July 2009 Archive
-June 2009 - August 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.
2009-07-31: Republican Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker has now been sworn in and welcomed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski who in a statement said her "broad and deep experience will be a tremendous benefit to the FCC."
On a more general note he added, "At this critical moment in history, I look forward to collaborating with my fellow Commissioners on ways that the agency can improve the lives of all Americans through communications."
Baker, who is so far not listed on the FCC Commissioners list, said in a statement, "I am grateful to President Barack Obama for nominating me, and the United States Senate for confirming me, to this important position and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working on policies and programs that will help build a 21st Century communications infrastructure that can provide sustained economic growth, opportunity and prosperity for the nation, and for all telecommunications users."
She ended, "Finally, I am excited to be joining Chairman Julius Genachowski, and Commissioners Michael Copps, Robert McDowell, and Mignon Clyburn (incoming Democrat Commissioner who is yet to be sworn in) to ensure that our communications networks and technologies serve the nation's needs and improve the lives of all Americans."
2009-07-31: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard have both now become involved in the row over the "Lie Detector" programme segment on the Kyle and Jackie O Show on Austereo's Sydney 2-DAY in which a 14-years-old girl blurted out on air in response to questioning about her sexual experience that she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Jul 30).
Rudd commented that a police investigation that has now been launched was "entirely appropriate" in a "tragic situation for this young girl and she deserves all the support and counselling she needs" and Gillard said the hosts should have considered the girl's welfare.
According to the Herald-Sun the hosts, who have apologised on air, will not face disciplinary action from Austereo's management and Sandilands will also be back on the Ten Network TV as a judge on Australian Idol when it is aired next month.: Complaints have been made both to the station and to the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) which is currently re-directing them to the station after which it will investigate if complainants are not satisfied with the responses they receive.
Sandilands appears to be laying much of the blame on the media for blowing the incident up, telling his listeners, "It was sad to watch some of the newspapers skew this in an evil way. Some people are pointing the finger, saying we are no better than a child predator."
Many of the responses to stories in the Australian media take a different view, with a common comment being along the lines that irrespective of what came out on air - the girl's mother, who asked the question, was said by the girl to have been told about the rape - it was inappropriate to question a 14-year-old about her sexual experiences live on the show.
This line was also in a blog on the News.Com.au website by Evan Maloney in which he commented in part "But the question still remains, as shocked as the shock jocks were, why on earth would they ever decide to allow a mother to question her 14 year old daughter on a lie detector about her sexual habits? Why weren't alarm bells ringing well before the segment went live to air? The girl was fourteen years old, even if she had not been raped what kind of sick human being thinks the sex life of an under aged girl might offer (might) good entertainment for a live radio show?"
There has also been a growing call for the programme to be killed and its hosts sacked: A statement put out by Kids Free 2B Kids comments, "The lie detector radio stunt on 2Day FM involving a 14-year-old girl who revealed she had been raped at age 12, was a gross violation of her human rights.
"The girl, Rachel, was strapped to a lie detector test, to be interrogated about school, drugs and her sexual experience by Austereo's Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O and the girl's mother.
Rachel was deliberately subjected to fear and distress. Her protests that she was scared and that it wasn't fair were ignored. It is the height of irresponsibility to hook any child up to a lie detector test. This is compounded when the intention is to expose a girl to a live outing of her sexual experience."
"Regardless of any excuses about lack of advance knowledge that the girl had been raped, there is little doubt the aim was to publicly shame the child. A young girl's sexual experience is not relevant or appropriate for the entertainment of anyone This form of public outing and humiliation is abhorrent and must be condemned. There needs to be a penalty. This program should be axed."
RNW comment: As with a number of other cases of outrage over incidents that arouse public protest, we would expect the deciding factor to be how much actual outrage is publicly expressed.
Should this story continue to be headlines and comments grow, there may well be a withdrawal of advertising in which case, highly-rated or not, the show could well be at risk.
Our feeling in view of Sandilands reaction in asking the girl if the rape was the "the only (sexual) experience you've had" and his subsequent attempts to lay part of the blame on the media is that Austereo made a bad call in not immediately suspending him - Jackie O was more active in bringing the segment to an end and apologising to the girl at the time and it would have been unfair to suspend her unless the show itself had been suspended along with those involving in giving this stunt the go-ahead.
Had it done so, it would have blunted censure but as it is should protests continue it has no way out of an impasse without significant action and that in our view should now involve as severe a penalty for senior management who have not so far taken action as is levied on anybody, including Sandilands.
Previous Kyle & Jackie O:
Kids Free 2B Kids statement (62 kb PDF):
2009-07-30: Sirius XM, which has just extended CEO Mel Karmazin's contract (See RNW Jul 1), has now revealed in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that its President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein, who has been in the post since May 2004, has agreed a new contract running to July 27, 2013.
Under the agreement Greenstein receives a base salary starting at USD 850,000 with increases to at least USD 925,000 at the start of next year, at least USD 1 million at the start of 2011, at least USD 1.1 million at the start of 2012 and at least USD 1.25 million at the start of 2013.
Greenstein will also be eligible for bonuses and has an option to purchase 27.7 million shares of common stock at 43 cents per share:
Previous Sirius XM:
2009-07-30: The clash between US terrestrial radio and the recording industry and artists over the potential introduction of performance royalties seems to have turned personal in the case of singer Dionne Warwick and Radio One Inc founder and Chairwoman Catherine L Hughes.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Warwick says she was "surprised when Radio One's Cathy Hughes added my name to the list of African American artists and civil rights activists she's attacked in her vicious campaign against fairly compensating musicians for their work" and continues, "Then again, since smearing African American leaders to protect her profits has become Ms. Hughes siren song, maybe I shouldn't be surprised at all."
Warwick also derides claims of poverty from Hughes, writing, "In defending her refusal to fairly compensate the artists on whose back she earns her living, Ms. Hughes now claims poverty, which is pretty amazing considering Radio One owns 54 radio stations and reaped USD 316 million last year alone. She even paid her own son, Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins, a USD 10 million bonus. Far from a struggling company, Radio One sounds more like one of those Wall Street rip off firms where executives pay themselves big bonuses while they rip us off and throw their workers in the street."
She does accept however that some stations are struggling, commenting, If their profits and the bonuses Ms. Hughes has paid her son are any indicator, Radio One is hardly struggling. But there are small stations, especially gospel stations, in our communities that we love and that deserve our help. That's why the Civil Rights for Musicians Act (her term for the Performance Rights Act) protects these truly small radio stations while insisting even a big corporate radio firm like Radio One would only pay roughly what they earn off of about five commercials each day.
There are also attacks on Hughes for her attacks on US President Barack Obama during the presidential campaign and support for current Republican Party chairman Michael Steele, commenting of Hughes, "This is hardly a woman who is looking out for what's best for the African American community Better women than Ms. Hughes have spent a lifetime toiling to ensure equal rights and economic opportunity for black Americans. There is nothing "stupid" about insisting that African American workers are paid for their labour. The Civil Rights for Musicians Act is about economic justice for African American artists. It's about what's right. And it's about time."
Previous Radio One Inc:
Huffington Post - Warwick article:
2009-07-30: Cumulus's WNFM-FM, Nashville, which had been stunting for the previous day, has now flipped WNFM-FM from its former sports format to become i106hits - Nashville's Hit Music Station and has started airing 1006 hits in a row according to jingles in its current live stream.
The move adds a third CHR station to the market but leaves it without an ESPN outlet and The Tennessean in an article posted before this afternoon's change says that Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is also seeking a new home for its athletics, which was aired by WNFN under a contract with Cumulus that still has a year to run: It quoted MTSU Athletics Director Chris Massaro as saying he is still in talks with Cumulus, and that one of the company's four other area stations - WSM-FM The Wolf, WQQK-FM, WRQQ-FM and WTN-FM - could become the Blue Raiders' flagship and also notes that WMOT-FM, Murfreesboro, will continue to air MTSU games.
Massaro also noted that MTSU could opt out in case of a format change and said all options in the market were being explored.
Nashville has two remaining sports stations - WGFX-FM, a Fox Sports affiliate, and WNSR-AM, which is affiliated to Sporting News Radio.
The Tennessean report:
i106hits web site:
2009-07-30: Austereo's 2-DAY FM in Sydney and its breakfast team of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O have come under widespread criticism after a stunt on their Wednesday show in which a 14-years-old-girl who had been subjected to a lie detector test in a regular "Lie Detector" feature said that she had been raped when she was 12.
The incident has led to an investigation by child welfare authorities and calls for action against the station including at least one call for its licence to be revoked: The hosts in comment on the incident on their show today termed the incident "a weird experience" with Sandilands commenting that he was lucky to be doing the show from overseas this week- he is co-hosting the show from New Zealand - whilst Jackie said she wished that Wednesday could be wiped.
During the show, the girl, who had been submitted to the test by her mother who had expressed concern about her experiences with drugs and sex: Before the test she said on air that she was "scared" and the test "Wasn't fair" and when her mother asked if she had ever had sex responded, "I've already told you the story about this ... and don't look at me and smile because it's not funny" and then after a pause added, "Oh OK, I got raped when I was 12 years old."
Sandilands who has subsequently said he "floundered" on air on air after the response, then asked her "Right ... is that the only experience you've had?".
The mother then admitted she knew of the rape and the girl shouted, "Yet you still asked me the question!"
Sandilands writing of the incident on ThePunch web site commented, "There have only been a few occasions in my whole career that I've been sideswiped by something. When faced with a situation like what happened today, when a girl revealed live on air that she had been raped when she was 12, you react like anyone else. I was horrified.
"We have had the lie detector thing on regularly for about six years. It's a semi-regular segment on the show. We check with the mother before hand, and go through the questions they want asked."
He also wrote, "To tell you the truth I was floundering around, signalling to the producers and Jackie - down the camera - indicating that we had to get it off air.
"I didn't realise I had said "Have you had any other experiences?"
"At the same time I was speaking I was signalling to Jackie that we had to terminate the segment. I went into a slight panic as how to get the thing off the air and I was more focused on making that happen than on what I said."
RNW note: The Punch article had attracted 129 comments when we last checked with the vast majority critical of the host and the station with quite a lot of them saying there was no excuse for asking a 14-year-old girl about her sexual experiences live on air
"New South Wales NSW Community Services Minister Linda Burney said she was "appalled" about the incident and continued, "Issues as serious and sensitive as rape or child abuse (are) not appropriate to be discussed on live radio. It was apparent that the announcers were only interested in shock value and entertainment and weren't at all concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of a 14-year-old."
Karen Willis, manager of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre, said the girl could be "devastated" through knowing that listeners knew she was raped and commented, "That poor little girl, being cornered like that and being forced to tell the truth. People who have been sexually assaulted think that everyone is watching them and that they know. It's shocking stuff. What (the show) might like to do now is publicly apologise."
Austereo's general manager general manager Jenny Parkes said in a statement, "In the normal course of preparing the segment all due care and consideration was given to the family and clearly we didn't know anything about this traumatic incident," she added.
"The moment we became aware of it was live on air and we brought it to an end as soon as we possibly could. As is only appropriate, we are offering all the assistance we can to the family, including counselling, in what is of course an extraordinarily difficult situation."
The hosts in a statement said they felt "terrible about the turn of events this morning. Had we known ahead of time, this segment would never have gone to air. Whilst we're never usually lost for words, this morning we were shocked and dumbfounded by what we heard."
Previous Kyle & Jackie O:
The Australian report:
The Punch - Sandilands comments:
2009-07-29: iBiquity Digital Corporation has revealed in a Form D filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has sold a total of USD 42.5 million of preferred stock to existing investors including CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Entercom, and Radio One Inc. plus FirstMark Capital, Grotech, New Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures.
The filing does not detail the investments made but does note that of the total some USD 21.15 million was in cash with a little under that amount in existing shares of common stock and preferred stock in an exchange offer.
Radio One meanwhile in a Pre 14A filing on matters to be put to a vote at its Annual General Meeting of shareholders on September 17, has included a vote on a possible approval of "an amendment to Radio One's certificate of incorporation to effect a reverse stock split across all classes of our common stock by a ratio of not less than one-for-five and not more than one-for-fifty at any time prior to the next annual stockholders meeting, with the exact ratio to be set at a whole number within this range as determined by our board of directors in its discretion."
Also on the agenda are the usual votes on the election of broad members including re-election of founder and Chairperson Catherine L. Hughes and her son, CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III, D. Geoffrey Armstrong, Ronald E. Blaylock and B. Doyle Mitchell, Jr. plus approval of the company's 2009 Stock Option and Restricted Stock Plan,
Previous Radio One Inc:
2009-07-29: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski has the appointments of a number of key senior agency staff in the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO); Office of the General Counsel (OGC); Media Bureau, Enforcement Bureau, and Wireline Competition Bureau.
Thomas Reed, who was most recently with K&L Gates LLP in Washington DC, becomes Director of the OCBO; Carolyn Fleming-Williams, who served as Director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities, becomes its Senior Deputy Director; and Mark Lloyd, most recently the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights/ Education Fund, becomes Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer.
Genachoswki said of the appointments in a news release, "The FCC must ensure that the communications field is competitive, generates widespread opportunities, and is open to new ideas from all sources. This exceptionally talented team will collaborate on the policies and legal framework necessary to expand opportunities for women, minorities, and small businesses to participate in the communications marketplace."
In internal appointments William Lake, who was most recently the head of the DTV task force at the FCC, becomes Media Bureau Chief whilst Robert Ratcliffe, who most recently was Acting Chief of the Media Bureau having previously been Deputy Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, and Kris Monteith, who was most recently as Chief of the Enforcement Bureau and Deputy Bureau Chief for Outreach and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, become Media Bureau Deputy Chiefs.
In addition Suzanne Tetreault, currently serving as Acting Deputy Chief of the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, becomes Enforcement Bureau Deputy Chief and Sharon Gillett, Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, becomes Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau.
2009-07-28: Arbitron has responded to a request sent last week to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking that it "conduct a study of the use of the Portable People Meter (PPM) by Arbitron and its effect on advertising revenue streams for radio stations" by saying that "As always, Arbitron welcomes every opportunity to discuss the PPM technology, service and our sampling methodology."
The request, in a letter from ten members of Congress headed by Democrat John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, went on to comment, "While we understand that Arbitron is attempting to accurately account for all listenership, we want to ensure that use of the PPM is in fact counting all populations accurately" and specifically asks for a detailed analysis by the GAO of Arbitron's share of the terrestrial rating system marketplace, the methodology behind the PPM, how it has affected radio revenues and whether the survey samples "adequately account for young African American, Hispanic and other minority listeners" and also whether they adequately account for cell=phone only households, for non-English speaking people, and whether the samples "sufficiently approximate economic granularity as well as income and country of origin data."
It says that because federal agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rely on Arbitron date in developing and implementing its regulations, "the review of Arbitron's methodology is an appropriate task for the GAO to ensure its reliability for federal regulatory use."
Arbitron does not take up the issue of whether the matter is one for the GAO to investigate but says, "We continue to have a dialogue with key members of Congress as well as other interested parties, and look forward to helping the radio industry as a whole remain competitive in the current media marketplace."
Letter to GAO (85 kb 2-page PDF)
2009-07-28: Latest Swiss radio ratings just released have been compiled with a new version of the RadioControl Watch that had developed by the Telecontrol Group, a GfK subsidiary, and had been in use from 2001 (the first use of electronic radio ratings in the world) until the end of last year and the institutes issuing the figures - MediaPulse and PublicaData - say that changes in the methodology make comparisons to previous ratings impossible.
The new device, MediaWatch - has a greater memory than its predecessor and can sample signals every 20 seconds as opposed to every minute before
The two institutes note that the latest ratings relate to the new licence areas for private ratios with a new regional structure and say that weighting will allow clarity in terms of these areas and language areas - the country has Swiss-German, French and Italian speaking zones
Despite the warnings, the ratings show the public broadcasters SSR and SRG continue to dominate.
In the Swiss-German zone public broadcaster DRS's nine channels took a 62.1% aggregated market share compared to 28.3% for privately-owned stations (27 local stations plus five more on cable only) whilst in the French zone public broadcaster RSR's five channels had a 59.3% share compared to 22.8% for 11 private local stations and in the Italian zone public broadcaster RSI took 70.8% compared to 7.5% for the two private local stations and 7.8% for foreign stations.
PublicaData survey page (Leads to PDF releases concerning changes and ratings for the three language zones):
2009-07-28: Internet Radio Talk Show Host Hal Turner has been arrested by FBI Agents following the filing in Chicago of a Federal Complaint that alleges that he issued threats to assault and murder three federal appeals court judges in Chicago in retaliation for their recent ruling upholding handgun bans in Chicago and a suburb.
Turner, who was arrested at his North Bergen, New Jersey, home was charged with threatening to assault and murder three federal judges with intent to retaliate against them for performing official duties
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois said Turner will make an initial court appearance tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Shipp in U.S. District Court in Newark and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said of the move, "We take threats to federal judges very seriously. Period."
The complaint says several lawsuits were filed challenging handgun bans in Chicago and suburban Oak Park after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment entitles possession of handguns at home for self-protection following which the 7th Circuit on June 2 this year issued an opinion in National Rifle Association v. Chicago, affirming a district court's decision to dismiss the cases challenging the local handgun bans. The unanimous decision was written by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and joined by Judges Richard Posner and William J. Bauer.
It goes on to say that law enforcement agents were directed on June 8 to web postings in which it was said "These judges deserve to be killed" together with entries noting that this Court had decided the case of Matt Hale, a white-supremacist who was imprisoned after being convicted of soliciting the murder of a U.S. District Court judge in Chicago (Judge Joan H. Lefkow's mother and husband were murdered by a gunman in her home in 2005) and then went on , "Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit court didn't get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed."
Subsequently the site, says the charge, was updated with details of the judges' work addresses and a map of the area together with a note that their home addresses and maps would follow soon.
The maximum penalty for the offence is 10 years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine.
2009-07-27: US National Public Radio(NPR) has launched a revamped NPR.org web site that the organization claims in a news release "makes it easier to combine listening and reading, follow breaking news, comment on NPR's work and share it and find programming from NPR Member stations." It has also announced further development of applications to allow listening on mobile devices. This will rely on NPR's open application programming interface (Open API) that launched in July 2008and allows users, developers and NPR stations full access to NPR's current and archived content to create new ways to integrate and share NPR news and programs.
The new home page is headed with a menu of News, Arts & Life, Music, programs, listen, hourly news, and podcasts, all but the last two of which of which expand on a drop down menu: The last two are links that open new pages.
NPR's President and CEO Vivian Schiller said of the changes in a release, "We're making it easier for the public to find our stations, listen to NPR programs, and follow the news throughout the day. With many traditional news outlets declining, listeners are depending more on NPR and our member stations to meet their information needs on every platform. The new NPR.org and our strong push into mobile applications will take public radio to the next level of audience service."
In web site developments elsewhere the BBC Russian Service today launched an archive of significant historical radio programmes from the past 45 years.
The oldest archive recording on the site is of BBC Russian's coverage of the funeral of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965 and other highlights include Alexander Solzhenitsyn reading his work One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich whilst more recent archive includes recordings of Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist who was murdered in 2006 in Moscow.
There are also old editions of World Service Russian programmes and recordings of the BBC Russian commentator Anatoly Goldberg who, for many generations of listeners in the Soviet Union, was a household name.
Sarah Gibson, Head of BBC Russian, said of the move, "The Russian service continues to take pride in the range of topical voices it puts on air. This archive will allow a new generation to hear some of the pivotal events and people which have appeared on the BBC in Russian, many of whom have had a profound impact on Russian life over the last century."
The archive has been digitised and the BBC plans to donate the original tapes of the archives to the Hoover Institution in the United States
2009-07-27: Lenders - Goldman Sachs Group, Vestar Capital Partners and D.B. Zwirn & Co. - have now taken control of Border Media Partners, a move reported to be imminent earlier this month by the San Antonio Express-News that said the company had not made a debt payment for two years.
The company, which operates 29 radio stations in Texas, will be controlled by a newly-formed Border Media Business Trust, which will control all the equity in the company and whose trustee is to be Larry Patrick, the founder of media brokerage company Patrick Communications.
Border Media President and CEO Jeff Hinson, a former Univision Chief Financial Officer, is to leave at the end of this week: Earlier this year he had been awarded Radio Ink's "America's Best Broadcaster of 2009" Award for what the company on its website tersm his visionary contributions to the industry and the way he has embraced new technologies with the complete integration of new media and traditional radio to reflect the changing lifestyles of listeners and advertisers.(RNW Note: For some reason Radio Ink does not mention this award in its report).
Previous Border Media:
2009-07-27: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced the addition of a tool, which it is calling "What's working for you?" on its web site that allows stations to share success stories.
The NAB says it wants stations to use the tool to "share successful revenue generating strategies or charitable fundraising initiatives with other broadcasters."
So far it has posted nine examples - all reports from various publications - ranging from a report on a local station that is turning a call-in show into a kind on on-air employment agency through taking calls from would-be employers and those searching for a job to promotional ideas from the NAB Radio Show.
2009-07-26: In an otherwise routine week, the main news from the regulators came at the end of the week with the US Senate confirmation of Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon L. Clyburn as Commissioners, thus taking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) up to its full complement of five commissioners (See RNW Jul 24).
In Australia, there was only one radio-related posting from the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA), a finding that Labor Media Pty Ltd, licensee of Sydney Arabic commercial station 2KM, breached the country's Broadcasting Act by broadcasting an advertisement for the Federal Government's First Home Owners Boost and failing to broadcast required details after an advertisement that contains "political matter".
The ACMA says the licensee has acknowledged the breach and has advised that it has educated its staff of its obligations in relation to the broadcast of political matter to ensure that breaches of this nature do not occur in the future. It is to take no further action.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a quiet week posted only a few radio-related notices including a consultation, with an August 25 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments that includes the following radio applications.
Application by CIAM Media & Radio Broadcasting Association to change the location of the antenna of its transmitter CIAM-FM-14, Wabasca, and decrease the effective height of the antenna above average terrain from 63.25 to 50 metres.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application by Radio communautaire du Labrador Inc. to add a 250 watts FM transmitter in La Grand'Terre and a 232 watts FM transmitter in St-John's to broadcast the programming of its Type A French-language community station CJRM-FM, Labrador City.
