November 2009 Archive
2009-11-30: According to Robert Feder, Jonathon Brandmeier is expected to be leaving Emmis's WLUP-FM (The Loop) in Chicago today although he has three months left on his contract.
Feder says that Brandmeier has failed to attract ratings at the station - his morning show was 21st with a 2.2 share and the station was 17th with a 2.6 share according to latest Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings and suggests that the host's one-year USD 1 million contract extension signed in March this year may be one of the last seven-figure radio deals the Chicago market will see for a long time.
Brandmeier may, however, return to another station - Feder reports that sources at Tribune Co's news/talk WGN-AM and Citadel's news/talk WLS-AM say they've both recently made informal overtures to him.
Vocala - Feder blog:
WLUP web site:
WLUP Brandmeier page:
2009-11-30: A CBS 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Magazine poll just released shows radio talk host Rush Limbaugh well ahead of rivals and Republican politicians as the most influential Conservative voice in the US.
The poll of a random national telephone sample of 855 adults was conducted from Nov 6-8 and Limbaugh was picked by 26% or respondents ahead of Glenn Beck with 11% and former Vice-President Dick Cheney and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, each of whom got 10%.
The poll also showed John F. Kennedy ahead of the pack when it came to choosing from a list of seven a president who should be added to Mt Rushmore - he polled 29% with Ronald Reagan second with 20% and FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Depression and Second World War President) third with 18%.
Current President Barack Obama was fourth with 16% followed by Dwight D. Eisenhower with 6% and Andrew Jackson with 2% while Lyndon B. Johnson came last with no support
CBS Poll results (The Mt Rushmore question is the first of ten; The Conservative voice the seventh):
2009-11-29: In another quiet week for the regulators only a few radio related announcements by the regulators and none in Ireland although there the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), which has now taken over broadcasting regulatory duties did post the last set of decisions from its predecessor, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCI) - all TV decisions (See RNW Nov 23).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has extended the licence area of Mount Beauty community service 3VKV (Alpine Radio) to include the townships of Bright, Dederang and Falls Creek.
.ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the licensee had provided strong evidence of "community of interest links between these towns"
The ACMA also varied the licence plan for Nowra to allow changes to the location and technical specifications of an FM translator providing the 2ST Nowra commercial radio service to the St Georges Basin area of New South Wales: The transmitter is to be moved from Bewong to Huskisson and its antenna height will be increased and power decreased.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made only one radio positing, a notice of consultation with a December 31 deadline for interventions or comments relating to an application by Astral Media Inc. to decrease from 45,000 to 38,000 watts the power of its new English-language commercial FM to serve Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec and also to increase the antenna height.
Astral proposes to use an existing facility and to combine its signal with that of its CHRI-FM by using the same antenna, a change that would result in increased efficiencies and cost savings.
In the UK, Ofcom has upheld two radio complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW Nov 23): It also issued its latest Media Literacy Bulletin, which concentrated on Internet issues.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has again been more concerned with broadband than broadcasting but it did from December 15 this year until January 11 next year the deadline for filing of its (Form 323) Biennial Ownership Report (See RNW Nov 23)
The FCC was also involved in a number of enforcement actions involving radio including the issuing of a USD 8,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Clear Channel in connection with its control of WOLL-FM, Fort Pierce, Florida, which had been moved into the Aloha Trust set up when divestments were required as part of the approval of the private equity takeover of the company (Also RNW Nov 23).
In decisions re contested licence awards the agency rejected a plea from Fern Creek Traditional High School Alumni Association, licensee of WFHS-LP, Louisville, Kentucky, to deny an application filed by Brycc House, Inc., permittee of WXBH-LP, Louisville, Kentucky, to modify the station's construction permit to reflect the terms of a timesharing agreement between Brycc and Fern Creek and to "rescind" Brycc's construction permit for WXBH-LP.
The two organisations had filed mutually exclusive applications for LP Channel 224 that were granted as consecutive time-share licenses in April 2005 and in January 2007 the two reached agreement on a deal that set forth a time sharing schedule and provided for shared facilities at Fern Creek's studio: the application included a proposal to move the transmitter to a shared site and was approved by the FCC in March 2007 and Fern Creek's license was reissued reflecting the new site.
Fern Creek responded with its plea and subsequently filed a supplement stating that the timeshare and facility sharing agreements had been terminated because Brycc had failed to abide by their terms.
Brycc argued that on procedural grounds Fern Creek's pleading is defective as a "Petition to Deny," and that it should be dismissed, a view that the FCC agreed with, and the agency also rejected arguments by Fern in relation to the location of the site, a claim that Brycc's ownership had changed totally since the original permit was issued and that Brycc does not qualify to be a LPFM licensee because it is not an educational institution, and that any educational affiliation it once had no longer exists. Regarding the last matter Brycc had certified in its application that it is a non-commercial educational institution and the FCC said Fern Creek had produced no evidence that this had changed.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-11-29: BBC Radio Five Live has apologised for an outburst by cricket commentator Geoff Boycott, a former Yorkshire and England player, in which he made a reference to "Fucking Tossers" during the broadcast of the fourth one-day international between South Africa and England in Port Elizabeth this morning.
Boycott was unaware that his comments were being broadcast according to a "BBC source" quoted by the London Times which said the remark was understood to have been made after the fall of South Africa's sixth wicket when Ryan McLaren was caught by Paul Collingwood off the bowling of Stuart Broad.
A Radio 5 Live spokesman said: "An off-air comment made by Geoffrey Boycott in a live broadcast was heard by some listeners which we apologised for as soon as we realised it had been audible."
The Times suggests that unlike remarks by some commentators Boycott's career is not thought to be at risk - it cites comments by former Australian batsman Dean Jones in which he referred to Hashim Amla, the South Africa batsman who is a Muslim, as a "terrorist", again not realising he was on air, and was subsequently fired and by former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson who used both the f-word and n-word to describe a performance by Marcel Desailly. Atkinson had also not realised his microphone was live but the remarks led to complaints and cost him his job with ITV and The Guardian newspaper.
UK Times report:
2009-11-28: Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) seems set to get a boost next year through a decision by Indian state broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) to air around seven and a half hours day coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games on DRM.
AIR already airs eight hours a day of DRM on short wave but RadioandMusic.Com reporting on the decision said there was a potential problem of transmitters, adding that AIR currently only has one transmitter in the country and manufacturers were reluctant to commence production of receivers without firm commitment to the medium and an increase in the number of transmitters.
There is comparatively little incentive to purchase receivers at the moment as the DRM service is also aired on AM in the country.
India and Russia have officially declared the current DRM30 system as their system of choice for a switchover of digital radio and DRM is also working to develop DRM+ which will extend DRM 30, which covers frequencies up to 30 MHz to cover frequencies up to 174 MHz.
Last month DRM experts attended a Moscow symposium organised by the Russian General Radio Frequency Center at which attendees were briefed on the work done in Russia on both DRM and DRM+ was approved by the European Standards Organisation - the European Telecommunications Standards Institute- ETSI - in September.
DRM chair Ruxandra Obreja said there had been "a most interesting and fruitful exchange of real information between Russian and DRM international experts" and added, "We hope this will give the right signal to Russian authorities, already committed to DRM, for its mass scale introduction. The presence of broadcasters, manufacturers, academics alongside the GRFC specialists underlines that there is real interest in the DRM 30 development in Russia. Digitising the FM bands is a challenge for which there are different options and I hope that through joint activities the most appropriate solution will be chosen. "
Previous Indian Radio:
2009-11-27: The Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT) has announced that Illyria, the private company owned by Rupert Murdoch's eldest son Lachlan, is to acquire 50% of DMG Radio Australia and will become chairman of the joint venture company that will then own DMG Radio Australia.
A filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this week showed that Murdoch, who is 38, sold about 2.3 million non voting shares in News Corporation, worth about AUD 30 million (USD 28 million) and although the sale has not been formally linked with the AUD 120 million (USD 109 million) DMG Radio Australia purchase the Wall Street Journal reported that the sale was helping him with the purchase.
Murdoch, in July 2005 resigned his executive positions at News Corporation although he remained a director and moved back to Australia with his family: He had been seen as a potential successor to his father as CEO of News Corporation but the move appeared to end that prospect.
He was recently reported to have paid AUD 23 million (USD 20.9 million) for a mansion formerly owned by the French consulate in Bellevue Hill, New South Wales. He is understood to be funding the purchase with around AUD 60 million (USD 54.4 million) of his own assets and around AUD 60 million in borrowings.
In a statement issued by DMG Murdoch said that DMG Radio Australia was a "strong business with talented on and off air people" and continued, "Together we will explore new growth opportunities in the existing business and also in related media. I am very happy to be partnering with DMGT in driving the future of DMG Radio. Australia. Patience is a virtue, and after exhaustively searching the market for the right acquisition, we have found in DMG Radio Australia the right business, the right partner and the right brands which are positioned for exemplary growth."
He added, "The skills we have in-house at Illyria will complement the strengths of DMG Radio Australia. I'm looking forward to working with Cathy O'Connor (DMG Radio Australia chief executive) and her team and I am pleased Paul Thompson (the founding CEO of the Austereo Group and of DMG Radio Australia: He retired from the post in October last year at the age of 65 but remained non-executive chairman -See RNW Jul 5, 2008 2008-07.html#PThompson1) will be remaining as special advisor to me."
News Corporation-owned Sky News Australia quoted Illyria spokesman as saying it had looked at around 300 media and media-related properties and went for DMG Radio Australia because it was a 2great media business2.
'He likes commercial radio and sees plenty of growth in it, but equally, just after the GFC is a great time to be buying because, of course, everyone is doing it tough,' added Connolly who said that Murdoch expected to take a hands on role.
O'Connor said the deal was "an exciting step forward for DMG Radio Australia" and continued, "DMG Radio Australia is well positioned for further growth and can extend its brands in both broadcast radio and related media. Working with an experienced and committed Australian owner in Illyria will increase our opportunities to achieve that growth."
DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere said he was "thrilled to welcome Illyria as a partner in DMGT's growing Australian radio business. I am excited by the potential that their expertise and focus will bring to an already successful management team."
On Thursday DMGT reported its results for the year to October 4 yesterday, reporting revenues down 8% on 2008 to GBP 2.118 billion ( USD ); operating profit down 12% to GBP 278 million ( USD ) and pre-tax profits down 23% to GBP 201 million ( USD ) . Chief executive Martin Morgan said they had "actively managed the business to defend profitability during unprecedented trading conditions with a clear focus on fundamentals. Revenue and cost initiatives of £150 million have been delivered and we have taken action on various underperforming assets across the Group. We remain focused on cash generation, debt reduction and cost efficiency."
Regarding DMG Radio Australia is said that the unit had posted a "good increase in profits* despite reduction in market revenue" and added that with an improvement in the advertising market it expected profit growth for the current year.
DMG Radio Australia revenues were up 1% on 2008 at GBP 55 million (USD 49.9 million) with operating profit up 85% to GBP 4 million (USD 3.6 million) and DMGT said it had "significantly outperformed the radio market, which experienced a decline of 4.6% on the prior year."
"Underlying profitability," it added had "increased by 21% reflecting the resilient performance in attaining revenue across the eastern states as well as a successful cost reduction programme."
DMG Radio Australia owns the Nova and Vega networks and the report singled out a strong ratings performance by Nova in Sydney with revenue share for the year up from 14.4% to 15.3% in a market which declined 10.4% and strong growth for Vega in both Sydney and Melbourne with revenues up 12.4%.
Of the sale it said it expected to receive some GBP 63 million (AUD 112 million - USD 101.6 million) in net proceeds, adding that it did not expect a "material profit or loss arising from this transaction."
DMG Radio Australia has spent some AUD 500 million on licences including winning bids of AUD 70 million for the Melbourne Nova licences which it was awarded in January 2000; AUD 155 million for the Sydney Nova licence (See RNW May 25, 2000); AUD 24 million for the Adelaide Nova licence (See RNW Nov 1, 2003); AUD 80 million for the Brisbane Nova licence (See RNW Apr 23, 2004) plus AUD 106 million for the Sydney Vega licence (See RNW Apr 16, 2004) plus AUD 52 million for the Melbourne Vega licence (See RNW Aug 13, 2004): In September 2004 it sold is 57 DMG Radio Australia (DMGRA) Australian regional stations to Macquarie Bank Group's Regional Media Pty Ltd. for AUD 193.5 million (See RNW Sep 3, 2004).
2009-11-26: A copyright lawsuit brought by Warner Music Group and Sony Corp.'s music-publishing units against XM Satellite Radio, now part of Sirius XM, over its Pioneer Inno that allows listeners to record songs they have heard has been dropped by the companies according to Bloomberg.
A previous lawsuit over the same matter brought by EMI was settled in June last year (See RNW Jun 10, 2008) and other suits brought by Sony BMG were settled in February last year (See RNW Feb 2, 2008) and December 2007 - a Warner Music suit (See RNW Dec 22, 2007) and a Universal Music Group suit (See RNW Dec 8, 2007).
The two companies did not give a reason for their joint request to dismiss the claim, brought on the basis that song sales would be reduced because of XM subscribers' ability to store the recordings.
Previous Sirius XM:
2009-11-26: BBC Radio 3 is to mark the end of the year with a special retrospective day on New Year's Eve that will see the schedule cleared for broadcasts celebrating composers Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn whose anniversaries have already been marked by the station as Composers of the Year.
Before that in the week leading up to Christmas Day, the "Performance On 3" broadcasts will feature concerts exclusively devoted to each anniversary composer followed on Christmas Day with a broadcast of English National Opera's production of Handel's Messiah, directed by Deborah Warner.
2009-11-25: Arbitron has reacted to a hearing to be held on December 2 by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to "Examine Minority Owned Radio Stations' Ratings Decline" that will focus on its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system by saying that it welcomes the opportunity to testify on the issue.
In a statement the company's President and CEO Michael Skarzynski commented, "Arbitron welcomes this opportunity to discuss the importance of electronic measurement, the effectiveness of the Portable People Meter service, the value of the data it produces, and our responsible approach to the deployment of the service." s
He added, "Arbitron looks forward to sharing with the Committee our expertise and insights based on our long history and extensive experience in gathering and disseminating the quality data that is used throughout the radio industry by broadcasters, advertisers, and agencies."
Skarzynski went on to say that the company "launched this innovative electronic media ratings service to help support the radio industry's objective to have relevant, reliable data that enables it to compete for its share of advertising revenue" and added "We have been proactive in our efforts to share relevant and pertinent information with our stakeholders, Congress and other state and Federal government agencies and continue to welcome opportunities to showcase the value of radio and the importance of electronic measurement."
In announcing the hearings the Committee chairman New York Democrat Edolphus "Ed" Towns said the hearing would "examine whether the PPM technology and methodology accurately measure radio audiences and whether PPM has a disproportionately negative impact on radio stations owned by minorities or targeted toward minority listeners."
He then added, "With an unprecedented decline in ratings among popular minority television and radio stations, we must explore the possibility of methodological flaws in the implementation of the PPM. As it stands now, the current system jeopardizes the future of minority broadcasting."
He also accused Arbitron of promising full co-operation when he opened an investigation in June 2009 into Arbitron's use of the PPM and then reneging on the promise because it had forbidden the Media Ratings Council (MRC) from releasing any documents related to the PPM to his committee following which a subpoena for the documents was issued to the MRC in September.
"I remain deeply concerned that increased use of the PPM may unfairly threaten the financial viability of minority targeted radio stations whose advertising revenues depend on the size of their rated audience," said Towns. "In addition, there is a serious risk that certain groups of minority listeners will continue to be undercounted, imperilling minority audience radio stations and decreasing the diversity of opinions in radio broadcasting."
RNW Comment: In this case it seems to us that either Arbitron can produce evidence that the composition of its panels fairly represents the ethnic mix of potential listeners in a market - not that difficult a set of numbers to examine - or it cannot.
In the first case it stands up the accuracy of the PPM and in the second there are serious questions to answer as to why not and effort made to attract the appropriate mix of panellists.
If the problem is that a certain group or demographic is much less willing to take part in surveys in a manner and Arbitron has taken all reasonable measures to solve the problem then it again should be able to demonstrate that.
The one thing that should not be any part of but almost certainly is part of the motivation for the inquiry is an issue of a more accurate system producing results that some stations don't like because it costs them money: It will be interesting to see if the politics of this case are tempered by evidence but we aren't holding our breath for Towns to speak truth to the stations that have lost out if the truth isn't palatable.
2009-11-25: The BBC and the British Museum have announced a partnership that will use the Museum's collection to tell world history in a BBC Radio 4 series, "A History Of The World In 100 Objects", that will start to air from January 18 next year.
In addition to the Radio 4 series of 15 minute programmes, which is written and narrated by the British Museum Director, Neil MacGregor, the BBC will also air a 13-part TV series "Relic: Guardians Of The Museum" and also programming in the BBC Nations and English Regions, with 350 museum venues around the UK contributing.
MacGregor said of the agreement, "This partnership between the BBC and the British Museum is the fulfilment of an Enlightenment dream. Parliament set up the British Museum to allow all 'studious and curious persons' both 'native and foreign born' to construct their own history of the world and to find their place in it."
The programmes each week will be linked to a particular theme and the objects have been selected to cover the broadest possible chronological and geographical period, and tell a history of the world from two million years ago to the present day. The broadcasts will be in three tranches throughout 2010 and will also include comment from a wide range of contributors including Bob Geldof, Wole Soyinka, Grayson Perry, Madhur Jaffrey and Seamus Heaney.
BBC World Service will broadcast omnibus editions and MacGregor commented that "Thanks to the incomparable reach of the BBC - radio, television, World Service and web - as the series develops, everybody across the UK and across the world will be able to participate, using not just the things in museums, but their own objects as well, to tell their history of the world."
BBC Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer added, "The partnership with the British Museum has brought to Radio 4 the most exciting history project in my five years as Radio 4 Controller. The idea of a 'History of The World' told through objects is audacious and it has been endlessly stimulating to see two creative organisations - animated by public service - coming together to produce what I believe will be thrilling programmes - not only on Radio 4, but now across the BBC."
2009-11-25: Long-time WABC-AM host Curtis Sliwa is to leave the Citadel-owned station and his late night 2100-0100 weekday slot will be taken over by John Batchelor from Monday, the station announced yesterday. Batchelor, who already hosts a weekend syndicated show in the slot, will now be on air seven days a week and Citadel is expected to attempt syndication of the weekday show.
Sliwa's show is also syndicated and for the moment he is to continue to broadcast to his affiliates from the WABC studios.
The New York Daily News said Sliwa had confirmed that he and the station were unable to agree terms to extend his contract and that, asked about reports that he was talking to Salem's conservative talk WNYM-AM said nothing was signed. Sliwa has been with WABC for 18 years and hosted every shift on the station.
New York Daily News report:
2009-11-24: Brent Impey is to step down as chief executive of New Zealand broadcaster MediaWorks at the end of the year after nearly a decade although he will continue as a consultant until 2011.
His decision follows a move by Australian private equity fund Ironbridge Capital, which bought MediaWorks from CanWest in 2007 (See RNW July 21, 2007) for around NZD 560 million (then USD 447 million) in a deal that saw Impey personally collect around NZD 3 million (Then USD 2.4 million) .
Impey had fought at the time to keep MediaWorks radio and TV interests together and the decision to split them has aroused speculation that Ironbridge may eventually sell of the two divisions separately:
Its radio operations include The Edge, The Rock, More FM, The Breeze, RadioLive, BSport, Solid Gold, Mai FM, and a number of local stations.
The company has named its radio chief operating officer Sussan Turner as radio chief executive and is looking for a TV chief executive. Both are to report directly to the MediaWorks board
Radio New Zealand report:
2009-11-24: US National Public Radio (NPR) news anchor Carl Kasell is to retire from the station's Morning Edition at the end of the year after more than three decades with the broadcaster but will remain with the station as Official Judge and Scorekeeper for its weekly news quiz "Wait Wait.. Don't Tell Me!"
Kasell joined the station in 1975 on a part-time basis and has been with Morning Edition since its launch in 1979 and with Wait Wait since its launch in 1998.
A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Kasell's first radio experience dated back to his time at the University of North Carolina where he helped launch local radio station WUNC with fellow student Charles Kuralt. He later worked on a station at Goldsboro before moving to the Washington D.C. area in 1965.
