January 2010 Archive
2010-01-31: Last week was another one where the most significant regulatory news came from the US - in this case the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow a four-fold increase in digital power for most terrestrial stations (See RNW Jan 29). The impact of the move will however be rather muted on a global scale as we see little chance of much of the world taking up iBiquity's HD system, particularly as China, India and Russia all seem to have opted for DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) for AM services and various other systems using separate spectrum rather than an IBOC system for FM.
There were no radio postings from Australia but in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was slightly busier: it posted the following radio decisions (In order of province):
*Approval of application by Astral Media Radio G.P., to amend the broadcasting licence of its English-language commercial station CISL-AM, Richmond, in order to broadcast Russian-language programming during the Vancouver Olympics.
*Approval of application by Truro Live Performing Arts Association to use 97.9 MHz for its 5-watts English-language, very low-power developmental community FM approved in September last year on the basis that it find an acceptable frequency other than 106.1MHZ that it had originally proposed.
*Denial of application by United Christian Broadcasters Canada to change the frequency increase of the Cobourg transmitter of its specialty commercial station CKJJ-FM, Belleville, from 100.9 MHz to 90.7 MHz (and increase the power from 42 watts to 250 watts, a change that would have changed the status from that of a low-power, unprotected transmitter to that of a regular Class A1 transmitter.
In refusing the application the CRTC noted that it will normally allow this type of change if the licensee presents compelling evidence that its authorized technical parameters were not adequate to provide the service as it was originally proposed. In this case, it said, the use of the proposed frequency to offer a specialized, niche format such as a Christian music service without local content would not represent the best use of the frequency.
*Denial of application by 591989 B.C. Ltd., a corporation ultimately controlled by Corus Entertainment Inc., to convert its English-language commercial station CJOY-AM, Guelph, to a 9,500 watts FM.
Corus already operates CIMJ-FM, Guelph; CJDV-FM in the adjacent city of Cambridge and CING-FM, Hamilton, whose signal enters the Guelph market, thus taking it above the three station limit for total AM and FM stations as well as the limit of two stations in any one frequency band allowed for this market and the agency noted that to approve the change would require an exception to its policy.
The CRTC added that it has never approved an application that would allow a licensee to control four FM stations in one language in a market with fewer than eight commercial radio stations, as is the case with the current application.
In the UK and Ireland the only radio-related postings were of complaints rulings - in the UK Ofcom upheld one radio complaint in its latest bulletin (See RNW Jan 26) and in Ireland the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) upheld three complaints against radio (See RNW Jan 28).
In the US, apart from the HD power decision the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was also involved in a number of enforcement actions including decisions to order an Oregon station to remain off air, fine a Louisiana non-commercial operator USD 20,000 for "hijacking" a frequency, and also cancel two USD 7,000 penalties on an Iowa licensee (See RNW Jan 27).
In other enforcement actions, the FCC issued a USD 7.200 forfeiture to Truman State University, licensee of non-commercial educational station KKTR-FM, Kirksville, Missouri, for failing to properly maintain its public file.
A shortfall was revealed in a licence renewal application - the licensee said that since the station went on air in August 2002, eight quarterly issues/program lists for KIBA-FM, whose programming is re-broadcast by KKTR (which replaced a translator that rebroadcast KBIA-FM's programming), had not been placed in the public file because it had been under the impression it had to duty to so. It added that the missing reports have since been put in the file and future lists will be put in the file on a timely basis.
The FCC had issued an NAL for USD 9,000 for the breach of its rules to which the licensee responded by request for cancellation or reduction on the basis that it was is "grossly" out of proportion to its limited budget and would result in financial hardship.
It said that the forfeiture threatened the existence of KKTR-FM- and commonly owned non-commercial FM Station KTRM-FM, Kirksville, Missouri, which had a total budget of only USD 22,600 for 2005.
The FCC noted that evidence of financial hardship had not been provided so it was unable to make a reduction on this basis but reduced the penalty to USD 7,200 on the basis of a history of compliance.