It also approved the use by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. of 95.7 MHz for its new 47,000 watts English-language commercial FM in Edmonton, Alberta, and an application by Jack McGaw Consulting Incorporated to reduce the power of CIRH-FM, Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 560 watts to 355 watts
There were no radio announcements in Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has awarded three new community licences.
These went to:
Meridian FM, East Grinstead, West Sussex.
Uckfield FM, Uckfield, East Sussex.
Awaaz Radio, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
It also considered an application from Chichester Community Radio for a station in Chichester, West Sussex, but decided not to award a licence in this case.
In addition Ofcom published its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld upholds one radio standards complaint, one radio "Other" complaint, and one radio Fairness and Privacy complaint (See RNW Jul 21) and also posted its Public Service Broadcasting: Annual Report 2009.
The 255-page report (A 2.55MB PDF) is almost exclusively devoted to TV with some brief mentions of radio in relation to online content and news - respondents aged 65+ were more likely to mention radio as a source than youngsters - 15% compared to 7% - as were those in the AB socio-economic grades (10%).
The report also noted that a large majority of respondents felt that it was important that news be impartial - 93% for TV, 88% for radio, and 87% for newspapers.
In the US as already noted, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now heading back to full strength with the confirmation of new commissioners Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon L. Clyburn.
It also saw Republican Commissioner Robert M McDowell put forward to new chairman Julius Genachowski his suggestions concerning reform of the agency including a call for a "thorough operational, financial, and ethics audit", an audit he said he would see as "akin to a due diligence review of a company as part of a proposed merger or acquisition, or after a change in top management."
He adds that the process should involve all the commissioners and also the public through comment and a series of "Town Hall" meetings.
McDowell also notes that the FCC has collected more in fees than its costs, an excess that goes into the US Treasury and that "Faith in the ethics of government officials has, in some cases, eroded over the years and we should make sure we are doing all that we can to maintain the public's trust."
He suggests a need to improve communication, both internal and external, and also the need, as many staff are approaching retirement, to fill open positions "with highly-qualified applicants and making more efficient use of non-attorney professionals. For example there is no reason why we cannot use engineers to help investigate complaints and petitions that involve technical and engineering questions."
Genachowski in his reply referred to McDowell'" thoughtful" letter raising "interests of great importance and interest for me" and said he also felt that FCC reform is " a matter of great urgency" and noted his appointment of Mary Beth Richards as Special Counsel for FCC reform. He ended by saying he looked forward to "working with you and your staff on these important issues."
In other matters the FCC said it had received 121 short-form applications to participate in its Auction 79 of 122 FM broadcast construction permits that is due to commence on September 1.
Of these 89 were complete, 26 incomplete and six were rejected. The applicants who submitted incomplete applications will have until next Friday, July 31, to correct the deficiencies and make an upfront payment and the filing window remains open until this date.
In enforcement actions the agency:
*Reduced to USD 6,000 a proposed USD 20,000 penalty on Power Radio Corporation, licensee of Texas Non-commercial Educational Station KXPW-LP, Georgetown, for broadcasting adverts (See RNW Jul 22).
*Cancelled a USD 7,000 proposed penalty on KGRE-AM, Greeley, Colorado, for failing to enclose its antenna tower within an effective locked fence or other enclosure and substituted an admonishment (See RNW Jul 24).
The agency also dismissed as untimely a Petition for Reconsideration filed by Antonio Nassar of Stafford, Texas, seeking reconsideration of a staff dismissal of his application for a new AM in Bay City, Texas. Nassar had argued that his late filing was because he did not receive a mailed notification of the dismissal, which was contained in a Public Notice, but the FCC said this did not amount to extraordinary circumstances, which are required for it to extend the deadline for response.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-07-25: The Michigan City of Ionia is to try and recover just under USD 41,000 from Clear Channel in connection with its WBCT-FM (B73) Birthday Bash event in June, which was ended after one day because of flooding that swamped some 1,400 cars after the Grand River burst its banks.The event usually runs for the weekend and around 50,000 people attended it on the Saturday but the Sunday events were cancelled after torrential rains that caused the flooding.
Clear Channel is also being sued in a class action by car owners whose vehicles were damaged with some hundreds being complete losses according to the Grand Rapids Press, which says the station's insurance company is refusing to pay claims because it says the damage was not caused by the station but was an act of nature.
The city had been paid USD 22,500 in advance of the annual event, an amount based on the costs of previous events at the Ionia County Fairgrounds but City Manager Jason Eppler has said the amount was to cover police services and other costs of a regular two-day event whereas, "As we now know, this was no regular event. It went well beyond that and we had to extend our services because of what happened with the flooding."
Eppler said the city had provided around-the-clock protection of the area containing the flooded cars to prevent vandalism, looting and unauthorized access to the vehicles and in addition city workers prepared the area for car recovery and coordinated the process to get people to their vehicles.
The city has paid the costs out of its general fund but Eppler told the paper, "My thought is we've got USD 40,000 we need to talk about and come to an agreement on how to handle the expenses I think the parties involved have a good relationship and that we can work together just as we did when we went through the recovery process."
Previous Clear Channel:
Grand Rapids Press report:
2009-07-25: Indian radio station Chennai Live FM, owned by the Muthoot Group, has had to furnish a bank guarantee of INR 300,000 (USD 6,170) a month since March this year in connection with a lawsuit over performance royalty payments.
The Chennai (formerly Madras) station has been taken to court by the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) over non-payment of the royalties and was ordered by the Chennai High Court to provide the guarantee and also to file a fortnightly log of songs broadcast by the station.
In addition the court directed the station to take out an application to make Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) a party to the proceedings in order to get their testimony on what rights had been given to it.
Chennai Live station head Prem Kumar told RadioandMusic.com that it had been fighting the case "as the idea of paying INR 660 (USD 13.5) per needle hour to two different licensing arms of IMI (Indian Music Industry) - IPRS and PPL- seems absurd" and adding, "It becomes a non-profitable model for FM operators if we have to shell out different fee structures for these licensing arms individually."
IPRS CEO Rakesh Nigam said it was unreasonable of the station to query its right to collect royalties which other stations are paying and noted that the court had favoured its case in ordering deposit of the guarantee. The next hearing on the issue, he said, is tentatively scheduled for next month.
Previous Indian Radio
2009-07-24: The US Senate has now confirmed by a unanimous vote the nominations of Democrat Mignon L. Clyburn and Republican Meredith Attwell Baker to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and of outgoing Democrat Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein as Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service, thus taking the agency back to a full strength of five commissioners.
The confirmations were welcomed by new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioners Michael J; Copps (Democrat) and Robert M. McDowell (Republican).In his statements Genachowski referred t Clyburn's "deep commitment to public service, experience in state government, and entrepreneurial expertise" and to Baker as a "distinguished public servant who will bring unique insight and expertise to bear in the agency's policymaking process" and added, "With the full slate of Commissioners on board, I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on policies that promote innovation, investment, competition, and consumers."
Copps commented, "This is a great day for the FCC. We have two bright and talented new Commissioners coming aboard and they bring the FCC to full strength. Important issues have been teed up for their attention the minute they walk through the portals, foremost among them being our charge to present to Congress a national broadband plan by next February" and added, "I'm excited at the prospect of working with both Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Baker because I know they each bring high intelligence, obvious dedication and valuable career experiences with them. "
McDowell congratulated both women and spoke of Clyburn's "strong communications background as a Commissioner on South Carolina's Public Service Commission and as a newspaper publisher coupled with her extensive involvement in community organizations" and Baker's "vast experience in both the public and private sectors, a deep understanding of the communications marketplace, and a steadfast commitment to public service."
Amongst others welcoming the confirmations was the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose Executive Vice President of Media Relations Dennis Wharton commented in a statement, "NAB salutes the Senate for confirming Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon Clyburn as new Commissioners at the FCC. Their commitment to public service, and their understanding of media-related issues will serve the Commission and consumers well. NAB looks forward to working with Commissioners Baker and Clyburn and their FCC colleagues on behalf of America's free and local radio and television stations."
2009-07-24: The US Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing "The Performance Rights Act and Parity among Music Delivery Platforms" concerning proposals to introduce performance royalties for terrestrial US radio for August 4 before the full committee but so far no details have been posted of witnesses.
The Performance Rights Act, which would introduce the royalties, was introduced by Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy and Utah Republican Orrin Hatch and in the House by Michigan Democrat John Conyers who chairs the House Judiciary Committee which has approved the House version of the Act.
The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has been lobbying strongly against the introduction and claims that a majority of House Members and 23 Senators have expressed support for the non-binding Local Radio Freedom Act that opposed the introduction (See RNW Jul 23).
2009-07-24: Austereo chief executive Michael Anderson has confirmed that he will step down after his current contract ends next year, although he may step down earlier if a replacement is found according to Australian reports. Anderson will then have been in the post for six years and two decades with the company.
Anderson was paid a total of AUD 1.3 million ( USD 1 million ) in 2007-08 of which AUD 835,000 (USD 658,000) was basic salary but said he had no new job lined up, although he wanted to continue his media career.
The Australian notes that Austereo has had a history of promoting from within and tips Austereo's current network sales director, Cathy Thomas, its Perth-based head of local sales, Martin Whittle, and group program director Guy Dobson as the most likely candidates, adding to the list the name of former Austereo executive Cathy O'Connor, now CEO of rival DMG Radio Australia, which operates the Nova and Vega radio stations. It quoted Austereo executive chairman Peter Harvie as saying of potential replacements, "We must keep an extremely open mind. You can't preclude external people, and you certainly can't restrict your net to radio people."
The Australian report:
2009-07-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled a USD 7,000 forfeiture on a Colorado AM for failing to enclose its antenna tower within an effective locked fence or other enclosure.
It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for this amount to Greeley Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of KGRE-AM, Greeley, following an inspection in which agents found the lock to the gate for the enclosure was stuck in the open position preventing it from being closed.
Around an hour later they issued an oral warning to staff at the station's main studio and were put in touch with the company's president: Within two hours he had called the FCC back to say the lock had been replaced.
The FCC subsequently issued the NAL and Greeley responded by saying that the violation was minor, was immediately corrected, and that the amount should be reduced on the basis of a history of compliance and inability to pay.
The FCC in response said it did not consider the violation minor but agreed that the evidence did not conclusively demonstrate that there was a violation for more than three hours: On this basis and a history of compliance it substituted an admonishment for the financial penalty.
2009-07-23: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is claiming further support for its opposition to performance royalties for terrestrial radio - charges that it terms a "tax".
It says that 244 members of the 435-member House of Congress and 23 of the 100 US Senators have now pledged support to the Local Radio Freedom Act that opposes the introduction of royalties.
In a release, NAB Executive Vice-President Dennis Wharton again highlighted foreign ownership of recording companies, commenting, "Liberals, moderates and conservatives are uniting in opposition to RIAA's (Recording Industry Association of America) effort to line the coffers of foreign record labels at the expense of America's free and local radio stations. We salute these members of Congress for recognizing the unique role played by radio broadcasters in communities across the country."
RNW question: Does the Wharton statement mean that had not American recording companies been sold to foreign companies (presumably to the benefit of American shareholders at the time) the NAB would not be attacking the introduction of royalties. You have to be a really stupid and small minded American to regard the NAB with other than contempt for its releases on this issue. There is nothing to stop American companies buying back the recording companies if there are US entrepreneurs who think they can make them pay better and we would also note the pressures that America put on other countries to allow foreign ownership of their media whilst prohibiting foreign ownership of US broadcasters.
2009-07-23: According to the Copenhagen Post, Radio 100, which is Denmark's most popular privately-owned station, has run into a financial crisis and could go bankrupt following a decision by one of its biggest investors, John de Mol, to pull out of the venture.
The paper says the Dutch media mogul has lost more than DKK 300 million (USD 57 million) on the station since 2003 and it quotes Radio 100's managing director Jim Receveur as saying the station is now left with three possibilities: "John de Mol can change his mind and continue to invest in us, we can find new investors, or another company takes over the station."
The station is asking for forbearance from its creditors and the paper says that it has not paid DKK 1 million (USD 190,000) that was due in royalty payments to performing artist and record company representative Gramex amongst other owings.
It quoted Receveur as commenting, "We're going through all our bills and making a list of our creditors to see what our possibilities are. But if it ends up being too big of a project, then we'll have to consider filing for bankruptcy."
Copenhagen Post report:
2009-07-22: Arqiva has taken over full ownership of Global Radio's "Digital One" national multiplex and its "Now Digital" local multiplexes in a deal that sees Arqiva, which already owned 37% of the Digital One multiplex, take over the remaining 63% from Global as well as taking control of Now Digital, the company which operates Global Radio's local digital radio multiplexes: Global Radio will continue to broadcast stations on the multiplexes, including Classic FM, Heart and Capital.
No figures were released concerning the deal about which Global CEO Ashley Tabor commented, "I am delighted that this deal has now been concluded. We have been working hard behind the scenes for many months on this, and as a company we are leading the commercial radio industry in its drive to digital. We believe this is a clear indication to Government, Ofcom, consumers and advertisers of our commitment to a Digital Britain, and while we are obviously aware of the challenges around the build out of coverage of DAB we are confident this deal will go a long way to resolving many of these issues from commercial radio's perspective."
Arqiva CEO Tom Bennie added: "Digital One has always played a leading role in the development of DAB and in stimulating the market for DAB receivers in the UK. Arqiva now plans to invigorate DAB with new channels and services and as an independent operator we're in a good position to realise the full potential of the Digital One multiplex. We believe in the long-term future of DAB, and this deal with Global Radio extends both of our companies' commitments to digital radio."
Previous Digital One:
Previous Global Radio:
2009-07-22: The US Senate Commerce Committee has in a voice vote approved the nominations to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of Democrat Mignon Clyburn and Republican Meredith Attwell Baker and the names will now go to the full Senate.
The two nominees had appeared before a hearing last week at which they each expressed support for policies to aid consumers and increase telecommunications industry competition.
The Senate could confirm the two later this week, a confirmation that would take the agency back to its full strength of five commissioners.
2009-07-22: Journal Broadcast Group, whose parent Journal Communications Group has just announced a 21.9% fall in revenues compared to a year earlier to USD 109.4 million and an operating loss of USD 9 million including a USD 19 million impairment charge for its broadcast licences, has announced the sale for USD 950,000 of its Boise, Idaho, KGEM-AM and KCID-AM, to non-profit Idaho Salt & Light Radio, Inc., which plans to put Catholic programming on the two stations.
Journal added that without the impairment charges and a one-off USD 1.7 million gain related to insurance proceeds from its Wichita tower replacement, it would have recorded operating earnings down 56% to USD 7.3 million. Overall it recorded a net loss of USD 4.8 million compared to net income of USD 9.0 million a year ago.
In divisional terms printing services revenues fell 33% to USD 11.2 million, publishing revenues fell 20.1% to USD 43.8 million and broadcasting revenues fell 18.2% to USD 43.8 million.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven J. Smith commented "While the advertising environment remains challenged, we recorded positive operating earnings in the second quarter excluding the USD 19.0 million non-cash impairment charge."
"We were also able to reduce debt by USD 22 million in the second quarter to bring our total debt down to USD 178 million," he added.
Announcing the station sale Doug Kiel, vice Chairman and CEO, Journal Broadcast Group and president, Journal Communications, commented, "With the new ownership, these two stations will now provide a new programming option for listeners while we'll focus our efforts to serve the Treasure Valley with music, entertainment and fun on our four remaining radio stations (KJOT -FM, KQXR-FM, KTHI-FM and KRVB-FM) and two TV stations providing news, information and entertainment."
The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is one of a number of deals in which stations have been sold to non-profits including the USD 6.3 million sale announced earlier this month of Indianapolis oldies WKLU-FM to another "Christian" broadcaster, Educational Media Foundation.
Owner Russ Oasis told the Indianapolis Star he was selling the station for USD 6.3 million because he could not compete with corporate stations.
"It's become increasingly difficult to operate as a stand-alone radio station in any market," Oasis, who bought the station for USD 6.2 million from independent radio operator Bruce Quinn in 2004, told the paper. "The chains offer sweetheart deals to advertisers, who will give them the entire budget. That leaves very little for a stand-alone operator."
The station will retain its oldies format until the deal is finalised.
Previous Journal Communications:
Indianapolis Star report:
2009-07-22: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Power Radio Corporation, licensee of Texas Non-commercial Educational Station KXPW-LP, Georgetown, USD 6,000 for broadcasting adverts.
The agency had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of USD 20,000 in March this year to which the station responded by requesting cancellation on the basis of inability to pay.
The agency noted that the license did not dispute the finding that it had breached underwriting rules on eight occasions but added that it found that find that while cancellation is not appropriate, a reduction on the basis of inability to pay is warranted and it reduced the penalty to USD 6,000.
2009-07-22: Mexican radio company Grupo Radio Centro has reported second quarter revenues up 2.5% on a year ago at just under MXN 180 million (USD 13.5 million), an increase it put down mainly to slight increases in advertising revenues in Mexico and the incorporation of its operation of KSOM-FM, Los Angeles, which it is now running under a local marketing agreement with Emmis (See RNW Apr 3).
Broadcasting expenses in the period were up 21% to MXN 108.9 million (USD 8.26 million), primarily put down to costs incurred in connection with the Emmis deal and a fall in the peso against the US dollar and operating income was down 31.1% to MXN 35.9 million ( USD 2.72 million) ands the company recorded a pre-tax loss of MXN 23.6 million (USD 1.8 million) compared to pre-tax income a year earlier of MXN 35.9 million ( USD 2.72 million) with an overall net loss of MXN 28.3 million ( USD 2.15 million) compared to year earlier net income of MXN 25.4 million ( USD 1.93 million).
For the first six months of the year broadcasting revenue is up 10.57% on a year earlier at MXN 333.8 million ( USD 25.3 million) with expenses up 14.6% to MXN 243.9 million ( USD 18.9 million), broadcasting income up 1.01% to MXN 89.9 million ( USD 6.82 million), operating income up 4.88% to MXN 69.2 million ( USD 5.25 million ) , a pre-tax loss of MXN 10.3 million ( USD 783,000) compared to income of MXN 10.8 million ( USD 819,000) and on overall net loss of MXN 13.6 million ( USD 1.03 million) compared to net income of MXN 26.25 million ( USD 1.99 million).
Previous Grupo Radio Centro:
2009-07-21: Arbitron has reported second quarter revenues up 10.4% on a year earlier at USD million with costs up 4.2% to USD 85.9 million in 2009. Earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) jumped from USD 1.4 million to USD 6.5 million and net income jumped from USD 600,000 to USD 3.5 million (from two cents to 13 cents per diluted share).
The company put the revenue increase down to commercialization of its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in Boston and the recognition of pre-currency revenue in five new PPM markets - Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Seattle-Tacoma, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Diego: It added that the costs increase was due primarily planned expenditures for the commercialization of the PPM ratings service and the introduction of cell-phone-only household sampling in 151 diary markets.
Revenues for the first six months are up 7.3% to USD 185.3 million but EBIT was down 5.8% to USD 26.6 million and net income was down 6.1% to USD 15.8 (From 61 cents to 60 cents per diluted share), a fall put down primarily to USD 8.4 million of reorganization and restructuring expense
President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Skarzynski commented of the company's progress, "In the second quarter of 2009, Arbitron commercialized the Portable People Meter radio ratings service in Boston, and continued the work of building PPM panels for the additional markets we plan to commercialize in 2009. We signed a three-year agreement with Clear Channel Radio for diary-based radio ratings services in 105 markets. Additionally, Arbitron signed multi-year diary market agreements with a number of other customers.
"We also successfully introduced cell-phone-only household sampling in an initial 151 diary markets in the Spring 2009 survey. As a result, we saw significant sample quality gains for young adults, age 18-34, in the first month of the survey.
"We also continue to make the hard choices required to reduce costs and target our resources on initiatives that we believe can best enhance the long-term value of Arbitron's services to the radio industry-deploying the Portable People Meter radio ratings service in additional markets, expanding cell-phone-only household measurement in PPM and diary markets and working toward MRC accreditation for the PPM service through our continuous improvement programs."
Arbitron is forecasting revenues for the full year to increase between 2% and 6% compared to the 2008 revenue of USD 368.8 million, a downwards revision of earlier guidance of a 6% to 10% rise but it says it is not changing its earnings per share guidance of between USD 1.40 and USD 1.55 versus USD 1.36 in 2008.
Executive Vice President, Finance & Planning & Chief Financial Officer Sean Creamer commented of the revision, "In light of the reduced revenue visibility associated with the challenging economy, we have taken difficult yet appropriate steps to rationalize our cost structure to suit the uncertain environment in which we are operating. We are monitoring events closely, including overall economic conditions as well as legislative, regulatory and judicial developments affecting the Company. Should future events change our current thinking, we will, as appropriate, re-evaluate our guidance with the benefit of that knowledge."
2009-07-21: Clear Channel Radio has announced that it is to donate a number of AM stations to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) through a program called the MMTC-Clear Channel Ownership Diversity Initiative.
It has listed four stations, all in small markets, as the first that will be donated, one of which the company was reported earlier this year to have tried unsuccessfully to give away: They are KYHN-AM, Fort Smith, Arizona (Metro ranking 175); WTFX-AM, Winchester, Virginia (221); WHJA-AM, Laurel, Mississippi (225) and KMFX-AM, Rochester, Minnesota (234).
Commenting on the donation in a Clear Channel release David Honig, President and Executive Director of MMTC, said that in cooperation with the NAB Education Foundation's Broadcast Leadership Training Program the MMTC would "use the stations for training and to incubate new minority and women broadcast owners" and added, "Clear Channel Radio's generosity and support creates an enormous opportunity not only for our own training programs, but for minority and women broadcasters who would not otherwise have the means to operate their own stations. We look forward to working with Clear Channel through this ongoing program to promote diversity in radio broadcasting."
Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan added, "We applaud the MMTC for creating a program that helps minority broadcasters develop the skills and experience necessary to become successful broadcasters. We're pleased these resources can help develop the next generation of broadcasters."