He worked at WAVA in Arlington as news anchor and program director before joining NPR where his last newscast will be on Wednesday, December 30th.
2009-11-24: Industry body Commercial Radio Australia in collaboration with Universal McCann and Adcorp has announced that it is to run a free digital radio creative workshop in Canberra, the country's capital, tomorrow aimed at providing information to Federal Government departments on the new digital radio platform and the opportunities it represents for advertising.
The workshop will follow previous workshops held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner commented, "Although digital radio is not yet available in Canberra, the Federal Government advertises nationally and was the 4th biggest advertiser in the 2008 - 2009 financial year spending more than AUD 133 million(USD 123million). Universal McCann, Adcorp and CRA think it is important to brief key advertising clients on what the new digital radio technology can offer using images and text. "
Last week Commercial Radio Australia organised an industry think-tank meeting in Sydney to identify future challenges and opportunities for the industry over the next decade: The previous such meeting was held in 2006 with the focus on the introduction of digital radio and Warner commented of last week's event, "Since then we have successfully introduced digital radio in five metropolitan markets but our next challenge is to extend this to regional markets and look at future possibilities for digital."
Issues discussed included positioning radio in the digital world, research projects, digital radio in regional markets and in-cars, identifying the next big thing for radio and future promotional and advertising strategies.
It was attended by senior management from Austereo, DMG, Australian Radio Network (ARN), Grant Broadcasters, Fairfax Radio, Macquarie Radio Network (MRN), and Regional Mediaworks (RMW) as well as The Regional Sales Network (TRNS): Commercial Radio Australia's new chair Cathy O'Connor, who is also chief executive officer of DMG Radio Australia, commented, "The radio industry has performed better than many other traditional media and also international radio over the past twelve months which augurs well for the future. However, there are certainly challenges ahead and if we can work together as an industry to address some of these issues, then radio overall will benefit."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-11-23: The UK's first Community Radio Station, Cinderford-based Forest of Dean Radio, has announced that it is to close down at midnight on December 31 after almost 14 years on air because of a shortage of funding.
The station first went on air 1995 with a three-day broadcast to Cinderford coinciding with the Cinderford Carnival and over the next few years operating under Restricted Service Licences was on air for 16 weekends, broadcasting from Cinderford, Coleford, Lydney, Sedbury, Mitcheldean and Newent, including 3 broadcasts in conjunction with the Coleford Music Festival.
In 2002 it was awarded an Access Radio Licence as part of a UK-wide experiment in community radio and in 2005 it became the UK's first licensed Community Service with the licence number CR001.
A statement on the station's web site says that during its lifetime "thousands of Forest people have been involved the station by making or appearing in programmes or helping in other ways. With their involvement has come increased skills and confidence, some even going on to full-time employment in the media. As well as the benefit to people involved, the project has also built an audio archive running into thousands of hours covering not only the big events like the "Save our Services" campaign but also documenting our language and culture as well as stories of ordinary Forest lives.
It concludes by saying that "Despite many months of effort the project has been unable to secure sufficient funding and resources to enable it to continue until the end of its present five year license at the end of 2010. Management have taken this decision now in order to preserve the core of the project assets so as to provide a foundation on which community media work in the future may be built, although what form that may take is currently uncertain."
Forest of Dean Radio statement:
2009-11-23: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 8,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, Inc. in connection with the use of its rate cards, EEO web site postings and Public Service Announcements on Florida station WOLL-FM, Fort Pierce, after the station had been transferred to the Aloha Station Trust last year.
The Trust was set up take over radio and TV stations that Clear Channel had to dispose of to stay within FCC ownership caps following its purchase by private equity interests and WOLL's transfer to the Trust was approved in January last year.
In December last year, however, Clear Channel filed an application to re-acquire the station from the Trust, an application that was opposed by Vero Beach Broadcasters, LLC. on the basis that Clear Channel was "gaming" the multiple ownership rules by shifting radio stations between two Arbitron Metro Markets "to suit its private business interests."
Subsequently Clear Channel filed an application for a construction permit to change WOLL-FM's transmitter site to a location 60 kilometers from its current location and near the center of the Ft. Pierce Metro: It also filed to change the community of license of its Classic Rock WKGR-FM from Ft. Pierce to Wellington, Florida and of its Top 40 WLDI-FM (Wild 95.5) from Ft. Pierce to Juno Beach, Florida.
Vero Beach's objection was dismissed in November last year and FCC staff granted the WLDI application leaving the WKGR application pending and Vero then petitioned for reconsiderations, submitting that the FFC staff erred in not addressing the issues of "radio gerrymandering fostered by Clear Channel " that it had raised: It said it did not object to the grant of the applications "as such" but is "greatly concerned" about, post-grant, the Stations' future impact on the Ft. Pierce Metro, and how WLDI and WKGR will be counted in the Ft. Pierce Metro for purposes of the multiple ownership rules.
It contended that the two stations should remain in the metro because they had consistently higher AQH shares and rankings in the Metro than in the WPB (West Palm Beach Metro): This it said that Clear Channel would continue to own seven stations in the WPB Metro (where it was allowed this number on a grandfathered basis) but would be counted as only owning three FMs and two AMs in Ft, Pierce, thus allowing it to acquire a further FM there: It suggested that if the applications were t be granted they should be on condition that the two stations be counted in the Ft Pierce and WPB Metros as far as FCC ownership rules are concerned.
The FCC did not accept Vero Beach's arguments and granted the applications as being within its rules on ownership caps, which it said were designed to ensure competition and that this would not be altered in this case.
The FCC did go along with Vero Beach however in saying that the staff should have addressed the merits of its complaint about gaming of the system - VBB had contended that Clear Channel had continued to operate WOLL as if it had not been assigned to the Trust and that following the transfer the operation had continued as before with the same management and that Clear Channel had continued to programme the station, sell advertising time for it, and market and represent the station as its own.
The Aloha Trust responded by saying that its operation of WOLL was in accordance with The Trust Agreement, that had been found consistent with FCC policy and Clear Channel also argued that it had remained within the rules.
The FCC commented that "standing alone, the rate cards, EEO website postings, and PSAs might evidence carelessness and a lack of attention to detail rather than that Clear Channel actually controlled the personnel, programming, and finances of stations licensed to Aloha. However, coupled with the facts that Aloha operates its stations using staff also employed by Clear Channel and with equipment owned by Clear Channel, these post-assignment irregularities indicate that Clear Channel failed to exercise a proper degree of care to separate its stations from the Aloha stations in all cases. Accordingly, we find that the foregoing post-assignment activity by Clear Channel evidenced an unauthorized transfer of control warranting the assessment of a forfeiture."
It therefore proposed to levy a USD 8,000 penalty, the base amount for "unauthorized transfer of control" although it added that Vero Beach had "provided no additional evidence that Clear Channel had any actual involvement in operation of the Station or that either Aloha or Clear Channel failed to abide by the restrictions specified in the Trust Agreement."
In other actions the FCC has of its own volition extended from December 15 this year until January 11 next year the deadline for filing of its (Form 323) Biennial Ownership Report. The agency had revised the form in October and says it is in the process of conducting final testing of the form and has delayed the release of the electronic version until the testing is complete. It has therefore extended the deadline to ensure sufficient time to complete the revised form once it is released.
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-11-23: UK Media Regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin concentrates on issues of sponsorship, particularly of TV programming, finding breaches in 12 cases involving eight broadcasters: It has upheld two radio and two TV Standards complaints, partly upheld one TV Fairness and Privacy complaint and also gave details of seven other TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints not upheld.
The numbers compare with the upholding of one radio Standards complaint and standards complaints against seven TV programmes and listing of details of a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint not upheld in the previous bulletin.
The two radio complaints upheld involved Community stations Radio Hartlepool and Lionheart Radio.
In the case of Radio Hartlepool a listener had complained that a "100% nicotine product that is known to be 100% addictive was given free advertising." The product in question was an electronic cigarette that provided inhaled doses of nicotine by heating a chemical into a vapour and that unlike tobacco products could in principle be advertised.
Ofcom having listened to a recording of the show said the material involved did not appear to be advertising but an interview promoting electronic cigarettes and added that it also noted material that appeared to promote other products and services including financial services and a will-making service.
The station in response said that it had not adequately distinguished between the legitimate role of interviewees as expert guests and on-air promotion of their personal commercial offerings but added that it red received no payment or consideration for the inclusion of the material in its programming: It had subsequently taken considerable steps to tighten its compliance procedures and increase its "appreciation of Ofcom guidelines and relevant legislation."
Ofcom noted that no payments had been made but said there had been clear promotion of products and services in breach of its rules.
It added that this was the third serious breach of the Code recorded by Ofcom against Radio Hartlepool and said the broadcaster was on notice that in the event of a repeat breach it might consider further regulatory action.
In the case of Lionheart, part of the charity Alnwick Community Development Trust, there was a complaint that references in programming to donated products and services that were auctioned to raise money for the station and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution had been tantamount to advertising of the donating businesses.
The station said that understood that the Codes allowed promotion of charitable events and its own fund raising and also allowed on-air crediting of benefactors but that "owing to the exuberance of the relatively inexperienced presenter, some of his comments could be perceived as active endorsements of local businesses."
It also said that it had not received payment or any valuable consideration in connection with the donations and added that in future should it repeat a similar fund raising activity in the future, a senior producer would be present throughout the broadcast of any editorial relating to the event, to ensure compliance.
Ofcom found no breach in terms of receiving payments but said its rule prohibiting undue prominence to products and services and promotion of businesses in programming had been breached in this case.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 225 TV complaints against 122 items and 20 radio complaints against 18 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 107 TV complaints against 60 items and eight radio complaints against eight items it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), which at the start of October took over the work of predecessor bodies the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCI) has posted details of complaints head at the last meeting of the BCC held on September 25. In all the BCC adjudicated upon 20 complaints, upholding 16 - all against the Play TV programme on TV3, dismissing another against the same programme, finding yet another to be invalid and deferring consideration of two further complaints in order to seek further information to facilitate a thorough assessment.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-11-22: The main radio news from the regulators last week came from the UK where Ofcom is proposing to easy cross ownership regulations in local markets - but not for national stations - and also remove caps on the ownership of both national and local multiplexes and on ownership of FMs in a local market.
There were no radio announcements from Australia or Ireland and only a couple from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued one consultation and one decision regarding radio.
The consultation, with a December 23 deadline for submission of interventions or comments, relates to an application the Association d'Églises baptistes réformées du Québec to change the frequency of its French-language religious specialty station CFOI-FM, Québec, decrease its antenna height, and increase the power from 13 to 25.6 watts.
The CRCT notes that the station's frequency, which was not protected, had been granted to the was granted to Radio communautaire de Lévis for a community station in Lévis in September and adds that the new proposed frequency is limited and was not proposed at its Québec hearing held in May 2009. It adds that it would increase the contours but the population served would be reduced.
In British Columbia the CRTC approved an application from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to replace its transmitter CBXP-AM, Tahsis, which carried the signal of CBCV-FM, Victoria, with a 46.5 watts FM transmitter at Tahsis.
In the UK, Ofcom as already noted has recommended an easing of local cross-media ownership restrictions and the removal of caps on the ownership of multiplexes and local FMs (See RNW Nov 18).
It also agreed a format change to Original 106.5 (Bristol) from that of an adult alternative, album-led station to become an adult-alternative station playing some adult-oriented album tracks with classic rock and predominantly non-contemporary pop/rock hits. The change removes the album-led requirement and was the subject of a consultation which attracted one comment opposing the proposal.
In addition Ofcom has also posted a consultation, with a December 30 deadline for responses, concerning Town and Country's request to change the format of Nation Radio (South Wales) from alternative rock to become a "new music" station playing mainly modern rock with "other genres of appeal" to 15-34 year-olds, and which would "include coverage of local artists."
The licence involved was originally awarded in May 2007 to GCap Media who had applied with an alternative rock format under the Xfm brand against competition from seven other applicants: It was acquired by Town and Country in May last year.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has told an Oregon station it has to go off the air but for once in other enforcement actions it reduced penalties by a greater amount than new ones issued for radio.
The station ordered to cease broadcasting immediately was KRAT-FM, Altamont, Oregon, which has had to put it mildly a rather murky history and was apparently being operated under a false name and whose registered licensee was unaware of holding the licence until approached by the Inland Revenue service.
The original Construction Permit was issued in 1988 for KPMA (a 100,000 watt station), and later transferred to Western States Broadcasting, which was granted a modification to a 60,000 watt Class C station KCHQ -FM in 1989. In 1997 Western States Broadcasting said that it had agreed to transfer the licence to a George J. Wade and the change was authorized in 1988.
The station subsequently applied for other modifications that amongst other things made it a Class A station that was authorized as KRAT-FM. In 1999 another modification application was made to increase the power to 22,000 watts and relocate the transmitter and return to Class C1 operation. This was accepted by the FCC but to date no further action has been taken on this.
In January 2006 a routine renewal application was filed in Wade's name - he has subsequently testified under oath that he was unaware that a license for KRAT had been issued in his name until so notified by Internal Revenue Service investigators - an application that was dismissed in April 2007 because of debts owed to the FCC.
The FCC notes that evidence is that the station was owned and operated by Sandra Soho, who used Wade's name fraudulently and who was subsequently convicted in February this year of eight felony counts of unlawfully obtaining public assistance, five felony counts of first-degree theft, four felony counts of unlawfully obtaining a food stamp benefit, and one misdemeanour count of second-degree theft, all counts on which she was charged.
Soho was fined just under USD 500,000, sentenced to 38 months in prison and 30 days in county jail and ordered to pay just under USD 9,000 in restitution to the State of Oregon/
In view of this the agency has ruled that the station has no authority to be on air since its licence expired in February 2006 and no payment was made of the fees owed when the renewal application was rejected and no subsequent application was filed.
Faring rather better were Wayne Kowalski, Calvary Chapel Of Costa Mesa, Inc. and Perry Broadcasting Company, former licensee of KDLS-AM, Perry, Iowa: The latter had been issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of USD 7,000 for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation after the licence had expired.
Perry had responded to the NAL by explaining that it had thought the application had been filed on time and only realized that there was a problem when the renewal application for co-owned station KLDS-FM, Perry, had been granted. It had originally filed the renewal application on time and had thought it had also thought it had paid the filing fee successfully as it had done for the sister station: It added that it should have been told the filing was defective and been given the opportunity to re-file.
The FCC in considering the matter said that its rules were that if a defect in a filing was discovered within 30 days of filing, the filing is dismissed and can be re-filed but if discovered after 30 days the filer is billed for the due amount plus a 25% late filing fee, an action it too in this case.
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Inc., licensee of KWVE-FM, San Clemente, California, had been issued with a USD 5,000 NAL for broadcasting commercial programming and an advert during an Emergency Alert System test and in this case an admonishment was substituted (See RNW Nov 16).
Kowalski, licensee of FM Translator Station W251AD Alpena, Michigan, had been issued a USD 7,000 NAL for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation and in his case his arguments for cancellation including a claim of financial hardship were rejected but the penalty was trimmed to USD 500 in line with other recent penalties issued for this breach.
In other enforcement actions the agency:
*Issued a USD 3,500 forfeiture to The Evans Broadcast Company, Inc., licensee of KCMY-AM, Carson City, Nevada, for failure to enclose its antenna towers within an effective locked fence or other enclosure.
Initially the FCC had issued a USD 5,600 NAL to the station after it found during an inspection that large portions of the wooden base fences surrounding each of the two KCMY antenna towers were laying on the ground and there was no protective property fence surrounding the site.
The station management had told the FCC that had attempted to get the fences repaired, and produced a proposal for repairs, but said that the company proposing to do the work was waiting for the ground to dry so that their vehicles did not get stuck in the mud and was warned that temporary fencing had to be erected together with warning signs, an action that was taken later in the day when the warning was issued.
Evans argued for a reduction on the basis that that it made good faith efforts to comply with the Rules, that it promptly erected the temporary fence urged by the agent, that the stations gross revenues are marginal, and that it has a history of compliance with the Rules.
The FCC in making its decision noted that it had already reduced the amount of the NAL in view of the actions taken by the station prior to the inspection and said it would not cancel the penalty but would make a further good faith reduction . It also noted a history of compliance and cut the penalty to USD 3,500.
*Issued USD 3,200 forfeiture to Media Logic LLC , licensee of station WQHV648, Sterling, Colorado, for failing to operate the station - a studio-transmitter link, from its licensed location.
The FCC had initially issued an NAL for USD 4,000 after an inspection found the operation was from a building around two miles from the authorized location: Media Logic responded by requesting a reduction on the basis that it had relied on the relied on coordinates given to it by the owner of the building in which it was located, that it made a good faith effort to comply with the rules prior to the inspection, and that it has a history of compliance. The FCC dismissed the other arguments but cut the penalty to USD 3,200 on the basis of a history of compliance.
*Issued USD 1,500 NAL to Southern Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WENA-AM, Yauco, Puerto Rico, for late filing of renewal application.
In a contest licensing decision the FCC denied a petition from Chesapeake Catholic Radio (CCR) seeking reconsideration of a decision to give preference to an application for a new non-commercial educational (NCE) FM in Gloucester Point, Virginia to Chesapeake's application for a new NCE FM in Chincoteague, Virginia. CCR had argued that both applications should be granted even though it breached FCC policy.
The FCC in rejecting the petition said that it contained no allegations of fact that granting Hampton's application would be contrary to the public interest, convenience or necessity.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-11-21: Ferris O'Brien, the former morning DJ on Kingfisher, Oklahoma's 105.3 FM "The Spy", which was taken off the air five years ago when the station was flipped to a Regional Mexican Spanish language format "La Indomable 105.3" is to bring back the ultra-alternative rock from tomorrow morning according to The Oklahoman.
It says that O'Brien has bought the station from Citadel Broadcasting in a deal he has been working on since March commented that the move was "something I've been thinking about doing, wanting to be doing, for the last 10 years."
(The station ownership was moved to the from the Last Bastion Trust, a company set up by Citadel to hold 11 stations it had to divest to comply with FCC ownership rules: When KINB is sold six stations will remain owned by the trust - KOKY-FM, Sherwood, KPZK-FM Cabot, and KVLO-FM, Humnoke, all in Arkansas; KRDJ-FM, New Iberia,, Louisiana; KBZU-FM, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and WMGL-FM, Ravanel, South Carolina).
O'Brien added that owning his own station had been his dream and that he reached an agreement earlier this year to purchase the station from Citadel with his own money and investment from family members.
He had been preparing for the show in his basement and told the paper he'd had the automation system for about two months and was filling it with digital song files, ranging from classics by The Smiths and Talking Heads to local bands such as Pretty Black Chains.
O'Brien said he understood there were big risks involved but thought he could operate a profitable business, commenting, "You know, I'm not in this specifically to get filthy, stinking rich, where I fill up a bedroom with 100-dollar bills and roll around naked. If that happens, that's great, too. But if I break even and make a good living and can pay the bills and keep it on the air, I know I can do that."
The Oklahoman report:
2009-11-21: Despite earlier reports that Emmis was in negotiations with other radio operators to keep its Sláger Rádió on air in Hungary, the company has now said that it has taken the decision to pull out of analogue broadcasting in the country following the loss of the licence after 12 years of operation.
A station posted on the Sláger website (only in Hungarian) said Emmis has made the "difficult decision" that it did not wish to continue analogue services in the country. The site still carries a link to an audio stream, comprised from what we have heard mainly of western (English) pop and chat in Hungarian, but we have seen no announcement as to whether Emmis will continue to provide audio from the Sláger web site in the long term or about any other plans it may have to retain a presence in Hungary.
Emmis in the US has made no further statement since its initial announcement that the station had gone off the air and that it was to seek redress in the Hungarian and European courts
In addition to Sláger, Hungary's other national commercial station Danubius Radio, also controlled by foreign investors, lost its licence and there has been widespread suggestions of a political deal as the new licensees are linked to political parties. The loss of the radio licences was one issue highlighted by the Embassies of nine countries who said they were concerned concern about the potential effect on investment in the country of three recent Hungarian decisions (See RNW Nov 20).