The FCC also continued its actions relating to Media ownership, holding a workshop on Media Ownership and Diversity last Wednesday and also posting notice of a Media Ownership Workshop to be held in Columbia, South Carolina, on February 23: This meeting will have on panel focussing on radio and another focussing on TV.
Amongst the radio issues to be addressed are the current state of the industry and the impact of new technology on it; how media concentration has changed since the agency's last quadrennial review; what, if any, changes should be made to ownership rules because of market conditions; the effect on the diversity of programming and localism in a market where an operator owns multiple stations; and whether the local radio and radio/TV cross-ownership rules continue to be necessary in the public interest.
Previous Licence News:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-01-30: The owners of WLHR-FM in Hartwell, Georgia, whose tower in Lavonia collapsed early today, is blaming the fall on vandalism.
The station is owned by Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting and on its web site CEO Art Sutton comments, "We believe one of the guyed wire sections was deliberately cut which resulted in the tower falling completely over away from the guyed wires cut. There was no ice on the tower. The winds were not very strong. This was a deliberate case of sabotage based on the experience I've gained about radio station towers over the 33 years I've been in the business. If a tower collapses due to wind or the weight of excessive ice, it will collapse upon itself near the base of the tower. It will not fall over in one piece. We have no idea why anyone would do this to our tower, but we will use all the resources of the company to find out why this happened and who caused it."
The signal is currently being streamed and Sutton added that they are looking at putting a temporary antenna on another tower in the county, adding, "Franklin County has an unused tower once used as a TV translator which would work perfectly for a temporary site and allow us to continue providing a quality signal to about 75% of our licensed coverage area."
Franklin County investigator Jimmy LeCroy commented of the fall, "We found this morning that the tower had fallen in a south-westerly direction and the guyed wires had been tampered with. We're interviewing all of the neighbours in the area, but do not have any suspects yet."
WLHR web site:
2010-01-29: Corus Entertainment has announced that it is to shot down two loss-making Montreal AMs at 7p.m. tonight. The closure of Info690 Montréal and AM940 Montreal's Greatest Hits will affect ten positions, eight of them at Info690 - three journalist positions, two traffic reporter positions and three operations positions - and also a technician job and on-air host from AM940.
In a statement, Mario Cecchini, Vice President, Corus Québec, said, "We put tremendous effort into trying to find the right format and content to grow our audience base and operate profitably, but after years of effort it is clear these AM stations are not viable."
Corus says the Info690 Montréal newsroom, known as Corus Nouvelles, will continue its activities as part of 98.5 FM Montréal and five of eight journalist positions along with three of five traffic reporter positions.
The stations are descended from Canada's first commercial radio station, which originally launched as an experimental station XWA in 1919 on the 600 megahertz frequency and became CFCF in November 1920. It became CIQC in 1991 and in 1999 moved to the 940 frequency. Initially it simulcast as CINW News 940 and CINF Info 690 but in 2008 the 940 frequency was flipped to the "greatest hits" format that it retained until the closure.
2010-01-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to allow FM stations to increase the power of HD digital signals up to a tenth of the analogue power rather than the one per cent allowed at the moment and also establishes procedures to resolve any complaints of interference with analogue stations.
The new rules it says will allow most FMs to increase their digital power four-fold immediately as well as establish procedures for applying for digital power increases up to 10 dB and will also limit increases for stations currently licensed in excess of class maximums and establish procedures to deal with any interference problems. It adds that should there be significant interference to analogue signals it reserves the right to revisit the issue of digital power.
The new rules follow requests made last year by iBiquity and radio groups (See RNW Jul 7, 2009) and the FCC noted that both iBiquity and National Public Radio (NPR) submitted detailed studies assessing the potential for improved digital service and also dealt with issues of increased interference to analogue reception.
The decision was welcomed by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose Executive Vice-President Dennis Wharton said in a news release, "Today's ruling will result in greatly improved indoor reception for HD Radio listeners and greater service reliability for portable HD Radio devices. Broadcasters salute the FCC for taking this important step, which will allow free and local radio stations to better serve communities across America."