RNW comment: A quick online search indicates that this may be a case of Clear Channel getting PR kudos for lumbering the MMTC with a load of old tat and certainly these stations are not going to make any fortunes. The information we found in our search showed all to be are either silent or potentially silent and the company failed to give one of them away earlier.
The reports we found said that Clear Channel announced in February last year that KMFX-AM was to go silent because of financial pressures; News-talk KYHN-AM was listed in the FCC database as silent in July last year; WHJA-AM has been dark since August last year and in March this year Jeff Littlejohn, executive vice president of distribution development for Clear Channel said it lost the lease on the ground that supported the tower and it made no sense to rebuilt, adding, "In fact, we tried to give the station to a local church and they wouldn't take it" and noting that they planned to hand the licence back to the Federal Communications Commission in September; and WTFX-AM went silent in November last year and its former sports format was moved to Clear Channel's WMRE-AM. The land on which its towers were located was sold to a developer.
We will of course be happy to clarify matters if Clear Channel wishes to send us details of the status and value of the stations.
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-07-21: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds one radio standards complaint, one radio "Other" complaint, and one radio Fairness and Privacy complaint plus five TV standards complaints, considering another TV standards complaint resolved through action taken by the broadcasted, and one TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint with details being posted of a further two TV Fairness and Privacy cases where the complaints were not upheld.
The numbers compare to four TV standards complaints and one radio complaint upheld in the previous Bulletin.
The radio standards complaint upheld concerned a Competition sponsored by New Look Furnishings on Apni Awaaz FM (Bradford), a restricted service licensee operating a 28-day community radio trial and the complainant considered the broadcast was in breach of the Code, as an advertisement for the programming sponsor had been used in the sponsored programming and was not clearly separated from it.
The station was asked to comment but did not make any response in relation to the use of advertisements in programming although it did say the competition was one for children and that no product was promoted.
Ofcom in ruling that there had been a breach said it was particularly concerned by the broadcaster's apparent lack of understanding about compliance with the Code as evidenced by their response and noted requirements for clear separation of advertising and programming.
In this case it said "The advertisement contained a reference to the address of the advertiser, which was also the answer to the only question posed by the presenter. Both the advertisement and the competition therefore lacked any editorial justification, appearing to be featured as programming for no other purpose than to promote further the advertiser through additional broadcast exposure in programming."
It added that the response that this was a competition for children "not only appeared to be inaccurate but also bore no relevance to the requirement of Rule 10.2, namely that advertising and programming are kept separate. This demonstrated that the broadcaster had little understanding of, and possibly little regard for, Code compliance."
It also noted that the advert mentioned "leather beds, pine beds, sofa beds, wardrobes, chest drawers, dining tables", and said it considered this contrary to the statement that no product was promoted.
In all it ruled three rules had been breached and said the finding will be held on record and considered in the assessment of any future application by the broadcaster for another licence to broadcast.
The "Other" case involved Pennine FM, Huddersfield, which was owned by Huddersfield FM Ltd and whose format requires it to deliver, "A locally oriented news, information and entertainment station aimed primarily at 30-55 year-olds in the Huddersfield area. Music is broad and community commitment includes Asian output."
The station began to broadcast back-to-back music with no news from April 17 and when asked about this the company said it had had been experiencing financial problems and during the period of its back-to-back music output the company operating the station, and holding the licence, changed hands.
The new licence holder said it was preparing to resume Format delivery as soon as contracts were signed with "a view to a full re-launch with presenters" on May 13 and Ofcom notes that it delayed consideration of the matter and that monitoring in June demonstrated "that the station's new owners have now recruited presenters and news staff to carry out the Format requirements. Local news is strongly in evidence, running completely through daytime on weekdays."
It additionally noted that the new owners have also confirmed that the requirement for Asian programming, which was no evident in the broadcasts monitored, would also be met.
It ruled that Huddersfield FM Ltd clearly breached two conditions in its licence but said it believed it was not now "appropriate to take any further regulatory action."
The radio fairness and privacy complaint upheld involved an edition of Sunrise Radio Network News that included an item that referred to forthcoming elections to the ruling committee of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Sikh Temple in Southall.
In the report, Gurminder Singh Thind, the leader of an opposition group contesting the elections, raised questions about professional fees of GBP 4 million (USD 6.6 million )of the GBP 17 million (USD 28 million) total cast that had been paid in connection with the building of the Gurdwara.
Dr Parvinder Singh Garcha, the General Secretary of the Committee of the Gurdwara at the time of the broadcast, and other members of the Committee of the Gurdwara at the time complained that they had been treated unfairly in the broadcast.
Ofcom found that the item made serious allegations about the complainants and that, as a result, it was incumbent upon Sunrise Radio, in the interests of fairness, either to provide the complainants with an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond or to include information about the complainants' previous rebuttals to the allegations. Sunrise Radio's failure to do either, it said, resulted in unfairness to Dr Garcha and the members of the Committee.
Sunrise in its response had said that immediately after the broadcast of the programme, Dr
Garcha contacted the station's news desk objecting to the story on the basis that it was biased against his group and that on the following day it broadcast extracts of an interview with him rebutting allegations made regarding the financial management of the building project.
Ofcom said that in its view it was clear from the information provided by both parties that the arguments on both sides of the debate had already been well rehearsed and were easily available to Sunrise Radio at the time of broadcast.
In the circumstances, Ofcom was concerned that when airing the allegations against the complainants, the programme made no reference to the complainants' previous responses. By omitting to do so, in Ofcom's view, Sunrise Radio did not take reasonable care to satisfy itself that material facts had not been disregarded or omitted in a way that was unfair to the complainants and that its failure to do so resulted in unfairness to the complainants.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 287 TV complaints against 142 items and 12 radio complaints against 12 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compared to 284 TV complaints against 134 items and 12 radio complaints against 12 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit that were listed in the previous bulletin.
Ofcom has also announced that Norman Blackwell has been appointed as a new Non-Executive Board member for three years from September. He will fill the vacancy created when David Currie stepped down as Chairman of Ofcom in March this year.
In addition Millie Banerjee has been re-appointed as a Non-Executive Board Member until 30 June 2011
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-07-20: Reports that the UK has lifted a ban on US talk host Michael Savage entering the country appear to be premature and based on misreading of a UK newspapers report that said the country's new Home Secretary Alan Johnson has termed his predecessor Jacqui Smith's publishing a list of those banned an error: It did not say that the list itself had been dropped.
The report in the Mail on Sunday was headed "Johnson ditches Jacqui Smith's least-wanted list as a 'blunder' and commented that the change of mind could "have major legal consequences for the Government" in that it could "make it impossible to contest [Savage's] demand for damages. "
The host has claimed that as a result of the ban he was forced to employ security guards after threats against him and he is suing Smith for libel over his inclusion in the list, which also contained a Hamas MP, Islamic activists, a Kashmiri terror group leader, and two Russian teenage skinheads who are currently serving ten-year jail sentences.
RNW comment: Our view on this is that the publication of the list was unwise but the Mail, whose politics are strongly against the government, does not specify why a decision to stop publishing the list should make fighting a lawsuit impossible. It does not seem a logical conclusion albeit it may well be on the paper's wish list.
The article was quickly picked up by US publications, which said the ban itself had been lifted and Savage was no-longer banned: "The Right Perspective", for example, headed its report "Michael Savage Off UK Ban List" and continued on to say that "Alan Johnson has announced the lifting of a travel ban on conservative American talk radio host Michael Savage, calling the restriction a 'blunder.'" (The comments responding to the report indicated that like its author those concerned didn't really understand subtlety in a politician's statement.)
Savage himself appears to have been more sceptical and was reported by the publication as saying he will believe his name will be lifted from the list when he sees it in writing but until then will continue his lawsuit.
WorldNet Daily also reported that the ban had been lifted and went on to say that Johnson had said Smith had no right to put Savage, the third highest rated radio talker in America, on the same list as a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, a skinhead gang leader and a Hezbollah militant.
NewsMax, which also carried a report saying the ban had been lifted, in a separate report said that the British Government had denied that it consulted with the US administration before the list was published although it did acknowledge discussions about the UK's policy on exclusion following the furore that arose over the list: In his blog - linked to by Savage on his web site - Bay Area Media Commentator Rich "Big Vinny" Lieberman said that Savage had told him in a phone conversation, "I think that 'somebody or something' in the US govt. was behind this. I do, because they don't like me. They don't. Someone in the govt. told her, (Smith) to get rid of this" and said he intended to continue with his lawsuit, adding, "People think I wanted all this for the 'publicity--that I was enjoying all this notoriety. Absolutely not."
Mail on Sunday report:
Newsmax report re British government denial of consulting with Obama administration about ban:
The Right Perspective report:
SFGate - Liebermann blog:
WorldNet Daily report:
2009-07-20: Clear Channel has disclosed in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that its Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of the Company Andrew Levin has resigned: Levin will leave on January 8 next year and the company says in the filing that "In order to induce Mr. Levin to remain in these positions" through to this date is has entered into an Employment Separation Agreement under which it will pay Levin a cash bonus of USD 989,250 payable in instalments.
In addition, it says Levin will continue to be eligible to receive a performance bonus under the Company's Annual Incentive Plan for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009; will be available as a consultant for up to ten hours a week with no additional compensation for 90 days after his termination date and after that on an as needed basis for up to five hours a week to the end of May 2011 with remuneration of USD 200 per hour for every hour worked above that.
Levin joined Clear Channel in 2002 as its Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, becoming Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer in February 2004 and moving into his current role in April 2006.
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-07-20: Although it has confirmed that it has been in touch with Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB morning host Ray Hadley, Fairfax media has dismissed suggestions reported earlier this month (See RNW Jul 11) that it would be prepared to offer him anything like AUD 5 million (USD 3.95 million ) a year to move to its 2UE talk station.
The Australian quotes Fairfax Group General Manager Radio Graham Mott as admitting that he has spoken to Hadley but commenting of the amount, "I do laugh when I hear figures like AUD 5 million. (But) if he was available, and something was available at 2UE, of course you'd look at him."
The paper notes that Hadley's show has around a 17% share compared to around 6% for 2UE and says Mott "offered only qualified support for the station's current breakfast team of Mike Carlton and Sandy Aloisi", commenting, "We are working very hard, and so too are Mike and Sandy, on trying to do the best we can."
The paper contrasts Fairfax's problems in Sydney with its success in Melbourne where its 3AW is top of the ratings with the success being boosted further because Melbourne has been the strongest performing market for the past year (See RNW Jul 8).
Mott, it says, blamed the New South Wales government in part for 2UE's problems, saying, "The overall Sydney market has declined for the fourth year in a row. I don't think it helps to have a state government that is completely inept, and leaves everyone with a lack of confidence. It's not surprising that Victoria continues to go ahead, while NSW continues to go backwards. You can't blame the economic downturn for that because one is up and one is down."
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
The Australian report:
2009-07-19: Last week in an otherwise very quiet week for the regulators- there were no radio postings from the UK or Ireland - the main news came from Australia where the Federal Court fined Fairfax Media AUD 360,000 (USD 289,00) for breach of licence conditions relating to disclosure of sponsorship,.
The case was sent to the court by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which had last year agreed with Fairfax that an AUD 130,000 penalty would be appropriate but which the Communications Law Centre argued was too low, leading the court to impose the higher penalty (See RNW Jul 17).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) again had a very quiet week as regards radio: It posted a notice of consultation in relation to a review its policies for campus and community radio in connection with which it will hold a hearing on November 30 this year.
Comment is being sought on various issues including whether the current situation in which such stations are largely defined by their programming should be changed; whether the objectives for community stations should be revised; whether the current distinction between Type A and Type B station should be changed; whether the different definitions of a developmental campus and community radio station should be changed; and should current programming requirement rules be amended.
Written comments have to be filed by September 11 and after the end of the public hearing those who have filed comments can brief final written comments within 10 days.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued proposed penalties or confirmed penalties ranging from USD 500 to USD 14,000 in a number of enforcement actions:
*Issued USD 14,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to LawMate Technology Co., Ltd. for marketing unauthorized radio frequency device: The alleged breaches relate to four models of wireless video transmitter devices.
*Issues USD 4,000 forfeiture to 4,000 to Playa Del Sol Broadcasters, licensee of FM Broadcast Translator station K238AK, Palm Desert, California, for failing to ensure that emissions appearing outside the assigned channel greater than 600 kHz from the centre frequency had a minimum attenuation below the unmodulated carrier of 60 dB.
The agency had received a complaint of interference and investigations shoed that audio form the transmitter was detectable on three separate frequencies in the VHF aviation band: It had issued a USD 4,000 NAL to which Playa argued that a forfeiture was not warranted because it addressed the issue "promptly and fully." The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the penalty.
*Issued USD 500 forfeiture to Albino Ortega and Maria Juarez, licensees of KIGO-AM, St. Anthony, Idaho, or failure to maintain an effective locked fence around KIGO's antenna.
The licensees had argued for reduction or cancellation of a USD 7,000 NAL on the basis of inability to pay and because the violation occurred while they were in the process of upgrading the KIGO transmitter equipment.
The FCC noted a previous fine and rejected the latter argument but reduced the penalty to USD 500 on the basis of inability to pay.
In other actions the FCC dismissed a petition from Mariana Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of daytime-only WGHT-AM, Pompton Lakes, New Jersey for reinstatement of the cancelled license of FM Translator Station DW276BX, Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, formerly held by New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority.
The licence was cancelled following a request from the licensee to which Mariana reacted by filing its petition in which it argued that that cancellation of the license was "contrary to the public interest, and harmful to the welfare and safety of the residents of Pompton Lakes" and also filed an application for special temporary authorization to operate the Station, pending negotiations for assignment of the Station license (assuming its reinstatement) from Licensee to Mariana.
It argued that reinstatement and re-allocation of the licence would allow it to provide local news, information, and weather alerts "around the clock" adding that such action "would be in keeping with the Commission's long-standing commitment to expanding localism" and would provide "enhanced local and public safety benefits" to the Pompton Lakes community.
The FCC in its dismissal commented that Mariana had failed to show that its interests had been "adversely affected" by the cancellation of the licence and therefore had no standing in the matter and added that even if Mariana had standing it would only be to reinstate the licence by re-issuing it to New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority. .
In Minnesota, the FCC dismissed a petition from Refuge Media Group to reconsider staff action dismissing an application for a new non-commercial educational FM in Belle Plaine. The application had been found to be mutually exclusive with six other applications and had identified Minn-Iowa Christian Broadcasting, Inc. as the tentative selectee from amongst the applicants. It commented that the petition was late-filed and procedurally defective and was therefore to be dismissed.
In Indiana, the FCC allowed a move from Covington to Thomasboro of Benton-Weatherford Broadcasting of Indiana, Inc.'s WKZS-FM and denied an objection to the move from Leonard Watson.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-07-18: Ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is facing Federal corruption charges including attempting to sell now US President Barack Obama's vacated United States Senate seat to the highest bidder, tomorrow hosts a two-hour talk show on Citadel's WLS-AM (The Big 89), Chicago, the first of two Sunday shows he is to host.
He had already filled in on the station's Don Wade & Roma morning show earlier this year and WLS-AM Program Director, Bob Shomper said of the hire, "The personalities on The Big 89 are compelling, knowledgeable, opinionated and often times, controversial. Former Governor Blagojevich has all of these traits and more. This will be 'must-listen' radio."
Blagojevich's spokesman Glenn Selig added, "The former governor misses talking with people and getting into the mix on issues that affect Illinois. He wants to empower people by helping them understand what really goes on in Washington, Springfield, Cook County and the city of Chicago. He's going to be provocative, entertaining and, at times, controversial."
2009-07-17: Retired Sydney morning host John Laws has cost his station AUD 360,000 ( USD 289,00) in a decision rendered by Australia's Federal Court two years after he retired following a 55-year broadcasting career (See RNW Dec 2, 2007).
The court ordered Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd., which is now owned by Fairfax Media, to pay the penalty for breaching a condition of its broadcasting licence that requires licensees to disclose the existence of commercial sponsorship arrangements between presenters and sponsors: it noted Laws' history of breaching disclosure standards and termed several of the breaches "reckless" and added that in one case it was a matter of contempt of the law.
The penalty arose from broadcasts during the final two months of the John Laws Morning Show before the host retired: It is the first civil penalty decision under Australia's Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and 2UE admitted that on 13 occasions during October and November in 2007 it had breached Australia's Commercial Radio Disclosure Standard.
In September that year the station, in response to earlier breaches of the Disclosure Standard in 2006, had given an enforceable undertaking, which included undertakings that the John Laws Morning Show would be monitored to ensure compliance with the Disclosure Standard and 2UE would take action if disclosure announcements were not made when presenters mentioned sponsors.
Laws had agreed to tell Radio 2UE about any sponsorship agreement he entered into to advertise products on air in return for payment, but the court found he did not do that on 13 occasions in relation to agreements with among others Qantas, Toyota, Hamilton Island, Roche and Oatley Family Wines - which each paid him upwards of AUD 100,000 (USD 80,000) a year
Laws had been amongst the prominent hosts whose actions in promoting sponsors during the cash-for-comment scandal that broke in 1999 and led to the then regulator, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) to tighten regulations on disclosure (See RNW Aug 3, 2000 and Nov 23, 2000): Iin this case Fairfax Media, which the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said had cooperated with the ACMA and actively sought to improve compliance with its broadcasting obligations, had agreed with the ACMA in November last year that a suitable penalty would be AUD 130,000 (Then USD 85,000 - See RNW Nov 26, 2008 - but now USD 104,000).
The Communications Law Centre however intervened in the case and argued for a higher penalty and Justice Steven Rares agreed, and increased the penalties to a total of AUD 360,000.
He said it was known that Laws - who in 2004 had been found guilty of further breaches - had a significant history of failing to comply with the disclosure standard and dislike of having to comply making it all the more incumbent on the station to ensure that Laws did not commit further breaches.
Chris Cheah, Acting Chairman of the ACMA, welcoming the decision, noted that "2UE repeatedly breached its obligations under the Act, even after giving the ACMA an enforceable undertaking, committing itself to improve compliance" and added, "The court has confirmed that in matters involving serious contraventions, a substantial civil penalty is an appropriate sanction."
Previous Fairfax Media:
2009-07-16: BBC Radio 1 has announced a shake-up of its weekday schedule that sees Jo Whiley and Edith Bowman moved from their current weekday slots to the weekends whilst Fearne Cotton, who currently co-hosts a weekend programme with Reggie Yates, moves to weekdays to take over the 10:00 to 12.45 slot from Whiley and Early Breakfast presenter Greg James take over Bowman's early afternoon slot.
Whiley, who is 44 - 17 years older than Cotton, will move to the weekend 13:00-16:00 slot, taking over from Nihal Arthanayake - who will retain his specialist show, whilst Bowman, who is 35 compared to James' 23, will take over the weekend breakfast slot. Dev, who vacates that slot having moved over from digital station BBC 1Extra, will move to the weekday 04.00-06.30 Early Breakfast Show.
Commenting in a release, Cotton said, "I love being at Radio 1 and taking on a weekday show is a dream come true. Jo [Whiley] is leaving very big shoes for me to fill and it's nerve wracking. She has been a massive inspiration to me throughout my career so I have a high standard to live up to. The live music legacy will live on in the new show and I can't wait to get started."
Whiley said, "After eight wonderful years the time has come to move on and give someone else the privilege of entertaining the nation on a daily basis. I've had the most amazing time ever. The prospect of lie-ins, taking my kids to school and doing something new is, I confess, rather exciting."
James commented, "I didn't think things could get any better when I joined Radio 1 so to move to the lunchtime slot which has had so many great names presenting it is amazing. And, as much as I adore my early show, it will be nice to see daylight again!" and Bowman added, "I've loved doing the afternoon show, it has given me so many great experiences but after five years I believe I've taken the show as far as I can."
There had been speculation that the station's breakfast host Chris Moyles would also be moved but he announced on his show today that he had signed a contract for a further year in the slot.Weekday drivetime host Scott Mills remains in his slot.
The station's target audience is the 15-29 demographic and there had been comments that its hosts had grown too old for them although no mention of age has been made in the BBC announcement. Commercial radio body The RadioCentre has complained that the station breached its remit because its audience was aged 33 on average and that it was encroaching on the comemrcial audience.
Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said they were making the changes from a "position of strength" with "record audience levels, delivered with major contributions by Jo and Edith" and of the changes as a whole commented, "BBC Radio 1 must continue to change to connect with a new generation of audiences and this is a significant move, promoting three of our up and coming broadcasters into the heart of the schedule."
2009-07-16: Arbitron has released details of its estimates of how many cell-phone-only (CPO) households there are in areas around the US based on survey data for Arbitron's 151 diary markets combined with the National Health Interview Survey: it says that this is the first time it has compiled population estimates for CPO households down to the local market level and notes that penetration rates vary from as low as 5 percent in Hamptons-Riverhead, New York to as high as 38 percent in Bryan-College Station, Texas.
The data indicates that there is a wide variation depending on the nature of an area - urban, suburban, or rural - and also the age and ethnic composition of the population of an area.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the percentages are higher in areas of transient populations such as military bases and college campuses but eh map released by company shows only limited geographical patterns around the Country: The areas with CPO penetration of 10% or below are mainly in the north-east US plus one in California.
Commenting on the survey, Bob Henrick, Executive Vice President Customer Solutions at Arbitron, said in a release, "We believe Arbitron is the first market researcher to track market-level cell-phone-only penetration. We use the county-level CPO penetration results from our sampling operations as a building block to produce metro-level CPO penetration estimates.
RNW comment: Our reaction to this survey was very much one of no surprise there. In much of the third-world CPO penetration tends to be higher than in more developed countries that already had a legacy of hard-wired phone services and we would have expected that pattern to apply in the US when it came to more remote areas with a comparatively low-level of cell-phone only households in urban areas. We would also expect a similar situation in places where there is a higher population of transient residents, for whom a cell-phone makes logical sense.
