August 2009 Archive
2009-08-31: BBM Canada (formerly the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement) and Arbitron have announced the launch of a national and regional radio and TV ratings service using the latter's Portable People Meter (PPM) technology.
The Arbitron system was chosen in April last year and PPM technology from Arbitron and TNS Media Research has replaced the previous and TV electronic measurement system for the country and also the radio diary system in five markets.
Jim MacLeod, President and CEO of BBM Canada commented in a news release, "The launch of BBM Canada's joint radio and television PPM service is an exciting achievement for the Canadian advertising industry. In September 2004, BBM began using PPM technology to measure television viewing in the francophone market of Montreal and over the past 5 years we have grown confident that the PPM service is the audience measurement solution that can best meet our members' needs today and well into the future."
Arbitron's President and CEO Michael Skarzynski added that the company was "excited to be a key component of this innovative approach to audience measurement; and pleased to showcase the distinctive capabilities of our PPM service", saying that "PPM technology is designed to measure exposure to all audible media and is easy-to-use, mobile, flexible and language-agnostic. PPM technology is uniquely suited to provide two currencies using one panel." (RNW comment: We do wish CEOs would use a dictionary before abusing language as the use of the term "agnostic" does here. The nearest the dictionary comes using the word in a non-religious way seems to be "One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something", an appropriate response to Skarzynski but not what he meant).
2009-08-31: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 19,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Opp Educational Broadcasting Foundation, licensee of WIJF-FM, Opp, Alabama, for failure to maintain operable Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment and other EAS related breached and also for failure to respond to directives to provide information and documents to the FCC Enforcement Bureau.
The NAL follows a complaint alleging that the station had never transmitted an EAS test and a subsequent Letter of Inquiry (LOI) sent asking the licensee to provide details that would allow assessment of its compliance with EAS rules.
Although it asked for specific details, the response did not answer any of them but did say that WJIF has "in the past, participated in the national Emergency Alert System" but "at present the [EAS] equipment is not operating properly and has to be repaired", adding that it would "the necessary steps to correct this problem as soon as possible."
A follow-up LOI explicitly warned that failure to respond appropriately might result in enforcement action but there was no response leading the agency to propose the USD 19,000 penalty - USD 8,000 for failure to have operable EAS equipment and USD 11,000 for failure to respond to Commission communications.
The first is the base amount for the breach but as regards failure to response, for which the base penalty is USD 4,000 the FCC increased the penalty, commenting that "Misconduct of this type exhibits contempt for the Commission's authority and threatens to compromise the agency's ability to adequately investigate violations of its Rules".
Another Alabama fared better as the agency cancelled a USD 7,000 forfeiture and substituted an admonishment.
The forfeiture had been issued to Jack W. Ivy, Sr., licensee of WRMG-AM, Red Bay, for late filing of renewal application and continued operation after expiry of the licence but Ivy had requested cancellation on the basis of inability to pay and provided supporting documentation that the agency accepted.
In Louisiana the agency has issued a USD 1,500 forfeiture to Cactus Communications, LLC, licensee of KKAY-AM, White Castle, for late filing of renewal application, rejecting a request for cancellation or reduction on the basis that the failure was inadvertent and that it was unable to pay. In this case, the licensee failed to provide documentation to substantiate the claim of inability to pay and the agency confirmed the full penalty.
In Idaho the FCC issued a USD 500 forfeiture notice to Christian Radio Translator Association/Salmon, Inc., former licensee of FM Translator Station K257DJ, Salmon, Idaho for late filing of renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation. It had initially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of USD 7,000 to which the licensee responded by requesting reduction or cancellation on the basis that the failure was inadvertent and inability to pay.
The FCC rejected the first argument and found inadequate documentation had been provided regarding inability to pay but cut the penalty to USD 500 in line with recent penalties against licensees of translator station.
2009-08-31: Following the completion by Clear Channel of an offering of USD 412.1 million of five senior note issues maturing between 2011 and 2014, Standard and Poor's has cut the company's credit rating from "CC" (currently highly vulnerable ) to "SD" ((selective default), commenting that it regards the "discounted offers as tantamount to a default."
It has also moved the rating of the notes involved from "CC" to "D" (failed to pay one or more of its financial obligations when it became due): These are The 6.25% senior notes due 2011; The 4.40% senior notes due 2011; The 5.00% senior notes due 2012; The 5.75% senior notes due 2013; and The 5.50% senior notes due 2014. Other existing issue-level and recovery ratings on Clear Channel's debt were affirmed at their current levels.
Standard and Poor's had said in an August 4 research report that it would view the completion of the offering - at discounts to par in the area of 30% to 50% - as tantamount to a default given Clear Channel's highly leveraged financial profile and the uncertainty, in its opinion, "surrounding its ability to service its current debt obligations in full over the next several years."
Under the transaction, CC Finco, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Clear Channel, repurchased USD 20.2 million of its 6.25% senior notes due 2011 (USD 692.7 million remains outstanding), USD 56.04 million of its 4.4% senior notes due 2011 (USD 140.2 million outstanding), USD 19.95 million of its 5% senior notes due 2012 (USD 249.9 million outstanding), USD 116.4 million of its 5.75% senior notes due 2013 (USD 312.1 million outstanding), and USD 199.55 million of its 5.5% senior notes due 2014 (USD 550.5 million outstanding). There were no 10.75% senior cash pay notes validly tendered for in the transaction.
S&P said it estimated the total consideration paid, including accrued interest, was roughly USD 156.7 million, which was funded with cash on hand and added that it expects the repurchased notes to remain outstanding at CC Finco, but to be netted from Clear Channel's balance sheet on a consolidated basis. Pro forma for the transaction, cash balances stood at USD 1.34 billion as of June 30, 2009.
Standard & Poor's credit analyst Michael Altberg commented in a statement, "We will reassess the company's business and financial outlook over the immediate term. It is our preliminary expectation that we will raise the corporate credit rating back to 'CCC' (currently vulnerable and dependent on favourable economic conditions to meet its commitments)."
He continued, "We acknowledge that the transaction begins to address liquidity concerns and reduces Clear Channel's intermediate-term debt balances, which we believe represent significant refinancing risk in the current economic and credit conditions. Maturities are still sizable over the next few years, at USD 1.4 billion between 2011 and 2013. Over the near term, we also are concerned about potential covenant violations, giving ongoing weak performance at the radio and outdoor segments."
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-08-30: Last week was another in which the regulators processed a steady flow of radio-related matters but made no major decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted two community radio decisions and also made spectrum available for a new ABC NewsRadio service in Bendigo, Victoria, where it also made spectrum available for a medium power (1kw max) community radio service and two low power (150 w max) community radio services for Bendigo City.
The ACMA will advertise for applications for long-term community broadcasting licences to use these frequencies shortly and until they are allocated it is expected that temporary community broadcasting licensees can continue to use their current frequencies.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said of the move that the agency took the view "that this provides the best possible balance and diversity of services in a spectrum congested market."
In Geelong, also in Victoria, the ACMA has opted, given the choice of retaining 94.7 MHz available for long-term community broadcasting or to make it available for the introduction of a new ABC Local Radio service to retain the frequency, currently in use under a temporary community broadcasting licence by 'The Pulse' to retain it for community use and to undertake supplementary planning to identify whether there is any alternate spectrum that could be used by the ABC. Possible frequencies are AM frequency 711 kHz and 91.9 MHz FM.
In South Australia, the ACMA is seeking comment on proposal for changes in the Murray Bridge radio licence area. One is to make a frequency available for a long-term community radio service in Goolwa, where two community groups current share a frequency under temporary licences. It adds that it has been unable to find more than one frequency.
The agency is also proposing a frequency change for community radio service, 5EFM's translator service in Yankalilla to alleviate interference to the off-air feed from its main transmitter in Victor Harbor and to change the antenna height of community radio service 5GSFM in Victor Harbor address coverage deficiencies in their service.
Also in South Australia, the ACMA has made spectrum available for a new community radio service in Port August and will advertise for applicants soon: It had received "a considerable response" from the area supporting a proposed variation to the Spencer Gulf North Radio licence area plan that would make capacity available.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made a number of radio postings including a list of applications processed under its streamlined procedures between May 1 and June 30 this year that included:
*Approval of extension to July 9 next year of deadline for commencement of operation of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's new FM which is to replace CBI-AM, Sydney.
*Approval of extension to June 29 next year for commencement of operation of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's new transmitter at Timmins to carry the programming of CBBX-FM, Sudbury.
*Approved contour change for Newcap's English-language commercial station CIGM-FM, Sudbury.
*Extension until Dec 1 this year for Radio CHNC ltée to simulcast CHNC-AM, New Carlisle, following approval of its conversion to FM.
*Extension until June 12 of time limit for Radio 1540 Limited to produce and submit specific details on the Canadian talent development expenditures report for its ethnic station CJLL-FM, Gatineau.
Other radio related posting from the agency included:
*Approval of application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership to increase the power of CIBW-FM, Drayton Valley, from 7,400 watts to 50,000 watts. Pattison said the change was required to avoid potential interference from Harvard Broadcasting Inc.'s new station CFEX-FM, Calgary, and the agency noted that the costs for the change will be shared by the two broadcasters.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom in its latest bulletin has upheld five Standards complaints against radio, all but one relating to promotions or competition (See RNW Aug 26).
Ofcom also posted its August Radio Update in which it notes that no licences were handed back during the month, that the "Colourful" and "Holiday FM" services on satellite platforms have ceased, and that Orion Media Ltd. was issued licences for various local digital services
In addition licence extensions to the end of December 2014 were granted for London Greek Radio and Radio Clyde's Clyde 1 & Clyde 2 services and until mid February 2015 for Dee 106.3 (Chester).
Digital multiplex changes noted during the month were:
*The removal of Chill from the Wolverhampton and Coventry multiplexes.
*Replacement of XFM with The Arrow on the Leeds, South Yorkshire and Humberside multiplexes
*Replacement of The Arrow with XFM London on the Yorkshire multiplex.
*Replacement of Chill with LBC on the Edinburgh and Glasgow multiplexes.
The update also noted:
Agreed format changes for:
*kmfm - allowing its stations- West Kent, Maidstone, Medway, Ashford, Canterbury, Thanet (and Dover/Folkestone - to share up to six of the ten locally made weekday hours (other than breakfast).
*The Wyre (Kidderminster) - to co-Locate with Telford FM.
*Sovereign Radio and Arrow FM - to share the weekday 11am-3pm show from Splash FM and Bright FM across Sovereign Radio and Arrow FM: all are Sussex stations.
*Lite FM - to allow programme sharing with Connect FM for 6 of the 10 local broadcast hours. The stations are currently co-located in Lite's Peterborough studios and Lite FM will retain its separate and individual identity, with bespoke local news, and local content.
In addition change of control reviews were posted for Beacon FM (Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury and Telford); BRMB (Birmingham); Gold (Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton); Heart (East Midlands); Mercia FM (Coventry); Wyvern FM (Hereford & Worcester); Pennine FM (Huddersfield); Arrow FM (Hastings); and Sovereign Radio (Eastbourne, Seaford, Hailsham and the surrounding area).
Ofcom also noted that the transfer of the following local licences had been approved:
*Of Sunshine Radio, Ludlow, to Murfin Media Ltd.
*Of Sunshine Radio, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, to Sunshine FM Ltd.
*Of Gold, Coventry; Gold, Wolverhampton; and Mercia FM to Orion Media Ltd.
Community licences issued during the period went to Community Voice FM, Middlesbrough, and Wayland Radio, Ashill, Norfolk.
In the US it was a fairly quiet week as regards radio for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) whose enforcement actions included denying a CBS Radio petition to reconsider a fine over a competitive eating competition and also imposing a USD 2,000 penalty on Puerto Rico non-commercial educational station for broadcasting advertisements (See RNW Aug 27).
In a contested licence decision the agency denied a petition for reconsideration filed by Mediatrix SC, Inc., one of three mutually exclusive applicants in AM Broadcast Auction 84, against preference being given to an application from George M. Arroyo.
Mediatrix was proposing a second service to Rincon, Georgia, whilst Arroyo's proposal was for a fifth local service to the Southchase/Kissimmee Urbanized Area of Florida.
The FCC commented that the petition was procedurally improper as Arroyo's Long Form 301 has not yet been placed on Public Notice as accepted for filing and added that if and when this takes place Mediatrix will have an opportunity to raise the objections contained in its instant Petition in a timely petition to deny Arroyo's Long Form 301.
The agency also dismissed a petition filed by GAP Broadcasting Pocatello License, LLC for reconsideration of a decision to put GAP's license for Aural Studio Transmitter Link WQHG289, Pocatello, Idaho, into termination pending status.
The licence had been granted in July 2007 with a January this year deadline for construction but no notification was sent that construction had been completed and the licence was given termination pending status in February. GAP had 30 days to file a petition for reconsideration but failed to meet the deadline and the FCC noted this meant it had to reject the petition, thus leaving GAP with the option of filing for re-authorization.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-08-29: India's government is considering lifting the ban on private FM stations broadcasting news according to reports from Delhi.
Samaylive quoted a "source" in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as saying no decision had been taken but adding that the "issue is under active consideration."
It adds that under the proposed changes private FMs would be allowed to air news from their own correspondents and also from the news bulletins of Doordarshan and All India Radio that use news from authorised news agencies
India's private stations have long opposed the ban on their airing news.
Previous Indian Radio:
2009-08-29: A newly formed company, Your Media Comunications Ltd., has bought the five South West Radio stations that were put on the market when South West went into administration earlier this month (See RNW Aug 7).
The stations are Bath FM, Brunel FM in Swindon, Quay West stations in Bridgewater and Watchet and 3TR (Three Towns Radio serving Wasrminster, Westbury & Frome) in Warminster, and the board of the new company includes Nigel Reeve, who was chief executive of Laser Broadcasting, their owner before it went bankrupt and they were sold to South West.
The chairman is Stephen Dexter, a former partner at Grant Thornton accountants and the board also includes veteran broadcaster Roger Day.
2009-08-29: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that comments made on Quebec City station CHOI-FM about homosexuality did not breach industry codes although the use of the word "fifure" ("queerness") was "discourteous, rude and on the edge of acceptability, but did not rise to the 'sneering, derisive and nasty' level" that would have breached the codes. It also ruled that the comments were not sexually explicit to the extent that codes were breached.
The comments came on the station's afternoon drive-show "Le Retour de Radio X" on May 15 last year - in which the hosts were discussing a were discussing a California Supreme Court ruling that disallowing gay marriage was unconstitutional. A complaint was made shortly afterwards that the broadcast constituted "Hateful propaganda against homosexuals. Indecent comments at a time when children could hear." but because of a mix-up concerning the CBSC membership status of CHOI-FM it only reached the agency in December.
During the discussion host Jérôme Landry commented that there was a lot of "queerness" in San Francisco and that he did not like to see two men kissing in public, but that they could "do it up the ass all [they] want" behind closed doors. He also said that he did not approve of gay couples adopting children because it involved someone else in their "queerness".
CHOI had responded to the complainant saying that comments "Though critical of certain attitudes or behaviours" were "not expressed with the purpose of being prejudicial to individuals, but rather to reflect a point of view, among others, concerning developments in this area."
The CBSC as noted found the remarks were on the edge of acceptability and commented that it had no "difficulty with the hosts' policy positions on homosexuality" but would "have preferred that the serious elements of the discussion be dressed in less objectionable language than 'fifure'".
2009-08-28: James Murdoch, chief executive of the European and Asian operations of News Corporation and son of Rupert Murdoch, has strongly attacked the BBC and UK media regulator Ofcom in comments in the annual MacTaggart lecture delivered in Edinburgh.
In his comments he likened the current situation to a defence of Creationism, saying of UK broadcasting, "The consensus appears to be that creationism - the belief in a managed process with an omniscient authority - is the only way to achieve successful outcomes. There is general agreement that the natural operation of the market is inadequate, and that a better outcome can be achieved through the wisdom and activity of governments and regulators."
He then went on to say, "Creationism penalises the poorest in our society with regressive taxes and policies - like the licence fee and digital switchover;
"It promotes inefficient infrastructure in the shape of digital terrestrial television;
"It creates unaccountable institutions - like the BBC Trust, Channel 4 and Ofcom;
"And now, in the all-media marketplace, it threatens significant damage to important spheres of human enterprise and endeavour - the provision of independent news, investment in professional journalism, and the innovation and growth of the creative industries. "
"We are on the wrong path - but we can find the right one.
"The right path is all about trusting and empowering consumers. It is about embracing private enterprise and profit as a driver of investment, innovation and independence. And the dramatic reduction of the activities of the state in our sector."
He later drew a parallel with the way media is regulated and the banana industry and a decision when the then dominant variety was affected by a fungus to replace it with another variety that may also be vulnerable to a different variety of the disease (RNW comment- not state controlled as we recall and the term "banana Republic" grew out of the dominance of three large companies of the Honduran banana industry: The logic of his argument it would seem to us could well be deployed as an argument against too few large media corporations being allowed to dominate and thus an enforced break-up of such corporations as News International.).
He also called for additional protection of copyright commenting, "We don't even have the basics in place to protect creative work. Whether it's shoplifting at HMV or pirating the same movie online, theft is theft" but then went on to make an argument for other options such as trusting people (exactly what a lack of very punitive copyright laws does, of course) and also attack attempts to impose "impartiality" on broadcast news of which eh said, "The effect of the system is not to curb bias - bias is present in all news media - but simply to disguise it.
"We should be honest about this: it is an impingement on freedom of speech and on the right of people to choose what kind of news to watch. "
Of the BBC he commented, "It is hardly a secret that the early years of British broadcasting were dominated by concern about the potential of the new technology for creating social disruption. To deal with that perceived threat, there were two responses: to nationalise broadcasting through the BBC, and to ensure that any other provider was closely controlled and appropriately incentivised. (RNW Note: The BBC was, of course, initially, very restricted in its ability to report news - because of pressure from the privately-owned newspaper industry, which feared competition).
He also attacked its dominance of UK radio, commenting, "
"Rather than concentrating on areas where the market is not delivering, the BBC seeks to compete head-on for audiences with commercial providers to try and shore up support - or more accurately dampen opposition - to a compulsory licence fee.
"Take Radio 2 as an example. A few years back, the BBC observed that it was losing share of listening among the 25-45 age-group, who were well served by commercial stations. Instead of stepping back and allowing the market to do its job, the BBC decided to reposition Radio 2 to go after this same group. Performers like Jonathan Ross were recruited on salaries no commercial competitor could afford, and audiences for Radio 2 have grown steadily as a result.
"No doubt the BBC celebrates the fact that it now has well over half of all radio listening. But the consequent impoverishment of the once-successful commercial sector is testament to the Corporation's inability to distinguish between what is good for it, and what is good for the country."
The BBC Trust has responded to Murdoch's comments with a statement from its chairman Sir Michael Lyons in which he said, "Our starting point is what is in the interests of the public and the BBC agrees with James Murdoch's analysis that we need to trust them. And the public tell us that they, in turn, trust the BBC and value the wide range of services we provide.
"The BBC has no choice but to serve all audiences, but that doesn't mean that it can or should seek to squeeze out other providers.
"We have to be careful not to reduce the whole of broadcasting to some simple economic transactions. The BBC's public purposes stress the importance of the well-tested principles of educating and informing, and an impartial contribution to debate in the UK.
"As to the BBC Trust, let me underline that it is here to strengthen the BBC for the benefit of licence fee payers, not to emasculate it on behalf of commercial interests."
RNW comment: Having now read the text of Murdoch's comments twice, admittedly with a jaundiced eye in view of News International's history of what many saw as kow-towing to government pressure - as when News Corporation dropped BBC News channels from Star TV after protests by the Communist Chinese government, we think there are some points raised that do merit serious discussion but the intellectual calibre of Murdoch's comments is very disappointing.
They happen of course to benefit Murdoch's business interests and we suspect that he is probably incapable of stepping mentally outside his protected cocoon and seriously considering arguments in favour of media diversity - many of the comments he makes that are critical of the ability for new commercial media to compete with the BBC are equally applicable to their ability to compete with large media corporations like his own - that would lead to restrictions on his company as much as on the BBC.
UK Times - (Murdoch-owned) report on lecture:
UK Times - Text of lecture:
2009-08-28: CBS Radio correspondent Cami McCormick has suffered serious injuries whilst travelling with the US Army with whom she was embedded in Logar Province, Afghanistan.
The vehicle in which she was travelling was hit by an explosive device and following the incident CBS says she was treated at a field hospital and than taken to Bagram Air Base near Kabul for additional treatment.
Line of Departure says a Defense official said the injuries to "lower extremities" - feet and legs - were not life threatening.
McCormick, who is 47, was New York based and has been working for CBS Radio News since September 1998.
LineofDeparture report (RNW Note- includes various postings, some of which in our view display a singular combination of callousness, mean-mindedness, bigotry and ignorance. We doubt that any of the troops also in the incident would feel other than ashamed about the attitudes of some of their fellow citizens and have yet to come across any correspondents who in any way celebrate the deaths of or injuries to the military with whom they have been travelling.):
2009-08-27:Absolute Radio - the former Virgin Radio taken over by a Times of India subsidiary - is to celebrate its first birthday on September 27 with a Madness Gig in Regent Street, London.
The event is part of the Regent Street Festival's 10th birthday celebrations and also marks 30 years of Madness whose front man Suggs was a DJ on Virgin.
Absolute's HQ in Golden Square is just off Regent Street, which will be closed to traffic for the concert - "The Absolute Radio Birthday Party - Madness Live on Regent Street" - which will be aired on the station from 18:00 local time (17:00 GMT):
A promotion on the station's web site notes that the area where the concert will be held can only accommodate 1,500 people and invites texts (GBP 1.5 - around USD 2.5) to win a place. The promotion also notes that the event will be raising funds for Cancer Research UK although it does not indicate how much of the money from the texts will go for administration or other costs.
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (Ultimate parent of Absolute Radio):
Absolute Radio Birthday web site:
2009-08-27:According to the Herald-Sun Austereo is close to signing a deal at up to AUD 1 million ( USD 840,000) to bring Eddie McGuire back to radio to front Triple M's early morning breakfast programme.
McGuire, who currently commentates on football on sports station SEN 1116 and hosts the Nine Network's The AFL Footy Show on TV, has says the paper been tested in Triple M's studio for the past three weeks as the station searches to replace Peter Helliar and Myf (Myfanwy) Warhurst, who were axed in July.
It adds that is thought that McGuire would be teamed with former Western Bulldogs ruckman Luke Darcy and SBS newsreader Mieke Buchan but says McGuire and Triple M have refused comment.
2009-08-27: UTV Media plc has reported revenues for the sic months to the end of June down 10% to GBP 54.5 million ( USD 88.2 million) with group operating profits down 28.6% to GBP 11 million (USD 17.8 million) and pre-tax profits before exceptional items down 30.4% to GBP 7.8 million (USD 12.6 million) : Within the figures TV operating profits were down 61% to GBP 1.8 million (USD 2.9 million), radio operating profit was down 16% to GBP 8.2 million (USD 15.9 million) and New Media operating profits were up 9% to GBP 1 million ( USD 1.62 million).
Irish radio made an operating profit of GBP 3.6 million (USD 5.8 million), flat year on year and assisted by exchange gains and the acquisition of FM104 in April of 2008.
The company noted that as a result of refinancing in 2008 its debt has been cut by GBP 11.2 million ( USD 18.1 million) and net debt was trimmed by 11.2% to GBP 96.3 million (USD 155.8 million) with net finance costs reduced by 30.2% to GBP 3.0 million ( USD); that radio accounted for 74% of operating profits; and that it has achieved GBP 3.0 million ( USD 4.9 million ) of its target of GBP 5 million ( USD 8.1 million ) in the first half, ahead of target.
Group Chief Executive John McCann commented of the results, "This has undoubtedly been a challenging six months. However, our results demonstrate the resilience of the business. Over the last six months we have actively sought to reduce costs and reduce our debt. Both have been successful and have gone some way to moderate the impact of unprecedented advertising markets. It is difficult to give a detailed outlook because of continuing macroeconomic uncertainty; nonetheless we are expecting the rate of decline in advertising to slow as comparatives ease over the coming months."
Chairman John B McGuckian said," Fundamentally, UTV is a strong business with excellent assets, diversified across multiple media platforms and is run by a highly experienced management team. We believe we are well positioned for the upturn when this current unpredictable period comes to an end."
2009-08-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected an appeal by CBS Radio against a USD 4,000 penalty imposed on WIP-AM in July last year because it had failed to announce the terms of its competitive eating Wing Bowl 13 contest and conduct the contest in accordance with FCC rules.
There had been a complaint by a member of a member of the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (AICE), a rival of the Independent Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), historically associated with Wing Bowl and at the time CBS had argued that exclusion of the competitor was within its rights, in line with a prior exclusion from the "Wing Bowl 12" competition and that at most there was a technical violation.
The FCC disagreed and confirmed the penalty, re-iterating its dismissal of the CBS's argument that the rule was only intended to protect listeners within its coverage contour on the basis that the rule simply required disclosure of the terms of a competition when the audience is informed how to take part.
The agency has also imposed a USD 2,000 penalty on Puerto Rico non-commercial educational station WCRP-FM, Guayama, for broadcasting advertisements.
The licensee - Ministerio Radial Cristo Viene Pronto, Inc. - had been issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 2,500 to which it had responded by requesting cancellation or a substantial reduction on the basis of inability to pay and a history of compliance.
On the basis of the documentation provided the FCC rejected the former argument but reduced the penalty by UUSD 500 on the basis of a history of compliance.
2009-08-26: The Local Radio Company has announced an Extraordinary General Meeting on September 22 to ask shareholders to approve a delisting from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London.
It says that due to current commercial radio sector conditions and decline in advertising revenues its directors "have concluded that it would be more beneficial for the Company and Shareholders if the Company were to de-list from AIM whilst the restructuring of the Company continues."
They say this would allow it to remove costs and regulatory burdens linked to being listed and adds that the benefits of listing in terms of raising capital are outweighed by the associated costs. It also says that it "will generally be simpler and more cost effective to manage an unlisted company, rather than a publicly quoted company."
