of the Genachowski nomination, "As many have noted, the agency stands to benefit from Julius' strong background in both the public and private sectors" whilst Copps commented, "I believe Julius brings just the right blend of talent, experience and dedication to lead the FCC toward the more active role it must play if all our citizens are to enjoy the blessings and bounties of Twenty-first century communications" and Adelstein said, "Julius brings exceptional leadership, intelligence and extensive public and private sector experience that will serve this agency and the public well. This is a pivotal time for our country and for this agency. I'm confident that Julius, with his strong strategic vision, is the right person to tackle the ongoing broadband and media challenges we face, and the right person to guide the communications policies so badly needed to propel the U.S. forward as a global competitor."
Adelstein congratulating McDowell said "I am very pleased the Senate has confirmed Rob for another term as Commissioner. Rob's intelligence and significant experience in the field of telecommunications continues to be of significant value to all of us at the Commission. He is a dedicated public servant who will address the many important communications issues that the Commission will face in the times ahead with fairness and integrity, as he always has" and Copps added, "I've said many times before how much I value Rob's friendship, his collegiality, and the dedicated way he goes about his work. Rob's many talents were evidenced during his first term here and I look forward to working with him during his second."
2009-06-25: Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell, whose own re-nomination for a further term with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just been passed by the Senate Commerce Committee (See RNW Jun 16) has welcomed the White House announcement that President Obama is to nominate Meredith Attwell Baker for the seat left vacant when Deborah Taylor Tate resigned at the start of this year. If all nominations and moves currently in the works are approved, the FCC will be back to full strength.
Baker is a former Deputy Administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with which she served from 2004-2008 and McDowell said of the nomination in a statement that "President Obama has made an excellent choice by nominating my friend Meredith A. Baker to be a commissioner of the FCC. "
"I have had the privilege of working with Meredith for many years in both the private and public sectors and I know first hand of her strong commitment to public service," he added. "Her experience, intellect, energy, regulatory philosophy and sense of humour will make her a first-rate commissioner. Additionally, her knowledge of the issues that are likely to come before the FCC in the coming years is second to none. American consumers will be well-served by her service at the Commission. I look forward to working with her."
The President had already said (See RNW Apr 30) that he intends to nominate Mignon Clyburn, the daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, for the Democratic seat that will be left vacant when Jonathan S. Adelstein moves to the post of Administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (See RNW Mar 23).
2009-06-25: Clear Channel Radio has named current Sirius XM Senior Vice President of Music Programming Jon Zellner as its Senior Vice President of Programming from July 20: Zellner, who is 43, will work with program directors across major and mid-sized markets, reporting to Executive Vice President of Operations, Mark Kopelman.
A four-time winner of Billboard Magazine's Operations Manager of the Year, a three-time winner of Radio and Records' Program Director of the Year, and FMQB Programmer of the Year, Zellner oversaw programming for more than 75 channels for Sirius XM.
He commented in a release, "Radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember and a position like this at the leading radio company in the world is something I've worked toward since my start in broadcasting over 20 years ago."
Kopelman commented, "Jon's leadership and creativity are respected throughout radio. The stations in these 25 markets have unique audiences and tremendous opportunities, and we look forward to Jon's guidance across our AM/FM/HD2 and digital platforms."
Sirius XM board member Jeffrey Zients was confirmed by the Senate last Friday as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget following which he resigned from the board. This leaves it with only seven independent directors, a move that it notes in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) means it is no longer in compliance with NASDAQ rules. It adds that it will be back in compliance by the required deadline - its next annual stockholders meeting or June 22, 2010.
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-06-25: Norsan Multimedia is switching its La Tremenda, 1310 AM in Charlotte, North Carolina, to a the syndicated Spanish language news talk "Radio Formula" format starting on Monday.
Radio Formula is produced in Mexico and targeted at immigrants to the US and Norsan Multimedia CEO Norberto Sanchez commented in a release that the change would fill an existing gap in the Spanish radio offerings in the market.
He added, "Our Hispanic radio programming wouldn't be complete without a segment for local news and community information. On Radio Formula 1310 AM we are very pleased to be able to offer free air-time to non-profit and other well recognized organizations that serve Latinos in Charlotte and surrounding counties."
Norsan Multimedia General Manager Edgar Saucedo added, "Radio Formula's programming appeals to a more mature, educated audience; this segment of listeners often like to hear about an array of political topics, analysis of current events and different points of view in economics, sports, immigration, among others "and Norsan Broadcasting operations manager Sergio Garcia noted that "there is also entertainment through a well known gossip program about singers, soap opera stars, etc. There is even a folk tale terror midnight show!"
2009-06-24: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a little diversion - to a posting by Mel Phillips on his Now and Then blog concerning royalties for ringtones.
We chose it partly because it brings up some grey areas - of which more later - but mainly as an illustration of the lunacies of some lawyers or maybe it's their greed and that of those who will pay them.
Phillips, who referred to a Firecemobile.com report from Jason Ankeny, began, "I hope, like me, nothing surprises you anymore. If not, you'll be shocked to find out that when ringtones go off in public, the mobile phone melody constitutes a performance and violates copyright law - according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) anyway, which is suing AT&T over their violation. An annoyance tax? yes, a performance tax? Are you kidding me? Even though operators and mobile content providers already pay songwriters and publishers a licensing fee for each ringtone download, ASCAP contends it is owed additional royalties for "public performances", for instance when handsets ring in a restaurant. It sounds like a joke but it's not. ASCAP filed a civil action suit in the U.S. District Court of the southern district of New York to prove it's not a joke "
He then went on to quote Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney for Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who pointed out that the US Copyright Act has a specific exemption when it comes to such charges when it comes to performances made "without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage."
Philips then went on to quote the Techdirt website which said of the move, "It's simply the way industry groups (even those representing the songwriters, rather than the labels) have also worked. It's always about 'extending rights', that's why copyright was broken down eventually into different types of rights - including distribution rights and performance rights, because the 'old' rights didn't fit the new technologies. It's a particularly obnoxious trick to claim that, because a single file can be used in multiple ways (for both distribution and performance) it is now subject to both types of royalties. It's called greed and in this particular case greed is spelled A-S-C-A-P "
RNW comment: From a UK point of view we also recall reports of the Performing Rights Society warning garages that they could be breaching the law if they did not warn customers to turn their radios off and also being permission to sue a garage where mechanics had a radio one while they worked (They levy a fee of around GBP 45 (USD 75) for a licence. In both cases we see a point where a company is using music as part of background intended to entice customers to spend money or remain in a store but in cases such as this either the copyright bodies are looking for publicity (presumably on the basis that any publicity is good publicity, however adverse the comment it raises) or are using the threat to extort funds from companies for whom the bother of a court case is more of a nuisance than paying a fee.
In either case we feel the actions are clearly against the public interest and would welcome a law under which those who choose the fight the matter and win automatically get costs, a hundred times the licence fee as recompense for their time, and in addition the judge should have the power to put the plaintiff for a year on a "three-times-and-you're legally a public nuisance lost"
Should the magic three then be reached the copyright holder would then have to put on all its paperwork that it has been declared a "public nuisance" (Automatic 3-months for all directors if action to do this has not been taken within two weeks plus a situation in which to go to court it would have to first file with a court to get its case declared reasonable before proceeding).
However no such action is likely to take place, however badly the copyright holders may behave so we move on to content more directly related to radio, moving to the UK with comment on plans in the Digital Britain report to switch off analogue radio - Libby Purves was firmly against it:
Purves poked fun at the language used as well as the idea itself, writing, "The word "digital" joins a long line of adjectives too exciting for their own good. Look back in the history of hype and you find its ancestors: "electropathic", "atomic", "computerised", "turbo" or just "state-of-the art". With Lord Carter of Barnes's report on Digital Britain, overstimulation peaked."
"Starting from [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown's startling assertion that only this technology can 'unlock our imagination', it plunged with boyish glee into arias about 'seamless connectivity', converging platforms, twitter, wiki, blogs, telepresence and 'e-healthcare' However, in the general brouhaha about top-slicing the licence fee and taxing granny's landline, the most preposterous plan of all has not had the raspberry it richly deserves. If any other report proposed an arrogant, wasteful, environmentally damaging assault on daily life - a copper-bottomed vote-loser, a V-sign to the vulnerable - there would be an outcry. But veiled as it is in glittery stuff about computers, we almost didn't notice."
"The assault is on radio. Baldly, the report proposes a surprise acceleration of the plan (still not widely grasped) to turn off FM and AM transmission of all national stations. They must "migrate" to DAB - which requires new digital sets That radio has a perfectly adequate medium already, from transmitters that even the report concedes have many years life left, seems not to matter. Our version of DAB - rejected, remember, by everyone else in Europe except Denmark and Norway - is the only option."
Purves also notes that Carter [Lord Carter, author of the Digital Britain report] proudly proclaims that nine million dab sets already exist, responding, "Yeah, right. And hundreds of millions of non-digital radios exist alongside them."
She also zaps them on the grounds of energy consumption - "digital radios use more than four times the energy (8.5 watts) of analogue (average 2 watts). The industry is working on this, but the most optimistic forecast is 3.5 watts. More importantly, unless you switch them off at the wall, they are computers on permanent standby - like leaving a light on full-time. Portables gobble batteries six times faster."
The comments posted following Purves article were generally hostile to DAB for various reasons - coverage problems either when moved around in a building, in an area or whilst driving - although a few praised digital.
On the other side of the argument was Tony Moretta, chief executive of the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau who in the UK Guardian said DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) "is the future" and that the 2015 target date for switching off analogue "digital is ambitious, but it is not impossible."
The research his organisation has done he proclaimed gave a different response to that we have noted in comments attached to the Times report - ". Research shows consumers are very happy, and appreciate the benefits of digital sound quality, wider station choice and ease of use."
Moretta then went on to comment on plans to hit the target including "Improved coverage and reception"; "Improved, co-ordinated marketing"; "New and improved content: DAB already offers much more choice than analogue, with strong services from the BBC and commercial radio, and this will only increase as the economy improves and the increased take-up of digital improves the business case for digital-only stations." [RNW note -we included this paragraph in full in view of the widespread closures by companies of digital stations and scepticism about commitment to new product on DAB]; "Cheaper DAB radios: Already under £30, within 12 to 18 months they will be GBP 20 or even GBP 15 (USD 33 down to USD 25 - and we can find plenty of analogue receivers available for much less); and in relation to automobiles - "Ford and Vauxhall, the manufacturers of six of the 10 most popular cars in the UK, have announced their support for the Digital Britain proposals. Manufacturers are increasingly fitting DAB as standard or as a low cost option, and this will increase quickly now with a common technical standard across Europe. Low cost, easy-to-use adapters are already available and will only improve. (The latter seem to run around GBP 60 -UD 100, which many people will find anything but low cost.")
Moretta ends up by making comparisons with digital TV and the take-up of Freeview - neglecting significant differences such as actually offering significantly wider choice, use with an external aerial - which often had to be replaced for a high-gain one, the availability of set-top boxes to allow continued use of existing equipment at around the GBP 20 mark, and the knowledge that a switch-off was coming since the spectrum released was being sold for billions for use by mobile devices.
Comments made in relation to this report we even more hostile to DAB than those in the Times! One in our view quite perceptively suggested that an overnight analogue switch-off would cause the radio industry to "implode overnight. It would lose 10 or 20% or more of listening overnight, most of which would never return, and the BBC would lose so much goodwill from the public that it could probably kiss goodbye to getting its Charter renewed."
RNW Note:We again posted listening suggestions before the above weekly look at print comment on radio , concentrating on the BBC which keeps most programming online for only a week.
First BBC Radio 2 and from last Saturday a reminder of a recommendation last week for "Back from the Dead: The Return of Spinal Tap" after which going through this week we suggest from Monday "Big Band Special" - a Jazz Goes to the Movies concert and the fifth part of the six-part "Beverley's Gospel Nights" including guests X-Factor finalist Beverley Trotman and rapper Jahaziel.
From Tuesday we suggest the second and final part of the "Stand Down Margaret: Music's Response to Thatcherism" - this one on the desire by some groups to make a lot of money rather than retain any musical or ideological purity.
Jumping to Thursday we suggest the first in a new series ( 8 editions) of "Does The Team Think"; from Friday the second of the three-programme" Colour My World: The Tony Hatch Story" and from Saturday "The Nation's Playlist at Glastonbury."
Moving to BBC Radio 3 we first note another recommendation from last Saturday - World Routes and the first of the two-part "World Routes in China" - the next is of course next Saturday.
From Sunday we suggest an additional programme to those we suggested last week - "Private Passions" in which the music was chosen by former British cabinet minister Michael Portillo.
Then moving to this week we suggest throughout the week "Afternoon on 3" - on the theme "100 Years of British Music"; "Performance on 3" coming this week from The Aldeburgh Festival; and "The Essay" this week "Strange Encounters - Series 2" with contributions from Biologist Matthew Cobb, Astronomer Stuart Clark, cell biologist and the founder and editor of LabLit.com Jennifer Rohn commenting on biologist Peyton Rous, who showed that viruses can cause tumours, Engineer Basil Mahon commenting on the young genius Heinrich Hertz, and Virologist John Oxford looking at the struggle to beat the deadly Spanish Flu
Then on a day-by-day basis we suggest Monday's "Night Waves" on the theme of translating foreign poetry and "Jazz on 3" featuring Don Byron's New Gospel Quintet.
From Wednesday we add "Night Waves" again, this time for novelist Bidisha commenting on the concept of civilization; from Friday "The Verb" in which Ian McMillan's guests include novelist Niven Govinden, author of Graffiti My Soul; from Saturday "The Music Feature" - "Rolls, Records and the Return of Myra Hess" in which Christopher Cook tells the story of the player-piano industry, "World Routes in China" as already noted; "Opera on 3" - Wagner's Lohengrin from The Royal Opera House; and another "Jazz Library" - this one on guitarist Wes Montgomery.
And from Sunday we suggest "Sunday Morning" on musical parody, "Discovering Music" featuring discussion of Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony, "Drama on 3" - An adaptation of the Traverse Theatre's production of Zinnie Harris' play "Fall ", and "The Sunday Feature" - "Travelling the Great Divide - The New US-Mexico Border" looking at the new fortifications on the border to keep out illegal migrants.
Then we suggest a dip into the BBC World Service Documentary Archive for the two parts of "Farm Swap" - the first looking at a young Ecuadorean's experiences in Hawaii and the second at a British farmer working large landholdings in Hungary and Serbia and also the first part of "Mubarak's Egypt." We'd also suggest the World Service "Forum" from last weekend for Clive James commenting on what makes a film star iconic and British mathematician and trumpet player Marcus Du Sautoy who claims mathematics can flow from music, and music from maths
Moving to BBC Radio 4 we first suggest a run of programming available as downloads as well as streams starting with last Friday's "News Quiz" (until this Friday's when the first edition of a new series of The Now Show is posted); and last Saturday's "From Our Own Correspondent" including items from Tehran, the Swat Valley in Pakistan and Athens where the Greeks to coincide with the opening of the new Parthenon Museum are stepping up their calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles (A bad idea in our view and only to be considered with a requirement that the ones the Greeks kept and didn't look after are displayed side-by-side with those preserved by the British Museum and a deposit of many billions to be lost should an accurate historical note of how much they really took care of them -- some were still out in the weather this millennium-and how significant they really were, a condition we doubt would be considered acceptable.)
Then from Monday we suggest "Start the Week" - with topics Obsessive love, civilisation and the rise of China , "Beyond Belief" on John Calvin; Tuesday's "Digital Planet" for a report on the Warfare Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, and also technology at Wimbledon and "File on 4 The real cost of PFI" - a reasonably strong look at how private finance has grown in the UK partly because of accounting rules (about to change) and also the degree to which when things go wrong, it's back to the public purse to sort them out; and Wednesday's "Media Show" - with the BBC Director General Mark Thompson as the guest plus "Law in Action" on who owns your body - not you under English law! Nor indeed elsewhere when gene patents have been taken out.
Back to programming throughout the week and we first suggest from last Sunday "The Silent Killer", BBC correspondent Justin Webb's report on what he found out about type 1 diabetes after his son contracted it.
From Monday running through the week we suggest "Book of the Week" - "The Junior Officer's Reading Club, Bandanas, Shades and Penguin Classics", "Woman's Hour Drama" - "The Art of Deception", and "Book at Bedtime" - "The Spy Game" (This one running for ten episodes).
From Monday itself we suggest "Quote... Unquote", "The Food Programme" -"Britalian Food" on British producers of Italian ingredients, "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", currently being chaired by Stephen Fry, "Analysis" -"Doesn't everyone", in which Michael Blastland looks at Group-think against the background of the row over UK politicians' expenses, and "Frontiers- Origins of Childhood" in which Andrew Luck-Baker looks at why humans, unlike other primates, have such a long childhood.
From Tuesday we suggest the third of this year's four Reith lectures- on the topic Genetics and Morality (and available as a download or stream); from Wednesday "Who's My Half-Brother? Where's My Half-Sister?" on how children conceived through a sperm donor can make contact with their half-siblings; "All in the Mind" on dealing with self-harm, "The Moral Maze" with discussion of the film "Antichrist" that shows explicit sex, torture, and genital mutilation and issues of whether it should be censored or shown; the second and final part of "Learning to Love the Microphone" in which Anne Perkins asks what today's politicians could learn from the spin doctors of the 1920s, and "Strangers on Trains" - the third of six episodes - in this one Nat Segnit asks strangers about sex and dating.
From Thursday we suggest "In our Time" (also a download) that this week is on Sunni and Shia Islam, "From Our Own Correspondent" (also a download) , "Leading Edge" in which Geoff Watts talks to Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society, a special edition of "The Report" in which BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson reflects on recent events in Iran., and the third and final episode of the current "The Stanley Baxter Playhouse".
On Friday we suggest the first of the three-part "Three Rivers", this one on The Clyde, "The Now Show" (also a download as already noted), and the "America, Empire of Liberty" Omnibus edition (the episodes have been running through the week).
On Saturday we suggest "A Funny Sort of Sound" in which Julian Clary pays tribute to the wit and ingenuity of comedy musical acts, "From Our Own Correspondent" (also a download), "The Saturday Play" - "Journey into Space - The Host" - Julian Simpson's adaptation of the 1950s science fiction series created by Charles Chilton, and "Archive on 4" in which Bidisha examines the life and work of fellow novelist Iris Murdoch.
Finally from the station on Sunday we suggest "Moats, Mortgages and Mayhem" in which Nick Robinson reflects on the reporting of the MPs' expenses scandal and its repercussions, "The Classic Serial" - Thomas De Quincey's "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater".
RNW note:We regret that continuing other pressures have further delayed our posting of non-BBC listening suggestions but do hope to update later.
EFF -von Lohmann:
Fiercemobile.com - Ankeny :
Mel Phillips - Now and Then blog:
Techdirt re ASCAP ringtone royalties charge:
UK Daily Telegraph - (Jan 2009 report) - re PRS royalties for customers playing their radios:
UK Guardian - Moretta:
UK Times - Purves:
2009-06-24: BBC Director General Mark Thompson has attacked plans to use part of the BBC licence fee for public broadcasting on commercial channels (top-slicing), suggesting that the proposal was being pushed by some people in the government and Ofcom media regulator to make a point rather than because of any urgent need for the move.
Top slicing was proposed in the Digital Britain report published last week (See RNW Jun 16) and Thompson speaking on the BBC Radio 4 "Media Show" commented, "I believe that the risk in the end to the independence and the ability of the BBC to deliver its services to the public is so great that in my view there are no circumstances in which I think top-slicing would be a good idea."
As regards proposals from Ofcom he added, "When Ofcom was interested in a public service publisher, it was going to take about £100m and the licence fee looked like a good source for that. Then it was Channel 4 that was going to need perhaps £100m and the licence fee was a good source for it. Now, we are told (ITV) regional news might need £100m."
"There is a suspicion that for some years now there has been a small group of people who have been ideologically focused more on the principle of getting a wedge into the licence fee and trying to prove a point about the principle of top-slicing, rather than having a particular urgent need."
Asked about whether Ofcom was in the group he had referred to, Thompson said, "Some of the things that have happened might lead you to suspect that they are."
The remarks prompted the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, which commissioned the Digital Britain report to express disappointment and added that it hoped the BBC would "engage constructively in the forthcoming consultation."
A DCMS spokeswoman added, "The public greatly value local and regional news. We have invited the BBC and others to suggest how it can be secured for the long term. Using a small fraction of the licence fee to do so is the best and fairest idea so far, but, as we have said, we will happily consider others."
RNW comment: We expect these comments to spark an outpouring of anti-BBC comments in some UK newspapers albeit we would have expected the harshest response to come from the Daily Mail's readers and when we checked there were still no comments attached to the its report although the Daily Telegraph has already posted two blogs attacking Thompson.
BBC Radio 4 Media Show page (Available as stream or podcast)
Daily Telegraph - Janet Daley anti-Thompson blog:
Daily Telegraph - Alex Singleton anti-BBC blog:
2009-06-24: Univision in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is forecasting second quarter revenues to be "low single digit percentage points below" the USD 541.4 million of a year earlier with operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) to be at or above the USD 221.6 million of a year ago.
It says the latter expectation is based on higher contributions from subscriber fees as a result of recently negotiated multi-year distribution agreements with cable, satellite and telecom providers, the favourable impact of certain previously disclosed cost-saving initiatives initiated by the Company during the fourth quarter of 2008, and the recent stabilization in advertising related revenue.
The filing also notes that net revenue for the second quarter of 2008 was originally reported at USD 533.1 million and OIBDA for the second quarter of 2008 was originally reported as USD 219.9 million in the Company's Quarterly Report: The change it adds that the revenue changes reflect the addition of net revenue of USD 5.4 million from the reclassification of certain assets of the Company's radio and television reporting units to continuing operations from discontinued operations during the fourth quarter of 2008 and the reclassification of USD 2.9 million of music license fees and affiliate station compensation to operating expense which were previously classified as a reduction of net revenue.
The OIBDA changes it says reflects the addition of operating income of USD 2.4 million from the reclassification of certain assets of the Company's radio and television reporting units to continuing operations from discontinued operations during the fourth quarter of 2008, and (ii) the deduction of USD 0.7 million relating to payments under protest paid under the Company's program license agreement with Grupo Televisa S.A., which was reclassified to license fees in direct operating expenses during the fourth quarter of 2008, following the Company's settlement of its litigation with Televisa in January 2009.
2009-06-23: Joseph Ianniello, who was yesterday named as CBS Corporation's Chief Financial Officer from July 20 to take over from Fred Reynolds, who is retiring, and the company's CEO Leslie Moonves have each spurred speculation about more cuts.
Bloomberg quoted Ianniello as saying in an interview that he plans to avoid acquisitions and cut costs in the current "difficult revenue environment" whilst Moonves commented that Ianniello will be tasked with finding better ways to manage the company, and continuing to sell radio stations and rebuild content assets
Ianniello, who is 41 and has been CBS Deputy CFO since November 2008, told Bloomberg, "The only thing you can control as a company, when your top line is revenue and those sales aren't there, is how can you run your business?"
Moonves was a little upbeat commenting, "We're seeing some light at the end of the tunnel" but he would not predict when the advertising market, which has contracted amidst the US recession, will recover.
He also said he did not expect any major employee dismissals of as the most of the job cuts at CBS had already taken place.
Reynolds, who will stay on as executive vice president until he retires on August 15 after 15 years with CBS and is predecessors Viacom and Westinghouse Electric Corp, said CBS's balance sheet and finances are on strong footing, adding, "I'm not declaring victory on the recession, but certainly the worst of it is behind us the best we can tell."
2009-06-23: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has officially announced that it has re-awarded in principle and subject to contract negotiations to City Broadcasting Limited (trading as Dublin's Q102) the licence for a Dublin City and County music-based radio service for 35-55 year olds to.
Q102 jumped the gun in announcing the news following the BCI board meeting on Monday with its Chief Executive Scott Williams saying in a posting on the station web site that "This is a great endorsement of the station and the hard work of all staff."
The licence runs for ten years from May next year.
2009-06-22: Triton Media's Dial Global retained its hold of the top-rated US radio networks according to Arbitron's RADAR 101 survey just released that shows Dial Global Contemporary Network, Dial Global Complete FM Network, and Dial Global Adult Power in the top three ranks amongst those 25-54 with Dial Global Music & Entertainment taking fifth place and Dial Global Female Perspective in sixth rank: Amongst those 18-49 it did even better taking the first five ranks with Dial Global Complete FM Network, Dial Global Contemporary Network, Dial Global Adult Power, Dial Global Female Perspective, and Dial Global Female Perspective in that order.
Clear Channel-owned Premiere Networks was the only other organisation to have more than one network in the top ten - for those 25-54 its Premiere Male Focus Network took fourth place with the Premiere Modern Women Network in ninth and the Premiere Emerald Plus Network ranking tenth whilst amongst those 18-49 it took sixth rank with the Premiere Emerald Plus Network, seventh with the Premiere Modern Women Network, eighth with the Premiere Male Focus Network, and ninth with the Premiere Emerald Plus Network.