2009-11-20: US radio revenues in the third quarter were down 16% on a year ago at USD 4.151 billion - a smaller percentage fall than the 22% in the second quarter and 24% in the first quarter - according to latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
The comparative improvement as the year has gone on was highlighted in comments from RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley who said, " As the quarter came to a close, it showed promise of an upswing in advertising spend by marketers. Increases in expenditures in highly competitive categories continue to positively influence Radio's bottom line."
For the year to date revenues overall are now down 21% - compared to 23% for the first six months and the 24% for the first quarter.
Within the figures, the brightest spot continues to be digital, which was up 14% in the quarter to USD 126 million and 12% for the year to date to USD 347 million.
Off-air was down 9% in the quarter to USD 335 million and 11% for the year to date at USD 954 million: Local revenues were down 19% in the quarter to USD 2.798 billion and 23% for the year to date at USD 7.983 billion whilst national was down 17% to USD 639 million for the quarter and down 22% for the year to date at USD 1.703 billion whilst local and national combined were down 19% for the quarter at USD 3.347 billion and down 23% for the year to date at USD 9.86 billion.
Network revenues were down 11% for the quarter to USD 253 million and 11% for the year to date at USD 765 million and digital
In terms of spending categories Haley commented, "Although there have been shifts in rank, Radio's top 5 categories have been consistent since 2005. Within these top 5 categories we continue to see some advertisers aggressively increase their share of voice when compared to their higher spending competitors."
Top category was Communications with spend totalling USD 337.6 million in the quarter with a year to date figure of almost USD 1.1 billion and the two top spenders were AT&T - USD 106.4 million in the quarter and USD 353 million for the year to date and Verizon Wireless which spent USD 107.5 million in the quarter and USD 320.5 million for the year to date.
Restaurant spending was in second place with its leading advertiser being McDonald's, which was the third ranked spender overall - it spent USD 75.8 million in the quarter and USD 225.8 million for the year to date as restaurants continued to spend more than advertisers as a whole - overall they were down 5% on a year ago for the quarter and 10% down for the year to date.
Automobile advertising got a boost from the Cash for Clunkers programme and overall is third in total advertising spend.
Previous RAB revenue (2nd quarter) figures):
2009-11-20: The UK Guardian has reported that Ford Ennals, the former chief executive of the UK's digital switchover body Digital UK, is to become chief executive of Digital Radio UK, which is tasked with overseeing the switch to digital radio in the UK.
There had been suggestions that switchover itself could come by 2015 but legislation relating to it in the government's Digital Economy Bill that was introduced into the UK Parliament amongst other things limits the renewal period for national analogue licences to seven years - indicating a later swtich - and imposes conditions requiring that licence holders do all they can to secure digital simulcast of the signal during the period. It also limits the renewal period for local licences to seven years.
It also says that different dates may be nominated for switchover of different services but none of them shall be before the end of 2015.
The bill has got most publicity for its plans to force Internet Service Providers (ISP's) to take actions against people involved in illegal file sharing and to allow amendment to copyright legislation if future technology allows content to be copied in new ways.
The paper quoted Ennals, who has a marketing background and whose late uncle, Lord David Ennals, was minister for health in James Callaghan's 1970s Labour government, as saying, "Digital radio is a great development for listeners and the industry. It brings a host of benefits, and with the establishment of Digital Radio UK and the publication of the Digital Economy Bill, we now have the exciting opportunity to extend those benefits to everyone. I am greatly looking forward to playing my role in making that happen."
RNW comment: As might be expected since a political decision has seemingly been taken under considerable pressure from the radio industry, which is involved in significant extra costs if it continues transmitting in analogue and digital, the appointment has been welcomed by both the BBC and the commercial industry as represented by the RadioCentre albeit some operators including UTV have expresses scepticism over the switch (See RNW Nov 2).
We share the scepticism - the switch will force consumers to spend hundreds of millions to get services that are not for most of them a particularly significant advance on what they have now - a little cleaner signal maybe and some additional digital information but nothing to make it worth throwing away hundreds of millions of working receivers. It will also tie the UK into a technologically inferior form of DAB.
It will also in our view cut radio listening considerably as many people will not replace some receivers but will listen more to portable players. Overall we are tending to rather hope that a change of government might see the whole idea frozen and the radio industry told to shape up with content that makes people want to switch and that no change will be made until the vast majority of listening is via digital (current suggestions are to allow the switch when population cover is equivalent to that of analogue and more than half listening is digital but that we suspect will leave many areas with inferior services to those they currently have).
Previous Digital Radio UK:
UK Digital Economy Bill (63-page, 300 kb PDF):
UK Guardian report:
2009-11-20: The embassies of nine countries are reported to have expressed concern over recent Hungarian actions that have aroused concern about their potential effect on investment in the country, citing three examples including the allocation of the licences of foreign-controlled national radio stations Danubius Radio and Sláger Radio - controlled by Emmis - to new licensees linked with political parties.
The other two examples cited in a joint statement - from representatives of the US, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland who noted that the vast majority of foreign direct investment in Hungary comes from their countries - are the takeover of the Pécs waterworks by the city and a corruption scandal at the Budapest transport company BKV.
The Politics.Hu site quoted the statement as saying that it was "with great concern that we hear of significant new instances of non-transparent behaviour affecting investors in such areas as public utilities, broadcasting and elements of the nation's transport infrastructure".
Danubius and Sláger went off air at midnight on Wednesday (See RNW Nov 19) and Emmis has said that it now directing its efforts into the courts: A statement from Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said, "We are deeply disappointed, not only for Emmis and our people, but most of all for the people of Hungary. Whenever freedom and democracy are taken away, every citizen suffers immeasurably. All of Hungary has suffered today."
"Now, we move our attention to seeking relief in the court systems of Hungary and the European Union, and join with the Prime Minster of Hungary, the President of Hungary, the head of the Hungarian National Radio and Television Board in denouncing this process as politically corrupt and contrary to the interests of the Hungarian people."
Emmis has gained support from Indiana Democrat Congressman Joe Donnelly who introduced a resolution that condemned the award of the licences and went on to say that it "encourages the Republic of Hungary to respect the rule of law and treat foreign investors fairly" and "encouragers the Republic of Hungary to maintain its commitment to a free and independent press."
Emmis in its statement said that "During its 12-year stewardship, Emmis and Sláger invested almost 30 billion forints (USD 170 million at current exchange rates) in Hungary's economy, provided employment to its all-Hungarian staff, brought world-best practices to the local industry, and operated in a completely transparent and politically non-partisan manner."
After noting the ratings success of the Sláger, Hungary's top-rated station with some 3.5 million listeners a week from a population of ten million - it continues, "Despite the many benefits Sláger and Emmis provided, and despite the fact that our financial bid to renew our license would have demonstrably generated the most income for the Hungarian Treasury, the Hungarian equivalent to the FCC, the National Radio and Television Board (ORTT), awarded the license to a Hungarian political party. At the same time, they awarded the other national license, Danubius, to the other national political party."
RNW comment: Noting a subsequent pledge by the parents of the six largest foreign banks active in Hungary to re-affirm their support and other Hungarian market moves, we cannot see significant economic pressure being put on the Hungarian government over past actions although the note from the Embassies is presumably intended to head off further actions that could be seen as a threat to foreign investment.
We also suspect legal action will not go very far in this case: The increase in the price of shares of Econet, which through its subsidiaries controls the consortium that won the Sláger licence - they have bounded despite the fact that it promised half of its profits to get the licences compared to the 10% offered by Emmis (albeit Emmis was offering 10% on the basis of a proven successful operation as opposed to half of what might be very little) - suggests that it could be difficult to sustain Emmis's contention that its bid would "have demonstrably generated the most income for the Hungarian Treasury."
Since the argument is crucial to Emmis's case we will be interested to see it produce figures that show as opposed to contend that it was offering greater benefits.
Donnelly's support may play well locally but is of negligible value and the wording of Emmis's statement about of its benefits is of the same nature - we haven't gone through Emmis's accounts since 1997 but would like to see a breakdown of the USD 170 million "invested."
Noting the figures given by Emmis last month it would seem more like a revenues total than a figure remotely linked to any form of capital investment: in other words using the term like governments use "investment" when they mean spending. The Sláger licence initially cost around USD 19 million in 1997 - it ran for seven years and could then be renewed for a further five years: In fact Emmis renegotiated the deal in 2002 and also added the extension running to this year. After then - as has happened - Emmis had to bid for the licence against competition and it lost the bidding.
2009-11-19: The Local Community Radio Act of 2009, which would remove third-adjacent channel protection for existing full-power stations and thus allow many more Low-Power FMs to be set up, has passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation by a unanimous vote.
The Act removes a requirement that was introduced in 2000 following lobbying by the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) , which said it was concerned about potential interference despite Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioned studies that said the fears were unfounded and clauses in the original legislation to deal with any instances of interference.
The NAB had not posted a response when we last checked but it is expected to increase lobbying against the Act.
The vote was welcomed by Cory Fischer-Hoffman, Campaign Director for the Prometheus Radio Project, which supports community stations.
In a new release from Common Dreams he commented on details given to lawmakers about the work done with emergency services by low-power station WQRZ in Mississippi following hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the benefits of community radio in a wider context, saying, "Low power radio is not only essential in times of an environmental crisis, but is also essential in addressing the crisis in our media system," said Fischer-Hoffman. "There are few alternatives for genuinely local programming, and people want news and information relevant to their own neighbourhoods and towns."
Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson also commented on the benefits from community radio, saying that it was "is good way for women and minorities to gain experience in broadcasting that may not otherwise be possible given the expense of operating a full power station."
The Act is co-sponsored in the Senate by Washington Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell and Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and Cantwell commented that improving emergency response and broadening the diversity of media ownership are key reasons why she supports this legislation and added, "I am optimistic that we can effectively cross the finish line on this issue this Congress."
Candace Clement, program coordinator of Free Press, commented, "Today's vote brings us one step closer to a new golden era of radio -- where music, news and information that matter to local communities are back on the dial. Passing this bill will open up the airwaves to hundreds of new non-commercial radio stations and offer a much needed alternative to the cookie-cutter format that dominates the radio dial. Today's vote shows that policymakers are hearing and responding to the widespread public support for expanding local radio across the country. They should not delay in voting the Local Community Radio Act into law."
Previous Prometheus Radio Project:
2009-11-19: The BBC and UK commercial radio have unveiled a new online radio player - The UK Radioplayer, due for launch early next year, - that aims to offer the output of every licensed UK radio station and to let users search this content by subject, musical style, or even song title.
Heads of Terms for the project have been signed by the BBC, RadioCentre, Global Radio, the UK's largest radio company, and Guardian Media Group and stations that choose to join the Radioplayer will have the freedom to accompany their live streams with additional material of their choice such as on-demand audio, click-to-buy music services, webcams, track listings, adverts or the weather.
The console will allow users to store their favourite stations on pre-set buttons, for easy access and will take the form of a pop-up from station web sites. Initially it will be available for computers but later versions are planned for other devices such as smartphones and other internet-connected devices like IPTVs.
Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio & Music, who presented a slide show of what the service is expected to look like at the Manchester Media Festival today, said of the move, "This is a really exciting development and a result of focused, collaborative thinking within the radio industry. The aim of this service is to grow listening across the industry and help preserve radio's unique position " whilst Global Radio CEO Ashley Tabor said, "Radioplayer has been developed with the listener in mind and is a big step forward for the radio industry as a whole, providing further cohesion between commercial radio and the BBC as we drive to Digital."
RadioCentre Chief Executive Andrew Harrison said the player was a "breakthrough for listeners and an attractive new proposition for advertisers" and GMG Radio Chief Executive Stuart Taylor said the "collaborative project reflects the industry's commitment to an improved user experience for radio online as IP-enabled devices proliferate. The new opportunities for advertisers will add to the growing number of cross-platform solutions already in place."
Previous Global Radio:
2009-11-19: UTV Media in an interim statement says that in the ten months to the end of October its overall revenues were down 8% on a year ago with like-for-like revenues down 12%: The latter figures exclude the impact of the 2008 acquisitions of FM104 and Tibus and launch of Sport Magazine, which was first published by UTV Media in June 2009.
Within the figures its GB radio continuing operations - excluding Sport magazine - were down 10% which it says compares to a market fall it estimates as down 13%. It adds that it anticipated revenues to be down 3% on a year ago in November and 1% down in December with Sport magazine making a small loss but moving into profit next year.
Its Irish radio operations grew revenues by 1% boosted by the acquisition of FM 104 and exchange gains with like-for-like revenues down 19%. This decline, it says is slowing, and it expects November and December to be down by 8% in each month on a like-for-like basis.
TV revenues were down 21% with Ireland down 25% but again it says the situation is improving and it expects revenues to be down around 10% year-on-year in November and down 3% in December.
New Media revenues were up 1% and it says it expects this to continue for the remaining two months of the year.
Regarding next year it says airtime bookings remain extremely short-term, offering limited visibility but that it cautiously expected that the effect on revenues of weakness in the Irish and UK economies will be mitigated in our largest division, GB Radio, by strong demand in a World Cup year for our talkSPORT and Sport Magazine products.
2009-11-19: Hungary's two new national commercial radio stations Neo FM and Klassz FM, which have taken over the frequencies formerly held by foreign-controlled Danubius Radio and Sláger Radio (in which Emmis has the controlling interest), have now gone on air.
Neo FM, owned by the FM1 consortium of the Est Média Group, will air on the former Sláger frequency, and Klassz FM, owned by Advenio, on the former Danubius frequency.
They were formally issued with licences for the frequencies, the only two that cover the whole of Hungary, by Hungary's National Communications Authority on Tuesday after their tenders won the licences in what has been seen as a political decision - the winners are linked to Hungarian political parties - and led to the resignation of László Majtényi, chairman of Hungary's National Radio and Television Board ORTT (See RNW Oct 30).
Emmis had said that it would fight the decision and has also been in talks with other operators about staying on air using their frequencies - earlier reports had suggested that they had reached an agreement with Rádió 1 to take over the rights to 12 regional frequencies and a more recent report said they were in advanced talks with Roxy Radio, whose signal covers the Budapest area, to use that frequency.
So far we have seen no confirmation of agreement being reached and neither Emmis nor Sláger have made statements on the negotiations.
An online petition to save the Sláger frequency only lad a little over 300 signatures when we last checked: It noted that Sláger had offered a payment of 10% of its profits whilst Advenio had offered half.
2009-11-18:US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Gordon Smith has told a lunch at the Media Institute in Washington D.C, that making radio stations pay performance royalties will simply move money from one group to another.
He said that for 80 years there had been an understanding that free air play was a quid pro quo for free promotion but "The Internet broke that model. Radio didn't break that model. And now our friends in the performance community are looking for a new model."
He added that both the recording industry and radio were "mature industries, and there is no more money. How we divide up what exists of the money is really the issue, from the radio standpoint. Because if you want to limit what the American people are able to enjoy and take for granted, in a number of 230 million radio listeners per week, if you want to jeopardize that and turn more radio into talk radio, all Rush, all the time, then what you do is further complicate the economics of radio. So you split the baby (a reference to the Biblical tale of Solomon and the baby claimed by two women) and you kill it for both."
Such a move said Smith "isn't in the interest of radio, and it certainly isn't in the interest of performers, and ultimately, we have to reshuffle this deck to allow both to live, but there isn't more money. And if you want proof of that, you can buy radio stations now, all over this country, a dime a dozen if you want to. The economics are simply not there anymore. And that's just the truth."
His comments coincided with a meeting between members of Congress, NAB representatives and representatives of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) over the issues raised by the Performance Rights Act that would introduce royalties.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said in a statement following the meeting," Out of deference to key members of Congress, NAB representatives met today with representatives of RIAA and the music industry to discuss pending performance tax legislation. NAB representatives, along with representatives of minority-owned radio stations, reiterated our strong concerns over the negative impact that the bill would have on the ability of free and local radio stations to continue serving our listeners."
RNW comment: Smith is in a refreshing change for the NAB actually putting reality on record bluntly. He is of course correct that technology has brought about the change - exacerbated by the state of the US economy - but did not take up the crucial issue of why the marketplace should not be allowed to operate in this particular area, an odd omission when so many broadcasters proclaim their beliefs in that market whenever regulation affects them adversely.
We continue to believe that the best way forward is to change copyright law and that in this case tiered royalties from a nil band to a top rate should be introduced with artists having to opt for their output to go into a particular band for a fixed period of at least a year (maybe with a one-time option if absence from airwaves makes them think they've overplayed their hand to move down a payment band or if they have success to move up a band for their works from a month ahead but with no option then to change for at least another year.
2009-11-18:Emmis's hip-hop KDHT-FM serving Austin, Texas, has now gone to stunting and due to launch a new format.
A week ago DJ 2DQ had announced that the station on-air staff would be let go and the station's format would change and reports are that the staff have indeed been fired.
A new format is scheduled to make its debut on the station later today.
Nov 19 Update: Details have now become clearer as Emmis is to go through a double-flip in Austin. KGSR-FM (Radio Austin) is being moved from its current frequency to the KDHT frequency ) and a new regional Mexican format is to take over the KGSR frequency, which is licensed to Bastrop.
Initially Emmis will simulcast KGSR on both frequencies with details of the new station to be announced on November 30.
2009-11-18:The BBC Trust has ruled that the policy of only allowing contributors to participate on BBC Radio 4's "Thought for the Day" does not breach either the BBC Editorial Guideline on impartiality or the BBC's duty to reflect religious and other beliefs in its programming.
The Trust had been considering a series of complaints relating to the issue and it said the slot was religious programming but added that it "must comply with requirements of due impartiality and that any future complaints on particular broadcasts of Thought for the Day would be judged against these standards on a case-by-case basis."
Richard Tait, Chairman of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) commented in a news release, "We understand that some people feel strongly about this issue and have given it careful consideration. However, we have concluded that the current arrangements do not breach BBC Editorial Guidelines and specifically requirements of due impartiality in content.
"We recognise that there may be cases in the future where concerns are raised about content on Thought for the Day, however, these should be dealt with as and when they arise in line with other editorial matters and procedures."
BBC Trust Vice-Chairman Dr Chitra Bharucha, who is also Chairman of the Trust's General Appeals Panel (GAP), added, We considered the BBC's duty to reflect religious and other beliefs and the BBC's broader responsibility to broadcast a range of views and reflections, whether from non-religious contributors or otherwise, throughout mainstream programming. In particular, we considered whether allowing only religious contributors to participate on Thought for the Day was contrary to the BBC's duty to reflect religious and other beliefs across its output. We found that there was no breach of the BBC's duty in respect of these appeals."
The Trust said it was a matter for the BBC Executive to consider whether the remit for Thought of the Day should be changed in the future.
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, which was one of the complainants, said they were "very disappointed" by the decision and would continue to press for the slot to be opened up and Andrew Copson, the director of education and public affairs for the British Humanist Association termed the ruling a "shame" and said they could see no could reason for humanists to be barred from contributing.
The Church of England welcomed the decision, saying that it prevented Thought for the Day, which was valued by people of all faiths and none, from becoming just another comment slot.
In other BBC religion news, Roger Bolton, who has presented the BBC Radio 4 "Sunday" programme for more than a decade has decided to stand down from the end of January next year. A successor is to be announced later this year.
He commented in a BBC news release, "After spending most weekends for the past 12 years away from home, in Manchester, I look forward to waking up in my own bed on Sunday mornings. I'll still be listening to Sunday - but in a horizontal position.
"It has been a privilege to be Sunday's presenter for so long, not least because I was able to ask questions I wanted to ask anyway in a private capacity, and because I believe it is one of the BBC's most important programmes. I was always a bit scared doing it but I hope that did not show."
BBC Radio 4's Head of Religion Radio, Christine Morgan said Bolton would "be much missed both by the listeners who appreciate his authoritative and fearless questioning and by the tight knit team who have worked with him. He will be a tough act to follow."
Bolton will continue to present the stations Feedback programme.
BBC Trust ruling (200kb 65-page PDF):
2009-11-18: Emmis whose Hungarian national station Sláger Radio is due to close at midnight tonight (See RNW Oct 30) along with Danubius Radio, both of whose licences have been allocated to new groups, is reported to have signed an HUF 2 billion (USD 11.2 million) deal with another Hungarian broadcaster Rádió 1 to take over the rights to 12 regional frequencies to continue the service.