The company in a note on recent trading said that like-for-like revenues in the six months to the end of June was down 7.2% to GBP 7.0 million ( USD 11.4 million ) . Restructuring it said continues although it adds that "Cash flow remains difficult and is a matter held under constant review by the Board whilst the re-structuring programme continues to be implemented."
"The changes resulting from the restructuring," it adds, "are on track to be completed over the next few months and are still anticipated to deliver the projected results.
Delisting would require approval of 75% of shareholders casting votes and says that it anticipated that trading in its shares will end at the close of business on September 29 and de-listing will follow at 07:00 on September 30.
Following the delisting it says it intends to use its web site to update shareholders about its financial and operational performance
Previous Local Radio Company:
2009-08-26: The UK Guardian is reporting that figures it obtained under the UK's Freedom of Information Act show former BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas, who resigned in the wake of the row about crude remarks left about his granddaughter on the answer phone of actor Andrew Sachs by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross (See RNW Oct 30, 2008), was paid around a third more than other radio controllers.
It says that she was paid between GBP 250,000 (USD 405,000) and GBP 280,000 (USD 455,000) a year when she left the Corporation compared to between GBP 190,000 (USD 308,00) and GBP 220,000 (USD 357,000) for the other controllers, whose salaries were made public this year when the BBC made public the salaries of its 50 highest-paid executives: BBC Radio Five Live's Controller Adrian van Klaveren, who took up his post in April last year (See RNW April 21 2008), was not on the list for the period to the end of March this year.
The paper also details hospitality expenses she and other radio controllers claimed and quotes a statement defending her remuneration signed by James Leaton Grey, the BBC's head of information policy and compliance in which he refers to her as "one of the BBC's most high-profile senior leaders, with a remit that included running the nation's biggest radio station and managing the 'popular music' strategy for the whole BBC, including BBC Worldwide, as well as taking on major industry roles."
Douglas is now director of programming and business development at Universal Music UK (See RNW Nov 25, 2008).
In other BBC radio news, Radio 4 says the Corporation's North America editor Justin Webb will take up his new role as one of the presenters of its flagship Today breakfast programme tomorrow. It had originally said he would take up the role in October.
Webb will be one of five regular presenters on the show - the others are John Humphrys, who will be his co-host for his first show; Sarah Montague; James Naughtie; and Evan Davis. His appointment was announced in December last year along with the departure as a regular presenter of Edward Stourton, who was reported to have found out that his contract was not being renewed when he received a phone enquiry from a journalist (See RNW Dec 13, 2008).
Stourton is to continue to work for the station reporting on foreign stories and contributing to Analysis, Profile and Crossing Continents and also as a presenter on Radio 4's "The World at One" and "The World This Weekend".He is also working on a number of projects including a live debate series, Iconoclasts, a three-part series on the Jordan titled A River Runs Through It, as well as a series, Defining The Decade, on the Noughties.
He commented in a BBC news release, "I am sad to lose my Today seat but I am delighted that I shall have a continuing role on the programme and excited about trying new things on The World This Weekend and World at One."
Webb said of his move, "I am delighted to be joining Today. It has been a part of my life for many years and the chance to join the presenting team is a thrill and an honour."
UK Guardian report:
2009-08-26: Canada's private radio revenues in the year to the year ending August 31, 2008, were up 5.6% to CAD 1.6 billion (USD 1.46 billion) with profits before interest and tax up 12.2% to CAD 336.5 million (USD 306.6 million) according to Statistics Canada which notes that the figures do not reflect the impact of the economic downturn that began at the end of last year.
It also notes that for 2008 the profit margin before interest and taxes was 21.1%, just below the 2005 figure of 21.2%, which was the industry's best for 30 years, adding that the margin has exceeded 15% every year since the start of the decade.
It puts this down to consolidation that has seen the large companies operating an increasing number of stations, especially in the biggest markets, and says this has allowed radio to withstand competition from other media by improving its offerings to advertisers, and getting better control of its spending as a result of the economies of scale.
Large markets, it says, have been the most profitable and in 2008 the industry had a profit margin of 25.4% before interest and taxes in those markets, compared with 19.1% in medium-sized markets and 15.6% in small markets.
The industry has also benefited, it says, by a continuing conversion from AM to FM that has seen a fall by 15 to 159 in the number of AM stations. The AM stations that remain were generally more profitable than in previous years and in 2008 had a profit margin before interest and taxes of 8.1%, their best performance for 20 years.
AM operating revenues however were down by 0.6% to CAD 329.4 million ( USD 300.0 million) whilst FM revenues were up 7.3% to 1.266 billion ( USD 1.153 billion)
FM, however, continues to do much better, with a margin of more than 20% since 1997 and a 24.5% margin in 2008 - higher than that for specialty television (23.6%), pay television (22.3%) and especially, private conventional television (0.2%).
In language terms Anglophone stations recorded a 23% margin followed by Francophone stations with 13.8% and then stations broadcasting in other languages (4.2%).
In market terms the five largest markets reported revenues up 3.6% to CAD 719.6 million (USD 655.2 million) compared to a 6.2% increase for medium markets to CAD 427.1 million ( USD 388.8 million) and an 8.4% increase for small markets to 422.4 million ( USD 384.6 million)
Previous Statistics Canada:
2009-08-26: UK Media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin has upheld five Standards complaints against radio, all but one relating to promotions or competition, compared to one overall in its previous Bulletin.
It also upheld Standards complaints against four TV programmes, upheld a further two TV Fairness and Privacy complaints in part and gave details of five more TV Fairness and Privacy complaints that were not upheld: This compares to five TV standards complaints upheld, a further one considered resolved and another not upheld where it posted details and a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint upheld plus posting details of six more not upheld in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaints upheld this time were against:
Bath FM over links in a late-breakfast show on April 26 in which the presenters trailed a spa from which the show was to be broadcast live and gave details of various services or offers from the spa: In addition advertisements for the spa were aired during commercial breaks promoting its opening day and "highlighting among other things, a prize draw and various beauty treatments, including an exclusive offer for Bath FM listeners."
Ofcom asked the station to comment in relation to its rules on sponsorship receiving a response that the "Sales Manager at the time of broadcast "did not have a full understanding" of the rules concerning sponsorship" and referring to an error of judgment. It added that he no longer worked for the station and added that it had subsequently suspended "any commercial activity that [was] not within advertising breaks", while it sought clarification concerning Ofcom's sponsorship rules and had also issued new guidelines concerning "paid for activity", which included all sponsorship arrangements being approved by either the Director of Bath FM or the new Sales Director.
Ofcom noted that the purpose of the Code was to make sponsorship transparent to listeners and found that there had been breaches of four parts of the code.
Absolute Radio and Hallam FM (South Yorkshire) in connection with broadcasts of a "Win with Sky" sponsored listener competition feature that in each case had not been cleared in advance for broadcast by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) s required.
BBC Radio Ulster over the use of the words "bastards", "bullshit" and "fuck" by veteran Hollywood actor Tony Curtis during a live interview on the station's "Talkback" political programme: The host had apologised for the comments each time - terming them "Hollywood realism" on the first two occasions and on the third when Curtis spoke of telling someone to "fuck off'" said "We really, really can't use that kind of language" and was involved in an exchange with Curtis who after the host had apologised again said, "Now listen, my dear friend, you can take that, er Oh, it is live
The host confirmed this and Curtis then apologised, saying he didn't want to offend anyone.
Two complaints were made and the BBC responded to Ofcom by saying that Curtis and his press team were told in advance that the interview would be live and therefore they were not expecting him to use unacceptable language and pointing out the action taken by the host.
Ofcom in its ruling noted that the programme was a political and current affairs programme and therefore that children were not particularly likely to have been listening and also the action taken but said nevertheless "the language, in particular the use of the word "fuck" was likely to have gone beyond the expectations of the audience for a programme of this type and at this time."
Community station Radio Hartlepool over a "Specsavers Sticker Spotters" feature on its drivetime show that has been aired since December 2008 and which involved listeners putting a sticker from the station in their car after which a station 'sticker spotter' then selects, at random, a car displaying a Radio Hartlepool car sticker, the registration number of the car is announced on air and the owner of the car has the chance to claim the day's prize - which starts and GBP 10 (USD 15) and increases by this amount each day until claimed - within 102 minutes of the announcement (The station is on (102.4 MHz).
Three listeners had complained that numbers read out were "false or incorrect" and Ofcom on listening to recordings of three announcements found that two of them were not on a publicly available car registration database.
The station has replaced the "Sticker spotter" and said that members of the Management team now drove around Hartlepool themselves obtaining genuine vehicle registration numbers, so no further "confusion" could occur.
Ofcom noted the action and the fact that no listener was factually disadvantaged by the announcement of an incorrect number since the prize money rolled over but ruled that various rules were breached, expressed concern over the initial reaction of the broadcaster, which had known of the problem for some time, and said any future delay in proving information would breach the broadcaster's licence.
In addition to the above , Ofcom also listed without details 933 TV complaints against 190 items - around 500 of them relating to the Big Brother programme - and 32 radio complaints against 31 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compared to 380 TV complaints against 126 items - more than two hundred of them relating to the Big Brother programme - and 18 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:
2009-08-25: US host Michael Savage, who is using his website to promote his book "Banned in Britain", has posted on the site a copy of a letter from his lawyers in which he sets a deadline for the then-British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who put him on a list of people banned from the UK, to apologise and pay damages or face legal action.
The letter says that a news release issued concerning the list of banned persons "contained statements that are false and defamatory of our client. Please treat this letter as a letter of claim under the Pre-action Protocol for defamation" and later quotes a section that said of Savage -he was the only radio host on the list - "Controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence" and also said that of those banned one was a "controversial daily radio host, who provoked others to commit crimes."
It then says that the news release is still on the "Home Office website (in both the news and press release sections) and on the UK Border Agency website" and that the "allegations in the Press Release constitute serious and damaging defamatory allegations which are actionable under English law" and adds, "The allegations are entirely false. At no time has our client provoked or sought to provoke others to commit crimes or serious criminal acts."
Other paragraphs refer to there being no evidence of Savage "advocating or inciting violence"; that he was included on the list improperly to provide "a balance of types of exclusion cases"; and says, "If our client were to issue proceedings in defamation against you personally, he would be likely to recover very substantial damages. In any such action, he would rely upon the highly aggravating circumstances of the publication of the Press Release "
It concludes by requiring an undertaking to pay an agreed substantial sum of damages; sending an agreed retraction that Savage can circulate, a personal apology, and "acknowledgement that you have agreed to pay a substantial sum in libel damages to our client" plus a written undertaking not to repeat the allegations and payment of Savage's legal costs.
RNW comment: Considering that the link to this letter is on a site that says in one headline that "Barack Obama signed off on both of these actions - the release of Al Megrahi and the attempted international humiliation of an outspoken talk-show host ..." (Admittedly to an article by someone else on WorldNet Daily but clearly indicating Savage's endorsement of the comment"; in another that "Atty. Gen. Holder approved release of Lockerbie bomber?" that leads to an Associated Press report that in no way suggests Holder's approval, it seems to us that the Savage site illustrates a prime case of to use an old phrase the pot calling the kettle black.
We do not think he should have been kept out of the UK but suggest that he may well be "libel shopping" to take advantage of UK libel laws (which in our view need serious amendment) since there would be no chance of his suit going anywhere in the US.
A just assessment on that basis of the damage done to his reputation would be to base it on damage done in the UK - maybe a penny (less than two cents) in damages and then let the UK libel law take its usual course - if he has refused an offer of more than this he becomes responsible for all costs. With luck it would cost Savage a large sum and deter him and others from money -grubbing in such cases.
At the same time, it does seem to us that Smith who like a number of other recent British Home Secretaries under both current Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor Gordon Brown, have made populist comments that in our view were close to pre-judgement, is shown by this action to be unfit to have held the office and should have been fired not allowed to resign. It would also be quite reasonable require an apology to Savage but that doesn't automatically mean serious damage was caused to his reputation.
Michael Savage web site:
2009-08-25: Speculation has begun in Portsmouth, England, that the city's football club, which already owns part of The Quay radio station, may be about to take it over. Portsmouth FC through the Quadrant Media Limited joint venture with The Local Radio Company also owned part of Isle of Wight Radio, whose sale was announced earlier this month (See RNW Aug 18). The club itself is in talks about being taken over, probably by a Middle East buyer, according to the Portsmouth News
The UK Guardian reported today that UKRD, which now controls The Local Radio Company, is on the verge of selling the station and that this would be the last of the 20 stations the company owned to be disposed off or closed: Seven stations have been sold since UKRD took control and in addition Mix 107 in High Wycombe was closed together with the Local Radio Company's headquarters there.
The paper quoted UKRD chief executive, William Rogers, as saying there would be no more LRC disposals and adding that nine of the 12 remaining stations were profitable- the loss makers being stations in Durham, Northallerton and Darlington.
"It is the final component or our portfolio review, which has been about building a strong, highly successful group of regionally based small to medium sized radio stations," Rogers said.
"The stations that were sold or closed didn't fit for a variety of reasons. It could be simply that they would never work - High Wycombe was a case in point - or alternatively either commercially or geographically we felt they weren't appropriate."
Rogers has criticised regulator Ofcom for issuing licences for small areas and told the paper, "In my own personal view there are three or four dozen stations in this country that should never have been licensed and will probably never succeed", adding that unless there was regulatory change the UK had dozens of radio stations that would be in crisis until they merged with another station or closed although in some cases passionate local groups might be able to devote the resources to make a station succeed where a larger group would not be able to do so.
UKRD, which has six stations of its own, lost GBP 4.6 million (USD 7.5 million) in the six months to the end of March and Austereo in its report for the year to the end of June reported that it had written off its investment in UKRD with an after tax impact of AUD 3.8 million (USD 3.2 million - See Below)
Previous Local Radio Company:
Portsmouth FC fans site:
Portsmouth News report re club being taken over:
UK Guardian report:
2009-08-25: Austereo has reported profits for the year to the end of June down 15.2% to AUD 41.41 million (USD 34.65 million) with underlying earnings from continuing activities down 7.4% to AUD 45.21 million (USD 37.84 million) on underlying revenues down 2.9% to AUD 258.9 million (USD 216.7 million). Underlying EBITDA was down 7.5% to AUD 87.6 million (USD 73.3 million) and underlying Net Profit before significant items was down 7.4% to AUD 45.2 million (USD 37.8 million).
The fall was put down to a tough advertising market and chairman Peter Harvie said he was expecting the situation to continue, although on a positive note he added that, "''Austereo's positive set of audience and sales figures would provide a powerful springboard to deal with expected challenging media conditions for the first half 2010."
"Austereo sales results outpaced the industry decline of -3.28% and the radio industry was closer to positive territory in sales than most other major media, a reflection of the ability of radio to deal with difficult conditions," he commented. "Austereo's costs were tightly controlled, and continued talent investment in the period paid handsomely in audience and sales results. In particular Austereo's Today Network sales clearly exceeded those of the previous financial year, but total results were dampened by market conditions and ratings underperformance of Triple M Sydney and Melbourne."
CEO Michael Anderson, who is to step down in June next year, added, "Despite abnormal economic pressures, Austereo's advertising yield was underpinned by innovative non-traditional revenue sources, which accounted for over 11% of total sales and grew 27% Year-on-Year. While some advertising categories came under pressure, Austereo saw growth in the food, services, entertainment, medical and media categories. The ongoing renewal of many of the major client contacts provides grounds for guarded optimism, while the retention rate for the Group?s top forty clients was an exceptional 97.5%".
Anderson was positive about the industry in terms of retaining audience, commenting, "The ?09 financial year saw solid gains for the total radio industry, with weekly listening passing the 11 million mark for all radio listening with ongoing growth in the face of expanding technological changes and media options. Time spent listening also increased. Significantly, growth was quite marked in the 10-17 demographic, with a new generation of listeners embracing the medium. Austereo?s own reach has grown to a financial year average of 4,582,000 listeners, over 1.2 million ahead of its closest capital city commercial radio competitor".
On a more negative note, Harvie said that based upon the prevailing conditions in the UK, the Company?s investment in UK radio group UKRD - which has taken over The Local Radio Company - - has been fully written down, with an after tax impact of AUD 3.8 million (USD 3.2 million)
2009-08-24: Following its attack at the end of last year on the BBC for attracting too old an audience to BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, UK commercial radio body the RadioCentre has now launched an attack on BBC Radio 2 and sister-station 6-Music for targeting too young an audience.
In a submission to the BBC Trust, which is currently reviewing the station's remit, it said its research showed that listeners 15-34 were the fastest-growing part of its audience, up 62% since 1999, and a fall in the over-65 audience despite increasing its reach from 20.3% in 1999 to 26.2% in 2008.
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison commented that over the last decade, the station had shifted its programming policies "and this has been disastrous for commercial radio's heartland audiences and for the plurality and diversity of the UK's fragile radio ecology."
"Licence fee payers' money is being used to fund an obsession with youth, as Radio 2 pursues popularity, not public purpose," he added." Had this kind of format change occurred in the commercial sector, Ofcom would have taken action so it is welcome that the BBC Trust is reviewing the output of Radio 2."
The RadioCentre also accused the station of failing to provide sufficient news and current affairs to meet its remit and attacked the high pay of its star presenters: It wants the station to ensure that at least six out of every ten songs it plays are at least two decades old - currently some 40% is a decade or less in age - and to air more arts and specialist shows during the daytime.
The comments got fairly wide coverage in the UK with the majority of comments we saw in favour of the station rather than the commercial sector with a number of responders highlighting the absence of adverts, live sessions, specialist music, comedy, documentaries and other features as a reason for is performance in comparison with the commercial sector although some agreed with Harrison's comments, particularly about the pay of the big names on the station.
Perhaps the most concise and biting comment came in the UK Guardian from "Neuro" who wrote "this could be summarized as we are crap please mess up the BBC so as we appear less rubbish"
Others took up the detail of some of the comments made - one in the Guardian organgrinder blog pointed out that in 1973 the average of the station's presenters was 39 and the oldest was Jimmy Young at age 51 whilst Terry Wogan, the current breakfast host, is 71 and the average age is 54.
UK Guardian report:
2009-08-24: RTÉ Radio has rejected claims from Ireland's commercial radio sector that it has abandoned its public broadcasting remit following a planned revamp of its radio services (See RNW Aug 21).
Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) chairman Willie O'Reilly had made the claim that changes to the RTÉ 2FM schedule to target 25 - 44 year olds meant that "not one of the national broadcaster's three FM stations now catered for Ireland's youth population" but
Clare Duignan, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio, denied the allegation in a news release in which she noted that the station was not funded from the licence fee, which went to TV plus RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ Lyric FM and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, and said, "To suggest that a re-orientation of 2FM constitutes a watering-down of RTÉ's public service broadcasting remit is a nonsense Unlike the IBI, RTÉ Radio does not take a narrow view of what constitutes a radio offering for 15-34 year olds. Central to RTÉ's decision to change the target for 2FM is a re-focus on 15-34s as part of RTÉ Radio's Digital stations, in particular RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse and RTÉ Chill, which are already targeting 15-34 year olds. These stations offer real opportunities for RTÉ to serve these listeners in a more credible way than 2FM has been able to do in recent years."
Duignan added, "In reviewing the future direction of RTÉ 2FM, which is funded solely by advertising revenues and which supports other public service broadcasting activities from its revenue streams, we took an overview of the broader market and determined that, alongside RTÉ's Digital offering, 15-34s are well-served by independent broadcasters. Four out of five regional stations and four local stations (Spin, Spin South-West, Phantom, Beat, Cork's Red, FM 104, Dublin's 98 and FM104) are 'officially' targeting 15-34s, and many other stations also aim to attract them. Collectively, these competitors are nearing national coverage. In addition to RTÉ Digital's services to 15-34 year olds, it is also important to acknowledge the role of RTÉ Junior, as Ireland's only children's' radio station aimed at 2-12 year olds."
She also said that RTÉ's plans include the creation of spaces - in which programming will specifically target younger listeners - in the new 2fm schedule relevant to 15-34 year olds, targeted post 7pm and at weekends, at times when 15-34s are most available to listen.
Despite the spat the IBI and RTÉ Radio are to join forces in a cross-industry "Choose Radio" campaign to promote radio in which the same advert will be broadcast on some 36 radio stations around Ireland on September 9 and for two weeks thereafter on all stations.
The campaign terms radio the "most visual medium in the world" and it will include the radio advert, direct email and media relations to encourage use of radio in marketing campaigns.
"At a time when media buyers and planners are scrutinising their marketing spend we wanted to get together as an industry and promote radio as a powerful and cost-effective medium," commented Duignan whilst O'Reilly, who noted that 86% of Irish adults listen to radio on weekdays according to the latest survey, added, "Radio is very much part of the community and has its finger on the pulse what's happening and what's important to the listener. This is reflected in the loyal listenership base and it makes radio one of the easiest and most effective ways to target specific consumer groups and to reach people everywhere. It's also why radio advertising has remained relatively strong in the current economic climate."
Business Leadership in its report on the campaign noted that Cawley Nea and Carat Ireland have provided pro bono professional services for the campaign and quoted Peter McPartlin, strategic director at Carat Ireland, as saying radio has been less affected by the overall downturn in spend compared to other media. "Our estimates for advertising spending in 2009 indicate that the overall total will decline by around 24%c for all media. However radio will fall by approximately 15%.," he said. This should still value total radio advertising at around Euros 126 million (USD 180 million), that's Euros 30 (USD 43) on radio spend per capita versus almost Euros 7 (USD 10)per capita in the UK."
2009-08-24: It may be unconnected with the bankruptcy of WorldSpace, which he founded, but WorldSpace CEO Noah Samara is reported by blockshopper.com to have sold his house in the Berkley/Foxhall Crescents neighborhood of Washington DC for USD 1.235 million.
The sale, it says was made on July 27 and it adds that Samara bought the property in 2003 for USD 1.075 million.
Earlier this month WorldSpace asked the Delaware Bankruptcy Court to extend the period of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which originally ran to the end of July, to the end of this year amidst doubts that Samara's company Yenura could come up with the funds to purchase its assets (See RNW Aug 16).
The USD 28 million sale was approved in March on the basis of a prompt completion but a filing to the court says that the company cannot go ahead with its reorganization plan until the funding is in place
2009-08-23: The main regulatory news- at least in terms of column-inches devoted to it - last week came from Australia where in the wake of the row over a lie-detector feature on the Kyle and Jackie O Show in which a 14-years-old girl said on air that she had been raped when 12 (See RNW Jul 30) the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has set up an investigation into whether Austereo, licensee of Sydney 2-DAY FM, complied with the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice 2004 in the broadcast (See RNW Aug 18). It had previously decided to examine whether industry codes needed change (See RNW Aug 11). Elsewhere there were more routine decisions including notably an announcement that 77 bidders were qualified for next month's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction of FM licences.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), made a number of radio-related postings including the following:
*Revocation at licensee's request of the licence of NeXaudio.net Inc. 's national English-language radio network.
*Administrative renewal 1 September 2009 to 31 March 2010 of the licence of Mountain Culture Collective Radio Society's -language developmental community FM in Whistler, British Columbia.
*Approval of application by Radio 710 AM Inc. for authority to acquire from CJRN 710 Inc. the assets of CJRN-AM, Niagara Falls, as part of a corporate reorganization.
*Approval of frequency change from 90.3 MHz to 106.9 MHz (channel 295A1) and power increase from 16 to 100 watts for French-language tourist information station CKJF-FM, Québec. The change was required because the CRTC had allowed Guy Simard, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, to use frequency 90.3 MHz in Montmagny for a new station there.
*Approval of application by 9174-8004 Québec inc. to increase the power of CHEQ-FM, Sainte-Marie de Beauce, from 4,677 to 26,000 watts1, change frequency from 101.3 MHz to 101.5 MHz, and increase its antenna height.
The station said the increase would enable it to the various rural communities in its central market that are currently having problems receiving its signal but the move was opposed by Radio-Beauce inc., which expressed concern that increasing CHEQ-FM's power would negatively impact the audience and advertising revenues of its stations CHJM-FM and CKRB-FM, both of which are operated in Saint-Georges de Beauce and by Cogeco Diffusion inc., licensee of CJEC-FM and CJMF-FM Québec, which was concerned that CHEQ-FM's signal would encroach slightly on the Québec market.
The commission commented that it felt there would be only a negligible impact on the Saint-Georges de Beauce market and that it considered the application was not an attempt by the station to serve the Québec market and that the impact of this amendment on existing Québec stations would be minimal.
*Approval of application from Groupe Radio Antenne 6 inc. for a licence for a 50,000 watts French-language commercial FM in Alma to replace CFGT-AM and also power decrease from 16,600 watts to 15,031 watts of CHRL-FM, Roberval. The new station will offer an adult contemporary music format targeting women between the ages of 25 and 54 and a simulcast of the AM station will be allowed for three months after the new station commences operations.
The CRTC noted that it had previously denied an application to convert CFGT to AM because on the basis of that application the contours of the new station and those of CHRL-FM and CKYK-FM. Alma, would overlap and the licensee would thus control three FM stations in the same language and the same market, whereas the cap for this under is two stations.
Submissions had been made from Astral Media Radio expressing concern at the possibility of interference with the signal of CFIX-FM, Saguenay, and of opposition from Carl Gilbert, President and CEO of CKGS-FM, La Baie. He contended that the conversion of CFGT to FM band would mean that Antenne 6 would control four radio stations in a given market on the same band - the new station, CHRL-FM, CKYK-FM and CHVD-FM, Dolbeau-Mistassini - in contravention of Canada's ownership policies.
In allowing this application the CRTC noted that Antenne 6 argued that the power decrease for CHRL-FM would resolve the problems of overlap but said there would still be overlap with the signal of CHRL-FM, which would take Antenne over the limit.
In this case, however it noted that exceptions could be made when a licensee clearly demonstrates economic need that calls into question the future financial viability of its existing radio stations and in this case also noted notes CFGT's very poor financial performance over the past several years.