RADAR had listed rankings for those 12+ up to RADAR 99 and only the 25-54 demographic for RADAR 100 and the top ten for the latter, with RADAR 100 figures in brackets were:
1 - Dial-Global Contemporary Network with an average audience of 3.135 million and an average rating of 2.6 (In RADAR 100 the network was first with an average audience of 3.288 million and an average rating of 2.6.)
2 - Dial Global Complete FM Network with an average audience of 3.138 million and an average rating of 2.5 (In RADAR 100 it was third with an average audience of 3.154 million and an average rating of 2.5).
3: Dial Global Adult Power with an average audience of 2.984 million and an average rating of 2.4 (In RADAR 100 the network was second ranked with an average audience of 3.205 million and an average rating of 2.5).
4: Premiere Male Focus Network with an average audience of 2.608 million and an average rating of 2.0 (In RADAR 100 it was in the same rank with an average audience of 2.568 million and an average rating of 2.1).
5: Dial Global Music & Entertainment with an average audience of 2.406 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 100 it was in the same rank with an average audience of 2.424 million and an average rating of 1.9).
6: Dial Global Female Perspective with an average audience of 2.385 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 100 it was seventh with an average audience of 2.372 million and an average rating of 1.9).
7: Westwood WON I Network with an average audience of 2.305 million and an average rating of 1.8 (In RADAR 100 it was sixth with an average audience of 2.407 million and an average rating of 1.9).
8: Crystal Media Network's CMN Prestige with an average audience of 2.2.05 million and an average rating of 1.7 (In RADAR 100 it was in the same rank with an average audience of 2.350 million and an average rating of 1.9).
9: Premiere Modern Women Network with an average audience of 2.188 million and an average rating of 1.7 (In RADAR 100 it was in the same rank with an average audience of 2.096 million and an average rating of 1.7).
10: Premiere Emerald Plus Network with an average audience of 1.995 million and an average rating of 1.6 (In RADAR 100 it was 11th with an average audience of 2.075 million and an average rating of 1.6).
Citadel/ABC's highest ranked offering was its Citadel Media Prime Access in 15th rank with an average audience of 1.779 million and an average rating of 1.4 (In RADAR 100 the then ABCRN Prime Access was 15th with an average audience of 1.805 million and an average rating of 1.4).
Previous Citadel (Formerly Disney)/ABC, America):
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 100):
Previous Westwood One:
2009-06-22:UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin upholds one radio standards complaint and ten involving TV as well as detailing one radio and one TV standards complaint not upheld and also partly upholding a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint and giving details of four more TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints not upheld. The numbers compare with one radio standards and four TV standards complaints upheld in the previous bulletin that also detailed a TV Standards and a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint not upheld and noted a fine on Lakeland Radio in relation to its conduct of a competition.
The Radio complaints upheld involved George Galloway's talkSPORT show in which there were some heated exchanges between the Respect Party MP whom Ofcom noted "has long been recognised as an outspoken critic of the Israeli government" and callers about the situation in the Gaza strip.
Ofcom received 14 complaints about Galloway's comments on various editions of the programme from listeners who believed he was biased against Israel with some complainants also objecting to his calls for listeners to attend planned demonstrations against Israel's action in launching an attack on Gaza.
UTV-owned talkSPORT in response to a query from Ofcom "maintained that the Israel-Gaza problem crosses party lines in this country and is not a party political issue. It pointed out that the Israeli government's actions in December 2008/January 2009 were condemned by the majority of the international community and that the situation in Gaza deteriorated to such an extent that it was regarded as a humanitarian crisis. In its view the nature of this subject had a very real bearing on the approach to due impartiality in this case."
It also noted that the phone-ins on the station "are not overly formal discourses, as may sometimes be the case on more traditional radio stations" but "rely more on a passionate exchange of views which is sometimes combative and often emotive."
In Galloway's case it noted that Galloway's views on the Middle East were well-known and that in addition Galloway encourages people with an alternative point of view to call and it also detailed shows that Galloway had hosted to which there many contributions from callers with a pro Israeli viewpoint or pro-Israeli guests.
As regards the call to attend the demonstrations it said Galloway had invited listeners to take part to protest peacefully and noted that the "demonstrations were not illegal, having been agreed with by the police and George Galloway said nothing that would encourage racial hatred or violence.
In this case Ofcom accepted that overall programming had not been biased against Israel in breach of the relevant Act but it said that in the calls to attend demonstrations "the broadcaster crossed the line from legitimate and provocative debate with adequate alternative views to one who was calling listeners to action" in breach of its code and upheld this part of the complaint.
In the other radio case detailed, Ofcom received 190 complaints regarding a discussion about a parent's right to not give their child the Measles, Mumps and Rubella ("MMR") vaccination, on Global Radio's LBC 97.3 weekday afternoon phone-in discussion programme presented by Jeni Barnett.
The complainants expressed concern about the way in which she presented and handled the phone-in discussion on this topic. In their view the programme gave such an unbalanced, inaccurate and irresponsible portrayal of the dangers of the triple MMR vaccine that it could have caused considerable anxiety to parents and reduce the take up of the vaccination resulting in a considerable threat to public health.
LBC responded to Ofcom by saying that Barnett, who had chosen not to give her daughter the triple MMR vaccine, had made clear that she was not an expert herself and that this programme was focused on the notion of informed parental choice, not about whether immunisation was good or bad.
In this case Ofcom noted that of six callers, four had views contrary to those of the presenter and accepted that there had been a balance of views in the broadcast, noting in particular comments from a doctor who pointed out the reasons why it was important to eradicate measles, a disease that could kill and a nurse who criticized Barnett as being "irresponsible."
It ruled that there had not been a breach
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 328 TV complaints against 154 items and 19 radio complaints against 19 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compared to 177 TV complaints against 98 items and 17 radio complaints against 15 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit that were listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-06-21: Last week was mainly one of routine matters for the regulators with the most significant developments coming from the UK where the government has now proposed a tentative date to switch off national analogue radio stations.In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has moved towards a full complement of Commissioners with a vote by the Senate Commerce Committe to send the nomination of Julius Genachowski as chairman and re-nomination of commissioner Robert M. McDowell to the full senate (See RNW Jun 19)
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) made just one radio posting - a proposal to allocate two new frequencies for community radio -initially for temporary licences but potentially for long-term community broadcasting services - in Bendigo, Victoria: Comments on the plan have to be submitted by July 17
The ACMA had previously proposed to make frequencies available for the ABC NewsRadio service and for only a single new community radio broadcasting service but community feedback showed a strong demand for additional community services.
Currently the city has two temporary community licences for three active community groups that share the frequencies and under the original plan they would have had to share just one frequency.
Giles Tanner, General Manager of ACMA's Inputs to Industry Division, commented of the change in plan, "Spectrum congestion in the Bendigo region means ACMA had to choose between planning two high-power FM radio frequencies for aspirant community broadcasters or making one of those frequencies available to permit introduction of the ABC's NewsRadio service.
"However, in light of community feedback that showed strong demand and support for additional community radio broadcasting services in Bendigo, ACMA has undertaken supplementary planning to identify further spectrum availability.'
"While it found no additional frequencies suitable for wide coverage, ACMA's planning revealed that two additional low-powered frequencies are potentially available. Either frequency is expected to give good coverage of the city of Bendigo itself."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made a number of radio postings including the following:
*Approval of application by Newcap Inc. to re-locate the transmitter of CFUL-FM, Calgary, replace the current directional antenna with an omnidirectional antenna, increase the antenna height and increase its power of from 48,000 watts to 100,000 watts.
*Approval of application by Newcap Inc. to re-locate the transmitter of CFXL-FM, Calgary, to the same site as that of CFUL, and increase the antenna height.
Newcap says the changes will allow it to reduce its operating costs and provide improved operating and maintenance efficiencies.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Approval of applications by Newcap Inc to convert CFLN-AM, Goose Bay, and its transmitter CFLW-AM, Wabush, to FM (1,000 watts in each case). The new FM will retain the station's current Country music format and spoken word programming and a simulcast on both AM and FM will be allowed for three months after the new FM is in operation.
*Approval of application from Smithers Community Radio Society for a licence to operate a 5 watts English-language, very low-power developmental community FM radio programming undertaking in Smithers. The station will offer diverse array of music types including blues, punk, rap, bluegrass and International/Cuban/Latin American music, as well as French-language music, independent Canadian music and music directed at children and place a special focus on the community's celebrated local artists and local musical festivals.
*Approval of application by Tantramar Community Radio Society for a licence for a 6,500 watts English-language Type B community FM in Amherst.
*Approval of application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to increase the power of CKNX-FM, Wingham, from 65,800 watts to 100,000 watts, decrease the antenna height and replace the directional antenna with an omni-directional antenna.
*Approval of application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to increase the power of CIBU-FM, Wingham, from 70,100 watts to 75,000 watts, decrease the antenna height and replace the directional antenna with an omni-directional antenna.
*Approval of application by Durham Radio Inc. to increase the power of CIWV-FM Hamilton/Burlington from 19,500 watts to 40,000 watts, a change that would change the class of the station from B to C1.
The CRTC notes that these three approvals will reduce the he protected area that currently exists between Blackburn's stations and Durham's station and that both companies have agreed on this to allow for maximum use of their respective channels.
*Approval of application by Rick Sargent for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language low-power commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Caledon: The station will use the same channel as the existing English-language low-power tourist information station CFGM-FM operated in Caledon by Sargent, whose licence will be revoked at his request, and will offer a broad music format .
Astral Media had opposed the application on the basis that it would allow back-door entry into the Caledon market without going through a competitive licensing process and that it was contrary to the low power FM policy that such stations should typically provide niche services that increase the overall diversity of voices in the broadcasting system.
Astral contended that such services should complement existing commercial services and argued that the applicant did not adequately address the impact its service would have upon incumbents, the impact of the loss of the market's tourist information service, the needs of the community and whether its proposal is in the public interest.
Sargent responded that the service proposed will be a unique music format and that it does not intend to compete with other mainstream commercial stations in the market: he was he said requesting a change from one niche format (tourist information) to another niche format (primarily Canadian music). The applicant further argued that its application for a new commercial licence was based on numerous requests from the Caledon community as well as the challenges of the current economic climate and that furthermore the tourist information service would be enhanced through the approval of this application - it would allow the station to conduct live, on-location broadcasts as well as live broadcasts of local concerts and fairs, thus enhancing the local community's ability to attract visitors to local events.
The CRTC in approving the application said it would add diversity to the Caledon market and noted that the applicant did not request a change to a protected class operating status adding that it took the view that the applicant is not using the present application in order to gain "back-door" entry to the Caledon market.
*Renewal 1 September 2009 to 31 August 2016 of the broadcasting licences for the radiocommunication distribution undertakings (RDUs) serving Haines Junction, Horse Camp Hill and Ferry Hill, that distribute the programs of the CBC Radio One English-language AM radio network service received via satellite from CFWH-AM, Whitehorse. The licence will be issued to the Manager, Telecom Services, Information and Communications Technology, Highways and Public Works, Government of Yukon.
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has welcomed the publication of the Digital Britain report that proposes turning off national analogue radio in 2015 if enough of the listening public has switched to DAB and cover is sufficient with the FM frequencies, on an interim basis at least, being allocated to small stations (See RNW Jun 16)
Ofcom also announced the award of four new community radio licences - to:
Academy FM, Ramsgate, Kent - this will broadcast from the Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate and serve the communities of Thanet.
Academy FM, Folkestone, Kent - this will broadcast from Folkestone Academy and take a community radio service to the entire community
Radio Sunlight, Gillingham, Kent - community-led and managed radio station broadcasting to the people of Gillingham and surrounding areas of the Medway.
Rye FM, Rye, East Sussex - a community radio station for the town of Rye and surrounding villages.
In addition Ofcom notes that it considered an application from Loveworld Radio, Folkestone, but did not award a licence to this group.
Ofcom has also launched a consultation "Audience Participation in Radio Programming" with a July 31 deadline for comments in which it specifically comments on the growth in the use of premium rate services and SMS (short message services), noting that this development has "changed the nature of the relationship with participating listeners; they become paying customers while the station has the potential to develop a small, but consistent, revenue stream and increase listener loyalty."
It then notes concerns raised in 2006 and 2007 about the way premium rate services were being used, primarily by TV broadcasters, and that as a result it had levied fined of GBP 1.4 million ( USD 2.3 million): It add that it considers "that the continuing incidence of breaches suggests that further regulation may be required to protect consumers."
It then comments, "In particular, we believe that our duties require that we consider further regulation to protect the interests of consumers who use PRS to participate in radio programmes and related competitions. We also consider that any such regulation should have regard to our duty to secure a wide range of radio services. We believe that - while taking into particular account the potential for harm - any further regulation should be proportionate in all circumstances, as it may have an impact on the financial profitability of radio stations."
Ofcom is suggesting three options:
*to maintain the current regulations but "assess the efficacy of the RadioCentre's new "Code of Practice on Premium Rate Interaction" for a year and consider further measures if this is not working satisfactorily.
*to assess the efficacy of the RadioCentre's Code of Practice over a twelve month period and also introduce a variation to radio licences, to make clear that radio broadcasters are responsible for all aspects of their broadcast communications with the public.
*to extend to radio licensees the regulatory requirements placed on television broadcasters: This would introduce a mandatory regime of verification by an independent third party for PRS-based voting and competitions.
Ofcom says it considers that the second option "provides the best balance of consumer protection and industry interests."
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still putting its main emphasis on the switch to digital TV but there were a few radio-related postings including an announcement that the July 2 Open Meeting of the agency is to consider a report and order that would allow use of FM translator stations as a fill-in service for AM stations.
The FCC also announced that the deadlines for filing comments and reply comments in relation to requests to allow an increase in the power of HD radio from the current level of 1 percent of a station's authorized analogue power to a maximum of 10 percent.
In enforcement actions the FCC:
*Issued USD 10,000 forfeiture to Urban Radio, III, L.L.C., licensee of KVTO-AM, Berkeley, California for failing to properly maintain a public file for the Station. It had issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) for this amount to which Urban responded by requesting reduction or cancellation based on its voluntary disclosure of the public file deficiencies; that no members of the public opposed or otherwise commented on the Station's renewal application and its omission was thus a harmless mistake; and that the forfeiture amount should be reduced or cancelled to take into account its history of overall compliance with the Commission's Rules. Urban Radio also suggests that the forfeiture amount inappropriately penalizes a minority-owned station.
The FCC dismissed all the arguments, noting in relation to claims of a history of compliance that it has imposed penalties on other stations owned by Urban Radio and also rejecting the minority ownership argument.
*Issued USD 250 penalty to Dillon N.P.R., licensee of Translator Station K288DZ-FX, Dillon, Montana, for late filing of renewal application. It had initially issued a USD 1,500 Nat to which the licensee responded by seeking cancellation or reduction on the basis of the financial hardship the penalty would cause and because the error was inadvertent. The FCC dismissed both arguments but noted recent decisions imposing penalties of USD 250 for this breach by translator stations and reduced the penalty accordingly.
*Issued USD 250 penalty to John Reynolds, licensee of FM Translator Station W267AD, Bryson City, North Carolina, for late filing of renewal application.
It had initially issued a USD 1,500 Nat to which the licensee responded by seeking cancellation or reduction on the basis of the financial hardship the penalty would cause and because the error was inadvertent. The FCC dismissed both arguments but again noted recent decisions imposing penalties of USD 250 for this breach by translator stations and reduced the penalty accordingly.
In Michigan, the FCC found that a number of Construction Permits and two licences owned by Great Lakes Community Broadcasting, Inc. and Great Lakes Broadcast Academy, Inc., both of which are controlled by James J. McCluskey PhD, had expired and deleted the call letters.
Involved were construction permits for WQLO-FM, Lake Odessa; WAAQ-FM, Rogers Heights; WJCQ-FM, Jackson; WPQZ-FM, Muskegon; W205BQ, Brevort; and W206AZ, Fremont.
It added that it would address the status of remaining authorizations - WJKQ-FM, Jackson; W220CW, Rogers Heights; W207BL, Pinnebog; W206BF, Rogers Heights; and W211BI, Ann Arbor - together with all other Commission authorizations in which Dr. McCluskey and/or his colleague Mr. Schaberg currently hold an attributable interest, in a separate Order to Show Cause, Notice of Opportunity for Hearing and Hearing Designation Order.
It also gave details in a number of cases of rule violations related to the stations involved.
In Wyoming the agency denied a petition from Timothy C. Cutforth for reconsideration of its dismissal of a licence application for DKJJL-AM, Pine Bluffs: Cutforth had been granted a licence for the station in 2000 when he filed an uncontested application for a new AM at Pine Bluffs proposing 900 watts daytime power and 700 watts night-time power, utilizing a directional antenna.
The Construction Permit expired on of July 28, 2008, and four days after it expired Cutforth filed an application for covering license that failed to comply with two conditions of the CP and was sent a letter identifying the defects and giving him 30 days to file a curative amendment.
Cutforth then filed a letter requesting additional time to provide the documentation requested; and a special temporary authorization (STA) Request which, because the DKJJL-(AM permit had expired, sought authority to operate the station with the permitted facilities for the purpose of conducting proof of performance field strength measurements.
FCC staff dismissed the application as patently defective, declared that the CP had expired and deleted the call sign from its making the DSTA records, making the STA request moot.
Cutforth then petitioned for reconsideration, saying he had constructed the station but ran into "unforeseen problems" which necessitated the filing of the STA to enable Cutforth to conduct the necessary proof of performance testing.
The FCC noted that the details filed were not "persuasive" in terms of the "unforeseen" problems and indicated that construction had not been completed: It commented, "We believe that Cutforth improperly filed a covering license application for DKJJL-AM when the facilities ostensibly covered by that application were not constructed" and denied the petition for reconsideration.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-06-20: The Indian government may delay its plans for announcing the third-phase of private FM licence auctions according to the Business Standard, which notes that the potential delay follows a meeting between AROI (the Association of Radio Operators) and new Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.
AROI has said the government should delay the auction until the issue of music performance royalties is settles and has said that the current rate makes private FM unviable (See RNW Jun 15) and Prashant Pandey, chief executive, Entertainment Networks India Ltd (ENIL, a Times of India subsidiary that operates 32 Radio Mirchi FMs), was quoted as saying that AROI was hoping for an early settlement of the issue as the matter was now before the country's Copyright Board that will begin the hearing on the matter by the end of next month.
AROI says the industry has so far invested INR 2,000 crore (USD 4.17 billion - a crore is 10 million) but advertising revenues total less than INR 800 crore (USD 167 million) a year and Pandey told the Standard, "We want the third-phase and we have conveyed the same to the minister. However, we are expecting a settlement in the music royalty issue in the next few months. If the government can delay the auctioning process till the music royalty issue is resolved, it will be beneficial for the existing FM radio operators."
The Standard quoted a media consultant as saying that an FM station currently pays INR 80-90 lakhs (USD 167,000-188,000- a lakh is 100,000) irrespective of location whereas revenues vary according to the location, potentially creating a problem.
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co (Parent of Times of India and thus of ENIL):
Business Standard report:
2009-06-19: Greater Media has joined in the fight against the introduction of a performance royalty for US radio (or should that be is gaining publicity from?) by launching a helpsaveradio site that is headed by a rolling menu of quotations about the value of radio in promoting artists and then says "Your local radio stations need your help."
Like the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) it attacks the recording companies indirectly as being international - saying "The international record labels are asking Congress for a handout (H.R. 848) and they want to take it from your local radio station - but it does not go so far into chauvinism as attacking them as mainly foreign owned
It then goes on to promote the line taken by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) arguing, "Every day radio stations provide valuable promotion to record labels and artists simply by playing their songs ...for free.
"It's free play for free promotion. And it works.
"But the big international record companies have a problem: they haven't adapted to the digital age. Now they are asking Congress to tax local radio stations to line their pockets and preserve a declining business - to the tune of billions of dollars."
RNW comment: Yet another statement that a moderately bright seven-year-old should be able to see through. If it were still working, why are the recording companies pushing so hard for a royalty? Because, of course, technology has changed the market and it isn't working!.
The site is then on firmer ground when it continues, "These are the companies that have begged and pleaded with radio for years to play more of their music.
"Radio stations have always been free to listeners. We have never charged artists for airing their music
"The effects of a performance tax would be catastrophic, potentially forcing stations out of business, causing additional job cuts in the radio industry, stifling airplay for new artists, reducing our ability to contribute to community organizations that rely on radio for support, and harming the listening public who depend on local radio
It also has links to a "Sign the petition" page that when we last checked was headed, "5825 have already raised their voices in support of Local Radio" and had wording of the petition below and to others on the importance of radio in the community, the Wayne State University "Save Free Radio" Town Hall Meeting, and "Write your local congressman".
Greater Media Chairman and CEO Peter Smyth said the proposed royalties could "be potentially devastating to all of us who work in radio and all those who depend on radio for financial and community support" and later went on to mislabel the charge as a tax, as NAB does, albeit not consistently, commenting, "A performance tax will put all the costs and risks on radio, and transfer most of the benefits and rewards to the international music-industry conglomerates."
RNW comment: Much of this if thought about indicates failure by US industry - obviously of the recording industry and if thought about for a moment one suspects that were US broadcasters not protected by legislation prohibiting foreign ownership, albeit they have lobbied against such restrictions in other countries, they would also largely end up in foreign hands as yet another example of US failure.
And as for not charging artists for airplay what was payola and similar practices if not indirectly charging artists for the airplay. We remain convinced that it would be counterproductive for the recording industry to levy large charges in the current economic climate but the radio industry's arguments could probably be improved on by a bright seven-years-old. However they can probably rely on the mob and corrupt nature of US politics and have a significant chance of defeating the introduction of charges.
Previous Greater Media:
Helpsaveradio web site:
2009-06-19: The US Senate Commerce Committee has, as expected, sent the nomination of Julius Genachowski as Federal Communications Committee (FCC) Chairman and re-nomination of Republican Commissioner Robert M McDowell for a second term to the full senate.
The 25-strong committee was unanimous in approving McDowell's re-nomination but one Republican, Jim de Mint from South Carolina, opposed Genachowski's nomination.
His office made no immediate comment on his reasons for opposing the nomination and has posted no reasons on his web site.
If the two nominations are confirmed, the FCC is expected to see two more nominations shortly - one Republican to replace Deborah Taylor Tate and a Democrat to replace Jonathan S. Adelstein, who has been nominated to the post of Administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (See RNW Mar 23) but will not move until after Genachowski is confirmed.
They are expected to be of Meredith Attwell Baker, a former Commerce Department official for the Republican seat and Mignon Clyburn, the daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, who is to be nominated by the President for a Democratic seat (See RNW Apr 30).
2009-06-18: CN Group, the Cumbria-based media company that grew from Cumbrian Newspapers, has announced the sale of its five Midlands radio stations for an undisclosed sum to Quidem Limited, a new company set up by former GCap Media executives Steve Orchard -who is its CEO - and Wendy Pallot, who is its chairwoman.
Being sold are Touch FM stations in Coventry, Stratford-upon-Avon, Tamworth and Warwick plus Rugby FM. Also sold earlier this year was Touch Radio Banbury which was recently re-launched as Banbury Sound.
Announcing the sale, which has an ironic conflict with a note on CN's radio web site that still lists the companies and says "The Group sees itself continuing to expand in the future", CN chief executive Robin Burgess told the North West Evening Mail, which is also owned by CN, that the group's other three radio stations - The Bay (Morecambe Bay), Lakeland (Kendal) and Citybeat (Belfast) - would be retained and would be "an important part of the company as we move forward".
"These changes within our Radio Division will help ensure its long term security and prosperity," he continued. "We have made great strides with the development of our Touch brand in the Midlands, including efficiencies achieved by the co-location at Holly Farm. We now feel Quidem is best suited to take Touch forward in the future.
"Their ability to focus specifically on these stations will ensure they can be developed to their full potential over the next few years."
In May CN Group announced restructuring plans including the closure of its printing plant in Barrow that could save around GBP 1.5 million ( USD ) a year and cut 37 jobs: It has already cut back with the loss of 40 jobs.
Orchard commented of Quidem that it has been formed to acquire commercial radio stations, adding, ". Lord Carter's Digital Britain report creates a number of significant incentives for this sector to innovate and grow."
Previous CN Group:
North West Evening Mail report:
2009-06-18: Sirius- XM has announced that many of its channels are now available on the i-Phone and iPod touch but the release is marked more for the absence of Howard Stern's channels than for what it does include.
Excluded as well as Stern are MLB Play-by-Play, NFL Play-by-Play, and Sirius NASCAR Radio.
The company says the application will be free from Apple's App Store and channels will be available without charge for existing Internet subscribers or other subscribers who take the company's Premium Online Service.
The application will allow the purchase immediately or tagging for purchase from iTunes of a song heard and also various options to surf through all the channels available and save favourite or current channels.
CEO Mel Karmazin, in a release that he presumably didn't read clearly since it obviously implies that the excluded channels are not amongst the "best radio", commented, "The SIRIUS XM app allows new and existing subscribers to access great music, talk and sports almost anywhere they go. For millions of users, the best radio on radio is now the best audio content on their iPhone or iPod touch."