2009-07-16: In another sign of the effect of the global recession on radio revenues, latest figures from Indian state broadcaster All India Radio show that in 2008-09 its commercial revenues fell by 10.6% on a year earlier to a total of INR 2.086 billion (circa USD 42.9 million). The figures were also down from 2005-06 when the total was around INR 2.22 billion after which they had risen to INR 2.36 billion in 2006-07 before falling back a little to INR 2.33 billion in 2007-08.
All India Radio currently operates 232 stations including 171 FMs compared to a total of 248 private FM stations and work is currently underway on the construction of 194 further stations including 145 FMs that were approved in the broadcasters Tenth Plan on top of which its 11th Plan includes proposals for an additional 32 FMs.
Also in India, the Hindustan Times reports that the government is finalising new policy guidelines for satellite radio and appears likely to accept proposals for ten-year licences for subscription-only operations - adverts would be barred to protect the FM industry - with winning bidders having to pay an annual licence fee equal to 4 per cent of their gross revenue and provide a bank guarantee of INR 10 crore (USD 2.1 million - a crore is 10 million) or the annual fee, whichever is higher.
Like private FMs, satellite operators will be barred from operating news channels although talk and current affairs are permitted as is transmission of news feeds from AIR and state TV and in addition political parties and religious organizations will not be allowed channels. All uplinking will have to be done through locally registered companies.
Currently only WorldSpace provides a commercial satellite radio service in India, on the basis of a one-off approval given in 1998.
Previous Indian Radio:
Hindustan Times report:
2009-07-15: Corus Entertainment in its third quarter results to the end of May has reported total revenues down 6% on a year earlier at CAD 195.4 million (USD 175.3 million) with profits down 14% to CAD 16.4 million (USD 14.7 million) and a net loss for the quarter - after a CAD 175 million (USD 157 million) radio broadcast license and goodwill impairment charge - of CAD 145 million (USD 130 million) compared to net income a year earlier of CAD 37.7 million (USD 33.8 million - from a positive 0.45 per basic and diluted share to a loss of CAD 1.81). The company noted that the year-ago figure was boosted by CAD 10 million (currently USD 8.97 million) in recoveries related to income tax changes and also incurred a charge related to disputed regulatory fees without which the earnings per share would have been CAD 0.36.
Within the figures TV fared much better than radio - its revenues were down 1% to CAD 129.6 million (USD 116.3 million) and profit was down 5% to CAD 50.7 million (USD 45.5 million) whilst radio revenues were down 15% to CAD 65.5 million (USD 58.8 million) and profit was down 35% to CAD 16.1 million (USD 14.4 million).
For the first nine months consolidated revenues are down 1% to CAD 593.5 million (USD 532.4 million) with TV revenues up 3% to 394.5 million (USD 353.9 million) and radio down 9% to CAD 199.0 million (USD 178.5 million). Consolidated profit was down 5% to CAD 193.8 million (USD 173.9 million) with TV up 1% to CAD 162.4 million (USD 145.7 million) and radio down 25% to CAD 45.2 million (USD 40.6 million). Overall Corus reported a net loss for the period of CAD 75.4 million (USD 67.6 million) compared to net income a year earlier of CAD 112.5 million (USD 100.9 million - from net income of CD 1.35 per basic and CAD 1.32 per diluted share to a loss of CAD 0.94 per basic and diluted share), again after the CAD 175 million impairment charge.
President and CEO John Cassaday said that they continued "to position our Company for growth in an improving economy" and added, "The acquisition of two digital networks, our ratings strength in Television and Radio, our successful launch of HBO Canada and its influence on Pay TV growth and the global expansion of Bakugan are all indicators of the underlying strength of Corus' assets."
Corus shares ended the day down 0.08% at CAD 12.08 but were then falling in after hours trading - when we last checked they were CAD 11.66.
In contrast to Corus, Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (CSR), the parent company of XM Canada, gas reported third quarter revenues up 30% on a year ago to CAD 13.5 million (USD 12.1 million) with year-to-date revenues up 40% to CAD 38.7 million (USD 34.7 million), mainly put down to an increase in its subscriber base - up from 280,400 a year ago to 363,400.
The company said there was a third quarter net profit of CAD 24.4 million (USD 21.9 million) including a foreign gain of CAD 16.4 million (USD 14.7 million) and a gain of CAD 22.8 million (USD 20.5 million) of debt repurchased in the third quarter of 2009) with per share income up from CAD 0.39 a year ago to CAD 0.49
Per Subscriber Acquisition Cost (SAC) was down from CAD 0.87 a year ago to CAD 0.77 for the quarter and Cost per Gross Addition (CPGA) was virtually flat - at CAD 140 and CAD 141 for the third quarter of 2009 and 2008, respectively - as was Average Monthly Subscription Revenue per Subscriber (ARPU) - CAD 11.97 this year and 11.99 a year earlier.
XM Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Moskowitz commented, " "This was a great quarter and significantly, it continues a long-term trend we have established with our business. Our bottom line continues to improve as we increase total revenue and self-paying subscribers, progressively reduce costs and benefit from our scalable business model, all the while navigating through very challenging economic times."
"We continue to focus on sustainable and profitable growth for the long-term," he added This has led to a number of important initiatives with OEM importers, our partnerships with wireless service providers to deliver our content to smart phones, and our recent debt repurchase, which improves the strength and flexibility of our capital structure. We continue to fortify our platform and ensure that XM Canada is well positioned to benefit from an economic recovery."
Previous XM Canada:
2009-07-15: Arbitron has announced that is has commercialized Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood market in Florida and almost simultaneously Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum filed a lawsuit against the company seeking to block the release of what he terms flawed ratings. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the company from using PPM ratings until they have received Media Research Council (MRC) accreditation, a USD 10,000 penalty for each violation plus the reasonable costs of the Attorney General's office and other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper
In the lawsuit McCollum says the PPM ratings are "based on a flawed methodology for data collection and sampling" and continues, "This flawed methodology systematically undercounts African American, Hispanic, and other minority listeners and would dramatically reduce the ratings of numerous radio stations with large minority audiences in the Miami area and elsewhere in Florida, jeopardizing their existence. For example, ratings for minority broadcasters1 in the New York radio market have fallen 40-60% since October 2008, with a precipitous drop in revenue since broadcasting revenue is directly related to ratings."
Describing Arbitron as "the monopoly provider of an essential service" the suit says that " radio stations in Florida and elsewhere depend on those advertising sales as their primary revenue source, making the reliability of Arbitron's ratings crucial to each station's existence.
It also notes that Arbitron's "'pre-currency' ratings in the Miami area market based on the new methodology that show significant decreases for several minority broadcasters, especially given the fact that certain minority broadcasters are not subscribing to this methodology and are thus excluded from the ratings" and adds, "Advertising agencies have already begun contacting numerous minority broadcasters in the Miami market seeking to negotiate a 30-50 % discount in their rates in anticipation of the currency ratings under Arbitron's new methodology."
It also notes difference in the recruiting of panel members in Houston, where it used "an in-person, address-based system where potential panellists were selected based on their address, with Arbitron representatives knocking on their doors in order to recruit them as panellists "whilst when it introduced the PPM in Philadelphia in order to save costs it used "telephone-based system of recruitment, which primarily relies on reaching out to potential panellists with landline telephones."
The latter it says ignores "one-third of a market's listening audience" and it notes that the MRC has accredited the system in Houston but not in Philadelphia and elsewhere "except in Riverside-San Bernardino, a market that is far smaller and less diverse than Miami's."
"In its rush to deploy a lucrative new product, "says the suit, "Arbitron has apparently determined that accurately measuring minority radio audiences is too expensive. The flaws in Arbitron's PPM service, however, are not technological. No matter how sophisticated the technology, the audience estimates it produces will be misleading if Arbitron does not recruit, train, and retain a sample panel that is reflective of the diversity in a particular radio market and if those in the sample panel do not faithfully and properly use their PPM devices. If Arbitron wishes to use PPM, it must invest the money and resources necessary to ensure reliable data and gain MRC accreditation."
It also notes that Arbitron has entered into consent decrees with the Attorneys General of the States of New York, New Jersey, and Maryland concerning its implementation of the PPM system in those states but adds, "Even if all of the provisions of the consent decrees were extended to Florida, such relief would still be inadequate because the provisions are largely aspirational and not dependent upon Arbitron obtaining MRC accreditation prior to implementing the PPM system for currency ratings in a given market."
Arbitron has not so far responded to the suit but in its release announcing the commercialization of the PPM its Chief Executive Officer and President Michael Skarzynski said, "We are commercializing our Portable People Meter radio ratings service in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood in order to meet our obligations to our customers and to the radio industry at large. The industry needs current estimates of the radio audience in the nation's largest markets to facilitate an efficient buy-sell process for radio advertising. Our goal with the commercialization of the PPM is to help radio remain competitive in an increasingly challenging media marketplace."
In other Arbitron news the company which in May announced that SVP/Press & Investor Relations Thom Mocarsky was to step down at the end of June after more than a quarter of a century with the company (See RNW May 26) has now hired him to fill the newly-created post of VP/Investor Relations in which role he will report to Chief Financial Officer Sean Creamer.
Arbitron had already 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 (See RNW June 1).
Florida law suit (11-page 95kb PDF):
2009-07-15: Newcap has announced that it is selling its two Thunder Bay, Ontario, FMs for CAD 4.5 million plus working capital (USD 4.0 million) to Acadia Broadcasting Limited's wholly-owned subsidiary Northwoods Broadcasting Limited.
The deal covers CKTG-FM (The Giant 105.3), and CJUK-FM (Magic 99.9), and Acadia Broadcasting Vice President Jim MacMullin said they would be "a great addition to our existing radio stations in Fort Frances, Kenora and Dryden, Ontario" adding, "We will continue with Newcap's tradition of providing quality local radio services to the Thunder Bay community."
Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited, Newcap's Parent, says the deal which needs regulatory approval is expected to close by the end of this year and its President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Steele said, "While these stations were positive contributors to Newcap, there was little opportunity to expand our presence and build on a cluster of stations in close proximity to
Thunder Bay. As a result we have chosen to divest of these non-core properties and redeploy the capital for other uses."
2009-07-15: The New York Times Company has announced a deal under which its classical station WXQR-FM will be sold in a deal involving public broadcaster WNYC Radio and Univision, with the station retaining its classical music format but moving to the weaker 105.9 FM signal currently used by Univision for its WCAA-FM (La Kalle) whilst Univision takes over the current WQXR 96.3 signal.
Under the deal cash-strapped New York Times will be paid USD 45 million - USD 33.5 million from Univision for the frequency and an additional USD 11.5 million from WNYC for the WXQR call letters plus the 105.9 equipment and licence being acquired by the Times from Univision.
WNYC has launched a campaign to raise USD 15 million to cover the payment plus transition costs and says the Jerome L. Greene Foundation has committed USD 5 million towards this on the basis of 1-to-1 pledges from other contributors: The station web site says it is acquiring WQXR "for you because we believe
*in enduring music
*In the cultural life of New York City
*In the power of public support for the arts.
It also carries MP3s of three reports concerning the deal and a text report in which it reports on its fund=raising "Campaign to Preserve Classical Music Radio in New York City", chaired by classical pianist Emanuel Ax, along with WNYC Board members Nicki Tanner and Martha Fleischman.
WNYC president and chief executive Laura Walker commented of the deal, "As one of the world's leading and most dynamic musical cities, New York deserves its own dedicated classical music station. For generations, WQXR has made classical music available free to millions, and has infused the concert hall experience into the daily lives of New Yorkers. We are delighted to continue this tradition and to extend WNYC's own 85-year commitment to classical music and the arts. We look forward to building a powerful and vibrant classical music experience for millions of people on the radio, on the internet and in our new performance space. "
It specifically said WNYC intends to continue two of WQXR's most listened to live programs - Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and The Philharmonic This Week - on WQXR.
It also quoted Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic, as saying "This is great news for classical music lovers, as well as all those who support the arts and culture in the City. WQXR has always been more than a classical music station - it is a destination on the radio dial where you can hear about a variety of cultural events throughout the City. WNYC is already an established and vital presence in the cultural life of New York City and is the ideal steward for this cultural icon."
Reporting on the deal, the New York Times says WQXR's 19 full-time and 2 part-time employees who want to stay after the deal closes - subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval but expected late this year - will have to apply for their jobs: In addition it quotes Janet L. Robinson, chief executive of the Times Company as saying that the current arrangement under which New York Times reporters and critics regularly appear on WQXR will be ended.
It also says that the deal is causing concern to cultural institutions that rely heavily on WQXR, like the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera and the Juilliard School and who will not face a new competitor for charitable donations to the arts and music in New York.
There was also concern it says about the exposure the station, which was founded in 1936 and has been owned by The Times since 1944, gives to their activities but quoted Walker as saying the fears were unnecessary and commenting, "We will not only look to continue those relationships, but to extend and expand and deepen them" and adding that WNYC has long wanted to have an all-music station and to lessen the music content on its existing FM station, at 93.9.
The current 6,000 watts WXQR signal reaches around 17.1 million people in an area some 42 miles from the station's antenna on the Empire State Building whilst WCAA's 600-watts signal, also broadcast from the Empire State Building reaches around 30 miles from the transmitter and covers around 12.6 million people. In addition to its main signal, WQXR is also carried on independently owned "repeater" signals in Poughkeepsie and Asbury Park, New Jersey, but the Times report says it is not clear what will happen in regard to these arrangements.
The Times has been cutting costs and is still trying to sell assets including the Boston Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and a minority stake in the company that owns the Boston Red Sox.
In other US station deals, One Heart Ministries, which has operated the station under a local marketing agreement since 2001, has exercised an option under the LMA to purchase Contemporary Christian WKBO-AM (Fortress 1230), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from Clear Channel Radio for USD 385,000 and in other station format changes CBS Radio has launched a Boston sports FM and is to launch a further sports FM in Washington, DC, next Monday.
The changes will give the company All-sports stations in 12 markets, including eight of the Top 15 markets
In the Boston change CBS freed its 98.5 frequency for Boston's "98.5 The Sports Hub" and moved WBMX (Mix 98.5) to 104.1, displacing Alternative WBCN, which is now an Internet station and HD Radio sub-channel.
In DC, it is flipping talk format WJFK-FM to "Sportsradio 106.7 The Fan" and in a news release it said both stations "will feature deep rosters of live, local talent; detailed sports reports, discussion and commentary; play-by-play coverage, and a variety of on-site events to capture the spirit of game day excitement" adding that they will also be available online and via numerous mobile smartphones devices, including the iPhone and Blackberry.
CBS Radio President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Mason commented of the changes, "There's no better way to reach large numbers of male listeners than through exclusive sports programming. We're seeing impressive ratings growth at a number of our stations and clients continue to make big investments in sports marketing. Captive audiences, association with revered names in sports, and the ability to speak directly to the consumer in-game, on-site, online and on-the-go 24/7 are sponsorship benefits exclusive to radio advertisers producing incredible return on investment."
Vice President of Programming Chris Oliviero added, "Sports is a decidedly local business appealing first and foremost to fans of the professional and college teams in the cities where they live. Knowing that passion exists has allowed us to create one of a kind properties that excel in being the go to destination to rant, rave, debate, argue, agree or disagree about every aspect of the day's headlines."
Play-by-play cover on the stations will include the New England Patriots and the NHL's Boston Bruins for Boston and the Washington Wizards for DC.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2009-07-14: BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles has attacked the corporation as being "in a very weird state" in the wake of the row over the comments by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross concerning the granddaughter of actor Andrew Sachs that led amongst other things to a large fine, the ending of Brand's Radio 2 Show, the suspension of Ross, and the resignation of BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas (See RNW Oct 30, 2008).
The BBC tightened up its procedures following the row and in an interview with the Radio Times, the BBC's weekly radio and TV listings magazine, Moyles comments of the BBC, "They just don't want to upset anybody. Everything now needs to be signed, sealed and approved 18 times.
"We're not trying to change the world, but because radio is so dull, so boring and so formulaic, anyone different - me or Jonathan [Ross] - stands out.
"The BBC is throwing down the rules and regulations and then the newspapers are saying certain things and you're just trying to juggle everything while keeping everyone happy at the same time. And the reality is you can't keep everyone happy at the same time."
The BBC responded by commenting, "Chris is never backwards in coming forwards but, while he is entitled to his opinion, we think that lively, distinctive and risk-taking radio is alive and well at the BBC.
"We have a duty to ensure all our programmes are editorially compliant, but that doesn't mean our producers and presenters can't take creative risks if it means better programmes for listeners."
Moyles' interview was conducted in advance of his appearance on a BBC TV programme "Who Do You Think You Are?" - to be broadcast on July 22 - in which he learns of the tragic history of his poverty-stricken great-grandmother, who lost 10 of her fourteen siblings to disease whilst growing up in Ireland and discovers that his great-grandfather was killed at Ypres in the First World War.
Moyles' comments have - inevitably - led to reports bringing up his own past and citing examples of apologies, reprimands, and Ofcom rulings on his comments.
Amongst them was a ruling that in interview with Russell Brand on the Chris Moyles Show had infringed the privacy of Sachs and his granddaughter although the regulator, which had fined the BBC GBP 150,000 (then USD 223,000) over the Russell Brand Shows, did not impose any fine on Moyles (See RNW April 3).
UK Daily Mail report - refers to Moyles' history of controversy.
Radio Times blog re Moyles' comments:
2009-07-14: Insignia's NS-HD01, the first portable HD radio receiver to be put on sale in the US has been described as a "total win for the consumer" by iBiquity President and CEO Bob Struble and it has received a generally favourable response although most articles we have seen are effectively sales brochures rather than reviews. Some quote Insignia Portable HD product manager Mike Dahnert as describing the sound quality and LCD screen as "phenomenal" albeit we have seen no user reviews that go anywhere near that far.
The review in CNET, which had an advance look at the receiver and in which John P. Falcone after detailing the facilities - size 3.07 x 2.06 x 0.63 inches ( 7.8 X 5.2 x 1.6 cm), 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) colour LCD screen, HD and FM, 10 user-programmable presets, and a sealed non-replaceable lithium-ion battery - comments that using it is "pretty straightforward, though you might need to consult the manual to figure out how to lock in the presets. Tune to any HD-enabled station and the radio should switch from the analogue to digital signal within a couple of seconds." On stations with secondary HD channels, he notes, you can toggle to the HD2 and/or HD3 sub channels.
Sound quality he says was "good but not spectacular. As always, it's a garbage-in/garbage-out situation, so stations that overly compress their digital signal will sound more like a tinny Internet radio stream than a CD. But the good stations sound great: WBGO's classic jazz sounded rich and full."
He also adds that he would have preferred a simpler control panel with maybe four or five of the nine basic controls consolidated into a 5-way d-pad, and "a gigabyte or two of memory for a rudimentary MP3 player" for use in places way no clear signal is available.
He also lists amongst the cons the lack of an AM receiver or ability to connect to an external antenna and the built-in battery, which is supposed to have a 10-hour life although at least one comments in response expresses doubts about this and another says that the battery could fail in as little as two years with heavy use.
The receiver is being sold by Best Buy at USD 49.99 and compares with prices from them of USD 20.99 for Insignia's Armband Radio with AM/FM Stereo and USD 23.99 for the Sony CFS10MK2 AM/FM Pocket Radio.
2009-07-13: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has announced two appointments that complete its shake-up of radio management: Jeremy Millar, currently Manager of 702 ABC Sydney & Local Radio New South Wales will become Manager, Metropolitan Local Radio, and Tony Rasmussen will move from his current role of Manager, Network Development, to the post of Manager, Regional Local Radio.
The appointments were announced by Kate Dundas, Director ABC Radio, and follow a restructure of ABC Radio which saw former Head of Local Radio Michael Mason take on the newly created role of Group Program Director.
Dundas commented of the changes, "Energy, talent and innovation are the hallmarks of ABC Radio, as are our strong connections with audiences across the country. The aim of redesigning the management structure is to better focus on and support great content and its delivery to Australians everywhere. I'm sure these new roles with Jeremy, Tony and Michael in them will enable ABC Radio to continue doing just that."
Under the new structure, which comes into effect early next month, Mason will works with the managers of ABC Radio content platforms to ensure standards of sound and quality content and that new talent is identified and nurtured for all five ABC Radio networks: Local Radio, ABC Classic FM, ABC Radio National, ABC NewsRadio and triple j. He will also work across the recently launched suite of digital radio services: ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz and ABC Country.
Millar will have responsibility for Local Radio stations in nine major metropolitan markets and also oversee management of Radio Sport and Rasmussen will oversee the network of 51 regional ABC Local stations and management of ABC Rural.
The Australian reporting on the changes notes that they come as the regional radio division prepares to expand its reach with the launch of new regional broadband hubs, to which the federal government committed AUD 15 million (USD 11.8 million) in the May budget and quoted Millar as saying the broadcaster was preparing to enable the audience to have more influence over the content it put to air.
"One of the things facing all media today is people wanting the content they want, when they want, on the device they want," Millar said. "In the old days, a program director would say, 'here's a best estimate of what you should consume' and that model has gone."
Previous ABC, Australia:
The Australian report:
2009-07-13: This week we head to the US for the bulk of our look at print comment on radio, and generally pessimistic comment it is: We start with two postings from Jerry Del Colliano in his insidemusicmedia blog, the first of which asks whether Clear Channel or Citadel is closest to bankruptcy and the second of which attacks Cumulus as a "mean-spirited manager of employees."
In the case of the Clear Channel v Citadel race to bankruptcy, Del Colliano does not come to a clear conclusion but seems to think Citadel will reach the mark first, noting that it has "retained Lazard Frères to help it through a likely bankruptcy filing and has also told its employees they will no longer "be permitted to purchase Citadel stock in their 401(k) Plans (Retirement investment plans)."
To that latter he adds, "Are these guys nuts? If they wanted to do their employees a favour, they should have told them to sell when the company's stock was worth ten dollars not now when it is worth only a few cents.
"But that's not what this is all about.
"It's another indicator that Citadel is on its way to Chapter 11."
Del Colliano also comments that "Citadel employees are not as dumb as their employers apparently think they are.
"They're certainly not rushing out to buy low and, well -- you know, sell high (like at eight cents!).
"Who in their right mind is still purchasing Citadel common stock, given its precipitous decline and the state of the company's balance sheet?"