The decision is being contested legally and the Budapest Times reported that a survey conducted by pollster Medián suggested that six out of ten Hungarians agreed that the decision to end the right of Sláger Rádió and competitor Danubius to broadcast on the country's only two nationwide FM wavebands was "outrageous".
Budapest Times report:
2009-11-18: UK Media Regulator Ofcom has recommended that the UK government should remove rules capping ownership of local FMs and multiplex ownership and should also ease local cross-media ownership rules.
Under the proposals submitted in a report to the Secretary of State (Culture, Media and Sport) on the Media Ownership Rules following a recent analysis of UK local media and consultations on localness regulation for local radio one operator would be allowed to own all the local commercial stations in an area. In addition Ofcom would ease local cross media ownership rules and leave only one restriction in place would prohibit one operator owning in a market all three of a local radio station, local newspapers with more than a half share of the local market, and a regional commercial TV licence.
Ofcom proposes retention of national media ownership regulations that prohibit ownership of the Channel 3 commercial TV channel and national newspapers,, saying that they "both remain significant sources of news"; restrictions which apply to television and radio broadcasting licences to guard against undue influence, as these media can still influence society; appointed news provider rule which helps ensure national and international news on Channel 3 is independent of the BBC and adequately funded, as Channel 3 remains the most watched alternative source of broadcast news after the BBC; and The media public interest test which continues to provide a backstop for Government to intervene to prevent media mergers on public interest grounds, including for the protection of plurality, as Parliament's original rationale is unaffected.
In the report Ofcom notes that while use of the internet is growing, the large majority of people still consume news through television, radio and newspapers but that local media are under significant economic pressures, commenting that "pessimistic forecasts have suggested that commercial radio's revenues could decline by 20% over 2009."
The proposed radio changes are in line with calls from the industry to ease regulation and Ofcom said that it made them "because of the financial pressures that stations face" and added that it hoped to remove "any potential for the rules to cause commercial failures, thereby resulting in a lessening of plurality" adding "Some relaxation could help to ensure local radio content continues to be commercially provided."
It notes that in response to its consultation it received six submissions calling for removal of local station ownership rules and only one against the idea - on the basis "that removing the rules would mean insufficient guarantees of plurality, and argued that there is no evidence that the rules are challenging the sectors viability or are disproportionate."
It additionally commented regarding ownership of local digital multiplexes that the rules did little to retain plurality of voices as ownership of the multiplex did not need to be linked to ownership of stations. It took a similar view regarding national digital multiplexes - currently only one may be owned by an organization and said that in relation to this issue it received five responses in support and one that expressed concern about competition, an issue Ofcom suggested is "addressed by competition law and other regulation, including the specific provision within multiplex licences for fair and effective competition."
Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said the proposals would "allow local media companies more flexibility to respond to the challenges that they are facing while at the same time protecting plurality for listeners and viewers."
Ofcom report (52-page 290 kb PDF):
2009-11-17: Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin in an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business News has said that there's "no chance" he'll take another job, has defended the amounts the company pays to its top talent and forecast a strong future for the company, noting that it has agreements with all car manufacturers.
Regarding the finances of the company and the amounts paid to talent Karmazin commented to Cavuto, "After paying these very substantial salaries after paying expensive interest expense we're going to generate Free Cash and in 2010 that Free Cash Flow is going to go increase."
He noted that 11 million automobile sales were expected in the US every day with Sirius XM in each, although he'd prefer that sales were 17 million, and forecast "quarter after quarter of growth You'll see us making free cash flow. You'll see us with ... over USD 2.5 billion of revenue. We'll start to make money, and we'll start to keep investing in content. And I think our future will be great."
On revenues he noted that only Clear Channel was larger in radio and regarding content said," We have this extraordinary content. We have 135 channels in every single market in the United States, from Sirius and from XM. And our content is what separates us."
Pushed over the amount paid to Howard Stern Karmazin indicated thatr he waanted to keep the Host but added the caveat that it had to be on "terms that are in the best interest of our shareholders" and quipped, "If you can convince Howard to work for less money you know I'd be happy to. " He then went on "but I've been hearing about expensive content cost my entire career--- good content costs you a lot of money and as I've said before I'd rather have good content than not have it " He also said Stern was "the most popular radio personality in all of radio today especially with us" and said he was thankful that Stern did not do interviews, thus forcing people to listen to him on his daily five hours on satellite where the host could say what he wanted to.
Karmazin was also asked about a possible move to Comcast-NBC if the former's takeover goes ahead, being described by Cavuto as one of a small pool of executives who would be perfect to run it, responding, "There would no question I'd be perfect to run it; there is no chance that I will ever take another job outside Sirius XM. I've just renewed my contract. It's exactly what I want " and then going on when pushed about being Number Two said he wouldn't want to be second to anyone, even Warren Buffet, adding, "I'm just not good at it, I'm just not good at being number two "
On the subject of personal finance Karmazin said that at a certain stage you have enough and ten years ago he come to the conclusion that he had enough: He also said he didn't want "to run another large media company, I've done that "
Cavuto also asked Karmazin about handling talent and large egos to which Karmazin responded that the reason he was able to manage them was "called money", adding that talent would come in and thank him for backing them supporting them against the FCC, not firing them over a controversy and then add that their contract was up and they'd like an extra 10%.
Previous Sirius XM:
YouTube video of interview:
2009-11-17: Madrid-based Ondas Media, which is aiming to set up a European satellite subscription radio service, has agreed a deal with UK-based Jazz FM to provide its service on Ondas's planned service and also to co-operate with Ondas in creating additional specialist radio channels.
Ondas is already testing programming online and is involved in a series of meeting with key automobile, broadcast and technology partners: It claims enthusiasm from its auto manufacturing partners and is to stage test and demonstration projects in Munich and Paris next year with launch of a full service targeted for 2012.
Ondas says signals will come from satellites and terrestrial repeater stations but although on its web site it makes much of the success of satellite radio in the US, does not comment on any tie-up with Sirius-XM or WorldSpace.
The latter was planning European services before it went into bankruptcy and there were suggestions that Liberty Media, which is now in control through subsidiary Liberty Satellite Radio, having bought the previous lenders' debts in September, could use WorldSpace as a springboard to launch Sirius XM services outside the US although Liberty has made no comment about such plans.
Ondas, in which Delphi Automotive Electronics has a significant investment, is planning a slightly higher subscription charge than Sirius XM - around Euros 10-12 (USD 15-18 a month_ - for some 150 channels including multi-lingual radio, video and data services.
As well as Ondas, Franz Cantarano, formerly VP/Strategy & Development Europe, for WorldSpace, has registered a potential subscription audio rival called Onde Numérique for the French market although initially this would is planned as a terrestrial service.
Previous Liberty Media:
Ondas web site:
2009-11-17: Commercial Radio Australia has now launched the second stage of its AUD 10 million (USD 9.4 million) digital radio awareness campaign with a series of radio and online advertisements pitching a digital radio as the perfect gift for Christmas.
The adverts are being aired on more than 40 commercial stations in the five digital radio metropolitan markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and Commercial Radio Australia is to follow-up with a report early next year on awareness of digital radio, listening to it, and the number of receivers sold.
Retailers are reporting high awareness but say most of the interest has been in cheaper receivers rather than top-of-the-range models. Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner said that price and programming are the factors that will drive uptake of the medium.
The launch of the campaign coincides with a visit to Australia of 22 delegates from eight countries as part of an Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union digital radio delegation. The delegation will be hosted by Commercial Radio Australia in collaboration with the ABU Technical Department and includes representatives of MRTBN - Mongolia; RTHK - Hong Kong; RTB - Brunei; VOV - Vietnam; TBS - Japan; LRN - Laos; RTM and IPPTAR - Malaysia; and Mediacorp - Singapore.
Warner commented with regard to the visit, "The Asia Pacific region is an important market for DAB+. Radio listening figures are high and it's a major manufacturing region. The adoption of DAB+ in these countries would go a long way to reinforcing DAB+ as the global digital radio standard."
DAB+, which has been adopted by Australia, has also been chosen by Switzerland, Malta and Hungary; is to be launched in Germany and Italy in 2010 and expected to be trialled and/or adopted in the Czech Republic, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, much of Scandinavia and other European and Asian markets.
In the UK, Pure, which is one of the leading digital radio manufacturers, has just extended its range with a radio cum Wi-Fi receiver cum quite a few other things is making its debut in stores this week offering amongst other things applications to give it access to Twitter, Facebook and news via Wi-Fi.
The Pure Sensia, described by its maker as a "revolutionary internet-connected digital audio system with Flow technology and a large colour touchscreen" can receive FM and DAB digital radio as well as audio streams via Wi-Fi, either from the internet or from people's own devices.
It is shaped like a rugby ball and incorporates a 5.7" 640 x 480 pixel colour touch-screen, an input for an i-Pod or MP3 player and also has software to allow organizing and editing of digital photographs. It does not include an Internet browser. It is priced at around GBP 245 (USD 412).
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-11-17: LBI Media has reported third quarter revenues down 9.7% on a year ago at USD 27.5 million, an improvement on prior quarters - the fall for the first nine months was 14.6% to USD 77.1 million.
Operating expenses were up 39% in the quarter to USD 94.4 million, primarily because of the affect of impairment charges without which expenses would have been down 9%; The impairment charges for radio licences this year were USD 47.2 million compared to USD 34 million a year earlier - up 39% - whilst TV licence impairment charges more than doubled from USD 12.7 million a year ago to USD 27.9 million this year with overall impairment charges up 61% to USD 75.1 million.
Operating losses in the third quarter were up 79% from USD 37.4 million to USD 66.9 million within which radio losses were up 49% to USD 40.7 million and TV operating losses increased from a loss of USD 10.2 million to a loss of USD 26.2 million.
For the first nine months of the year operating losses rose from USD 17.7 million to USD 106.5 million including radio impairment charges up from USD 34 million to USD 79 million - radio operating loss was up from USD 13 million to USD 63.1 million and TV impairment charges up from USD 12.7 million to USD 47.5 million - TV operating loss was up from USD 4.7 million to USD 43.3 million.
Adjusted EBITDA fell 16% for the quarter to USD 10.7 million within which radio was down 9% to USD 7.7 million and TV was down 30% to USD 3.95 million and for the nine months was down 24% to USD 28.3 million with radio down 22% to USD 25.2 million and TV down 27% to USD 8.7 million.
Overall LBI had a net loss of USD 76.95 million in the quarter - up from USD 29.38 million a year earlier whilst for the first nine months the net loss was USD 113.1 million, up from USD 28.9 million.
LBI also noted that during the quarter it had agreed a USD 6.5 million cash sale of KSEV-AM in Houston: The sale is to KSEV-AM talk show host and Texas State Senator Dan Patrick who has been running the station since 2001 and who also owns KVCE-AM, which is licensed to Highland Park and serves the Dallas-Fort Worth market
Commenting on the figures CEO and President Lenard Liberman noted that the third quarter figures continued to be affected by the economic downturn and a "challenging advertising environment" but added on a more positive note, "Despite the difficult conditions, we continued to execute our strategy of capitalizing on our high-quality programming and the strong value proposition we deliver to our advertising partners. While we have seen some improvement in the third quarter with respect to broadcast revenue performance as compared to the first and second quarters of this year, there are markets like Southern California that remain very challenged. The challenges facing broadcasters before a market turnaround are still considerable. However, we remain optimistic for the future.
"Moving forward," he added later, "we remain committed to strengthening our programming line-up, driving ratings gains across our radio and TV properties, as well as delivering strong national network ratings, and monetizing our growing audience. Given our strong market position, our attractive radio and TV broadcasting assets, and our recently launched EstrellaTV network, we believe we will be in position to generate growth when the economy recovers."
Previous LBI Media:
2009-11-17: UK media regulator Ofcom has posted a consultation asking for comments by February 5 next year regarding the next World Radiocommunication Conference due to be held early in 2012.
The WRC, which is held every four years, is the forum for agreeing changes to international radiocommunication regulations and Ofcom has detailed topics to be on the agenda.
In particular it is proposing that issues of spectrum access for software-defined radio (SDR) and cognitive radio systems (CRS) should be handled outside the Radio Regulations not on a mandatory basis: CRS harmonization, it suggests, can be best agreed on a regional basis where needed and it adds that its view f SDR is not a matter requiring any change to the Radio Regulations.
2009-11-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set aside a USD 5,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) it issued in September to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Inc., licensee of KWVE-FM, San Clemente, California, after the station had transmitted commercial programming and an advertisement as part of an EAS test message (See RNW Sep 18).
The agency says it is taking the action of its own accord and adds that it is "are mindful of the unique circumstances at issue, including the voluntary and critical nature of the service provided by local primary stations in enabling statewide EAS activity, as well as the isolated nature of the particular violation, which occurred while Calvary Chapel was conducting regularly scheduled mandatory testing designed to identify problems prior to a real emergency or natural disaster."
It says that in this particular instance that although no single factor would justify changing the NAL the "totality of the evidence" indicates that a "different approach is warranted in this limited instance."
Accordingly it has admonished Calvary for the breach and required that within 90 days it submits a compliance report describing all EAS compliance measures undertaken since the breach in October last year together with a certification by an officer of the company to the accuracy of the report.
2009-11-16: Following the departure of former chairman Gary Parsons, who also left its board, and the appointment of Eddy W. Hartenstein as non-executive chairman (See RNW Nov 12), Sirius XM says it has been notified by the Nasdaq stock market that it is now in compliance with the independent director and audit committee requirements for continued listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
Sirius XM had gone out of compliance when Jeffrey D. Zients resigned as an independent director following his confirmation as Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget of the United States but said at the time it expected to regain compliance by the required deadline (See RNW Jun 25).
Previous Sirius XM:
2009-11-15: Last week was a rare week in which no radio decisions were posted in Canada and there were also no radio-related announcements from Ireland whilst in the UK the only radio-related posting was of the latest Broadcast Bulletin.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) made a number of radio postings including:
* A call for comment on proposals to make channels available for ABC NewsRadio services in Deniliquin and Upper Murray, New South Wales. The proposals also mean changes for planned community radio services in Wodonga and Deniliquin.
Alternative frequencies have been identified for the community services affected: In Wodonga Albury Wodonga Christian Broadcasters Inc is currently broadcasting under a temporary community broadcasting licence but at the moment no station is currently using the frequency affected. In both cases the ACMA says the new frequencies would allow similar levels of coverage to those being lost.
*Also in New South Wales a call for comment on proposal to make 101.5 MHz available for a new ABC NewsRadio service at upper Namoi: To make this available service 2TRR at Dunedoo will have to switch frequencies and it is proposed that it be moved to 96.1 MHz and its maximum operating power increased from 200 watts to 1 kilowatt
The ACMA is also proposing to make channel capacity available for 2TRR at Coolah and to extend 2TRR's licence area to include Coolah, and to make a new community radio broadcasting service available at Gin Gin. 2TRR is supporting the changes.
*Allocation of new long-term community licences to serve Fremantle and Perth. The Fremantle licence has been awarded to Western Sports Media Inc (WSM), which is currently broadcasting a service to Fremantle and Perth under a temporary licence and was competing against applications from Cockburn Sounds Inc and Phoenix Radio Ltd.
The Perth licence went to Capital Community Radio Inc, which was competing against applications from The Young Men's Christian Association of Perth Inc and Phoenix Radio Ltd. The last two are providing temporary community services in Perth and CCR is providing a service to the smaller Perth RA2 licence area that it will have to surrender before being allocated the licence for the larger Perth RA1 licence area.
*Allocation of spectrum for a new community service in Goolwa, South Australia, as part of changes in the Murray Bridge radio licence area plan that also includes a change to the frequency of community radio service 5EFM in Yankalilla, and a change to the antenna height of the community radio service 5GSFM in Victor Harbor.
As already noted there were no radio announcements from Canada or Ireland and in the UK the only Ofcom posting was of the latest Broadcast Bulletin in which one radio complaint was upheld (See RNW Nov 10).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in a number of enforcement actions including:
*Levying USD 20,000 penalty on New Mexico station KHOD-FM, Des Moines, for operating the station in variance with its authorized permission (See RNW Nov 14).
*Issuing USD 10,000 penalty to a Texas pirate operator: Raymond Frank of Austin, had been issued a USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for forfeiture (NAL) to which Frank responded by denying that the commission had jurisdiction over the matter - he made the claim as a citizen of the Republic of Texas - and requesting that it be dropped. The FCC declined his suggestion and confirmed the full penalty.
In New York State the FCC announced a Consent Decree entered into between it and the Long Island University Public Radio Network concerning the broadcast by the licensee of underwriting acknowledgments over its stations WLIU-FM, Southampton, WCWP-FM, Brookville.
Under the decree the licensee is to pay USD 24,000 to the US Treasury in four instalments and has also agreed to a multi level review procedure for underwriting content to be broadcast on the stations; to train employees on acceptable underwriting content that complies with the Underwriting Laws; make good faith efforts, with respect to independently produced programming broadcast on the stations, to obtain from the programmes' distributors of the copy for underwriting announcements contained in such programming in advance of broadcast so as to allow it to independently review the copy for compliance with underwriting rules; and to implement and maintain a plan to educate prospective underwriters about appropriate underwriting content and how the Licensee incorporates such underwriting content in the messages that it prepares for underwriter approval and eventual broadcast.
Long Island also has to file compliance reports ninety days, twelve months, 24 months and three years from the effective date of entering into the Consent Decree.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-11-15: Birmingham (UK) City Council has now launched an investigation after around 60 people were injured at a free concert staged in connection with the switching on of the city's Christmas lights on Saturday.
The event was run by the council and local radio station BRMB which had organized the free concert at which performers were to have included Sugababes, Tynchy Stryder, The Saturdays, Chipmunk, the Noisettes, Pixie Lott, Little Boots, Alexandra Burke, Calvin Harris, Taio Cruz, Mini Viva and Girls Can't Catch and Natalie Imbruglia.
Boy-band JLS (Jack the Lad Swing), last year's X Factor runners-up, were performing when the crowd surged through the barriers causing the injuries, most of which were treated at the scene although four people were taken to hospital.
A statement posted on the band's web site by JLS singer Marvin Humes said they were "devasted (devastated!) to see what happened at the BRMB event in Birmingham... We are so, so sad to see that people got injured at the gig. It was meant to be a great event with some other amazing acts on the bill and we're just gutted that everyone's day was spoilt."
Martin Mullaney, head of leisure, sport and culture at the council told the Birmingham Mail that he fully supported the decision to abandon the concert for safety reasons and added, "I would sooner read headlines about red faces than read headlines about a tragedy."
The council's assistant director for sport and events Steve Hollingworth told the UK Telegraph (which has posted ITN video of the surge. The BBC also posted video) the event had been planned for an anticipated crowd of some 20,000 - some estimates say up to around 30,000 turned up - and had a "perimeter fence in place to make sure we could monitor the numbers of people in the arena, and at 1.30pm we closed the arena.''
Part way through the JLSperformance some of those who could not get in surged forward breaching the fence and causing the injuries.
Local MP (Member of Parliament) Khalid Mahmood attacked the planning for the event and said they had lucky escape, adding, "''This could have been far far worse than it was, we are very very lucky. There was no real assessment of what the dangers were and how many people there could be. "
BRMB is one of the former GCap Media stations that Global Radio had to sell off to allay competition concerns after it took over GCap: In May this year it was announced that a group headed by former Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley - it subsequently took the name Orion Media - was buying the station and seven other Midlands stations (See RNW May 22). The sale was finalised in July.
JLS web site statement:
UK Telegraph report:
2009-11-14: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has levied a USD 20,000 penalty on Hodson Broadcasting, permittee of KHOD-FM, in Des Moines, New Mexico, for operating the station the station at variance to its authorization.
Its Enforcement Bureau had issued a USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for the breach in November last year and a further USD 10,000 NAL in April this year for continued operation of the station in breach of its authorization.
Hodson responded by argued that it had has filed applications and requests for special temporary authority ("STA") to legitimize its operation; that it should be treated as a small business concern; and that it lacks the ability to pay the proposed forfeiture amounts.
Hodson was originally awarded a construction permit, valid until June 28 this year, for a Class C FM with an antenna height above ground of 14 metres and an effective radiated power of 82 kW: Two months before the permit expired Hodson filed an application to move the station some 34 miles; changing the community of license of the station from Des Moines, New Mexico, to Raton, New Mexico; changing the station from a Class C to a Class A with an antenna height of 12.2 metres above ground level and reducing the power from 82KW to 2KW. The application was rejected on June 18 and the FCC said no further modification applications were filed: The FCC added that it had also never issued authorization for program test authority or operational authority.