2009-06-18: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that Quebec station CMJM-FM did not breach codes in offering its listeners the chance to win a rebate on a Bluetooth hands-free cell phone device, or the device itself, if they were spotted driving while using their cell phone, an act which had recently become illegal in Quebec.
A listener had complained that the station was promoting an illegal act in that the promotion would entice people to break the law in order to win half, or all, the cost of a Bluetooth device to which the broadcaster responded by saying that it was trying to encourage drivers to do the right thing, namely, to use a hands-free device if talking on a cell phone while driving.
In the promotion Jeff Labrie, a CJMF-FM personality known as "Le gardien de nuit" ("The Night Watchman") said in part, "So, now that the police fine you if you drive with your cell phone in hand, at 93.3 we're going to use the other method. So, if I ever catch you in the act, I'll give you a 50% rebate from Mégastat so you can buy your Bluetooth. That's the softer method and that's not all. If you're ever the wrongdoer and I name you on the same day on Gilles' Le Retour, you have nine minutes to call us and you win your Bluetooth. So make sure I catch you before the police do. "
The CBSC Quebec Panel said it considered the broadcaster's perspective to be more realistic, commenting that it doubted "very much that people would begin driving while holding their cell phones in order to win a prize of inconsiderable value. To choose an extreme example, if the station had proposed awarding a new car to persons violating the recently amended Highway Safety Code, it would be more inclined to view the promotion as a serious incentive."
2009-06-17: This week we stick mainly in the UK for our look at print comment on radio, primarily because of comment on digital as the government releases its Digital Britain report and because of some positive comment about commercial station programming, something that seems comparatively rare across the Atlantic.
First some positives then commencing with Paul Donovan in the Sunday Times: He commented about the move onto the Digital One multiplex of Amazing Radio, displacing Birdsong Radio, which had been used as a fill-in for some 18 months: Indeed earlier since it was used in test transmissions for Classic FM, to replace Bloomberg financial radio when that ended in 2004 and Oneword when that ended in 2008.
"Amazing Radio, which is still broadcasting test transmissions, lives up to its name in several ways," wrote Donovan "It is the only national radio station based outside London (Newcastle, to be precise). It is the only station whose entire output consists of unsigned acts - bands, soloists or instrumentalists who do not have record deals. It is the only station whose entire output is chosen by us, selecting songs from its parent website: our choices are then moderated as the law requires for taste, decency and Ofcom rules.
"It is the only station all of whose DJs will also be new: one of them could be you, if you upload your voice as an MP3 file to the station (only 24 people have applied so far) and listeners like it. And it is surprisingly good. Indie rock, acoustic guitar, harmonic ballads, electronica - a joy to listen to, and much of it up to the standard of 6 Music, Radio 2 and Radio 3's Late Junction."
Donovan then gave some details of Amazing and its parent web site "amazingtunes.com, which was set up in 2006 as an iTunes for unsigned bands. Anyone can upload a song to it, and it has 16,000 already. To download one, you pay 79p (the same as iTunes). The writer/performer gets 50p and the company running both the station and the website, Amazing Media, gets 29p."
As for artists he recommended "a singer who introduces herself as "Phillippa from Cornwall" and has one of the most angelic voices I have ever heard" and he ended by terming the station, "the end of the closed shop. Amazing Radio will benefit millions of amateur and semi-professional music-makers for whom, until now, exposure on the radio was only a dream. Tomorrow, with any luck, Amazing Radio will add scrolling data, and we will be able to see the names of those we are listening to. The station will not even need to take advertising if its parent website earns sufficient revenue. It is a remarkable project, and lovely to listen to."
After one promotional column to another from the Times stable, this time a leader welcoming the return to BBC Radio 4 of "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue."
The leader (editorial) began:" Hooray! The funniest show on radio returns, even if without its legendary host
Mornington Crescent. Mean anything to you? What about "the lovely Samantha"? Or "one song to the tune of another"? No? Then, reader, you may as well turn the page and move on. For the rest of you, rejoice, because I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue has returned to Radio 4. The sad news is that it returns without Humphrey Lyttelton."
It noted that three hosts will now chair the programme in rotation - Stephen Fry, Jack Dee and Rob Brydon - and ended with a tribute to the late chairman: The glue that held the show together was Lyttelton, with his deadpan delivery and a comic timing that Rolex would envy "
And then a third example of enthusiasm, this time from the UK Guardian where Johnny Dee penned praise to Planet Rock: After noting its practice of devoting a month to a particular artist Dee commented, "One of the great things - and there are many, many great things - about Planet Rock is that they're not content to fill the endless hours with obvious choices, and although I heard the same (Eagles) song five times, among them were two different live versions, including a magnificent MTV Unplugged recording. The audience starting cheering both at the beginning when they recognised the song but also after the line "you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave". Right on!"
And later: "Planet Rock knows its audience extraordinarily well: middle aged men who air guitar in private and are just a little bit nerdy about the facts and figures of their favourite genre. Introducing a Deep Purple track yesterday DJ Bernard Doherty (who rejoices in a voice somewhere between Tommy Vance and Keith Richard) revealed it was the 19th best guitar solo of all-time, according to Guitar Magazine. I couldn't help but start thinking about my favourite Alan Partridge quote: "... Not my words Carol - the words of Top Gear magazine". Mainly though, for non-believers Planet Rock will remind you of another of Steve Coogan's characters - Tommy Saxondale. Shed or van, these I suspect are the main venues for listening to Planet Rock."
Dee however wouldn't recommend the station for keeping up with what's happening in the world, commenting, "Planet Rock News (from the Sky News Centre) is hardly likely to keep you abreast of world affairs. On Tuesday, their main bulletin included five news nuggets - one of them was the news that Denise Van Outen was going to be making her comedy debut at this year's Edinburgh Festival. On what planet exactly does that constitute news?"
However he found Rick Wakeman's Saturday slot more "satisfying" concluding by commenting of it, "Grumpy Old Radio at its finest. Now, please bring me my wine."
After the enthusiasm for programming on to a distinct lack of it for technology in the form of DAB, the UK's current system and one it is likely to be stuck with because of the number of receivers bought.
On this we found a comment by Grant Goddard in his radio blog (from the beginning of the month as it happens) a welcome antidote to some of the official speak: He notes that Digital Britain in its interim report said, "We will expect the radio industry to strengthen its [DAB] consumer proposition both in terms of new and innovative content and to take advantage of the technological developments that DAB can offer"; that the Digital Radio Working Group commented in its Final Report, "We must present a compelling [DAB] proposition for consumers not only through new content, but in building a whole new radio experience"; and that in its report commissioned for RadioCentre, Ingenious Consulting had said in January 2009: " . there is not as much DAB-only material as hoped, and very little that's truly compelling - there's no 'must have' content as with sports and movies on Sky [TV]".
Goddard then goes on to note some figures - "For commercial radio, its digital stations are now capturing a lower proportion of its listening (4.5%) than a year ago (5.5%). Only 23% of listening to commercial radio via digital platforms is to exclusively digital content, compared to 30% a year ago. These results are not surprising, given the closure of many digital stations during 2008 (Core, Oneword, Life, TheJazz, Virgin Radio Groove, Yarr, Easy, Mojo and Islam Radio). In 2009 so far, Stafford's Focal Radio and London's Zee Radio have also closed."
"For the BBC," he adds, "the results are almost as disappointing. Its digital stations have recovered from a poor performance last quarter, but it appears that much of this improvement may have been due to heightened public interest in 6Music following the Ross/Brand affair. BBC digital stations now capture 2.9% of listening to the BBC, compared to 2.7% a year ago. Only 14% of listening to the BBC via digital platforms is to exclusively digital content, compared to 16% a year ago. For the BBC, it is beginning to look as if interest in its digital content is no longer growing as it had been during 2006 and 2007."
Goddard does note some additions to digital radio in recent months - including the launch of Amazing Radio concerning which he is less fulsome than Donovan, writing, "Amazing Tunes is a UK website showcasing unsigned bands and musicians. This is a great idea for an on-demand internet service but I am not sure this content will prove so appealing as a broadcast station. The problem, as Xfm discovered with its own disastrous experiment two years ago, is that listening to a playlist chosen by listeners can be as entertaining as looking through a relative's 300 holiday snaps. Out of several million people's playlists on Last.fm, I find there are no more than a handful of other people's selections that I can sit through. What works well online for Amazing is not necessarily going to work in the broadcast medium."
He concludes, "And so the talk about the need for exclusive digital radio content is likely to run and run and run. But, as long as it remains talk rather than significant action, consumers will remain unimpressed and the graphs above will continue their present trajectories. Nobody wants this to be the outcome, but nobody seems to be doing anything concrete to stop it happening."
After the UK over to the US and there it still seems a much less positive picture. All right, Jerry Del Colliano is no fan of many of the practices of corporate-owned radio in the US but the heading "All Voice Tracking All the Time" in his insidemusicmedia blog last week did seem too accurate for comfort.
"There is growing evidence," he wrote, "that radio consolidators are moving to expand virtual voice tracking as a way of continuing to cut costs."
He then went on, "Voice tracking, of course, is the process of using one voice to record many pieces of content to make radio sound live.
"Once the weather forecast says "sunny - get out and enjoy the day" during a tornado (as reported to you a few weeks back), the cat is out of the bag.
"And when the content is so vapid that only a misguided radio CEO can like it, listeners usually figure it out."
Del Colliano then pens a particularly gloomy prognostication about some of the biggest corporate players in US radio, writing, "Clear Channel, Cumulus and Citadel - some pretty big radio consolidators, wouldn't you agree - are on the brink of bankruptcy possibly as soon as the end of this year or the first quarter of 2010.
"Radio One and Done isn't exactly rolling in dough.
"Regent has its problems."
He later comments, "A very large radio consolidator is getting ready to set up ten test stations to convert to voice tracking.
"They have been in talks with AFTRA as recently as May 26 and 27th in New York City. (I'm not identifying the consolidator to protect my source so you'll have to use your imagination for now - you won't need much of it to deduce the latest convert to voice tracking).
"We're talking major markets here.
"This group is big enough to pull the trigger on more massive voice tracking in their non-union markets so even if an agreement is not worked out, the non-union cities are set for massive cost cutting.
"It's not just about the stations that are losing money. Many being targeted by this group are still in the black and cranking out plenty of cash to pay their parent company's debt service."
And yet later: "Terrestrial radio is a poor imitation of an iPod, with fake personalities and irritants such as commercials.
"This dumbing down of content is more than a financial issue. It may be a short-term cure for bad financial management but it is also a long-term investment in killing the franchise."
Which of course one could say the UK industry is doing with its calls to allow a freer hand and less local contents for commercial stations - and of course then complain about the BBC. It was a welcome change though for once to see positive comment about commercial stations - and both Amazing and Planet Rock are online for sampling.
RNW note - We regret late posting of the above report: We had posted BBC listening suggestions (as most progamming is only available for seven days after first transmission).
We start (The "P" in brackets indicates a podcast or download is available) with BBC Radio 2 on Monday for the fourth of the six-part "Beverley's Gospel Nights"; Tuesday for the first part of the two-programme "Stand Down Margaret: Music's Response to Thatcherism" and the penultimate "You Heard It At The Movies" programme, this one on film scores which define a star, such as the Pink Panther and James Bond; Thursday's "Hot Gossip" - the second in the current series and "Miranda Hart's Joke Shop" - the final programme of four; Friday's "Colour My World: The Tony Hatch Story" - the first of three programmes; and Saturday's "Back from the Dead: The Return of Spinal Tap."
Then to BBC Radio 3 and last Saturday's "Music Matters" in which Tom Service talked to Colin Davis and explored the links between music and morality plus the "BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Finals 2009"; Sunday's "BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009" - the second part including the grand final plus Dostoevsky's "The Gambler" in "Drama on 3"; and then throughout the week "Composer of the Week" on the theme "Music at Versailles", "Afternoon on 3" on the theme "Heroes and Villains", and "The Essay" - "Antony Gormley's Seminal Sculpture " in which Gormley talks about five sculptures.
From Monday we add "Night Waves" for discussion of Andrzej Wajda's latest movie "Katyn" about the massacre of the same name during WW2 and "Jazz on 3" for "Flat Earth Society in Session."
From Tuesday we suggest the "Lunchtime Concert"- the first of four days of performances by the Jerusalem Quartet at the Bath International Music Festival 2009; From Wednesday "Performance on 3" for the "LSO: Ravel and Debussy"; From Thursday "Performance on 3" again for Mitsuko Uchida (piano) playing music from Mozart, Webern, Beethoven and Schumann plus "Night Waves" on Errol Flynn; from Friday "The Verb" in which Ian McMillan's guests include TS Eliot Prize winner Jen Hadfield and "World on 3" for a session from Baaba Maal; from Saturday "World Routes in China", the first of two programmes, "Jazz Library" on Bud Shank; and "Opera on 3" - "Purcell's Dido and Aeneas/Handel's Acis and Galatea" from the Royal Opera House, and "Jazz Library" on "Kid Ory"; and from Sunday "Discovering Music" on the music of Tansy Davies, "The Choir", with highlights of the 2009 Tampere Vocal Festival in Finland, "Drama on 3" and "Darger and the Detective" based on the writings of reclusive artist Henry Darger, plus "Words and Music" with readings about wilderness by Jenny Agutter and Anton Lesser.
Then to BBC Radio 4 starting with Sunday's "Something Understood" in which Mark Tully and guest Tony Benn examine the danger and usefulness of charm.
Moving to Monday and throughout the week we suggest "Book of the Week" - "Venus of Empire - The Life of Pauline Bonaparte"; the "Woman's Hour Drama"- "Diary of an On-Call Girl, Targets" (the on call girl is a woman police office lest you were wondering), the continuing "America, Empire of Liberty" (or pick up Friday's Omnibus edition); and "Book at Bedtime" - the second week of "One Day."
From Monday itself we suggest "Start the Week"- "Liberty, mutualism, and a jury of our peers"(P), "Beyond Belief" (P) -on theological issues raised by Alzheimer's disease, the newly returned "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" (taken off the air after previous chairman Humphrey Lyttleton died and hosted by Stephen Fry who will rotate in the role with Jack Dee and Rob Brydon) and "Analysis" - "A New Iraq"(P); from Tuesday the second of this year's four "Reith Lectures"(P), "Oh My What A Rotten Song!" - on the work of 1920s song writing duo RP Weston and Bert Lee, "Law in Action" (P) on the age of criminal responsibility, "File on 4" - "Quango's Funding Crisis" (P)in which Gerry Northam investigates allegations of incompetence in the Learning and Skills Council (difficult not to feel after this that certain people took money under false pretences and should be repaying even more than Members of Parliament), "In Touch" (P) and discussion on whether a camera connected to electrodes on the tongue really help blind people get around; and "All in the Mind" on the issue of decriminalising drugs.
From Wednesday we suggest "The Media Show" (P) for discussion on the Digital Britain report, "The Afternoon Play" - "Gandhi's Goat" in which Mahatma Gandhi and Charles Chaplin meet in London's East End in 1931, "Thinking Allowed" - "Hobbies and Potatoes" (P), and "Learning to Love the Microphone", the first of two programmes on how politicians at the dawn of mass democracy learned to use radio and newsreels.
From Thursday we suggest "In Our Time" - "Elizabethan Revenge" (P) on why revenge tragedies were so popular with Elizabethan theatregoers, "Material World" (P) including discussion on the complex maths behind fixing soccer games, "From Our Own Correspondent" (P) for John Leyne's comments on the situation in Tehran, "The Bottom Line" (P) with discussion on how airlines can survive the recession; and the first of three "The Stanley Baxter Playhouse" programmes.
From Friday we suggest "Desert Island Discs" (08:00 GMT and not available on Listen Again) with Lord Healey as the guest and "The News Quiz" (P).
Then from the weekend we opt for the Saturday's "Punt PI"- the final one of three programmes with Steve Punt going in search of the real Manchurian Candidate and "Archive on 4" - "When Courtney Met Chris" featuring Courtney Pine talking to jazz trombonist Chris Barber and for Sunday's "Americana" (P) in which a panel of guests discuss the stories currently shaping the US.
Previous Del Colliano:
Grant Goddard radio blog:
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
UK Guardian - Dee:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - leader:
2009-06-17: CBS Radio has teamed up with Jelli, a Bay Area start up that allows listeners who are logged into its service to choose the songs they want to hear, discuss what they're hearing with others and rate songs on air - even taking them off air - to air a "Jelli" Show on its Alternative KITS (Live 105)/San Jose from June 28.
The show will air from 22:00 to midnight and CBS Radio/San Francisco SVP/Market Manager Doug Harvill commented of the move that the station was known for "innovative programming" and in the case of this show "Jelli provides the back-channel for the radio broadcast, enabling Live 105 to interact in new ways with our audience on a real-time basis."
CBS Interactive EVP/Strategy & Corporate Development Mike Marquez added, "The real-time Web represents a huge opportunity to engage with both online and traditional media audiences. Jelli is creating a bridge between digital and traditional broadcast experiences, creating something completely new and fun."
Jelli co-founder/CEO Mike Dougherty said, "Our vision is to bring the power of the Web to the airwaves by creating 100 percent user-controlled programming in a real-time continuous manner using the Web. We are exited to launch with an amazing station like Live 105, and in the Bay Area, which is home for so much Web innovation."
RNW comment: We really do have problems in finding much of a point to putting this service - a beta version - they term it alpha and speak of changing radio forever on the web site -is already available online - over the airwaves. To take part people have to be logged in which means that if they have reasonable quality broadband the only benefit comes in cost terms from the fact that in the US at the moment there are no performance royalties for transmitting music over the terrestrial airwaves whereas streamed audio attracts charges.
Why anybody would wish to put the audio on one device - a radio receiver - and then use another to get involved is beyond us. This is not so much a mating of technology in our view as a way of creating a mish-mash. We doubt the service will be over the air a year from now.
Jelli web site:
2009-06-17: The Senate Commerce Committee gave Julius Genachowski, President Obama's nominee as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, a fairly friendly ride at his nomination hearing on Tuesday, reserving most hostile comments for the commission itself with chairman and West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller (John D. IV) saying he should "Fix this agency, and prove to us that the FCC is not battered beyond repair.".
Genachowski, who did not provide many specifics, told the committee, which is also considering the re-nomination of Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell, that under him the agency would focus on national broadband service and consumer issues and the names of both are expected to be approved today and then go to the full Senate.
"As the media landscape changes dramatically, the need has never been greater for an FCC that sees the world from the perspective of consumers and families," told he hearing.
He was specific on the issue of the return of the Fairness Doctrine, a former FCC rule that required balancing of comments, saying unequivocally that he does not support its reintroduction, an issue that has garnered much heat from right-wing hosts and bloggers.
Responding to a request from Texas Republican Senator Kay Hutchison to state his views on the doctrine he said, "I don't support reinstatement of the FC. I believe strongly in the First Amendment. I don't think the FCC should be involved in censorship of content based on political speech or opinion."
Also in relation to broadcasting, Genachowski was asked by Hutchison about his views on indecency rules and their enforcement to which he replied that he was a "parent who shares the concerns of many parents about what their kids see on TV" and continued, "The FCC's job in this area is to enforce the law. Congress has been clear on the indecency law. The Supreme Court recently rejected a challenge to the indecency law. The FCC's job is to enforce the law, and it will enforce the law on indecency."
Regarding media consolidation Genachowski commented that attention had to be paid to "excessive consolidation" but the agency should not ignore the changes in the marketplace and the struggles in the media business."
He did however back the idea of getting further information about ownership diversity, responding to a question from Arizona Democrat Senator Mark Pryor by saying he had been told the available information was unsatisfactory and adding that there is a need "make sure we understand what's actually going on out there " but was less forthcoming when asked by Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell about issues of Low Power FM) LPFM) about which he said he was not an expert.
Commissioner McDowell also came out firmly against the re-introduction of the Fairness Doctrine, saying he thought it was "probably unconstitutional" and adding, "I don't have any concerns at the moment that the commission will pursue it. I take Mr. Genachowski at his word that he will not pursue it."
2009-06-16: The Digital Britain report released by the British government on Tuesday has included amongst its recommendations what some see as a bailout for the commercial radio industry in the form of a suggestion that FM radio should be turned off much earlier than expected with all national FM and AM stations to be on DAB (digital audio broadcasting) by 2015.
It says the move would be implemented on a single date for all stations to be announced at least two years in advance and at the same time a "new tier of ultra-local radio, consisting of small local commercial stations and community stations, will occupy the vacated FM spectrum. Radio services on MW will either upgrade to DAB or, if they are within the ultra-local tier, to FM." In addition to posting the report, a consultation has been begun about potential changes to community radio licensing for which submissions have to be made by August 25.
It noted that in its Interim Report it had set out two criteria for the migration to DAB - when half of listening was to digital and when national DAB coverage was comparable to FM coverage and local DAB reached 90% of the population and covered all major roads but that it had become apparent that a "timetable determined solely by these criteria provided little additional market certainty"
The report says it accepts this view but believes that the criteria and timetable can co-exist and is taking the view that the criteria should be met by the end of 2013.
The report includes a graph predicting digital listening to reach 50% by 2013 and 68% by the end of 2015 under a scenario of "organic growth" and to reach 43% and 56% respectively with a concerted drive to digital.
Media regulator Ofcom it says has been asked to produce, at least once a year, a report on progress against the criteria; the first of which will be published by the end of 2010 and has also invited the Consumer Expert Group, which brought together key consumer representatives to inform the Digital TV switchover process, to extend its scope to cover radio.
"In addition," it says "we will conduct a full Impact Assessment, including a Cost/Benefit Analysis of Digital Radio Upgrade. The results of this Impact Assessment will help determine whether there is a case for a Digital Radio Help Scheme and, if so, what its scope might be."
As regards the digital platform to be used it says it received submissions suggesting options including DAB, DAB+, DMB-A or DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) with some others arguing that all digital listening would become online but considers that radio should not become a single platform medium: In relation to this it notes that the WorldDMB Digital Radio Profiles specify a minimum set of requirements to be built in to different class of receivers, ensuring that they operate across Europe and that Digital Radio Profile 1 requires a receiver to be able to receive DAB, DAB+ and DMB-A, alongside basic text and visual services.
For the foreseeable future the report says it considers that DAB is the right technology for the UK and notes that more than 9 million DAB receivers have already been sold in the UK but it adds that to ensure, as much as possible, that any additional digital upgrade will have a minimal impact on listeners we will seek to ensure that all digital radio receivers sold in the UK meet at least the WorldDMB profile 1.
As regards coverage it says it will look to the BBC to take action to ensure that its national digital radio services achieve coverage comparable to FM by the end of 2014 and adds that "even though the national commercial multiplex already matches coverage of Classic FM we believe indoor reception must improve and where possible overall coverage be extended."
"It is our intention," says the report "that where possible the BBC and national commercial multiplex operator should work together to ensure that any new transmitters benefit both BBC and commercial multiplexes."
It also says that it is prepared to extend multiplex operators' licences until 2030.
As regards listeners the report says that the main challenge is to convince them of gaining significant benefits over analogue which means that it must not just be a platform for new services but also offer more services.
"Functionality and interactivity," says the report "must become central to the DAB experience.
EPGs, slideshows, downloading music, as well as pause and rewinding live radio must be developed and brought to market on a large scale" and "DAB receivers must also be attractive and affordable."
In relation to the latter it says it welcomes manufacturers' commitment for sub-GBP 20 (USD 32) sets in the next two years and also says that it will work with manufacturers to ensure that vehicles sold with a radio can receive DAB by the end of 2013.
The report also backs the idea of an output focussed regulatory regime and supports a recommendation for allowing greater flexibility to co-locate services.
RNW comment: Apart from the millions of receivers that will become scrap for no good reason other than to save broadcasters from the cost of dual transmission - the idea of allowing local small and community stations to retain FM is only for a limited period, this report disappoints us in a number of ways. Stripping away the fancy phrases it will create a significant burden of purchasing new receivers to the public who can quite reasonably remain happy with the quality of their FM service (If we say 50 million receivers - most British households have rather more than one radio, so this may be an underestimate - this will shift at least GBP 1 billion (USD 1.6 billion) of spending onto new equipment with most of it being made outside the UK and Europe and thus adding to a balance-of-payments outflow.
In addition, because we already have it, the decision will mean the UK retains an inefficient compression system (DAB uses MP2 audio) and receivers bought for the next few years will thus add to the pressures to retain this system, which is already outdated.
We would have liked to see some more forward thinking about technology since it is already quite easy to supply better quality audio online than is currently provided using DAB and cramming as many signals as possible onto a multiplex, in particular a little imagination as to simplifying future upgrades such as, for example agreeing a common power voltage and simple connection for all receive chips so as to allow an upgrade via a simple chip replacement. It's no more complex than computer connections.
In particular we note that little thought seems to have been devoted to the growing use of portable non-radio devices such as cell phones and portable MP3 players to the exclusion of radio, particularly by a younger audience who are least likely to want to add DAB radio to such a device, particularly if it remains as power-hungry as current receivers despite significant improvement.