He then continues, "What it really means is that Lazard Frères (which will get their fees no matter what you can be damn sure) has probably calculated that Citadel's common stock will be wiped out completely in an upcoming restructuring."
"That is, it's all going to go to the creditors. And this ban on purchasing the company's four cent stock is an admission that it's all a lost cause.
"It's tantamount to a legal notice to employees to insulate the company from the lawsuits that are likely to be generated. This way 401k participants can't say they weren't reminded that they have the option to bail on their current shares while they can still get something for them.
He then details the note to employees concerning their rights to sell stock and comments in relation to the industry as a whole that the big groups "never had a 'what if' plan should the economy ever tank " and goes on to make even more gloomy prognostications, suggesting that even if buyers get stations at knock-down prices in a bankruptcy, "The real tragedy is that operating radio stations -- even if they are purchased at reasonable multiples -- will be like operating a steam engine railroad in the space age.
"One tragedy -- the unnecessary demise of the radio industry," he comments "has already happened.
"The next tragedy -- the repurchase of these outlets from failing radio groups -- will be one more way arrogant consolidators will spit in the face of talented people who want one more bite at the apple."
In relation to Cumulus, it's an example of damning with faint praise as near the start of his comments Del Colliano writes " I always liked Lew Dickey. He's smarter than he is acting and tougher than he looks" but then goes on to comment on "desperate things Cumulus is now doing to squeeze blood from their employees."
Amongst these he writes that "Where Cumulus once had a cluster full of FM stations with live morning shows and live airshifts right through to midnight, they now have as few as three salaried jocks for all those stations."
He then says he understands the serious financial trouble the company is in but goes on to add, "What I don't get is their increasing penchant for management by fear -- the 'I Spy'" mentality of this particular company."
The latter is a reference to the practice of meetings at stations with video of the meeting being transmitted to headquarters, a practice he considers - correctly we would estimate, has not done anything positive for morale at the company.
He also quotes from a memo "purportedly written by Mark Sullivan, [Cumulus] Senior VP", in which he said, "Are your top AE's seeing their incomes decreasing at the same rate as our billing in your market? In other words, are they feeling the same level of pain that the company is feeling?"
To which Del Colliano asks, "Since when is "pain" a motivator for employees?" There's quite a bit more but it seems more like psychological torture than motivation to us, although cynically with experience of some companies the idea might be to drive people to quit"
On to another US radio company under pressure, this time a report by Lewis Lazare in the Chicago Sun-Times about Clear Channel in Chicago and the actions taken by its president and market manager Earl Jones.
Lazare details some of Jones' background as a former professional NFL player and in sales in both radio and TV and then goes on to some of the programming changes made including the decision to dump Tom Joyner from WVAZ-FM (See RNW Mar 24) and replace him with Steve Harvey.
Jones, says Lazare, was privy to research that showed Joyner to be less popular than his vocal fans thought.
He also notes the switch of WNUA-FM from smooth jazz Spanish-language Mega 95.5 (See RNW May 22), a move put down partly to the debut of the Portable People Meter ratings following which the ratings slumped, prompting a change that Jones sees as benefiting the company's bottom line in the long run.
The best line to us, however, was Jones mission statement: "My job is to increase the value of the stations I manage and give the local community a product that educates and entertains."
Sounds good but we bet Jerry Del Colliano would be somewhat sceptical about the priority given to second part of the statement.
After the US to criticism of some UK radio, more a matter of faint or not so faint damnation set against the praise this time and about the programming not the financial woes. It came in Paul Donovan's Sunday Times radio column which was about the dramatization by BBC Radio 4 of all eight of John le Carré's novels featuring George Smiley.
The praise first: "These dramas (seven espionage stories and one whodunit) offer much that is enjoyable: subtle and unobtrusive sound effects, from scratching pens to assemblage of whisky and soda; a sense of cold war shadows and shifting moral sands; the evocation of a vanished Britain; and a taut, complex but intelligible narrative."
And the faint - or not so faint - damnation: "There is also a problem, though, and that is the star - Simon Russell Beale, who plays Smiley. He is a very clever man: a Cambridge scholar, a musician, a BBC4 presenter and a versatile stage actor of international renown. The problem is that he never sounds as if he is of the period. The 1950s and 1960s voice, clipped and precisely enunciated, is absent when he speaks. His words, and syllables, tend to run into one another, and he has even pronounced "recognised" as "reconnised". His voice has strong sinews, but it is simply not the voice of the period."
The problem says Donovan also stretches to others including Brian Cox who plays the undercover operative Alec Leamas and Ruth Gemmell, who plays the Jewish Communist Liz. Both he says sound contemporary and it is mainly the "less famous players" who "who most effectively, and instantly, conjure up the era of Bakelite telephones and black-and-white television."
"The odd thing," continues Donovan, "is that the producer of these dramatisations, Patrick Rayner, has evidently not insisted that all members of the cast try to speak with the same perfect nuance: perhaps he was overawed by his stars."
RNW comment: A sentence whose last thought in our view could be said of far too many Hollywood movies and star-featuring TV productions albeit we'd go along with positive views of one star who played Smiley - Alec Guinness in two BBC TV productions.
And whilst with UK reviews of radio programming - fortunately still taken seriously by a number of "broadsheet" (Only A convenient phrase but only the Telegraph and Financial Times are actually still broadsheet as the others have all moved to smaller pages) - we felt a paragraph in Gillian Reynolds' review of the Sunday BBC Radio 4 programme "Gordon's Women" well worth a repeat as both taking the medium seriously and including a nice turn of phrase: "Curiously, it began with the sound of girly giggles. These, we heard, were from women activists in the Midlands, about to meet Gordon Brown. Whatever was in producer Kate Dixon's mind? The inference was that even today women involved in politics still either coo (as these did), or throw shoes (as Martha Kearney promised), a distinction simplistic enough to curl the hair of any good Woman's Hour listener."
We appreciated a few later comments as well "There is also the consideration of whether Caroline Flint, Hazel Blears, Patricia Hewitt et al did their jobs well. The assumption here was that their departure from office was more to do with gender than competence Oh, Martha, I think we're all about to pay the price of something rather more fundamental than sacking incompetents or failing to engage with malcontents, whatever their gender. In fact, having heard some of Brown's female supporters here, he might be wise to sack a few more."
Next to listening suggestions, which were filed before the main report - mainly because the BBC keeps much listening available for only a week: All the more reason therefore to appreciate broadcasters like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Netherlands whose podcasts are generally there for a month or longer.
So to Radio Netherlands and last Saturday's "The State We're In" including reports on the local government-owned non-profit Prairie Meadows racetrack and casino in Altoona, Iowa, plus a number of religious items including a Southern Baptist evangelist and a former Roman Catholic priest who converted to Islam and Ariane Sherine whose reaction to a religious advertisement she saw on the side of a London bus, was to write about it for a British newspaper - and subsequently spark public anti-religious advertisements all over the world.
Also from the station its "Radio Books" site has streams of two more stories albeit MP3s have not been posted of them - most recently "The Creation" by Clarke Accord - a story of the day in the life of a homeless man in an Amsterdam Park, and before that Stephan Enter's "Instincts" concerning a young man who enlists in the military after he graduates only to find the experience doesn't live up to the romantic tales he was told by his uncles.
Then to the ABC and last Sunday for "Background Briefing"- "Expanding mental illness", a report that finds no surprise in discovering that there are now pills for almost everything plus "The Night Air" on conspiracy theories: We also note that for those who wish to download rather than listen via the BCB web site the third of this year's four "Reith Lectures" on the "Big Ideas" web site.
We'd also suggest Monday this week and the "Health Report" on new Australian psychiatry research.
From the BBC we start with BBC Radio 2 and suggest from Monday "Montreux And All That Jazz", the first of two programmes on the festival plus "Dave Pearce's Disco Anthems", the second of a six-part series.
From Tuesday we suggest "Angel of Harlem: The Billie Holiday Story" and the first of a new six-part series "Marc Riley's Musical Time Machine", this programme looking back to 1964 at an interview with the '5th Beatle', manager Brian Epstein
Jumping to Thursday we move away from music to "Hot Gossip" and "Does The Team Think?" and then moving to Saturday we suggest "Moonbathing" in which Charles Hazlewood explores the musical legacy of the first moon landing.
Then from BBC Radio 3 we suggest from Monday to Thursday "The Essay" - this week four programmes on "Nature in China" from Robert Macfarlane and "Afternoon on Three" - four programmes (not Thursday, which is Handel's Fernando, Re di Castiglia) spotlighting BBC Performing Groups including the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic; BBC Symphony Orchestra; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Singers; and from Monday to Friday "Composer of the Week" - this week the composer is Jonathan Harvey.
On Friday this year's Promenade Concerts begin with the BBC SO under Jiri Belohlavek and from Saturday we suggest Jazz Library on Roland Hanna plus more Proms including a performance of Haydn's Creation oratorio.
Then from Sunday more proms with Handel's Partenope, sung in Italian and Jazz Line-Up in which Claire Martin presents a performance by bass virtuoso Ron Carter.
Moving to BBC Radio 4, we suggest (P indicates a podcast/download is also available) "Book of the Week" - running until Friday and this week is "You're Coming With Me Lad", Mike Pannett's account of his experiences as a rural policeman, having swapped a post with the Metropolitan Police for a return to his native North Yorkshire; the ten-part 14;45 GMT "The Inconstant Moon" in which Jeanette Winterson offers a series of reflective readings about the moon; "Woman's Hour Drama" - "The Pursuits of Darleen Fyles", inspired by true stories and going through a week in the life of Darleen Fyles, a young woman with learning disabilities; and the second week of Justin Cartwright's"To Heaven By Water" in the "Book at Bedtime" slot.
From Monday itself we suggest a whole run beginning with, from the early hours, "Thinking Allowed" (Podcast available until Wednesday when this week's programme airs but a streams archive remains available) on whether Darwin can Darwin explain why some societies become modern' "Start the Week (P) in which amongst other contributions Andrew Marr discusses justice with Amartya Sen, and meaningful work in a recession with Richard Sennet; "The Political Club" in which Michael Crick reveals how politicians are increasingly becoming a professionalised and separate class, who use their status to channel taxpayers' money into the coffers of their parties; "Quote... Unquote"; the "Afternoon Play" - "Be My Baby" -Amanda Whittington's drama-documentary about adoption; "Walking on the Moon" in which Buzz Aldrin relives the final descent to the moon in 1969; "Trading on HIV" in which Miriam O'Reilly investigates reports of the recreational use of anti-retroviral Aids drugs; "Analysis" in which Owen Bennett-Jones investigates Pakistan's Islamic radicals; "Frontiers" on practical, moral and ethical issues raised by synthetic biology; and "Off the Page" in which Dominic Arkwright and guests discuss the consequences of being sacked.
From Tuesday we suggest the second of the five-part "Musical Migrants", this one featuring English accordionist Martin Green playing with Scotland-based folk band Lau; the second and final part of "The Royal Show in Crisis" - the show went ahead last week for the last time after 170 years but with no royal present for the final show; "Music from Beyond the Veil" in which Prof Paul Robertson examines the claims and counter-claims for musical mediumship and tells the tale of Balham housewife and medium Rosemary Brown who, with little musical training, created a sensation when she claimed to have received new works from beyond the grave from Liszt, Brahms, Beethoven, Rachmaninov and other great composers -then running for three-days to Thursday at 14:30 GMT "Afternoon Reading"- "The Adventures of Mr Thake" in which Leslie Phillips reads the letters, out of print since the 1930s, sent to JB Morton's columnist Beachcomber from the calamitous travels abroad of fictional upper-class twit, Oswald Bletisloe Hattersley Thake; and "Word of Mouth" in which Chris Ledgard explores the words we use to talk about music.
From Wednesday we suggest "In Living Memory" - "The Contraceptive Train", the first in a four-part series, this programme tells of the 1971 defiance of the laws of the Irish Republic by a group of women who went to Belfast from Dublin and brought back thousands of contraceptives as a challenge to customs officers; this week's "Media Show" (P); "The Call in the Middle of the Night", the first of a two-part programme in which Jonathan Powell interviews key advisers to American presidents and British prime ministers about emergency calls (also broadcast on Sunday as part of the Westminster Hour); the first part of the three-part "A Life With ...Microbes " in which Writer and naturalist Paul Evans meets Prof Lynn Margulis, whose study of the Earth's smallest creatures led to a revolutionary theory for all life on Earth; and comedy to end with in "Act Your Age" - the first in a new six-part series that pits the comic generations against each other to find out which is the funniest.
From Thursday, we suggest "Inside the Ethics Committee" - "Hospital Phobia", considering whether a young man with a phobia of operations be forced to have life-saving surgery; "Crossing Continents" (P) in which Bill Law investigates the chances of Pakistani youngsters joining the Taliban; "Shappi Talk" the second part of a four-part comedy series featuring Iranian-born Shappi Khorsandi - an episode in which she recalls growing up with unconventional parents; and "The Report" (P) on the UK's policy towards hostage-takers
From Friday we opt for a regular comedy in the form of "The Now Show" (P) and for those who prefer one programme to five, the Omnibus edition of "The Inconstant Moon."
On Saturday we suggest another regular, "The Bottom Line" (P); the second and last part of "Tarantino's Jukebox" in which Quentin Tarantino discusses the music he has used to soundtrack his films; a new "Archive on 4" - "Soho" in which Suggs returns to Soho to find out how this unique community functions today" and note a repeat at 20:00 GMT of last Sunday's "Classic Serial" - the second part of the three-part "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold".
Which takes us to Sunday and the final part of "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" and also the third of the five-part "The Estuary" and finally from last Sunday BBC Radio 5 Live, a rather harrowing documentary in "Gay Life After Saddam" : Based on Aasmah Mir's programme it would seem that, rather like women and their rights, the overthrow of the late Iraqi dictator hasn't improved their situation in the country.
Previous Del Colliano:
Chicago Sun-Times - Lazare:
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
UK Daily Telegraph - Reynolds:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2009-07-12: Last week was unusually quiet for the regulators with only a few radio related postings and no major issues under discussion: In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that Macarthur Community Radio Association Inc, licensee of community radio station 2MCR Campbelltown, New South Wales, breached codes relating to conflict resolution, programming, sponsorship and complaints handling.
The ACMA had investigated following a complaint and found that the station did not have the relevant policies and procedures in place; that sponsorship had been a factor in deciding who could access broadcasting time on the station; and that 2MCR had not adequately responded to the complainant's concerns.
The station in response has revised its conflict resolution and programming policies as well as its complaint handling procedures and the ACMA said it believes these actions demonstrate 2MCR's genuine commitment to meeting its obligations, adding that it will be liaising with the licensee to ensure these policies and procedures address future compliance and will also require the licensee to revise its sponsorship policy to ensure future compliance with the codes.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a very quiet week as regards radio, making no new postings: it has, however, posted a public notice relating to broadcasting in New Media that included confirmation for the moment of rules relating to the exemption of Internet services from requirements of Part II of Canada's Broadcasting Act. As regards issues of whether the Act should apply to Internet Services Providers (ISPs) the agency said it would refer the issue to Federal Court of Appeal.
In Ireland there were no radio-specific postings from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) but it did post a statutory review of Ireland's Childrens Advertising Code: In identified areas where the Code was considered to be working well and those where it considered further consideration or revision to be required including definition of children's advertising; inexperience and credulity; and product prohibitions and restrictions, specifically referring to legislative proposals contained within the Broadcasting Bill 2008 in respect of particular classes of food, including foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
In the UK, Ofcom published its annual report in which it highlighted the move to digital and also highlighted fines imposed during the past year in relation to competitions as well as detailing other activities (See RNW July 9). It also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld one radio complaint and did not uphold complaints against Jonathan Ross in relation to comments that complainants had said were offensive and derogatory to the gay community (See RNW Jul 6).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued proposed penalties ranging from USD 250 to USD 22,000 in a number of enforcement actions.
The largest penalty went to Inter Tech FM, which was issued with a USD 22,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for marketing of FM broadcast transmitters and external RF power amplifiers without proper authorization.
Inter Tech in response to a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) said that all the transmitter models it manufactured in the US under the trade name Cybermax. Inter Tech stated that all of the transmitter models it manufactured were marketed in the US exclusively to full power FM stations and verified in accordance with FCC requirements but it also admitted that it marketed several Cybermax amplifier models for "export only," but denied being the manufacturer of these models, claiming that these models consisted of third-party modules that Inter Tech incorporated into casings.
The FCC said the company in its response had failed to provide sufficient evidence that the transmitters were authorized and sent a follow-up letter to which the company responded by saying it believed that by verifying the exciter contained in the Cybermax transmitters, it had complied with the rules but did not say whether the modules, which it said were made by Broadcast Warehouse, incorporated into the Cybermax amplifiers or the amplifiers had been certified. It also said it had "stopped marketing and selling such products to the domestic market."
A third letter was sent to which Inter tech responded by providing a complete and detailed list of its Cybermax transmitters, indicating that four transmitter models contained the verified exciter, with no amplification, and four transmitter models contained the verified exciter coupled with a Broadcast Warehouse amplifier.
The FCC concluded that the company apparently manufactured and marketed two unauthorized transmitters in the United States from February 7, 2008 until at least July 10, 2008, the date of the Second LOI: It also concluded that Inter Tech was responsible for two uncertified amplifier models marketed in the United States during the same period and issued an NAL for USD 22,000 in relation to the offences - USD 14,000 for the marketing of the two unverified transmitters and the remaining USD 8,000 for the amplifiers.
The other penalties issued (in order of descending amount) were of:
*USD 6,000 forfeiture to Lancaster Educational Broadcasting Foundation's, WFCO-FM, Lancaster, Ohio, for broadcasting prohibited underwriting announcements (See RNW Jul 10).
*USD 1,500 forfeiture to Pribilof School District Board of Education , licensee of KUHB-FM, St. Paul, Alaska, for late filing of renewal application: It had issued an NAL for this amount to which the licensee filed a request for cancellation or reduction on the grounds that the failure was inadvertent and inability to pay. The FCC in line with its usual policy rejected the first argument and in relation to the second noted that documentation had not been supplied that would allow it to assess the ability to pay. It confirmed the full penalty.
*USD 500 forfeiture to Calvary Chapel (Church) of Menomonie, licensee of Low Power FM Station WRJF-LP, Menomonie, Wisconsin, for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation: In this case it had issued a USD 7,000 NAL to which the licensee responded with a request for cancellation or reduction on the grounds that the failure was the result of a filing error and financial hardship. Both arguments were rejected but in line with recent precedent regarding Low Power FM Stations it cut the penalty to USD 500.
*USD 250 forfeiture to College Wesleyan Church, former licensee of Low Power FM Station WIWU-LP (formerly WCWC-LP), Marion, Indiana, for late filing of renewal application. It has initially issued an NAL for USD 1,500 to which the Wesleyan responded with a request for cancellation or reduction on the basis that the failure was inadvertent and a history of compliance. The FCC dismissed the first argument but in line with precedent and a history of compliance reduced the penalty to USD 250.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-07-11: According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Sydney radio could see a being shake-up with a possible move by Ray Hadley from Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB to Fairfax Media's 2UE.
The paper says that the 2GB morning host has told executives at 2UE that he wants AUD 5 million (USD 3.94 million) a year to jump from 2GB, where he would be expected to move into the breakfast slot, although it adds that with the current decline in advertising revenues most stations would struggle with that price.
2GB currently dominates the ratings - in the latest survey Alan Jones, whose current contract is said to be worth AUD 4 million (USD 3.15 million) a year in the breakfast slot had a 17.6% share, well ahead of ABC 702, which had a 12.9 share in second place, and Hadley had a 17.2% share compared to 10.7% for Austereo's 2-DAY FM. In the latest survey 2Ue's Mike Carlton and Sandy Aliosi were fifth in the breakfast slot with a 6.1% share and sixth in the morning slot where Steve Price had a 4.8% share.
The paper notes that both Jones and Hadley were once big stars for 2UE - which at the time dominated the ratings with Jones and John Laws, who is retired, in the morning slot leading the rankings in their slots - and their move to 2GB in 2002 marked an immediate shift in loyalties: It adds that Jones' brush with cancer has thrown his retirement plans into question and Hadley would be the more poachable of the 2GB stars.
The Telegraph also suggests that a Hadley departure could be a blessing for 2GB whose net profit fell by 83% in the second half of last year to AUD 443,000 ( USD 349,000), adding that owner John Singleton is said to have given his blessing to a move by Hadley.
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Sydney Daily Telegraph report:
2009-07-10: Emmis revenues in its first quarter to the end of May were 29.1% down on a year ago at USD 62.43 million with station operating income down two thirds - from USD 24.4 million to USD 8.1 million and operating income of USD 14 million a year ago turned into a loss of USD 6 million.
However net income attributable to common shareholders, boosted by a USD 31.91 million gain on debt extinguishment, turned from a loss of USD 1.05 million to a positive USD 7.58 million (From three cents a share loss to 20 cents in the black): In its 10Q filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Emmis noted that in April and May this year it completed a series of Dutch auction tenders that purchased USD 78.5 million in face amount of outstanding term loans for USD 44.7 million in cash, thus producing the gain on debt extinguishment.
Within the results radio revenues were down 27.4% to USD 46.18 million and publishing was down 25/6% to USD 16.25 million.
Emmis did not post comment on the results but in a memo to employees chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan spoke of fighting against "of a remarkably difficult economy" although he became more positive, continuing, "While I believe we have seen the bottom of this downturn, what no one can say is how long it will take to climb out of the trough. Therefore, we continue to do what's necessary to survive and prepare for better times. The good news is that our strategy is working. By focusing on debt reduction, maintaining compliance with our banking agreements and reducing expenses, Emmis is protecting itself from the financial failure that threatens so many others these days."
2009-07-10: Arbitron, which has been smarting under attacks alleging that its portable people meter (PPM) ratings are seriously hitting minority stations, has announced that it is to be a co-sponsor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Centennial Convention.
It will sponsor the Chairman of the Board Reception on July 12, an event which provides the opportunity for attendees to meet and interact with NAACP volunteer leadership from across the country.