2010-01-28: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has upheld 13 of 27 complaints considered at its January meeting, ten of them against one TV broadcast that involved viewers using premium rate lines to take part in a quiz and the remaining three against a broadcast of "The Wide Angle" on Newstalk in September last year and comments on the topic of Ireland's referendum over the Lisbon Treaty.
The Authority's 's Compliance Committee was unable to rule on a further radio complaint against Jet FM because no recording had been retained and the station has been notified that it breached its contract through the failure.
In the NewsTalk case the complaints alleged that the host Karen Coleman was vary biased in favour of a Yes vote in the referendum as were the majority of guests: One complainant said the only "token gesture" to the No camp was a phone call to a worker for Cóir (the campaign against the Lisbon Treaty) in Moscow who was unprepared and did not know the subject matter of the call.
Another complainant said that "in his many years of listening to current affairs coverage on Irish radio, he cannot recall such a loaded, partisan and unbalanced programme" and another noted "unbelievable eight to one in favour of the Lisbon Treaty."
The station responded by saying that it decided not to follow the previously used "50-50 stopwatch? mechanism for both the Yes & No side as the station deemed it to be an inappropriate mechanism, misleading to the listener and providing platforms to certain unelected groups and therefore, unrepresentative of the voting public an adding that over the course of the entire Lisbon campaign, numerous members of the "No? side featured across all programmes.
The BAI took the view that the content of the discussion amounted to a one-sided viewpoint on the Lisbon Treaty Referendum, said that the treatment of the issue was one-sided and not fair to all concerned and upheld the complaint in regard to fairness, objectivity and impartiality.
In relation to the 13 complaints rejected the BAI posted details of one complaint against Midlands 103 relating to a programme extract of an edition of the show that dealt with the bullying in schools of teen homosexuals and lesbians; the complainant noted that at no stage was violence and/or discrimination against homosexuality condoned as submitted by the complainant.
It also posted details of others complaint related to the Lisbon Treaty, this time against various editions of Today with Pat Kenny and of Drivetime broadcast by RTÉ Radio 1 and in this case the BAI in rejecting the claims held that there had not been bias.
Another complaint rejected was against RTÉ Radio 1's Liveline and a broadcast that complainant James Gantley, who had discussed a play he was staging, and who complained that the whole programme was designed to make him out to be something he is not. The BAI considered that the complainant had been given every opportunity to make his case and clarify things.
Previous BAI Complaints:
2010-01-28: Westwood One has objected "strongly" to a recent Forbes.com report that put the company in a list of a hundred listed companies said to be at financial risk, saying that the report is "is misleading and based on outdated and inaccurate information, and that it fails to cite the basis for its conclusions."
In a news release Westwood says that the report based on a study by "forensic accounting firm" Audit Integrity failed to reconcile the study's conclusions with the fact that it also says the "average probability of bankruptcy for these same 100 companies is only 8%."
It also says that prior to publication of the article, it has informed Audit Integrity that the article failed to appropriately reflect Westwood One's 2009 recapitalization of its equity and refinancing of its long-term debt, which substantially strengthened the Company's capital and financial structure and also resulted in The Gores Group controlling 75% of the Company's common stock and the Company's lenders acquiring 23% of the Company's common stock.
Since the refinancing, Westwood One says it has posted positive EBITDA results every quarter and it adds that the Forbes article notes a third-quarter revenue fall for it of 18.5% but fails to note that the radio industry as a whole suffered a 19% fall in revenues for the same period.
RNW comment: There seems to be a little of throwing everything including the kitchen sink into this response. Some of Westwood's response in terms of the measures it has taken to change the company seem to have justification and any well-constructed financial report should give something of the context within which figures are cited - a 10% fall, for example, in an industry, where the average is a 25% fall would be a strong performance but in a rapidly growing sector an abysmal one.
That said, unless US investors are very stupid, they would check the context before making investment decisions. They might, however, reasonably, conclude that a one-in-twelve (around 8%) chance of bankruptcy does constitute rather more of a risk than Westwood One is allowing for.Is it a case of protesting too much?