*Approved application by Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio Ltd. to delete licence condition made on issue of the licence to find an alternative frequency to 106.3 MHz for its new commercial specialty FM in Montréal should there be interference with the signal of Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc.'s CKAV-FM-10, Montréal, at 106.7 MHz. The AVR licence was revoked at the licensee's request in April this year (See RNW Licence News Apr 5 CRTC1).
The CRTC also renewed from 1 September 2009 to 31 March 2010 the licences of three stations -
Aylesford Community Baptist Church's VF8023, Aylesford, Nova Scotia; Melvin Augustine's CFTI-FM, Big Cove, New Brunswick; and Michael Hotsko's CHTW-FM, Wadena, Saskatchewan - noting that if licence renewal applications for them been received by 31 October, it may not renew these licences further.
There were no radio postings from the UK and in Ireland, where the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) is involved in posting radio ratings that were issued this week (See RNW Aug 21) there were no other radio postings.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has posted a list of 77 applicants found to be qualified (and a list of 44 non-qualified applicants) to bid in the its Auction 79 of FM broadcast construction permits: It also posted notice that licensees who are required to pay annual regulatory fees must make their FY 2009 payments no later than September 22 this year with a 25% late payment penalty applying for those who do not make the deadline.
This year it has made its Fee Filer System mandatory: This requires obtaining a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password then logging in after which an organization can review, create, update, or change its fee data and then pay online or print out a form for payment via mail.
As regards Auction 79, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 1, each qualified bidder has been allocated an upfront payment amount, and maximum eligibility in bidding units.
Upfront payments range from a low of USD 1,500 to a maximum of USD 4090,000 with bidding units ranging upwards from 1,500 to 400,000.
There were three upfront payments above USD 300,000- of USD 400,000 from Educational Media Foundation; of USD 390,000 from United States CP, LLC; and of USD 350,000 from Audion Communications, LLC.
Below this were a further five upfront payments ranging from USD 200,000 upwards to USD 300,000 - of USD 285,000 from George S Flinn Jr.; of USD 210,000 from Family Life Broadcasting, Inc.; of USD 205,000 from Valleydale Broadcasting, LLC; and of USD 200,000 from Grace Brindisi and Owens One Company, Inc.; and then 11 upfront payments from USD 100,000 to USD 196,500 and 58 upfront payments from USD1, 500 to USD 98,000.
The FCC was also as usual involved in a number of decisions re contested licence decisions and enforcement action including issuing a USD 250 forfeiture to Alan Towle, former licensee of FM translator Station K232BE, Wausau, Wisconsin, for late filing of renewal application. The agency had initially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 1,500 to which Towle responded by requesting cancellation on the basis that he was unaware the application had to be filed four months before a licence expired, the station's history of rebroadcasting its primary station to the area and financial hardship, related to which he provided no documentation. The FCC rejected all the arguments but reduced the penalty to USD 250 in line with recent decisions in similar cases.
*Denied petition from Chicago Newsweb Corporation licensee of WCPT-AM, Crystal Lake, Illinois, and WNDZ, Inc., licensee of WNDZ-AM, Portage, Indiana, for reconsideration of staff decision dismissing their applications to change the community of licence of the stations.
The licences were awarded in the agency's AM Auction 84 and Chicago Newsweb wanted to remove WCPT-AM, the only station licensed to Crystal Lake, Illinois to the slightly smaller community of Addison, Illinois as that community's first local broadcast transmission service whilst WNDZ, Inc., proposed to remove WNDZ-AM, the only station licensed to Portage, Indiana, to the slightly larger community of Calumet City, Illinois.
Staff dismissed the applications on the basis that there was no sufficient public interest justification for depriving Crystal Lake and Portage of their sole local transmission services and the FCC commented that the additional reasons now given for making the request - to allow Chicago Newsweb to consolidate its main studios into one location for all of its stations and that staff should not have applied the FM allotment rules to this case since there would be no change in the technical facilities of either station and the change in communities of license would be made for "legitimate main studio rule reason" - did not justify a change to the ruling.
*Dismissed petition for reconsideration of license renewal for WDMC-AM, Melbourne, Florida, filed by Jerry M. Evans on the basis that "misrepresentations occurred during the WMEL [now WDMC] license term. The station is in the hands of receiver David Ryder, who filed the renewal application: subsequently an application was filed to assign the license from the Receiver to former licensee Twin Towers Broadcasting, Inc. leading to an objection from Evans that had not been considered by staff at the time of granting the renewal. On this basis the FCC granted the application to consider Evans' arguments but then dismissed them as without merit and also on procedural grounds.
In Alabama, the FCC granted on the basis of public interest a request from Auburn Network, Inc., licensee of WGZZ-FM, Waverly, to change the station's channel so as to allow a change of community of license for WAOQ-FM, from Brantley, Alabama, to Goshen, Alabama, as that community's first local service; and a change in community and frequency of WEZZ-AM, from 930kHz at Monroeville, Alabama, to 920 kHz at Brantley, as a replacement service.
In Texas it gave the go-ahead for the allotment of Channel 250A at Batesville, Texas, as its first local FM transmission service although it noted that changes might be needed to conform to the 1992 USA-Mexico FM Broadcast Agreement or if objections were received from Mexico's Secretaria de Comunicaciones Y Transportes."
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2009-08-22: CBS Radio has fired 15 staff in readiness for its switch from all-news KFWB-AM to news-talk on September 8 according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, which says one was ousted earlier last week and 14 more given "pink slips" on Friday.
The paper quoted Ed Krampf, a CBS Radio senior vice president and market manager for Los Angeles as saying "I tried to be with our program director and our other people today when we gave them the news and the people we have spoken with appear to appreciate the personal respect and consideration we have tried to show them" but declining to say if more staff would be dropped.
Los Angeles Business Journal report:
2009-08-22: A legal fight over patents in which Arbitron is seeking to either invalidate nine of Digimarc's patents or obtain a ruling that they are not infringed by its Portable People Meter (PPM) seems to have had no noticeable effect on the shares of either company.
According to Business Mirror Digimarc is said to have sent a letter to Arbitron claiming that its techniques for detecting the inaudible code used by the PPM to detect what is being listened to infringes its patents that might require licensing.
Arbitron in response according to a filing in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware has responded by saying that it has "a reasonable apprehension of imminent harm that is sufficient to warrant issuance of a judgment that the Digimarc patents are invalid and/or not infringed" in respect to the claim.
Business Mirror said that Digimarc's chief legal office Bob Chamness had said in a phone interview that they were aware of litigation and we in talks with Arbitron.
2009-08-21: US radio revenues in the second quarter were down 22% to USD 4.2 billion according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), which highlights digital as the only bright spot.
Its revenues were up 9% on a year earlier to USD 120 million whilst local revenues were down 25% to USD 2.38 billion; national revenues were down 24% to USD 591 million, combined local and national revenues were down 25% to USD 3.42 billion, off-air revenues were down 13% to USD 355 million and Network revenues were down 10% to USD 274 million.
For the first half-year revenues are down 23% to USD 7.6 billion within which local revenues are down 25% to USD 5.19 billion, national revenues are down 25% to USD 1.06 billion with combined local and national revenues down 25% to USD 6.25 billion; Off-Air revenues are down 12% to USD 619 million; Network revenues are down 11% to USD 512 million; and digital is up 10% to USD 221 million.
RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley accentuated the positive in his comments, saying in a release that signs of an improving economy emerged in the quarter, indicating , "that "we are most likely past the Q1 low point for Radio revenues and are now on the rebound. "
He noted that much of Radio's weakness in Q2 and for the first six months of 2009 is linked to marketers associated with the auto industry (formerly Radio's top ad category, now third) and major retailers feeling the impact of shaky consumer confidence and spending but added that some advertisers, previously unable to compete against their category's leaders, are using this opportunity to increase their share and position within the market, commenting, "Taking advantage of Radio's core strengths, advertisers marketing to the price/value consumer are increasing their share of voice on the airwaves -- providing encouraging signs."
In sector terms, restaurant has moved into the top spot even though it is down 11% for the quarter and year whilst second is Communications/Cellular/Public Utilities and third - down 58% in the first quarter and 51.3% for the Year-to-Date - is automotive, which was top ranked.
Notable amongst restaurants for increased spending were Subway - up 71% to USD 24.7 million for the second quarter and 21% to USD 44.2 million for the half-year and Dunkin Donuts - up 23% to USD 24.4 million for the quarter and 37% to USD 47.5 million for the half year although MacDonald's remains the largest spender - and third largest spender with radio overall despite reducing its spending by 9% whilst competitors Burger King and Wendy's increased their spend.
In communications, AT&T remains the top advertiser followed by Verizon Wireless - the top and second ranked radio spenders overall as well as in the category.
Within automobile, Toyota was the top spender in the second quarter at USD 19.9 million followed by Ford Dealer Association with USD 18.7 million, Ford Motor Corp. at USD 13.4 million, CarMax at USD 12.2 million and Honda Dealer Association at USD 11.7 million.
A number of manufacturers have increased spending over 2008 including Volvo - up 124% to USD 16.2 million and Volvo Dealer Association - up 242%, to USD 3.0 million for the half-year ; Audi Motor Corp. -up +107%, to USD 6.8 million; Hyundai Motor Corp -up 4.9%, to USD 6.0 million; and Kia Motor Corp. -up 178%, to USD 4.8 million.
Previous Radio Advertising Bureau (US):
2009-08-21: The BBC's Head of Future Media & Technology Audio & Music James Cridland has announced on his blog today that he is leaving the Corporation with his last day Wednesday September 2.
Cridland says of his time with the BBC, "I'm proud to have significantly increased the audio quality of our online streams, played my part in a radio player for the entire radio industry, and laid the foundation for truly interactive radio on any platform using RadioDNS. I've brought some excellent people into Henry Wood House, and been able to recognise the achievements of some of our stars. There's a lot I've learnt: both on how to do things and, frankly, how not to do things."
After leaving, he says he will be working on www.mediauk.com for a while "then exploring a bit of the world's radio industries, before popping up somewhere new and exciting in the Spring - in radio, naturally. It's in my blood."
Cridland joined the BBC in 2007 after a spell with Virgin Radio where he was Digital Media Director (See RNW May 4, 2007).
2009-08-21: An unchanged 86% of the Irish population listened to radio daily in the period covered by the latest JNLR/TNSmrbi survey running from July 2008- June 2009 compared to the previous survey running from April 2008 to March 2009: A year earlier the figure was 85%
Listenership to any regional/local radio was up 1% at 55% compared to the previous survey and up from 53% a year a year earlier and national station reach was unchanged compared to the previous survey with RTÉ Radio 1's weekday reach at 25% - up from 23% a year earlier; RTÉ 2FM at 16% - down from 17% a year earlier; Today FM at 15%, down from 16% a year earlier; Newstalk at 7%- up from 6% a year earlier; and RTÉ Lyric FM at 4%, up from 3% a year earlier.
In overall market share for weekdays 07:00 to 19:00 there was an increase from 49.1% to 49.4% for any regional/local station (48.8% a year earlier).
Within the national weekday share figures compared to the previous ratings, RTÉ Radio 1 was up 0.3 to 23.0% (23.1% a year ago); RTÉ Lyric FM was down from 1.7% to 1.6% (1.6% a year earlier) whilst RTÉ 2FM was down from 11.6% to 10.9%(12.4% a year earlier); Today FM's share was unchanged at 10.6 % (12.1% a year earlier); and Newstalk was up from 3.6% to 3.7 (3.7% a year earlier).
Of the regional stations Beat 102-103FM had a weekday reach figure of 20% unchanged from the previous survey (and up from 19% on a year ago) with its share down from 12.3% to 12.1% (11.1% a year ago); regional youth service Spin South West was up from 16% to 17 (14% a year ago) with its share up 0-.4% to 9.2% (8.2% a year ago) whilst North-West regional service i102-104FM was up from 13% to 16%- its share was also up - from 7.3% to 9.1% ( A year earlier in its first ratings its had a 5% reach and 1.6% share).
The new regional youth service for the North-East/Midlands, i105-107FM, which has been on air since November 24 last year had a listened yesterday figure of 1% and a market share of 0.5% and Multi-City Service 4FM, which been on air since February 27 this year, achieved a weekday reach of 2% and a market share of 1%.
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five ranks (weekday reach compared to the previous ratings) were taken by Highland Radio with an unchanged 65%; WLR-FM and Limerick's Live 95FM each with 52% and up from 49% and down from 56% respectively; Shannonside/Northern Sound and Tipp FM each with 51% and up from 50% and down from 54% respectively; Clare FM, Ocean FM, and Radio Kerry each with 46% and respectively unchanged, down from 48% and down from 47%; and Mid West Radio with 45%- down from 46%.
In weekday share terms the top five ranks were taken by Highland Radio with 64.2%, up from 62.4%; Tipp FM with 51.5%- down from 52.3%; Mid West Radio with 50.7%- down from 52.1%; Radio Kerry with 49.7% - up from 48.6% and then WLR-FM and Shannonside/Northern Sound, each with 48.4% and up from 47.0% and down from 50.5% respectively.
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekly reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 38%- up from 37%; FM 104 with 30% - up from 29%; Dublin's 98 (former 98FM) with 24%, up from 23%; Spin 1038 with an unchanged 20%; then Q102, Newstalk and RTÉ 2FM, each with 19% (and up from 18%, unchanged and up from 18% respectively.
In Cork the leaders in weekly reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with 67%, down from 68% ; Cork's 96FM with 53% - down from 54% ; RTÉ Radio 1 with39%, up from 37%; Cork's Red FM with an unchanged 34% ; Today FM with an unchanged 32% ; and C103 with 27%, down from 28%.
RTÉ in its comment on the results referred to "Massive Gains for RTÉ Radio 1" and commented on "remarkable increases for RTÉ Radio 1's big names across the seven-day schedule, with growth yet again for Morning Ireland's Aine Lawlor and Cathal MacCoille, for Joe Duffy, Marian Finucane, Ronan Collins, Ryan Tubridy and Pat Kenny."
It also noted that RTÉ 2fm "retains its lead as the nation's second most-listened-to radio station with seven day reach stabilizing at 1,078,000, indicating a marginal loss of 4,000 listeners book-on-book."
Clare Duignan, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio, commented in a release, RTÉ Radio 1 has swept the boards again as the nation's favourite station. Derek Mooney is doing for afternoons what Marian Finucane has done for weekends, bringing listeners in, in their thousands. I'm delighted to see this trend across the schedule with gains also in Morning Ireland, News at One and Drivetime, the most competitive slots. It's also great to see that RTÉ lyric fm continues its growth across its weekday and weekend schedules, with a record reach of over 100,000 on Sundays. This comes as more Irish people than ever listen to radio, with 3,043,000 listeners now tuning in on weekdays. I'm confident that our repositioning of RTÉ 2fm in 2010 will arrest any further marginal decline for the station and that we will begin to see an upward trend in 18 months time for a rejuvenated RTÉ 2fm."
Earlier this month John Clarke, Head of RTÉ 2fm, announced his decision to stand down as head of the station, confirming that he will not seek a renewal of his contract when it expires next year. He commented that with a strategic review of the station now completed it was the right time to hand over to new management and added, "I became Head of RTÉ 2fm some 11 years ago. It has been a wonderful 11 years, both professionally and personally. RTÉ 2fm, as Ireland's second national radio station, has maintained its position as Ireland's most-listened-to music channel. This performance is something I am proud to have maintained in the face of unprecedented competition. But the key to staying at the top means recognising that nothing stands still, certainly not in the world of commercial music radio. I undertook the latest strategic review in the hope that it would confirm what is great about 2fm while crystallising the challenges that face it. The review has done both. Now is the time for a new vision for RTÉ 2fm."
Subsequently RTÉ announced new schedules for RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ lyric fm, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Digital at the first-ever joint launch for all of RTÉ Radio's national services and the first schedules since Duignan became Managing Director of RTÉ Radio in February.
They included a total of 13 new series on the services, including brand-new arts, rural affairs, music and sports programming and a new digital service, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, which joined the six services the broadcaster launched in December last year.
Duignan commented of the changes, "Our goal to achieve schedules of real value, from the mainstreams of news and current affairs, sport and music right across the genres - from arts, entertainment and features to diversity issues, regional affairs, cláracha gaeilge, specialist music and drama - was a more daunting challenge than any faced in the recent history of RTÉ Radio."
Previous Irish Ratings:
2009-08-20: Macquarie Media Group (MMG), whose holdings include Australia's largest regional radio and TV network, has reported a 2009 Financial year loss of AUD 84.6 million (USD 70.3 million) - compared to a 2008 financial year profit of AUD 273.8 million (USD 227.6 million) after impairment charges of AUD 138.9 million (USD 115.4 million) and its auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers have noted ''significant uncertainty regarding [its] continuation as a going concern''.
Revenues for the year were up from AUD 464.9 million (USD 386.4 million) in 2008 to AUD 594.1 million (USDD 493.8 million).
The company says it has started talks with lenders about financing for Macquarie Southern Cross Media (MCSM) and American Consolidated Media (ACM) and it noted operating revenues for the former, which comprises 83% of its media operations down 6.1% with EBITDA 9.3% whilst ACM, which comprises the remaining 17%, operating revenues were down 8.6% and EBITDA was down 28.4%.
MMG has AUD 873 million (USD 725.6 million) of MCSM finance maturing in November next year and a further USD 133.7 million (AUD 161 million) of ACM finance maturing in June next year.
Within the revenue figures radio revenues were down 4.8% on 2008 to 152.9 AUD (USD 127.1 million ) with TV, including rebates, down 10.2% to AUD 249.7 million (USD 207.5 million): Australian media's total including rebates was down 8.2% to AUD 402.6 million ( USD 334.6 million)) in what the company termed the toughest conditions experiences in MCSM's history.
The advertising conditions and the sale of its Taiwan broadband business sent operating earnings down 36% to AUD 63.4 million (USD 52.7 million).
Chief Executive Mark Dorney, said the fund remained ''well placed'' and noted that it held AUD 331 million in cash and had not provided any guarantees to the lenders.
The company's report says it said its directors had ''reasonable grounds'' to expect it would solve its financing issues.
Previous Macquarie Media:
2009-08-19: Cox Media Group has announced a new integrated structure to combine its radio, TV, and newspaper divisions into a single media unit rather than grouping them by medium as at present.
The company says the change will maximize "the expertise and talents of its media professionals across its portfolio of radio, television and newspaper businesses" and adds that the step has been taken in response to "rapidly changing consumer and advertiser preferences."
Cox Media Group President Sandy Schwartz said of the move in a news release, "This new concept is another step toward fulfilling Cox Media Group's vision of operating as a fully-integrated media company.
Sharing expertise and best practices across all of our media properties allows us to better serve consumers and advertisers in our changing environment. In addition, each of Cox's media properties will benefit from expanded shared services such as Research, Sales, Digital, Finance, Human Resources and Engineering."
Cox adds that while its local media properties and brands will still operate independently, including continuing their existing independent news and editorial functions, the new model provides opportunities for significant knowledge sharing, talent development, increased operating efficiencies and cost savings and says the reorganization will help the company to enhance and expand its digital assets and sales expertise across all of its media properties. No job eliminations resulting from the new model are expected at this time.
As a result of the change, Doug Franklin, a veteran newspaper executive, and Bob Neil, president of Cox Radio, have been named to new roles of executive vice president, Cox Media Group, reporting to Schwartz. Franklin and Neil will oversee Cox's broadcasting and newspaper properties across the nation whilst Marc Morgan has been named senior vice president and chief revenue officer, and will work with Cox's sales function across all media.
Schwartz said these changes would create "a leadership model to better reflect the reality of today's media marketplace. As the boundaries between traditional and digital media merge, it's important to have leaders in place who can think broadly across the media landscape as they guide our way forward."
2009-08-19: Although the Kyle and Jackie O Show (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson) is now back on the air at the company's 2-DAY FM in Sydney, the Herald-Sun is reporting that pressure from advertisers has led Austereo to pull the a weekday highlights version of the show from Fox FM in Melbourne although a weekend two-hour highlights show is to be aired on Sundays: It later quotes the company as giving a different reason for delaying the return of the show..
The Kyle and Jackie O Hour of Power was aired from 18:00 to 19:00 on weekdays by Fox FM until August 3 when the show went off air following the row about a lie-detector segment in which a girl said she had been raped when aged 12. Charli Delaney is taking over the weekday slot until the duo return.
The paper says that Austereo declined to comment on whether advertiser pressure had forced it to delay Sandilands and Jackie O's return to Melbourne and quotes a spokeswoman as saying, "The reason Hour of Power isn't on this week comes down to the fact Kyle and Jackie came back on air in Sydney (on Tuesday) and in preparation for this special weekday music feature, if we'd run these four days of content we wouldn't have had anything to run on Sunday."
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
2009-08-19: According to Asiansinmedia, London Asian radio station Club Asia, which last week told UK media regulator Ofcom that it was going into administration has now appointed accountancy firm Mazars as its administrators.
It cited as its source co-founder Sumerah Ahmed who could not comment further as she is bound by administration laws. The station has been the subject of rumours of takeovers and problems for the last couple of years and there are reports that several expressions of interest in acquiring the stations have been made.
Club Asia broadcasts on two AM frequencies and the internet in English and is still on air. On its site says it "plays non-stop hits from a wide range of musical genres ranging from Bollywood, Bhangra, Asian Pop/Rock, fusion as well as the best from the Mainstream."
2009-08-18: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has now confirmed that it has commenced an investigation into whether Austereo, licensee of Sydney 2-DAY FM, complied with the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice 2004 in the broadcast of The Kyle and Jackie O Breakfast Show (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson) on 29 July 2009 during which a 14-years-old girl taking a lie detector test said that she had been raped when aged 12.
The Authority says it has started the investigation following expressions of dissatisfaction from a number of people with the station's response to complaints they had made to it and adds that it will focus on whether the content of the broadcast complied with a code requirement that "all program content must meet contemporary standards of decency, having regard to the likely characteristics of the audience of the licensee's service" and will also consider whether the station med requirements to "conscientiously" consider written complaints and to "use its best endeavours to respond substantively in writing within 30 days".
The ACMA notes that this investigation is separate from the broader-ranging investigation it announced earlier this month as to whether the code and existing industry practices provide sufficient safeguards for participants and subjects in live-hosted entertainment programs on commercial radio (See RNW Aug 11 ).
The announcement of the investigation came as the show returned to the air today with the hosts describing the incident as a "complete disaster" and saying that "everyone on the show has learned from the mistake".
Sandilands, who stressed that the stunt was not pre-planned, said, "What a few weeks we have all had... First of all thanks everyone for having us back, and thank you to all the thousands of supporters who have come forward, I mean, letters (and) phone calls the radio station has had, not just from fans, but business owners, celebrities as well, even some news readers have contacted us, now we won't name you guys."
He added, "It's pretty much obvious to everyone that whole thing was a disaster from start to finish, a complete disaster".
Jackie O said "When things like this happen I think it is really important to take something away from the situation and learn from it. I think everyone on the show has learned from the mistake and we are sincerely sorry, and I think we have put everything in place now where we are confident this won't happen again."
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
2009-08-18: Arbitron says that averaged across 20 markets for its July Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings it has exceeded its sample targets for those aged six or older (102%) including Blacks (104%) and Hispanics (118%)in these demographics although it just failed to meet the target for the 18-54 demographic where its reached 98% of its target.
It fared less well in younger demographics, averaging 91% amongst those 18-34 within which demographic the average for Black Persons averaged 85 percent of the sample target and for Other Persons it averaged 89% although it exceeded the target for Hispanics with 103%.
In eight markets that qualify for Spanish-language weighting Arbitron says it achieved 126% for Hispanic Spanish-Dominant sample targets and 118% for Hispanic English-Dominant sample targets.
In addition Arbitron says the In-tab rate for Persons 6+ across the 20 PPM-currency markets for the July 2009 PPM survey averaged 74 percent, the same as in June but for those 18-34 the in-tab rate was down from 71% in June to 70%, Black Persons were down from 66% to 60% and Hispanic was unchanged at 72%
Arbitron has also announced that Lakes Media LLC has signed up for an Arbitron Custom Survey Area Report for Fall 2009 to cover Northern NC-Southside VA: In a release it quoted Gwen Moody, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Lakes Media, as saying, "In considering all of the options for radio research, Arbitron provided the most comprehensive solution. The geography measured by Arbitron has critical economic importance to retailers. There are no television stations that serve the entire geography. Only radio uniquely serves the entire population, and Arbitron will be invaluable in helping us create effective campaigns for clients and demonstrate strengths to prospects."
2009-08-18: The Local Radio Company has announced the disposal of another station with the sale of Isle of Wight Radio to Isle of Wight Radio Holdings Limited, a group set up by the station's management.
The sale by the company's Quadrant Media Limited joint venture with Portsmouth FC is for a total of GBP 180,000 (USD 298,000) made up of an initial payment of GBP 130,000 (USD 215,000) and a deferred payment of GBP 50,000 (USD 83,000) to be paid in February next year.
Isle of Wight radio had a weekly audience of 33,000 listening some 290,000 hours a week in the latest UK ratings and The Local Radio Company says that in the ten months to the end of July it had a turnover of GBP 519,024 (USD 859,000) and an operating loss of GBP 176,521 (USD 292,000) after central costs and added that as of 31 July 2009 the station had net liabilities of GBP 168,542 (USD 279,000).
The Local Radio Company is now controlled by UKRD, which won a fight for it against Hallwood Financial, which is headed by The Local Radio Company's then chairman Anthony Gumbiner the company's then (See RNW May 14 ).
Since the takeover it has been selling stations and also closed its High Wycombe Headquarters and the High Wycombe station Mix 107, returning the licence to Ofcom (See RNW July 7)
Previous Local Radio Company:
2009-08-18: Buckley Broadcasting is selling its three-station Syracuse, New York, cluster to Leatherstocking Media Group, which will begin operating the stations - Oldies WFBL-AM, Classic Hits WSEN-AM and time rock & roll WSEN-FM - from the start of next month.
No details have been given of the amount being paid by Leatherstocking, which is controlled by James Johnson, who sold his Oneonta -based Banjo Communications Group in 1964, but returned to radio earlier this year with the purchase for USD 950,000 of WMCR-AM and FM in Oneida, which he bought from Vivian Warren, who purchased WMCR with her late husband Bill in 1969.