Arbitron President and CEO Michael Skarzynski commented of the move, "As the nation's oldest pre-eminent civil rights organization, we congratulate the NAACP on reaching such an incredible milestone. Little can be done to move our society forward without the leadership and drive of organizations like the NAACP, and we are honoured to be a part of this notable event. We are proud to be part of an event that gathers together so many African American leaders, civil rights activists, and other influential members of the community."
Yesterday Skarzynski was amongst those testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Trends Affecting Minority Broadcast Ownership" at which he noted that radio was now competing against "a host of new audio delivery platforms, including podcasting and Internet streaming" that were inherently able to measure electronically and added that radio broadcasters and advertisers had made it clear that for radio to survive, it must have electronic measurement that PPM can provide.
Skarzynski said the company recognized the critical role and importance of black- and Hispanic-owned radio," and added that minority broadcasters provided a "vital link to democracy for this country."
Radio broadcasters he said had been hit by a "perfect storm" between the recession, the "precipitous decline" in ad revenue, and, for many broadcasters, heavy debt loads and noted "dramatic and devastating declines in revenue" at both general-market radio and among minority broadcasters citing first quarter revenue declines this year of 29 % at CBS Radio, 23 % at Citadel and 22% at Cumulus amongst the former and of and 20% for Radio One, 27% at Spanish Broadcasting System, and 26% for Univision Radio amongst the latter.
Regarding concerns amongst minority broadcasters, Skarzynski said Arbitron had been working with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and the Spanish Radio Association to address their concerns, concluding, "Arbitron is committed to working with all stakeholders in the radio industry to help radio broadcasters -- especially black- and Hispanic-owned broadcasters -- survive and prosper in the face of this perfect storm of economic and financial challenges."
Others addressing the hearing included NABOB Executive Director and General Counsel Jim Winston who commented of Performance Royalty proposals that he saw no need for their introduction and added that the main other issues facing minority broadcasters were the PPM and meeting loan payments.
2009-07-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a USD 6,000 fine on an Ohio non-commercial station for broadcasting advert. Its action followed a complaint that Lancaster Educational Broadcasting Foundation's WFCO-FM, Lancaster, had broadcast prohibited underwriting announcements during its broadcast of Capital University college football games during the 2006 season.
The FCC initially issued a USD 7,500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in February this year to which the licensee responded by requesting reduction or cancellation on the basis of inability to pay, remedial actions taken, and a history of compliance with FCC rules.
The FCC noted that inability to pay was primarily measured in relation to gross revenues and that in this case no reduction was justified on this basis - nor on the basis of subsequent remedial actions - and added in relation to a statement from Lancaster that it has low cash reserves and might have to cease operations that the licensee could request an instalment payment option.
It did however cut the penalty to USD 6,000 on the basis of a history of compliance.
2009-07-09: Montreal-headquarter Astral Media has reported overall revenues in its third quarter to the end of May up 3% on a year ago at CAD 232.5 million (USD 200.1 million) within which radio was down 4% to CAD 81.63 million (USD 70.25 million); TV was up 3% to CAD 133.1 million (USD 114.6 million); and Outdoor was up 1% to CAD 17.76 million (USD 15.28 million).
For the first nine-months of the year, total revenues are up 8% to CAD 686.3 million (USD 590.6 million) within which radio is up 11% at CAD 246.8 million (USD 212.4 million); TV is up 6% at CAD 388.37 million (USD 334.2 million) and Outdoor is up 1% at CAD 51.1 million (USD 44.0 million)
Net earnings from continuing operations were up by 3% in the quarter to CAD 44.3 million (USD 38.1 million - up from CAD 0.76 to 0.79 per share) and up 5% for the first nine months at CAD 115.6 million (USD 99.5 million - from CAD1.94 per share to CAD 2.06 per share).
EBITDA for the quarter was up marginally - from CAD 82.0 million to CAD 82.3 million (USD 70.6 to USD 70.8 million) and up 7% for the first nine months at CAD 223.6 million (USD 192.4 million) whilst cash from continuing operations was up 3% in the quarter to CAD 59.0 million (USD 50.8 million) and up 6% for the first nine months at CAD 154.6 million (USD 133.1 million).
President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Greenberg commented that he was "pleased by the resilience displayed by the Company and the continued growth of our results throughout the first nine months of a very challenging year for the Canadian economy" and added "While our subscriber revenues continued to rise, advertising sales were affected by the industry-wide decline in demand which continued to spread into all of our major markets in the third quarter. However, I am confident that our financial discipline, supported by a strong balance sheet and tight cost controls will help us emerge as an even stronger and more flexible organization when the economy turns around''.
Both Astral A and B shares were up slightly on Thursday - by 2.8% to CAD 28.79 and 0.9% to CAD 29 respectively
2009-07-09: UK media regulator Ofcom in its annual report and accounts just published stresses the move to digital with Chairman Colette Bowe commenting, "For better or for worse, we are now in a new phase for the UK communications sector. The fully digital age, long hailed, is fast becoming a reality."
She then adds, "Much of Ofcom's focus for the next year will be on sustaining investment in the sector and meeting consumer and citizen interest in a world of immense structural and cyclical change" and says "A major focus for the next year will be in our review of local media, an area of huge citizen and consumer interest and one which faces enormous change and challenge."
Chief Executive Ed Richards, who described 2008-09 as a "watershed year" comments that "In broadcasting, we have helped to restore trust in phone-in TV shows and issued sanctions to help maintain high standards on television and radio" and also says Ofcom has to be more "hands-on" when it comes to public broadcasting.
He notes that during the year to the end of March this year, Ofcom spent GBP 127.6 million ( USD 208.5 million) - GBP 6.1 million ( USD 9.97 million) less than its budget - although the 2009-10 budget has increased to GBP 136.8 million (USD 223.5 million), partly due to preparation for the integration of Postcomm and for planning the use of the spectrum for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games: Without the extras he says it would have fallen by GBP 4.7 million (USD 7.68 million) and he notes that "On a like-for-like basis, our budget is now 4 per cent lower in real terms than for 2008/9 and 21 per cent lower in real terms from Ofcom's original budget set in 2004/5."
Content Board chairman Phil Graf highlights enforcement action taken, particularly relating to competitions including a GBP 3 million (currently USD 4.9 million) fine on ITV licensee LWT for abuses connected with premium rate phone services (In radio GCap was fined GBP 1.11 million (currently USD 1.81 million, then USD 2.21 million) for competition-related breaches on 30 of its local stations - See RNW June 26, 2008). Regarding radio he stresses the expansion of community radio - 27 new licences were issued in the year and the agency has now awarded its last planned new commercial FM licences - it issued Plymouth and North Wales licences during the year - and local DAB multiplex licences, issuing DAB licences for Surrey and northern Sussex, Somerset, and North Wales during the year, all to consortia including Muxco.
Regarding complaints Ofcom says that during the year it dealt with 27,549 programme complaints, of which 27,311 were complaints about programme standards (including issues relating to political advertising and the amount and distribution of advertising) and 238 were complaints about alleged unfairness and/or unwarranted infringements of privacy
Of these it closed 2,965 cases relating to programme standards, finding breached of codes or licence conditions in 211 cases of which 30 cases were subject to statutory sanctions involving
18 separate broadcasters. In addition 238 Fairness and Privacy cases were closed, of which 17 were considered by Ofcom's Fairness Committee - it upheld nine cases, eight of them partly, and did not uphold the other 8 - and the remaining 221 being dealt with by its executive - 14 cases were upheld, eleven of then partly; 37 were not upheld; ten were resolved; and 160 were either not entertained or discontinued after examination.
The accounts show a surplus for the year of GBP 2.2 million ( USD 3.6 million) - and down from GBP 8.2 million (USD 13.4 million) a year earlier and regarding fees says there will be an average decrease of 11.4% for the radio and of 15.7 % for the television sector.
Top executives have waived their bonuses due for 2008-09. and the remuneration of Chief Executive Ed Richards' total fell from GBP 417,581 ( USD 682,000) a year earlier to GBP 392,056 (USD 641,000 ) and there were also falls - the presentation is of annualised figures - for Peter Phillips, Partner, Strategy and Market Developments, who was appointed to the board in July last year, was down from GBP 266,006 to 240,489 (USD 435,00 to 393,000) and that of Philip Rutnam, Partner, Spectrum Policy, who resigned on March 20 this year, was down from GBP 260,753 to GBP 229,311 (USD 426,00 to 375,000).
Former and founding chairman Lord (David) Currie, who left Ofcom in April, received GBP 212,473 - up from GBP 206,134 the year before (from USD 337,000 to 347,000) ; and Philip Graf received GBP 106,970, up from GBP 103,874 (From USD 170,000 to USD 175,000). Overall main board remuneration was up from GBP 455,464 to GBP 534,278 (USD 744,000 to 873,000)
Ofcom report - 112-page 2.82 Mb PDF:
2009-07-09: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that St John's, Newfoundland, station CKIX-FM, 99.1 Hits FM, breached its codes by changing details of a competition part way through the contest.
The Missing 9 Contest was run on the basis that an actual physical 9 had been hidden somewhere in the St. John's area; listeners had to determine its location on the basis of the clues provided on air throughout September and October 2008: Listeners complained that the contest had been unfair because some of the clues were vague or misleading and because the 9 was ultimately found in a pick-up truck that did not arrive at the final hiding spot until the day the 9 was found.
The station said that it had moved the 9 part way through the competition because of unforeseen circumstances, explaining that it had originally hidden the 9 in a locker on the premises of a self-storage facility without informing the facility and that when the company subsequently put up a No Trespassing sign it "was faced with the difficult, if not impossible, task of moving the 9 while still trying to ensure that the previous clues remained valid."
It said it chose to move the 9 onto a pick-up truck that was then parked just outside the gate of the storage facility.
The CBSC Atlantic Regional Panel in its ruling said that it was reasonable in such a competition to offer vague clues open to more than one interpretation and dismissed complaints on this basis but it said that the moving of the 9 led to the contest being unfair and thus breaching codes.
It commented that the decision to hide the 9 in a locked storage room at a privately owned facility was ill conceived as CKIX-FM learned when the No Trespassing sign was erected. The subsequent move it concluded was unfair to those who "had already laboured over the clues and the "unfairness of the situation was further exacerbated by the fact that the 9 did not arrive at its final hiding place, where it had never before been located, until the morning of October 6."
2009-07-08: After all the airtime given to the late singer, we felt we had to start this week's look at print comment on radio with Michael Jackson. And of course he wasn't universally praised although most music station programming went into encomium overdrive.
Of the items we noted one concerned San Antonio sport-talk KTKR-AM host Mike Taylor who didn't change tune on the news of Michael Jackson's death: As Jeanne Jakle in mysantonio.com noted he upset Jackson fans by laying into him the afternoon of his death, commenting on air "may he (Jackson) burn in hell, he was a paedophile" , a comment that led to one fan saying he would never again listen to the station as long as Taylor remained on air.
Jackson confirmed he'd made the comments and added that he was a big fan of Jackson in the 80's but "was soured on the guy" when child molestation charges were made and argued that Jackson's very fame made him fair game.
Jakle commented that if Taylor didn't like Jackson, he'd want to say why on the air, to balance the all-out love being expressed for the iconic performer but "There are sensitive ways of accomplishing this, however, and announcing Jackson should "burn in hell" isn't one of them."
Randy Dotinga in the North County Times did not attack Jackson but he did make a point - that before the splurge of airtime his music got after his death there'd been remarkably little of it aired on US radio.
"He wasn't heard a whole lot before now, at least over the past several years," noted Dotinga. "In fact, his music was mainly relegated to two types of music stations ---- those that play oldies and the ones devoted to soul and R&B music."
Dotinga then quoted 105.7 The Walrus morning host Dave Mason as saying of Jackson, "He wasn't given much thought by the 'mainstream' stations because he just kinda fell off the radar", a view shared by Sean Ross, an executive editor at radio-info.com who said, "He was definitely a spotty presence on radio for somebody who'd had so many hits."
And as to why Jackson "almost disappeared", Dotinga comments, "It has a lot to do with research. Radio stations pay people to ask listeners what they think about songs so they can create playlists that make the most people happy. If a song doesn't score well with focus groups, it won't be played much."
Dotinga also quoted Darrel Goodin, general manager at KSON and its sister stations, who speculated that the songs lost their appeal because Jackson had also lost appeal, most likely because of his legal problems, saying, "I'm not saying that's right, but most likely the reason. I am guessing that the sad truth is that the outpouring of passion for his music after his death was not as evident prior. Given the magnitude of his influence, and the number of records that he sold, there can be no other explanation."
RNW comment - we have not posted any of the comment about Jackson's Memorial Service, which was mainly angled towards TV cover, but for those who want to listen to it BBC Radio 2 has a stream of its programme on the service on its web site. Video is of course available in various places including KFI-AM, which has posted (Reuters) video of the singer's 11-year-old daughter Paris Michael Katherine paying her emotional tribute to him.
Back however to Dotinga for comment on another aspect of US radio listening - the tendency, when a medium is segmented to allow people to choose what they want, to lead to a narrowing of perspective.
After noting that conservatives are more likely to listen to Rush Limbaugh than NPR and liberals are not likely to listen to conservative hosts, Dotinga noted a study published in the "Psychological Bulletin" that says humans do "indeed turn to sources of information that confirm our biases, especially when it comes to things like politics and religion."
He quoted co-author Dolores Albarracin, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign., as saying, "Never having any contact with the other side is a very safe way of protecting your beliefs. It's a little bit primitive, but successful."
Peter Ditto, a professor of psychology at UC Irvine, said it was a little more complex with people choosing to listen to those who see the world through the "correct prism": He also implicitly attacked the study as being one-sided by mentioning those biased toward conservative points of view, such as Dick Cheney, who supposedly demanded that Fox News be on the television whenever he entered a hotel room but said little or nothing of those biased towards liberal perspectives.
On this topic Dotinga quoted Michael Young, an associate professor of psychology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as saying, "It is always easier for us to identify these biases that suggest closed-mindedness in others than it is to identify them in ourselves or those who agree with us, even if you are a scientist who studies bias."
RNW comment: So what is needed now - but would take quite a lot of effort - would be a study of a significant number of people with declared bias as to what they currently listen to or read followed by exposure to different perspectives and a follow-up study to see how their views have changed.
Properly conducted it might identify whether there is indeed more unwillingness to consider other viewpoint (bigotry - for that is the correct word for it) on one side of the political than the other and indeed how far society might benefit from a deliberate attempt to widen people's choice of media.
RNW note: We regret we have to break off here but will update later with items on other topics including various comments concerning digital radio as DAB comes under attack in the UK as the prospect of losing analogue looms.
We are however posting listening suggestions (albeit we will tidy them up a little later) and we start this week with a run of podcasts that we have been delayed in getting to by various pressures and technical problems.
And first from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation a note that this year's BBC Reith Lectures (all four are on the BBC web site as streams but the podcasts are no longer available) are being aired by "Big Ideas" - which means for the moment there is a second chance to download them- the first two - "Markets and Morals" and "Morality in Politics" are currently available with the third in which Harvard Professor and political philosopher Prof Michael Sandel considers how we should use our ever-increasing scientific knowledge and the fourth in which he makes the case for a moral and civic renewal in democratic politics are still to come.
Then also from the ABC we suggest "The Law Report" and the three most recent programmes - on "Litigation American style" starting with some justified poking fun at warnings that are rather obvious (a 3-pronged fishing lure that has the warning "Caution: Harmful if swallowed" or instructions like "Do not put a person in this dryer") ; "The case of Shane Scott and the Tandara Motor Inn", which considers, in relation to a case where a man died on a motorcycle after getting drunk, how far the law should allow people to sue the hostelry and publican; and "Lord Carlile: UK's independent reviewer of terrorism laws", part of the June 23rd edition which looked at Carlile's visit to Australia to discuss with our government its plans to create a new terrorism laws watchdog.
Then in another run from the ABC we suggest the most recent four editions (the first will go off the site on Sunday) of "The Night Air" - on the topics "Conspiracy Theories"; "Capital" - balancing books, laying waste to financial institutions and punishing capital crimes; "Animals" and "Food" with the oldest last.
Then we suggest Ockham's Razor from last Sunday on The Chamberlen family, Huguenots who fled France to the UK and who prospered in large part because of an invention - obstetrical forceps - that they managed to keep secret in the family for some 125 years. We'd also suggest- as long as you aren't faint-hearted - the previous edition on "Body integrity identity disorder" for the tale of Robert Vickers who, by the age of ten, felt that his left leg didn't belong to him. For 30 years he tried to damage his leg to force an amputation, without success then aged 41 he froze the leg with dry ice which resulted in the desired amputation.
Still with science and the ABC, last Saturday's edition looked at the life of galaxies, the possibility of life beyond Earth, and Simulating the life and death of galaxies whilst the previous edition looked at Music and the cosmos.
After that to the spiritual and last Sunday's "Spirit of Things" and a discussion from various perspectives of Greed. Loosely linked with that in a sense was the June 27 edition of "All in the Mind" - on parenting an autistic child and - still on the site until this weekend the June 13 programme on "Secrets and lies: The untold story of adoption."
Moving to Radio Netherlands we suggest the July 4th edition of "The State We're In" - on the topic of "Independence" - from diverse viewpoints including a Kurd from Turkey, the mother of a severely intellectually disabled son, a Washington DC scheme to help elderly people stay in their homes; a report on Sealand, one of the world's smallest independent principalities: and the story of a woman who was held as a child slave in Morocco and France.
We'd also suggest a dip into the "Radio Books" site and Thursday's "Earthbeat" on farmed fish with a little warning of environmental consequences - it would appear that you need at least two kilos of wild fish to feed the farmed ones and get a kilogramme.
Then to the BBC and first a run of suggestions from BBC Radio starting with Monday's "Radio 2 Live" with Diana Krall performing tracks from her new album "Quiet Nights" plus the first in the new six-part "Dave Pearce's Disco Anthems."
Then from Tuesday we suggest "All Of Me: The Betrayal of Billie Holiday" and for those who are either Michael Jackson fans or enjoy hypocrisy - we wonder how many of those delivering their encomiums at his Memorial Service had spoken so well of him when he perhaps needed support - the most heart-warming comment came from his 11-year-old daughter Paris Michael Jackson who gave a moving reminder without artifice of how much she missed "Daddy".
We then jump to Thursday for non-music shows in the form of "Hot Gossip" followed by "Does The Team Think?" and on Friday suggest the final part of the three-part "Colour My World: The Tony Hatch Story", which this week is followed by a tribute to Billie Holliday recorded at the 2008 Cheltenham Jazz Festival in "Friday Night is Music Night" (This is one of the BBC programmes that is not available on Listen Again so we note that the broadcast begins at 18:30 GMT on Friday).
To end the week from the station we suggest "Earth, Wind and Pyre" in which Candi Staton examines the 1979 event that the promo says "signalled the death of disco."
Moving to BBC Radio 3 we suggest from this week "Performance on 3" - a series of Haydn concerts and in "The Essay" slot "Haydn Essays, Haydn and God" in which five contributors reflect on the composer
On a day-by-day basis we would add "Jazz on 3" from Monday - a programme featuring Joe Lovano's Us Five at Ronnie Scott's then from Tuesday "Night Waves" for novelist Arundhati Roy discussing India's democracy and "Late Junction" with music from the Japanese Gagaku orchestra, Georgia's Horse and John Cage; from Wednesday "Night Waves" again, this time for Karen Armstrong defending religion and making the case for God; then to Friday for "World on 3" including a session from Australian Aboriginal singer Gurrumul; from Saturday "World Routes" with the Cuban five-piece Changui de Guantanamo, "Opera on 3" for David Alden's ENO production of Britten's Peter Grimes with Stuart Skelton in the title role plus "Hear and Now" from the Aldeburgh Festival and Jazz Library with guitarist Pat Metheny.
And finally from the station we suggest "The Early Music Show" - the York Early Music Festival and "Drama on 3" an adaptation of Tennyson's The Idylls of the King narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith.
Moving to BBC Radio 4 (a P indicates the programme is also available as a download cum podcast) we first suggest a dip into Sunday programming from noon local onwards -we ended up listening to more than we had anticipated thanks to traffic and the range was terrific - "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" followed by the "Food Programme" on farmers who have turned themselves into 'brands' to survive, "The World This Weekend", "Peace Work" on how Northern Ireland's politicians are sharing their experiences of conflict resolution ( it contains some good examples of just how small minded and petty can be the things that concern some "leaders"), "Gardeners' Question Time" - a surprisingly humorous edition, the first programme in a new five-part series "The Estuary", "The Classic Serial" which as part of the "The Complete Smiley" featured the first of three episodes of "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold", "Bookclub" on which the guest author was Northern Irish writer Bernard MacLaverty and "Walking With Whitman", telling the story of devotees of the American poet and writer in Bolton, Lancashire.
Later in the evening the latest edition of "Americana" (P) included discussion on June teenth Day - also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day - marking June 19 and Texas's 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state (The 1982 Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the US had an effective date of January 1, 1863, but Texas was resistant to such progress and its slaves were not freed until the proclamation was enforced by Federal troops) and finally from Sunday we suggest "Analysis - Doesn't Everyone?" (P) in which Michael Blastland asked if 'group-think' is distancing policy from the public.
Moving to this week, we suggest running through the week "Book of the Week" - "Stalin's Nemesis (Trotsky for those to whom the name didn't leap to mind), and "Book at Bedtime" - the start of a 10-part dramatisation of Justin Cartwright's novel "To Heaven By Water" of a family coming to terms with the loss of a wife and mother. We also note that "America, Empire of Liberty" - there is an omnibus edition on Friday evening, is in its last week.
Then on a day by day basis we suggest from Monday "Start the Week" (P) including more of Arundhati Roy on Indian Democracy and Karen Armstrong on the case for God (see Radio 3 above) plus Timothy Garton-Ash on the power of subversive facts; "The Criminal Mind" in which Joshua Rozenberg examines new medical insights including strong evidence of damage caused by neglect and abuse during infancy, "Quote... Unquote"; "Archive on 4" - "I Did Not Interview the Dead", recordings and memories of Nazi concentration camp survivors recorded in 1946 (A repeat of last Saturday's programme -This coming Saturday's programme is "Walking on the Moon" in which Buzz Aldrin relives the final descent to the moon in 1969); two "green" programmes - "Analysis" -" Inspiring Green Innovation" plus "Frontiers" - "Nuclear Fusion"; and "Off the Page" - "Falling on Your Sword."