The feature the report notes as "possibilities for radio to grow" - "new content and functionality, such as scrolling text, one-to-one traffic information and listen again" - hardly seem exciting technological advances to users whose mobile phones can already take pictures and record audio and video and transmit them to others as well as being used to talk to or message others and connect to the Internet.
Digital Britain final report - 3.08 Mb 245 page PDF:
Digital Britain report - radio section - 14page 211kb PDF:
2009-06-16: Westwood One, Inc., which has replaced most of its top-level executives following investments from the Gores Group - its President and CFO Rod Sherwood was formerly Chief Financial Officer of the Gores Operations Group - has announced that founder Norman Pattiz is to continue as chairman for a further two years.
Making the announcement, Sherwood commented, "As the Company expands its core business in radio and, more broadly, in television and on digital platforms, I continue to appreciate Norm's programming experience and other insights that helped build the Westwood One brand" whilst Mark Stone, Senior Managing Director and President of Operations for the Gores Group, said Pattiz's "extensive relationships across the industry are a valuable asset for Westwood One's future."
Pattiz himself said that "As the founder of Westwood One" he was "delighted to be staying on as Chairman of the Board to work with Rod Sherwood and the management team as they drive the Company's business."
Previous Westwood One:
2009-06-16: Tribune Co's Chicago WGN-AM has announced that it is to move John Williams, who only took over the morning drive slot six months ago, to the 9 a.m. to noon slot that had been occupied by Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey for 20 years until "The Girlfriends" were dropped last month (See RNW May 22) and that Greg Jarrett, an afternoon host and news anchor from KGO 810-AM in San Francisco, will take over morning drive. Jarrett starts his new post on Monday
An announcement on the station web site refers to 57-years-old Jarrett as a "veteran radio host, news anchor and correspondent" and making the announcement WGN vice president and general manager of radio Tom Langmyer said in a news release that Jarrett had also worked as an ABC News correspondent covering the 2003 Iraqi invasion, the Bush-Gorbachev summit in Moscow and Operation Desert Storm, adding, "Greg brings his incredible knowledge of current events and a unique style that plays well with the strengths of our already familiar and successful morning show." Of Williams he commented that WGN was "the station is "excited for [Williams'] return to long-form talk, where he can share his perspectives, strengths and in-depth interview skills."
Before Williams was moved into the breakfast slot after Spike O'Dell retired early (See RNW Nov 25, 2008) the show had only had three hosts in 43 years (Wally Phillips, Bob Collins - who died in a plane crash - See RNW Feb 9, 2000 - and O'Dell who moved into the slot to succeed him) but he said in the announcement that he was happy about the move, adding, "The most fun I've had at WGN was working middays and I'm anxious to get back to that time slot."
In his blog in the Chicago Tribune, owned by the same parent, Phil Rosenthal comments that WGN's thinking is that Jarrett brings a newsman's sensibility both to his work and to his life.
He quotes WGN Program Director Kevin Metheny as saying, "He's long had a fascination with Chicago and he has the wherewithal to go to school on a place and learn it."
"He's in a position to add new listeners" in midmornings, Metheny added. "We're engaged in an imperialistic exercise in making the audience larger. I know there's a sense of change on the minds of many, but it's not about changing the audience. It's about growing the audience."
Rosenthal then quoted Jarrett as saying, "I want people who listen to us to be the best-informed people on the planet," Jarrett said. "I've developed so many sources over the last 39 years that I think I have the ability to bring some insight into a story that is happening. Whether it's [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad or something local or something national, I have people that I know that can shed light.
"I can help people try to make up their own minds because they're informed rather than try to sway them. But that's not all there is to it. I would love to be able to have a segment on Fridays in which I have a chef come on. ... I would love to be able to play my harmonica with Willie Nelson, as I have in the past, when he drops by."
Previous Tribune Co:
Chicago Tribune - Rosenthal:
WGN-AM web site:
2009-06-16: DAB+ digital radio is finally on the air in Australia's five main cities following a Monday launch in Sydney that was delayed by weather conditions: Commercial stations 2GB, 2CH, 2UE, 2DAY, TRIPLE M, 2KY, WS-FM, MIX 106.5, 2SM, Nova, Vega Radar, Pink Radio, Koffee and NovaNation started their services but not the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service, which are to start their services next month..
DAB+ had already been launched in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth and the country now has 44 DAB+ services on air.
As in other cities the broadcasts will be at lower power for a few weeks whilst final technical checks after made following which they will then be in a variable power mode whilst any interference problems are identified and assessed and remedial action taken.
Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner commented of the tests, "In the first few weeks in the other switch on cities we broadcast in interference test mode - lower power at night and higher during the day - without any major issues. Following this phase we added high power over the weekends and then, in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne have moved onto full power at all times. However, Sydney's unique topography will mean we will remain in interference at low power for a little longer than in other states so any interruption to service is not a cause for alarm - but simply part of the technical aspects of the switch-on."
The launch of DAB+ is to be celebrated at an industry event and formal five-state switch on ceremony on August 6th in which the ABC and SBS and commercial industry will take part. This will include a five state capital simultaneous outside broadcast with all stations in each city broadcasting live from a central city location at the same time and invite listeners to attend.
Details of the events are yet to be released but in Sydney Warner said the outside broadcast "will be in Martin Place and you'll have for the first time, competing broadcasters from all stations coming together on one morning to tell listeners more about digital radio."
In all there will be booths for 11 commercial stations plus the state broadcasters in Martin Place with each booth some 3 metres (10 feet) square but the exact location of each is still to be determined, leaving plenty of room for negotiation over such details as the distance from toilets and coffee bars plus possible clashes of egos - the two rival commercial breakfast talk hosts Alan Jones of Macquarie Radio Networks's 2GB and Mike Carlton of Fairfax Media's 2UE, for example, are reputed to actively dislike each other and there are also concerns about a clash of the FM breakfast teams of Merrick and Rosso on DMG's Nova and Kyle and Jackie O on Austereo's 2-Day
The area where DAB+ has been launched covers some 60% of Australia's population but just five of 105 commercial licence areas and Warner added, "The industry is committed to ensuring all Australians are able to access the enhanced form of free to air radio and we've commenced talks with Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) and the Federal Government to plan the rollout of digital radio throughout the rest of Australia."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-06-16: Denmark has dropped the idea of re-planning its FM network and is now to concentrate on Eureka DAB digital radio broadcasts under an agreement between the government and other political parties.
They have agreed on a supplementary agreement to the media political agreement for 2007-2010 under which FM re-planning will not take place, DAB transmission opportunities using the country's MUX2 digital multiplex will be offered to commercial stations as soon as possible on a beauty contest basis and the DAB transmission network will be upgraded with a MUX 3 expansion to allow local and regional stations to transmit on DAB.
In the longer term the company will work on a digitization plan for radio including a transmission from DAB to DAV+, which used more efficient coding.
Around DKK 11 million ( USD 2 million) is to be allocated to a DAB information campaign and Erik Henz Kjeldsen, Chairman of DAB Digital Radio Danmark commented, " The Politicians have, with this agreement, made visionary media politics. It will benefit the Danes with a diverse and versatile radio future. In Denmark, we will soon have more commercial radio stations on DAB and when the DAB transmitting net is expanded with MUX 3, then Danes also will have the regional and local radio stations on DAB.
The only thing we need now is the essential message of a FM switch-off date - or at least it's needed to define the criteria for a FM switch-off"
Culture Minister Carina Christensen added, "I am very pleased that we managed to create a broad consensus in the media agreement group to develop the Danish radio market in order to improve the framework for a more versatile and diverse radio offering for the Danish listeners. We have particularly emphasized the need to strengthen the commercial radio industry by providing better business environment, including securing more commercial broadcasters on DAB."
From the radio industry
Jim Receveur, CEO of Radio 100 FM said he was happy with the focus on DAB but there were still "unanswered questions about what will happen with respect to the fifth and sixth FM channel, distribution costs on DAB and payments to KODA (Danish society that administers Danish and international copyrights for composers, songwriters and music publishers, when their musical works are performed in public) and Gramex (independent organization approved by the Danish Ministry for Cultural Affairs for administration of the financial rights of performing artists and record companies ) - we're a commercial radio and we obviously have to look at costs in connection with these things. All in all, things are moving in the right direction and we are very positive towards the political agreement, but we would also like to have answers to the unanswered questions."
In other European digital radio developments, UK children's radio Fun Kids, this year's Sony Digital Station of the Year, is to broadcast nationally on Arqiva's Digital One commercial multiplex from June 27 to October 3, a period covering school summer holidays.
The station is currently only available on DAB in the London area, although it is also streamed on the Internet, and is on the Sky Digital and Virgin Media platforms, and Fun Kids managing director Gregory Watson noted that this ear "more families than ever will be taking their holidays within the UK."
"Over the summer months, " he continued, "Fun Kids will be able to entertain families across the country - telling them about great places to visit, wherever they are, events to attend and activities to take part in".
Digital One's Acting chief executive Glyn Jones welcoming the move noted that this took the number of new services added to the multiplex since April to three- the others were BFBS Radio (See RNW Apr 10) and Amazing Radio that at the start of this month replaced the Birdsong station (See RNW Jun 1).
"Given the recession, "he added "that's very positive. It's great that over the summer, families and children across the UK can listen to a dedicated station that's both fun and educational. Agreeing a fourteen week contract also shows flexibility and a desire to make things happen both from Digital One and the broadcasting regulator, Ofcom".
Previous Digital One:
Fun Kids Radio web site:
2009-06-15: Rules preventing UK commercial radio stations from airing sponsored competitions and live event broadcasts may be dropped and other rules eased under proposals put forward today by UK media regulator Ofcom.
The proposals come in a 184-page consultation on a planned Broadcasting Code Review - covering both radio and TV and with a reply deadline of September 4.
Ofcom notes that in its 2008/09 Annual Plan it made a commitment to review existing codes and specifically notes high profile compliance failings (notably in relation to competitions and voting and sexual material); pre-consultation discussions; consumer research (in relation to commercial radio and in relation to sexual material); and legislative change in particular the European Commission Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive which must be implemented into UK legislation by 19 December this year and which contains a number of mandatory requirements relating to product and prop placement.
Ofcom also notes that it is considering the introduction of rules for a new genre of Public Information Programming funded by non-commercial, not-for-profit entities (e.g. public services), that seeks to educate or inform the audience on matters in the public interest, and may also refer to the interests and/or activities of the funder.
Regarding sexual material Ofcom says it is not intending to change rules so much as clarify them and regarding competitions it says it has identified need for greater clarity over the rules that relate to competitions and voting.
It adds that it has relied on broadcasters complying with the general requirement that they do not materially mislead audiences in the portrayal of factual matters and as there are no current specific rules which relate to audience voting, we propose replacing the single rule in relation to competitions with three new rules that will cover both competitions and voting, together with proposed meanings to accompany the new rules plus new rules to protect audiences from the risk of financial harm when paying to enter broadcast competitions and voting: The rules for the last currently cover both radio and TV but would be replaced by separate rules for the two media.
In contrast to this sponsorship rules for radio and TV, which are currently in separate sections will be amalgamated and would, Ofcom says "emphasise that sponsorship is just one way in which references to commercial activities can be included in broadcasting, and that it is subject to the same broad principles and overarching rules as other commercial references."
The new rules for radio sponsorship would allow brief offer of further information, or offer for sale, of a product or service that is directly associated with specific content and funded by a third party - as for sale of songs just aired - and allow sponsorship of outside broadcasts by the venue or venue owner and also allow sponsorship references as part of listener competition features.
Broadcasters will remain allowed to broadcast charity appeals free of charge in programming and regarding a potential change to allow Public Information Programming Ofcom notes that there are no current rules specifically concerning such programming that is on matters in the public interest and the current rules regard mention of the interests of the funder as making such programming sponsored.
It adds that it believes the intention of the legislation on which current sponsorship rules are based is to prevent surreptitious advertising by stopping a programme funder using sponsorship as a means to promote itself or its products or services through editorial content but that it is worth considering the introduction of rules to allow funding by non-profits of programming that is in the public interest and that may refer to the funder where the intention is to serve a public interest but not to promote the funder. It cites as a possible example of this references to services offered by local GPs in a programme funded by the NHS about the prevention and/or treatment of a specific medical condition. The proposed rules for radio would require identification of its nature through a reference at the start and end of programming and of any commercial break in the programming and specifically exclude "matters relating to political, industrial or public controversy" and programming that "seek to influence the policies or decisions of local, regional or national governments, whether in the UK or elsewhere."
Community broadcasters would be allowed to accept funding for such programming through a service contract with a "statutory or voluntary sector organisation, and only where the funded content contributes towards the delivery of the social gain objectives that form part of its licence" and any such programming would be barred from giving "undue prominence to the organisation's products, services, logos, image, name or activities."
Ofcom Broadcasting Code Review document (184-page 893 kb PDF):
2009-06-15: In preliminary figures from its RADAR 101 network radio ratings survey, to be released next Monday, Arbitron says that in a typical week US radio reaches more than 235 million listeners aged 12 and older - a million more than it reported for the RADAR 100 survey.
Arbitron's figures are now based on a mix of diary and Portable People Meter (PPM) respondents, a change that the company says has shown higher figures since PPM respondents were added to the mix after the 2007 RADAR reports - the last of these was the RADAR 95 report released in December that year - not only for the total radio reach but also for listening to RADAR affiliate networks to which weekly listening is up to more than 213 million a week from 210 million in 2007.
In terms of demographics, Arbitron says radio reaches 92% of Americans 12 and older each week; 89% of those 12-15; and nearly 85% of those 18-34.
Figures are similar for ethnic listening - 92% of Black Non-Hispanic persons and 93 percent of Hispanic persons aged 12 and older and around 93% of those 18-49 in both groups - with higher figures for the more affluent - 95% of adults 25-54 with a college degree and an annual income of USD 50,000 or more and nearly 86% of college graduates ages 18-49 with a household income of USD 75,000 or more.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 100 survey):
2009-06-15: Indian radio operators may opt out of bidding for the third phase of FM radio licences to be issues in the country because of various cost issues according to Exchange4media.
It reports that The Association of Radio Operators in India (AROI) has tabled its issues with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) over the last three months stating categorically that unless various issues such as music royalty cost, cost of renting Prasar Bharati (The (Broadcasting Corporation of India) infrastructure and so on, that are challenging the growth of the radio FM industry are not addressed, the key operators would not bid.
It quoted AROI President Apurva Purohit, who is also the Radio City CEO, as saying the auction will be a non-starter unless the ongoing music royalty row is solved, and either the economy improves or the government takes steps to help the fledgling FM industry.
AROI Secretary General Uday Chawla confirmed this stance, commenting, "The fledgling and nascent private FM radio industry owes its existence to the initiative of the MIB to create a unique example of encouraging private enterprise to build an industry, which internationally has proven to be a major source of news and entertainment, besides providing tremendous employment opportunities."
He added, "High music royalty continues to be an impediment to short term survival and long term potential of private FM industry. Combined with the government stand to not allow news and current affairs, there is no way out till a reasonable solution is reached. The limit of 10-year period of license has also proved to be commercially unviable."
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2009-06-15: The Digital Britain White Paper to be released this week will recommend diverting around GBP 100 million (USD 160 million) a year from the BBC licence fee to rival broadcasters according to reports in UK Sunday newspapers.
Amongst them the Sunday Telegraph says the recommendation from communications minister Lord Carter will propose that the funds be used to pay independent TV companies to make regional news programmes for ITV in addition to which he is said to recommend that an extra GBP 30 million (USD 48 million) or more for current affairs documentaries to be viewed either on television or on the internet.
The report is to be presented to the Cabinet tomorrow and published "later in the week" and the paper says newly-appointed Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw is said to be in a "robust" mood towards objections from the corporation about the white paper's proposals: BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons in a speech to the Royal Television Society last month (See RNW May 20) said that the licence fee should not be used to pay for "things that have nothing to do with the BBC's public purposes" and added, "People would do well to remember that licence fee payers give us their money in good faith, believing it will be spent on BBC services and content. We know what the public would like to happen to any surplus They'd like their money back
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2009-06-14: Last week was again fairly quiet for the regulators with the most positive news coming from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) collates financial information from the country's broadcasters - last year radio again increased its revenues: In the US, the Federal Communications Commission was busy with the switch to digital TV last Friday and made only a few radio related postings.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) made just one radio posting, a finding that Community Media CHY Ltd., licensee of Coffs Harbour youth community radio station 2CHY in New South Wales breached a condition of its licence by failing to encourage community participation.
An ACMA investigation found the station did not offer opportunities for members of the youth community to participate in the selection of programs and decision-making forums, including annual general meetings and subcommittees and in addition, aspects of 2CHY's constitution and confusion over membership types and fees discouraged community participation in the station.
It noted, however, that during the recent assessment of 2CHY's licence renewal, the licensee agreed to specific activities and initiatives, including establishing a programming committee with sufficient representation from the youth community; updating its website to encourage community participation; broadcasting on-air announcements encouraging community participation; encouraging community participation in the management of the station, through its annual general meeting; and amending its constitution to ensure participation in the service is encouraged.
The ACMA said that it considers these initiatives will adequately address the compliance issues raised by the investigation.
In Canada, as already noted, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) provided a fillip for radio in its latest figure for commercial radio revenues in the country that showed a 5% increase last year (See RNW Jun 13) albeit the situation seems to have worsened significantly this year.
The CRTC also posted a list of administrative licence renewals from September 1 to August 31, 2011 for the following community and campus stations.
Type A community station:
Radio Lillooet Society's CHLS-FM, Lillooet.
Type B community station:
MacKenzie and Area Community Radio Society's CHMM-FM, Mackenzie.
Assiniboine Campus-Community Radio Society Inc.'s CJJJ-FM, Brandon.
CreComm Radio Inc.'s CKIC-FM, Winnipeg.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Troubador Radio Society Inc.'s CHUG-AM, Stephenville.
Type B community station:
Mix FM Inc.'s CIFX-FM, Lewisporte.
Comité de la Radio Étudiante Universitaire de Sherbrooke's CFAK-FM, Sherbrooke.
Type A community stations:
Radio communautaire Missisquoi's CIDI-FM, Lac-Brome.
Radio communautaire Tête-à-la-Baleine's CJTB-FM, Tête-à-la-Baleine.
Type B community station:
La radio communautaire du comté's CKMN-FM, Rimouski/Mont-Joli.
Type A community stations:
Haliburton County Community Radio Association's CKHA-FM, Haliburton.
La Coopérative Radiophonique de Toronto inc.'s CHOQ-FM, Toronto.
Type B community station:
San Lorenzo Latin American Community Centre's CHHA-AM, Toronto.
Type A community station:
Association communautaire fransaskoise de Gravelbourg Inc.'s CFRG-FM, Gravelbourg.
The CRTC also posted a public notice with a July 15 deadline for interventions or comments that included the following radio applications:
*Application by Newcap Inc. to amend the licence conditions of its CFUL-FM, Calgary, relating to Canadian talent development and promotion: Newcap said that in 2008 due to logistics problems and timing constraints with the ''Making of a Band'' initiative, it was not able to contribute the total amount imposed and is requesting to be allowed to contribute the amount over the remaining licence period.
*Application by Canadian Hellenic Toronto Radio Inc. to increase the daytime power of the transmitter of ethnic station CHTO-AM, Toronto, from 1,000 watts to 3,000 watts. The change would increase the population within the 15mV/m contour from 468,000 to 672,000 people and within the 5mV/m contour from 850,000 to 1,442,000 people.
There were no radio postings from Ireland and in the UK, Ofcom had a quiet time as regards radio although it did post its latest Complaints Bulletin (See RNW Jun 9), noting the fine imposed on Lakeland Radio for running a competition that some entrants had no chance of winning and also upholding a radio standards complaint.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with an eye to Friday's switch-off of analogue TV made only a few radio-related postings apart from those on routine matters.
Amongst those was a further extension - this time to August 10 - for Cox Enterprises, Inc.; Calvary, Inc.; Bonneville International Corp.; Scranton Times LP; and Morris Communications (jointly "Media Parties") to file amendments to pending waiver requests or renewal applications or to file requests for permanent waivers of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.
The extension, says the FCC, is needed to provide additional time for the Commission to consider the Media Parties' request that the deadline be delayed until 90 days after the issuance of a final court order on pending judicial challenges to the Commission's modified newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.
In addition at the start of the week the agency posted a statement by acting chairman, Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps, applauding last week's court decision upholding the Commission's "authority to waive second-adjacent channel spacing requirements to protect LPFM stations facing encroachment by full-power stations", saying of its results, "The listening public and our diversity goals are immediate beneficiaries of this decision which will permit approximately 40 LPFM stations to remain on the air and serving their communities."
Copps went on to add, "We must continue to look for ways to promote and expand this most local radio service which holds such great promise in expanding radio ownership to under-represented stakeholders and in meeting the needs of under-served communities I also respectfully renew my recommendation to Congress that it eliminate existing statutory LPFM third-adjacent channel spacing requirements."
In other postings the FCC has issued a USD 3,000 forfeiture for failing to file a timely post-auction Form 301 application to Frank Neely, the winning bidder in FM Auction No. 62 for the construction permit for a new FM Station in Due West, South Carolina.
Neely had been declared the winner of the auction in February 2006 but failed to file his Form301 application until a fortnight after the deadline.
With that filing he submitted a request for a waiver of the deadline, which was granted, removing liability to a default payment but the FCC also issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for USD 3,000 to which Neely responded by arguing that cancellation was warranted because he did not fail to file the required form but filed it late and that he filed the form without any reminder from the FCC.
The FCC rejected both arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-06-13: Figures released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) show Canadian private commercial radio revenues up last year for the fifth year in a row: In 2008 they rose by just over 5% on 2007 to CAD 1.58 billion (USD 1.41 billion) with expenses up 3.6% to USD 1.24 billion (USD 1.11 billion) and total profits before interest and taxes (PBIT) up 12% to CAD 335 million (USD 315.8 million).
Within the figures local revenues rose 4.6% to CAD 1.14 billion (USD 1.02 billion) and national revenues were up 7.1% to CAD 406 million (USD 363 million).
In terms of AM and FM the latter did better with 2008 revenues - from a total of 474 stations, 29 more than in 2007 -up 6.67% to just over CAD 1.25 billion (USD 1.12 billion) whilst AM revenues from 154 stations were down marginally - from CAD 329.6 million from 172 stations in 2007 to CAD 329 million (Around 294.9 million) from 154 stations in 2008.
In language terms English stations revenues increased by 5.8% to CAD 1.31 billion (USD 1.17 billion) but expenses were only up 3.94% to just under CAD 1 billion (USD 895 million) and PBIT was up 13.4% to CAD 299.8 million (USD 268.2 million). Within the English language sector AM revenues rose 1.25% to CAD 295.2 million (USD 264.1 million) with expenses down 2.32% to CAD 256.7 million (USD 229.7 million) and PBIT up 52.5% to CAD 31.1 million (USD 27.8 million) whilst FM revenues were up 7.2% to CAD 1.02 billion (USD 910 million) with expenses up 6.37% to CAD 721.3 million (USD 645.4 million) and PBIT up 10.2% to CAD 268.7 million (USD 240.4 million).
French language stations revenues increased by 2.43% to CAD 230.9 million (USD 206.6 million) with expenses up 1.96% to CAD 189 million (USD 169.1 million) and pre-tax profits more than doubled from CAD 29.8 million (USD 26.7 million) to CAD 67.3 million (USD 60.2 million) within which FM station revenues were up 4.44% to CAD 218.5 million (USD 195.5 million) with expenses up 5.15% to CAD 172.7 million (USD 154.5 million) and PBIT almost flat - up from CAD 37.136 million to CAD 37.175 million (Around USD 33.26 million): AM revenues however fell 25.5% to CAD 12.4 million (USD 11.1 million) with expenses down 22.8% to CAD 16.4 million (USD 14.7 million) and a pre-tax loss of CAD 2.78 million (USD 2.49 million), up from CAD 2.37 million (USD 2.12 million).
Over the last five years Canadian revenues have increased by an average 6.5% a year, attributed to advertising revenue increases within which local revenues were up an average 5% a year and national revenues were up an average 10.6% a year: In comparison expenses rose by an average 6.9% a year over the period within which salaries were up by an average 4.6% a year and average salaries rose by 1.3% a year.
2009-06-13: Delaware non-commercial station WMPH-FM, part of the Broadcast Learning Center of the Brandywine School District, is saying on its web site that it boycotted music from artists linked to the musicFirst coalition that wants the US to introduce performance royalties for terrestrial US radio, suggesting that it is the Delaware station said by musicFirst to have boycotted all artists affiliated with musicFirst for an entire month (See RNW Jun 10).
In the posting the station says it instituted the boycott "simply to make a statement in the music industry" and continues to note opposition by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to the charges.
It then quotes NAB EVP Denis Wharton as saying "Congress has long recognized that radio airplay of music generates millions of dollars in revenue for record labels and artists. Were it not for radio's free promotional airplay of music on stations all over America, most successful recording artists would still be playing in a garage."
The posting then describes radio as having "always been the best friend of the music industry", says that without it there would be no pop music and accuses musicFirst of "attempting to hurt the radio stations, disc jockeys, and fans that have always been their greatest ally."