A week later following complaints an FCC investigation found the station to be operating from Raton and the station owner acknowledged that the signal did not reach to Des Moines, the community to which it was licensed.
FCC agents warned Hodson about the unauthorized operation and at the start of July again gave a verbal warning: In October further complaints were received and in November the first USD 10,000 NAL as issued. In December an inspection showed that the station was still operating from Raton and after a warning it was closed and Hodson said he would attempt to gain Special Temporary Authority to continue operations, a request that was denied in April this year.
In the meantime it was found that the station had continued to operate fro much of January, February and March and in April a second USD 10,000 NAL was issued.
In response to this Hodson produced various explanations and also questioned the amount of the penalty but the FCC sais it produced no evidence that it had been given to operate the station in variance to its permit : Hodson also argued that its operation had been permitted equipment tests.
The FCC rejected the arguments and concerning inability to pay commented that although Hodson's tax records might support the argument there was also an issue of upward criteria related to intentional, repeated, or continuous violation of FCC rules.
It accordingly confirmed the penalty and also ordered that Hodson file a report within 30 days detailing compliance with its CP and compliance with the FCC order.
2009-11-13: Although no formal details have been announced by the company, information from various of the markets it operates in show that Citadel Broadcasting, which warned earlier this month that it may not be able to meet debt covenants in January and could have to file for bankruptcy (See RNW Nov 8), is engaged in a large scale cutback as it drops local hosts in favour of syndicated programming.
Citadel has announced some of the changes in a release headed, "CITADEL MEDIA ANNOUNCES MARQUEE TALENT "JOINING 24-HOUR FORMATS" that notes plans to use hosts from some stations to "anchor specific day parts on its 24-hour music formats" but fails to mention lay-offs.
It quoted Citadel Media President John Rosso as saying, "We believe utilizing the talents of these personalities will be a significant enhancement for our affiliates. By offering these shows as part of our 24-hour formats on a modular, customized basis, we enable our partners to make choices with greater flexibility that works best for their individual needs."
RNW comment: We wonder how far Citadel Chairman/CEO Farid Suleman has succeeded in arranging a soft landing for himself in talks with lenders about the company's financial woes since it is doubtful that these cuts are being made without their tacit approval at least.
Were there justice no such deals would be made and Suleman would not only be out on the streets but also be facing repaying some of his over-generous remuneration over the past few years to creditors. Even better would have been some teeth at the FCC for many years past over localism backed by the threat of revocation of the licences of Citadel and a number of other conglomerates that have dumped as many commitments to local service as they could. Licence revocations after all wouldn't mean dead but an opportunity for newcomers without the pressure of major debt to actually provide a local service from the stations.
2009-11-13: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has reported third quarter revenues down 6% on a year ago to USD 38.6 million but station operation expenses were down 26.9% to USD 22.4 million and operating income jumped from USD 3.98 million to USD 12.28 million.
Overall SBS moved from a net loss a year earlier of USD 2.86 million - including impairment charges of USD 2.2 million - to net income this year of USD 2.1 million (from a loss of four cents to income of three cents per basic and diluted share).
Within the figures radio revenues were down 5% to USD 34.6 million whilst TV was down 17% to USD 4.0 million; radio operating income was down 28% to USD 17.2 million and TV operating income moving from a 2008 loss of USD 2.72 million to q loss of USD 962,000
For the first nine months of the year, SBS revenues are down 15.8% at USD 103.4 million with station operating expenses down 30.1% at USD 68.4 million; operating income moving from a loss of USD 388.1 million - including USD 398.5 million in impairment charges compared to impairment charges of USD 10.1 million this year - to income of USD 10.69 million; and net loss down from a loss of USD 307.7 million to a loss of USD 13.4 million *From a loss of USD 4.25 to a loss of 18 cents per basic and diluted share).
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr., said third quarter operating income had "improved significantly over the prior year as a result of our disciplined focus on cost management, combined with improving top-line trends at our radio station group."
He added, "While our results were impacted by the economic recession and industry-wide weak advertising market, we continue to execute our strategy and deliver valuable, market-leading audiences across our multi-media footprint Looking ahead, our sales teams are working aggressively to convert our solid audience shares into revenues and we are beginning to see some signs of improvement in the environment in many of our markets. As the economy begins to recover and advertising spending increases, we believe we are well positioned to benefit from the improved operating leverage in our model."
2009-11-12: According to the latest JNLR/TNSmrbi survey running from October 2008 - September 2009, 87% of the Irish population listened to radio daily last year - up from 86% for the previous ratings covering July 2008- June 2009, which in turn were up from 85% a year earlier.
Listenership to any multi-city/regional/local radio was up from 56% to 57% and up from 53% for a year earlier before the February 2009 launch multi-city service 4FM.
Within the listening figures weekday reach was higher for RTÉ Radio 1 - from 25% to 26% (23% a year earlier) and Newstalk - from 7% to 8% (6% a year earlier); unchanged for RTÉ 2FM at 16% (17% a year earlier) and Today FM at 15% (Also 15% a year earlier); and down from 4% to 3% for RTÉ Lyric FM (3% a year earlier).
In overall market share for weekdays 07:00 to 19:00 there was an 0.2% increase to 49.6% (49.8% a year earlier) within which RTÉ Radio 1 was up 0.3 to 23.3% (21.3% a year earlier); Today FM was up 0.1% to 10.7% ( 11.7% a year earlier) and Newstalk was up 0.2% to 4.0% (3.5% a year earlier) with RTÉ Lyric FM retained its 1.6% share (1.6% a year earlier) but RTÉ 2FM was down 0.4% to 10.5 % (12.4% a year earlier).
Of the multi-city and regional stations Beat 102-103FM had an unchanged weekday reach figure of 20% (19% a year earlier); regional youth service Spin South West held on to 18% (14% a year earlier); North-West regional service i102-104FM was up from 16% to 17% (5% a year earlier in its first figures) and new North-East regional service i105-107FM, which went on air in November 2008, took its reach up from 1% to 3% (5% a year earlier in its first figures) while Multi-City Service 4FM, which went on air in February 2009, took held on to 2%.
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five ranks (weekday reach compared to the previous ratings) were taken by Highland Radio with 67% (Up from 65% and from 64% a year earlier); Limerick's Live 95FM up from 52% to 53% (61% a year earlier); Shannonside/ Northern Sound up from 51% to 53% (49% a year earlier); Tipp FM up from 51% to 52% ( 48.3% a year earlier); and WLR-FM with 51% - down from 52% (Not in the first five a year earlier)
In weekday share terms the top five ranks were taken by Highland Radio with 65.9 % (up from 64.2%; Tipp FM with 52.6% (Up from 51.5%); Radio Kerry with 52.2% (Up from 49.7%); Mid West Radio with 50.5% (Down from 50.7%); and Shannonside/ Northern Sound with 48.2%% (Down from 48.4%).
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekday reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 30%, up from 29%; FM 104 with an unchanged 20%, up from 28%; Dublin's 98 with an unchanged 15%; Spin 1038 with an unchanged 14% and RTÉ 2FM with 13% (up from 12%).
In Cork the leaders in weekday reach were Cork's 96FM with an unchanged 38%; RTÉ Radio 1 with an unchanged 25%; Cork's Red FM with 20%, down from 21% ; Today FM with an unchanged unchanged 18% and C103 with 15%, up from 14%.
Commenting on the figures, RTÉ noted that weekly reach for RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ 2fm was more than a million and Radio Managing Director Clare Duignan added, "There is no question - RTÉ Radio 1 is the No.1 and clear favourite with the Irish listening public. For the first time in years RTÉ Radio 1's weekday reach has exceeded the 900,000 mark. This is undeniable proof of the unique power of RTÉ Radio 1, and listeners' engagement with our news and current affairs, entertainment, sport, lifestyle and weekend programming With 1,057,000 listeners tuning in weekly to RTÉ 2fm as opposed to 978,000 for Today FM, this means that RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ 2fm are now the only national stations with over one million listeners each."
Previous Irish Ratings:
2009-11-12: Sirius XM Radio has announced that Gary Parsons has resigned as its chairman and also as a director and that Eddy W. Hartenstein has been appointed by the company's board as non-executive chairman.
Parsons founded XM Satellite Radio and was its chairman before its merger with Sirius: He commented, "I could not be more proud of everything that has been accomplished in satellite radio. It has been a true honour to serve the stockholders of these companies since founding through delivery of an unparallel service to millions of loyal and devoted subscribers."
Parsons added that he thought it was the "right time" to step aside and added, "As Sirius XM, we have achieved significant synergies while bringing together two incredibly talented teams and unique service offerings. Moreover, despite the challenging economic environment, we have begun to generate positive cash flow and have substantially improved our financial condition. While challenges remain, I'm confident that under the direction of Mel Karmazin (Sirius XM CEO) and with the assistance of Eddy Hartenstein, Sirius XM will continue to grow and flourish."
Karmazin commented, "As Chairman of the Board, Gary has very effectively steered our company in the right direction, through our merger and beyond. He is a true pioneer; he believed in the promise of satellite radio before there were subscribers, programming or even satellites. I want to thank Gary for his vision, expertise and tireless commitment to Sirius XM. We greatly appreciate his many contributions and wish him all the best in all his future endeavours. I am also looking forward to working closely with Eddy in his new role. As an independent director, he will bring an important new perspective to the Chairmanship; a perspective that our stockholders will benefit from."
Hartenstein said Parsons left "big shoes to fill" and added, "His understanding of our industry and our technology is impressive, as is his vision for what this exciting service can offer our subscribers. Sirius XM is an extraordinary company that is well positioned for success as it maintains and builds on its strong position in the months and years ahead."
Also in connection with Sirius, Reuters has reported that Liberty CEO Greg Maffei told the Media & Money conference in New York today that Liberty expected to spin out its 40% stake in the country "at some stage". He described the USD 530 million investment - made as loans with a 15% interest rate and option to convert into a 40% stake in Sirius XM - now worth more than USD 1 billion- as one of the best bets Liberty has made.
Liberty has also through subsidiary Liberty Satellite Radio taken control of international satellite radio operator WorldSpace, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after other sales of its assets fell through. The deal made last month that was seen as an interest in expanding subscription radio in Europe and internationally, possibly using the WorldSpace satellites as a platform for Sirius XM but so far there has been no further move on this and it is unclear what the implications for the WorldSpace holding would be were Liberty to sell its Sirius XM stake.
Previous Sirius XM:
2009-11-12: The UK Radio Academy has announced that BBC Radio 2 breakfast host Sir Terry Wogan, who is to step down from the show early next year but will host a Sunday show on the station (See RNW Oct 19), is to be inducted into its Radio Hall of Fame at an eponymous lunch on December 10th.
Wogan will also be presented with the 2009 PRS John Peel Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Radio. The award was originally created in 1987 and re-named after the late British DJ John Peel in 2005.
Previous Radio Academy:
2009-11-11: London-based international radio consulting company United Radio has announced that it is setting up an Indian operation, the first international consultancy to do so.
The new unit will be headed by leading Indian radio consultant Sunil Kumar who has headed the radio businesses of Mid-Day Multimedia and Zee Telefilms (now Zee Entertainment Enterprises) and acted as a consultant to a number of Indian companies interested in radio.
United provied services to Radio City in India for a period from November 2006 and last month announced a deal for its Stockholm-based partner Robert Johansson to provide assistance on music development to Kerala-based Radio Mango
United says its focus will be on "creating new programming formats, setting up newsrooms and providing training in radio journalism, programming, sales and station management to existing radio companies" and adds that it will "also provide business planning and support services to the new entrants in the radio business, following the likely announcement of the Phase III of FM licensing in India early next year."
It will additionally act "as an interface between investors in the UK who are considering investment in India's radio industry" and is in talks with several companies establish India's first radio news agency, which will provide content for news and current affair activities either directly to radio stations or through All India Radio and is planning to offer advice and support to radio groups wanting to set up news and talk radio stations should the Indian government allow news and current affairs programming on FM radio stations.
United Senior Partner Paul Chantler, a UK radio veteran with some 25 years of experience, said the service they were offering would "supplement the experience Indian operators have gathered over the last three years" and added "We bring to India the knowledge and insights of the UK radio industry which is nearly 30 years old and has seen virtually every phase of market development. United Radio partners have worked for almost all the large radio companies in the UK."
Kumar added that United's experience in "the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia will work as a catalyst for the growth for our relatively young market" and said they had "developed some exciting India specific services and solutions, which we'll announce soon."
India appears to be moving closer towards allowing the airing of news on private FM stations and has also now drawn up guidelines for Phase III of FM radio services for consideration by the country's Cabinet.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni has told the newly constituted Consultative Committee of the Members of Parliament attached to her Ministry that the guidelines had been drawn up after consultations with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and added that issues of Foreign Direct Investment would be decided in line with the TRAI's recommendations. She also laid stress on Community FM stations.
RadioandMusic.com subsequently reported that Soni addressing a session on "The Future of Indian Media and Entertainment", had told the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit in Delhi that the Ministry was in an advanced stage of considering a rise in the FDI cap to 26 per cent from the current 20 per cent as recommended by TRAI and added that she was also proposing that news sourced from Akashvani AIR -(All India Radio's official name) should be allowed on private FMs, a suggestion that had been around since last year.
Private FM stations, which are supported by TRAI and the Indian Chambers of Commerce, have been pushing to be allowed to broadcast news - currently only allowed on All India Radio stations - for some time now: They want to be able to air their own news but their lobbying on the issue has been rather muted.
Previous Indian Radio:
2009-11-11: Suggestions made at the time of the award of USD 16.6 million against Entercom Sacramento to the family of a woman who died after taking part in the 2007 "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" water drinking contest staged by its KDND-FM that this might not be covered by the company's insurance (See RNW Oct 29) have proven unfounded.
In its 10Q filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the company lists in its assets USD 16.8 million as an "Insurance Claim Receivable."
It later comments, "During January 2007, a suit seeking various damages was filed against the Company relating to an on-air contest. The claims, which were settled in October 2009, were fully covered by the Company's insurance policies. In connection with the settled claim, as of September 30, 2009 the Company recorded an insurance claim receivable from its insurance company of USD 16.8 million along with a claim payable to the plaintiff of USD 16.8 million.
2009-11-11: Four new categories of awards have been announced for this year's Sony Awards, colloquially referred to as the UK Radio Oscars. They are for Best Specialist Contributor; Best Use of Branded Content; Best Single Promo/Commercial; and Best Promotional/Advertising Campaign.
Entries for the awards have to be submitted by January 27 together with a GBP 85 (USD 140) fee excluding Value Added Tax of just under another GBP 15 to take the total to USAD 165.
Their addition takes the total number of awards categories up to 26: There were 21 when the event was launched in 1983.
Previous Sony Awards (2009 Winners):
2009-11-10: CBS has announced a "strategic restructuring" of its local broadcasting that will see Anton Guitano, who has served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Executive Vice President of Operations for CBS Radio, become Chief Operating Officer of CBS Local Media for the company's new local broadcasting business segment.
CBS had already announced that Peter Dunn was moving from his post as President and General Manager of the Company's largest station, WCBS-TV, New York, to become President of CBS Television Stations.
Guitano will report to CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves and also to CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason, who has extended his contract: Moonves commented of Mason, "Dan is, quite simply, the best executive in the radio business. He has unparalleled gifts as a programmer, and knows how to turn that grasp of our on-air product into improved ratings and financial performance. We couldn't be more pleased that Dan will continue to provide his leadership skills for years to come, joining with Anton and Peter to help make this new local media group a growth engine for CBS."
Of Guitano he said, "Anton is an executive with unique experience and understanding of both television and radio. He has been highly effective in his prior role at our radio group, working closely with Dan Mason, and before that was equally effective at the CBS Television Stations. We look forward to the contribution he will make in our new, coordinated local operation."
Moonves added of the new structure, "This is a good time for this move. Our TV and radio stations are gaining momentum week by week and are operating from a position of strength. I look forward to working with this creative and seasoned team of managers as we capitalize on the developing recovery and build a new paradigm for the future growth of our local businesses."
2009-11-10: In more US results Clear Channel and Westwood One have both reported revenues down by double-digit percentages on a year ago - by 17% to USD 1.4 billion for Clear Channel and by 18.5% to USD 78.5 million for Westwood One: At Clear Channel the revenues were boosted by a US D10.2 million increase due to movements in foreign exchange without which the fall would have been 18%.
Clear Channel cut its operating expenses by around 17% to USD 969.8 million in this case including a USD 9.8 million increase due to movements in foreign exchange excluding which the fall would have been 18%.
Operating income was down 30% to USD 155.6 million but loss before income tax and discontinued operations was reduced from a loss of USD 68.1 million in the 2008 third quarter to USD 3.55 million but loss before discontinued operations was up from USD 34.9 million to USD 92.7 million.
OIBDAN (Operating Income before Depreciation and amortization, Non-cash compensation expense, Merger expenses and other operating income (expense)) was down 29% to USD 353.6 million.
Overall Clear Channel reported a consolidated net loss up from USD 35.9 million to a loss of USD 92.7 million with net loss attributable to the company up from USD 44.7 million to USD 89.9 million.
Within the figures the 2009 quarter included a USD 13.4 million loss on marketable securities and interest charges up 31.2% to USD 369.3 million.
In divisional terms radio revenues for the quarter were down 17% to USD 703.2 million and Outdoor revenues were 19% to USD 660.6 million and radio operating income was down 26.1% to USD 202.6 million with Outdoor operating income down 52.9% to USD 42.0 million.
The third quarter figures are the first in which both sets of figures are post the takeover of the company by Private Equity Interests led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. meaning nine-month figures are partly pre-merger: In the nine months total revenues were USD 1.685 billion with operating income of USD 201.5 million; a Loss before income taxes and discontinued operations of USD 128.5 million; and a net loss attributable to the company of USD 90.2 million.
In its 10Q filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Clear Channel said that at the end of September it had total long-term debt of USD 19.82 billion, up from USD 18.94 billion at the end of last year: It additionally noted that at that time it was paying an average interest rate of 5.7% on the debt and that the aggregate market value of the Company's debt based on quoted market prices for which quotes were available was USD 14.6 billion at the end of September, down from USD 17.2 billion at the end of 2008.
As regards covenants related to its senior secured credit facilities the company was in compliance at the end of September:
It also noted that during the first nine months of this year it had sold six radio stations for approximately USD 12 million , recognizing a loss of UD 12.7 million in connection with the sale, and had also recognized a loss of USD 26.9 million in connection with station exchanges. Internationally it gained USD 4.4 million on assets sold for USD 5.5 million and also sold its remaining interest in Grupo ACIR Comunicaciones for approximately USD 40.5 million, recording a loss of approximately USD 5.8 million in connection with this sale.
Westwood One third quarter revenues were as noted down 18.5% in the quarter to USD 78.5 million, a decline it put down primarily to the decline in radio advertising in the US - it said industry figure showed a decline of around 19%.
Within Westwood One's figures network radio revenues were down 16% to USD 40.4 million and its Metro Traffic revenues fell 21% to USD 38.0 million.
Operating expenses for the quarter were down 13% to USD 74.9 million and operating loss was USD 60.1 million, including an impairment charge of USD 50.4 million compared to a loss of USD 7.6 million a year earlier: Without the impairment charge operating losses were up 27.6% to USD 9.7 million.
Overall the company recorded a net loss of USD 53.5 million compared to a year earlier loss of USD 100,000: As with Clear Channel the company was effectively taken over - in its case by the Gores Group (See RNW Apr 23) and it provided no direct comparisons for the first nine-months of the year, splitting the figures between the predecessor and successor companies. These showed net revenues up to and after April 24 with revenues for the first nine months down 18.2% to USD 248 million and net loss down from USD 205.1 million (including USD 206.1 in impairment charges) in 2008 to a loss of USD 69/7 million this year.
Commenting on the results President and CFO Rod Sherwood said, "Westwood One is positioned to take advantage of an economic recovery once advertising spending in the radio industry begins to improve."