He has subsequently commenced a programme of modernising the stations and splitting the AM signal - to carry news, talk, and sport - from the FM music signal rather than simulcasting and ending the station's 10p.m. close-down.
2009-08-18: Times of India-owned Absolute Radio has announced on its onegoldensquare blog that its new radio platform, nicknamed "Project Wallaby" or "Project Control" is now almost ready to roll out and is asking listeners to test it when rolled out over the next couple of weeks.
The posting says the concept will be tested as "non commercial format first, before refining ready for a launch with potential commercial partners."
The intention is to launch a new digital radio station - the station already offers digital-only stations Absolute Radio Classic Rock and Absolute Radio Xtreme - that will offer live recordings of rock and pop for a broad adult audience and test transmissions are already being made on the digital channel used by Fun Kids, which airs from 06:00 to 19:00, when the former is off air.
Absolute Radio's brand director Chris Lawson says in the posting, "The digital team have been busy building a new radio platform and we are almost ready to share it with you. Some of you may know it as Project Wallaby, Project Control, or "Potentially the most exciting and innovative radio innovation ever." Ok, that's my name for it, not that I'm biased We think it's one of a kind so it's going to be really exciting once we go through the traditional digital teething problems. It's only version 1 and we are looking at adding more features to it along the way."
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (Parent of Times of India):
2009-08-17: St Louis could lose its classical music station KFUO-FM according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which reports that the board of directors of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will debate selling the station, when it meets on Thursday
The paper says the church faces a revenue shortfall of about USD 5 million this year and that Joy FM, a listener-supported Christian contemporary station, has offered USD 18 million for it, more than twice as much as a group of local civic leaders who want to retain classical music programming and made an offer of USD 6 million, later increased to USD 8 million.
Kermit A. Brashear, an Omaha-based attorney and former Nebraska state senator who is leading the effort to find a buyer for the station confirmed the offer from Joy FM and said he had also met the leadership of the Radio Arts Board and Circle of Friends, which wants to retain the classical format.
The church also runs KFUO-AM, a daylight-only religious station, but this is not involved in the discussions and Brashear said he had countered the Arts Board offer with what he called a "win-win-win" solution under which Joy FM would buy KFUO and all its assets, and the Arts Board would buy Joy's two existing stations, KPVR - FM and KHZR-FM for about USD 5 million. He also suggested that the weaker signal of these two stations could be supplemented by using a secondary HD channel on Joy FM to broadcast the classical signal as well as airing its own signal on the primary HD channel.
The paper adds that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, which has contracts with KFUO to broadcast live performances and other programming, has expressed alarm over the proposed sale and quoted the orchestra's president and CEO Fred Bronstein as saying it would be difficult for a classical music station to build a viable business model with a hard-to-get signal.
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2009-08-17: Univision has announced second quarter revenues to the end of June down 4% on a year ago at USD 519.5 million within which radio revenues were down 18.7% to USD 95.1 million and TV was up marginally - from USD 414.2 million to USD 414.4 million whilst interactive was down from USD 10.2 million to USD 10.0 million: In terms of Adjusted Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization - up overall 2.3% to USD 226.6 million - radio fared even worse - down 31.3% to USD 34.7 million whilst TV was up 13/3% to USD 191.4 million and interactive slumped from USD 2.1 million to USD 500,000.
For the first six months of the year, net revenues are down 7.7% at USD 929.8 million with radio down 21.9% at USD 161.6 million, TV down 4.1% at USD 750.7 million and interactive down 3.3% to USD 17.5 million whilst Adjusted Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization was up 2.8% to USD 380.4 million within which radio was down 38.6% to USD 44.9 million, TV was up 13.9% to USD 336.6 million and interactive went from a positive USD 1.6 million to a loss as USD 1.1 million.
Overall Univision reported operating income for the quarter of USD 147.7 million after an impairment charge of USD 27 million in the latest quarter - down from USD 169.7 million a year earlier and a net loss for the quarter of USD 27.7 million compared to a net loss of USD 100.7 million a year earlier when the figures included USD 78.5 million of loss on investments.
For the first six months operating income overall was USD 250.4 million compared to USD 154/1 million in 2008 and a 2008 net loss of USD 266.9 million was reduced to a net loss of USD 82.8 million.
Univision said of its radio division that it had "solid ratings in the markets measured by the Arbitron diary method" and also noted that it "is not using Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) data in non-accredited PPM markets due to issues with the PPM measurement process and sample "and is not encoding in Miami, Phoenix and San Diego.
Commenting on the figures CEO Joe Uva said that in the first half the company "built a strong foundation from which to grow for the remainder of the year" and added that "Having secured an amendment to our senior secured credit facility to relax our financial covenant and refinanced a portion of our capital structure, we believe we have an extremely strong financial profile, an enhanced ability to weather the current environment and are well-positioned to thrive in a market recovery."
Uva is to add the title of president at the end of the year when president and COO Ray Rodriguez retires after nearly 20 years with the company whilst Cesar Conde, most recently executive vice president and chief strategy officer, will become president of the Univision Networks.
2009-08-17: The UK Guardian, whose parent also owns GMG Radio, reports that the latter's former chief executive John Myers is back on air for a stint at its 100.4 Smooth Radio in the north-west of England.
Myers is using his pseudonym John Morgan for his broadcasts as guest host for the station's breakfast show: He used the name at the launch of Century Radio in North-East England.
Previous Guardian Media Group:
UK Guardian report:
2009-08-16: Last week was another when the main regulatory activity came from North America with in this case Australia following hard on its heels: There the the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has decided to investigate "the adequacy of community safeguards for live-hosted entertainment programs on commercial radio" in the wake of the airing by Sydney 2-DAY FM of a segment in which a 14-years-old girl subjected to a lie detector test said on air that she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Aug 11).
It has also posted a proposal to allow Southern State Broadcasters Pty Ltd.'s 5DN-AM, Adelaide, to implement day/night transmitter power switching using a directional radiation pattern, a change that would allow it to improve coverage in the Adelaide area during daylight hours without causing interference to other AM broadcasting services at night.
It is also proposing to change the technical specification of a high powered open narrowcasting service RadioTAB in the Adelaide licence area plan to more accurately reflect its current operational antenna radiation pattern. Comments on both changes have to be made by September 11.
On the community radio front the ACMA has found that Liverpool, New South Wales, community radio station 2GLF breached its licence condition by broadcasting advertisements: It notes that following a complaint its investigation found the licensee failed to include a tag in relation to a live, on-air interview with a financial sponsor in which their products and special offers were discussed during the show.
In response the licensee has changed its procedures for on-air interviews with financial sponsors during the offending programme, which was suspended for a week, and has also made the announcer aware of his responsibilities under Australia's Broadcasting Act. In addition some segments are to be pre-recorded and all 2GLF presenters have been given of a copy of the Community Broadcasting Sponsorship Guidelines 2008. The ACMA says in view of this it is taking no further action for the moment.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a fairly quiet week, announced three Ottawa licensing decisions that followed a reference back to it by the Governor-in-council of its approval last year of licences for new FMs in Ottawa-Gatineau to Astral Radio and Media Ottawa Inc. (See RNW Licence News Aug 31, 2008). It has now awarded a third licence to Radio de la communauté francophone d'Ottawa (RCFO).
The reference back said the agency should fully consider and explain its approach to evaluating the needs of official-language minority communities and how it applied in this case with respect to the applications for broadcasting licences by Astral and Torres.
Following the reference the CRTC analyzed the current Ottawa-Gatineau market and noted that it does not have any French-language community station that is devoted specifically to the Franco-Ontarian population as a whole.
It sought comment on whether it had given adequate consideration to the needs of official-language minority communities; whether should the Commission decide to hold a public process to reconsider the applications for new FM stations responders would wish their applications to be included and whether applications would be amended to take into consideration the specific needs of official-language minority communities.
In response to this RCFO, Frank Torres (who filed the Media Ottawa applicatiion), Corus Radio Company and Ottawa Media Inc. filed amendments to their applications but Astral did not.
RCFO only changed its application to submit revised financial projections - it said that in addition to financing it would receive from non-governmental sources it would only need a further CAD 31,250 (USD ) to meet its financial needs adequately and this could be raised easily through fundraising, lotteries and benefit concerts; say it proposed to bring in a new Board of Directors, composed of experienced directors who, according to RCFO, would bring their expertise to the management of the station, and provide additional information.
The latter included a list of more than 150 volunteers ready to be involved in the radio station, several of whom already have experience in radio and RCFO also submitted information regarding its various partnerships and agreements including support from La Nouvelle Scène, one of the most important French-language theatre centres outside of Quebec and confirmation that confirmed that the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario would lease RCFO the necessary space for its offices and studios.
Torres submitted revised financial projections and some changes to the manner in which is Canadian Content Development (CCD) contributions should be allocated; Corus also updated its financial details and added detail on how it would meet the needs of official-language minority communities; and Ottawa Media Inc. said that it intends to devote 41 hours in each broadcast week to programming for the minority Francophone community in the market and added that its contribution to the University of Ottawa would be equally divided between French- and English-language students.
As well as these changes the CRTC noted that Newcap Inc. allowed tests to be conducted for a potential station on 94.5 MHz using its antenna on Camp Fortune: These showed that use of this frequency would only cause minimal interference with Astral's CIMF-FM, which is operated from the Camp Fortune site in Chelsea, Quebec, on 94.9 MHz and subsequently the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation confirmed that it had enough space on its transmitter site at Camp Fortune to install new transmitting equipment.
Astral said it could not accept the 94.5 frequency for its new station but would agree to another broadcaster using frequency 94.5 MHz on the condition that the Commission confirmed its initial decision to grant a licence to Astral on 99.7 MHz and subject to the three conditions - that the applicant accept the technical parameters (channel, power, elevation, antenna) that were used to conduct the tests; that any interference with CIMF-FM's signal on the second adjacent frequency 94.9 MHz caused by the licensee must be remedied to the satisfaction of CIMF-FM; and that the licensee agrees not to take any steps that limit CIMF-FM's current ability to adopt IBOC HD technology if and when it is introduced in Canada.
Astral also said that although it had initially said it did not wish to amend its application it wanted to amend its over-and-above CCD contributions and that if RCFO agreed to use frequency 94.5 MHz it would reallocate to RCFO the CCD commitment of CAD 504,460 (USD 455,000) over seven years that it had originally earmarked to support Aboriginal Voices Radio. Astral also indicated that it would be willing to assist RCFO in the preparation and filing of technical documentation and to assist RCFO in its negotiations with the CBC and Newcap with respect to agreements regarding the use of the antenna and tower at the Camp Fortune site.
Torres said it preferred to use frequency 101.9 MHz for its proposed service, claiming that Astral's conditions for using 94.5 MHz were too restrictive and adding that it had already invested substantial time and money in rolling out a radio station operating at frequency 101.9 MHz RCFO indicated that it would agree to use frequency 94.5 MHz, provided that it received the promised financial assistance from Astral and Torres as well as Astral's technical support.
The CRTC noted that if RCFO used 94.5 it would only reach the portion of the Franco-Ontarian population located in the eastern part of Ottawa; that it would have to invest in a re-transmitter that can reach all Franco-Ontarians at some point in the future; and that the cost of using the Camp Fortune tower would be between CAD 50,000 to 80,000 (USD 45,000 to 72,000) a year compared to CAD 8,000 (USD 4,500) a year forecast for use of frequency 101.7 MHz from a tower in downtown Ottawa.
However RCFO added that the additional funds it would receive from Astral and Torres would ensure the viability of its business plan in the event that it files an amendment to its initial application proposing the use of 94.5 and the agency said it therefore felt that its concerns on this issue had been met.
In response to the various submissions the CRTC said that any issue of interference with CIMF-FM's signal that was not settled to the reasonable satisfaction of CIMF could be referred to it for resolution and confirmed the licence allocations to Astral and Torres and approved the issue of a licence to RCFO subject to it amending its application so as to use an acceptable frequency in place of the 101.7 MHZ it had originally proposed. The previous denials were all confirmed.
It added that a number of conditions relating to RCFO's technical certification; agreement with the CBC regarding use of its Camp Fortune site tower; with Newcap in relation to use of the site; and with Astral and Torres concerning their financial support all had to be met before issue of the licences.
In other decisions the CRTC approved an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 267 watt FM mono transmitter at Creighton, Saskatchewan to broadcast the programming of its CBKA-FM, La Ronge.
The CRTC has also moved from November 30 this year to January 18 next year its public hearing on its Review of campus and community radio with the deadline for submission of comments moving from September 11 to October 16.
There were no radio postings from Ireland or the UK but in the US things were a little busier: There the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked for comment on a MusicFirst Coalition petition asking it to investigate the conduct of some radio broadcasters in their opposition to the Performance Rights Act that would introduce performance royalties for music aired on terrestrial US stations, which are currently exempted from the charges.
MusicFIRST, the agency says, "requests that the Commission issue a declaratory ruling that the actions of certain radio broadcasters in opposition to the PRA are contrary to the public interest, and ensure that broadcasters cease such actions. MusicFIRST also requests that the Commission consider "strengthening the license renewal process and shortening license terms" in the appropriate proceeding."
It continues, "In general, MusicFIRST asserts that broadcasters are violating their public interest obligations '[by] using their licenses over public airwaves to promote their own pecuniary interests and to distort an important matter of public debate."
In particular the agency is asking for comment on:
(i) Whether and to what extent certain broadcasters are "targeting and threatening artists who have spoken out in favour of the PRA," including a refusal to air the music of such artists;
(ii) The effects of radio broadcasters' alleged refusal to air advertisements from MusicFIRST in support of the PRA;
(iii) Whether and to what extent broadcasters are engaging in a media campaign, coordinated by NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), which disseminates falsities about the PRA; and
(iv) Whether certain broadcasters have evaded the public file requirements by characterizing their on-air spots in opposition to the PRA as public service announcements.
The FCC adds that it recognizes that that substantial First Amendment interests are involved in the examination of speech of any kind, and says that it is not clear whether remedies are necessary or available to address the actions alleged by MusicFIRST.
The NAB has already responded with a statement from Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton saying, "NAB will be commenting on the distortions raised in the musicFirst petition at the appropriate time. Contrary to suggestions in the petition, broadcasters are under no obligation to carry everything that is offered or suggested to them."
It also circulated details of a 1972-3 US Supreme Court case involving Columbia Broadcasting in which the Court ruled that the "neither the Communications Act nor the First Amendment requires broadcasters to accept paid editorial advertisements."
RNW Comment: The selection highlighted by the NAB omits references made by the court that make clear that its decision is made in the context of the then-active Fairness Doctrine and also a refusal made in the context of the specific licensee's policy against editorial spot ads that it noted "is expressly based on a journalistic judgment that 10- to 60-second spot announcements are ill-suited to intelligible and intelligent treatment of public issues; the broadcaster has chosen to provide a balanced treatment of controversial questions in a more comprehensive form. Obviously the licensee's evaluation is based on its own journalistic judgment of priorities and newsworthiness."
The agency also granted yet another extension of the deadline for Sirius-XM Radio to make available 4% of the channels on the Sirius and XM platforms to Qualified Entity or Entities rights (See RNW Aug 11)
In Florida and Georgia it granted applications seeking approval of the transfer of the licences formerly held by Tama Broadcasting Inc. - of WTHG-FM, Hinesville, Georgia, from receiver Scott Savage to WRGO-FM Radio, LLC d/b/a Savannah Radio and for the assignment of the licences of WFJO-FM, Folkston, Georgia; WHJX--FM, Baldwin, Florida; and WSJF-FM, St. Augustine Beach, Flordia, from the receiver to Family Broadcasting, LLC. It also admonished the complainant, former Tama Chief Executive Officer Dr. Glenn Cherry.
Dr Cherry had objected to the transfers in September 2008 but FCC staff denied the objection in February this year after which Cherry filed an Application for Review on March 31 - opposed by the Receiver - following which he and his brother William W. Cherry II filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, alleging, among other things, that the Commission: (1) failed to honour a Cherry Freedom of Information Act request; violated its own ex parte rules; and failed to enforce Section 310(d) of the Communications Act of 1934. Cherry then filed the objections under consideration together with a copy of the complaint.
The FCC commented of Cherry's latest objections that neither was supported by an affidavit of a person or persons with personal knowledge of the allegations made in the respective filings as required.
It added that in relation to his contentions that Tama creditor D.B. Zwirn Opportunities, LP has continuously exercised "premature" control over the Tama licenses, leading to an unauthorized assignment of the Tama stations' licenses to the Receiver and the firing of Cherry as CEO of Tama and that the agency denied him "notice or opportunity . . . to participate" in a violation of its ex parte Rules that the matters were "thoroughly considered and properly resolved by the Media Bureau, the Enforcement Bureau, and OGC."
It also noted that Tama and Zwirn, the parties in the Enforcement Bureau investigation, have entered into a Consent Decree that bars the Commission from considering the facts developed in that investigation and that in respect of this the agency has traditionally declined to consider such matters that were more appropriately resolved by a local court.
It then commented, "We caution Cherry that pleadings filed with the Commission are not to be "used for other than their intended purpose, e.g., for private financial gain, to settle personal claims or as an emotional outlet." The Georgia Objection and the Florida/Georgia Objection are frivolous and obstructive pleadings which are wholly devoid of merit. Accordingly, we admonish Cherry for his attempts to further delay this proceeding."
In other contest licensing decisions the FCC:
*Denied petition for reinstatement of application from Mark Himmler of Waterford, Pennsylvania, for new AM in Waterford. The application had been found to be mutually exclusive with five other applications and applicants had to file supplemental information by September 1, 2005, a deadline later extended in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to October 31, 2005. Himmler had submitted his filing a day late and it had accordingly been dismissed.
Himmler requested reconsideration on the basis that he had every reason to expect the filing to arrive with a day to spare but the FCC said that Himmler had not shown good cause for the late filing and dismissed his petition.
*Denied petition for reconsideration of petition filed by Miller Communications, Inc., licensee of WIBZ-FM, Channel 238A, Wedgefield, South Carolina, and Station WWHM-AM, Sumter, South Carolina, to delete vacant FM Channel 237A at Quinby, South Carolina, and allot Channel 238A at Lane, South Carolina, as its first local service.
The deletion would have accommodated an application by Miller to for WIBZ-FM to substitute Channel 237A for Channel 238A at Wedgefield, South Carolina, re-allot Channel 237A from Wedgefield, to Quinby, as its first local service, and modify the WIBZ-FM license to reflect this change. Additionally, Miller filed a contingent application for WWHM-AM to change its community of license from Sumter to Wedgefield, South Carolina, to prevent the removal of Wedgefield's sole local service.
The applications had been denied in accordance with longstanding policy relating to the deletion of vacant FM allotments and because deleting vacant Channel 237A at Quinby would be inconsistent with the competitive bidding requirements in the Communications Act.
Miller had responded by arguing that its request for the deletion was in fact in line with Commission policy and also that that the deletion of Channel 237A at Quinby would not be inconsistent with the competitive bidding requirements of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act because there is no explicit language in the section that would prohibit the deletion of a vacant allotment where no applications have yet been filed or accepted.
The FCC disagreed and rejected the petition, noting in so doing that, vacant Channel 237A at Quinby is currently included in FM Auction 79, among other FM broadcast construction permits, scheduled for auction on September 1, 2009 and also that it found "unpersuasive the argument that we should not treat the Quinby Application as an expression of interest in the vacant Quinby allotment."
*Denied a petition from by Powell Meredith Communications Company, one of ten mutually exclusive applicants in its AM Broadcast Auction 84 to reconsider its decision finding a dispositive preference for am application from RAMS III for a new AM at Draper, Utah. RAMS was given preference on the basis that it would be providing the first local service to Draper whereas all the other bids were for areas with a service.
Powell Meredith had objected on the basis that the FCC staff erred in finding Draper to be independent from Salt Lake City and Provo-Orem but the FCC dismissed it on the basis that its petition was filed late.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2009-08-16: According to RapidTVNews the plan by WorldSpace founder Noah Samara to buy the international satellite radio company through a Singapore-based company that he controls may be falling apart.
It reports that a quarterly fee note filed by Worldspace's co-Counsel in bankruptcy in relation to the purchase by Yenura PTE and covering the quarter to June 30, talks about the "termination of the Yenura agreement"; "termination issues"; and the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to a "potential bidder"; and "correspondence and drafts regarding Yenura default".
Similar comments it adds were made in another fee note filed by the Delaware lawyers to the official committee of Worldspace's unsecured creditors.
2009-08-16: In a report that the paper says "will raise questions about the BBC's failure to make public the commercial interests of presenters on Radio 1, despite its dominant role in the music industry", the Sunday Times is reporting that BBC Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley showcased two bands managed by her husband Steve Morton.
The groups concerned, the Hoosiers and the Automatic, were featured in high-profile live sets and recordings of the sessions late included on two compilation CDs, said to have sold a combined 12.6 million copies, released by Sony, named the Live Lounge after that section of Whiley's show.
Morton, says the paper, Morton insisted that his bands were not given special treatment and the BBC said it had a rigorous conflict of interest policy with a spokeswoman commenting, "Jo Whiley has no influence on the Radio 1 playlist and does not play any part in selecting songs for the Live Lounge albums."
The report when we last checked had attracted four comments from readers, one calling for selection on the basis of listeners' requests and another decrying this as likely to lead to the same limited plays that commercial radio features and a third, whilst suggesting it was "laughable the way that it's asserted that the Hoosiers only became popular because they were played on Radio One" went on to suggest s mix of playlists and requests. The fourth suggested that much of the music played only got on air because the artists had the right connections.
RNW Comment: The Times article could well be read in the light of News International's vested commercial interest in attacking the BBC with which it competes for TV audience but as far as radio is concerned there are valid points on both sides of the argument. The Sunday Times implicitly criticized the Corporation for refusing to disclose the names of the 16 panellists who decide each week which songs will be given a slot on the Radio One playlist but on the other hand to do so could well lead to lobbying of the individuals involved.
Overall we think there is a limit to how far promotion can sell rubbish although in the case of pop the proliferation of female artists who look good on music videos but sound much less talented if only listened to suggests to us that the there is rather too large a degree to which it can succeed.
UK Sunday Times report:
2009-08-15: Austereo has now officially announced that the Sydney 2-DAY FM Kyle and Jackie O Show (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson) is to return to the air on Tuesday and issued an apology under the name of Chairman Peter Harvie and CEO Michael Anderson over an incident in which a 14-years-old girl taking part in the "lie detector" feature on the show said on air that she had been raped when aged 12.
In a statement on the 2-DAY web site the two say, "Through an internal review, 2DAYFM has identified certain procedures that allowed this segment to go to air. Following this review, 2DAYFM stands behind Kyle and Jackie O."
They then continue, "The station has implemented new structures and systems in relation to the use of time delay, pre-recording and procedures dealing with interviews, to avoid a repetition of the occurrence on 29 July 2009.
"2DAY FM and Kyle and Jackie O understand the gravity of this matter, sincerely regret the segment and apologise to the participants and audiences who were offended."
The show had not previously used any time-delay to allow it to dump out of live comments if felt necessary and Harvie commented of the move, "The seven-second delay is a system that has what is called a dump button and so if anything untoward takes place within the immediate period it can be handled by dumping it."
He added that Austereo had set up more rigorous internal systems to ensure compliance with Australian industry codes and said that where warranted pre-recording would be used for some material.
In other Australian commercial radio news, Graham Mott, Fairfax Media Group General Manager Radio, is reported by the Sydney Daily Telegraph to have had emergency treatment in hospital for abdominal cancer.
The paper says that Mott, who had been having trouble sleeping, was ordered by a doctor to take a CXAT scan and found to have a tumour.
He told the paper, "Everything is now going as doctors planned. The first treatment was earlier this week and I'm feeling a lot better, at least as good as can be expected.
"I want to come home over the weekend and I have got a battle plan for what is ahead _ and I'd like to be back at work in early September."
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
2-DAY FM - Statement re Kyle and Jackie O Show
Sydney Telegraph re Mott:
2009-08-14: Australian metropolitan radio revenues fell by around 5% to AUD 50.67 million ( USD 42.19 million) in July compared to a year ago according to figures just released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia and based on the 2009 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue as sourced by Deloitte.
Within the figures it says Perth revenues were down most - by 12% to AUD 6.36 million (USD 5.30 million) followed by Brisbane - down 9% to AUD 7.75 million (USD 6.45 million); Sydney down 7.5% to AUD 16.14 million (USD 13.44 million; and Adelaide - down 3.6% to AUD 4.8 million (USD 4.00 million) whilst Melbourne revenues rose 1.88% to AUD 15.59 million (USD 12.98 million).
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said of the figures that the Melbourne growth was a pleasing result that highlighted the patchy nature of the advertising market and added, "Radio remains a great advertising medium in tough economic times. And the Australian industry is performing well compared to overseas markets where according to the PWC Outlook for Media and Entertainment released today, global radio advertising fell 6.7% in the financial year ended June 09 (Australian commercial radio revenues for the 2008-09 financial year were down 3%)."
She also noted that the switch-on of digital radio should help boost revenues in future and said, "The industry is working hard to promote its strengths, with its latest advertising campaign called, "Radio Advertising, Economically Sound", which highlights the need to trade through the economic crisis and advertise on radio and is part of our ongoing, multi million dollar brand campaign."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-08-14: LBI Media has reported second quarter revenues to the end of June down 16.4% on a year earlier at USD 28.4 million with half-year revenues down 16.9% to USD 50.2 million.
Within the figures radio was down 13.6% to USD 17.1 million for the quarter and down 12.7% to USD 29.2 million for the half year with TV down 20% to USD 11, 4 million and 22% to USD 21.0 million respectively with the falls in all cases put down to a decline in advertising revenues reflecting the state of the US economy.