It then argues further for radio by saying, "There are thousands of artists, musicians, and bands that desperately wish to be heard on the radio. Radio stations are not required to play any particular artist or genre of music. If artists want radio stations to pay them for playing their music, then radio station should be paid for mentioning the artist on the air. Artists get unlimited name recognition from radio stations. This is beneficial to the new artists and the veteran artists of yesterday."
"We said NO to this insatiable greed," says the posting. "During the month of our boycott, few listeners even missed the boycotted artists. WMPH and other stations across the country continue to unite against the musicFirst coalition by making verbal and written statements. The boycott was lifted, at least for now, because we wish to restore harmony in the music community. We hope that the artists realize that radio stations are their friends in a mutually beneficial relationship."
RNW comment: This posting in our view shows both musicFirst and the station in an unflattering light. We must assume that musicFirst was aware that the station it accused of the boycott was a non-commercial one - or should now make it clear if it is saying there is another. Whilst not inaccurate, in the context of the musicFirst filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) it certainly will have given the impression to most readers of a commercial boycott - not the most honest and straightforward way to make a case.
As for the school it does not seem to recognize that there are multiple issues to be considered in assessing the call for performance royalties: On the one hand there is the issue of the right of the copyright holders to payment, whether or not it is a wise move. There is also the issue of whether to introduce such charges would be wise but in a market situation it is up to the recording companies to think things through - they have to be allowed to make foolish decisions. And of course there is also the issue of amount as opposed to principle.
We continue to think that the old one-charge-fits-all system in terms of payment for any specific song is outdated in the modern world and that copyright should be tiered to allow artists to select a tier of charges so as to balance what they perceive as the benefit of promotion through airtime and the pay they get for the airing of their music. If nothing else this would soon in a real way demonstrate just how much value the airtime is to them - if a top artist charged top rates, got little play and then sank in the ratings, it would make the point much better than any (dishonest or misleading) lobbying of politicians.
2009-06-12: Entercom's Sacramento KRQX-AM has now posted a message terming "unacceptable" comments made by hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States of the Rob, Arnie and Dawn show (Rob Williams, Arnie States and Dawn Rossi) about transgender individuals (See RNW Jun 6) whilst the hosts themselves apologized on air when the show returned yesterday.
On the station site Entercom Sacramento Vice President & General Manager John Geary referred to the comments that "clearly upset, and caused pain to, many who heard them" and continued, "I regret that, as those remarks do not represent my beliefs, or those of Entercom. We have always encouraged, and will continue to encourage, everyone on the Rob, Arnie and Dawn Show to exchange diverse and, at times, provocative points of view. These recent comments, however, were not just provocative; they were hurtful, and, they were unacceptable."
He then went on to comment, "The show that aired today was intended to provide an open forum to candidly discuss the complex issues of sexual identity, and to be a positive and thoughtful consideration of this topic. We can't undo the hurt that may have been caused, but we can foster a greater level of tolerance and understanding by people on both sides of the issue. I believe that today's program began that process."
In another note posted by Rob Williams on the show site, he started by thanking the majority of the show's listeners, commenting, "Thank you for having the courage to stand by us and to keep the show in check. It was through the loyal listeners of the Rob, Arnie and Dawn show that Arnie and I were dragged, kicking and screaming, to the reality that we had gone too far and crossed a line in the eyes of OUR audience. It is still a point of sadness and frustration that it took us so long to acknowledge our mistake, believe our audience, and begin making things right."
He then took on those who had supported the making of the comments, writing, "To the minority, I question whether or not you really ever understood what it is that we do on the RAD show. To those of you insisting on continuing to cry "You Caved," I ask you: Who did we cave to? When presented with the fact that your fellow listeners are the ones who said in no uncertain terms that we needed to step back and apologize, who exactly is it that you are suggesting we caved to?
If you feel the need to be angry at society for having its' limitations on what they define as decent discourse, so be it. We live in a world where our free speech is granted, but the right to be heard is not. Our audience keeps us in check; not advocacy groups, not management figures and not advertisers, our listeners. Without our enormous audience, we are worthless to any advertiser, any radio station and any organization that would ask us to further their cause."
The show itself launched with similar comments from Williams who said, "Let's start today by identifying who we are not going to be addressing, talking to, or trying to please this morning.
Those of you who that are screaming from the highest mountain, and with your loudest voice or pumping your fist in the air that the situation we find ourselves in today is one of free speech, on the guise that anyone can say anything any time without taking any responsibility. Today's show is not for you and our show has never been for you.
"Conversely to those of you who believe that the only thing that will make this situation right is the end of Rob and Arnie on the radio, our heads on a stick in front of the radio station, and the silencing of all discussion on this issue, we're not here today for you either.
Following other comments in which he said of the original comments, "Arnie and I were completely tone-deaf to the situation and we turned it into name calling and transgender bashing and oh we had such a laugh" he added that telling transgender people the following week and it was just a joke compounded the errors.
Fans he said told us "we had screwed up, that we had gone too far, that we had been insensitive and tone-deaf" and expected them to admit that they went too far.
After round seven and a half minutes (the whole show has been posted on the site) Williams introduced his fellow hosts and also two guests - Autumn Sandeen, transgender woman, and military veteran new media report and blogger, and Kim Pearson, Executive Director of TransYouth Family Allies, who has a transgender child and then moved on to discussions of issues for the rest of the show.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which had organised protests about the original comments that led a number of advertisers to remove advertising from the show, described the content of the show as a "robust discussion about transgender people and issues."
It highlighted comments from Williams in which he said," "Our audience made it clear that we had actually made it seem as though we endorse or allow, or in a worst case scenario from some of the comments I've heard from our fans, encourage the harming and abuse of children, the bullying and vilifying of those who are different and singling out of transgenders for harm and/or mocking. And for that, for the education that our audience has supplied to me, I want you to very clearly understand that I proudly and fully apologize, apologize for those comments completely. I'm sorry that this show in any way made it sound like we would ever tolerate any of those things that I described."
It also quoted States as saying," "I didn't realize that my words could really affect and hurt as bad and as negatively as they did - not only to the transgender community but also to our audience - our listeners, our backbone, if you will. My ignorance prevented me from understanding how hard a transgender's life is day to day -- I never understood that and I'm very sorry for that. I ignorantly thought that name-calling was just that - name-calling. And due to my ignorance, I was wrong about that."
The two guests spoke to GLAAD after the show with Pearson commenting, "It's not up to me to grant forgiveness or absolution, and people are going to hold their feet to the fire. I think this was a good thing, it was a good forum, it was productive, it was good for everyone listening - but time will tell. It was a good first step, but actions speak louder than words" whilst Sandeen said, "I think this is the way we make change - and we don't mean as individuals, but as a community. Humanity won the day. I think that's what worked - we all became humans in the same room instead of stereotypes."
For GLAAD, its Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson commented, "Today's episode of Rob, Arnie & Dawn in the Morning was an important opportunity to have a conversation about transgender people and lives, and we are encouraged that the hosts used their platform as a forum for education about these issues in a way that resonated with listeners. We are looking ahead to ensure that the kinds of remarks that sparked such concern and anger among community members and advertisers are not repeated, and we hope that today's conversation continues to promote constructive dialogue and greater understanding."
Rob, Arnie & Dawn Show web site - has links to audio (Downloadable MP3s in quarter hour segments of whole show)
KRXQ web site:
KRXQ web site -show audio links:
2009-06-12: The Local Radio Company, which earlier this week announced the disposal of its Bournemouth station "Fire Radio" (See RNW Jun 5) has now announced the disposal of Macclesfield station Silk FM "for a nominal consideration" to Dee 106.3 holdings, which runs independent commercial Chester station Dee 106.3
Reporting on the sale, the Chester Chronicle quotes Chris Hurst of Dee, who will become Executive Chairman of the two stations, as saying, "As one of the few counties in England without its own BBC local radio station, local commercial radio has a vital role to play in Cheshire keeping listeners in touch with local news and information.
"I hope the local community will continue to support us as we bring these two Cheshire local radio businesses together under common local ownership."
In all the combined stations will have a potential audience approaching half a million.
In another sign of continuing pressures on UK commercial radio, Bauer is to close down the news operations of its West Midlands Kerrang! station and according to the Birmingham Post is considering using its Manchester-based sister brand Key 103 to produce news for the station.
It quoted a Kerrang! spokesperson as saying, "Our strategy is to locally invest in the best programming and creative talent to inform and entertain our listeners. The resource needed to do that is flexed up and down in order to best serve their audience and advertisers. We are now proposing to reshape our Kerrang! teams to support the business going forward " and added, "Our commitment to providing local news for the West Midlands community remains unchanged."
The paper says it is not clear how the station would continue to provide West Midlands news from Manchester (RNW Comment: We regard the comment as mere wind and pap for the stupid but not to be treated with anything other than total derision. Bauer, we presume, has calculated it will save money and keep its licence and doesn't care much about other factors) and notes that the decision is not a result of ratings problems: In latest ratings the Kerrang! audience was up from 368,000 in the previous ratings to 374,000 a week although it was down from 401,000 a year earlier.
Previous Local Radio Company:
Birmingham Post report:
Chester Chronicle report:
2009-06-11: CBS Radio is planning to switch its WJFK-FM from its guy-centric talk programs to sports talk according to the Washington Post, which cites people involved in the change as its source.
Any such change would put it into direct competition with Red Zebra Broadcasting, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's radio empire and Bruce Gilbert, the former ESPN executive who heads the radio operations, told the paper he would welcome a direct challenge.
"Anytime there's competition in radio, it usually means there will be more listeners," he said. "More people doing what we're doing exposes more people to sports radio."
The paper says CBS would have a signal-strength advantage and adds that it may be trying to cut the station's operating costs.
Previous Red Zebra:
Washington Post report:
2009-06-11: This year's Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) have attracted around a thousand entries, up 3% on last year, according to industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
Its Chief Executive Joan Warner said it was a " good result, particularly in these tough economic times when Awards programs can suffer a fall in entries, so it augurs well for a great night."
She added that the strongest increase in numbers was for the Best Sports Presenter and Best Sales Promotion and the highest number of entries was for the categories, Best Station Produced Commercial, Best News Presenter and Best On-Air Team. In all there are now 32 categories, which cover all areas of radio broadcasting including news, talk, sport, music and entertainment with judging panels comprised of industry members.
The 21st annual event ACRA's event is to be held on October 10 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-06-11: North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc. (KERA), which has announced the purchase for an undisclosed sum of the 91.7 FM frequency covering greater Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton from Covenant Educational Media, Inc. and says it is to use the frequency to provide a public "Triple A" (Adult Album Alternative) station in , that will start broadcasts in the fall
KERA's President & CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff said of the deal, which is being done with financing from non profit-focused lenders, "This acquisition allows KERA to significantly advance its mission and strategic direction by increasing public media services for the people of North Texas. The new station will be a public radio music format programmed with the North Texas audience in mind. It will be a terrific complement to KERA's news and information station 90.1 FM and a substantial addition to KERA's overall multimedia services for the public."
Amongst programming being considered for the station are local programming plus World Café (distributed by NPR), Echoes (from Public Radio International), Undercurrents (from Native Voice One), American Routes (from American Public Media), plus music specials.
90.1 had carried a mix of news and music until 1966 when it was switched to news and information.
KERA says it spent 18 months working to address all purchase and programming considerations, complete a thorough business review and secure financing and Dan Routman, Chairman of KERA's Board of Directors, said, "The decision to purchase 91.7 FM was made by KERA's Board of Directors. KERA sought competitive financing and was able to negotiate favourable terms even in today's economic environment."
2009-06-10: TNS Media Intelligence has reported a 14.2% fall in US advertising spend in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago to a total of USD 30.18 billion: The fall follows a 4.1% fall for 2008 and a 9.2% fall in the final quarter of last year (See RNW May 6).
Within the figures local revenues were worst hit with spot TV down 27.5%; local radio down 26.8%; and local newspapers down 25.1%.
Over radio was down 26.2% with local radio down 26.8%; national spot radio down 31.7%; and Network radio down 14.6%. In comparison network TV was down 4.2% and cable TV was down 2.7%.
The only growth was in internet display ads- up 26.2% although FSIs (Free Standing Inserts) were only down 0.2%,
Amongst advertisers the spend by the top ten was down 5.7% to USD 4,019.5 million whilst that from the top hundred fell by 8.1%. In category terms automotive was down 28.4% to USD 2,309.0 million but telecommunications was up 3% to USD 2,078.1 million below which f=Financial Services' spend was down 18.1% to USD 1,968.4 million.
2009-06-10: This week we start our weekly look at print comment on radio in the UK with Paul Donovan's Sunday Times radio column, a column that last week combined nostalgia and concern for the future but was overall fairly positive.
He began by recalling he early and glory days of Capital Radio, now owned by Global Radio, writing, "In the early days of Capital Radio, when classical as well as pop filled the output, it recorded a concert at the Festival Hall with the Berlin Philharmonic. The conductor Herbert von Karajan, believing the station was so broke that it would not survive, insisted on getting half his fee in cash in the interval. The station's managing director, John Whitney, went backstage and handed over the money personally, in a suitcase. But Capital, after this dramatically shaky start, rose to become the richest and most powerful commercial station not only in London but the whole country, which von Karajan lived long enough to see."
He then went on to note some details of this year's "Summertime Ball" event staged by the stadium adding of it " But this is a money-making venture, and there is no shame in that. Commercial radio is poorly, and needs revenue, and glamour, and excitement."
There was then some more nostalgia: "For millions of people aged from about 35 upward, today's gig contains poignant echoes of Capital's glory days in the 1980s. This was when it held the Capital Radio Music Festival, which was, believe it or not, Europe's largest. World-class performers such as Stevie Wonder, Queen and Chuck Berry appeared at Alexandra Palace and other venues until the annual event was axed on cost grounds in the 1990s. In the 1980s, too, it broadcast current affairs and drama, from soap opera to (on one occasion, and with the original BBC producer, Douglas Cleverdon) Under Milk Wood. It had its own classical ensemble, the Wren Orchestra, and a talented line-up of DJs, including Kenny Everett, Michael Aspel, Dave Cash, Roger Scott, Tommy Vance and later Chris Tarrant. It employed as a reporter Matthew Bannister, now the host of Radio 4's obituary series, Last Word, who had to do mischievous things such as count up the number of uncovered willies on London's statues."
And all this when the station was only available to listeners in London: Now it can be heard everywhere but as Donovan notes, " Competition happened. Capital reigned supreme when nobody else vied for its crown."
Which takes us to the US where competition - particularly for advertising - has certainly happened and in an economic downturn hit many radio people hard leading Jerry Del Colliano in his Insidemusicmedia blog to comment of the methods used by radio consolidators to fix the problem
"Less local programming.
"No Internet or mobile strategy.
"It's way past trying to operate the stations.
"Now, owners just want to cut their losses."
After other comment he goes on to quote from a Cumulus memorandum relating to the position of a General Sales Manager for its Macon, GA eight station. Amongst other gems it wanted "a dynamic leader to train, inspire and motivate our team of sellers" - to which Del Colliano adds the comment "Remember, that's from the same company that installs spy cameras, flat screens and Skype lines to ride herd on their salespeople. Where inspiration and motivation seems to be one way -- emanating from the corporate office in Atlanta.
"But, it gets worse.
"And I quote from their corporate memo: This person must have a proven track record, a creative mind and tireless work ethic.
"Work for nothing, have low self-esteem, hold that creative mind and work like a dog, they did not add.
"They even flat out lie.
"'If you have these skills and want to live in one of the finest cities in the south and work for the best run company in radio, we want to talk to you.'"
To which he comments, "The finest city part is fine. The best run company in radio -- are you kidding? I mean even a PR person couldn't write that line with a straight face."
He then posts a rewrite, courtesy of one of his readers, of the advert, that may be a parody but that certainly seems to us to ring more true than most US radio PR releases.
"We're Cumulus Radio and we need to replace our GSM in lovely Macon, GA. The last guy wouldn't toe the line so we're looking for someone who will. If you find yourself answering yes to the following questions we need to talk.
"1. Have you always wanted to work in the exciting and growing radio industry?
"2. Do you spend a minimum of 4 hours a day using Skype?
"3. Do you like being told what to do rather than having your own plan?
"4. Do you find filling out online sales reports fulfilling and useful?
"5. Are you excited when corporate demands interrupt your local plan?
"6. Did you play on your college (preferably private university) golf team?
"7. Do you know what side your bread is buttered on?
"You're just a Skype call away from your next dream job.
"PS. If you don't want to move to Macon, that's cool, we still need to enhance our position in Pensacola, Mobile, Abilene, Grand Junction, Eugene, Columbus/Starkville, Bismark, Topeka, Faribault/Owatonna, Wichita Falls, Blacksburg, Melbourne, Poughkeepsie, Danbury, and Bangor."
On to another threat to US commercial radio - the probability that removal of "third adjacent channel" restrictions might allow the setting up of many more low-power FMs, something to which the commercial broadcasters and NAB are objecting on the grounds of interference concerns - we rather suspect the fear is of losing audience from their stations to broadcasts that actually are local in content.
Writing in Ars Technica Matthew Lasar notes that having lobbied Congress into imposing these protections the commercial radio companies went further - "While invoking the threat of interference from LPFMs, they also insisted that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) not protect these smaller stations from signal "encroachment" by new full power licenses that established themselves nearby."
The FCC however put in place new rules that limited "the responsibility of LPFM stations to resolve interference caused to subsequently authorized full-service stations," specifically when that alleged interference took place on a second adjacent channel" and of course the broadcasters went to law to try and get their way.
They failed and the DC Circuit's appeal judges ruled for the FCC leading to muted celebration from low-power advocates: The report notes that Sakura Saunders of the Prometheus Radio Project, which helps LPFMs, termed it "terrific news" but the Media Access Project noted that the decision "merely protects the status quo."
Lasar later goes on to note moves by some legislators to scrap the third-adjacent channel restrictions and then comments in terms of radio as a medium about some of the potential effects of an expansion of LPFMs.
There is, he writes, "a perception that over-the-air radio is yesterday's technology" and he then adds, "That's just not true. While conventional radio is in trouble, especially with the young, millions of people still tune in. Ars bets a whole lot of them will rediscover radio after Friday, June 12, when their analogue-only television sets stop picking up full power signals.
"Can LPFM, freed of third-adjacent shackles, help save 'free and local' radio? To some degree, but there's another problem: funding. Classified as educational stations, LPFMs pretty much run on charity, non-profit support, and the very occasional Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant-exactly one applied for CPB money in 2006."
He says effort needs to be devoted to consideration of how financing can be raised but concludes on a positive note for radio, if not for the Nab's members, saying that the court's decision "clearly part of a momentum building towards an expanded LPFM service. Ars asked the NAB for a comment on the ruling. We received no reply."
Which takes us on to the issue of "fat cats" in radio but this time not criticism of the large amounts still paid to many radio group senior executives at the same time as their companies plunge in value, but of a public broadcasting executive.
On gawker.com John Cook launched an attack on WNYC's chief executive, starting by writing, "Laura Walker, the WNYC chief executive who makes a half-a-million dollars a year while her station begs for your donations and lays off staffers-is taking a month-long sabbatical to Greece, a tipster reports.
"The sabbatical will presumably be unpaid-we called and e-mailed WNYC's spokeswoman to ask, and got no response-which would save the station somewhere in the neighbourhood of USD 40,000. So that's good. But it makes you question how vital she is to the operation if WNYC can muddle through without Walker for a month.
The report then quoted from a statement made by Herb Scannell, the chairman of the non-profit station's board of trustees, to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, that said in part, "Laura Walker's leadership over the last 13 years has been exemplary, as she transformed the station from a municipal-run station into an independent, multi-platform journalistic organization. WNYC is now the most-listened-to public-radio station in the country, serving listeners in New York and beyond with 350 hours per week of original content on air and online. It's a record that speaks for itself."
The comment according to Cook misses the point and he says her salary is "excessive by her own industry's standards", a view that many of the responses posted took.
Not all though: One response was, "Sorry, but this whole story is just nasty. Good for her, earning 500k for running an amazing station" and another suggested the pay was an all-American act: "whew- I was concerned WNYC was not fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities. Glad to see they're bloating execs' salaries like any other good American company."
And finally a pointer from John Gorman in his blog to a video put on You Tube as part of US commercial radio's lobbying against performance royalties.
Gorman starts of by commenting, "Are you as embarrassed of this video as I am? Try not to let it diminish your faith in the veracity of the radio industry."
Later Gorman comments of other parts of the proceedings including comments made by Rev. Al Sharpton who was representing radio. Gorman asks "why?" and later picks up the Rev over comments about "an alleged Congressional conspiracy to silence 'black radio, talk radio and free radio,' followed by a fictitious anecdote about Prince, claiming that his former label 'owned' his name."
Of this Gorman comments, "The only black radio I know of that's been silenced is in Pittsburgh - and it was done by a black-owned company, Sheridan Broadcasting.
"And Prince? Dropping his name for that symbol was his decision - and he did it while he was still on his label, Warner Brothers. He returned to using the Prince name in May 2000 after his publishing contract with Warner/Chappel expired.
"The cause against a performance royalty fee for radio may be right but Sharpton chose all the wrong reasons for defending it."
One might almost comment that being a Reverend doesn't have much meaning when it comes to being honest or intelligent in arguing a case but then again only those with faith would regard it as likely to improve those faculties. A more scientific approach of testing against evidence would probably suggest the contrary.
On then to listening suggestions: And first from BBC Radio 2 Monday's "Beverley's Gospel Nights", the third of four parts; Tuesday's final episode of the four-part "Harlem Timeline" and the sixth of the eight-part "You Heard It At The Movies" - this programme looking at the role of song in films; Wednesday's "Mike Harding" for his interview with singer-songwriter Reg Meuross; Thursday's "Hot Gossip", the start of a new series and the third episode of the four-part "Miranda Hart's Joke Shop"; Friday's final episode of the four programme "Bonjour Mr Aznavour"; and Saturday's "The Fourth, The Fifth, The Minor Fall" in which Elbow's Guy Garvey examines the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah.
Turing to BBC Radio 3 we suggest last Sunday's "Discovering Music" featuring Haydn Symphonies Nos 22 and 92 and "Drama on 3" - "Hyde Park-on-Hudson", a play by Richard Nelson, focusing on George VI's visit to the United States in 1939, plus the "Sunday Feature"-"Chaos and Creation".
Then to Monday and first we note that this week's "Composer of the Week" is Fryderyk Chopin; "Afternoon on 3" is the first of four programmes on music inspired by travel and that the "Essay" is "Night Walks, Nicholas Shakespeare" in which novelist Nicholas Shakespeare speaks of various nocturnal walks.
Also from Monday we suggest "Night Waves" for a debate on Thomas Paine and "Jazz on 3" for Huw Warren's tribute to Hermeto Pascoal; Tuesday for "Performance on 3" and"Gotterdammerung - Acts 2 and 3" and "Late Junction" if only for the name of the act - "Starving Weirdos"; then to Friday for "The Verb" including dramatist Rebecca Lenkiewicz, with a brand new monologue; Saturday for Strauss' "Elektra" from The Royal Opera House and the "BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Finals 2009" and finally Sunday for "Drama on 3" - Dostoevsky's "The Gambler" and "The Sunday Feature"- "A Brief History of Cunning" by American writer and satirist Joe Queenan (A repeat but worth a listen again.)
Then to BBC Radio 4 and "The Book of the Week" - "The Locust and the Bird" plus "Woman's Hour Drama" - "The Pillow Book, series 2" and "Book at Bedtime" - the start of a ten-part reading from David Nicholl's "One Day" plus "Start the Week" (Also a podcast) - "Democracy, Futurism and Theatres" with guests "John Keane, Katie Mitchell, Peter Hall and Matthew Gale".
To Tuesday and we suggest "The Body of Art" in which Bob Dickinson talks to performance artists who have used their own bodies for art and "File on 4" in which Julian O'Halloran investigates claims about the causes of the swine flu virus (The US is of course blamed by some, albeit maybe with a degree of justification) and "Unseen Britain", the first of three programmes, this one featuring Peter White meeting the people behind the scenes at immigration and customs; Wednesday and "Ireland: From Boom to Bust" and "The Media Show" - also a download and this week including discussion on the future of local TV News, and anti-terrorism laws and press freedom plus "Thinking Allowed"- "Exhibiting the 'Savage" looking at how Paris and London created human zoos in the name of science, "All in the Mind" - a psychoanalytical perspective on reasons behind the global financial crisis, and "The Moral Maze" - a discussion on when a woman is too old to have a baby.
From Thursday we suggest a whole run of programming also available as downloads beginning with "In Our Time" discussing the Augustan Age in Rome and continuing with "From Our Own Correspondent" for its for reports on Iran's elections and how Russia's gas pipelines is delivering political power, "Material World" for items on low energy housing and swine flue, "The Report" - "How Clean is betting in Sport" that presents strong evidence that in some cases it's anything but, "Bottom Line" for discussion on how businesses should deal with the issues of successors to a chief executive and the benefits and disadvantages of size,
We'd also suggest "Burl Ives" in which CP Lee celebrates the life, career and music of the singer and Oscar-winning actor, "Leading Edge" for discussions on how original and innovative research can be stimulated and recognized (for example an innovative bra that can detect breast cancer), and "Down the Line" - a special credit-crunch editions.