On Tuesday we suggest "The Long View" on "how governments can best help the unemployed"; "Musical Migrants" - the first of a five-part series (This edition "From Japan to Chicago" features
Japanese singer Yoko Noge, who became passionate about the blues as a schoolgirl - the next programme From New York to Rio de Janeiro is next Tuesday)); "The Royal Show in Crisis" - the first of a two-part programme about the agricultural show which is due to close this year (the second part is next Tuesday): "John Mayall's Blues Adventures"; the "Afternoon Reading" -" Bears of England, Spirit Bears" - running at 15:30 until Thursday' "Law in Action" (P) on the topic of compensation for victims of child abuse by religious institutions in Ireland; and "File on 4" (P) -"The dangerous men freed to kill" on the topic of Britain's system of public protection from violent offenders, complete with some frightening examples of failure.
On Wednesday we suggest "The Garden Room Girls" in which secretaries from Number 10
Downing Street reveal their untold stories of life at the British Prime Minister's official residence; "The Media Show" (P), this week featuring amongst its items Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey commenting about her decision to close nine local newspapers; "Thinking Allowed" (P) in which Laurie Taylor asks whether Darwin explain why some societies become modern?; and the penultimate episode of the six-part "Strangers on Trains" - in this one Nat asks strange men about death.
From Thursday we suggest "In Our Time"(P), a discussion on the Ediacara Biota, the Pre-Cambrian life forms that vanished some 542 million years ago and "Shappi Talk", the first of a four-part series - in this programme in which Iranian-born Shappi Khorsandi is joined by Felix Dexter and Meera Syal to discuss the theme of racism comedian.
From Friday we opt for the final part of the "Three Rivers" series - this one on The Liffey; "The Now Show" (P); and the Omnibus "America, Empire of Liberty Omnibus" (The end of the series).
From Saturday we suggest the first part of the 2-pwart "Tarantino's Jukebox" in which Quentin Tarantino discusses the music he has used to soundtrack his films; The "Saturday Play" - "The Windsor Jewels" comedy by Robin Glendinning based on the disappearance of Wallis Simpson's jewels in 1946' "Bottom Line"(P); and "Archive on4" with Buzz Aldrin (already mentioned).
Then on Sunday we go for another "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", "Gordon's Women" in which
Martha Kearney explores whether or not British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has a problem working with women and the second part of "The Estuary" and of "The Complete Smiley - The Spy Who Came in From the Cold."
BBC Radio 2 - link to Jackson Memorial audio (For next six days):
KFI-AM - report and video of Jackson daughter:
MySA.com - Jakle:
North County Times - Dotinga:
2009-07-08: Australian metropolitan commercial station revenues were down by 3.28% to AUD 633 million (USD 498 million) compared to a year earlier in the year to the end of June according to figures just released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
Figures from the 2009 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue as sourced by Deloitte show Sydney down most - by 9.44% to AUD 198 million (USD 156 million) followed by Adelaide -down 3.44 percent to AUD 59.9 million (USD 47.2 million) and Brisbane -down 2.43 percent to AUD 101.9 million (USD 80.2 million): Perth revenues were up 0.93% to AUD 83.8 million (USD 66.0 million) and Melbourne revenues were up 1.68 percent to AUD 189 million (USD 149 million).
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner commented of the results that they showed radio had survived the global economic crisis better than many other media and remains a great advertising medium in tough economic times.
"The industry is working hard to promote its strengths, particularly in these tough economic times," she added. "The latest advertising campaign called, '"Radio Advertising, Economically Sound', highlights the need to trade through the economic crisis and advertise on radio and is part of our ongoing, multi million dollar brand campaign."
Warner also said that the switch-on of digital radio in the five capital cities should also "help in attracting new advertising opportunities in future years."
She noted that the Australian figures compared well with those elsewhere in 2008 - they were up 0.7% overall albeit down around 6% in the final quarter whilst UK radio revenues were down around 6% for the year and 14.5% for the final quarter according to the UK Radio Advertising Bureau and in the US revenues were down around 9% for the year and 14% in the final quarter according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-07-08: SoundExchange has announced that it and "PurePlay" Webcasters have reached an "Unprecedented Experimental Rate Agreement" that offers "the potential for artists and copyright holders to share in the revenue growth of pureplay webcasters. [RNW comment: Another example of verbal diarrhoea?].
Later getting closer to the point it gives details the rates - which are around a third to a half less than those proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) for the period 2007-2010 - for but not until after is has spun their presentation of which it says "Pureplay webcasters that elect these new terms will agree to pay artists and rights owners (through SoundExchange) a minimum percentage of all their U.S. revenues of up to 25 percent, and to pay a more significant annual minimum royalty."
The deal splits webcasters into three groups - Large with more than USD 1.25 million a year in revenues; Small - with revenues under that amount and with listening hours under a capped amount; and subscription.
The "Large" webcasters will pay the greater of a quarter of their revenues or a per-play amount that goes up from USD 0.00080 in 2006 to USD 0.00093 this year and ends up at USD 0.00140in 2015 with a minimum payment of USD 25,000 whilst "Small" webcasters will pay the greater of a percentage of total revenues or a percentage of total expenses - starting for the period 2006-08 at 10% of the first USD 250,000 and 12% for revenues over that and then rising for 2009-2014 to % for first USD 250,000 and 14% after that or alternatively 7% of expenses for the whole period.
Subscription sites will pay the rates agreed between SoundExchange and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in February this year: for this year the rate is USD 0.0015 this year (the CRB rate was USD 0.0018), increasing to USD 0.0025 by 2015.
Under the deal the webcasters also agree to provide more comprehensive reporting about the sound recordings used than regulations currently require.
Commenting on the agreement, John Simson, Executive Director of SoundExchange, said it "is an agreement we're proud of because it shows that both sides can address the business concerns of the webcasters while giving artists and copyright holders the potential to share in the revenue growth of webcasters. It's a creative, groundbreaking approach that we wanted to try, and we hope it will work well for everyone involved - the artists, labels and eligible webcasters."
He added, "What we found is that some webcasters use music to attract consumers and are able to generate revenue in many different ways. However, by virtue of the fact that the lion's share of pureplay webcasters' revenues come from playing music, we felt they faced unique business circumstances but that there was also an opportunity for artists and copyright holders and we wanted to address those issues" adding "We believe the rates the CRB set were appropriate and fair. However, by incorporating an experimental approach whereby artists and copyright holders share in the growth of pureplay services, it gives certain pureplay webcasters the opportunity to flesh out various business models and the creators of music the opportunity to share in the success their recordings generate."
2009-07-07: iBiquity in a filing to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called for it to allow an immediate increase in power for digital signals, a move it says it believes "will enable broadcasters to bring the full benefit of HD Radio technology to the largest possible audience while maintaining the integrity of existing analogue FM signals."
It notes the filing by a group of 18 broadcasters of a proposal to increase the "permissible digital operating power of FM stations from the current level of 1 percent of a station's authorized analogue power (-20 dBc) to a maximum of 10 percent of a station's authorized analogue power (-10 dBc)" and subsequent reports on tests that had been filed by the broadcasters concerned and also by National Public Radio (NPR).
The latter carried out tests using a proprietary digital propagation model it has developed and assumed that all stations in the US had converted to HD and were using the full 10% power but iBiquity contends that this is not reasonable as only around 15% have converted and it is extremely unlikely that all would broadcast at the full permitted power.
iBiquity also comments that the NPR study predicts "fairly extensive digital interference" at the levels currently permitted but says its real world experience and the absence of interference complaints at the Commission "substantiates the potential problem with the NPR model and report."
iBiquity in its urging notes that without the power increase many broadcasters would not be able to offer cover equivalent to that of their analogue transmissions and would also experience trouble with signals in buildings and adds that the current uncertainties are holding stations back from conversions and also from investing in higher power digital transmission equipment.
It concludes that whilst it still believes a 10% level should be allowed, the FCC should not wait for tests but should immediately to authorize an intermediate power increase of 6 dB pending final approval of the full 10 dB increase, an increase that is says many stations could implement with "existing transmission equipment and can be put in place relatively quickly in numerous cases" : Such a move it says would also give the "Commission and the industry real world experience on the true impact of a power increase and the potential improvements that can be realized at higher power. Finally, an intermediate power increase will signal to automobile and receiver manufacturers that power increases will be approved and products can be planned with an expectation of better HD Radio coverage."
FCC- iBiquity filing (9 page 33 kb PDF):
2009-07-07: The Local Radio Company, which has sold four stations since UKRD bought a majority shareholding and took control, is to close is High Wycombe Headquarters and is involved in redundancy consultations with some two dozen staff: It closed its High Wycombe station Mix 107 at the end of last month and is also understood to be involved in discussions with a potential buyer about the sale of Isle of Wight Radio.
The stations already sold are Arrow FM, Hastings and Sovereign Radio, Eastbourne, which were sold to Media Sound Holdings for GBP 100,000 (USD 165,000 See RNW Jun 29) Silk FM, Macclesfield, which was sold for a nominal sum to Dee 106.3 Holdings, which runs independent commercial Chester station Dee 106.3 (See RNW Jun 12); and its Bournemouth station Fire Radio which went to Westward Broadcasting, a wholly owned subsidiary of Triple Media Communications Group, for around GBP 40,000 (USD 64,000- See RNW Jun 5).
Previous Local Radio Company:
2009-07-07: Clear Channel Outdoor shares were down 14.2% to USD 4.58 on Monday following a New York Daily Post report under the headline "CLEARLY FAILING. CLEAR CHANNEL'S DEBT OFFERING FINDS NO TAKERS" that said the outdoor unit had failed to attract interest in a USD 3 billion debt offering.
The paper says a number of big names opted out of purchasing the bonds and the offering appeared to have failed although Clear Channel has not closed the door on a bond offering or other debt-restructuring.
Clear Channel, which was bought by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital in a USD 27 billion deal, owns 89% of the publicly-traded Outdoor unit and has lent it USD 2.5 billion and the paper says the funds from the bond offering would have been used to repay Clear Channel and thus improve its ability to stay in compliance with the terms of its loans - it owes some USD 22 billion and some of the lenders, who financed the private equity deal under pressure from lawsuits, have been reported as preferring a situation in which the company breaches the agreements and thus enables them to take control of its assets at a discount.
In other Clear Channel news, the company has dropped rock from its 105.5 FM frequency - "105.5 The Vulcan" - in Birmingham, Alabama, and is using it to simulcast the talk format of WERC-AM. WERC will continue on AM.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Post report:
2009-07-07: Vatican Radio is now broadcasting adverts after nearly eight decades of airing cover of Papal activities commercial free: It had been funded by the Catholic Church but the church's finances have been hit by the global economic downturn putting pressure on the finances of the station which cost the church around USD 30 million a year for broadcasts in some 45 languages.
The first adverts are from Italian gas and electricity multinational ENEL and are being aired in Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish. The income from ENEL will be around USD 250,000 over the rest of this year during which period the adverts will be assessed in terms of efficacy and audience reaction.
The church is limiting the adverts it will take and they are to be vetted by an advertising agency.
The Catholic News Agency has just reported that the Vatican's deficit in 2008 was down from more than Euros 9 million (USD 13 million) a year earlier to Euros 910,000 (USD 1.28 million) on income of 254 million Euros (USD 355 million).
The Governorate of Vatican City State, whose finances are separate, fared less well: It went from a surplus of some Euros 6.7millioon (USD 9.4 million) to a deficit of Euros 15 million (USD 21 million). The change was put down to the study of an integrated communications infrastructure, the installation of photoelectric panels on the roof of the Paul V1 Hall, and the financial burden of looking after buildings and their contents including restoration work on the Pauline Chapel.
Previous Vatican Radio:
Catholic News Agency -church finances report:
2009-07-07: Times of India-owned Absolute Radio has posted a bonus for Blur fans with a free stream of the full concert by the group in Hyde Park, London, last Friday: It runs for just under two hours and will be available for a week (Until next Monday).
The site also offers a competition in which the prize is a CD of the performance, which is naturally also for sale and promoted on the site.
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (owners of Times of India and thus Absolute Radio):
Absolute Radio web site:
2009-07-07: Astral Media, Canada's largest commercial radio broadcaster, has announced an agreement with NJR, France's largest radio group, under which its ten Quebec radio stations that make up the Énergie network will become the NRJ network.
The new brand will be launched on August 24 and Astral says the agreement "reinforces Astral Media Radio's position as leader in innovation in Quebec", noting its launch of Virgin stations in Canada.
It says the "NRJ and Énergie brands are a good match because they share the same values of always being surprising, daring and knowing when to seize opportunities as well as providing listeners a pleasurable experience. They have the same mission of broadcasting the best local music, hits from around the world, and making people laugh."
Astral Media Radio Québec's Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Pierre Rodrigue said of the change, "The agreement with the NRJ group, a leader in the music industry and partner in presenting the biggest concerts and international events, is ideal because the brand image is very powerful and will enable advertisers to explore new creative paths and air fresh, wild, unorthodox concepts. These innovative promotional opportunities provide a unique and exclusive window to the world for the Quebec market" and André Lallier, Vice-President of Programming at Astral Media Radio, added," Our listeners like to always be on top of new trends, they are solicited by all the new media and they have more and more choices. Astral Media Radio has that power to always stand out and direct its listeners to what's hot."
2009-07-06: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin upholds one radio standards complaint against London Asian service Sunshine Radio but did not uphold the complaints - 61 were made in total - against an edition of the Jonathan Ross Show on BBC Radio 2 in which he made comments about Hannah Montana that the complainants said were offensive and derogatory towards the gay community.
It also upheld four TV standards complaints: The numbers that compare to ten TV standards complaints and one radio complaint upheld in the previous Bulletin in which a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint was also upheld and details given of two TV complaints - one Standards and One Fairness and Privacy that were not upheld.
The Sunrise Radio complaint related to a sponsorship credit that a listener said "sounded like an advert." The broadcast concerned was on the station's "Hit of the Hour" regular feature sponsored by G&B Windows in which the host instead of playing a jingle gave details of a special offer complete with pricing and a phone number to call.
In full it went, "This is the Hit of the Hour, brought to you in association with G&B Windows. They've got a special offer going on at the moment, seven windows and one opening, fully fitted, and it's only going from £1,399. Why not give them a call? The number is 020 88 67 double 9 double 5, or you can just log on to their website, GandBwindows.com" and Sunrise in response to an Ofcom query quoted the rule that allows "an advertising message to be attributed to the sponsor credit" and said it considered the announcement fell within the rule.
Ofcom noted that its Code says one of the Principles of the sponsorship rules is "to maintain a distinction between advertising and sponsorship" and also states that "Credits must be short branding statements. However, credits may contain legitimate advertising messages."
Ofcom ruled that "this sponsor credit sounded more like a full advertisement than a brief branding statement" and did breach rules.
In the Jonathan Ross case, the host had commented during a live unscripted conversation with producer Andy Davies which were primarily made up of Hannah Montana merchandise, "If your son asks for a Hannah Montana MP3 player, then you might want to already think about putting him down for adoption in later life, when they settle down with their partner."
Ofcom said the comment had been "as part of a light-hearted discussion" and said in its opinion "was clearly presented as a joke intended to make light of the reactions that some parents may have if their child chooses a toy that is very widely recognized to be designed and marketed for the opposite sex. The humour was therefore based on the absurdity of the scenario and was not intended to cause offence. The fact that this comment was intended to be a joke was illustrated further by the reaction from Andy Davies, who was heard laughing." It added that it "considered that the nature of the joke and the tone and manner in which it was presented made clear that it was not intended to be hostile or pejorative towards the gay community in general."
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 284 TV complaints against 134 items and 12 radio complaints against 12 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compared to 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 that were listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-07-06: Casey Kasem, who pioneered the countdown show on USA radio, stepped down from his "American Top 20" show on Independence Day, having hosted countdown shows for nearly four decades - he launched the show on July 4 1970.
There had been no advance notice of his intention and the 77-years-old host announced the move on his show with the words, "We began the weekend of July 4, 1970, and after 39 years this will be our final countdown. He ended the show with the sign-off, "I'm Casey Kasem. Now, one more time, the words I've ended my show with since 1970: Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Kasem had hosted a number of countdown shows including original American Top 40 (from 1979-1988 and again from 1998 to 2004), The "American Top 20" and "American Top 10 " but although he has stepped down his Top 40 shows from the '70s and 80s will continue in syndication from Premiere Radio Networks.
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
2009-07-05: Last week was most noted for the swearing-in of Julius Genachowski as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, a move that together with the second term for Republican Robert M McDowell frees the way for the remaining two seats to be filled and the agency, which has been operating with three Commissioners to return to its full strength of five (See RNW Jun 29): Elsewhere matters were much more routine.
In Australia, where the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has now started its digital broadcasts - the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA) had required a July 1 start for commercial services ( all of whom began transmissions earlier than this) - there were only two radio postings, both related to community stations.
One was its issue of revised temporary community broadcasting guidelines that Chairman Chris Chapman said "are devised to enable the ACMA to have a more efficient, transparent and responsive process for allocating and varying temporary community broadcasting licences."
They include a new section on varying temporary community broadcasting licences and the introduction of criteria for the fair apportionment of broadcast time between temporary licence holders sharing the same frequency instead of the formula that was used in the previous guidelines.
The ACMA is also asking for comment on a plan to make capacity available for a new long-term community radio broadcasting service at Port Augusta, South Australia, where Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association, which is currently operating at Port Augusta under a temporary community broadcasting licence, has expressed interest in a long-term service.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week as regards radio with its most severe enforcement action being the issue to Pellpropco Inc., licensee of CHSC-AM, St. Catharines, Ontario, of mandatory orders directing the licensee to comply at all times with requirements relating to the broadcast of Canadian music, the broadcast of third-language programming, the provision of complete logger tapes and program logs, and the filing of annual returns and financial statements.
It requires that the licensee submit certain ownership-related information and documents within 30 days of the date of this decision.
The action followed various incidents of non-compliance during the current licence term relating to these issues.
The agency also approved an application by Byrnes Communications Inc., licensee of CIHR-FM, Woodstock, Ontario to increase the station's power from 1,929 watts to 7,096 watts so as to improve reception in parts of Woodstock, Ingersoll and Oxford County.
The application had been opposed by Astral Media Radio G.P. and Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company Limited, which said the change would allow CIHR-FM to further encompass the city of London within its contours and contended that reception in the areas concerned was already adequate.
Byrnes responded that it had no intention of expanding beyond its licences service area and simply wished to provide a consistent and reliable signal to the area.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised three community licences (See RNW Jun 29) and in the UK Ofcom posted its June Radio Update that included notes that Bath FM and Brunel FM were now back to operating within format and the hanging back of the licences of High Wycombe station Mix 107 (See RNW July 1).
In the US as already noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now on its way back to full strength. It was also involved in a number of enforcement actions including proposed penalties totalling USD 24,000 on Cox Radio, Cumulus and Entravision (See RNW July 1).
The agency also issued a USD 2,000 forfeiture to Cayuga County Community College, licensee of non-commercial Educational Station WDWN-FM, Auburn, New York, for broadcasting adverts.
The penalty followed a complaint that the station had had aired prohibited commercial announcements during its August 13, 2005, broadcast of an Auburn Doubledays baseball game: The station admitted airing underwriting announcements but said it did not receive consideration from any of the for-profit entities for broadcasting the announcements, but that donations of USD 100 each, per season, were made by the underwriters directly to the Auburn Doubledays non-profit baseball club. It also said that it has since revised its practices for the inclusion of underwriting announcements.
The FCC found that the rules had been breached and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of USD 2,500 to which the station argued that the Bureau's finding is erroneous as to four of the ten announcements cited in the NAL and urged cancellation of the forfeiture or reduction of the amount on the basis that it is unable to pay that amount and that the amount should reflect its history of compliance with the Commission's rules: The FCC rejected the other arguments but trimmed the penalty by USD 500 on the basis of a history of compliance..
In Montana, the agency announced a consent decree ending its investigation into the Greater Hardin Association, licensee of low power FM Station KRWS-LP, Hardin, concerning allegations that that its principal, Al Sargent, prior to commencement of station operations, had not divested himself of his ownership of a local newspaper, "The Original Briefs", as required under LPFM rules limiting cross-ownership.
Under the agreement the Association has 30 days to create a compliance plan that will run for three years and that will include its President every six months conduct a compliance examination of the number and type of media outlets owned by the Licensee and with its telecommunications counsel regarding its overall compliance. Compliance reports are to be filed with the FCC after 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months.
The FCC also of its own accord extended still further - this time until August 28 this year, the deadline for Sirius-XM to fulfil its voluntary commitment made at the time the merger of Sirius and XM was approved to enter into long-term leases or other agreements to provide a Qualified Entity or Entities rights to four percent of the full-time audio channels on the Sirius platform and on the XM platform.
It ahs also dropped further consideration of new rules that would allow AM stations to use FM translators for fill-in services and introduced the rules (See RNW Jun 30).
In Michigan the FCC dismissed an application from Birach Broadcasting Corporation to change the community of license of WCXI-AM, Fenton, where it is the sole licensed local transmission service: Birach had filed the application during the agency's AM Auction 84 but the application was determined to be mutually exclusive with an application filed by Scott Powell, which proposed a new AM station at Winfield, West Virginia.
Subsequently the two parties reached an agreement under which Birach would reimburse Powell for its legitimate and prudent expenses in exchange for the dismissal of the Winfield, West Virginia, tech box application and an application was filed in October 2005 to transfer the WCXI licence to Wixom, Michigan, where it would be the first local licence.