Operating expenses for the quarter were down 5.6% to USD 19.2 million but for the half-year rose 122.6%, to USD 89.2 million because of impairment charges of USD 51.5 million without which they would have been down by 5.8%to USD 37.7 million
Overall the company reported net income of USD 1.2 million for the quarter - down by 81.3% from USD 6.4 million a year earlier with the main factor whilst for the half year net income moved from USD 519,000 in the black to a loss of USD 36.2 million, primarily down to the effect of impairment charges partially offset by a USD 20.3 million change in income tax benefit (provision) and the other changes
Executive Vice President and Secretary Lenard Liberman said of the performance, "During the second quarter, our financial results continued to be impacted by the national recession and widespread advertising downturn. However, our performance overall was superior to our peers. In addition, our programming continues to resonate with our audiences as ratings remain strong and we have captured incremental audience shares in our markets. We are operating with a dedicated focus on financial discipline and promoting cost efficiencies across our organization. During the first half of 2009, we made progress in our continued efforts to contain operating costs through personnel reductions, working with suppliers to lower fees for services and generally scrutinizing all of our operating expenses across the organization."
Previous LBI Media:
Previous Lenard Liberman:
2009-08-14: A report on the US National Public Radio (NPR) web site says that the organization paid its former chief executive Ken Stern, whose departure was announced in March last year (See RNW Mar 8, 2003) a total of more than USD 1.3 million in its fiscal year to the end of September last year.
The report says the payment is disclosed in the IRS 990 tax forms that US not-for-profit organizations have to file and make public, adding that NPR is planning to post tomorrow.
The amount paid in severance is not detailed but the report says in the previous year Stern was paid around USD 426,000 suggesting a payout of the order of USD 900,000.
It quotes Stern as saying he had signed a four-year contract to allow him to implement a multi-platform media strategy and adding, "When I negotiated my CEO contract I wanted assurances that I would have the time to implement this plan and undertake what would be very difficult political, cultural and operational shifts. To that end, I sought a contract that offered me duration rather than salary - in fact, I said that I would take whatever salary the Board deemed appropriate."
"When the Board chose to exercise its right to change CEOs in 2008, despite the fact that NPR was exceeding every financial goal and audience growth target online and on-air, it did so with the knowledge it had the legal obligation to make good immediately on the terms of my contract."
The report says NPR declined to comment but noted that according to current NPR CEO Vivian Schiller the company no longer signs long-term contracts with executives, including herself.
2009-08-13: Sirius-XM Radio has announced an offering of USD 257 million of Senior Secured Notes due 2015 with net proceeds to be used to repay debt to Liberty Media from whom it borrowed USD 530 million in a February deal that also saw Liberty also take a 40% shareholding in Sirius XM (See RNW Feb 17).
The noted are will bear interest at an annual rate of 9.75% and the price to investors will be 97.248% of the principal amount of the notes. Sirius XM says it will receive gross proceeds of USD249, 927,360 from the sale of the notes before deducting the initial purchasers' commissions and estimated offering expenses.
Previous Liberty Media:
2009-08-13: Entries from Ghana and the USA have taken the two top prizes in the BBC World Service and British Council International Radio Playwriting Competition 2009 with writers from India, Romania, Georgia and Australia also awarded special prizes.
The competition, open only to writers outside the UK, is for original 60-minute radio plays on any subject and this year Erin Browne from the USA won the English as a First Language category with her play, "Trying", described by the judges as "exquisite", "human" and "spare" and Efo Kodjo Mawugbe from Ghana won the English as a Second Language category with his play, "The Prison Graduates", described by the judges as "imaginative", "muscular" and "hysterically funny".
Each winner will receive GBP 2,500 (USD 4,100) in prize money and will come to London to see their play recorded for broadcast. The broadcasts will be in the World Drama strand on BBC World Service in November.
In regional awards Vasil Bassa Janikashvili from Georgia claimed the top prize for Russia and the Caucuses for his play, "On The Latch"; Anna Bennetts from Australia won for the Asia Pacific region with her play, "Shift"; Meher Pestonji from India came first in the South Asia category with her play, "Feeding Crows", and Csaba Székely from Romania won for the Europe region with his play, "Do You Like Banana, Comrades?"
BBC World Service Drama Executive Producer Marion Nancarrow said of the entries, "We are thrilled with the two winning plays, but the shortlist itself was very strong and provoked a lot of discussion amongst the judges. This year the competition has attracted more entries in the English as a Second Language category than English as a First Language, which is particularly pleasing, given BBC World Service's global audiences.
2009-08-13: Arbitron's President and CEO Michael Skarzynski has highlighted initiatives to improve sample quality - details of which the company has just announced (See RNW Aug 12) to the summer meeting of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council this week and added that the company is laying the groundwork to "to help ensure that the radio industry has the state-of-the-art solution and services that it will need to compete for the long term."
As well as pointing to improvements in samples and saying that the company's target was to match Cell-Phone-Only (CP)) household sample targets in a market to the percentage of CPO homes in that market, Skarzynski highlighted the advantage of the PPM in terms of following a wearer wherever they went and said the company was "very very busy" in examining the possibility of also measuring television.
The company's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system meanwhile has come under attack in an open letter from Mickey Luckoff, President and General Manager of Citadel's KGO-AM and KSFO-AM, San Francisco, and received some thanks from CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason who in an interview said the introduction of the PPM had been responsible for much of the ratings improvement at CHR stations.
In his letter Luckoff was scathing about the PPM, starting by writing to Skarzynski, "Michael, you have stated your aim is to make Arbitron services "an asset to customers, and not simply a tool."
"I must state in response, Arbitron services by virtue of the PPM have become next to worthless if not actually destructive to many radio broadcasters. "
Luckoff then says when he was serving his lat term as President of the Advisory Council an assurance was given that the company would provide as many meters in a market as it then had diaries and encouraged the move to the PPM on this basis but that in the event this promise was not kept - he contends that in San Francisco approximately 7,200 diaries were distributed each quarter but now the company only supplied "2,000 meters -- 800 households surveyed for what Arbitron hopes to be for a two-year period."
He continues on to sale that "One of the main sales advantages Arbitron used in their sales campaign to radio broadcasters was represented to be the ability to measure program elements, tune-in as well as tune-out features. Moreover, when the scant numbers of meter response information is "sliced and diced," the available numbers, trends etc. are of absolutely no value in making any such decision with any degree of accuracy or reliability."
Luckoff then notes that the broadcasters are paying half as much again for much less usable data and concluded by saying that "This situation will continue to be magnified as Arbitron rolls out the PPM into smaller markets."
In contrast Mason, who is quoted in a WSJ/Dow Jones story as seeing revenues for CBS Radio to improve in the third and fourth quarters, was quoted as saying that the PPM has proven invaluable in counting young people, who are usually thought to have bypassed radio in favour of MP3 players and Internet-only stations, a change that has been to CBS's benefit following format changes that saw KAMP-FM in Los Angeles, Now FM (WXRK-FM) in New York and B-96 (WBBM-FM) in Chicago rebranded to a CHR format.
"The goal there was to put CHR formats in the top three markets, to make the clusters (of stations in those areas) a better advertising vehicle for 18- to 34-year-old women, which I think we've accomplished," Mason said of the changes.
Regarding revenues in general Mason said, "We believe that the advertising climate is improving, and the numbers are pointing that way" and added, "Automotive has come back. We benefited from cash-for-clunkers, and we expect to benefit even more in the next round."
He also said that movies and other entertainment advertising had been consistently strong.
2009-08-13: Spanish Broadcasting System has reported second quarter net revenue to the end of June down 18% to USD 37.1 million, attributing the fall mainly to its radio division whose revenues were down 19% to USD 33.2 million whilst TV fell by 7.4% to USD 3.86 million.
For the first six months revenues are down 21% to USD 64.8 million with radio down 23% to USD 57.4 million whilst TV fell by 1.3% to USD 7.48 million.
The company noted a decline in both national and local revenues that hit all markets for national sales and all except Puerto Rico for local sales.
Operating income before depreciation and amortization, gain on the disposal of assets, net, and impairment of FCC broadcasting licenses and restructuring costs rose 31% from USD 8.4 million to USD 11 million for the quarter and operating income was USD 9.4 million compared to a loss of USD 389.3 million a year earlier when the figures included USD 396.2 million in impairment charges and restructuring costs whilst pre-tax income was USD 2.4 million compared to a loss of USD 394.6 million.
For the first six months Operating income before depreciation and amortization, gain on the disposal of assets, net, and impairment of FCC broadcasting licenses and restructuring costs rose 94% to USD 13.6 million and operating loss was USD 200,000 compared to a loss of USD 392.0 million a year earlier when it had an additional USD 385.6 million in impairment and restructuring costs and pre-tax losses were USD 10.9 million compared to losses of USD 400.5 million a year before. The six-month figures this year included an impairment loss of USD 10.1 million
Overall SBS had net income for the quarter of 459,000 compared to a loss of USD 294 million a year earlier and a net loss for the first six months of USD 10.5 million.
The net loss applicable to common shareholders for the quarter was USD 2 million, down from USD 296.5 million a year earlier whilst for the six months the loss was USD 15.5 million (A positive three cents per basic and diluted share for the quarter compared to a loss of 21 cents for the six months and a loss of USD 4.09 per share in the first quarter of 2008).
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr.. said of the results, "During the second quarter, we continued to implement our multi-platform growth strategy, while maintaining a disciplined approach to cost-management. Our overall results were impacted by the continued nationwide advertising slowdown, offset in part by our success in reducing expenses via our restructuring plan. Despite current macro-economic challenges impacting all media, we remain focused on further strengthening our content and delivering valuable audiences to national and local advertisers. Given the strength of our brands and the continued expansion and growing influence of the Hispanic population, we remain optimistic about our ability to return to top-line growth as the economy recovers."
2009-08-12: Two breakfast shows whose main hosts are currently off-air have retained the top Sydney rankings in the latest ratings - Alan Jones of Macquarie Radio Networks' 2GB, who is recuperating from pneumonia and whose place has been filled in by Jason Morrison, took his share u- from 17.6 in the previous ratings to 17.8 and in the FM stakes, Austereo 2-DAY hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson took the share of the Kyle and Jackie O Show (currently off the air after the row over a "lie detector" feature in which a girl said on air she had been raped when she was 12 ) up from 11.4 to 12.0 to move up a rank to second place overall and retain top FM ranking.
Third overall in the slot in Sydney was ABC 702 where Adam Spencer lost share - down from 12.9 to 10.9- and fell a rank, switching places with 2-DAY.
In the morning slot Ray Hadley held on to the lead for 2GB with a 15.9 share, down from 17.2: Second was 2-DAY with share down from 10.7 to 9.5 and third was Australian Radio Network (ARN)'s WSFM with 8.8 - up from 7.8 and taking the spot from ABC 702 which was down to fourth rank as share fell from 10.5 to 8.1.
Overall 2GB held on to top spot followed by 2-DAY whilst 2Gb's commercial talk rival , Fairfax Media's 2UE, remained sixth but increased its share from 5.9 to 7.2.
DMG's Nova network was up a rank to fourth in Sydney whilst in Brisbane it moved into top spot. In its comments it commented on "solid results" highlighted the share increase for Vega Melbourne -up from 4.9 to its highest ever 5.1 and retaining sixth rank and also noted that Nova had regained the lead in Brisbane and increased its share in Sydney and Melbourne. In particular it noted a strong performance in the 18-39 demographic.
Austereo referred to "cementing" its "FM leadership with strong results across the country for both the Today and Triple M Networks" and noted top FM rank in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
It highlighted increases in all these cities for its drive time team of Hamish and Andy (Hamish Blake and Andy Lee) and the top FM rank and a share increase for Kyle and Jackie O in Sydney.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Anderson said, "I'm very pleased by the continued success of the Today Network nationally especially in a highly competitive market" and also commented that Triple M was "showing steady results with good increases in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth", adding "We're excited about starting our new Breakfast show in Sydney and think it'll be the right fit for Triple M listeners and we'll be announcing a new line-up for Triple M Melbourne in the coming weeks."
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 14.4 (13.7) - Up from second; SAFM with 14.3 (12.5) - up from fourth; Mix 102.3 with 13.2 (13.3) -same rank.
*ABC 891 with 12.8 (14.0) - was down from first to fourth place followed by 5MMM, which held on to the spot with 9.7 (10.4), ahead of Nova which remained sixth with 9.1 (9.8)
*Brisbane - Nova with 12.4(11.8) - up from second; B105 with 11.8 (12.3) - down from first place; 97.3 FM with 11.6 (11.2) - same rank.
Below them 4MMM retained fourth rank with 11.3 (10.3) and ABC 612 retained fifth place with 9.5 (9.8)
*Melbourne - 3AW with an unchanged 16.8 same rank; ABC 774 with 14.1 (13.0) - up from second - same rank; Fox FM with 13.6 (14.0) - down from second;
*Nova 100 remained fourth with 7.9 (7.5) followed by Gold FM which retained fifth despite share falling from 6.7 to 5.5 whilst Vega held on to sixth place with 5.1 (4.9).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 15.8 (14.4) - same rank; 96 FM with 12.6 (11.7) - up from third.
92.9 with (13.2) - down from second;
*ABC 720 was up from sixth to fourth with 10.5 (9.9) whilst Nova remained fifth with 9.5 (10.2), and 6PR fell from fourth to sixth with 8.8 (11.0).
*Sydney: 2GB 13.7 (14.6) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.7 (10.8) - same rank; ABC 702 with 9.0 (10.6) - same rank.
*Nova with 8.2 (7.2) was up a rank to fourth exchanging places with WSFM, which fell to fifth with 7.7 (7.4) whilst 2UE remained sixth but took its share up from 5.9 to 7.2
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Hamish and Andy:
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2009-08-12: Arbitron is claiming "major advances in sample quality" for is its Spring 2009 Diary Survey, saying that it met or exceeded several key quality metrics that it had established including hitting a cell-phone-only (CPO) household target of 10%.
The company says it achieved this target across 151 local markets in the Spring 2009 survey and by the Fall 2009 survey plans to include CPO households in all 288 Diary markets in the continental US, Hawaii, and Alaska.
It also notes that starting with the Fall 2008 survey it established an annual sample quality benchmark for Persons aged 18-54 in all Diary markets equal to a Designated Delivery Index (DDI) of 80 and says that The overall sample for the Spring 2009 survey included an average DDI of 88 for Persons 18-54, including a an average DDI of 70 for Persons 18-34 across all markets - meeting the benchmark for this demographic.
It also notes that of the 151 markets with CPO sampling for the Spring survey all of the 37 four-book markets and nearly 90% of two-book markets exceeded the company's 18-54 sample target benchmark of 80 DDI.
For the 18-34 demographic in these markets, CPO sampling was up by a quarter in the survey and the company says 76% of the 37 four-book markets exceeded the 70 DDI benchmark; Fifty percent of the 42 two-book markets exceeded the benchmark; and Fifty-four percent of the two-book average markets exceeded the benchmark.
CEO and President Michael Skarzynski commented in a release, "Arbitron remains strongly committed to the Diary markets we serve and to our program of continuous improvement for our Diary service. We are delivering solid increases above previous surveys and are raising the bar at the completion of each new improvement."
"Arbitron is committed," he added, "to reinforcing the quality of our diary market samples and providing our customers with enhanced confidence in our ratings currency. We believe we are achieving those objectives through the impact of more timely and relevant data releases, and the delivery of sample quality target metrics in our Media Rating Council accredited diary service."
2009-08-12: BBC Wales has paid GBP 100,000 (USD 165,000) to settle an unfair dismissal claim by former lunchtime phone-in show Richard Evans according to a report on Walesonline from the Western Mail.
The paper reports that Evans was taken off the show in November last year after a number of colleagues made unproven bullying allegations against him and adds that BBC sources say the broadcaster vehemently denied bullying anyone and quoted one unnamed "highly-placed" source as saying, "Richard has worked for the BBC for many years, and was one of the most experienced and professional presenters Radio Wales had. He may sometimes have been an abrasive person to work with, but that didn't amount to bullying. Phone-in programmes in particular can be stressful - sometimes harsh things are said between those working on them, but they are forgotten afterwards and people go and have a drink.
"In this case, complaints were made and an executive became unhappy about Richard's way of inter-acting with other members of the team."
Evans had recently signed a new two-year contract and the source said the BBC made the settlement because it did not want to face embarrassment at an employment tribunal. The BBC and Evans both declined comment although a BBC spokesman wished him well. .
Evans, who is 51, studied electrical engineering at the University of Bath and then journalism at City University, London following which he trained as a reporter on the South Wales Argus in Newport before joining Radio West in Bristol (later GWR Radio) and then joining the BBC.
Whilst with the Corporation he has worked on BBC Radios One, Four and Five Live, reporting from London and abroad, as well as on BBC Wales programmes.
In a profile that was on the BBC web site (the link appears to have stopped working since the Western Mail said his profile was still on the site) he commented, "I've presented on TV, I've written for newspapers but it's still radio that tells the best stories. Radio gives people a voice - so call the programme and join in. If you're very lucky I might come round and fix your toaster."
2009-08-12: Crain's New York is reporting that Brooklyn-based Mega Media Group Inc, which operates the dance music station WNYZ-FM (Pulse 87) has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The station airs at 87.7 using the audio portion of low-power analogue television station WNYZ-LP and was launched in February 2008 with Star (aka Troi Torain)) & Buc Wild hosting its morning show (See RNW Feb 7, 2008) but they departed from the station on October 20, 2008 and are currently hosting and producing a daily entertainment show on vladtv.com. Mega Media had announced a long term lease of the announced a long-term lease of Island Broadcasting Company frequency in November 2007. (See RNW Nov 29, 2007).
The company, whose site is still live but contained no details of the filing when we checked was launched in 2004 with four subsidiaries - Echo Broadcasting Group which operates Pulse 87; MusicIkon - a Music Social Network to Launch in Summer/Fall 2009; Skeleton Key Entertainment - its Music Recording and Branding Division ; and
Mega Media Studios and Film - Video and Film production Studios - and describes itself as "multimedia holding company focused on becoming a premier player in global entertainment and media, through content production, distribution and syndication." Only the radio division is currently active.
Crain's says that in its filing the company says it owes the Internal Revenue Service USD 414,000 and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance USD 45,000 and adds that other creditors include private equity firm AJW Partners, which says it is owed USD 650,000 and Aleksandr Cherny who says he is owed USD 400,000 with both of these claiming fraud.
The company contests both claims and Crain's quoted chief executive Alex Shvarts, a former account executive and consultant for various international trading companies based in Russia and Ukraine, as saying, "The recession is very tough on the radio market, but the Pulse 87 brand has been growing," he said. "We're just looking to reorganize the company and get some breathing room from our creditors and reshape the company for the future."
Previous Star and Buc Wilde:
Mega Media web site:
2009-08-11: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which has received some 140 complaints about the incident, has announced that in the wake of the row over the "lie detector" segment of the "Kyle and Jackie O Show" (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson) on Austereo's 2-DAY FM in which a 14-years -old girl said she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Jul 30) it is to investigate whether the country's Commercial Radio Codes of Practice (the code) and existing industry practices provide sufficient safeguards for participants and subjects in live-hosted entertainment programs on commercial radio.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented of the decision, 'Recent public concern in relation to an episode of the Kyle and Jackie O Show, broadcast by 2Day FM, has highlighted broader issues about the treatment of participants and subjects involved in 'stunt' or 'prank' calls, competitions and challenges on commercial radio.
"The ACMA acknowledges that the broadcasting sector should generally be able to experiment with program genres and styles which may be attractive to its audiences. However, the strength of community concern expressed about the practices of some live-hosted entertainment programs and the ACMA's own assessments indicate that there is emerging evidence that the current regulatory arrangements may not be keeping pace with industry practice and community standards."
The investigation will be conducted in addition to any specific investigation of the show and in connection with this Chapman commented, "Under the co-regulatory framework enshrined in the Broadcasting Services Act, a code complaint into the recent incident on the Kyle and Jackie O Show would, in the normal course, be dealt with between a complainant and the licensee, with the ACMA then commencing an investigation if it receives notification from a complainant that he or she is not satisfied with 2Day FM's response."
The ACMA is calling for submissions - to be submitted by the end of September - from both the public and radio industry and says it will "consider all relevant information and evidence. The ACMA will also consider existing and commissioned research and have regard to international experience, including findings from a broader research study undertaken by the ACMA earlier this year relating to this matter."
The announcement aroused a negative response from the industry with Joan Warner, Chief Executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, commenting, "The industry will obviously respond to this inquiry and participate fully. However it is disappointed that ACMA feels an enquiry into the whole industry (261 radio stations) is warranted based on the unfortunate radio segment in question that was broadcast on one station in one market. We are also disappointed that ACMA has chosen not to wait for the Codes complaints and investigative processes into this particular incident to be completed before launching this broader enquiry. "
Warner added that it was important to remember that the vast majority of commercial stations in Australia received no complaints and added, "ACMA's own attitudinal research shows that only 1 in 5 radio listeners have heard something of concern in the last 12 months and the majority of these were concerned about news stories."
The Kyle and Jackie O show retained its lead amongst Sydney FM breakfast shows in the latest ratings just released (RNW note - we hope to file a fuller report on the ratings shortly), taking its audience share from 11.4% to 12.0%, well ahead of nearest FM rival - - but behind Alan Jones market leading share of 17.8% for AM station 2GB.
Austereo is conducting its own investigation into the broadcast and its chairman Peter Harvie said of the ACMA move that the agency had every right to conduct investigations as it saw fit.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
2009-08-11: Long Island University has announced that it can no longer afford to subsidize its Southampton-based WLIU-FM and is examining options to dispose of it with options under consideration including an outright sale or an operating agreement with existing station or local non-profit/community group that would continue operating the station.
The University's trustees it says in a news release have stipulated that the expenses of operating the station have to be eliminated and it adds that the University's permission to house WLIU on Stony Brook University's Southampton campus expires on October 3. Stony Brook acquired the former Southampton College campus from the LIU system in 2006 but agreed to allow the station to remain until the fall of this year and also to use its broadcasting studios.
In a news release, Dr. Wally Smith, general manager of WLIU and director of the Long Island University Public Radio Network, said that several parties have expressed interest and continued, "WLIU has become an indispensable part of the community on the East End, serving as a primary resource for local music, news, arts, cultural and entertainment programs, and garnering 18 local, national and regional journalism awards in 2009. We are very hopeful that we will strike an agreement that will enable us to continue the robust local programming that distinguishes WLIU by pursuing options with other public radio stations in the region, or through the work we are now engaged in to build long-term support at the local level. "
The University has retained Public Radio Capital to advise it in exploring options and The East Hampton Press in its report quotes Smith, who has managed the station for 12 years, as saying, "After 20 years and USD 13 million in investment, LIU has decided it could no longer afford to sustain support of the station."
He added, "It's not the hottest radio market in the world, but, yes, people are interested," Mr. Smith said. "A number of them are religious organizations that are buying up as many frequencies as they can all over the country. But there are also other radio stations, some from New York City or Connecticut, that may be looking to have an extension of their programming here."
The paper says the station has a USD 2.4 million annual operating budget and over the past two years Long Island's share of this has nearly doubled, to about USD 1.3 million annually with the remainder coming mainly from underwriting support from some 200 East End businessmen who contribute around USD 1 million on top of which listeners contribute around USD 300,000 and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides a grant of around USD 160,000.
LIU's chief financial officer, Robert Altholz said Stony Brook wanted to use the studio's space for other purposed and remove the broadcasting tower from the campus and the additional costs associated with having to find a new location added to Long Island's financial considerations.
Long Island University news release:
East Hampton Press report:
2009-08-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Media Bureau has further extended of its own accord, this time until October 27, the deadline for Sirius and XM Satellite Radio to implement their voluntary commitment as part of the approval of their merger to enter into agreements to provide 4% of the full-time audio channels on the Sirius and XM platforms to Qualified entities.
The merger was approved in July last year subject to conditions including the provision of these channels within four months but the FCC said it would provide details necessary for implementation later.
The deadline was later extended by the agency on its own initiative because it had not provided the details and in February this year it issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the matter and also extended the compliance deadline to May 29 (See RNW Feb 27): It later extended the deadline again (See RNW June 1).
The Media Bureau now says it anticipates Commission action on the implementation guidelines in the very near future, and thus this brief extension is appropriate.
2009-08-10: Clear Channel Media Holdings, Inc. has announced second quarter revenues to the end of June down 21% on a year earlier at USD 1.437 billion with operating expenses down 16% to just under USD 998 million including a USD 51.3 million decrease due to movements in foreign exchange without which operating expenses would have been down 12%. The company noted that the operating expenses also included around USD 56.7 million in restructuring charges.
Income before discontinued operations of USD 284.9 million a year earlier - before the company was taken over by private equity interests - turned into a loss of USD 3.7 billion, put down by the company to the decrease in revenues, an impairment charge of USD 4.0 billion, and an increase of approximately USD 302.5 million in interest expense as a result of an increase in outstanding debt.
Within the figures radio revenues were down 20% to USD 718 million and Outdoor was down 24% to USD 692 million.
OIBDAN (Operating Income before Depreciation and amortization) was down 34% overall to USD 400 million with radio down 29% to USD 260 million and Outdoor down 35% to USD 181 million.
The company also noted that at the end of June it had some USD 21.5 billion of long-term debt and USD 1.5 billion in cash and equivalents and that as of August 7 it had some USD 20.4 million available on its bank revolving credit facility and a balance of approximately USD 1.4 billion in short-term investments.
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-08-10: In further US results both Citadel and Westwood One have reported revenue falls and operating losses: Citadel in a 10Q filing has reported revenues for the second quarter down 21.9% to USD 188 million with the six-monthly total down 20.2% to USD 347 million and an operating loss for the quarter of USD 944 million - up from USD 300 million a year earlier whilst for the six months the operating loss was USD 930 million compared to a loss of USD 282 million a year earlier - in each case the figures included asset impairment and disposal charges of USD 985.6 million this year compared to USD 364.4 million a year earlier.
Within the operating loss Radio Markets loss was USD 858.0 million compared to USD 270.3 million a year earlier whilst that for Radio Network was USD 75.7 million compared to USD 21.8 million a year earlier.
Within the figures for the quarter Radio Markets' net revenues were down 15.6% to USD 156.2 million whilst Radio Network's revenues were down 28.6% to USD 33 million - a fall of USD 13.1 million more than half of which - USD 8.2 million - it put down to its loss of the Sean Hannity and Paul Harvey network programmes.