From Friday we opt for "Meet the Patels", a programme on the 210,000-strong community of Patels in Britain, the weekly "Feedback" programme for listeners' comments on the BBC, and of course "The News Quiz" for its irreverent take on the week's news plus for those who may want to pick up the week's programmesof "America, Empire of Liberty."in one, the Omnibus edition of the series.
From Saturday we suggest the second of the three "Punt PI" programmes that this week has Steve Punt investigating the use of TV detector vans, "The Saturday Play" - "J'Accuse" by Hattie Naylor, a drama inspired by an Emile Zola's article on the Dreyfus Affair, "Archive on 4" - "The First A and R Man" in which Paul Gambaccini uncovers the story of Fred Gaisberg, who brought recording to Britain and the first of this year's "Reith Lectures" in which Prof Michael Sandel considers the expansion and moral limits of markets
Finally from Sunday we suggest "Desert Island Discs" (not available as Listen Again) in which the guest is a genuinely interesting British politician and former Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Lord Dennis Healey, well known as having a "broad hinterland".
RNW Note: We have updated BBC listening suggestions but hope to add suggested downloads from other broadcasters later:
Previous Del Colliano:
Ars Technica - Lasar:
Gawker - Cook:
John Gorman blog:
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2009-06-10: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has reacted with a vitriolic response to an announcement by the musicFIRST Coalition that it has filed a formal request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the agency to investigate and take action against radio stations for abusing their license to use the airwaves, a valuable public resource, detailing in the filing its claims that stations, as it puts it in a news release, "refuse to air musicFIRST ads, threaten artists who support the effort to create a fair performance right on radio and continue to run misleading ads produced by the National Association of Broadcasters - all in an effort to further their own private commercial interest at the expense of their public interest obligations."
musicFIRST Executive Director, Jennifer Bendall commented, "For more than 80 years radio stations have been using the work of artists and musicians without compensating them, now they're using the public airwaves unfairly for their own self interest."
She continued, "We respect the First Amendment rights of broadcasters to air their views in this and any debate, but they've crossed the line. They have engaged in a concerted effort to promote their own financial interests above their legal duty to serve the public interest by providing truthful and accurate information."
The musicFirst filing also said that the use of a broadcast license to further a licensee's personal economic interest is particularly egregious where it results in the skewing and distorting of a public debate and Bendall specifically criticized stations for refusing adverts from the coalition and also commented on unfair adverts and on-air commentary by stations that musicFirst says unfairly prey on the public's fears by calling it a tax, which it's not, saying all the money is going to foreign companies, which it's not, and intimating that this is a racial issue by claiming that there is no black representation in the process and that it will "murder black radio" - again not true.
The coalition alleges in the filing amongst other things that one major radio group dropped a top selling artist's record after he spoke in support of performance rights legislation and that the program director of a Florida radio station declined to add an artist's recordings to his station's playlist because the artist is listed as a member of the musicFIRST Coalition and a Delaware radio station boycotted all artists affiliated with musicFIRST for an entire month.
Bendall termed offensive the "the effort to silence artists through threats and retribution" and added, "No one should ever be penalized for working for what they think is right; for participating in the democratic process; for exercising their First Amendment right to correct a decades-old wrong. But that is just what these radio stations have done."
She concluded, "Our message to the FCC is clear. We respect a broadcaster's right to oppose the Performance Rights Act. But we cannot tolerate broadcasters' use of the public airwaves to stifle debate, threaten artists and musicians and undermine the public interest in pursuit of their narrow, private business interests."
In its response, NAB in a release referred to the "RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)'s newest stunt" and said the filing asserted "that unnamed radio stations have refused to play music by unnamed musicians who support the record label-led effort to strap radio stations with new fees for airing music free to listeners."
It linked to an Associated Press report that said nobody involved would name the artist whose records were said to have been dropped - it added that there were hints it could be U2 frontman Bono - and also noted that representatives for musicFIRST refused to identify the artist and that the stations it has accused are also not identified.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said in a statement, "This allegation is nothing more than an act of desperation by a record label lobby losing on Capitol Hill and in the court of public opinion. On one hand, it highlights the unparalleled promotional value of free radio airplay, which has propelled countless artists to stardom. We would also note that Will.i.am, a vocal proponent of the performance tax, and his group Black Eyed Peas are currently Number 1 on Billboard's Pop 100 Airplay Chart with the song 'Boom Boom Pow.'"
"If there's an FCC probe involving the music business," he added, "it ought to focus on claims from numerous artists -- from The Beatles to Prince to Cher -- that they were cheated out of royalties by their record labels."
The NAB release also notes that a majority of members of the House have now expressed opposition to "performance tax legislation "and posts various comments made by recording companies and artists about the value of radio airplay including comments by Bono in a Boston TV interview in March this year and by Clive Davis, Sony Music's chief creative officer, who was quoted in USA Today this month as saying, "Radio is still the leading force of determining what songs and artists break through."
RNW comment: From afar - almost every other country in the world already has performance royalty payments - it seems to us that there are two greedy but not very bright or honest groups primarily involved in this particular debate - not counting some of the politicians involved - and that in principle the recording companies have an unassailable argument to anyone who believes in markets.
At the same time for the recording companies to levy anything other than miniscule charges in the current economic climate (See the report below) would be an act of economic self-immolation, something that in a free market they should have the right to try.
We still think that a prime problem is the idea of a single royalty charge, something that may be convenient but distances the artists and recording companies from direct market forces. We still, as we have suggested in the past, take the view that tiered rates to be declared (and posted online) in advance for a fixed period of a year, would be a sensible innovation that would allow the price of airing a record to be balanced against the promotional value, giving new artists the opportunity to charge nothing to get the promotion and those who are well established to take a gamble on charging highest rates.
Whatever the situation, the NAB approach has to be counter-productive to anyone who values the idea of language having meaning and who prefers argument to invective.
Associated Press report:
2009-06-10: According to The Nielsen Company US advertising expenditure in the first quarter of this year was down 12% on a year ago to a total of USD 27.9 billion with the smallest fall of 1.1% occurring at Spanish-Language Cable TV and next smallest, of 2.7% for Cable TV, and the largest of 37.7% in Local Sunday Supplements with the next greatest fall of 29.9% for B-to-B Magazines.
Its figures for the fall in radio advertising were more encouraging for the industry than those produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) that last month (See RNW May 22) said spot radio revenues had fallen 26% on a year ago compared to the 9% reported by Nielsen and that network radio spending was down 13% whilst Nielsen is reporting a much closed 12.6% fall.
Annie Touliatos, VP of Sales Development for Monitor-Plus, Nielsen's ad tracking service, commented of the falls in a release, "These first quarter results will hardly come as a surprise to an advertising industry that's struggling just like many other areas of the American economy. Now more than ever it's important for buyers and sellers to adjust to the changing competitive landscape by carefully analyzing the wide range of advertising intelligence that Nielsen can offer."
Within the figures Nielsen highlighted growth in African-American television advertising revenues, which were up 7.9%.
In terms of categories, automobile advertising was down 27.7% but there was a 14% increase for Direct Response products and of 7.7% for Quick Service Restaurant - Restaurant advertising was up a marginal 0.7%
2009-06-10: Conservative US talk host Michael Savage has now written to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to ask that the ban on his entering the UK announced by former British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith be lifted.
His web site links a UK Independent report on his letter and also to an interview on SKY News in which Savage says he hadn't applied to go to the UK and attacks his inclusion on the list, saying he believes he was put on a list with murderers because "some party in the US took these sound bites out of context and sent them to Jacqui Smith" who then put him in a league with murderers.
"I want my name off the list. I'm appealing to Gordon Brown is a bigger man than Jacqui Smith and I suspect that he may understand that a terrible error has been made here."
In the US he says that even his political opponents in the A.C.L.U. -"as far left as you can get" - people in the Arab world think this is "absurd."
Regarding legal action he says Brown now has the "option of taking his name off the list, saying a mistake has been made and you are welcome to come to my country and paying my legal fees and this is in the past "
Savage also links to a report in The Independent that says he is continuing his GBP 100,000 (USD 160,000) personal libel action against Smith, who has stepped down from her cabinet post - Savage claims he was responsible for her deciding to stand down (See RNW June 3) .
The report quoted from his letter to the Prime Minister in which he says the "decision to exclude me was plainly arbitrary and based on sound bytes (Savage's spelling) taken out of context" and that he was "shocked to find my name listed with known murderers and terrorists. Shocked because in my 15-year radio career I have never advocated violence nor have my words ever led to violence."
He then gives details of actions by others on the list and regarding his legal action says he is "advised that these allegations are serious and that should I press my claim I am likely to recover a very substantial award in damages. It is particularly disturbing that the press release containing these serious allegations has not been removed from the website of the Home Office despite repeated requests for this to be done and the complete failure of the Home Office to substantiate the allegations."
Savage told the paper, which noted that his name was "placed alongside a string of Islamist preachers, white supremacists, a convicted Arab terrorist and two anti-gay evangelicals": "I have to get my name cleared. She's made me into some sort of enemy of the state, for God's sake. On the same list I was on were a convicted terrorist and two Russian skinhead murderers.
"There is a big difference between acts of violence and words and I have never prompted anyone to commit any sort of act of violence. I would not have been able to continue my career as a radio host if I had."
UK Independent report:
Michael Savage web site:
Sky News video of interview:
2009-06-09: The US National Association of Media Brokers (NAMB) has joined the ranks of those writing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning of the dangers to US radio from the introduction of performance royalties for terrestrial radio.
In similar terms to members of broadcasting associations who wrote to Pelosi last week (See RNW Jun 5), the NAMB wants her to oppose the Performance Rights Act (HR848), which would bring in the charges, and also to oppose bringing the Act to a vote of the full House
The NAMB also raised the issue of a disproportionate effect on minority broadcasters, saying in the letter, "One of our members, MMTC Media Brokers, specializes in transactions involving minority owned buyers and sellers. Its parent, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), has estimated that the passage of HR 848 would result in the bankruptcies of about a third of minority owned stations. That seems about right. We believe that the proposed royalty will also have a very significant impact on another important class of stations - small market broadcasters providing vital services to rural communities without the economies of scale enjoyed by stations in large markets."
NAMB notes amendments proposed to ease the plight of small broadcasters but says that the Act would still do damage because of uncertainties, which are disliked by investors and would thus reduce investment in the industry.
"Access to capital is the single largest impediment to minorities buying radio stations, and it is the highest hurdle to all other new entrants," says the letter."Imposing an effective cap on growth will make this already difficult situation far worse. Investors simply will not invest if they do not see an upside to their investment - and the unknown royalty that would apply when a stations exceeds USD 1.25 million will eliminate that upside."
It concludes by forecasting a "devastating" effect on the industry and particularly on minorities and new entrants should the Act be passed and says, "We urge you to await floor action until a hearing is held on these issues, at which minority and rural broadcasters to testify about the impact of this bill on their ability to remain in business and serve their communities."
2009-06-09: The Financial Times, which has previously reported along with other publications that some of Clear Channel's lenders might push it into bankruptcy (See RNW Jun 4), has now reported that the company's private equity owners are confident they will see off the lenders.
The paper quotes William Eccleshare, who was appointed last Thursday as head of the radio and outdoor advertising group's international business as saying, "I've clearly done my due diligence and I believe it's a very sound situation. I've had a lot of conversations with the private equity partners and I genuinely believe my appointment reflects their commitment and confidence in this business."
Eccleshare said the groups led by Thomas H Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners did not want to "cut and run" and had the appetite and resources to back a growth strategy featuring acquisitions and investment.
In a quirkily-timed updated report the paper then noted that Standard and Poor's yesterday cut the credit ratings of both Clear Channel Communications and CC Media, its private equity-controlled holding company because of the uncertainties about a default on the US 20 billion of debt the company has.
The paper reports that the agency warned that if senior secured lenders refused a proposed debt exchange, "we are concerned that it could violate financial covenants and would be unable to absorb a potential interest rate increase that could accompany an amendment, forcing it into bankruptcy."
Sam Zell, who headed the takeover of Chicago-based Tribune Co., which owns WGN-AM amongst its assets, may not be so fortunate according a report in the paper that says the company and its creditors are in the early stages of negotiating a plan of reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that sources said is likely to transfer control from Zell to a group of large banks and investors that hold USD 8.6 billion in senior debt.
The report says a source with knowledge of the situation said the plan probably would wipe out a USD 90 million warrant Zell negotiated as part of his USD 8.2 billion deal to take the company private in 2007. The warrant gives the Tribune Co. chairman the right to buy 40 percent of the company for USD 500 million and is the basis of his control over Tribune Co.,
The report adds that Zell also holds a USD 250 million note representing a loan he made to the company as part of the going-private transaction but the note is near the bottom of the hierarchy of claims in Tribune Co.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case and may be worthless.
It also notes that there are complications because of the structuring of Tribune Co.'s employee stock ownership plan under which employees own all the company's equity through a complex, tax-advantaged corporate structure known as an S-Corp ESOP.
The tax rules it says stipulate that an S-Corp can have only 100 shareholders, and that they must be individuals, not corporations, which would make it difficult to give the senior lenders equity and maintain the S-Corp structure that Zell's team argues has the advantage of sheltering Tribune Co. from paying income taxes and facilitates the company's ability to spin off assets without paying capital gains taxes.
The report quotes Jack Levin, a senior partner at Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis, as saying it would be possible to work out a solution that preserves the S-Corp ESOP and gives lenders an acceptable stake but any solution would be highly complex: This it says means the lenders have to weigh the cost of this complexity and added risk against the value of the tax advantages.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Tribune Co:
Chicago Tribune report:
Financial Times report (Registration may be required):
Updated Financial Times report (Registration may be required):
2009-06-09: UBC Media is set to expand its production business but will do so cautiously according to its chief executive Simon Cole who told the Financial Times that the company, which had a record cash position in its annual results, that he was not going to rush into spending the GBP 10.5 million (USD 17.1 million) that it has in the bank.
The funds came from the sale of its traffic and travel arm to Global Traffic Network, Inc. for GBP 9 million (then USD 12.8 million) plus additional payments if agreed revenue targets are met over the next three years in a deal announced in February (See RNW Feb 2) and Cole told the paper, "This is not an easy time to be a buyer. It is tough to differentiate between the good businesses that are challenged by the times we are going through, and the businesses that are simply challenged."
As a result of the sale UBC reported a profit for the year of GBP 5.82 million ( USD 9.48 million ) compared to a loss of GBP 3.39 million ( USD 5.54 million - from a loss of 1.76 pence per share to a positive 2.89 pence per share) a year earlier but its loss from continuing operations rose from GBP 647,000 ( USD 1.05 million ) to GBP 762,000 ( USD 1.24 million) - up from 34 pence to 38 pence a share - and its pre-tax loss was up from GBP 498,000 ( USD 812,000) to GBP 705,000 ( USD 1.15 million).
Revenues from continuing operations were down 11.7% to GBP 3.53 million ( USD 5.75 million) and Cole commented of the results that it had been a year "in which we have totally re-positioned the business, eliminating our exposure to the falling advertising market and fully providing for any risk in our digital investments."
"In doing so," he said, "we have realised substantial value for our commercial networking business and expect to earn more in the current year from the well-structured deal with Global Traffic Network. We emerge with a slimmed down but focused radio services business and a balance sheet unrivalled in the industry."
Financial Times report (Registration may be required):
2009-06-09: Entercom's Sacramento KRXQ-FM morning Rob, Arnie and Dawn Show (Rob Williams, Arnie States and Dawn Rossi) is now off the air following decisions by a around ten advertisers to withdraw adverts from the stations or not renew contracts in protest at comments made about transgender people on the station (See RNW Jun 6) and is to return it to the air on Thursday with a special show to discuss the issues raised.
A note on the station's web site from Williams, the show's owner - currently coming up before offering an option to continue to the site - makes no bones about getting things badly wrong, beginning (Capitals as per the notice): "WE HAVE FAILED YOU. AS A SHOW, AS PEOPLE, AS BROADCASTERS, WE HAVE SIMPLY FAILED ON ALMOST EVERY LEVEL.
"WE PRESENTED OUR OPINIONS ON A VERY SENSITIVE SUBJECT IN A HATEFUL, CHILDISH AND CRUDE FASHION; AND THEN, GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETRACT THOSE REMARKS, WE DEFENDED THEM."
It then goes on to say that the shows "LOYAL LISTENERS" have made it "TO US THAT WE WENT TOO FAR FURTHER, YOU SAID THAT OUR ATTEMPT TO MASK OUR COMMENTS AS "JOKES THAT WOULD BE UNDERSTOOD BY OUR AUDIENCE," WAS UNACCEPTABLE. I WOULD SAY NOW THAT IT WAS WORSE THAN THAT, IT WAS COWARDLY. YOU HAVE MADE THAT CLEAR."
It then goes on to say that they have "reached out" to various groups for a "CHANCE TO MAKE THIS RIGHT; TO RESPOND, WITH THEIR PARTICIPATION, TO THE EDUCATION THAT OUR AUDIENCE HAS PROVIDED US. THAT OPPORTUNITY HAS BEEN GRACIOUSLY GRANTED THIS THURSDAY MORNING, JUNE 11TH. AT 7:30 A.M."
Williams, who says he took the decision that no new episodes of the show would be broadcast until the issue had been addressed then adds, "THE WORD APOLOGY APPEARS NO WHERE IN THIS LETTER FOR A REASON. WE ALREADY HID FROM DOING THE RIGHT THING ONCE AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN. APOLOGIZING IN A WRITTEN, POSTED STATEMENT IS A FORM OF COWARDICE. WE WILL SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID THIS THURSDAY."
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD, which had led the campaign against the comments, said in a release that it spoke to KRXQ-FM President and General Manager John Geary regarding the station's planned actions to apologize after the notice was posted and were assured "that the issue would be dealt with in a frank and positive manner this Thursday and that both Rob Williams and Arnie States will apologize."
GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson said KRXQ "appears to be taking this matter very seriously following widespread response from community members and advertisers."
The organization's President Neil Giuliano commented, "What people see and hear in the media has a huge impact on what they do everyday and how they treat LGBT people in their families, and local communities. We appreciate the proactive actions of advertisers who realize that their association with these dehumanizing remarks sends a dangerous message that this kind of defamation against our community is okay."
GLAAD says that two transgender advocates, Kim Pearson and Autumn Sandeen, are to appear on the program and further educate the hosts and their listeners about transgender issues and adds, "GLAAD's Media Programs team will continue providing resources about transgender issues to KRXQ and co-host Dawn Rossi, who has defended the community, prior to Thursday's broadcast."
So far Entercom seems to have made no response to any of the queries it has received about the issue.
GLAAD news release:
KRQX web site:
2009-06-09: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin upholds one radio standards complaint and four involving TV as well as detailing one TV Standards and one TV Fairness and Privacy complaint not upheld: It also notes its GBP 15,000 fine on Lakeland Radio for running a competition that entrants could not win (Already reported - See RNW May 29) and adds a supplementary note regarding a ruling against Jon Gaunt, then of UTV relating to comments made in which he called a local councillor a Nazi" and an "ignorant pig" , comments that led to his dismissal (See RNW Nov 19, 2008). In relation to this it notes that Gaunt is disputing some of the comments made by the station but adds that its ruling was made on the contents of the broadcast and is thus unaffected.
The numbers compare with two radio standards complaints upheld in the previous Bulletin in which it also imposed TV fines, upheld a TV standards complaint, partly upheld a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint and gave details of a TV Standards complaint that was not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld in the latest bulletin concerned The Noon Show on Bristol Community station Ujima Radio, which is part of the CEED Charity Ltd (Centre for Employment and Enterprise Development)
The edition of the show concerned involved the presenter reading out a newspaper story called "The secret life of a male prostitute" followed by comments about issues relating to black homosexuals and specifically the man "Elijah",", featured in the story plus comments about homosexuality in general.
In one comment the presenter said, "We're taking a moment to readjust here, readjust ourself, ask God Almighty to set us straight and keep us free from the pestilence that certainly has fallen on us and certainly is a pestilence" and in another he commented, "don't like to believe we are the most homophobic, I like to look at it as we are the most right thinking. It's as simple as that. Because if you didn't think right, you wouldn't be here in the first place as there wouldn't be such [a] thing as procreation, and procreation has to continue between man and woman don't get it twisted and don't get sick out there, real talk now it takes a man and hormone. Adam and Eve, simple, simple, simple. Argue your case with God Almighty."
The comments and others led to a complaint that they were "offensive towards the gay community" and wrote to the station, which responded by saying that it had terminated the presenter's volunteer contract because of the comments and broadcast an on-air apology the following week. In addition, the broadcaster said that it had reminded all of its presenters of the policies and procedures it has in place in order to comply with the Code. It has also provided guidance. The broadcaster said that it has also carried out training on the Code and compulsory online legal training for all presenters.
Ofcom noted the measures taken but also said it was "concerned by this material and in particular the language used and the homophobic tone and manner in which the comments were made" adding that in its view "such comments would reasonably have been perceived as hostile and pejorative towards the gay community and had the potential to cause considerable offence. It ruled that broadcasting codes had been breached.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 177 TV complaints against 98 items and 17radio complaints against 15 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compared to 351 TV complaints against 178 items and 44 radio complaints against 23 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit that were listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-06-08: Clear Channel has named Advertising & Marketing Veteran John Partilla as Corporate EVP and President, Global Media Sales.
He joins the company from Time Warner, where he led Time Warner's Global Media Group and will report to Clear Channel's CEO Mark Mays who commented, "We've driven a tremendous increase in the value of our radio and outdoor platforms to national brands over the past five years and now is the time to accelerate and expand our attention to chief marketing officers and brand managers. John is widely respected as a creative and 'intrepreneurial' leader with a deep understanding of client needs. His success in crafting differentiated solutions makes him the ideal strategic sales executive for us at this important time."
Partilla highlighted technological change in his response, commenting, "We're entering a new era for advertising and marketing, and the strides that Clear Channel has made in digital platforms across both the radio and outdoor businesses are an outstanding match for the new demands being placed on marketers.
"Realizing that potential will require adding strategic and creative value for our best advertising partners - helping them solve their most critical business problems. The result will be more revenue across all of Clear Channel's businesses. I'm incredibly excited to begin this new chapter with Clear Channel."
Clear Channel has also promoted its digital success in a news release in which it says it is now attracting 22 million digital users a month to its sites - and that some stations are seeing a 15% increase in listening - and announced improvements to its online platform including the launch of a new media player that it says will serve as a "single gateway to more than 350 streaming AM/FM broadcasts" and its "entire library of original on-demand audio and video programming, and social media elements including on-air talent blogs and photos." It also noted that its iheartradio mobile application is showing consistent growth.
Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan commented, "Our continuing transformation into a highly successful content creation and distribution company is impressive. Five years ago, we believed our content could be the most compelling on any platform. Today, that's a fact. We now produce and deliver original video, audio and data via broadcast streams and on demand.
"And the engagement statistics for our digital platforms are simply stunning. It's a tremendous validation of our strategy to grow organically, augmenting the expertise of our programming and engineering professionals with the knowledge and innovation inherent in new media. I applaud the ingenuity, perseverance and undaunted commitment of our incredibly talented team."
In another US radio appointment, National Public Radio (NPR) has named Debra Delman, former Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Discovery Networks International, as its Senior Vice President for Strategic Operations and Finance
Making the announcement NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller said in a release, "Debra is a top notch leader in the business of media and I'm thrilled to have her on board. She brings a wide breadth of experience to the table that will undoubtedly help NPR grow new forms of revenue while championing NPR's most valuable asset - its people."
Delman commented, "NPR's quality programming and fierce audience loyalty sets it apart from other media organizations. My goal is to help NPR leverage its unique assets and achieve its mission so that NPR successfully navigates and ultimately thrives during any economic climate."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2009-06-08: Planet Rock, which last year took the Sony "Digital Station of the Year" award when it was owned by GCap Media (See RNW May 13, 2008) has added this year's Arqiva "Commercial Digital Station of the Year" award to take its total of digital station awards to six: Earlier this year it had won a similar award at the Freesat Awards 2009.
Commenting on the award businessman Malcolm Bluemel, who bought the station a year ago (See RNW Jun 5, 2008) said, "This is a fantastic achievement by the Planet Rock team. To get recognition by our peers, makes all the hard work put in over the last year justified. The station is going from strength to strength and we look forward to challenges ahead making this station as big as the music it plays".
The other Station of the Year awards went to UTV's talkSPORT (for stations broadcasting to a potential audience of more than a million), Lincs FM's Lincs FM (for stations broadcasting to a population from 300,000 to a million) and to UKRD's Star Radio, Cambridge, for stations broadcasting to fewer than 300,000 people.
In addition GMG Radio took the Arqiva Gold Award for its investment in documentaries with the judges commenting, "In an area where the BBC has a stranglehold, GMG proved that Commercial Radio can work well with independent production companies and achieve very impressive results".