"Our strategic focus," he added "has been on realigning our capital structure, reducing operating expenses, and completing our operational turnaround, along with implementing revenue initiatives. We have invested in the strategic revenue drivers of the business by developing new programming, increasing our sales force and expanding our distribution channels. We are single-mindedly focused on our core mission of meeting our affiliates' and advertising customers' needs with quality programming and services that will help build their businesses."
Looking ahead he was cautiously optimistic about prospects for the rest of the year, commenting, "By realigning our capital structure, improving operational efficiency, expanding our sales force, and improving our systems infrastructure, we have strengthened the Company for the future. We are currently seeing some improvement in the pace of the industry, but remain cautious about the outlook for the rest of 2009."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Westwood One:
2009-11-10: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin has upheld one radio Standards complaint as well as standards complaints against seven TV programmes and listing details of a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld was against Radio Ramadhan Keighley 102.1FM which was broadcasting under a short-term restricted service licence for the Ramadhan period.
A listener complained that the station broadcast content with a bias towards the Labour Party, and that this was not politically balanced and did not serve the purpose of a religious- based station and Ofcom asked it for a recording of the programme that it was unable to provide.
The stations said this was because of a faulty hard drive linked to the computer used to record the programme but said that it had no bias towards any political party, and it had invited representatives from all the political parties to participate in local community awareness programmes.
Ofcom noted this response but stressed that recording of output was an important licence condition. The station had it said breached the conditions of it s licence, a breach that would be held on record.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 107 TV complaints against 60 items and eight radio complaints against eight items that it did not uphold: This compared to 78 TV complaints against 40 items and five radio complaints against five items it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-11-09: Australian metropolitan radio advertising was down 3.8% on a year ago in October according to figures - from the 2009 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue as sourced by Deloitte - released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia: The fall has now affected all markets and although only a little more than half the September fall of 7% was more uniform than in previous figures - falls ranged from 2% to 4.9% whereas in September that showed the falls ranged from less than 1% to 12% and for the first three months of the financial year ranged from grown of 1.2% to a fall of 9% (See RNW Oct 14).
The worst performance was recorded in Brisbane - a 4.9% fall to AUD 9.05 million (USD 8.42 million) followed by Sydney - 4.17% to AUD 17.59 million (USD 16.37 million) a total that put it behind Melbourne where revenues were down 3.8% to AUD 17.8 million (USD 16.57 million); Adelaide - down 3.03% to AUD 5.4 million (USD 5.03 million); and Perth - down 2% to AUD 7.47 million (USD 6.95 million). For the first four months of the year, total revenues are now down 5.17% on a year earlier at AUD 212.7 million (USD 202.15 million).
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-11-09: Saga Communications has reported third quarter revenues down 13.7% on a year ago at USD 31.3 million with station operating expenses down 11.3% to USD 23.6 million and net income down 19.4% to USD 2.5 million (from 65 cents to 58 cents per basic and diluted share).
For the first nine months of the year, revenues are down 15.3% to USD 89.0 million; station operating expenses are down 10.7% to USD 70.8 million and net income is down 36% to USD 4.8 million * from USD 1.52 to USD 1.14 per basic and diluted share).
The company highlighted Free Cash Flow figures, which are non-GAAP: These were up 5.1% to USD 5.8 million in the third quarter although down 2.9% to USD 12.7 million for the nine months.
It added that it had "maintained a solid balance sheet even given the current economic
Volatility" and said it had USD 16.7 million in cash balances and USD 130.6 million in outstanding bank debt as of September 30, 2009 and noted that since then it has repaid USD 5 million of this.
Within the figures radio revenues were down 13.8% to USD 27.0 million for the quarter with TV down 12.8% to USD 4.26 million and radio operating income was down 11.8% to USD 20.1 million with TV operating income down 9.3% to USD 3.5 million.
For the nine months radio revenues were down 16.5% to USD 76.3 million and TV was down 14.2% to USD 11.8 million with radio operating income down 28.4% to USD 16.7 million and TV down 65% to USD 1.1 million.
2009-11-08: Last week was yet another quiet one for the regulators with the main news coming from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held the first of its workshops in connection with next year's Quadrennial Review: In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has again found that community station s breached licence conditions: In one case Multicultural Community Radio Association Ltd.'s Sydney community radio station 2OOO was alleged to have broadcast advertisements during its Urdu language program Nawaa-E-Sarosh but the ACMA investigation discovered that its logging equipment had failed during the relevant period.
The station, noted the ACMA, has following the investigation implemented new procedures to ensure that all sponsorship announcements are appropriately tagged and that community service announcements are clearly identifiable and in addition the Nawaa-E-Sarosh programme has been cancelled and will not be allocated airtime until its presenter has been retrained. In view of these actions the ACMA opted to take no further action for now.
In a second case Central Highlands Broadcasting Inc.'s 3CH Kyneton, Victoria, was found to have breached its radio licence conditions by broadcasting advertisements during its broadcast of the local football league qualifying finals in August 2009.
The station has now revised its training manual and retrained all current presenters and no further action is to be taken for now.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a fairly quiet period approved an application from Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital Heritage Corporation for a licence to operate a 30 watts English-language low-power Type A community FM radio station in Norris Point, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The CRTC also approved an application by Canadian Hellenic Toronto Radio Inc. to increase the daytime power of its ethnic commercial radio station CHTO-AM, Toronto, from 1,000 watts to 3,000 watts. The application had been opposed by the Canadian Multicultural Alliance (CMA) and CINA 1650 AM Radio, Mississauga, (CINA), each of whom had expressed concern over CHTO's past airing of South Asian programming whilst the Hellenic Canadian Distribution, which publishes the Hellenic Canadian News, was critical of the quality of service provided by CHTO, the poor quality of the CHTO signal, and also noted introduction of programming in other languages in the past several months.
Canadian Hellenic responded by noting that it had broadcast no more than 10 hours of South Asian programming for several months ending in July 2009 and reiterated that the purpose of the present application is to address its listeners' concerns within CHTO's primary authorized contour area and that it is not interested in serving the South Asian market in Mississauga and Brampton.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland and only one in the UK where Ofcom pre-advertised the Rutland area FM licence currently held by Rutland Radio Limited: Ofcom is offering a licence to run to December 2015.
Declarations of interest have to be submitted by November 27 accompanied by a non-refundable GBP 5,000 (USD 8,350) fee and if only the current licence holder applied it will be invited to re-apply under Ofcom's fast-track procedures. Should there be competing applications the licence will be re-advertised but if there are no declarations of interest it will not be re-advertised.
Ofcom also announced that it was to tighten up its rules regarding premium-rate phone lines and that from early next year details of these can only be included in editorial broadcasts when they are related to the main editorial purpose of the show: Any wider use of premium rate lines will be considered advertising and regulated under the UK's Advertising Code. The changes will impact mainly on participation TV channels.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has held the first of its Media Ownership Workshops being held in connection with the 2010 Quadrennial Review of the agency's media ownership rules.
Speaking at the Scholars' Panel, Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps sounded an upbeat note, commenting that he was now "less worried than I used to be about pre-cooked media ownership studies, ideological posturing and not enough consumer and citizen input into our deliberations."
Copps commented that FCC "Broadcast ownership policies are supposed to encourage three essentials: localism, diversity and competition" and then went on, "In recent years, we have been moving in the wrong direction on all three. Our broadcast media is less local, less diverse, and less competitive. Years of evidence available to-but largely ignored by-the previous two Commissions demonstrate rather clearly that the tsunami of media ownership that has flooded our media environment for the past two decades has kicked the traces out from under all three of these essential qualities. So too has sloppy Commission oversight."
Copps also warned against ignoring old media because of the potential of new media; said that he thought consolidation wasn't yet over "by a long shot" - he forecast that "once the economy rebounds, we will see all sorts of deal-making and clever stratagems to realize those ever-elusive "economies of scale" that Wall Street analysts love to talk about, even as so many of the mergers and acquisitions generated by that talk continue to unravel " ; and expressed concern about ownership diversity and localism, commenting in regard to the last, "Localism is about people in their communities and making sure that our broadcast media spend some time covering what is going on in those communities-local news and information, local music, the diverse groups that live there. Some shout "communism" from their perches-as if people who are fed up with so much nationalized, homogenized mono-programming, disgusted at shuttered newsrooms and the lack of local music and community events, turned off by a dumbed-down civic dialogue, are somehow un-American. "
In relation to this he said he supported further action on requiring disclosure of what broadcasters are doing to serve their local communities and specifically said that there was no reason that people should have to go to a broadcaster's studio to review public files: That information, he said, "should be available on the Internet and at the FCC for all to see."
He also spoke of a "crying need for a respectable and credible re-licensing process" and added "Developing some modest-and historically precedented-public interest guidelines so that broadcast licensees have to do more than send in a postcard once every eight years to have their licenses renewed should be at the top of the FCC's list of things to do. It is not unreasonable that broadcasters should be expected to make a credible demonstration that they are serving their communities of license-their local and diverse communities of license-if they wish to continue using the public's airwaves."
The FCC was also involved in more enforcement actions including the following:
*Issuing USD 2,500 penalty for Frankie Grover of Lakeland, Florida, for operation of a pirate FM transmitter. During an inspection of the station FCC agents had interviewed Grover, who said he was solely responsible for setting it up and running it but added that eh had been told - at an unspecified time by an unidentified person at the FCC that the broadcast was OK so long as it caused no interference to other stations and there were no complaints.
The FCC initially issued a USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) to which Grover requested reduction or cancellation because he had no intended to breach FCC rules; was unaware that his station had exceeded the allowable power output for his equipment; and would be caused financial hardship by the penalty.
The FCC looked at documentation provided and reduced the penalty to USD 2,500 on the grounds of inability to pay.
*Issued USD 500 forfeiture to Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, Inc., licensee of FM translator stations K201FP, Arapaho, and K216FR, Clinton, both in Oklahoma, for late filing of renewal application. The FCC initially issued a USD 3000 NAL to which Calvary responded by requesting cancellation or a substantial reduction because the failure was unintentional and it had a history of compliance.
The FCC rejected both arguments but reduced the penalty to USD 500 in line with recent decisions.
*Cancelled a USD 7,000 NAL issued to Richard P. Marburger, Niles , Ohio, for late filing of licence renewal application and unauthorized operation of regarding FM Translator Station W232AI, Niles.
Marburger had requested cancellation on the grounds of inability to pay and because the violation was not intentional. The FCC rejected the latter argument but based on tax returns provided cancelled the penalty on grounds of inability to pay and substituted an admonishment.
In contested licence decisions, the FCC rejected objections from Munbilla Fort Hood, Ltd. and granted an application from Prophecy Media Group, LLC to be allowed to relocate the station at a site where it planned to construct a new tower. Munbilla Fort Hood had claimed that at the time of its application Prophecy had no reasonable assurance of the availability of the site for the tower and had failed to comply with FCC rules because it had failed to inform the FCC of an FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) issuance of a Notice of Presumed Hazard in connection with the planned tower.
The FCC accepted Prophecy's arguments and allowed the relocation.
In Virginia, the FCC granted an application from Mountain View Communications, Inc., licensee of WHEO-AM, Stuart, Virginia, for assignment of the license of to Patrick County Communications, L.L.C. (PCC), subject to a number of conditions and also adopted a consent decree with H. Dean Goad, 50 percent owner, Co-Manager, and Member of PCC, regarding an unauthorized transfer of control of the station.
Mountain's owner and President Jamie T. Clark had last year pleaded guilty to four counts of felony distribution of child pornography and one count of felony possession of child pornography and been jailed for three years: Before the sentence but after the guilty pleas had been entered, Mountain View had filed to sell the station's assets to PCC for USD 150, 000, which it said would be less than the amount owed to creditors.
The FCC had asked for details to enable it to determine whether the transaction conformed to precedents when sellers' qualifications to hold a licence are in question and whether Clark would benefit from the sale: it also noted that the control of the station had been transferred several times without prior FCC approval, in apparent breach of the Communications Act.
In particular it noted that in 1996 control of Mountain View had been transferred with FCC approval to six people who held equal voting and equity interests but that subsequently one of them, H. Dean Goad, had bought out the other shareholders to gain full control without FCC approval. Subsequently Gold sold 49% of the station to Clark and Richard Rogers, a long-time employee of the station, who some 18 months later sold his interest to Clark after which Goad also sold his interest to Clark, thus giving Clark control: Again this was done without gaining FCC approval.
Last year Clark's problems took him to the point where he sold the station to PCC, which had been formed by Goad and another local man, Tom Beasley.
Details of the sale given to the FCC showed that the only "gain" to Clark from the sale was USD 11,000 in takes he owed to the IRS and a further 2,234.08 to be paid to the Virginia Employment Commission for other unpaid taxes.
On this basis and the condition that proceeds of the ale would be distributed to creditors in line with details given to it, and that it is subsequently demonstrated that the conditions have been met, the FCC agreed to transfer the licence.
The FCC also dismissed a petition filed by A-O Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of DKTMN-FM, Cloudcroft, New Mexico for reconsideration of order that the licence had expired because of failure to operate for 12 consecutive months. The FCC said no new arguments had been presented by A-O.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-11-08: Citadel Broadcasting in a 10Q filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that showed its third quarter revenues down 14.1% on a year ago to USD 183.8 million and a net loss of USD 21.25 million compared to net income of USD 27.99 million (From 2008 income per basic and diluted share of ten cents to a loss of eight cents) has said that it may not be able to meet its debt covenants in January and may have to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Citadel notes that it was in compliance with the covenants as of September 30 and expects to remain in compliance through the rest of this year but then adds that the Fourth Amendment to its covenant "added additional covenants for 2010, which the Company does not expect to meet."
It notes that under this it has to have at least USD 150 million of available cash on January 15 by which date its remaining convertible subordinated notes must be amended to provide for a maturity date on or after September 30, 2014, among other things: It also has to comply with prior financial leverage covenants of its Senior Credit and Term Facility and also under the Fourth Amendment has to put any cash exceeding USD 30 million into an Excess Cash collateral account for the benefit of its lenders, thus rendering the funds unavailable for any other purposes without consent of the lenders. Some USD 4 million was in this account as of September 30.
Citadel then says, "Based on the current economic conditions and capital markets, the Company does not expect to be able to meet its covenants under the Senior Credit and Term Facility as of January 15, 2010" and continues on to note that because of this it has classified amounts outstanding under the Senior Credit and Term Facility and the convertible subordinated notes are as current liabilities.
Citadel in May hired a financial advisor to assist in evaluation of its options including a bankruptcy filing and says it is still in discussions with its lenders about these options.
In the results filing, Citadel as noted had revenues down 14.1% on a year ago in the third quarter at the end of which it had financial liabilities of some USD 64.3 million, down from USD 84.1 million at the start of the year, most of which were in the form of interest rate swaps: Total liabilities and stockholders debt and amounted to USD 1.403 billion compared to USD 2.73 billion at the end of last year with the stockholders debt during the period increasing from USD 299 million to USD 1.075 billion. In the same period it lists the value of its FCC licences as having fallen from USD 1.371 billion at the end of last year to USD 600.6 million at the end of September this year.
During the quarter it cut its operating expenses by 13.5% to USD 145.8 million and had operating income down 16% at USD 38 million.
For the first nine months of the year, net revenue is down 18.2% to USD 530.7 million; operating expense are down 18.2% to USD 530.7 million; operating income moved from a loss of USD 236.7 million to a loss of USD 1.423 billion within which were impairment and disposal charges of USD 371.7 million and USD 985.7 million respectively; and net loss increased from a loss of USD 231.8 million to USD 785.2 million (from 88 cents to USD 2.98 per basic and diluted share.).
2009-11-07: The Association of Radio Operators in India (AROI), the body representing FM operators in the country, has announced that it is to hold its first large-scale conference in Delhi next Thursday.
"Vision 2010" says AROI will commemorate Broadcaster's Day in memory of Mahatma Gandhi's first and only radio address to the Indian nation (On Nov 12, 1947) and will be a common platform for India's Broadcasting Ministry, players and other related authorities to discuss the issues of the Indian Radio Industry and the way forward.
AROI President Ms. Apurva Purohit commented of the background to the conference, "The fledgling and nascent private FM radio industry owes its existence to the initiative of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. The private FM Radio industry has worked closely with the Government of India to build this medium and create a massive infrastructure which today reaches out to 150 million people across 91 locations; contributing close to INR 100 crores (USD 21 million - a crore is 10 million) per annum to the Government through the license fee payments / rentals alone."
"Vision - 2010," she added, "is a National platform for all of us concerned to understand the issues facing the industry and take corrective actions. Our vision has been acknowledged by our Hon. Minister and all members through their consent to conduct such sessions regularly and lead the industry to the next level."
The Indian FM industry is concerned about various issues to do with next year's planned expansion of the industry through the third phase of India's Radio Licensing Policy and also with issues of content - at the moment private FMs can only carry music or news from the state broadcaster but many want the ability to run their own news shows and also issues of the performance charges made for music the stations air.
Previous Indian radio:
2009-11-06: Australian commercial radio body Commercial Radio Australia is to release a report on the state of digital radio in the country - DAB+ digital is now on air in Australia's capital cities - early next year.
It says the report will provide a comprehensive market snapshot of digital radio and will include top line digital radio listening figures from Nielsen Radio Ratings, consumer research from Nielsen Panorama and Hoop Group, digital radio sales data from GfK and consumer survey information sourced from tracking studies on Commercial Radio Australia's digitalradioplus website and facebook page.
Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner said the sales figures would only be part of the story, adding, "The industry initiated tracking of digital radio sales around the time of the initial low power switch on phase and of digital radio listening via the Nielsen audience measurement surveys since services began on air. We are now commissioning further research to better understand what listeners might want from digital radio."
She added of sales, "The post Christmas data will give us a real feel for trending in sales as it's obviously one of the biggest retail cycles of the year."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-11-06: In further US results revenues continue to fall compared to a year ago but tending to a proportionately slower fall than in the second quarter:Fisher Communications revenues were down 18% on a year ago to USD 34.5 million, a fall that compares to a 30% year on year fall for the second quarter with TV down 8% to USD 25.1 million and radio down 49 % to USD 6.0 million - the same percentage as for radio in the second quarter. The radio figures were affected by the financial impact of the ending of the company's contract with the Seattle Mariners last year without which they would have been down 21% in each quarter
Overall Fisher had a loss from operations of USD 3.6 million compared to a USD 613,000 loss in 2008, due to the costs of a fire in its Fisher Plaza that cost around USD 6.8 million and that have been recorded although it expects that most will be covered by insurance.
Net loss was USD 4.0 million compared to net income in 2008 of USD 29.8 million (A loss of 46 cents per share) compared to net income of when the figures were boosted by USD 31.8 million from the sale of shares in Safeco Corporation without which Fisher would have lost USD 2.1 million (a per share loss of 24 cents). Excluding the effects of the fire, this year's figures would have shown a loss of USD 1.4 million (16cents per share).
For the first nine months of the year Fisher Revenues are down 25% to USD 95 million with 2008 net income of USD 92.4 million turning to a net loss of USD 10.4 million (from a positive USD 10.58 to a loss of USD 1.19 per basic and diluted share).
Regent Communications revenues were down 13.9% to USD 21.8 million- the second quarter fall had been 14% to USD 22.8 million.
Regent operating expenses were down 4.8% to USD 15.3 million with its operating income moving from a loss of USD 60.2 million a year ago - when the figures included USD 67.5 million in impairment charges - to income of USD 3.65 million and an overall net loss of USD 442,000 compared to a 2008 loss of USD 46.3 million (from a loss of USD 1.19 to a loss of a cent per diluted share). Same station revenues were down 14.3% to USD 21.0 million
For the first nine months of the year Regent net broadcast revenues are now down 13.5% to USD 62.8 million with operating expenses down 7% to USD 43.3 million; operating income, moving from a 2008 loss of USD 49.5 million to a 2009 loss of USD 21.7 million - last year's figures included USD 67.5 million in impairment charges and those of this year included USD 31.8 million. Overall Regent had a net loss this year of USD 29.8 million compared to a net loss of USD 43.6 million a year ago (moving from a loss of USD 1.12 per share to a loss of 73 cents).
President and CEO Bill Stakelin said of the results, "During the third quarter we continued to execute our strategic plan to expand our presence among advertisers and audiences across our local market footprint, while aggressively controlling our costs. Our revenue results reflect the weak advertising market nationwide, offset in part by our consistent ability to outperform the overall radio industry and our portfolio of markets."