Previous Westwood One:
2010-01-27: Former UK talkSPORT host Jon Gaunt, who was fired by the UTV-owned station after referring to a local councillor as a "Health Nazi" and "Ignorant pig" in connection with plans to ban smokers from fostering children (See RNW Nov 19, 2008) has won the right to a judicial review of UK media regulator Ofcom's ruling that he breached UK broadcasting codes in the interview (See RNW May 12, 2009).
His lawyers argued that Ofcom had breached the host's rights to freedom of expression under the Human Rights Act and at a High Court hearing Mr Justice Stadlen said the case had sufficient merit to be heard fully at a two-day judicial review.
Gaunt, who was supported by the UK civil rights organization Liberty of whose Director he has been critical (See RNW Columnists Nov 26, 2008), said after the hearing, "Some people say I'm a hypocrite, but it's only when your freedom is being curtailed that you realise how important it is. It goes back to Magna Carta - as an Englishman, I have a right to say what I feel."
He said that Ofcom was not needed for such cases, commenting, "We have got an off switch. We have a draconian, unelected, expensive to run quango of do-gooders who can stand there and say 'this is good taste and decency'. We don't need them... We have the law of the land. If I say something, you can sue me."
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, whom Gaunt once termed "Britain's most dangerous woman" attended the hearing and afterwards told the UK Guardian, "This is not about one journalist and one politician. There is a big principle here. People do not have the right not to be offended. It's a very dangerous right to assert."
She criticized Ofcom's arguments, saying it was "a chilling moment" when Ofcom's barrister David Anderson QC argued that Gaunt's interview did not represent "political speech" and added, "Ofcom needs to wear its power with a little more humility."
Ofcom said that its role was to decide whether generally accepted standards as set down in the Broadcasting Code were breached and added, "In this particular broadcast, Ofcom decided that Jon Gaunt went too far with offensive language and a bullying style. The judge made it clear he was not making a decision on the case but simply referring it to a full hearing because it met the low threshold of arguability."
Gaunt has more recently been hosting the Sun Talk online radio station for the eponymous UK tabloid, owned by News International (See RNW Mar 20, 2009 2009-03.html#Gaunt2). On his web site he links to two UK Guardian stories concerning the court case.
Gaunt web site:
2010-01-27: Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive of the UK commercial radio body, The RadioCentre, has told the House of Lords communications committee's inquiry in to digital TV and radio switchover that the current economic circumstances of the industry meant it was vital it be relieved of having to broadcast both analogue and digital signals, which he said were costing the industry more than GBP 30 million (USD 48.5 million a year).
Harrison said the industry's revenues were down 10% to GBP 500 million (USD 808.5 million) in 2009, having fallen 6.4% in 2008: Their peak had been 18.4% above last year's figures at GBP 620 million (USD 1 billion).
Harrison said the 2015 deadline to switch off analogue radio for all but some local stations was possible but noted that work was needed to bring the coverage of the DAB transmitter network up to match that of current FM signals, although he added that there was time for this if funding, which had not yet been found, was secured.
Harrison said there was a greater problem in meeting the target of more than half listening to radio being on digital platforms - it is currently just over a fifth and noted that according to latest RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) figures the level was 35% for in-house listening (RNW comment: A statement of the obvious as receivers have been available longer and are much cheaper than those for automobiles in addition to which the in-house figure is boosted by listening to radio on digital TV and satellite platforms as well as the Internet).
Regarding the target date, Harrison said setting it had been "in terms of galvanising the industry Our aspiration is to do it [digital switchover] as quickly as possible."
He also commented that money spent on broadcasting analogue signals could be freed up for new content and services (RNW comment: How would he react, we wonder, if all licences were automatically cancelled if the savings are not spent in this manner. But then the man is a propagandist as comments we noted appended to the UK Guardian report on the matter would indicate in terms of various responses to his comments).
On the cost to the consumer Harrison dismissed a suggestion that the average cost to a household would be around GBP 200 (USD 320) and estimated that only around half of the analogue radio sets in existence were in regular use thus meaning that with a target price of per household, with only two or three sets in regular use would be GBP 50-60 (USD 80-100 - RNW comment: However good this target might sound, a decent quality home receive now costs at least twice this much and a cheap FM a third whilst car receivers are much more expensive. In addition a logical deduction about listening after the change is that much occasional listening on secondary sets will die out because they will not be replaced.).