Operating income for Radio Markets was down 22.7% to USD 61.5 million and for radio networks was down 68.8% to USD 2.4 million. Overall Citadel's net loss for the quarter of more than tripled compared to a year ago - up from USD 251.6 million to USD 758.7 million and for the six months it was up from USD 259.8 million to USD 764.0 million ( From 96 cents to USD 2.88 and from 99 cents to USD 2.90 per share respectively).
Citadel notes in the filing that in 2008 it recognized non-cash impairment charges of USD 1.197 billion, comprised of USD 824.4 million and USD 373.0 million relating to FCC licenses and goodwill respectively.
Citadel's annual impairment testing date is October 1 and amongst the assumption made last year were included overall future market revenue growth rates for the residual year of approximately 2.5% at June 30, 2008 and 2.0% at December 31, 2008 and it adds that because the radio marketplace continued to deteriorate during the first six months of 2009 and it expects advertising revenue to continue to decline in comparison to the same periods in the prior year for the remainder of 2009 it conducted an interim impairment test for its Radio Markets and Radio Network as of June 30, 2009
This test resulted in a non-cash impairment charge of approximately USD 933.1 million to reduce the carrying value of FCC licenses and goodwill by USD 762.3 million and USD 170.8 million, respectively, to their estimated fair values: In addition Citadel says recognized non-cash impairment and disposal charges of USD 10.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2008 and an additional USD 10.0 million in the second quarter of 2009 in order to write down the FCC licenses of the stations in the Divestiture Trusts to their estimated fair value since these stations are more likely than not to be disposed.
It also warns that based on the current economic conditions, capital markets and the continuing decline in radio revenues, the Company anticipates that it will be difficult for the Company to meet its covenant requirements under the Senior Credit and Term Facility in 2010, especially those commencing on January 15, 2010.
This would put it into default under its Senior Credit and Term Facility and also in default under the terms of its convertible subordinated notes and it says that on because of the uncertainties about meeting its covenants it has classed the amounts outstanding under the Senior Credit and Term Facility and the convertible subordinated notes are classified as current liabilities in the figures for this year.
As far as this year is concerned, however, Citadel says it expects to remain in compliance with its credit agreements for the whole year.
Westwood One reported revenues down 16.7% to USD 83.7 million within which Network radio revenue declined 14.9% to USD 40.2 million and Metro Traffic was down 18.3%, to USD 43.5 million.
Operating expenses were down 15.3% to USD 72.3 million and the company noted that this was a reduction of USD 18.2 million on the first quarter compared to forecast reductions of between USD 13 million and USD 15 million made when it released first quarter results.
It added that Metro Traffic re-engineering and other cost savings initiatives are collectively anticipated to result in total cost savings of USD 53.0 to USD 61.0 million in 2009 with additional savings of approximately USD 2.0 million projected in 2010.
The quarter saw an operating loss of USD 8.3 million compared to second quarter 2008 operating income - excluding the effect of a goodwill impairment charge of approximately USD 206.1million - of USD 10.4 million in the second quarter of 2008 and net loss this year was USD 9.9 million compared to a net loss - including the impairment charge - of USD 199.7 million a year earlier (Moving from a loss of USD 1.98 a year ago to a loss of 13 cents per diluted share): Excluding the impairment charge the company had net income of USD 6.4 million in the year earlier quarter.
Westwood One also noted that following the refinancing of substantially all of its outstanding long-term indebtedness and a recapitalization of our equity that closed on April 23 it has applied the
acquisition method of accounting and as a result records prior to this reflect its historical accounting basis for assets and liabilities whilst afterwards it has applied "push down" accounting, thus figures before and after - the later ones are labelled "successor company" - are not comparable.
President and CFO Rod Sherwood said of the results, "Westwood One's turnaround continued to gain traction in the second quarter of 2009. Our adjusted EBITDA improved by approximately USD 16 million versus the first quarter of 2009, primarily due to our cost reduction initiatives. With the Company's new capital structure in place as a result of our recent refinancing, and with our current cost reduction efforts largely implemented, our number one strategic initiative is to drive revenue across all businesses with branded content that continues to lead the industry in quality and excitement. Quality content, and supporting marketing programs, will attract the audiences our affiliate partners and advertising clients need to grow their businesses."
Looking ahead Westwood One says that it expects the "current significant downward pressures on advertising revenue in the radio industry will continue throughout 2009. We anticipate that we will achieve our previously announced goal of annual operating cost savings of USD 53.0 to USD 61.0 million in 2009. The Company expects operating expenses to be down by approximately USD 7.0 to USD 10.0 million in the second half of 2009 versus the first half of 2009."
Previous Westwood One:
2009-08-10: BBC Radio 1, which last month announced changes to its daytime schedule (See RNW Jul 16) has now followed up with a revamp of its specialist line-up from September 21 that amongst other things will see Steve Lamacq leaving the station after 16 years although he will continue to host his current shows on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music.
Also leaving the station are Bobby Friction, who will continue to host his BBC Asian Network show but will no longer co-host the station's Asian beat show "Bobby Friction and Nihal", and Chris Goldfinger, who co-hosted a Saturday night show with Tim Westwood: The station says he will be working for sister station BBC 1Xtra in the future.
In the new schedule, the Monday evening 21:00 to 22:00 slot, currently home to Steve Lamacq, will become the main home for music documentaries on the station with a series of Radio 1 Stories that will look at "artists, eras, genres and scenes" - including the stories of Tiesto and Jay Z along with Radio 1's Story Of The Noughties, a ten-part series looking back at the decade as it draws to a close.
On Tuesdays the same time slot - currently hosted by Tim Westwood- will feature Nihal hosting a new review programme in addition to which he will go solo with the Asian beat show.
On Wednesday Hugh Stephens retains his slot and will be hosting what the station terms "a weekly audio adventure to the boundaries of new musical experimentation to find the most remarkable sounds that producers, DJs, bands, shops, websites and in-boxes have to offer" whilst Thursdays where Pete Tong is currently hosting the slot sees it become the permanent home for the station's "In New DJs We Trust" show.
To round off weekdays, Friday will retain dance but Annie Mac will flip times with Pete Tong - her Annie's Mash-Up will run from 1900 to 2100 with Tong then taking up the tongs until 23:00
At the weekend, the station will continue to feature 12 hours of black music on Saturday nights but with changes as Tim Westwood goes it alone from 9.00 to 11.00pm with the best in hip-hop and is followed by Mistajam with a new show running to 01:00.
Other changes include moves from Saturdays (05:00 to 07:00) to Fridays (02:00 to 04:00) for Annie Nightingale; from Mondays (02:00 to 04:00) to Saturdays (05:00 to 07:00) for Rob da Bank; From Tuesdays (02:00 to 04:00) to Thursdays (02:00 to 04:00) for Mary-Anne Hobbs; From Thursdays (02.00-04.00) to Tuesdays (02.00-04.00) for Gilles Peterson.
In addition to the Radio 1 changes, 1Xtra has announced that Tim Westwood is to host its weekday drive time slot, talking over from Ace & Vis who move to a new weekend show (16.00-1900) on the station and the station's Mixtape on Sunday from 3.00-5.00am will be presented by Seani B in place of Mistajam following the latter's move to host the Radio 1 23:00 Friday to 01:00 Saturday slot as noted above.
2009-08-10: Industry body Commercial Radio Australia has announced the finalists for this year's Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs), with the winners in a total of 32 categories - sub-divided in some categories into Country, Provincial, Non-Metropolitan; and Metropolitan groups - to be announced at a gala ceremony at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Sydney on October 10. The Master of Ceremonies at the event will be Australian Idol host, Andrew G, who also hosts Australia's biggest weekly radio countdown, "Take 40 Australia".
Amongst the finalists for the Best On-Air Team are the 2-DAY FM "Kyle and Jackie 0 Show" - currently off air following the row over a "lie detector" segment in which a 14 years old girl said during questioning on air that she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Aug 3): They are expected to be back on air next Monday.
They will be in contention with The Hamish and Andy Show (Fox FM Melbourne); Merrick and Rosso and Kate Ritchie (Nova 969, Sydney); Hughesy and Kate (Nova 100, Melbourne) and Meshel, Ash, Kip and Luttsy from Nova 106.9 in Brisbane.
In the Best Talk Presenter category finalists include Neil Mitchell of 3AW, Melbourne (the winner of the award for the past three years); Derryn Hinch (also of 3AW); Ray Hadley (2GB, Sydney) and Leon Byner (5AA, Adelaide) and the contenders for The Best Current Affairs Commentator category are last year's winner, Derryn Hinch (3AW); Neil Mitchell (also of 3AW); Ray Hadley (2GB), and Howard Sattler (6PR in Perth).
The finalists for Best Sports Presenter are last year's winner Ray Hadley (2GB); Rex Hunt (3AW); Andrew Martin (Nova 969 Sydney); James Brayshaw (Triple M Melbourne); and Rabs Ray Warren (Triple M, Sydney) and for Best Music Personality are last year's winner Mike Fitzpatrick (Triple M, Melbourne) ; Dylan Lewis (Nova 100, Melbourne); Dave Higgins (Fox FM, Melbourne); Rod Maldon (Fox FM Melbourne); and Jamie Row (Nova 969, Sydney).
The categories for awards this year are Most Popular Station Manager; Engineering Excellence; Best Newcomer On-Air; Best Newcomer Off-Air; Best Music Personality; Best Talk Presenter; Brian White Memorial Award; Best On-Air Team: Best Show Producer - Entertainment & Music; Best Show Producer - Talk & Current Affairs; Best Current Affairs Commentator; Best Sports Presenter; Best News Presenter; Best Program Director; Best Music Director; Best Promotions Director; Best Station Sales Achievement; Best Direct Salesperson; Best Agency Salesperson; Best Multimedia Execution; Best Documentary; Best Music Special; Best Sports Event Coverage; Best Station Promotion; Best Sales Promotion; Best Networked Program; Best Syndicated Australian Program; Best Station Produced Commercial; Best Station Produced Comedy Segment; Best Community Service Project; and Best Achievement In Production.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-08-09: The main news for the regulators in a generally quiet period came from the US last week where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now has its full complement of five Commissioners.
There were no radio announcements from Australia and only a few from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted a number of consultations that included the following radio matters:
With an August25 deadline for submission of interventions/comments:
*Application by Clear Sky Radio Inc. to amend the licence for its English-language commercial radio station CJOC-FM, Lethbridge, AlLberta, by deleting existing condition of licence concerning distribution of an annual minimum of CAD 18,500 (USD ) to the development and promotion of Canadian talent Canadian Content Development (CCD) with new conditions that do not change the total amount.
With a September 11 deadline for submission of interventions/comments:
*Application by Northern Native Broadcasting (Terrace, B.C.) to add an 18.6 watts FM transmitter at Seely Mountain to broadcast the programming of its English- and Aboriginal-language Native Type B station CFNR-FM Terrace, British Columbia: The new transmitter would replace existing facilities currently in operation at Hazelton and the licensee said it that it was under the mistaken impression that the existing facilities at Hazelton were exempt from licensing in light of the Exemption Order respecting certain native radio undertakings.
Northern Native has also for the same reason requested permission to add other FM transmitters to the CFNR licences, all for transmitters currently in operation.
These are a 6.4 watts transmitter at Aiyansh; a 27.9 watts transmitter at Alkali Lake; a 7.3 watts transmitter at Anahim Lake; a 6.4 watts transmitter Bella Coola; a 5 watts transmitter at Canyon City; an 8 watts transmitter at Dog Creek; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Fort Babine; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Greenville; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Kitwancool; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Kitwanga; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Klemtu ; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Masset; a 6.4 watts transmitter at McLeod Lake; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Metlakatla; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Nemiah Valley; a 6.4 watts transmitter at New Bella Bella; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Port Simpson; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Redstone Flat; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Skidegate; a 6.4 watts transmitter at Tachie; and a 6.4 watts transmitter at Toosey Indian Reserve.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has announced the award of further Euros 960,000 (USD 1.38 million) to 89 projects for radio programming in the most recent funding round of its Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme (See RNW Aug 4) and in the UK Ofcom posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding just one radio complaint (See RNW Aug 3).
Ofcom also pre-advertised the Chelmsford FM licence currently held by Chelmsford Radio Limited and the Chesterfield area FM licence, currently held by Grand Central Broadcasting Limited.
Both licences are due to expire in October next year and applications for a new licence to run to 31 December 2015. Declarations of intent to apply have to be in by September 1 accompanied by a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 8.300) and a GBP 20,000 (USD 33,000) deposit that will be refundable on receipt of a valid application.
If only the existing licensee submits a declaration of intent, that licensee will be invited to re-apply; if more than one is received the licence will be advertised; and if no applications are received the licence will not be re-advertised.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (CC) as already noted is now up to its full strength of five commissioners with the swearing-in of Democrat Mignon L. Clyburn (See RNW Aug 3).
The agency was also involved in a number of enforcement actions including the imposition of a USD 10,000 fine on a Texas pirate operator and proposing a penalty of the same amount on a Louisiana State University station for public file breaches (See RNW Aug 7)
*Issued a USD 4,500 forfeiture to Jones College licensee of non-commercial educational station WKTZ-FM. Jacksonville, Florida, for broadcasting advertisements. It had initially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 5,000 to which the licensee argued for reduction or cancellation on the basis that the ruling was erroneous because the NAL was issued too late (See RNW Aug 7).
The FCC dismissed this argument and also an argument that the station was not liable because the programming came from a third party with whom it had an oral agreement but had itself received no consideration for airing the announcements. The FCC but did however rule that find, however, that a partial reduction in the forfeiture amount is warranted because one announcement at issue in the NAL aired permissibly on behalf of Vystar Credit Union, a non-profit organization. It reduced the penalty by USD 500 on this basis but commented that it had asked Jones to identify in each case whether the announcement had been for a non-profit and that ". The Licensee's carelessness in its earlier filing resulted in an inaccurate conclusion in the NAL and wasted government resources." It admonished Jones for its negligent misrepresentation on this matter.
*Issued a USD 1,500 forfeiture to Imani Communications Corporation, Inc., licensee of WBFX-FM, Selma, Alabama, for late filing of licence renewal application. Imani had responded to an NAL for this amount by arguing for cancellation saying the violation arose from extraordinary circumstances - the burning down of its transmitter that put it out of business for several months - and inability to pay.
The FCC noted that the fire was in August 2002 and the renewal was not due until December 2003, which should have provided ample time an also the absence of financial documentation to substantiate the claim of inability to pay. It confirmed the full penalty.
The FCC also rejected an objection filed by the Rev. Vonne Blessman Anderson to the renewal of DJ Broadcasting, Inc.'s KSDZ-FM, Gorden, Nebraska, and renewed the licence (Also RNW Aug 7).
In Colorado the agency adopted a Consent Decree entered into by the Media Bureau and West Slope FM, licensee of FM Translator Stations K263AC, Canyon Valley, Colorado, and K249AW, Steamboat Springs.
The matter related to the late filing of licence renewals on time and in the decree the station accepted that it had breached FCC rules, agreed to make a voluntary payment of USD 1,000, and also agreed to implement a compliance plan.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-08-08: According to The Oregonian, CBS Radio is to announce on Monday that it is selling its four Portland stations - talk KCMD-AM; Contemporary Country KUPL-FM; Album oriented rock KINK-FM; and Alternative Rock KUFO-FM - for USD 40 million in cash to Alpha Broadcasting, a company controlled by Larry Wilson, the founder and former chief executive of Citadel Communications Corp.
Wilson owned 6% of Citadel when it was sold for USD 2 billion in 2001, returned to the radio business in May with the purchase of talk KXL-AM and sports KXTG-FM the two Portland, Oregon, stations owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for USD 11 million (See RNW May 12).
The paper quoted Wilson as saying of the cluster he now owns that it gives Alpha Broadcasting a diverse set of audiences to market to prospective advertisers, saying, "You can leverage just about any demographic. It really gives you a good cross section."
It added that Wilson said he doesn't plan any format changes and will in most cases make no significant programming changes although a possible exception is KCMD, which lags in the ratings.
The Oregonian report:
2009-08-08: Mid-Day Multimedia, which runs the Radio One FM business in which BBC Worldwide has a 20% stake (See RNW Jan 7, 2006), is planning to raise INR 500 million (USD 10.5 million) according to Indiantelevision.com.
It quoted Manajit Ghoshal, Mid-Day Multimedia Group CFO & Mid-Day Infomedia Managing Director, as saying, "As part of the investment in our radio business, we are looking at raising INR 500 million. We are in talks at this stage" and adding that the company is hoping that the current 20% limit on Foreign Direct Investment would be raised to 49%.
"We are waiting for Phase III to happen after which we hope that FDI limit increases, giving us a chance to look at international partners," said Ghoshal, while dismissing rumours that Mid-Day would leave the FM radio business.
The company operates FM stations in seven cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Kolkata - and in the financial year to the end of March lost INR 161 million (USD 3.37 million) on revenues of INR 280 million (USD 5.86 million).
Previous Indian Radio:
2009-08-08: Rogers Broadcasting has now launched its new Halifax station, LITE 92.9, with a commercial-free period of LITE Rock running until September 1.
On air talent is to be announced over the coming weeks and Rogers Project Manager for the station, Danny Kingsbury, said, "Listeners are going to love what they hear. The market is well served with the pop genre and the rock genre, but there was no radio station that really focused entirely on at-work tuning, in-store listening, the light rock sound. That's what we've come up with."
Rogers Radio CEO Paul Ski said the launch would "dramatically expand what we can offer our advertisers. At the same time, we are offering a true alternative listening option for a very important sector of Halifax."
2009-08-07: Astral Media's Montreal English-language CJAD-AM has dumped nine people as part of a shake-up that the Montreal Gazette reports was a "business decision, to enhance our programming" following a year spent "analyzing data gathered about who listens to what on the radio" according to Operations manager Bob Harris.
Harris had commented in an internal memo about the changes, "We're announcing programming and promotional changes to improve our product and better focus our programming into prime-time hours."
The nine being dropped include eight on-air personalities named by the paper as Peter Anthony Holder, the overnight host for 20 years; Olga Gazdovic and Laurie MacDonald whose "The Olga and Laurie Show" would have been on air for 14 years come October; news anchor Kathy Coulombe; editorialist Rod Dewar, Saturday-night solid-gold host Al Gravelle, Sunday host Jake Lawrence and Kevin Holden, husband of and on-air co-host with Trudie Mason.
The paper notes that MacDonald and Gazdovic dedicated much of their on-air time to raising awareness about various charities and quoted MacDonald, who also works as a real estate agent, as saying (in part), "It's hard, but that's the nature of the business...But I feel sad for the charities in the city, because they've lost a soap box."
The paper says that Harris who is also operations manager for CHOM FM and Virgin Radio 96, said CHOM FM promotions director Skip Snair was let go and that there would be an announcement about the addition of another on-air CHOM FM host on Tuesday next week.
Previous Astral Media:
Montreal Gazette report:
2009-08-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a Texas pirate operator USD 10,000 for operation of an unlicensed transmitter in Houston.
Radhames Severino was issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount in May but did not respond.
It also issued a USD 10,000 NAL to Louisiana State University for public file violations at its non-commercial educational station KLSU-FM, Baton Rouge. The violations were declared on a licence renewal application that said the issues/programs lists from 1996, 1997, 1998, the second, third, and fourth quarters of 1999, the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2000, and all of 2001 were missing from the public inspection file, having been kept properly from the first quarter of 1999 to the end of the license period but "misplaced during the renovation and relocation of the KLSU studio and the administrative offices." It also noted that since the fourth quarter of 2002, all issues/programs lists have been properly placed in the public inspection file.10
Raymond R. Bigalke had filed an objection to the licence renewal on the basis of the public file breaches but the FCC ruled that the breaches merited a fine rather than licence evidentiary hearing. In relation to the fine, it commented that even accepting the licensee's contention that many of the files were originally filed properly, it is clear that at least 12 lists were never prepared
In Nebraska the agency rejected an objection filed by the Rev. Vonne Blessman Anderson to the renewal of DJ Broadcasting, Inc.'s KSDZ-FM, Gorden, and renewed the licence.
In the objection Anderson expressed concern that the station's policies regarding the airing of funeral notices are unfair, saying that the station charges families - except Native Americans - for funeral announcements and requires that the announcements be bought in groups of three so that sometimes an announcement is aired after the funeral service is over. He argued that funeral announcements are "public service announcements," and, by law, should be aired for free in response to which the licensee said it charges commercial funeral directors and not individual families for airing funeral announcements and that until recently, a local business underwrote the cost of funeral announcements for the Native American community.
The FCC in renewing the licence commented that the objection "does not raise a substantial and material question of fact calling for further inquiry"and said that there were no legal requirements to air free funeral announcements.
2009-08-07: Max Media's Denver KTNI-FM, which garnered considerably publicity when at the end of July it dropped its alternative indie music "Indie 101.5" format to stunt with non-stop stripper hits, has now flipped to Talk format 101.5 the Truth.
The on air station has a line-up including syndicated hosts Erich "Mancow" Muller, Jerry Doyle, Michael Savage, and Rusty Humphries from theTalk Radio Network; Neal Boortz from Dial Global; and Curtis Sliwa from Citadel Media.
The indie format is online and its site carries a message saying the move is seen not "as a step backwards" but rather a way of "bringing many new and exciting features to Indie not possible on the FM dial."
It went on to say that the ratings system meant that it was only possible to operate over the air by playing music that other stations are airing not as Indie and notes that the station is one the air via Wi-Fi and on live365.com available "via iTunes, win amp, iPhone, blackberry, windows media player and more."
The station is also available on the indie303.com website that is under development: Both it and the 1015 fm site (which offers a stream with adverts) direct would-be listeners to a commercial free Live365 VIP feed
1015fmradio.com web site:
indie303. com web site:
2009-08-07: Fisher Communications has reported second quarter revenues to the end of June down 30% on a year earlier at USD 32 million with radio revenues down 49% - radio Broadcast Cash Flow went from a USD 6,000 loss in 2008 to a positive USD 1.37 million because of the ending of the Seattle Mariners' contract and the company noted that excluding the impact of this the revenue fall would have been 21% and BCF would have been down 30% - and TV revenues down 26% with TV BCF plunging from USD 9.1 million a year earlier to USD 1.1 million.
For the first six months of the year revenues were down 27.8% to USD 60.5 million with radio revenues down 41.6% to USD 10.8 million and TV down 26.9% to USD 43.90 million.
Overall net income went from a positive USD 63.7 million for the 2008 second quarter - when it was boosted by a USD 103.6 million gain from the company's sale of Safeco stock - to a loss of USD 2.1 million (from a positive USD 7.24 to a loss of 24 cents per diluted share) and from a positive USD 62.6 million to a loss of USD 6.4 million for the six months (From a positive USD 7.17 to a loss of USD 73 cents per share).
Fisher noted that in the second quarter it repurchased USD 12.8 million in aggregate principal amount of its 8.625% senior notes due in 2014 for USD 11.4 million in cash, reflecting a discount to the face value of the notes of approximately 11% and recorded a net gain of USD 1.2 million in connection with these repurchases.
Commenting on the results President and Chief Executive Officer Colleen B. Brown said: "Our financial performance continues to be affected by the overall weakness in the economy and its impact on our clients' advertising budgets. While we expect that our advertising and business partners will remain cautious until the economic recovery begins, we believe we are seeing signs that the worst may be behind us, including an improvement in TV ad pacing. It is too early to make definitive predictions, but these are positive indications that we will be closely monitoring for the remainder of the year.
2009-08-07: South West Radio, which owns Bath FM, Brunel FM in Swindon, Quay West stations in Bridgewater and Watchet and 3TR (Three Towns Radio serving Wasrminster, Westbury & Frome) in Warminster has gone into administration.
The stations will continue to broadcast whils administrator Kirk Hills looks for a buyer.
The stations were previously owned by Laser Broadcasting, which went bankrupt: They were then sold by liquidators Begbie Traynor to South West (See RNW Oct 29, 2008)
2009-08-06: In more US radio results, satellite operator Sirius-XM Radio stands out by increasing revenues although its subscription numbers fell slightly whilst revenues at CBS, Radio One Inc and Saga fell.
CBS Corporation revenues for the second quarter were down 11.4% to USD 3.01 billion: Within the figures Outdoor revenues fell 27.4% to USD 434 million; radio revenues fell 22.7% year on year to USD 322 million; TV was down 9.9% to USD 1.947 billion; Publishing was down 2.5% to USD 181.4 million; and Interactive revenues more than tripled from USD 40.2 to USD 126.4 million
The overall decline was put down to lower advertising sales, as the softness in the advertising marketplace continued during the second quarter, partially offset by the acquisition of CNET Networks.
Operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) was down 49.1% to USD 387.4 million; operating income was down 62% to USD 242.2 million; and reported net earning plunged from USD 408.4 million to USD 15.4 million (From 61 cents to two cents per diluted share) although adjusted net earnings (excluding a pre-tax loss on early extinguishment of debt of USD 30.5 million and USD 23.3 million reduction of deferred tax assets associated with stock-based compensation this year and a 2008 pre-tax gain of USD 127.2 million on the sale of the Company's investment in Sundance Channel) were USD 57.4 million compared to USD 330.1 million (Moving from 49 cents per diluted share to eight cents per diluted share).
Within the figures radio OIBDA was down 40% to USD 95.3 million and radio operating income was down 43% to USD 86.0 million,
For the first six months revenues are down 12.5% to USD 6.17 billion with OIBDA down from USD 1.40 billion to USD 637.2 million; adjusted net earnings fell from USD 574.4 million to USD 20.4 million (From 85 cents to three cents per diluted share - these figures exclude a pre-tax loss of USD 29.8 million on early extinguishment of debt and a USD 42.1 million reduction of deferred tax assets associated with stock based compensation as well as the Sundance gain); and overall the company reported a USD 39.9 million loss compared to year earlier net earnings of USD 652.7 million (Moving from income of 97 cents per diluted share to a loss of six cents).
For the full year CBS says it still expects OIBDA to be in the range of USD 1.725 billion to USD 1.925 billion.