This application was rejected on the basis of agency rules relating to such changes to which Birach responded by saying that it had proposed the move because of a "threatened loss of transmitter site" and noted that it had been evicted from the transmitter site of a second station it owns in the Fenton area, WPON-AM, Walled Lake, Michigan: As a result it had sough a site where it could accommodate both WPON and WCXI and had found one is in the Detroit Urbanized Area. It contended that because of severe land shortages in the area, a site could not be found that would enable Station WCXI to remain in Fenton
The agency noted that Birach had a month-by-month lease at Fenton, creating uncertainty, but did not accept his contentions concerning finding a site, commenting, "The premise of this application - that one of the more distressed areas of the country is experiencing sharply rising land prices and not a single land owner in Fenton is willing to enter into a long term lease for the construction of a radio station - is implausible."
It dismissed Birach's other arguments and also rejected the agreement between the two parties, retaining Powell's tech box application for a new AM station at Winfield, West Virginia in pending status.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-07-04: Radio Mirchi Executive Ditrector and CEO Prashant Panday says that private FM stations in smaller towns are facing demands for music royalties that are around three times their revenues and in an interview with The Business Standard added, "The bad news is that there is no visibility of profitability even in the distant future. With the kind of music royalties that are being demanded (approximately INR 75-100 lakh per annum - USD 155,000-210,000- a lakh is 100,000 ), and with the kind of revenues that most of these stations make (INR 25-40 lakh a year - USD 52,000 to 84,000), something needs to be done quickly or all of them will shut down, sooner or later.
Panday, who is also a senior vice president at the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI), was speaking after a meeting with India's Information & Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni on behalf of the FM radio industry and said AROI was not opposed to plans to auction more FM frequencies but wanted the auction - for licences to serve 250 towns with a population between 100,000 and 300,000 delayed.
"Our point is simple - these towns will be totally unviable until the music royalty issue is resolved," he said. "And since the royalty issue is likely to be resolved in the next few months by the Copyright Board - the Board will hear the matter from July 28 onwards - we have only requested the ministry to examine the possibility of delaying the auctions till the new royalty regime is announced."
He also said of satellite radio plans that AROI was not against satellite radio per se but considered that "policy initiatives on satellite radio should not inadvertently kill the nascent, and the severely loss-making FM industry."
He said that the FM industry had invested more than INR 1,800 crore (USD 377 million - a crore is 10 million) in the form of One-Time Entry Fees (OTEF) and capital expenditure since 2006 and had made losses - of INR 68 crore (USD 14 million) for Sun TV's radio operations. Mirchi, he said had made a marginal profit of INR 1.5 crore (USD 314,000) on revenues of INR 229 crore (USD 48 million) and other broadcasters including Big FM, Radio One and Fever had made losses.
Recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) would allow repeater stations for satellite radio which Panday said was so their service could reach motorists and he commented that "there is no reason for satellite broadcasters to be allowed terrestrial repeaters. Satellite radio is supposed to be a national service while FM radio is city-centric. Everyone knows that terrestrial repeaters are being sought so that their signals can enter cars. It is also known that the stations earn the maximum revenue from in-car listenership."
This meant, said Panday, that even though satellite radio would not be allowed to sell advertising it would still hit the income of stations and the entry fees for satellite were small than those FM operators had had to pay.
Regarding Foreign Direct Investment, Panday said this was irrelevant as most radio broadcasts had not reached the 20% limit currently allowed since "projects have been unviable and no one invests in loss-making businesses. Unless the radio business becomes structurally viable, there will be no real inflow of funds."
He also said the government's concerns about allowing news on private FM radio showed it was caught up in old worries and attacked the charges levied by state broadcaster Prasar Bharati for transmission services as "unbelievably high" - 80 lakh (USD 170,000) a year to allow the three private FM companies to use is transmission tower.
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (Parent of Times of India, which owns Mirchi through ENIL, Entertainment Network India Ltd):
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
Business Standard report:
2009-07-03: Sport 927, which is Melbourne's oldest commercial radio station, has lost its main advertiser Tabcorp through what a report in the Melbourne Age indicated may be because it was taking adverts from rival Sportingbet.
The paper says that Tabcorp has confirmed that it had told its agents not to use the station but to go to national TV network Sky Racing and adds that it has been in a bitter war with the corporate bookmakers, which include Sportingbet, over the past year.
It quoted Sport 927 general manager Noel Crowe as saying he was confused and surprised by Tabcorp's move and adding, "I have been rung by agents claiming that Tabcorp wanted them to use Sky and not to use us. We have had a strong and successful commercial arrangement with Tabcorp and we are very surprised about this move, to say the least. They are our biggest advertisers, and we are the biggest radio broadcaster of racing, yet the direction is not to use us. I have a meeting with Tabcorp executives on Monday and will find out then what's behind it. Perhaps it's the fact that we are advertising Sportingbet on the station, I don't know."
The paper adds that until 18 months ago the station was largely funder by Tabcorp: It was established in 1925 and in 1986 bought by the Victorian thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing codes, which changed it to an all-sport format with a focus on racing.
Melbourne Age report:
2009-07-03: Iowa Public Radio in what it terms "realigning its staff to complete a reorganization that began with the merger of three separate public radio station groups into a state-wide network and to reduce Iowa Public Radio's reliance upon state universities to fund its ongoing operations" is to eliminate nine posts (RNW comment: Another case of the usual spurious statistics -The release says this is a 14% cut in the workforce but elementary maths shows that this means the total staff posts would then have to be 64.286 - or do they employ an arm or a leg separately somewhere!)
Of the posts being cut, four are currently vacant and the organization says several employees qualify for early retirement whilst others are being offered severance packages.
CEO Mary Grace Herrington commented, "This has been a difficult but a necessary decision by our leadership team. Losing talented staff is never easy, and the individuals involved will be missed. However, as with most organizational mergers, we needed to eliminate redundancies within Iowa Public Radio. We also must live up to our commitments to the Board of Regents to reduce Iowa Public Radio's dependence on the state's universities for operational support, especially in light of the financial constraints on the institutions"
She added, "The realignment allows us to operate more efficiently and serve our communities more effectively" and noted that the individual member count is up 7% and membership revenue is up 6% compared to last year.
Around a third of Iowa Public Radio's USD 6 million a year operating budget is financed by Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa with the rest coming from corporate underwriting, memberships and grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
2009-07-03: Sydney web site Beatz Radio - the name of a dance music show that airs weekly on community station FM 99.3 - says it has now removed malware that offered a link to Michael Jackson video on YouTube but in fact took people to a seemingly genuine site that loaded a password-stealing Trojan onto users computers although the site is still listed as affected by some security groups - Symantec's Norton brought up a warning of a security threat when we last checked shortly before posting this report.
Stuff.co.nz quoted Beatz Radio chief Tim Little as saying he had no idea of the problem until he was contacted by AusCERT, the national Computer Emergency Response Team for Australia, who told him the site is still blacklisted by some security groups.
"Our site has been hacked twice and it has only just gone live," said Little. "The first time it got hacked they actually put pictures of dead babies and it was all in Turkish, which was quite concerning - but luckily the site wasn't open to the public."
Little said he was told by his web designer that the hackers were able to access the site through a flaw in the popular third-party content management system Joomla and that Beatz had now updated its version of Joomla, which appeared to have patched the hole.
Ad Feedback AusCERT information security analyst Daniel McNamara said cases like this "happen a lot more than people think" and website owners needed to ensure their servers were secure and added that he was planning to inform several other Australian websites that they had been breached by hacker, commenting "These drive-by infections are not just only affecting their end-users, it also affects their site and their reputation as well, so it's in their best interests to keep their sites secure" and adding that he thought it was unlikely Beatz was specifically picked out for this campaign and that it was more likely the site had been compromised previously and the spammers thought it was the right fit for the Jackson campaign because its name was related to music.
Stuff.co New Zealand report:
2009-07-02: Arbitron in its response to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) NOI (Notice of inquiry) on whether to launch a formal investigation into the Portable People Meter ratings system and its effect on minority radio has said the agency has no authority to regulate in this case.
It says in its filing that the FCC has "absolutely no authority to impose regulations upon Arbitron's exciting new technology for more reliably measuring radio-station listeners' exposure to stations- signals -- known as the Portable People Meter or PPM -- than is achievable using the older paper-and-pencil method for consumers to self-report their listening experiences in a journal-type diary " and points out that on previous occasions Congress has declined to allow the agency to regulate ratings.
It adds that the courts have "repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the FCC to assert jurisdiction over specific kinds of communications-related activities that are not themselves addressed in the [Communications] Act, simply based upon generalized statements of policy or intent that can be found in the commission's enabling statute."
It also asserts that the argument put forward by Democrat Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein that the FCC may regulate the PPM based on its dependence on embedded radio signals is faulty, commenting," The commission may not restrain the transmission of that lawful information consistent with the protection of those stations' and Arbitron's freedom of speech and expression established in the First Amendment and jealously guarded by the courts."
Arbitron also argues that the technology is needed for the good radio, saying, "In order to stay competitive with these other media (TV, the Internet and mobile audio devices) in attracting advertising dollars, radio must adapt to the 21st century, even if there will be temporary dislocations for some stations in making the transition from the diary to the PPM service."
It also says there is no consistent pattern of minority stations' ratings suffering, saying, "To the contrary, these comments point out minority-targeted stations that have seen their market ranking, and/or their audience rating, fluctuate from the last diary-based report to more recent PPM-based reports, with some stations showing improvements, others staying about the same, and some showing drop-offs, but with variations from one PPM-report to the next."
"The facts," says Arbitron, "do not support the proposition that PPM-based reports uniformly and categorically result in reductions in the reported listenership of stations that cater to minorities" and it cites examples such as Radio One's KBXX-FM and KMJQ-FM, Houston in Houston whose initial ratings fell with the PPM but then "recovered and even improved upon their former rankings, with KBXX-FM resuming its number one position and KMJQ-FM climbing up to a number two ranking" whilst other stations such as WLEY-FM, Chicago; KSCA-FM, Los Angeles ; Urban WWPR-FM and Hispanic-targeted WSQK-FM in New York, ,and KRZZ-FM, San Francisco "either maintained or even bettered their market rankings in the transition from diary to the PPM service."
2009-07-02: Cumulus Media has announced the resignation with immediate effect of Martin R. Gausvik as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer: It says he is leaving "to pursue other opportunities."
Vice President and Controller J.P. Hannan will serve as interim CFO until a permanent appointment is made: He was has previously served as CFO of Lincoln National Corp.'s radio division, was a member of the Board of Directors of Regent Communications, Inc. where he served on the audit and compensation committees, and was COO/CFO of Lambert Television, Inc.
2009-07-01: Sirius XM Radio has extended until the end of 2012 its contract with CEO Mel Karmazin, who headed Sirius from 2004 and retained his post with the combined company after its merger with XM.
Under the new deal Karmazin gets a rise in basic pay from USD 1.25 million to USD 1.5 million plus an option to buy 120 million shares of stock over the next four years at 43 cents, the company's closing price as of June 30 - they closed Wednesday up just under 7% on the day at 46 cents.
2009-07-01: This year's UK Radio Festival, organized by the Radio Academy and held in Nottingham Playhouse, has highlighted issues of the UK switch to digital radio and also heard criticism of regulator Ofcom. The Festival was marked (marred? ) by the absence of representatives from Global Radio, the UK's largest commercial radio operator: A number of its staff including Head of Creative Technology Nick Piggott and Galaxy presenter Simon Hirst, were due to take part in festival sessions but pulled out and the company has made no comment on the reasons for its absence.
The attack on Ofcom came from former GMG Radio chief executive John Myers, who wrote a review of local radio for the Digital Britain report (See RNW Apr 16) and who speaking in a personal capacity accused Ofcom of being out of date and said relations between it and commercial stations had broken down.
The UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent as GMG Radio, quoted Myers as saying of UK commercial stations, "They are frustrated by so many reviews in so many successive years, they are annoyed by petty regulation which they feel is holding the industry back but, importantly, the regulator is losing the trust of those they regulate. A common viewpoint is that the radio side of the regulator is just not up to the job. One executive told me that, during some 20 years in radio, he had never witnessed such a profound level of disrespect for the regulator, and they suspect the feeling is mutual."
The unnamed executive was also said to have commented that too many stations had been licenses and the growth in audiences and revenues had not matched the increase in broadcasters, some of whom were "gold diggers who were in it for a quick buck".
The paper added that Myers said Ofcom should abandon "baby steps" regulation, "think bolder and bigger than they have ever done before" and "outline their vision for the next five or 10 years, not the next few months, and they must take the industry along with them."
Myers noted that top executives in radio had changed but not Ofcom staff, commenting, "At Ofcom, there is very little change for anyone to see. The same people with the same ideas are still there. This is not to say there are no good people at the regulator, because there are many. But how come the whole world has changed so much around them and they have not?" Myers added.
"The feeling in the industry is that, right now, the radio side of Ofcom needs to change and be seen to be changing. My own view is that we just need a regulator who is ready to outline the vision for the future and be ready to really work with the industry to get it right."
Regarding digital radio Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio & Music, said that a decent digital received needed to be available for around GBP 15 (USD 25) to cause a large-scale switch away from analogue and also agreed that the issue of energy consumption by current digital receivers is significant, adding that manufacturers needed to make them with lower consumption. He also noted that full UK coverage would require some 600 digital transmitters: Some more remote and mountainous areas would need around six transmitters to cover the area currently served by a single AM.
From the commercial sector Simon Cole, chief executive, UBC Media and chairman UK Digital Radio Development Bureau, said that the saving in transmission costs from a switch-off would mean more to spend on content and noted that some 37% of people who had not bought a digital receiver said they didn't listen enough to make it worthwhile. He commented that there was still a need to grow radio's popularity.
Concern was expressed at listening by younger people whose listening time has been dropping - by around 3.5 hours a week over the past five years - and who also expect things to be available on demand although they still say they find value in radio because of its convenience of use and enables them to find out about music they hadn't heard before.
Dr Anthony Cox, a consultant from the brand agency Sparkle, who chaired the session on youth audiences, said the medium should think of its audience as consumers not just listeners and should focus on branding and providing content.
There was also support for extending radio beyond the aural through such ideas as the BBC's Visualisation experiment that provides extra content via the Internet and attracted some five million people into viewing Radio 1's Big Weekend and comment about the value of putting content on sites such as YouTube where some videos have attracted hundred of thousands of views.
Technological change was also brought up in a session on international broadcasting which was told by Richard Sambrook, Director of BBC Global News, that the service estimated that had it stuck to the short-wave services that attracted some 124 million listeners a week in the 1990s they'd have lost around a quarter of the audience but that they had in fact increased the audience to 177 million, largely through partnerships with local broadcasters - on both content and distribution - that have made the service available in more than 150 capital cities.
Amongst the more unusual sessions was one about the success of prison radio -- Electric Radio Brixton won 4 Sony Awards this year (See RNW May 12): The session included a recording from the start of the world's first prison radio service - at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas in March 1938 - as well as programming from Electric Radio.
Guests on this session included Brixton Prison governor Paul McDowell and presenter cum producer "Tis", who won a Sony Award for his interview with former Minister Jonathan Aitken, who was jaled in 1999 for perjury.
Tis, who was been granted day release to attend the Festival, told BBC Radio Five Live's Richard Bacon, who was hosting the session at this stage, that he had given others advice and encouraged them to take part in prison radio. He added that his future is a lot brighter now than when he went into prison, and added that radio was one way of aiding rehabilitation of prisoners - the station can provide information to inmates to help them change their lives and ultimately reduce crime.
"Everyone in prison wants to aspire to be better, but they don't know what steps to take. That's the important part - to give them encouragement, advice, and tell them what steps they need to take. Every prisoner wants to better themselves," he said.
"I thought getting some kind of qualification would really benefit me. I coincidentally ended up in Brixton prison so I took advantage of that. I improved my vocabulary and was around some very influential people. They offered me support, I improved my communications skills, and my confidence went up.
"My future is a lot brighter than when I first came to prison and that is a lot to do with Brixton prison radio. The night I got arrested I could never have predicted meeting the people that I have at Brixton and winning an award. It's a lot of hard work."
Fears of a backlash had led the organizers to keep quiet advance news of Tis' appearance in case of a backlash and McDowell when asked if some notorious prisoners - Charles Bronson, Ian Huntley or Rose West - would be allowed on air said that they would note, adding that some prisoners at Brixton were refused permission.
The UK Guardian in its report on this session headlined his comments that to allow such prisoners on air was a "Daily Mail story waiting to happen'" (a reference to the paper's perceived policy that meant it would be expected to be hostile to such broadcasts) and added, "My primary role is to protect it from attacks from the likes of the Daily Mail."
"I am a prison governor and half of my life is spent managing the politics of prisoners. One of the things I am not going to do is put Ian Huntley on a radio station to deliver a programme every week. That is opening us up [to attack] and if we get criticised for that then we might end up losing the whole thing."
McDowell defended the funding of prison radio from taxes, saying that it its broadcasts encouraged take-up of prison education and rehabilitation schemes and adding, "We have to make a choice - do we chuck people in a prison that does nothing with them, offers them no support, and makes no effort to rehabilitate them? If that's what we want, then that's fine, don't have radio stations, don't have educational departments, just keep churning out people who commit more crime.
"We don't let them have too much fun. They produce programmes that are interesting and educational and get information to their peer group about all the different resettlement programmes in prison. It leads individuals to think about changing their lives, and in the end that helps reduce crime."
McDowell also said that prison radio was not about getting people jobs in the radio industry and added, "There are a small number of people in the radio station talking to 800 prisoners. We want to encourage them to think more positively about their future, and encourage them to change their lives."
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Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous Radio Academy:
Radio Academy - Festival web site:
UK Guardian report re prison radio:
UK Guardian report on Myers comments:
2009-07-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a run of Equality of Employment Opportunity (EEO) enforcement actions is proposing fines of USD 12,000, USD 9,000 and USD 3,000 against Entravision, Cox Radio, and Cumulus (CMP HOUSTON-KC, LLC and CMP KC Licensing, LLC).
It has issued Notices of Apparent Liability for these amounts following assessment of the companies' compliance with the Commission's EEO recruitment and self-assessment requirements.
In the Entravision case it lists Texas stations KFRQ-FM, Harlingen; KNVO-FM, Port Isabel; KVLY-FM, Edinburg; and KKPS-FM, Brownsville and notes that in March last year it admonished the licensee for failing to recruit widely for every full-time vacancy and instead relied on its corporate Internet web site, the Stations' on-air advertisements, word-of-mouth referrals, walk-ins, unsolicited job applications, or internal job postings as recruitment sources for twelve of its thirteen full-time vacancies. The Bureau then also issued reporting conditions and noted that the statute of limitations prohibited it from initiating a forfeiture proceeding and in reviewing responses to enquiries concerning the period from April 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008 it says Entravision failed to properly recruit for two of its 12 full-time vacancies because it relied solely on an employee referral for one vacancy and a rehire, absent sufficient recruitment, of a former employee for another vacancy and in addition failed to properly recruit widely for two other full-time vacancies because it relied solely on referrals and its company website to fill those vacancies.
It also found that Entravision failed to place its EEO public file report on the Stations' websites, as required. As well as the proposed penalty the FCC is ordering Entravision or any successor licensee for any of the stations to submit required EEO information to the agency on My 2, 1011 and May 1, 2013.
The Cox case it lists Florida stations WHQT-FM, Coral Gables and WFLC-FM, WEDR-FM, and WHDR-FM in Miami and says it failed to properly recruit for one full-time vacancy because it relied solely on industry and employee referrals and also failed to properly recruit widely for seven of 25 full-time vacancies because it relied on Internet websites, walk-ins, referrals, and internal postings to fill those vacancies.
It is also proposing to impose reporting conditions to ensure that the Licensee and any successor licensee of any of the Stations maintains an adequate EEO programme.
The Cumulus case relates to CMP Houston-KC, LLC Missouri stations KCMO-AM, Kansas City; KCMO-FM, Shawnee; KCFX-FM, Harrisonville; and KCJK-FM, Garden City and to CMP KC Licensing, LLC's KMJK-FM, Lexington, also in Missouri and the agency says the CMP Houston in filling 14 full-time vacancies failed to provide notification of each full-time vacancy to two organizations that had requested vacancy notification, as required.
2009-07-01: UK Media Regulator Ofcom in its June Radio Broadcast Update just posted says that Bath FM and Brunel FM, which had it had ruled in April to be operating outside their formats (See RNW Apr 7) are now operating within format and also notes the handing back of the licence of Mix 107, High Wycombe, whose impending closure was announced last month by The Local Radio Company (See RNW Apr 29).
It also notes the issue of three restricted service licences - to Faithworld TV 's Faith World Radio, Voice Radio (UK) Ltd's Voice of T Radio, and UK Asia Media Solutions' ILM Radio - and of two national digital multiplex licences - to Children's Radio UK Ltd's Fun Kids (See RNW Jun 16)and Amazing Radio Group Ltd's Amazing Radio (See RNW Jun 1).
In addition it has extended the "Gold" licences in Swindon, Northamptonshire, Cheltenham and Gloucester, Brighton and Eastbourne, and Greater London to dates between October 2014 and December 2014; of Gold Ipswich to November 2015; Of Leicester Sound to September 2014; of Capital FM, London, to October 2014; of Sabras Radio to September 2014, and of Radio Xl to May 2014 and also renewed the North West Real Radio licence to September 2021.
Two licences were re-awarded, both to the incumbents - Touch Radio, S.E. Staffordshire, which is owned by Central Broadcasting Ltd, and Silk FM, Macclesfield.
One change of format was permitted - allowing The Severn to programme share with 107.2 The Wyre/Telford FM for six of the required ten locally-made daytime hours and there was one local digital multiplex change, the addition of Christian format Trans World Radio to the North West England multiplex.
As regards Community Radio, seven licences were issued - to WATCH Ltd's The Hillz, Coventry; Mearns Community Radio Ltd's Mearns FM, The Mearns, Aberdeenshire; Penistone Community Radio Ltd's Penistone FM, South Yorkshire; Tulip Radio Ltd's Tulip FM, Spalding, South Holland; Mission Need Ltd's KCC Live, Knowsley, Merseyside; Bolton FM Community Interest Company's Bolton FM, Lancashire; and Forest Heath Public Radio Ltd's Zeta 105.3, Forest Heath District, Suffolk.
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