Also testifying was Global Radio group chief executive Ashley Tabor who noted the "dual transmission dilemma" that the industry currently faced. He added that switchover would over "clarity and certainty" for the industry but added that its predecessors GCap Media and Chrysalis Radio had launched digital services prematurely when there was no digital audience to support them.
Tabor said Global wanted to launch new services but the launch had to "be at the right time."
(RNW comment: As we recall local licensees who provided digital services were given automatic extensions of their analogue licences rather than having to re-bid as a carrot to induce them to provide digital services.
The testimony followed yesterday's hearings at which Ford Ennals , chief executive of Digital Radio UK, which is charged with overseeing the switchover, estimated that it was "six to ten years away" and added that the rollout of the DAB transmitter network to provide adequate coverage was "absolutely fundamental" to success for the platform.
He quoted Ofcom research showing that there were around 100 million receivers in the UK but only around 50 million were in use - the figures also used by Harrison.
Ennals added that he hoped there would be "low cost converters" on the market to enable analogue receivers to be used with digital signals as had happened with TV but Barry Cox, chairman of the Digital Radio Working Group, said it was likely that many of the analogue sets "will have to be disposed of".
Cox said he understood the BBC was more inclined to spend its licence fee digital switchover surplus on DAB rollout than it was on broadband or replacement ITV regional news services and added that it was only right that national analogue radio licences such as Classic FM, Absolute Radio and TalkSport should be rolled over for radio groups investing heavily in digital since their owners couldn't be expected to invest in the service is they risked losing "their licence to a Johnny come lately who just bids or indeed some old veteran because there's an auction."
Previous Digital Radio UK:
Previous Digital Radio Working Group:
Previous Global Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2010-01-27: :The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a run of enforcement actions has granted an petition from a Louisiana non-profit to reconsider a previous decision that denied it a low-power FM licence but is proposing a USD 20,000 penalty for rule breaches on the entity that was said to have hijacked the station; cancelled two forfeitures of USD 7,000 issued to an Iowa station operator and has ordered an Oregon station to remain off the air.
The Oregon station is KBUG-FM, Malin, whose call signs have been deleted. In addition the station, currently silent, has been told it has to cease any broadcast operations immediately.
The licensee, Malin Christian Church (MCC), applied for a construction permit in 2000 from a P.O. Box number with only one person, Sandra Sogo, being listed in the application. The FCC noted that according to the records of the Oregon Secretary of State, MCC was involuntarily dissolved in June 2005 and remains dissolved.
A second MCC (MCC2) was formed in March 2007 with a principal address in Tulelake, California but the listed President Thomas G. Renteria gave addresses in Klamath Falls, Oregon. According to the Oregon Secretary of State, this corporation was also involuntarily dissolved, and remains inactive.
The FCC then notes that when the original application was filed it certified that there were no character issues or adverse findings against MCC or its principals but in 2009 its sole known living principal, Sandra Soho, was convicted 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 and was subsequently jailed and fined and ordered to pay restitution.
Soho was also involved with Altamont oldies station KRAT-FM, which was ordered off the air last November at which time the FCC noted that it was apparently being operated under a false name and that its registered licensee was unaware of holding the licence until approached by the Inland Revenue service. (See RNW Licence News, Nov 22, 2009).
In the current case, the FCC said the entity that filed the application no longer exists and even if it did would not be qualified to hold a licence. MCC2, it said, was issued a new registry number and could not "stand in the shoes of the original KBUG-FM applicant, MCC, with its newly formed but identically named corporation."
It also noted that BUG is currently silent and unable to broadcast from its permitted site, which is located on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, which in October 2005 informed MCC that the right of way granted to it for use as a transmitter site had expired, and instructed MCC to remove all.
On this basis the FCC dismissed Malin Christian Church's application for a Construction Permit for KBUG and also deleted the call signs and ordered that any broadcast operations cease immediately. It dismissed as moot petitions filed by Klamath Basin Broadcasting to revoke the CP and dismiss MCC's Modification Application.