Commenting on the results, President and CEO Leslie Moonves said, "As we anticipated, early signs of a recovery took hold in the second quarter, and our revenue, profit and EPS trends were all better than in the first quarter. We continue to believe that the back half of the year will be considerably stronger than the first. We are particularly encouraged by the strong performance of our many content businesses. Following a season where we were the only Network to grow in all key demos, CBS is again alone in adding viewers this summer and well positioned to carry that momentum into the fall. We also have a strong slate of syndication titles in the pipeline for release between now and year-end. And we continue to see the benefits of the aggressive steps we have taken to reduce expenses throughout the Company. As the U.S. economy improves, we are confident we can deliver stronger financial results in both the near and longer term."
Executive chairman Sumner Redstone said, "Leslie and his management team continue to run CBS with a sure and steady hand. We are focused on what matters most: maintaining financial flexibility and positioning the Company as one of the leading beneficiaries in an economic recovery. I am proud of the work our people do each day to achieve these goals, and confident in CBS's bright future."
At Radio One Inc, net revenue well 16% from a year earlier to USD 70.1 million with station operating income also down 16% - to USD 29.6 million but net operating income was up 56% to USD 18.5 million and net income was USD 7.2 million compared to a year earlier net loss of USD
11.7 million (A positive 12 cents per share compared to a loss of 12 cents per share).
For the first six months net revenue was down 16.1% on a year earlier to USD 130.8 million, net operating income moved from a positive USD 30.4 million to a loss of USD 24.8 million and net loss rose from USD 30.5 million a year in 2008 to USD 52.2 million including the impact of an impairment charge of USD 48.95 million in 2009.
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said of the performance, "At this point it seems likely that the first quarter will prove to be the low-point for 2009 radio revenues. Our second quarter performance showed significant improvement in three out of our top four markets, and we out-performed the general market in 10 of the 14 markets where we have available Miller Kaplan data. The significant cost reduction program that we launched in 2008 has mitigated to some degree the impact of falling revenues on the bottom line, but there is no doubt that the operating environment will remain very challenging for the rest of 2009."
Saga Communications net operating revenue was down 15.3% year on year to USD 31.6 million and operating income was down 20.2% to USD 6.18 million with net income down 22.7% to USD 2.67 million (from 70 cents to 63 cents per share) whilst for the first six months revenues were down 16.1% to USD 57.7 million, operating income was down 43.3% to USD 6.3 million and net income nearly halved - down from USD 4.4 million to USD 2.3 million (from 88cents to 55 cents per share).
Salem Communications reported revenues in its second quarter down 12.8% to USD 50.1 million - net broadcast revenues decreased 12.8% to USD 43.6 million - whilst an impairment charge of USD 13.7 hit its expenses - operating expenses were up 20.2% to USD 56.7 million including this and other expenses including the cost of denied tower site and abandoned projects whilst excluding them they fell 14.6% to USD 40.3 million.
The company made an operating from continued operations was of USD 6.5 million compared to operating income of USD 10.3 million in the prior year and overall it had a net loss was of USD 5.0 million, or USD 0.21 net loss per share, compared to net income of USD 3.5 million (From 15 cents income per diluted share to a loss of 21 cents).
Sirius-XM reported 18,413,435 total subscribers at the end of June, a decrease of 1% from the second quarter 2008 pro forma total subscribers of 18,576,830 and a decrease of 185,999 from the first quarter 2009 subscribers of 18,599,434.
Its Self-pay subscribers totalled 15,421,414, virtually unchanged from first quarter 2009 self-pay subscribers of 15,436,410 and up 592,264, or 4%, from the 14,829,150 self-pay subscribers in the second quarter 2008. Promotional subscribers totalled 2,992,021 in the quarter.
Pro forma total revenue - calculated as if the Sirius XM merger took place on January 1, 2008 (and excluding the effects of stock-based compensation and purchase accounting adjustments) was USD 608 million, up 1% from second quarter 2008 pro forma total revenue of USD 601 million and 0.4%from USD 605.5 million at the end of the first quarter.
Pro forma adjusted income from operations was USD 132 million compared to a pro forma loss from operations of (USD 61) million in the second quarter 2008 and a first quarter pro-forma loss of USD 62.9 million.
In subscriber terms monthly average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) was USD 10.66 in the second quarter 2009, up from USD 10.55 in the second quarter 2008 and USD 10.43, in the first quarter: Pro forma self-pay monthly customer churn rate was 2.0% in the second quarter 2009 down from 2.2% in the first quarter but up from 1.7% in second quarter 2008.
On a GAAP basis second quarter revenue was USD 590.8 million compared to USD 587 million in the first quarter and USD 283 million a year earlier; the net loss was USD 157.4 million, up from a loss of USD 50.4 million in the first quarter and a loss of USD 83.9 million a year earlier; and the net loss attributable to common stockholders was USD 157.4 million compared to USD 236.6 million in the previous quarter and USD 83.9 million a year earlier (Per share losses of four cents, seven cents and six cents respectively)
In connection with this the company noted that excluding USD 108 million, (Three cents per share), in net charges for the loss on the extinguishment of debt and credit facilities and a USD 24 million write-off, (0.7 cents per share,) of prepayments for future launch services attributable to the counterparty's bankruptcy filing the US GAAP net loss per share of a cent was in line with Wall Street estimates.
For the first six months of the year, pro forma revenue was USD 1,213 million, up 2.8% on a year earlier and pro forma adjusted income from operations was a positive USD 241 million compared to a year earlier loss of USD 131 million.
Looking ahead Sirius-XM says it expects 2009 adjusted income from operations to be more than USD 400 million, an increase from the company's previous guidance given in May of more than USD350 million.
CEO Mel Karmazin said of the results, "Just one year ago, combined operations produced negative adjusted income from operations of USD 61 million. This year our revenue increase in the second quarter, paired with a USD 187 million expense reduction, drove an improvement of approximately USD 193 million in adjusted income from operations to USD 132 million in second quarter 2009. Based on these results we are increasing guidance again and expect to exceed over USD 400 million in adjusted income from operations during 2009. Growing our revenue in the face of broad declines in the advertising and automotive markets is a remarkable accomplishment, and we are well positioned for a rebound in auto sales."
Previous Radio One Inc:
2009-08-06: Latest UK radio ratings for the second quarter of the year just released delivered good news for radio as its audience figures hit an all time high: they were also positive for the commercial companies who pulled back listening share from the BBC and for Global Radio, the UK's largest radio company, in particular.
Overall the ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show 46.3 million people a week - 90.3% of the 15-plus UK population - tuning in: The figure is up from 45.1 million a year ago and 45.8 million in the first quarter of this year and is the highest since new research methodology was introduced in January 1999.
Digital listening led the increase and now accounts for 21.1% of all listening compared to 17.9% a year ago with DAB listening accounting for 1.1% of all listening compared to 11.0% a year earlier whilst listening via a digital TV platform accounted to 3.6%, up from 3.3% a year earlier and internet listening taking 2.2%, up from 2% a year earlier.
Listening via mobile phones has also increased - a 14.5% increase from 6.2 million of those 15 plus saying they have listened via mobile phones a year ago to 7.1 million in the latest survey but the rise amongst those aged 15-24 was only 6%.
Within the figures, the BBC share of listening fell - it took a 54.6% share of listening compared to 56.3% in the first quarter of this year and 55.5% a year earlier whilst the commercial sector took a 42.7% share, up from 41.2% in the previous quarter and 42.4% a year earlier.
Global's overall weekly audience was up to 19.06 million - a 17.2% share of the total market - which was up from 16.9% in the previous quarter - and 40.3% share of the commercial radio market and it also had the satisfaction of seeing London flagship Capital 95.8 Capital Radio move up a rank into second place in the market driven by a strong performance from the breakfast team of Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon.
On the downside the station it displaced was from its own stable - Heart FM -as Bauer's Magic FM retained the top commercial rank in London,
Overall Bauer has increased its share of the market from 10.6% in the previous ratings to 10.7% with a total weekly audience of 12.65 million.
Losing out in the commercial sector was Guardian Media Group Radio with a total weekly audience of 5.02 million, down from 5.15 million in the previous quarter: its share was down from 4.7% to 4.4%.
Absolute Radio, the former Virgin Radio, which was bought by a Times of India subsidiary from SMG, saw its audience fall slightly compared to the previous quarter to 1.691 million - well down on the 2.4 million for Virgin a year earlier.
At the BBC the main loser was BBC Radio 2 which. Although it remains the UK's most listened to station saw its weekly audience fall by 8,000 compared to the previous quarter with its share down from 15.9% to 15.5% whilst main rival BBC Radio 1 increased its audience by 496,000 although its listening share was unchanged.
The Radio 2 losses came despite success in the station's breakfast slot where Sir Terry Wogan added 160,000 listeners over the previous quarter to take his audience to 7.93 million whilst on BBC Radio 1 its breakfast host Chris Moyles added only 20,000, taking his audience to 7.2 million
BBC Radio 3, which is this year's Sony Station of the Year (See RNW May 12), had its largest audience for more than two years and BBC Radio 4 also recorded a slight increase and Radio Five Live increased its audience both quarter on quarter and year on year.
In his comments Tim Davie, Director, BBC Audio & Music, highlighted the station's performance, commenting, "Radio 3 is a unique radio station with an unrivalled role in supporting music and the arts in the UK. I am delighted to see it follow its Sony Award with a strong performance that illustrates the public's enduring appetite for distinctive, high quality broadcasting."
In its comments commercial industry body The RadioCentre noted "a strong quarter with 31.9 million adults tuning in for the Q2 period - a healthy increase both on the year and quarter."
Its chief executive Andrew Harrison commented, "Today's record results show that radio is still very much at the heart of consumers' busy lives. It is very encouraging to see that once again more and more people continue to tune into commercial radio and it is particularly pleasing to regain some market share."
He also noted the rise in digital listening, commenting, "More listeners continue to tune into commercial radio via a digital platform with DAB leading the charge and this bodes well for the future."
Within the figures compared to the first quarter and a year ago:
*BBC Radio 1 gained 289,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 11.072 million with listening share unchanged at 10.3% (10.0% a year ago when it had 10.684 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 33,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 13.424 million and listening share was down from 15.9% to 15.5% (16.0% a year ago, when it had 12.998 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 gained 29,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.021 million and listening share was up from 1.1% to 1.2% (1.2% a year ago, when it had 1.910 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 gained 17,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.999 million but listening share was down from 12.50% to 12.1% (12.0% a year ago when it had 9.534 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, gained 204,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.415 million, but listening share was down from 4.7% to 4.5% (4.6% a year ago when it had 6.001 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 192,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.323 million but a listening share down from 4.8% to 4.7% (4.8% a year ago when it had 6.116 million listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 32,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.438 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.7% (0.7% a year ago when it had 1.310 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network gained 16,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 421,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.2% (0.3% a year ago when it had 473,000 listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd's (Times of India parent) Absolute Radio - the former Virgin Radio - (total including all AM and FM) - in its third ratings since it became Absolute Radio - lost 2,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.691 million and listening share down from 1.2% to 1.1% (1.9% a year ago when it had an audience of 2.386 million listeners as Virgin).
RNW Note: SMG in 2008 sold Virgin to Times of India subsidiary TIML Golden Square Ltd and the stations were re-branded, losing the Virgin name.)
*Global Radio's Classic FM gained 103,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.517 million and listening share up from 3.7% to 3.9% (3.9% a year ago when it had 5.704 million listeners).
*UTV's talkSPORT lost 11,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.405 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.8% (1.9% a year ago when it had 2.372 million listeners.).
Among digital stations - excluding Bauer's Kerrang! which has a substantial analogue and digital listenership and a total weekly reach of 1.316 million including its analogue stations (down from 1.366 million quarter on quarter and down from 1.350 million a year ago) but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network - the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below (previous quarter in brackets):
1 The Hits (Bauer) -1.243 million (down from 1.300 million and from 1.477 million a year ago).
2 Smash Hits Radio (Bauer) - 1.155 million (up from 996,000 and from 976,000 a year ago).
3 BBC 7 - 834,000(down from 984,000 and up from 812,000 a year ago).
4 Planet Rock (Now independent, having been sold by GCap) - 709,000 (up from 674,000 and up from 585,000 a year ago).
5 BBC Five Live Sports Extra - 676,000 (up from 642,000 but down from 748,000 a year ago). Up from sixth
6. BBC 1Xtra - 634,000 (up from 616,000 and up from 491,000 a year ago). Up from seventh.
7. BBC 6 Music - 595,000 (down from 681,000 and up from 551,000 a year ago.). Down from fifth.
8 Heat (Bauer) - 572,000 (Up from 423,000 and 431,000 a year ago).
9 BBC Asian Network - 421,000 (up from 405,000 but down from 473,000 a year ago).
10 NME Radio up from 194,000 to 215,000 (Ahead of Absolute Radio Classic Rock with 191,000)
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (Ultimate parent of Absolute Radio):
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous RAJAR (First quarter 2009 ratings):
2009-08-05: In further US radio second quarter results - from Cumulus, Entravision and Regent, revenues have fallen steeply - by more than a fifth for the first two but only a seventh for Regent: Cumulus Media reported second quarter revenues to the end of June down 21.25% on a year ago to USD 65.96 million with barter revenues down slightly less proportionately - by 18.3% to USD 3.16 million - than cash ones - down 21.2% to USD 62.81 million.
Station operating expenses were down 25.9% to USD 39.23 million, station operating income was down 12.8% to USD 26.73 million and net income fell 53.5% to USD 14.1 million ( from 69 cents per basic and 70 cents per diluted share to 34 cents and 35 cents respectively).
For the first six months of the year net revenues are down 22.5% to USD 121.32 million within which cash revenues fell 22.5% to USD 115.86 million and barter ones 23.0% to USD 5.46 million.
Station operating expense are down 21.7% to USD 81.53 million, station operating income is down 24.1% to USD 39.39 million and net income is down 58.6% to USD 10.78 million ( from 59 cents to 26 cents per basis share and from 60 cents to 27 cents per diluted share).
Cumulus notes that of the net revenues some USD 1.0 million for the quarter and USD 2 million for the six months came in management fees from Cumulus Media Partners. It also noted that it has long-term debt of some USD 647.89 million compared to stockholders equity of a negative USD 236.32 million.
Entravision reported net revenues for the quarter down 23% to USD 48.70 million with operating expenses down 20% to USD 29.65 million and corporate expenses down 25% to USD 3.38 million: For the first six months revenues were down 24% to USD 90.41 million with operating expenses down 15% to USD 61.46 million and corporate expenses down 19% to USD 7.25 million.
Within the figures for the quarter a little more than half the USD 14.2 million revenue decline - USD 7.2 million - came from Entravision's TV operations with the remaining USD 7 million fall from radio - both falls being put down primarily to a fall in advertising because of the weak economy.
For the half- year the proportions were similar - of a USD 28.2 million decrease USD 15.0 million was from TV and USD 13.2 million was from radio, again primarily put down to the weak US economy.
Consolidated adjusted EBITDA was down 27% for the quarter to USD 16.32 million and down 41% for the six months to USD 23.04 million and net income from continuing operations moved from a positive USD 11.66 million to a loss of USD 1.83 million for the quarter and from a positive USD 4.61 million to a loss of USD 16.32 million for the half year.
Net loss applicable to common shareholders for the quarter was USD 1.83 million compared to net income of USD 10.74 million a year earlier (from income of 12 cents per basic and diluted share to a loss of two cents) and for the half year net income went from USD 3.04 million to a loss of USD 16.32 million (From net income of three cents to a loss of 19 cents per basic and diluted share).
Entravision also announced that in the second quarter it had repurchased from Univision Communications, Inc. 900,000 shares of Entravision Class A common stock for approximately USD 500,000.
Commenting on the results Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa said, "Our second quarter financial results reflect the continuing recession and the challenging advertising environment. We are continuing to aggressively manage our costs to maximize our cash flows. Our television and radio operations continue to deliver solid ratings in the nation's most densely-populated Hispanic markets. We believe we are well positioned to benefit when the economy recovers, given the strength of our brands and our ability to deliver the valuable Hispanic audience to advertisers."
Regent Communications reported net income for the quarter was down 43.9% to USD 3.2 million on broadcast revenues down 14% to USD 22.8 million (Down from 14 cents to eight cents per share) with station operating expenses down 9.7% to USD 14.8 million.
For the first six months it had a net loss of USD 29.3 million including an impairment charge of USD 31.8 million compared to net income of USD 2.7 million a year earlier (Going from net income of seven cents per share to a loss of 73 cents per share).
Commenting on the results, president and CEO Bill Stakelin said, "Despite a challenging environment, we continue to make considerable progress in building our audience shares and advancing our digital initiatives. We have maintained strong relationships with our advertising partners and our value proposition has never been stronger.''
2009-08-05: Australia's radio industry tomorrow celebrates the launch of DAB + digital radio - it was actually launched by commercial radio stations in Perth on May 4 (See RNW May 4) and then in other capital cities by the commercial stations followed by the public broadcasters at the start of July - with its "Radio United" event in which more than 40 different radio stations hold simultaneous outside broadcasts from 05:30 to 09:00 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide to promote digital radio.
The event will involve breakfast shows from both commercial and public broadcast stations combining to promote the benefits of digital radio albeit in Sydney the top-rated Austereo 2-DAY FM team of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O (Jackie O'Neil Henderson) will be absent following the suspension of the show in the wake of a "lie detector" episode in which a 14-years-old girl said she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Aug 3).
Joan Warner, chief executive officer of industry body Commercial Radio Australia commented of the event, "Breakfast radio is a very powerful medium with Nielsen research figures for survey four 2009 showing the average cumulative breakfast radio audience Monday to Friday in the five state capitals for all stations is 8,761,000 people. Radio is a big part of Australians way of life and we want to tell them about our new digital technology"
"As an industry we will be speaking to this audience about digital radio in a unique event," she added. "We are inviting listeners to come to the outside broadcast in each city, meet many of the top radio personalities and listen to digital radio."
The locations in which the broadcasts will be held are Victoria Square in Adelaide; Reddacliff Place in Brisbane; Federation Square in Melbourne; Forrest Place in Perth; and Martin Place in Sydney. Manufacturers will showcase a range of receivers at each location at a digital radio "Listener Post" and each location will also feature a car fitted with a digital radio adaptor.
Each site will also feature competitions that those present can enter to win prizes of digital radio receivers.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-08-04: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Joint Board Chair Steve Newberry, who is also president and CEO of Kentucky- based Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation, has told the US Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing "The Performance Rights Act and Parity among Music Delivery Platforms" that the introduction of performance royalty payments for terrestrial radio would "upend local radio broadcasting as you have always known it."
Newberry was testifying following comments in favour of the introduction of royalties by California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, who presided over the meeting, and Vermont Democrat and Judiciary chair Senator Patrick Leahy, who sponsored the original Performing Rights Act and commented that broadcasters are using somebody else's property without compensation, something he termed "not consistent with American property laws."
Leahy added that he wants to make sure the bill protects smaller broadcasters and said the NAB needs to "need to sit down and work with us This is legislation that is going to move. The time to sit down and talk is now."
The first witness was also in favour of royalties - recording artist Sheila E, who represented the MusicFirst Coalition and said that she was representing artists "who seek one simple right, and that is to be compensated for their labour." She added that after a lifetime as a musical performer, she is "at a loss to explain why one industry, traditional broadcast radio, is allowed to profit from artists work without compensation to the artists."
She took up the issue of small broadcasters' vulnerability, noting protection for them in the legislation and adding, "As a Latin artist, I want minority stations and minority artists to be able to thrive" but derided the NAB contention that the free play was justified because of the promotional value of airtime, calling it a "tired argument."
Real Networks EVP Bob Kimball in his testimony called for equal treatment for all users of audio whilst Rounder Records owner Marian Leighton-Levy also accused the NAB of running a "misinformation campaign" about royalties commenting that "Taking your product without consent and using it to profit his or her own business without a penny in return. Unfair is not the word. It is unconscionable."
Newberry argued the NAB position about the promotional benefits of airplay. Commenting, "We strongly believe that local radio stations provide compensation to record labels and artists today. The artist is "paid" with free advertising and free exposure every time a radio station plays their music. Local free radio is the unique developer, exposer, promoter, and great populizer of new and old music, to multiple new and old generations of listeners.
"There is a value to free radio promotion, but how do we quantify it? Economist James Dertouzos determined that radio airplay was directly responsible for up to USD 2.4 billion a year in music sales. And that figure doesn't include the additional billions earned annually in concert or merchandise sales from radio promotions, artist interviews, and CD and concert ticket giveaways."
"Free radio airplay," said Newberry "is important enough for record labels to send gold and platinum records like this one here [A plaque presented to radio station "WIHT to commemorate RIAA certified multi-platinum sales of more than 9,000,000 copies of Confessions," Usher's 2004 release to radio stations all over the country] getting artists airplay on local radio is apparently valuable enough that record labels continue to spend thousands of dollars inviting radio program directors to hear private "showcase concerts" by recording artists."
In a move timed to coincide with the hearing, the NAB placed advertisements opposing a performance royalty in Congressional Quarterly (CQ) and National Journal's Congress Daily that features a mosaic comprised of gold and platinum albums given to radio stations by record labels in appreciation for promoting music through free radio airplay.
It then carries text that amongst other things read, "Radio is the number one way listeners discover new music and new artists. This free promotion translates to billions of dollars each year in music, concert ticket and merchandise sales for labels and their performers."
2009-08-04: Beasley Broadcast Group, has announced second quarter revenues to the end of June down 23.9& on a year earlier at USD 23.6 million with operating income down 35.5% to USD 4 million, station operating income down 28% to USD 6.7 million and net income plunging from USD 2.4 million to USD 700,000 (From ten cents to three cents per diluted share).
For the first half of the year revenues are down 23.5% to USD 46.2 million, operating income is down 40.9% to USD 6.5 million, station operating income is down 30.5% to USD 12.1 million and net income is down from USD 3.6 million to USD 700,000 (From 15 cents to three cents per share - Net income in the first quarter was USD 8,000 compared to USD 1.19 million a year earlier).
The company said the revenue fall reflects "lower net revenue at ten of the Company's eleven station clusters related to the overall downturn in advertising spending due to the impact of the current economic recession" and added, "Approximately 62% of the 2009 second quarter revenue decline was related to the Company's Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Las Vegas market clusters."
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George G. Beasley said of the results, "The deep recession has caused consumers and businesses to significantly reduce discretionary spending, and as a result, ad budgets are believed to have reached the lowest levels in decades. The economies in key Beasley markets including Miami, Las Vegas and Fort Myers-Naples remain unsettled due to severe real estate downturns, while our stations in all markets faced ongoing declines in important advertising segments such as auto and retail."
He noted that "interactive and 'off-air' quarterly revenues continued to grow with revenue from these sources rising 4.9% over the year-ago period to approximately USD 1.5 million" and said "the Company again achieved bottom line profitability based largely on our expense management initiatives; and, we reduced our total bank debt to USD 171.0 million from USD 173.5 million at the end of the first quarter."
He also highlighted cost cutting at station and corporate levels; the sale of KBET-AM and certain assets of KCYE-FM and KFRH-FM in Beasley's Las Vegas market cluster, allied with a move of KCYE-FM's Coyote country format to the KFRH-FM frequency (The sale raised USD 15.2 million in cash - See RNW May 29); and a reduction in bank debt from USD 173.5 million at the end of the first quarter to USD 171.0 million.
"Beasley," he concluded "remains positioned with the right combination of resources, cost and operating disciplines to benefit as radio advertising demand rebounds."
Previous George Beasley:
2009-08-04: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award of funding totalling almost Euros 960,000 (USD 1.38 million) for radio programming in the most recent funding round of its Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme.
The awards of to a total of 89 projects dealing with the themes of Irish, culture, heritage and experience and range in value from Euros 3,000 to Euros 40,000 (USD 4,300 to USD 57,600) with the highest award going to Digital Audio Productions for a music documentary Compass an Cheoil - The Story of Irish Music for state broadcaster RTÉ's Lyric FM.
The next highest award is of Euros 35,000 (USD 50,400) in the "other" category to Craol for Ní Neart go Cur le Cheile for Near FM with the third highest of Euros 32,000 (USD 46,100) going to Katcom for a culture documentary Ar an gCoigríoch for RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta.
After this there are seven awards in the Euros 20,000 to 30,000 (USD 28,800 to 43,200) range; a further 29 from Euros 10,000 to just under Euros 20,000 (USD 14,400 to USD 28,800) and a final 50 below Euros 10,000 (USD 14,300).
14 of the projects are for Irish and bi-lingual projects with 48 from independent producers, representing Euros 523,000 (USD 75,300 - 54.5%) of the total amount.
The awards take the amount allocated to radio from the scheme to Euros 2.2 million (USD 3.2 million) in 2009 making the total awarded since the scheme began in February 2006 to Euros 7.2 million (USD10.4 million).
Commenting on the awards, BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said the scheme "continues to be a great success through the funding of high quality programmes" and added, "We are particularly pleased at the ongoing growth in the independent production sector, which has secured the highest funding contribution to date in this round."
2009-08-03: Entercom has reported second quarter revenues to the end of June down 18% on a year earlier at USD 101.3 million with station operating expenses down 10% to USD 66.5 million and station operating income down 30% to USD 34.8 million whilst EBITDA was down 32% to USD 30.1 million.
Overall including an impairment charge of USD 67.7 million Entercom reported an operating loss of USD 43.65 million compared to a loss of USD 147.86 million a year earlier when the figures included a USD 184.59 million impairment charge with a net loss of USD 41.91 million compared to USD 96.33 million (USD 1.19 per Basic And Diluted share compared to USD 2.60 loss a year earlier).
For the first six months revenues are down 19.4% at USD 176.67 million with station operating expenses down 9.1% to USD 124.97 million: After taking into account the impairment charges noted above the company recorded a net loss of USD 36.58 million compared to USD 91.10 million a year earlier (USD 1.03 per share compared to USD 2.44 per share).