At Salem Communications, third quarter revenues were down 10.2% to USD 48.9 million - a slightly lower fall than the 12.8% in the second quarter: Within the figures broadcast revenue was down 11.4% to USD 42.0 million with same station revenues down 12.2% to USD 20.9 million and non-broadcast revenues down 2.8% to USD 6.9 million.
Overall Salem reported a net loss of USD 4.6 million - after a YSD 14.1 million impairment charge, a further USD 800,000 charge related to change of fair value in its interest rate swaps and a USD 1.6 million gain of bargain purchase related to the purchase of WZAB-AM in Miami: A year ago the loss was USD 11.3 million including USD 20.3 million of impairment charges (the per diluted share figure moved from a loss of 47 cents per share to a loss of 19 cents per share).
Salem is predicting fourth quarter revenues down between 8% and 10% compared to 2008 revenues of USD 54.8 million with operating expenses to be down between 5% and 8% on the 2008 figures of USD 43 million.
2009-11-05: CBS Corporation has reported third quarter revenues down 0.9% on a year ago at USD 3.8 billion within which TV was up 9.3% to USD 2.269 billion; radio was down 18.8% to USD 318.9 million; outdoor was down 22.6% to USD 424.9 million; interactive was down 14.8% to USD 121.3 million and publishing was up 2.4% to USD 230.4 million.
CBS put the radio revenue falls for the third quarter down mainly to a weak radio advertising market and noted that operating income for the quarter of USD 51.1 million including an impairment charge of USD 31.7 million resulting from divestitures compared to an operating loss a year earlier of USD 3.19 billion when the figures included an impairment charge of USD 3.32 billion.
OIBDA before impairment charges was down 6.9% to USD 597.3 million but including impairment charges moved from a negative USD 13.478 billion a year ago to a positive 575.6 million. (Impairment charges this year were USD 31.7 million compared to USD 14.117 billion a year ago).
Overall CBS had operating income of USD 418.2 million compared to a 2008 loss of USD 13.618 billion but excluding impairment charges operating income fell 9.9% to USD 449.9 million.
Net income went from a loss of USD 12.46 billion a year ago to net income of USD 207.6 million * Thirty cents per diluted share this year compared to a loss of USD 18.58 a year ago).
For the first nine months of the year CBS revenues are down 8.6% on a year ago at USD 9.52 billion with OIBDA of USD 1.2 billion compared to a loss of USD 12.08 billion a year ago - excluding impairment charges OIBDA was 1.23 billion compared to USD 2.04 billion a year ago; operating income of USD 769.9 million compared to a loss of USD 12.46 billion - a positive USD 1.66 billion excluding impairment charges; and net earnings are USD 167.7 million compared to a net loss of USD 11.81 billion (A positive 25 cents per diluted share compared to a loss of USD 17.64) - Before impairment charges and gain on dispositions, adjusted net earnings for the first nine months of 2008 were USD 840.3 million (USD 1.25 per share).
Full year OIBDA is expected to be between USD 1.725 billion and USD 1.925 billion.
Within the figures TV revenues for the nine months were down 4.9% on a year ago at USD 6.447 billion; radio was down 30.2% to USD 900.6 million; Outdoor was down 270% from USD 369 million to USDF 99.9 million; and publishing was down 63.7% to USD 36.6 million.
TV operating income for the same periods was down 28.3% to USD 889.7 million; radio was down 46.4% to USD 212.5 million; outdoor went from a positive USD 188.3 million to a loss of USD 97.9 million; interactive from a loss of USD 38.0 million to a loss of 41.3 million and publishing was down 41.8% to USD 30.6 million.
Executive chairman Sumner Redstone commented of the results, "Through this extraordinary time, Leslie (President and CEO Leslie Moonves) and his team have managed CBS not simply to survive but to truly thrive. The strong performance of the CBS content businesses continues to build audiences, as well as our value proposition for advertisers. At the same time we've further solidified our financial position. I feel very good about what the future holds for CBS, especially given the improving economic outlook."
Moonves added, "The operating environment for our businesses continues to improve and we are finishing the year with strong momentum. So far this year, each quarter has been better than the one before, with the third quarter showing significant improvement over the second, just as we expected. Going forward, we have many reasons for optimism as we look to 2010."
2009-11-05: US National Public Radio (NPR) and iBiquity Digital Corporation have announced a compromise regarding HD power under which they are proposing a four-fold increase from the current level of -20 dB to a power level of -14 dB as opposed to a 10dB increase that some organizations wanted: Their proposals are being presented to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today.
The two said in a release that initial models suggest that most stations would be able to exceed the 6dB increase proposed without harmful interference to analogue signals and the agreement proposes a series of steps drawn from the current AM rules for interference to be applied to qualifying and limiting such interference.
Consultations were held with a wide range of commercial and non-commercial stations and identified conditions and criteria to manage the power increase with the conditions included commitment by both organizations to additional enhancements to the HD system.
Mike Starling, Executive Director of NPR Labs, commented in the release, "We are optimistic about the future of HD Radio broadcasting, and eager to continue to work with iBiquity on the developments that will make this power increase work to everyone's advantage - stations, listeners, and receiver makers."
Milford Smith, Vice President of Radio Engineering at Greater Media, Inc., added, "I am thrilled that a workable and efficacious compromise has been agreed to on this extremely important and controversial issue. Replication of analogue coverage by the new, digital service is absolutely critical to the continued successful roll out of HD technology."
Previous Greater Media:
2009-11-05: Sirius XM has reported third quarter pro forma adjusted income of USD 106 million although overall it had a net loss of USD 149 million including USD 138 million in net charges for the loss on the extinguishment of debt and credit facilities resulting from refinancing of debt at lower cost four cents per share but zero per share excluding these charges.
The company said it ended the quarter with an additional 102,295 net subscriber additions over the previous quarter to reach a total of 18,515,730 total subscribers, a 2% decrease from the third quarter 2008 pro forma total subscribers of 18,920,911. Subscriber acquisition costs in the quarter were down 17% to USD 23 million and as a percentage of revenue fell from 22% to 17% with the SAC per gross addition down 7% to USD 69.
Compared to a year ago third quarter pro forma total revenue was up 3% at USD 630 million of which USD 587 million was subscriber revenues, also up 3% as was monthly average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) at USD 10.87 compared to USD 10.51 in the third quarter 2008: Actual revenue was USD 578 million up from USD 458 million.
Pro forma adjusted income from operations for the quarter as noted was USD 106 million - compared to a loss of USD 37 million a year ago whilst pro forma net loss was down from USD 217 million a year ago to USD 182 million and net loss attributable to common stockholders went from USD 4.879 billion a year ago to USD 149.2 million (from USD 1.93 to four cents per basic and diluted share.
For the first nine months of the year, pro forma total revenues were up 3% to USD 1.843 billion and actual revenues rose from 1.042 billion to 1.797 billion ; ARPU was up from 10.53 a year earlier to USD 10.67 - driven mainly by the sale of "Best of" programming, increased rates on the company's multi-subscription packages and revenues earned on its Internet packages, partially offset by a decline in net advertising revenue per average subscriber; adjusted income from operations went from a loss of USD 168 million to positive USD 437 million; SAC costs were down 38% to USD 170 million and as a percentage of revenue went down from 25% to 15% and pro forma net loss was down from USD 653.9 million to USD 416.1 million whilst net loss attributable to common stockholders fell from USD 5.067 billion to USD 543 million ( from USD 2.76 to 15 cents per basic and diluted share).
Sirius XM reaffirmed its 2009 guidance of more than $400 million in pro forma full-year adjusted income from operations and for 2010 CEO Mel Karmazin said it expects "cash flow growth momentum to continue into 2010, and we project full-year adjusted income from operations to increase approximately 20% next year."
It also expects subscriber growth with revenue up in the mid to high single digits.
"While the near future's macroeconomic performance is extremely difficult to predict, our business has reached sufficient scale to allow us to continue to grow cash flow," added Karmazin.
Regarding the third quarter Karmazin said, "We are very pleased with what we accomplished during the third quarter, especially when considering the macroeconomic issues affecting consumers and the auto industry. We managed to grow revenue, grow ARPU, reduce operating costs, increase adjusted income from operations significantly, and refinance higher cost debt. We look forward to continuing this performance. We grew subscribers and improved churn in the quarter, and we are well positioned to take advantage of an economic rebound. We expect to grow subscribers, revenue, and cash flow next year regardless of the magnitude of any recovery."
Previous Sirius XM:
2009-11-05: BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles has yet again become the subject of UK newspaper speculation that he may be dropped by the station after the most recent radio ratings showed that he had lost almost 700,000 listeners compared to the previous ratings: The BBC has yet again said that there is no truth in the reports.
They all seem to follow a Daily Mail report that said Moyles is "said to be poised to leave his show in July, when his one-year GBP 494,000 (USD 821,000) deal comes up for renewal."
The paper tips Vernon Kay, who hosts a Saturday Radio 1 show and also All Star Family Fortunes for ITV as the favourite to replace Moyles and it quoted a "BBC Radio source" as saying, "'Vernon is extremely popular and the radio bosses love him, no formal offer has been put in yet - there's still seven months left on Moyles' deal after all - but he is definitely in the frame."
Regarding Moyles it quoted "another senior BBC radio source" as saying, "'Moyles is still the saviour of Radio One, but he will go sooner rather than later. But it works both ways, he only signed a one-year extension deal as he didn't want to be tied down, he wanted the freedom to move on."
In July when BBC Radio 1 announced a schedule revamp there were also reports that Moyles was to be dropped but he denied them and announced on his show that he had signed a further one-year contract - See RNW Jul 16: This time had has not reacted to the reports so far.
There were subsequent reports that he took a 20% pay cut with the station and there also reports that he had to take a 30% pay cut in a new deal with Channel 4 TV to continue presenting his Friday "Chris Moyles' Quiz Night" shows on the station.
UK Daily Mail report:
2009-11-05: Entravision has reported third quarter revenues down 17% on a year ago at USD 50.75 million, a fall that improves on earlier quarters and makes the first nine months revenue fall one of 21% to USD 179.57 million.
Operating expenses were down by 17% for the quarter and 16% for the first nine months with corporate expenses down 12% and 17% respectively.
Adjusted EBITDA fell 18% in the quarter to USD 17.27 million and by 33% in the first nine months to USD 40.31 million whilst a net loss of USD 354.49 million in the third quarter of last year became net income of USD 673,000 (from a loss of USD 3.98 per basic and diluted share to income of 1 cent) and for the first nine months a 2008 net loss of USD 349.88 million was reduced to a net loss of USD 15.65 million (From a loss of USD 3.82 per basic and diluted share to a loss of 19 cents): In 2008 the figures included a USD 440 million impairment charge.
Within the figures TV revenues for the quarter were down 15% to USD 32.02 million whilst radio was down 20% to USD 18.74 million with TV operating expenses down 20% and radio operating expenses down 14%.
Entravision put the revenue declines down to the continuing weak US economy and chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa commented, "Our third quarter financial results continue to be impacted by the recession and the challenging advertising environment."
He added, "We remain focused on managing our costs and maximizing our cash flows. Our television and radio operations continue to deliver solid ratings in the nation's most densely-populated Hispanic markets. We believe that 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."
2009-11-04: Clear Channel has combined three of its Chicago stations - WGCI-FM, WVAZ-FM (V103) and WGRB-AM (Inspiration 1390) - into a Clear Channel Chicago Urban Network to try and exploit their combined reach of more than 1.2 million African Americans each week.
The group had previously grouped its stations on the basis of age groups targeted and the individual stations will continue their current demographic targeting according to the Chicago Tribune which quoted Clear Channel Radio Chicago's president and market manager Earl Jones as saying, "Listeners won't notice anything different. It will be seamless. They're going to hear the same programs on the air."
Programming for the three stations will come under Derrick Brown, who has been WVAZ's program director and social media director for WVAZ, WGRB and WLIT-FM: His assistant PD will be V103 personality Kris Kelley, who has doubled as WGCI's program director.
Jones told the paper that the decision followed Scarborough Research data that showed the combined African American audience for the stations, noting that more than 950,000 of them were 18 or older, an attractive group for advertisers.
"For African Americans (age 18 and older) we beat ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC in this market," Jones said. "If you want to reach an African American ... you cannot overlook this capacity here that we have."
Other staff for the new network include general sales manager Darlene Park and local sales manager Carla Ross.
Earlier this week the company appointed Joe Gersh as general sales manager for its three other Chicago stations - WLIT-FM (Lite FM), WKSC-FM (Kiss FM) and WNUA-FM (Mega 95.5). He and Park will report to Clear Channel Radio Chicago Director of Sales Matt Scarano.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Tribune report:
2009-11-04: Absolute Radio is to launch a new digital station Absolute 80's that it says on its blog will "target reluctant adults with pop from the likes of Duran Duran, the Human League and Prince."
The new station will make its debut on the Internet and take over the London DAB slot currently occupied by Absolute Xtreme from early next month and Absolute Xtreme will move over to the station's newly-launched dabbl - also available on the Internet and DAB in London but to be expanded to other Dab multiplexes in southern England - and that allows listeners to choose the music aired based on a voting system developed in-house by the company's One Golden Square Labs. (See RNW Oct 1).
Absolute adds that its Xtreme programming will "evolve into a fresher and more relevant platform for its core demographic for 16-35 year olds" and will "fine-tune its music policy to include new music, live music and tracks from the 90s and Noughties."
Xtreme was inherited from predecessor Virgin, which Absolute's parent - A Times of India subsidiary ultimately owned by Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd - bought from SMG for GBP 53.2 million (USD 104.6 million) in cash last year (See RNW Jun 21, 2008). Absolute is retaining its Absolute Classic Rock, another digital station it inherited from Virgin.
Absolute chief operating officer Clive Dickens said of the new station that they thought there was a market gap for listeners over 30 who wanted to stay in tough with their younger selves.
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (Absolute Radio parent):
2009-11-04: After a couple of hours stunting as R&B Charm 104.3, Clear Channel's former modern rock WCHH-FM, Baltimore, has now become Top 40 Z104.3.
The station web site redirects to Z1043 "All the Hits" and is currently airing 10,000 songs in a row and Clear Channel says that the new station will be modelled after its many successful CHR stations including Z100 in New York, KIIS in Los Angeles, and Hot 99.5 in Washington D.C.
Prior to the flip Baltimore had no CHR station.
Previous Clear Channel:
Z104.3 web site:
2009-11-04: Canada's leading broadcast consultancy, Bohn & Associates Media, has announced a merger with SparkNet Communications, the force behind the JACK FM format, from the start of next year.
An announcement on the Bohn.com web site (which redirects to a SparkNet page) says that "Under the direction of Pat Bohn and Garry Wall, the new SparkNet will continue to offer unparalleled industry awareness, expertise and innovation with a recognized focus on client engagement."
SparkNet was founded by co-presidents Pat Bohn and Gary Wall in 2003 to licence the JACK-FM brand in the US. The new company, to remain headquartered in Vancouver, will continue to operate in North America and internationally.
2009-11-04: Volunteer-run Pirate Cat Radio, which has been operating out of the Pirate Cat Café in San Francisco's Mission district for some 13 years, appears to have given up on terrestrial broadcasting, although it remains on the Internet, following a proposed fine of USD 10,000 issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the end of August.
The news came in a posting on the station web site that said in part that the station is challenging the penalty and adds that the proliferation of "extra legal stations" had led the FCC to make new provisions for local broadcasting that it did through Low Power FM in 2000 and continues, "That has served the public interest. Pirate Cat Radio has shown that there are significant unmet local and neighbourhood program needs, and that further reforms in the licensing scheme are needed."
"The Communications Act of 1934," it adds, "gives the FCC the task of studying new uses for radio, provide for experimental uses of frequencies, and generally encourage the larger and more effective use of radio in the public interest. Monkey the founder of Pirate Cat Radio says "The FCC should be helping organizations like ours to obtain a license and continue serving our communities, not to fine us and attempt to destroy a community resource."
The station added in a news release that there had never been any complaints about its content, that the station "provides an important community service one that has been recognized by the Board of Supervisors in a certificate of honour", and that they are one of the best sources of news in the area and "make regular valuable PSAs and publicize local events."
"If the public's interests are to be served," it says, "then 'ordinary' people must be allowed to make their voice heard and to be allowed to express themselves creatively without regard for commercial success. The FCC's policy instead seems to be protecting the airwaves for the big corporations to pump out their bland, homogenized wasteland offering dull limited playlists, banal chat and censored opinions. Until this happens people must continue to challenge the corporate domination of the airwaves."
Pirate Cat Radio web site:
2009-11-03: Cumulus Media has reported third quarter revenues down 18.5% on a year ago at USD 65.1 million, a sign of comparative improvement compared to the first nine months for which they are down 21.3% at USD 186.4 million: Within the figures cash revenues fell 19.1% to USD 61.9 million for the quarter and 17.5% to USD 177.7 million for the first nine months whilst barter revenues were down 6% to USD 3.21 million for the quarter and down 17.5% to USD 8.68 million for the first nine months.
Station operating expenses were down 20.9% to USD 40.2 million for the quarter and down 21.2% to USD 121.7 million for the first nine months and station operating income was down 14.4% to USD 24.97 million for the nine months.
Adjusted EBITDA, which excludes amongst other things impairment charges, non-cash stock compensation and gain or loss on exchange of stations, was down 20% in the quarter to USD 20.1 million and down 28% to USD 51.1 million for the nine months but impairment charges of USD 173.1 million in the quarter took net income of USD 6 million in the third quarter of 2008 became a net loss of USD 143.99 million (from a positive 14 cents a share to loss of USD 3.56 per basic and diluted share) whilst for the first nine months the charges took USD 31.1 million of net income to a loss of USD 133.2 million ( from a positive y4 cents to a loss of USD 3.29 per basic and diluted share).
2009-11-03: Latest Australian radio ratings show Macquarie Radio Networks' 2GB holding onto its lead in Sydney but the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC 702 was the biggest winner overall as it took its share up from 9.5 to 10.5 whilst 2GB was down 0.4 to 13.7%. Austereo's 2-DAY held on to the FM lead and third rank overall with its share up from 8.9% to 9.8%
In the Sydney breakfast slot the biggest gain went to 2-Day's Kyle and Jackie O (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson) who were up 1.2% to 11.0% as their ratings rebounded from the fall they took in the previous survey amidst the row over an item in which a girl said during a lie detector test that she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Jul 30). The recovery still left them short of their 12.0% share in the survey before the row but kept them in third rank overall behind long-term leader 2GB, where Alan Jones' share was up from 16.5% to 16.6%, followed by ABC 702 whose share, was up from 11.4 to 12.0.
The new breakfast team of Mike E and Carmela, who have taken over from Sonia Kruger and Todd McKenney at the Australian Radio Network's Mix 106.5 also recorded a healthy gain - up 0.8 to 4.1. The news was also fairly good for Fairfax Media's 2UE which remained fourth in Sydney. albeit it lost share as did sister 3AW, which held on tho the top spot in Melbourne.
DMG's Nova did best in Brisbane where it moved up a rank as it increased shre from 9.2 to 11.2 and the network continues tohold the breakfast lead for the 18-39 demographic.
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 14.3 (14.1) - same rank; SAFM with 13.6 (13.8) - same rank; Mix 102.3 with 12.9 (13.0) up from fourth.
* ABC 891 with 12.6 (13.2) fell a rank to fourth followed by Nova, which moved up a rank with 11.2 (9.2) and swapped places with 5MM, which was down to sixth with 9.7 (10.3).
*Brisbane - Nova with 12.3 (12.8) - same rank; B105 with 11.3 (12.1) - same rank; 4MMM with 10.7 (10.3) - up from fifth.
*97.3 FM with 10.6 (10.7) remained fourth followed by ABC 612 with 10.1 (10.9), having fallen from third.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.5 (16.2) - same rank; Fox FM with 13.4 (13.4) - up from third; ABC 774 with 12.6 (14.1) - down from second;
*Nova 100 remained fourth with 7.1 (7.6) followed by Gold FM which took its share up from 6.3 to 6.9 after which 3JJJ moved up from ninth to sixth with 5.3 (4.2). This pushed Mix 101 down a rank with 5.0 (4.6).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.7 (18.5) - same rank; 92.9 with 13.2 (11.9) - same rank; 96 FM with 9.8 (11.6) - same rank.