Amongst individual awards, Darren Henley of Global Radio's Classic FM took the programmer of the year award and Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott took the presenters of the year award for Global Radio-owned Heart FM and former GMG chief executive John Myers was awarded the Commercial Radio Special Award for his outstanding contribution to the Commercial Radio Industry.
The awards, now in their 14th year, were presented at a ceremony hosted by Absolute Radio breakfast host Christian O'Connell and are organized by UK commercial radio industry body The RadioCentre.
Its chief executive Andrew Harrison noted that they "recognise the huge diversity of programming that Commercial Radio offers - these stations work incredibly hard day in day out to ensure their listeners hear great radio programmes - congratulations to all the winners."
Arqiva's head of radio Paul Eaton added, "It's great to be supporting these prestigious awards for the 10th year in a row. The number of submissions again this year has been very encouraging, and the level of expertise among all entries is forever increasing. Our congratulations go to all winners and Arqiva is very proud to help recognise the entire radio production chain and support functions."
The other awards were:
The Arqiva Commercial Radio Marketing Award - Sponsorship & Promotions Team - 107.6 Juice FM (UTV)
National sales team of the year - TalkSport (UTV).
Local sales team of the year - Alpha Radio (The Local Radio Company)
The Neil Robinson Memorial Award for Marketing Excellence - Suzanne Grant - Radio City 96.7, City Talk 105.9 & Magic 1548 (Bauer)
The Arqiva Commercial Radio News Award - Pirate FM News Team, Cornwall.
The Arqiva Commercial Radio Programme or Feature of the Year- Classic FM - The A-Z of Classic FM Music (Global Radio).
The Arqiva Commercial Radio Station Creative Award - Gary Muircroft, Carole McConnell & Ann-Marie Miller - Central FM, Falkirk.
The Arqiva / PPL Most Played UK Artist on Commercial Radio - Take That.
The Arqiva Commercial Radio Technical Innovation Award - Global Radio Creative Technology Team for the iPhone Application.
The Arqiva / Skillset Commercial Radio Presentation Newcomer of the Year - Ryan Taylor - STAR Radio Cambridge (UKRD).
The Arqiva Commercial Radio Station Sound Award - JACKfm, Oxford (JACKfm).
The Arqiva Schools Radio Award in association with Vision Charity - Chepping View Primary School.
The Arqiva Social Action Initiative Award - 97.4 Rock FM, Preston and Blackpool - Breakfast Breakout
The RadioCentre Chairman's Award - the Central Office of Information.
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous Planet Rock:
2009-06-07: Last week the main regulatory news again came from the US where the re-nomination of Robert MK. McDowell for a second term looks likely to free the current logjam and lead to a full commission - with the impending departure of Jonathan S. Adelstein there are vacancies for a chairman plus a Democrat and Republican Commissioner.
Elsewhere things were again fairly quiet with no radio postings in Ireland or the UK and only one in Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has accepted enforceable undertakings from Darling Downs Broadcasting Society Inc , licensee of Toowoomba, Queensland, community broadcaster 4DDB following investigations launched after complaints that the station was broadcasting advertisements, broadcasting sponsorship announcements in excess of the five minute per hour limit and operating for profit.
The ACMA launched three investigations and found breaches of the advertisement and sponsorship and profit making provisions of Australia's Broadcasting Services Act and the licensee will now implement new policies and procedures, conduct training and terminate a commercial agreement with a third party, actions the agency says should mean that it is less likely the service will further contravene the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. It also notes that the measures mean it can in future apply to the Federal Court for an order to enforce the undertaking's terms.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was involved in a few more radio postings including the following:
*Approval of applications by L.A. Radio Group Inc. to use the frequency 101.3 MHz for its new 27,000 watts New Hit Music English -language commercial FM in Red Deer that was approved last year subject to the finding of a suitable alternative frequency to the one originally applied for.
Approval of applications by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for a new 2,100 watts Soft Adult Contemporary English language commercial FM and by Instant Information Services Incorporated for a new 27 watts low-power tourist information FM, each to serve Orillia.
The applications were amongst eight applications for new stations to serve Orillia, some of which are mutually exclusive on a technical basis.
Rejected were applications from:
*Debra McLaughlin, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 2,900 watts Adult Album Alternative English-language commercial FM.
*Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 5,600 watts English-language Adult Contemporary commercial FM.
*Larche Communications Inc. for a 1,000 watts English-language Hot Adult Contemporary commercial FM.
*Newcap Inc. for a 1,000 watts English-language Contemporary Hit Radio commercial FM.
*Nick Montague, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 332 watts English-language Classic Rock and Outlaw Country commercial FM.
*Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd. for a 6,000 watts English-language Hot Adult Contemporary commercial FM.
*Approval of application by Instant Information Services Incorporated for a 25 watts low-power tourist information FM radio station to serve Bracebridge and Gravenhurst and by Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Limited to increase the power of its English-language commercial station CFBK-FM, Huntsville, from 5,000 to 43,400 watts
These two applications were amongst seven applications - six for new services -for the market and the approvals came by a majority decision with Commissioner Marc Patrone issuing a dissent on the basis that in attempts to protect the market's viability they had "only hurt the market's capacity to add diversity and as a result undercut its potential to generate listener and business interest over the long term."
He said the commission in his view had "its way by succumbing to recessionary fears."
The addition of a new service had been opposed by Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc., which operates the only commercial station in the market - Hot AC CFBG-FM - and said a new station would have a potentially devastating financial impact on CFBG in the context of the current economic downturn.
The rejected applications were from:
*Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for a 12,500 watts Classic Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Bill (William) Wrightsell, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 2,484 watts Easy Listening English-language commercial FM.
*Evanov Communications Inc., on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 2,484 watts Easy Listening English-language commercial FM.
*JOCO Communications Inc. for a 1,780 watts Oldies English-language commercial FM.
*JOCO Communications Inc. for a 1,780 watts All Hits/All Canadian English-language commercial FM.
The CRTC also posted an information bulletin concerning applications processed under its streamlined procedures in March and April including the following radio-related applications:
*Approval of change in the effective control of Rainbow Media Group Inc., licensee of CIRR-FM. Toronto, from control exercised by its board of directors to control exercised by Mr. William Vasil Evanov.
* Change in the effective control of 9202-1617 Québec inc., which has received approval of a licence for a French language FM Saguenay, Québec, from control exercised by Mr. Carl Gilbert to control exercised by the board of directors of Gilbert inc.
*Approval of change in contours of L.A. Radio Group Inc.'s CJUV-FM Lacombe, Alberta.
*Approval of change in contours of Touch Canada Broadcasting Limited Partnership's CJSI-FM, Calgary, Alberta.
*Approval of change in contours of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's transmitter CBGA-FM-7. Ste-Anne-des-Monts, Quebec.
*Approval of extension of to July 6, 2010, of deadline for Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio Ltd. to commence operation of its commercial ethnic specialty FM approved in July 2007.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted appears to be on the way to a full set of Commissioners following the re-nomination of Republican Robert M, McDowell for a second term (See RNW June 3).
In addition the FCC has extended yet again the deadline for Sirius-XM to provide 4% of their channels to qualified entities (See RNW Jun 1) and also following its April adoption of a Report and Order and Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to Promoting Diversification in the Broadcasting Services has suspending the filing requirement for its existing Form 323 for licensees who would otherwise be required to file between the date of this Order and November 1, 2009.
The class of licensees required to fill in the form, which provides ownership information about broadcast facilities, is enlarged in the order which substituted a uniform biennial filing deadline for the current system of rolling filing deadlines that are tied to a station's renewal anniversary and the FCC commented that it believed that it is in the public interest to relieve filers from the burden of filing the existing Form 323 within the six months prior to the new November 1 filing requirement.
In enforcement actions the agency has issued a number of penalties or proposed penalties including those below relating to radio:
*Issued USD 7,000 forfeiture to WBCE, Inc., former licensee of WBCE-AM, Wickliffe, Kentucky, for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation. The FCC had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount and the current licensee David Courtney, filed a Request for Cancellation or Reduction
WBCE had acquired the station through a bank loan and when the bank accelerated the repayment was unable to meet the payments and the bank foreclosed on the loan: Then WBCE Inc President Jim Baggett, was under the impression that, due to the foreclosure, it was not possible to obtain a grant of license renewal for the station or for WBCE, Inc. to submit an application for renewal itself and the bank had not created a receivership or bankruptcy proceeding and did not file a renewal application.
Subsequently the station was sold at auction to Courtney subject to Commission consent to assignment - and in this case - renewal of the license: Courtney argued that the station is insolvent and thus unable to pay any monetary forfeiture but did not produce documentation concerning ability to pay that met FCC requirements. The full penalty was accordingly confirmed.
*Issued USD 7,000 forfeiture to Meade County Communications, Inc., licensee of WMMG-FM, Brandenburg, Kentucky, for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation.
The FCC had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount to which the licensee responded by requesting cancellation or reduction on the basis that the failure to file the application was inadvertent; that the violation had been voluntarily disclosed that the forfeiture would create a "terrible financial burden" on the station and that the station had a history of compliance.
The licensee said it had tried to file a renewal application in time and thought it had done so because it had successfully filed an AM station renewal on the same day.
The FCC said it had no record of an attempt to file; regarding ability to pay said federal tax returns filed did not justify a reduction; and noted in relation to compliance that the licensee had been fined USD 3,000 for a violation during the term of the licence. It confirmed the full penalty.
*Issued USD 1,500 NAL to Cobra Broadcasting Co., licensee of KBRA-FM, Freer, Texas, for late filing of renewal application.
*Issued USD 1,200 forfeiture to WLVV, Inc., licensee of WLVV-AM, Mobile, Alabama, for late filing of renewal application. The FCC had issued an NAL for USD 1,500 but the licensee requested reduction or cancellation on the basis of inability to pay because it was affected by Hurricane Katrina and a history of compliance. The FCC rejected the financial argument but reduced the penalty on the basis of a history of compliance.
In a number of contested licensing decisions the agency:
*Approved the transfer of the licence of KKAY-AM, White Castle, Louisiana, from Cactus Communications, LLC to Stafford and Starr, LLC and rejected a petition to deny from White Castle Mayor Maurice A. Brown and others and also informal listener complaints against the assignment application sent to it by Harry Hoyler and Donaldsonville, Louisiana, Fire Department Chief Chuck Montero.
The Mayor and 17 others had objected on the basis that the station "unselfishly gives" to the community and "is the only voice for the Black community in [the] area" and contended that the assignee "plans to immediately move the radio station and remove all local Black programming."
The other two objections were on the basis that among other things that the assignee is involved in a federal district court bankruptcy proceeding facing allegations of "fraudulent actions" and involving KTIB-AM, Thibodaux, Louisiana. In addition Hoyler said that that he has "personal knowledge" that Michael Starr, one of the parties, made misrepresentations to the Commission concerning special temporary authorization requests for KTIB due to "hurricane . . . damage" but he toured the station facilities and found no such damage.
The FCC notes that it does not "not scrutinize or regulate programming formats, nor does it take programming format into consideration in making its licensing decisions" and relating to Hoyler's objections says it does not follow that misconduct at one station is necessarily imputed to a licensee's other stations. The other allegations made, it said, were unsubstantiated and it granted the application.
In California, the FCC denied Petitions for Reconsideration filed by filed by Buckley Broadcasting of California, LLC asking for reconsideration of a staff decision granting the application of Aurora Communications, Inc. for a new commercial FM facility to serve Carmel Valley, California.
Concurrently it granted an application to assign the construction permit for the new station from Aurora to Lazer Licenses, LLC., to which Buckley had also objected.
Buckley had argued that Aurora's proposed antenna site would not offer line-of-sight service nor provide sufficient signal coverage to Carmel Valley and that the path from the proposed antenna site to the city of license was blocked by mountainous terrain but the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology concluded that there was no major terrain obstruction.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2009-06-06: More US talk show hosts are in hot water over comments they have made including Arnie States of Entercom's KRXQ-FM shoes comments on transgender has led to advertisers cancelling deals with the stations; Tom Finneran of Entercom's WRKO-AM, whose use of the term "bullshit" on air could lead to a fine from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ; and Bill Handel of Clear Channel's KFI-AM, who suggested selling Glendale "to get rid of all the Armenians" and banishing immigrant groups as a way of easing health care costs.
The US Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GLAAD) is claiming that some ten advertisers - including Bank of America, McDonald's, Nissan and Verizon - have now pulled their advertising from Entercom's Sacramento KRXQ-FM or said they won't renew contracts with the station following comments made on the "Rob, Arnie & Dawn" show last month in relation to a story of an 8-years-old Omaha boy who has expressed transgender feelings and whose parents are to allow him to live as a girl.
As a result the Catholic school that he attends considered that he would be unwelcome to attend as a girl and the boy is to attend a public school: Host Arnie States said he considered the transgender movement in America to be "phony" and said that an adult said he was a "man trapped in a woman's body" was a "freak" ,a "weirdo" and then continued on to comment, "What makes me sick about this are those parents in America that are continuing to create and allow their children, very young children to say 'Mommy, I'm a, I'm a girl trapped in a boy's body. I want to wear a dwess and then they let them clop around the house in a dress; they let them wear make-up, right! At five, six, 20, ten, twelve years old. Of course the kid thinks he's a girl and his parents are there enforcing the idea that he's a girl trapped in a boy's body and vice=versa instead of taking him out to play baseball. This is what's sickening!"
At this stage Dawn Rossi dissented, commenting on people who had gone through the process and had counselling at which stage States interrupted saying "the entire counselling community is complicit in enabling this" and after Rossi had said that maybe some children are acting out to gain attention but this does not take up issue of others who "always felt they were trapped in a different body" (Grunts like a pig were emitted by States during her comments) went on to dismiss her viewpoint, with Rob Williams and Yates launching into further attacks on transgender people as looking for attention and therapists for their fees
A caller then attacked Rossi's comments to which she responded with detail of cases she had found and was again attacked by her co-hosts who spoke of telling a child who wanted to walk around in a dress "No! That's not what boys do!" and deriding what doctors said etc.
She was then accused of defending freaks - "A boy who wears a dress is a freak. He's a nut."
Subsequently after deriding further comments from Rossi and grunting, Yates commented, "If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him, because you know what. Boys don't wear high heels. And in my house they definitely don't wear high heels."
The Sacramento Bee said that States said that he didn't do anything wrong and that he never advocated abuse of children saying, "That's a joke. I didn't do anything wrong."
It also quoted Rashad Robinson, media programs director for GLAAD, as saying, "When members of the media make dehumanizing remarks," he added, "it sends a dangerous message that this kind of defamation against our community is OK " and Barbara O'Connor of California State University, Sacramento's Institute for the Study of Politics and Media as saying the effect it to reinforced existing listeners' attitudes "It doesn't incite them, just affirms them", a comment borne out to a degree by the listener's comments to the programme that were overwhelmingly in agreement with Williams and Yates.
KRXQ-FM station director Jim Fox said that they'd received more calls and e-mails about the programme than normal but said most was coming from outside its listening area in Sacramento and Reno(where the show is re-broadcast), and defended the show for the good it has done for community projects.
Finneran's comments came during banter about former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi's legal woes - he is facing up to 20 years in prison for allegedly taking kickbacks: The Boston Herald reports that he had been going on and on about DiMasi when his producer Bill Cooksey began playing banjo music leading Finneran to lose his temper and commenting, "Take your banjo and shove it up your ass, Cooksey. I'm going to shove it down your throat next."
Co-host Todd Feinburg asked why Finneran was "so defensive and sensitive about this" and received the response, "This is bullshit - what's going on. You're playing dumb, and Cooksey's being a wiseass."
The paper notes that Finneran has used the bullshit epithet before on his show but in those cases the comments only made it on the Internet stream but not on the over-the-air broadcast.
In the third case host Bill Handel of Clear Channel's KFI-AM, Los Angeles, suggested that California's health care problems could be eased by selling off Glendale to "get rid of all the Armenians."
The comments came as Handel said border controls should be toughened and immigrant groups banished to ease the burden on the health-care system. The Glendale News Press noted that a producer had also commented, "What the Turks started, Bill will finish" and said KFI Program Director Robin Bertolucci termed the comments that also attacked Irish and Italian immigrants, a "crazy over-the-top parody": It also said she pointed out that Handel has publicly supported the efforts of Armenians to have the Genocide of 1915 officially recognized in the U.S.
The station removed audio of the show from its web site but the Armenian National Committee Burbank Chapter had recorded it and has circulated it in e-mail action alerts and the News Press quoted Peter Darakjian, director of the Armenian Council of America, as saying in a statement that if similar comments had been made about Jews or blacks, "they would turn the world upside down until they got justice."
Previous Clear Channel:
Boston Herald report:
GLAAD web site (carries link to MP3 of around 30 minutes of the Rob, Arnie & Dawn show):
Glendale News-Press report:
Sacramento Bee report:
2009-06-06: BBC Radio One has announced that BBC 1Xtra early breakfast host Des is to take over its weekend breakfast show in place of Nick Grimshaw who has moved to the 22:00 to midnight slot from Mondays to Thursdays.
Dev has been at 1Xtra since the station launched in 2002 - first presenting a Saturday show with Reggie Yates, and then hosting his own weekend show before early weekday breakfast: He will move to Radio One next month.
Following his departure the 1Xtra Breakfast Show with Trevor Nelson and Gemma Cairney, which currently runs for three hours after Dev's 06:00 to 08:00, will start an hour earlier at 07:00. Rampage's show will also start an hour earlier and run from 10:00 to 13:00 and Max gains an hour, continuing to end at 16:00 but starting at 13:00.
2009-06-06: A patent filing that claims it would allow existing Sirius and XM receivers to convert to an a-la-carte format has aroused speculation that Sirius-XM could use the technology to fulfil their promise to allow subscribers to offer the option without having to buy new receivers or receive via the Internet as had been previously supposed.
The filing was reported by Satwaves.com which notes that the patent says the method would allow existing receivers of a service to add supplemental content.
2009-06-05: The Local Radio Company, in which UKRD now has a majority shareholding, has announced that it has sold its 80% share of Fire Media, which runs Bournemouth's Fire Radio, to Westward Broadcasting, a wholly owned subsidiary of Triple Media Communications Group, for around GBP 40,000 (USD 64,000) - to be made up of an initial payment of GBP 1 plus a deferred payment of at least GBP 40,000 based on sales in the year ending 30th September 2009.
The company has a significant cash crisis and last week staved off bankruptcy through a GBP 1 million (USD 1.6 million) loan from UKRD (See RNW May 28): It noted that Fire Media in the seven months to the end of April this year had a turnover of GBP 216,500 (USD 346,000), an operating loss after central costs of GBP 129,000 (USD 206,000) and net liabilities of GBP 863,000 (USD 1.38 million).
Previous Local Radio Company:
2009-06-05: US District Court judge Ronald Lagueux has approved 13 settlements relating to the February 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, in which more than a hundred people died after fireworks used by the Great White rock group set fire to foam used as soundproofing.
In all the defendants who included the state of Rhode Island, brewer Anheuser Busch and Clear Channel, whose WHJY-FM promoted the concert and whose DJ Michael "The Doctor" Gonsalves, who introduced the band at the concert, died in the fire, had offered USD 176 million in settlement although they did not admit any wrongdoing.
Clear Channel was first named in a lawsuit related to the fire in March 2003 (See RNW Mar 12, 2003) at which time it denied any responsibility with its then senior vice president of marketing and communications Lisa Dollinger commenting, "''We are deeply saddened that plaintiffs' lawyers are looking for deep pockets to pick, rather than allowing people the requisite time to grieve for those whom we have lost."
In 2005 Judge Lagueux rejected a Clear Channel request to dismiss claims against WHJY-FM (See RNW Sep 28, 2005) and last year the company offered USD 22 million to settle the claims against it (See RNW Feb 14, 2008) taking the total then being offered in settlements to USD 71.5 million.
An AP report in The Day does not detail the payments to be made says that the money will be distributed amongst more than 300 plaintiffs using a point system devised by a Duke University law professor appointed by the victims' lawyers.
Previous Clear Channel:
The Day report:
2009-06-05: European automobile manufacturers and broadcasters have met at an international workshop to discuss factors relating to the European automotive industry offering digital radio as standard in all cars.
The meeting saw broadcasters from France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the Nordic countries confirming their commitment to the DAB family of standards for their countries and discussions with the automobile makers concerning key topics influencing the take up of digital radio in cars.
The meeting was organised by WorldDMB and supported by the German Automobile Association the VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie) and attended by representatives from Audi, BMW, Daimler AG, Ford, Land Rover & Jaguar, PSA Peugeot Citröen, Renault, Skoda, Toyota, and Volkswagen and Dr. Volker Schott of the VDA noted that there were 45 million receivers in automobiles in Germany alone and commented , "By bringing together the key players from both industries WorldDMB and its members are taking further steps to ensure that digital radio continues its success in Europe."
WorldDMB President Quentin Howard commented, "The digital radio industry sees the car sector as key to the successful uptake of digital radio in Europe and worldwide. By working together we can ensure the effective migration from analogue to digital across Europe. This workshop has been a positive step towards achieving this aim and understanding the requirements of the automotive sector."
DAB receivers are already available as an option in nearly a hundred European automobiles including some 50 German manufactured car models from brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Opel/Vauxhall.
2009-06-05: Representatives from 50 independent state broadcast associations have written to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to ask her to oppose taking a bill (of H.R. 848) calling for the payment of performance royalties by US terrestrial broadcasters to the full House.
The letter says those writing are expressing "strong and unified opposition" to the legislation that was sent to the House by House Judiciary Committee last month (See RNW May 13), notes support in the House to any such payments - more than a majority are opposing (See RNW Jun 3), and adds, "The impact of H.R. 848 would also be hitting the radio broadcast industry in the midst of the terrible economic climate. America's radio broadcasters already pay half a billion dollars annually to composers and music publishers through ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC."
It continues, "Mandating additional payments that will most directly benefit the record labels puts Congress in the position of siphoning off of hundreds of millions of dollars from local radio markets throughout America and sending most of those dollars overseas where the majority of record labels are headquartered. The Judiciary Committee is in the process of asking the GAO to study the impact of the bill on small, religious and minority-owned stations whose existence and future growth would be devastated under H.R. 848. Moving the bill before that study has been completed, made public and is evaluated would place the cart before the horse."
RNW comment: The attitude of the broadcasters would seem to us much like that of media in the former Soviet Union. They and the NAB don't seem to have much belief in either democracy or the free market.
2009-06-04: US radio revenues this year will fall 15% from 2008 to around USD 14 billion according to latest estimates from BIA Advisory Services in its quarterly "Investing In Radio Market Report": Earlier this year it had been forecasting a 10.6% fall .
On the plus side the report says the US economy has "has begun to bottom out and that it will not be quite as bad in the fall and winter months as it was in the beginning of the year" and it suggests this gives radio opportunities to "leverage new sources of income by making effective investments in new, sustainable ways to attract listeners."
BIA Advisory Services VP Mark R. Fratrik, Ph.D., commented of the figures in a release, "The residual effects from the recession had a detrimental impact on radio stations the first half of this year. However, facing this calamitous situation, radio has shown agility by adjusting its programming and how it's delivered, and listeners are responding. These adjustments could translate into a viable way of attracting advertisers and showing them positive returns on investment."
In terms of formats the report notes that, boosted by format flips, listening to news stations increased by 9.2% from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, an increase it puts down to losses for music formats because the music is available from sources other than radio and also because of a "growing consumer interest in local, political and economic news."
Amongst music format listening to rock and urban stations was up and BIA notes of changing formats that "Migration to new formats, in particular all-News, although expensive, has set radio on the path to carry over programming into multiple platforms, including the Web and mobile, where news applications are increasingly popular and can provide sources of income."
BIA's Kelsey Group PD of Mobile Local Media Michael Boland commented, "Many stations are creating apps for iPhones and other devices that offer streaming access at mobile users' fingertips. This move represents an opportunity to target different demographics of mobile users and gain incremental listeners, especially among younger groups."
2009-06-04: The BBC is accused of overpaying its radio talent in a report from the Public Accounts Committee released today that subsequently led to an exchange on the BBC Radio 3 "Today" programme in which host John Humphrys refused to release details of his remuneration.
The report - posted as a 28-page PDF - says in its summary "For most radio programmes, presenters' salaries represent the majority of programming costs, but the BBC is paying more than the market price for its top radio presenters. The BBC has been increasing its hourly rates for top presenters when commercial radio has been reducing its hourly rates for presenters. The BBC has prevented full public scrutiny of the value for money of expenditure on presenters by agreeing confidentiality clauses with some presenters."
Committee Chairman Edward Leigh attacked the BBC for refusing to release details noting that the National Audit Office has no statutory right to access BBC information "despite the fact that the Corporation is funded with over GBP 3 billion (USD 4.8 billion) of public money each year" and that the Comptroller and Auditor General had rightly refused to accept conditions the BBC put on release that would "constrain his discretion to report to Parliament on what he saw."
He added, "It is disgraceful that the NAO's lack of statutory audit access to the BBC puts the Corporation in the position to dictate what the spending watchdog can and cannot see. What the NAO has been able to find out is that the costs of similar programmes on different BBC networks vary widely. And, for most breakfast and 'drive time' shows, the BBC's costs per hour are much higher than those at commercial stations. This is primarily down to the size of contracts with top presenters which, the BBC has confirmed, absorb over three-quarters of staff costs on these shows. All of this places a big question mark over whether the BBC is achieving value for money for the licence payer."