President and CEO David J. Field, said of the performance in a release, "Second quarter results improved modestly from first quarter as business conditions remained weak, but stabilized and strengthened slightly off of their lows. We continue to make progress towards our goals of emerging from the recession with enhanced capabilities, a stronger competitive position and an improved business model. Over the past twelve months, we have trimmed our debt by well over USD 100 million, significantly reduced operating expenses, grown our broadcasting, streaming and website audience ratings, and added new products and programs to increase our value to our customers. And as the economy recovers, we believe radio is well-positioned for revenue growth based on strong audience listening trends and the medium's outstanding value proposition to customers."
In other US radio business, Westwood One Inc. has announced that shareholders at its special meeting have approved all measures before them by a large margin including an increase in the number of authorized shares of common stock from 300 million to 500 million and a 200:1 reverse stock split.
The measures had been on the agenda at a June 26 meeting which adjourned without a vote on a total of five proposals including these two.
Walt Disney Co. also reported revenues down - in its case for its fiscal third quarter running to June 27: Revenues fell 7% to USD 8.6 billion and net income was down 26% to USD 954 (From 66cents to 51 cents per share).
Disney said broadcast income was down 4% to USD 1.4 billion but it does not split this into further detail - as well as its TV operations it owns ESPN Radio and Radio Disney.
Previous Westwood One:
2009-08-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now up to full strength of five commissioners following the swearing-in at a ceremony in Columbia, South Carolina, of Democrat Mignon L. Clyburn.
She will be the first African American woman to be an FCC Commissioner and said in a statement after being sworn in, "I look forward to working with the Administration, Congress, Chairman Genachowski, my fellow Commissioners and the incredibly talented FCC staff, to ensure that all Americans enjoy the tremendous benefits offered by modern communications. This is an exciting and challenging time in our nation's history. I am eager to hear from and work with all stakeholders to carry out, along with my colleagues, communications policies that protect consumers and encourage robust competition and innovation."
Welcoming her FCC chairman Julius Genachowski described her as a "dedicated public servant with years of state-level and private-sector experience".
2009-08-03: Austereo has now taken the 2-DAY FM Kyle and Jackie O breakfast show off air indefinitely following the row over an edition in which a 14-years-old girl in its "Lie Detector" feature said on air that she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Jul 30).
Critical comment had followed from many people including Australia's Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (See RNW Jul 31) and in a statement the Sydney Morning Herald (the report was sourced to AAP) quoted Austereo publicity manager Kate Whitby as saying on Sunday evening, "Kyle Sandilands' management has advised Austereo that he is unable to perform his duties on-air at this time.
"Further, following a great deal of consideration and having consulted Jackie O and all stakeholders, Austereo has formed the view that it is in the interest of all parties, for the Kyle and Jackie O Show to go into recess until we have completed an across-the-networks review of the principals (sic) and protocols of our interaction with our audience. This review commenced last Wednesday, July 29."
The same statement was carried in the Daily Telegraph but sourced by them to Austereo Sydney's general manager Jenny Parkes: It also carried a photo feature on the duo, linking to this as "Gallery: Kyle and Jackie O radio's Vile and Tacky O", an appellation presumably taken from the reference to the pair by comedian Wil Anderson as "Vile and Jackie Ho" or "Vile and Tacky Ho".
It was also read out today - and attributed to Parkes - by interim replacement Chris Page who before reading the statement said of the hosts, "They have not been suspended ... the show has not finished."
Parkes said that Jackie O had been consulted before the decision to suspend the programme was announced and added that Austereo would not make further comment until its review is complete.
Sandilands has been dropped as a judge on "Australian Idol" by the Ten Network, which commented that while "Idol has remained a family-focused show, his radio has taken on a more controversial position over this period which is not in the interest of the show". The programme is to return for its seventh series on Sunday and three episodes featuring Sandilands, which have already been recorded, are expected to be aired.
Australia media are suggesting the action was taken by Ten to avoid a loss of sponsors for "Idol" and there is widespread speculation Sandilands' future.
ABC Online in one of its reports on the suspension quoted media analyst Roger Colman from CCZ Equities as saying the incident has already damaged both the station's reputation and advertising and adding that a permanent change in the breakfast line-up would be unlikely to affect the station's ratings or earnings.
"Some of the advertisers have already pulled-off... so the financial damage has already been done by them being there," he told ABC News Online, adding, "The group has had this history of being very flexible on these matters, and to some extent a replacement might actually improve the audience compared to the current pair,".
Colman noted that the group was "successful in replacing Wendy Harmer with this pair ultimately. Generally amongst talent, the station makes the talent to a substantial degree and that's been the historic record in these music stations in Australia."
Telecommunications company Optus was quoted as saying in a statement that it was "appalled by the actions taken by the individuals [involved in the on-air incident] and has conveyed that to the network" although it refused to comment directly about how the matter would affect its relationship with Austereo.
So far there has been no significant effect on Austereo in the markets - its shares traded between AUD 1.40 and AUD 1.46 last week and closed on Monday at AUD 1.44, down a cent on the day but a report in the Australian Financial Review suggests that the incident could hit the company's revenues to the tune of up to AUD 5 million (USD 4.2 million) - the Kyle and Jackie O show takes in an estimated AUD 15 million (USD 12.6 million) a year in advertising.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Fusion Strategy's Steve Allen as saying that replacing Sandilands would "be pretty clunky to begin with and undoubtedly lose some audience'', raising questions about the future spending of advertisers and media buyers" and added that an unnamed analyst had commented that if "the show went off the air indefinitely, ''it would make quite an impact on their numbers''.
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
ABC, Australia report:
Daily Telegraph report:
Sydney Morning Herald report on show suspension:
Sydney Morning Herald report re potential financial effects:
2009-08-03: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), continuing its fight against the introduction of performance royalties for radio, has announced that a group of 22 hours Democrats have urged the party's leadership not to move legislation that would introduce the charges until its potential impact can be fully evaluated.
In the letter is signatories write in part, "At this time, Congress lacks adequate information on the overall impact that this legislation could have on local radio broadcasters and the potential disadvantages to our local communities that depend on radio to create jobs and bring residents their local news, emergency information, weather, and information on the activities of their elected governments."
They also took up a line that NAB had pushed, albeit without the NAB's chauvinistic mentions of foreign ownership of record labels, commenting, "We are further concerned by the assertions that this bill will unfairly divert money from our local communities and direct those funds primarily to large record labels."
The NAB also notes that many of those signing are "members of the influential Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative Democrats" (RNW comment: We are not quite sure why the NAB should highlight this and what benefits its members gain from it doing so) and also noted that the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposed the introduction of performance royalties has now gained the support of 246 House members and 23 U.S. Senators.
2009-08-03: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds one radio plus five TV standards complaints, considered further standards complaints against TV resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and detailed another TV standards complaint not upheld: In addition it detailed Fairness and Privacy Complaints against six TV programmes that were not upheld.
The figures compare to radio standards complaint, one radio "Other" complaint, and one radio Fairness and Privacy complaint plus five TV standards complaints on top of which another TV standards complaint was considered resolved in the previous Bulletin in which Ofcom upheld one TV Fairness and Privacy complaint and posted details of two more that were not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld was against Leeds community station Radio Asian Fever (also known as Fever 107.3 FM) and related to a programme broadcast in May during the run up period to the UK European parliamentary election on June 4 this year.
The programme was presented by Radio Asian Fever's Project Director, who also sits on the Licensee's board, and featured a local Labour councillor and a Labour candidate for the European parliamentary elections and the complainant alleged that the presenter and the two Labour representatives all encouraged listeners to vote Labour.
Ofcom subsequently asked the licensee to comment on how the programme met impartiality requirements during the time of elections and the requirement to give due weight to coverage of major parties during the election period.
The licensee said that some of its staff had attended a meeting at which it was claimed that
Labour's second seat in the local European Parliament constituency was under threat, through voter apathy, from the British National Party and that it was asked to help by giving airtime to Maroof Hussein and Cllr Arif Hussein (a Labour candidate for the European parliamentary elections and a local Labour councillor respectively) to encourage listeners to vote for Labour, adding that if it had refused the request it might have offended many members of the various ethnic communities who were present at the meeting. The licensee added that it had not realised that the European elections were subject to the same requirements as local and national elections and said that the station had in the past always given due weight to the coverage of the major parties whenever it has covered elections and that not doing so on this occasion was due to a "lack of concentration" and poor judgement.
It apologised in relation to comments by the presenter that included "vote Labour to keep the BNP out" and said this would not happen again.
It also said that in order to give due weight it would give due weight and time to members of the other major parties (the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives) which was equal to that which it gave to the Labour Party and said that it would also broadcast a generic advertisement for the European parliamentary elections urging its listeners to vote for a party of their choice.
It subsequently broadcast an hour-long interview with a local Conservative councillor and also arranged for an equal amount of time on-air with a local Liberal Democrat councillor but he was unable to attend at the time.
Ofcom in its ruling noted the efforts made to comply with the code but said the failure to cover the Liberal Democrats meant the code was breached and also that the programme had not been presented with due impartiality.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 380 TV complaints against 126 items - more than two hundred of them relating to the Big Brother programme - and 19 radio complaints against 18 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compared to 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 that were listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-08-03: Infinity Radio (now CBS Radio) co-founder Michael A. Wiener has died aged 71 of cancer: He and his business partner Gerald Carrus had built up from their first station, bought in 1972, to a total of 44 stations by 1996 when they sold out to Westinghouse Corporation for about USD 4 billion.
The New York Times reports that as part of his financing to buy the first station Weiner sold his father's stamp collection for USD 5,000 and adds that seven years later Weiner, who at the time was selling advertising for MetroMedia's radio stations, and his partner quit their jobs to run their network.
They hired Mel Karmazin, currently Sirius-XM Radio CEO, to run the company as president in 1981 and through him ended up employing Howard Stern who in a tribute told the paper of Weiner, "He was a very innovative guy who took a big risk in life. They started in medium markets and worked their way into larger markets. People may say that is no big deal, but you can't believe the number of radio stations that go under And they were smart enough to hire Mel and give him the freedom to do his thing. There were not a lot of people who would take a risk on me."
A year after he sold his empire, Weiner's only son, Gabe, a producer of classical music, died of a brain aneurysm at age 26, and the paper notes that this prompted Weiner and his wife Zena to make a series of contributions to artistic causes. He also supported research on heart disease.
New York Times report:
2009-08-02: Last week the most significant developments for the regulators came from the UK, where Ofcom has posted consultations about local radio and media ownership (See RNW Aug 1) and the US where with the swearing-in of Republican Meredith Attwell Baker the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is nearing full strength (See RNW Jul 31): Elsewhere there was a steady flow of radio-related decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is proposing to make new FM frequencies available to Tasmanian stations 7LEX and 7LM, Launceston, for FM translators to fill in the service to areas whose reception is affected by terrain obstruction. It is also proposing to make an AM frequency available for a high power open narrowcasting service at Launceston in which two companies have expressed an interest.
Commenting on the latter, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman noted that "There are currently no open narrowcasting services available in Launceston and the ACMA is of the view that narrowcasting services play a major role in promoting diversity."
The ACMA also noted that one person has previously expressed an interest in providing a community broadcasting service in Launceston but says it is not proposing to make any frequencies available for additional community radio services
Comments on the proposals have to be submitted by August 28.
In the Perth area of Western Australia, the ACMA is to allow changes to the technical specifications of four stations including new indigenous community station 6NME, which is to be allowed to change its transmitter site because of problems launching its service at the previously identified location.
In addition the agency has given the go-ahead for a minor variation to the nominal transmitter site location for commercial radio service operated by station 6PER and an increase in antenna height for the community radio services operated by stations 6SON and 6RTR.
The ACMA also notes that its draft variation to the Perth licence area released for public comment in March 2009 also contained proposals to make channel capacity available for FM translators at Carabooda and Rockingham for the Perth AM commercial radio service 6PR to alleviate deficient AM reception in the northern and southern regions of its licence area; and for a change to the polarisation of commercial broadcaster 6IX's translator in Wanneroo and says it has decided that these proposals require further consideration and these variations will not be made at this time.
In New South Wales, the ACMA has found that Eurobodalla Access Radio Inc., the licensee of community radio station 2EAR, breached community radio licence conditions relating to broadcasting advertisements by failing to include tags in relation to four pre-recorded announcements for financial sponsors.
It notes that in response to the findings the licensee has changed its procedures and also installed new software, and says that it will not take any further action for the moment.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award in principle of three community licences: The ten-year licences would go to Dundalk Media Centre Limited, trading as Dundalk FM; RosFM Radio Limited, trading as RosFM; and BCA Social Economy Project Limited, trading as West Dublin Access Radio.
All three currently operate a community service and were the only applicants for new contracts in their respective areas.
In addition the BCI noted that a fourth application from an incumbent community station operator - from West Limerick Community Radio Limited - was also considered at the Board meeting on July 27 but in this case it had decided to invite the applicant to a private oral hearing as clarifications required, including funding models, are more significant.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a fairly quiet week has posted a notice of consultation with a September 3 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments that includes the following audio-related matters:
*Application by Bhupinder Bola, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a licence to operate a national specialty audio programming undertaking to be known as Apna Desi Radio (Hindi) providing programming directed at the Hindi speaking communities in Canada.
*Application by Bhupinder Bola, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a licence to operate a national specialty audio programming undertaking to be known as Apna Desi Radio (Classical music) that would provide classical music (80%) and talk show (20%) programming directed at the Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu speaking communities in Canada.
*Application by Bhupinder Bola, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a licence to operate a national specialty audio programming undertaking to be known as Apna Desi Radio (Sports) that would provide sports (80%) and talk show (20%) programming directed at the Hindi and Punjabi speaking communities in Canada.
*Application by Kispiox First Nations Community Radio for a licence to operate an 11 watts English-language and Native-language Type B Native FM radio programming undertaking in Hazelton.
*Application by 5777152 Manitoba Ltd. for a licence to operate a 1,640 watts English-language Country and Pop/Rock music format commercial FM in Winnipeg Beach with a 119 watts FM transmitter in Arborg.
This application is mutually exclusive with a second application from Riding Mountain Broadcasting for a new 53,000 watts Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM in Gimli.
*Application by 5777152 Manitoba Ltd. for a licence to operate a 3,200 watts English-language Country music format commercial FM in Neepawa.
*Application by Northwoods Broadcasting Limited for authority to acquire from Newcap Inc., the assets of English-language commercial stations CKTG-FM ("The Giant 105.3 Classic Rock") and CJUK-FM ("Magic 99.9") Thunder Bay. The value of the transaction if CAD 4.5 million (USD 4.0 million - See RNW July 15).
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award in principle of three community licences: The ten-year licences would go to Dundalk Media Centre Limited, trading as Dundalk FM; RosFM Radio Limited, trading as RosFM; and BCA Social Economy Project Limited, trading as West Dublin Access Radio.
All three currently operate a community service and were the only applicants for new contracts in their respective areas.
In addition the BCI noted that a fourth application from an incumbent community station operator - from West Limerick Community Radio Limited - was also considered at the Board meeting on July 27 but in this case it had decided to invite the applicant to a private oral hearing as clarifications required, including funding models, are more significant.
In the UK as already noted, Ofcom has posted consultations about local radio and media ownership and it also posted the reasons for its award last month of three new community licences, which went to Meridian FM, East Grinstead, West Sussex; Uckfield FM, Uckfield, East Sussex; and Awaaz Radio, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (See RNW Licence News Jul 26): All three are to be allowed to raise up to half their annual income from the sale of advertising and/or sponsorship.
The first two have experience from operating through Restricted Service Licences and Ofcom commented of Awaaz Radio that it has "secured significant funding prior to launch that will help to ensure its sustainability."
Ofcom has also updated its invitation to apply for community radio licences in London and other areas within the M25 that was published on 13 May 2009, noting that it has done so because of a significant change in the number of available FM frequencies in this region following the decision of The Local Radio Company to hand back the licence for Mix 107, which served the High Wycombe and Amersham areas of Buckinghamshire (See RNW June 29).
It adds that it felt that "the most pragmatic approach to licensing community radio in this region is to withdraw the May invitation and issue an updated invitation, thus potentially allowing more community services to be licensed" and notes that the increase in the number of available frequencies is the only substantive change from the May invitation.
Overall it says it has concluded that there are only four FM frequencies available for use by new community radio services and that these frequencies are limited to use in certain areas adding that the frequencies were previously used for commercial services at Lewisham, Thamesmead, High Wycombe and an associated relay in Amersham
In the US as already noted, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has virtually reached full strength with the swearing in of Republican Meredith Attwell Baker (See RNW Jul 31) leaving only the swearing-in of Democrat Mignon Clyburn to bring it up to its full quota of five commissioners: The week also saw new chairman Julius Genachoswki make a number of senior appointments (See RNW Jul 29).
In other actions the FCC announced that the WCS Coalition and Sirius-XM were on July 28 to conduct demonstration tests of potential interference (or non-interference tests) to evaluate the potential for interference from proposed mobile operations in the Wireless Communications Service (WCS) at 2305 - 2320 MHz and 2345 - 2360 MHz to the Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service at 2320 - 2345 MHz. Results have still to be posted.
The agency was also involved in a number of enforcement actions involving radio that included the following:
*Issued a USD 4,000 forfeiture to James J. Chladek, licensee of WXMC-AM, Parsippany-Troy Hill, New Jersey, for failure to maintain radio issues/programs lists in the public inspection file. Chladek at the time of the station's most recent renewal - in May 2006 - had disclosed that the station's quarterly issues/programs lists had not been timely placed in the public inspection file, but that the licensee had taken corrective steps to ensure that all necessary documentation required to be kept in the file has been, or will immediately be, placed in the file.
A subsequent inspection this year showed that the station's public file and found that it did not contain any quarterly radio issues/programs lists and a USD 4,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL ) was issued.
Chladek did not dispute the findings but said that the station's chief operator and assistant operator did not know that the station was required to maintain issues/programs lists and requested a waiver of the penalty on the basis of the station's unique public service programming and the fact that the station is now in compliance with the Commission's Rules.
The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
*Issued USD 1,500 forfeiture to Bowie County Broadcasting Co., Inc., former licensee of KLBW-AM (formerly KNBO-AM), New Boston, for late filing of licence renewal application. It had issued an NAL for this amount to which Bowie responded by requesting cancellation or reduction on the basis that the failure was inadvertent and that if could not afford the penalty. The FCC rejected the first argument and in the case of the second commented that tax returns, which showed losses in 2005 and 2006, did not justify a reduction as it made such decisions on the basis of gross revenues.
*Issued a USD 1,200 forfeiture to Jackson Radio, LLC, licensee of WJFN-AM, Brandon, Mississippi, for failure to have an operational Emergency Alert System and failure to have an effective locked fence or other enclosures around the antenna structure. The FCC had originally issued an NAL for USD 15,000 to which Jackson responded by asking for a reduction or cancellation: It said that as regards the EAS offence, the station manager that he was aware the EAS equipment was not functioning on the day of the inspection and had reported the malfunction to the engineer; that he placed a sign on the EAS unit that it was malfunctioning and that the manufacturer had been contacted and that the station's EAS logs were located next to the EAS unit. The station manager states that he has no idea why the logs weren't provided to the agents during the inspection or why the sign was removed.
The FCC subsequently asked that Jackson send in copies of a portion of its EAS logs but the company was unable to do so.
As regards the enclosure breach the station manager said he checks the fence surrounding the antenna structure several times per week to ensure that it is locked.
In both cases the FCC found no reason to reduce the penalty on the facts but after taking into account the company's history of compliance and documented inability to pay, it reduced the penalty to USD 1,200
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
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CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-08-01: UK media regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on its proposals to remove all local radio ownership regulation and ease cross-media ownership regulation and also to set up a three-tier system for local radio.
The localness proposals are contained in Ofcom's 82-page document, "Radio: the implications of Digital Britain for localness regulation" in would repeat in a different form the encouragement the then UK regulator The Radio Authority encouraged stations to provide services to local DAB multiplexes by guaranteeing renewal of an analogue licence if a service was provided on the local digital multiplex but in this case some regional stations would be allowed to share all their programming in return for providing a version of the station on a national DAB multiplex, a proposal that Ofcom says would "effectively allow for the creation of new national stations with significant scale and reach."
It would also allow local stations to co-locate with other stations in newly-defined areas thus saving costs: These stations would also be allowed to request permission to share local programming and thus reduce local programming hours in return for an increased commitment to local news in the daytime whilst in the smallest areas the agency says it continues to support the development of community radio adding that "in the longer term any digital upgrade would allow the creation of a new tier of ultra-local stations."
Ofcom says the consultations are being launched against a background of falling advertising revenues that hit commercial radio in particular despite the value placed by audiences on local programming from their local stations: It comments that the "central challenge for regulation is to secure the delivery of local radio content, while at the same time ensuring a viable commercial sector able to adapt to the digital world."
The British government has set a 2015 target for killing analogue radio except for community stations subject to the meeting of conditions concerning take-up of digital and coverage of digital transmitters, a target that BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons has termed "extraordinarily ambitious"."
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 "Feedback" programme he reiterated the Corporation's strong support for digital radio but distanced himself from the target, commenting, "It is extraordinarily ambitious suggestion, as colleagues have referred to, that by 2015 we will all be ready for this. You can't move faster than the British public want you to move on any issue; there's no doubt that 2015 looks challenging."
He added, "Let me underline I'm not saying that, that's actually in the government's green paper. They proposed a date of 2015. The trust is very clear actually who comes first in this - audiences and the people who pay the licence fee. As things stand at the moment the Digital Britain report assumes that the BBC will find the money for this final stage [of DAB rollout] so there are serious discussions to be had about how it is going to be funded as well as whether 2015 is in any way a realistic time scale. What I can say now is that those have already formed part of our discussions with ministers and will continue to form part of our discussions with ministers."
The BBC meanwhile could potentially lose Radio 1 according to the UK Times, which reports that Conservative Party shadow Broadcasting Minister Ed Vaizey has proposed that the BBC should be forced to sell Radio 1 and also threatened to freeze the licence fee from which the BBC is funded.
Vaizey was commenting in an interview with The Sunday Times in which he pointed to the fact that the BBC had four of the five national commercial FM licences and said there was an "unfair disparity."
He also said that the station was failing in its remit to attract younger listeners, commenting, "Radio 1 is not fulfilling its obligation to its audience. Its median age is those in their thirties when it should aim much more at teenagers and [those in] their twenties. There is then a good argument for the BBC to be rid of Radio 1 and give the commercial sector a chance to use the frequency."
Regarding the licence fee, - currently set until 2016 and covering both radio and TV services although no licence fee is now levied for radio receivers -Vaizey was quoted as saying ," We reserve the right to freeze it and will also revisit its terms and conditions in 2011 - the midway period of its current 10-year deal."
The Times adds that a Conservative spokesman said the sale of Radio 1 was not party policy.
RNW comment: Apart from face loss should digital radio effectively collapse apart from a limited number of larger stations - as would be quite likely if left to market forces - we cannot see what benefits there would be in an enforced switch-off of analogue radio by 2015, a move we suspect would be unpopular and one which would take place under a new government as a UK General Election has to be held by June 3 next year at the latest (and is forecast as almost certainly likely to see a defeat of the current Labour Party government) thus also meaning there may be different commitment.
Ofcom's report is full of the usual trite and misleading comments: One example is At a UK-wide level, facilitating the creation of new commercial radio stations to create an improved consumer proposition: a wide range of popular and niche services, delivered digitally. This would not only provide greater choice for consumers but also could help drive DAB take-up (as Freeview helped to drive take-up of digital television)."
The evidence to date is that there were a number of commercial niche services on national multiplexes but they were closed because they lost money suggesting that the first part of the comment is pure PR and obviously thus so is the second sentence. It also compares totally different propositions - the Freeview TV service could be accessed through an additional box, costing less than a DAB radio receiver whilst using existing TV equipment whereas an analogue switch-off will consign radio receivers - most households have two to three times as many radios as TVs - to the junk heap and require significant replacement spending, particularly for automobile receivers, in the short term.
The result, we suspect, will be much less radio listening as many people will not replace but will use other equipment such as portable players and mobile phones combined with the Internet. This would mean even lower audiences albeit cost savings could mean that in the short term commercial radio companies' financial results would improve. In the longer term, we suspect it will mean even more of a death knell for radio with many people who switch to other ways of receiving programming, particularly music, never getting into the habit of listening to radio over the air at all.
As for Vaizey's sell-off idea, it can only make any sense in a world where analogue is not to be switched off - what commercial company would buy Radio 1's national FM frequency and run it on anything but the cheapest basis if it is to be closed down within five years? A better commercial proposition would probably be to pay peanuts for it, make programming as cheaply as possible - and even then it would bite into the revenues of the regional and local commercial stations - then whine about profitability to get rid of any public service requirements before having to move to digital.
Overall we are beginning to conclude that anything above the minimum wage may be too high a sum to pay for Ofcom's senior executives and that its broadcasting remit would be better severely truncated as regards programming with resources switched to the technical side of its work and a consequent staff reduction together with reduction in senior level staffing and pay whenever a post becomes vacant.
BBC Radio 4 Feedback (audio of Lyons comments is available until next Friday).
Ofcom - Radio: the implications of Digital Britain for localness regulation (82-page 1.91 Mb PDF):
UK Times report re Vaizey:
2009-08-01: Bonneville International, which owns 31 radio stations plus KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, has joined the ranks of companies making cutbacks to meet revenue shortfalls.
Its Director of Public Affairs Craig Haslam said of the moves, "In response to sustained, slow economic indices and market conditions that are producing below-projected revenues industry-wide, Bonneville International today announced to its employees a series of cost-reducing measures designed to trim operating expenses while at the same time continuing to produce high-quality products for its audiences and clients. Among those measures implemented are salary reductions for its higher-paid employees, adjustments to vacation accruals and carryovers, elimination of company-participation health club memberships, and a reduction of holiday remembrances for employees."
President and CEO Bruce Reese added, "Our corporate management team and market managers have looked at this very carefully and thoughtfully. We believe these adjustments are reasonable and necessary to maintain the health of our company and its valued employees. "While we're privately held," he continued, "we're not immune from today's economic realities. Our ownership is not short-term in its approach to our business. I know that Bonneville continues to be a leader in this industry, especially in terms of the quality of the people who work here and the products they produce"
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