*ABC 720 remained fourth with 9.7 (10.5) and Nova, moved up a rank to fifth with 9.3 (7.7), swapping places with 6PR which was down to sixth with 9.2 (8.8).
*Sydney: 2GB 13.7 (13.3) - same rank; ABC 702 with 10.5 (9.5) - same rank; 2-DAY with 9.8 (8.9) - same rank;
*2UE remained fourth with 7.8 (8.3), followed by NOVA, which remained fifth with 7.3 (7.6), and then WSM which remained sixth with 6.7 (7.3).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous ARN (Australian Radio Network):
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2009-11-03: Univision has reported third quarter revenues up 1.4% on a year earlier at USD 526.8 million with the figure for the first nine months down 4.6% to USD 1,457 billion but radio revenues were down for both periods - by 15.3% for the quarter to USD 93.4 million and down by 23.4% for the first nine months to USD 255 million.
Adjusted OIBDA was up 8.4% for the quarter to 232.5 million and up 4.8% to USD 612.9 million for the first nine months whilst operating income for the quarter went from a loss of USD 3.516 billion in 2008 when the figures included impairment charges of USD 3.685 billion to operating income of USD 173.4 million and for the first nine months operating income went from a loss of USD 3.362 billion including 3.8 billion in impairment charges to operating income of USD 423.8 million.
Overall Univision reported net income of USD 5.4 million in the quarter compared to a year earlier net loss of USD 2.873 billion and for the nine months it reported a net loss of USD 77.4 million compared to a year earlier loss of USD 3.14 billion.
Regarding radio the company said its 16 U.S. markets outperformed the industry on average, according to revenue reports from Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. and commenting on the overall performance President and CEO Joe Uva said Univision was "pleased with our results this quarter, which reflect early signs of recovery in the marketplace."
2009-11-02: Entercom has reported third quarter revenues down 14% on a year ago at USD 99.8 million but station expenses were only down 8% to $65.6 million with the result that station operating income was down 23% to $34.2 million and EBITDA was down 25% to $29.7 million.
Net income was up from USD 4.25 million to USD 18.28 million (from 12 cents to 52 cents per share) thanks in part to boosts from reduced interest expenses and reduced income taxes but adjusted net income fell 28% to USD 10.28 million ( from 39 cents to 28 cents per diluted share).
For the first nine months of the year, Entercom's net revenues are down 17.4% to USD 276.4 million; station expenses were down 8.8% to USD 190.6 million; operating loss was cut from USD 89.97 million to USD 13.44 million; and net loss is down from USD 86.85 million to USD 18.30 million (from a per diluted share loss of USD 2.35 to a loss of 52 cents).
Entercom noted that in the quarter it had agreed the sale of some tower facilities for which it received USD 4.5 million in the quarter with more to come and also that it had reduced debt by USD 25.4 million in the quarter.
President and CEO David J. Field said of the performance that the company's "third quarter results improved sequentially from the second quarter as business conditions stabilized and the company's cost cutting measures continued to drive expenses lower."
He added, "We are increasingly optimistic about 2010 based upon a number of indications of improving demand for advertising in the year ahead, particularly in light of easy comparative results after two years of cyclical decline across virtually all ad sectors. Furthermore, we believe that radio's strong audience listening trends and outstanding value proposition for advertisers position the industry to grow at the expense of certain competitive media experiencing significant audience erosion."
2009-11-02: UKRD and The Local Radio Company in which it has a majority holding have followed UTV Media in withdrawing from the UK commercial radio body, the RadioCentre (See RNW Oct 7), expressing opposition to plans for switching off UK analogue radio in five years time.
In a posting on The Local Radio Company's web site, Chief Executive William Rodgers says the decision was based upon "hostility to the proposal to switch over from FM to DAB in 2015 after a review in 2013."
"This policy of proposing a switch off date of 2015 is a complete fairy tale," said Rogers. "The industry has suffered from a complete lack of appropriate planning and thought over the years on this issue and we now have a potential shambles on our hands."
"In-car listening," he added, "won't really kick in until at least 2014, and then at low levels, the coverage of DAB across the country is wholly inadequate and will be costly to build out, and the denial of access to far too many popular local commercial radio stations to a DAB multiplex are all issues that need resolution prior to proceeding down this path any further.
"We are not opposed to a digital future for commercial radio or the wider radio community but this is a complete farce and needs to be re-visited, and urgently."
He continued, "What we want to see is a properly thought through plan which has been carefully considered, including all the consequences. What we have had over the years, is a bunch of ad hoc and sometimes knee jerk policy initiatives responding to the ongoing failures of this area of public policy.
"Frankly, when you look at the proposed migration of commercial radio to the so-called bright digital future, you are left with the feeling that there is precious little consideration of the consequences for all too many popular and successful stations. On this issue, the emperor clearly has no clothes!"
Rodgers said the two groups would be "working with UTV to get this message across to politicians, regulators and the wider industry in the hope that it will result in an honest debate with everyone about the situation that exists. We must restore honesty to this policy issue and not press on as though huge parts of the sector do not matter."
The two groups have also expressed concern about what they see as dominance of the RadioCentre's agenda by Global Radio and last week UTV Radio managing director Scott Taunton in an interview with the UK Media Guardian termed the digital switchover timescale "farcical" and crossed swords over the issue with Global Radio saying that Global's backing for the switchover was because under the plan its national Classic FM licence would automatically rollover whereas without it the licence would be auctioned to the highest bidder. Global denies that this is so.
Taunton estimated the cost of a switchover at more than GBP 100million (USD 164 million) to upgrade the transmitter network to match current FM coverage and around GBP 3.6 billion (USD 5.9 billion) for listeners to replace around 180 million analogue radios currently in circulation and also noted that less than 3% of the UK's some 30 million automobiles had DAB. He also noted that DAB, which used MP2 encodings, is already being superseded by DAB+ - a system, which has been adopted by Australia and uses more advanced AAC coding to make more efficient use of spectrum - and commented, The future at the moment is FM - the next generation is about iPhones with FM receivers."
UK RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison confirmed that UKRD had said it would not be renewing its membership of the body from this month and added, "We are all naturally disappointed by this news. Commercial Radio is a small sector and we are therefore stronger when we speak with one voice. RadioCentre will continue to work on behalf of all of its members, representing the broad range of views that exist within our sector, to help secure a viable future for all stations in a digital Britain."
UK Media Guardian Taunton interview:
2009-11-02: Following a brief hiatus after dance station WNYZ-FM (Pulse 87), whose operator Mega Media Communications had gone bankrupt, closed down at the end of last week (See RNW Oct 30), the station's frequency has become host to a new dance station.
JVC Media LLC has done a deal with low power Channel 6 TV station WNYZ-TV to take over the frequency via a lease and as Party 87.7 will simulcast its WPTY-FM (Party 105.3), which is licensed to Calverton-Roanake and broadcasts from transmitters in Manorville and Plainview to Long Island. The new station started transmitting at 06:00 local time today.
2009-11-02: BBC 6 Music has announced that George Lamb and his co-host Marc Hughes are to lose their weekday mornings (10:00 to 13:00) show on the station and move to take over the weekend breakfast show from November 30 with Laurence Laverne moving from her current 16:00 to 18:00 Saturday show to take over the slot: Current weekend breakfast Iyare will be leaving the station.
In addition from December 5, BBC Radio Five Live host Richard Bacon, will host a weekend show from 15:00 to 17:00. Allied with his move will be a re-jig of Saturdays that will see the breakfast show start an hour later to run from 07:00 to 10:00 with a similar delay for Liz Kershaw, whose show will run from 13:00 to 15:00.
Bacon will be followed by Jon Holmes who moves from his 14:00 to 16:00 slot to 17:00 to 19:00 to be followed by Craig Charles' Funk & Soul Show whose three-hour slot will start an hour later than now.
2009-11-02: Dublin talk station Real Radio (Not linked with the UK Real Radio stations owned by GMG Radio), which went on air under a temporary licence on October 5, has scored something of a coup by enlisting former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern as a guest presenter this morning.
Ahern will join the "Morning Monsters" breakfast show this morning and station boss Niall Boylan, one of the show hosts and former host with Dublin music station 98FM, said that he was a fan of Ahern but added that the show was not interested in current political rows.
"We want Bertie to join in the craic (roughly meaning fun and entertainment) on the show and to let us see the real man," said Boylan. "We are inviting listeners to text in questions but have no intention of asking him about political scandal or indeed anything else that we all know about already, we will leave that to those with other agendas."
The "Morning Monsters" show airs from 08:00 -11:00 GMT and is streamed on the Internet.
Real Radio Dublin web site:
2009-11-01: Last week was another in which there were no major regulatory announcements although in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a study on the state of US media to be conducted by Internet entrepreneur and journalist Steven Waldman (See RNW Oct 28).
.In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that two community stations breached codes of practice: In one case Melbourne Community station 3ZZZ was found to have failed to meet the requirement to provide a substantive written response to the complainant within 60 days of receipt of a complaint.
The ACMA noted that it commenced an investigation after it received a complaint that material broadcast on the station's Macedonian programme contained material that was likely to incite hatred but that it was unable to investigate the content of the broadcast as the licensee no longer had a copy because of delays in the station's receipt of the complaint.
It said that in response to the breach finding the licensee - Ethnic Community Broadcasting Association of Victoria Ltd - had revised its complaints procedure and it had decided to take no further action for now but would monitor the licensee's performance in this area.
In the other case, Fraser Coast Community Radio Inc., licensee of 4FCR Hervey Bay, Queensland, was found to have breached its licence conditions by not encouraging community participation in the operations of the service.
The ACMA investigation was conducted concurrently with the assessment of 4FCR's broadcasting licence renewal application and as part of the licence renewal process 4FCR agreed to implement a number of measures to ensure it is compliant with this licence condition.
Again the agency decided to take no further action for now but to monitor the station's performance.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week as regards radio although it did post a number of decisions including:
*Approval of application by CPAM Radio Union.com inc. to relocate the transmitter of French-language ethnic commercial CJWI-AM, Montréal, and increase the power from 1,000 to 10,000 watts day and night and change frequency from 1610 kHz (class C) to 1410 kHz (class B)
CPAM says listeners in downtown Montréal and Montréal's north and south shores, are having difficulty receiving the existing AM signal and that during the past two years, an AM radio station from Toronto broadcasting on the same frequency has become a source of sky wave interference, particularly at night.
The application was opposed by Communications Michel Mathieu and other interveners opposed the application, stating that the licensee does not need 10,000 watts or a frequency change because the service was licensed to provide a French-language radio service to the Haitian and Latin-American communities in the greater Montréal area and most of the communities targeted by the station live in the communities of Saint-Michel, Montréal Nord, Rivières des Prairies and Saint-Léonard. CJAM accepted that the communities it served were still in these areas but said they were moving to the suburbs.
In approving the application the CRTC noted that the station had a mandate to serve three distinct cultural groups and said it also took into consideration the fact that the station contributes to the diversity of musical formats in the market and constitutes a voice in news and public affairs by broadcasting French-language programming aimed primarily at the above-mentioned ethno-cultural groups.
*Approval of application by Sortir FM inc. to increase the power of its French-language tourist information station CKJF-FM, Québec, from 16 to 250 watts, increase the antenna height and change frequency from 90.3 MHz to 106.9 MHz. The frequency change was required because of the decision to allow a station in Montmagny to use 90.3 MHz.
*Approval of application by Radio coopérative de Coaticook, Coop de solidarité for a licence to operate a 1,250 watts French-language Type B community FM in Coaticook.
The new station is offering musical programming consisting primarily of selections drawn from subcategory 24 (Easy listening) and spoken word programming would include news bulletins, public affairs and community programs, and cultural affairs and leisure programs.
*Approval of application by Dawson City Community Radio Society for a broadcasting licence to operate a 50 watts English-language low-power Type B community FM in Dawson City, to replace the very low-power developmental community radio programming undertaking in Dawson City authorized in 2006.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to convert CFWH-AM, Whitehorse, to a 3,300 watts FM on 94.5 MHz. The new station would continue to offer its programming on existing rebroadcasting transmitters - CBDB-AM, Watson Lake; CBDC-AM, Mayo; CBDD-AM, Elsa;, CBDK-AM, Teslin; CBDM-AM, Beaver Creek;, CBDX-AM, Swift River; CBQF-AM, Carmacks; CBQJ-AM, Ross River;, CBUA-FM, Atlin; CBQK-FM, Faro; CBDL-FM, Destruction Bay; CBDF-FM, Haines Junction and CBDN-AM, Dawson City.
The CBC will be allowed to simulcast on FM and AM for three months following the start of FM operations.
The CRTC also posted public notices regarding two Quebec applications: One with a December 1 deadline for interventions or comments relating to an application from 9116-1299 Québec inc. to add a 50 watts transmitter in Mont-Laurier to broadcast the programming of its French-language commercial station CFOR-FM Maniwaki.
The second, with a December 2 deadline for submission of interventions or comments, relates to an application by Astral Media Radio Inc. increase from 22 to 89 watts the power of its rebroadcasting transmitter CIMO-FM-1, Sherbrooke, which carries the programming of its French-language commercial radio programming undertaking CIMO-FM, Magog. It also wants to relocate the transmitter and change the type of antenna from non-directional to directional
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld one radio standards and one radio fairness and privacy complaint (See RNW Oct 27).
Ofcom also awarded one new community licence - to Ummah FM, which will serve the Muslim community of Reading. It also considered three other applications but did not award a licence to The Vibe, Reading; Cube FM, Basingstoke; and Wey Valley Community Radio (WVCR), Alton, Hampshire.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has started work on an initiative to assess the state of US media: It also issued a clarification of its new rules regarding AM directional antenna performance verification using computer modelling techniques.
The agency has also been involved in enforcement actions including:
*Issuing USD 11,000 forfeiture to Ely Radio LLC., owner of a tower in Winnemucca, Nevada, used to broadcast KWNA-AM, for failure to comply with the antenna structure registration lighting, monitoring, record keeping, and notification requirements.
The FCC had inspected the tower following a complaint and found no warning lights visible and when they interviewed Ely management were told that when the flasher beacon rotated, there was noise getting into the audio of the KWNA, so they shut off the lights. The FCC initially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture totalling USD 13,000 to which Ely argued that it was not liable since it did not own the antenna and also said it had a history of compliance.
Ely said it leased the land, building and tower from Sheen Broadcasting, the previous licences of the station, but there was no agreement about who monitored the lights but said they had not notified Sheen when they turned off the lights.
Sheen's former owner said that the company had ceased to exist on January 1, 2007, and that it sold all the assets and equipment to operate KWNA-AM- and KWNA-FM to Ely as of December 1, 2006 although it was leasing a building and ground to Ely for the AM transmitter.
The FCC said it had correctly ascribed ownership of the tower to Ely and also noted that Ely had continued to fail to update the structure registration for which the penalty is USD 3,000. It reduced the remaining USD 10,000 in penalties to USD 8,000 on the basis of a history of compliance, thus making the total penalty USD 11,000.
*Issuing USD 500 forfeiture to Bruce MacAfee, licensee of FM translator stations K269AV, Tonopah & Goldfield, Nevada, and K261AY, Bridgeport, California, for late filing of renewal applications. The agency had initially issued an NAL totalling USD 3,000 to which the licensee responded by requesting cancellation because the failure was inadvertent and related to his hospitalization shortly before the deadline and also on the basis of a history of compliance. The arguments were rejected but the penalty was reduced to USD 500 in line with other recent penalties for this breach.
In other radio decisions the agency:
*Reinstated construction permit for KXFT-FM, Manson, Iowa, held by Three Eagles of Lincoln, Inc. Three Eagles' CP was to expire on March 9 last year but the company failed to file a covering licence application before the expiration and the permit accordingly automatically expired.
Three Eagles subsequently filed the application and a petition for reinstatement, saying that it completed construction of the facilities for the Station on November 23, 2007, and began operating under automatic program test authority. It argued that a waiver of the expiration was warranted because forfeiture of the permit would deprive Manson of its only local service.
The FCC commented that the response incorrectly styled the pleading as a petition for reconsideration but opted to waive its rules concerning automatic expiration and reinstated the licence.
In Michigan, the FCC rejected a petition from Great Lakes Community Broadcasting, Inc. to reconsider of its decision to cancel a number of Construction Permits that Great Lakes held, made after it found that Great Lakes had submitted false certifications after constructing FM radio stations and FM translator stations at variance from the authorized facilities.
The petition was filed late and in it Great Lakes argued that rather than cancelling the permits the agency should have accepted a settlement proposal to remove Great Lakes' controlling principal, James J. McCluskey, Ph.D., from broadcasting by allowing Great Lakes to donate its assets (including the authorizations in question) to another entity.
The FCC said that there were no extraordinary circumstances to justify the late filing and thus rejected the petition, additionally commenting that even had it been filed on time there is no basis to reinstate the cancelled authorizations or to allow "Great Lakes to assign its authorizations to an entity controlled by a fellow wrongdoer." It noted in relation to the last comment that the settlement did not include a request to dismiss a number of applications for new non-commercial educational FM stations in which Dr. McCluskey is a party.
The licences involved were for Non-commercial Educational FM Stations and FM Translator Stations from Great Lakes Community Broadcasting, Inc. - WQLO-FM, Lake Odessa; WAAQ-FM- (formerly WAQQ-FM), and W220CW, Rogers Heights; WJKQ-FM, and WJCQ-FM, Jackson; W207BL, Pinnebog; W206AZ, Fremont; and W205BQ, Brevort - and from Great Lakes Broadcast Academy, Inc. for WPQZ-FM, Muskegon; W206BF, Rogers Heights; and W211BI, Ann Arbor.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-11-01: Clear Channel's former hip-hop KATZ-FM (The Beat), St Louis, which on Friday dismissed its program director and air staff and began stunting as "Halloween 100.3" today switched to Christmas music as "Christmas 100.3": When it made the switch Beth Davis, Market Manager for Clear Channel Radio St. Louis, said that "after the holidays, KATZ-FM will launch a new station and we invite St. Louis listeners to tune in to see what we have in store for them and we know they'll love what they hear."
Davis also said that the company was "excited about continuing to make The Beat available to listeners online and on HD Radio" and the station's web site carries a similar message saying of The Beat, "Still Here! The Beat has moved to an exclusive HD Radio and online broadcast. We thank listeners and advertisers of The Beat and invite you to click here for more of the music you love. "
The link goes to a Clear Channel St Louis HD page (audio is not available outside the US, so we were unable to monitor the output but presumably since the staff have been fired The Beat that is still there is a Beat Minus, a little like Clear Channel's devotion to clarity and full information).
Although the switch to Christmas music is somewhat early - quite a few stations have switched after Halloween in recent years - it was not the first in the US this year - at least one station KKSR-FM in Kennewick, Washington, made the switch on Friday.
The Clear Channel cuts are only part of industry cuts in the market - the St Louis Post-Dispatch noted that CBS Radio and Emmis have also cut employees, and cited John Beck, Emmis senior vice president and general manager of its St Louis cluster as saying that it had cut ten staffers: Emmis last month dropped three long-time personalities at its KIHT-FM (K-HITS) including morning host J.C. Corcoran whose ratings had dropped when Arbitron switched to Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in the market (See RNW Oct 26).
The report also noted that Beck expects St. Louis stations to bill USD 100 million this year, USD 40 million less than in 2006.
In relation to the PPM the report said that the new system had shown people listening to more stations than had been recorded under the diary system and quoted Paul Heine, senior editor of Inside Radio, as saying of the decision to drop Corcoran, "In a struggling economy, Emmis didn't think it made sense to pay a high-ticket salary to a legendary personality when the ratings were lower than (if the station were) just playing music."
He added, "There is still a place for personality-driven radio, but this separates the wheat from chaff. The new system really sharpens their (talk hosts') game."
The Post-Dispatch also noted that amongst stations that had gained under the PPM was CBS Radio's KYKY-FM (Y-98), whose morning host Guy Phillips noted that the new ratings showed the station to have significant listening from men and commented, "Men would never admit in their diaries that they listened to us. Now we are able to capture those listeners. That has been significant for us."
Previous Clear Channel:
KATZ web site (Currently redirects to Christmas site):
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
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