As far as radio is concerned the report notes that the BBC in 2007-08 "spent GBP 462 million (USD 746 million_ on ten radio stations that broadcast to the whole of the United Kingdom (Network Stations) and two stations each for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (Nations Stations). The BBC has set these 16 stations a combined target of efficiency savings of GBP 69 million (USD 111 million) over the five year period to March 2013, representing an annual saving of 3 per cent."
It also noted a wide variation in the cost for similar programmes on different stations - saying the average cost of GBP 1,486 (USD 2,398) per hour on Radio 2 was more than 50% higher than on Radio 1 and that for "most breakfast and 'drivetime' slots, the BBC's costs are significantly higher than commercial stations, largely because of payments to presenters. The Wake up to Wogan show is, for example, more than twice the cost per hour of the most expensive commercial competitor. "The BBC has not, however, used cost comparisons across its own programmes, or against commercial radio, to identify scope for efficiencies. The BBC uses its principal value for money indicator - cost per listener hour - to justify the cost of presenters on the basis of audience size, but the indicator does not provide assurance that programme costs are the minimum necessary to reach the required quality and intended audience."
Although not officially released figures that have been published indicate that Terry Wogan is the most highly paid BBC radio host at around GBP 800,000 (USD 1.291 million) a year followed by his Radio 1 breakfast rival Chris Moyles on some GBP 630,000 (USD 1.01 million a year) with Radio 2 drive time host Chris Evans and Jonathan Ross taking GBP 540,000 (USD 872,000) and GBP 530,000 (USD 855,000) a year respectively for their radio shows.
BBC Radio 4 Today show host John Humphrys is reported to be on around GBP 150,000 ( USD 242,000) a year but on the programme today he declined to reveal his pay to Leigh who had commented, "'We, the public who pay your salaries, John, should have an idea of what you earn.
'I mean, you do a very good job but for instance: do you earn more than the Prime Minister, John?"
Humphrys responded 'Well, I'd love to be able to tell you that," to which Leigh replied, "Why don't you? It's a free country."
Humphrys then declined to reveal the figure, commenting, "As far as most presenters are concerned, and I include myself in that, we're not going to break ranks because it's for the BBC to make this decision. We're freelances."
The BBC Trust, which oversees the corporation, has said it had a "legal obligation" to staff not to disclose their salaries with Trustee Jeremy Peat expressing disappointment that the NAO would not sign an agreement to ensure legal obligations to staff under the Data Protection Act - as according to guidance from the Information Commissioner - were not breached.
Peat also said the Trust accepted BBC management arguments that to reveal the figures would risk driving up costs.
Public Accounts Committee report on BBC (28 Page 1.52 Mb PDF):
2009-06-04: According to the Financial Times some of the largest lenders to the private equity groups that bought Clear Channel Communications are to turn down a proposed debt exchange and hope to push the company into default.
The report follows a similar report in the New York Post last month that said some lenders could do better by forcing the company in bankruptcy (See RNW May 22) and says that negotiations are continuing and Clear Channel has not breached its debt covenants.
Previous Clear Channel:
Financial Times report:
2009-06-03: RNW note: We have again been delayed in posting oru weekly look at print comment on radio but are posting initial listening suggestions from the BBC: And first from BBC Radio 2 we suggest from Monday the continuing "Beverley's Gospel Nights", the second of six in the series; from Tuesday the third of the four-part "Harlem Timeline" and the fifth of the eight-part "You Heard It At The Movies" - this one on music for animation; from Thursday the fourth and final part of "The Wilson Dixon Line" and the second of the four-part "Miranda Hart's Joke Shop"; from Friday the third part of the four-part "Bonjour Mr Aznavour"; and from Saturday "Radio 2 Live", an exclusive show for Radio 2 from Yusuf, previously known as Cat Stevens.
Then to BBC Radio 3 and first we note that last Sunday was EBU Handel Day for those who are interested: Other suggestions from the day are "Words and Music" on the theme of illumination with readings are by Sian Thomas and Jamie Glover and "Jazz LineUp" featuring trumpeter Abram Wilson and pianist Bojan Z at the 2009 Bath Festival.
Then throughout the week there's "Composer of the Week" on Joseph Haydn, "Afternoon on 3" with Austrian Performing Groups, and "The Essay" on "Emotional Landscapes" - looking at Loss, Ambition, Courage, Bitterness, and Pride through the eyes of five contributors.
Other suggestions are Monday's "Night Waves" - a discussion of the influence of Polish directors on cultural life in Britain- and "Jazz on 3" - Julian Arguelles (saxophone) performing with John Abercrombie (guitar) at this year's Cheltenham Jazz Festival; Wednesday's "Performance on 3" of Haydn Symphonies; Friday's "The Verb" with Ian McMillan talking to novelist Zoe Heller and Daljit Nagra giving advice for aspiring poets; and Saturday's "Music Matters" in which Tom Service examines our attitudes to Haydn with the help of Alfred Brendel among others and "Opera on 3" - Bellini's setting of Vaccai's version of Romeo and Juliet from the Royal Opera House plus Clark Terry in "Jazz Library."
Moving to BBC Radio 4, we start with "Book of the Week" - "Jane's Fame" based on Claire Harman's look at Jane Austen's Life, the "Woman's Hour Drama" - "Writing the Century" - a series looking at the 20th century through the diaries of real people - in this case the 1950's diaries of Yorkshire Post Editor Linton Andrews (from a time when regional daily newspapers had real influence) and in the 14:45 GMT slot "America, Empire of Liberty".
Then on a day by day basis we suggest "Start the Week" from Monday including comment from David Simon, creator of "The Wire" on the drug war, Anthony Beevor on D-Day, novelist Susan Hill on Silence, and Michi Kaky talking about the physics of science fiction plus "Inside the Virtual Anthill: Open Source Means Business", alook at the idea of open source software and the strides it has made.
From Tuesday we suggest "Performing to the Red Light", the first of two programmes in which Terence Curran explores how performers cope with the demands of making a first recording and "The Eureka Years", the final programme of the current series and dealing with Albert Einstein's development of the theory of relativity and "What's the Point of " - the last in the series and this edition looking at the British Zoo.
From Wednesday we suggest "The Media Show" with a timely discussion of the duty of care TV companies owe to those who take part in their reality shows and "Thinking Allowed", which suggests that the institution of the political party is now outdated
To Thursday and "In our Time" discusses the Trial of Charles I and we also opt for "Off the Page" featuring discussion of why people avoid confronting reality and the consequences of that plus "Leading Edge" on attitudes to evolution.
From Friday we choose a regular with "The News Quiz" and also the "America, Empire of Liberty Omnibus" edition for those who prefer not to listen day-by-day - this week the theme was "Red or Dead" and from Saturday "Punt PI" in which, in the first part of a three-part series, Steve Punt examines rumours that Hitler was intending to set up his command HQ in Balham.
2009-06-03: A majority of the House of Representatives is now backing The Local Radio Freedom Act that opposed the introduction of performance royalties for terrestrial radio, an act that now has the support of 220 members of the house and 13 Senators.
The news was welcomed for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) by its Radio Board Chairman Steve Newberry who is also president and CEO of Kentucky-based Commonwealth Broadcasting.
He commented in an NAB release, "Today's milestone stands as a testament to the tireless efforts of NAB staff, our state association partners, and grassroots efforts of stations across America But this fight on behalf of 235 million weekly listeners is far from over. Our continued success is dependent on radio broadcasters remaining engaged in building additional support in Congress, and in reminding lawmakers of radio's unparalleled promotional value for both record labels and artists."
Newberry added that the "proposed record label performance tax stands as a dire threat to the future of free and local radio."
Some idea of the funds involved came in a report in Orbitcast that said Sirius-XM subscribers are likely to see their subscriptions increase by around USD 2 a month from the end of July as the satellite broadcaster intends to pass on to its customers the extra costs of increased royalty charges.
Under a decision of the Copyright Royalty Board the fees to satellite broadcasters will increase from 6% of gross revenues last year to 6.5% this year and then up by an additional 0.5% each year to reach 8% in 2012.
2009-06-03: Saying the current state of affairs has left it with no alternative, The Nielsen Company has announced that it is closing down Radio and Records, which was founded in 1973 by Bob Wilson and has subsequently been owned by Harte Hanks (bought it in 1979), Perry Capital (bought it in 1994) and was most recently bought in 2006 by VNU, which owned AC Nielsen, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter and a year later changed its name to The Nielsen Company.
The decision will put around 40 people out of work and the final edition of the magazine will be published on Friday: Electronic products are being closed today and the web site, currently reporting the closure as its main story, will be taken offline soon.
In the story R&R Editorial Director/Associate Publisher Cyndee Maxwell says everyone in the team "can hold their heads high on this very sad day. We had a highly talented group of people that always worked hard and gave it their best -- especially in the recent past. I deeply regret that this day has come. The good news for some other companies out there is that we have many fantastic people who are now available to put their excellent talents, abilities and skills to work for someone else."
Employees were told of the decision in a meeting today at which publisher Howard Appelbaum commented that it had been a "tough decision" but the magazine's "macro did not work" in the current economic climate.
Billboard, which is also owned by The Nielsen Company, will take over some airplay charts but no R & R staff are being kept on: Long-time publisher and president Erica Farber left R & R in January and there were severe cutbacks earlier this year.
Radio and Records web site:
2009-06-03: Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell is to be nominated by President Barack Obama for a second term with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a move that is expected to clear the way for the confirmation of Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman.
McDowell's term ended at the start of this month but he could have continued in the post until a replacement was named and there were suggestions of lobbying against his re-nomination (See RNW May 13).
The five seat commission is currently short of a Republican to replace Deborah Taylor Tate who left at the end of last year (See RNW Dec 31, 2008) - the Wall Street Journal says that Meredith Attwell Baker, a former acting head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is likely to be nominated for this seat.
In addition Mignon Clyburn, South Carolina public service commissioner and daughter of House Majority Whip and South Carolina Democrat James Clyburn (See RNW Apr 30), has been nominated for the seat currently held by Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein, whohas been nominated to the post of Administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (See RNW Mar 23) but will not move until after Genachowski is confirmed.
Welcoming McDowell's nomination National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) EVP Dennis Wharton said in a release, "NAB salutes President Obama and congratulates Commissioner McDowell We have deep respect for Commissioner McDowell. His good humour and open-minded approach to issues facing the commission have served the public well, and we look forward to working with him during his second term."
The re-nomination was also welcomed by Adelstein who said in a statement, "Rob's hard work and outstanding performance as Commissioner for the past three years merit this re-nomination. A thoughtful and conscientious public servant, Rob strives tirelessly to be knowledgeable about the granular details of all the issues that come before the Commission and to be fair to all interested parties representing views across the spectrum. He has earned a reputation for having the utmost integrity, demonstrating collegiality during very challenging times, and adhering to the rule of law -- all the hallmarks of excellence for this position. I consider Rob to be not just a colleague, but also a friend, and know that, if confirmed, he will continue to make great contributions to the work of the Commission."
2009-06-03: BBC Radio is to add online vision of a number of radio shows as they are broadcast in what it terms a "radio visualisation" trial that will run until the end of July.
The Corporation says the trial will begin by offering an enhanced, online version of Simon Mayo's BBC Radio 5 Live show - including being able to see what happens in the studios, watch guests being interviewed and read other listeners' text and email messages on screen - before being rolled out rolled out to other shows including "The Chris Moyles Show" and "Switch" on BBC Radio 1, "Material World" on BBC Radio 4 and "The Hub" on BBC 6 Music.
As regards content it says online audiences "will be able to view "glanceable" content - webcam streams, images, now playing and artist information, news and sports feeds - and interact with the programme through a pop-up console online and, later in the trial, by downloading an application to their mobile phone."
The Corporation ran a previous trial in January that it says has led it to include on-demand content - starting with 45-minute compilations of the best bits of Simon Mayo's programmes from the week that will be posted on Fridays - for those that miss the live broadcast, and a mobile version of the console.
Mark Friend, Controller of Multiplatform and Interactive, BBC Audio & Music said of the trial "The visualisation console is about enriching the digital listening experience. More people are consuming radio on different platforms and on devices that have screens.
"Just as DAB listeners might glance at their screen to see what track is playing or what DJ is coming up next," he continued, "the visualisation console experiments with putting all of our glanceable content in a single place in order to create a richer user experience. I look forward to what we can learn from this trial and being able to share findings with the wider radio industry."
2009-06-03: In yet further self-aggrandizing comments, San Francisco-based Conservative US host Michael Savage, who had launched a lawsuit against British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith over her ban on him entering the UK, is now claiming that he was responsible for her decision to step down from the post.
The San Francisco Chronicle quotes Savage as telling it, "This is very unusual that a mere shock jock would bring down a government official. The political pressure on her became so great that she was forced to step down.''
Smith, who says she will stand for re-election in her Redditch seat in the UK House of Commons, has been under attack for weeks over expenses claims and is one of a number of ministers and MPs who have said they will not stand again, step down from their posts, or repay expenses they have claimed: In her case she came under attack over claims for viewing pornographic movies - viewed by her husband but put down as part of her TV expenses - and also over claims for expenses in relation to her main home in Redditch and a second home - put down as her primary residence on the basis she was likely to spend most nights there - in London where she claimed for living in a house owned by her sister. (Her response to the allegations - they can easily be found in an online search - is here).
None of the UK reports that we have seen mentioned the ban on Savage in reporting her decision to resign from the Cabinet.
Savage in his comments to the Chronicle said his reason for going to law over the ban - he is now to ask Prime Minister Gordon Brown to lift it - was to "clear his name", continuing, "Let's not forget what I'm after: I want my name off the lists of murderers and terrorists.''
He also told the paper that because of the ban he's "had to hire "a full time private security patrol car outside my business and residence 'Think Salman Rushdie.''' [RNW comment: We did - Rushdie was subject of a fatwa calling for his murder from the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini after the publication of his "Satanic Verses" in addition to which the Turkish translator of the works was subjected to an arson attack that killed 37 other people, the Italian translator of the work was injured in a knife attack in Milan, the Norwegian publisher of the work was shot and injured, and the Japanese translator fatally stabbed. Rushdie had to be given protection from attacks for years and may still be at risk and for Savage to suggest his situation is remotely as serious as that faced by Rushdie to truly contemptible as well as being massively misleading.]
Savage is also suggesting he may take legal action against "Media Matters", which he suggests was involved in his being put on the UK banned list.
"I'm going to make an allegation that I can't support: these out of context sound bites came from Media Matters, funded by George Soros, whose goal is to wipe out conservative voices in America,'' he told the Chronicle. "If it turns out they're continuing to do this, they're next on my list. I'm not going to tolerate them trying to get me killed.''
Erikka Knuti, spokeswoman for Media Matters, told the Chronicle in relation to his comments about the organization, "If Savage has a problem with Media Matters posting audio and transcripts from his show on our website, then maybe he should more thoughtful about what he chooses to say.''
RNW comment: Despite the fact that we think Savage and indeed some of the right-wing publications that support him and are also claiming that the ban on his entering the UK led to Smith's downfall have to be raving mad, plain ignorant, blinkered, or very cynically exploiting the ignorance of the US public - we continue to take the view that the ban was unwise.
We also consider Savage's comments about Media Matters to be part of the anti-free speech stance that Savage seems happy to adopt when it suits him: he tried to use copyright law stop CAIR - the Council on American-Islamic Relations - from using excerpts from his show as examples of comments he made that they said should be rebutted. In that case despite dismissal of the copyright claim - and also of accusations or racketeering in support of terrorism against CAIR - Savage and some supporting groups claimed he had won because the court refused CAIR's claim that Savage should pay its court costs (See RNW Nov 18, 2008). We rather think justice would be best served if in all future cases Savage loses he is automatically ordered to pay the other side's costs as his lawsuits are likely to have a chilling effect on the free speech of others.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2009-06-02: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says 214 members of the House - four short of a majority - have now gone on record to oppose a performance royalty for music aired on terrestrial US stations, a charge it persists in terming a tax.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton commented of the numbers n a news release, "As opposition to the multinational record labels nears a House majority, lawmakers are growing acutely aware of this bill's negative impact on both musicians and the millions of listeners to America's hometown radio stations.
"Local radio remains an unparalleled provider of free promotion for recording artists, as well as a trusted friend to charities across America. Funnelling money from local radio to the foreign record labels will only hurt community-based organizations that rely on broadcasters in times of need."
2009-06-02: BBC international news services are attracting record audiences overall but there has been a fall in radio listening according to latest surveys for the corporation.
They showed that overall the BBC's Global News division attracted a record 238 million a week- up by five million on a year ago and boosted in part by the new BBC Arabic TV channel, to help in the financing of which some language broadcasts on radio were dropped: BBC World Service radio, however, was down by 5 million listeners to 177 million in 2008/9, although it is still the world's most popular international radio broadcaster.
Some of the radio losses came as a result of politics - Sri Lankan listening was down by 1.5 million after the corporation stopped its FM broadcasts because of government interference with the BBC's FM broadcasts in Sinhala and Tamil and listening in Iran was down by 1.6 million, partly because of the cutting of medium wave transmissions and also because of a decline in shortwave listening. A third area that saw a large decline was Nigeria, down 1.5 million, put down in this case to increased local competition.
There were increases in the UK, where listening to World Service radio was up 9% to a record 1.5 million in the first quarter of this year and also in the USA where listening has reached a record six million.
BBC Global News Director Richard Sambrook said of the surveys, "In a year when international radio listening to the BBC actually went down marginally, record overall global audiences demonstrate the success of our multimedia strategy and investments.
"People come to the BBC's international news services for journalism that is challenging and asks difficult questions, yet respects different points of view and actively encourages debate. Increasingly, audiences want access at a time and place that suits them."
2009-06-02: Polish public radio broadcaster Radio Wroclaw has launched a DAB+ trial covering the city of Wroclaw, Poland's fourth largest city with a population of some 640,000.
The trial is being conducted in co-operation between the station and two members of the Polish Forum of Digital Radio - the National Institute of Telecommunications and Network provider TP Emitel - and will include trials of DMB Mobile TV as well as four DAB+ audio services, both in the home and in automobiles.
Transmissions will be on Band III, the same frequency band used in the rest of Europe, and the licence is initially for six months although permanent services are expected to be launched at the end of the period.
The move is part of an expansion of digital radio services in Europe and experts from the Forum recently submitted recommendations to Poland's regulator recommending DAB+ for digital radio broadcasts and calling for a detailed frequency allotment plan for DAB+ across Poland.
Poland's neighbour, Germany, is to launch a nationwide DAB+ service whilst France has opted for a DMB service, to be launched at the end of the year.
Various DAB services - including the original DAB using MP2 encoding and DAB+ using AAC are already on air in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK: Denmark figures last month showed 29% of households now has a DAB receiver, just below the UK figure of 32%.
2009-06-02: Clear Channel has now named UB Rodriguez as the permanent afternoon drive on its urban contemporary WGCI-FM, Chicago. He had already moved to the slot on an interim basis from the start of April replacing Tony Sculfield, who moved to morning drive to replace Steve Harvey after Clear Channel dropped Tom Joyner from its WVAZ-FM (V103) and moved the Harvey Show to WVAZ (See RNW Mar 24).
Sculfield co-hosts "The Morning Riot" with Chantele and Leon Rogers, both of whom retain other roles: Chantele hosts the 10:00-13:00 shift on Clear Channel's WKSC-FM and Rogers will remain teamed with Frankie Robinson from 18:00 to 22:00 on WGCI.
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-06-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has of its own accord extended until August 28 the deadline for Sirius and XM Satellite Radio to implement their voluntary commitment as part of the approval of their merger to enter into agreements to provide 4% of the full-time audio channels on the Sirius and XM platforms to Qualified entities.
The agency approved the merger in July last year subject to conditions including the provision of these channels within four months saying it would provide details necessary for implementation later.
Subsequently the FCC Media Bureau on its own initiative extended the deadline from November 28 last year to February 27 because it had not provided the details and in February this year it issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the matter and also extended the compliance deadline to May 29 (See RNW Feb 27): The FCC notes that in response to the Public Notice it received a number of additional concerns and proposed a range of models for implementation of the channel provision.
2009-06-01: Amazing Radio, a service playing music by unsigned bands, today replaced Birdsong Radio on the UK Digital One national multiplex, now owned by Arqiva. The birdsong channel, which had been using a vacant slot on the multiplex, is still available online either through the birdsong radio site (although we had problems with that this week) or as a channel on Pure Digital's "Lounge" service (Go to Pure's web site, select the Lounge and then go to Tune in and search for "birdsong" in the station list.)
Amazing Radio, which has set up a six month trial on the multiplex, will source its music from songs that have been uploaded to the amazingtunes website that was launched in 2006 and currently has around 15,000 tracks in its archive. Bands can upload music for free and where downloads are offered get 70% of the monies received after expenses.
Amazing Radio's parent Amazing Media says it sees the launch as the first phase of an expansion and its founder, former BBC Producer and long term musician Paul Campbell commented, "There's fantastic music on amazingtunes.com and our 'ethical downloads' give musicians the chance to make money from the songs they wrote and recorded. But we wanted to go further, to find new ways to get their talent noticed. It's normally impossible for new artists to get onto big radio stations. So we made our own".
As well as artists the station will feature new presenters - 'unsigned voices', who upload a demo voice track to amazingradio.co.uk whilst its playlists will be chosen by the listeners.
Digital One's Acting Chief Executive, Glyn Jones, said of the launch. "We started a process at the beginning of the year to attract new stations to the national airwaves. But Amazing Radio is more than just another radio station and another step towards a full multiplex. It promises to be innovative both in terms of its content and business plan. And over the six month fixed term that it's on air, it's going to create some noise and some waves."
Jones expressed regret at the loss of Birdsong but noted, "When the channel went on air, back in January 2008, we warned that the transmission could cease at any time. There's never going to be a good time to pull the plug on what some regard as a national treasure, but we're hoping that at this time of year many people will find an alternative simply by opening a window or taking a walk in the park or countryside."
Previous Digital One:
Amazing Radio web site:
Amazingtunes web site:
Birdsong web site:
2009-06-01: Arbitron, which last week told staff that SVP/Press & Investor Relations Thom Mocarsky is to step down at the end of this month after more than a quarter of a century with the company (See RNW May 26), has now announced the appointment of Deirdre Blackwood as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, reporting to Alton Adams, the Company's Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
She was most recently Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations with Virginia-based satellite-terrestrial telecommunications company TerreStar Networks, Inc. and Arbitron said in a release she was "charged with consolidating the Corporate Communications group, which includes Marketing Communications, Public Relations, and Investor Relations and will be driving enhanced communications initiatives between Arbitron and its key stakeholders."
It added that she had led corporate brand development, financial transaction and repositioning initiatives and public affairs and issues management campaigns for corporations and governmental clients and Adams commented, "As Arbitron moves in new directions, it was critical to combine these communications functions in order to better align strategic communications and message development around our key growth initiatives. Deirdre's expertise across the breadth of communications disciplines will help drive Arbitron's communications initiatives and help better address the need for timely, disciplined and unified external messaging to our key constituencies -- which is critical during this time of rapid change."
2009-06-01: The launch of digital radio in Sydney, Australia, which had been scheduled for the end of May, has been delayed due to weather conditions and is now expected on Thursday according to the industry's digitalradioplus website, which warns that there could be still further delays.
Commercial stations have already launched the DAB+ broadcasts in the Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth marlets but the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Services are launching later - the ABC is trailing a July 1 launch.
Commercial stations had to be on the air before July 1 as they would lose their digital spectrum rights if they did not launch by then.
DAB+ allows broadcast of data as well as audio and The Australian reported that Sydney-based racing channel 2KY, which is today rebranding itself as Sky Sport Radio, is to turn on its data stream with the launch: It quoted Brendan Parnell, the station's chief operating officer, as saying, "We will use the data element for a combination of results, odds, tips, racing and sports news. And there's the potential to have some photo finishes and other images, but the initial offer will be the data."
"We cover over 60,000 races a year, and when you convert that into tips and odds that's an enormous amount of data, and you can't get all that just from listening to radio," he added. "And the pause and rewind function is great, because if you are on a phone call when a race starts you can pause the race and hear it back later on."
He also said Sky was working with industry body Commercial Radio Australia to lobby the federal Government to release digital radio spectrum in the New South Wales regional markets that it already serves with analogue broadcasts.
As regards the public, Austereo's head of digital strategy, Jeremy Macvean, said they were not making forecasts on the likely take-up of digital radio, but were "very happy" with the success of the their digital station Radar's success as an online station.
The paper also quoted Colin Crawford, marketing director of British digital radio manufacturer Pure, as saying sales of digital radios in Britain were driven by greater choice and sound quality: Customers also want a little bit of extra functionality, but not a huge amount because we are talking about radio people here -- they don't want a weird gadget; they just want a better radio," Mr Crawford added, noting that his company had 11 models including an automobile model on sale in Australia.
The Australian report:
Digitalradioplus web site:
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