In the Louisiana case, the agency received a petition from Baton Rouge Progressive Network (BRPN) that sought reconsideration of a grant of two minor modification applications from Ethics Inc, which BRPN alleged had hijacked the station, relating to low power FM WHYR-LP, Baton Rouge, and a also the grant of Ethics Inc.'s covering license application for the station.
BRPN was originally issued with a Construction Permit for the station in 2004 that expired in March 2006 and subsequently Ethics, which had filed an unsuccessful application for an LPFM in Baton Rouge, filed a series of applications for modifications to the CP, including a change in transmitter location and facilities, that listed the board members of both Ethics and BRPN as parties to the application.
In February 2006 it filed an application, listing only the four BRPN members as parties to the application that proposed to return to the original transmitter site with a significantly lower antenna height. This was granted and automatically converted the name of the permittee in the Commission's CDBS data base to "Ethics, Inc."
The FCC notes that Ethics apparently constructed the Station, filed the License Application in its own name, and operated the Station without any input or assistance from BRPN principals. Subsequently it applied to modify the authorization when the transmitter site was repossessed by the City of Baton Rouge and took the station silent.
The FCC after wading through the whole file, concluded that Ethics is apparently liable for a USD 20,000 forfeiture for the unauthorized transfer of control of the station, and commented that "Ethics' principals have perpetrated a fraud on the agency by filing a series of unauthorized applications with the intent of taking control of the Station from BRPN. It granted BRPN's petition for reconsideration of the grant of the CP also extended BRPN's CP deadline to June 26 next year.
More fortunate was Wennes Communications Stations, Inc., licensee of Iowa stations KHPP-AM, Waukon, and KVIK-FM, Decorah.
Wennes had been issued with to Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of USD 7,000 each for late filing of renewal applications and unauthorized operation to which it responded by seeking cancellation or reduction on the basis that it had filed the applications but the fee payment had not been received by the FCC because of problems in its first rime using online filing.
The FCC accepted that the renewal application had been made although the fees had not been paid and opted instead of the penalties to impose 25% late payment penalties of USD 187.50 in each case.
2010-01-26:Absolute Radio, which is owned by a Times of India subsidiary, has announced a new senior management team reporting directly to Chief Operating Officer Clive Dickens.
It will be comprised of Tony Moorey, Clare Baker, Cat Macdonald and Paul Brown and Dickens says in a posting on the Absolute blog that "these team members have grown with the company and have evolved their talents to fulfil our changing business objectives."
Moorey becomes Content Director, responsible for all on air and online content with the existing music, production and programme teams reporting into him. Tony will also over-see a new department focused on Interactive Content.
Baker becomes Marketing Director, responsible for all marketing including digital marketing, events and audience research.
Macdonald becomes Communications Director, responsible for all PR and Communications - press, stakeholder and internal. Cat will also take on wider brand responsibilities alongside Clare, Tony and Dickens in responsibility for overall brand marketing and content.
Brown becomes Technical Director, responsible for our technology and digital development. He will oversee a new department called Interactive Research and Development alongside the existing Technology Department.
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (ultimate parent of Absolute)::
2010-01-26: Citadel has named Drew Hayes, who in 1989 launched news/talk at former top 40 Chicago WLS-AM, as operations director for the station.
Hayes takes up the post on Feb 1 and replaces Bob Shomper, who was dismissed last Friday after 13 months as WLS program director (See RNW Jan 23) and Robert Feder of Vocalo quotes Michael Damsky, who earlier this month (See RNW Jan 15) was promoted to become president and general manager of WLS and oldies sister station WLS-FM, as saying of the appointment, "When I envisioned what this radio station needed and the qualities that any potential program director should have, I realized that only Drew Hayes possessed all of them. I was looking for someone with a sense of urgency, an ear for what people want to hear, a vision for what a radio station should sound like, and strong local knowledge. In Drew, we'll be getting all of that - plus the respect of key members of our talent staff who have already worked with him."
Hayes, a New York native, first made a name for himself in Chicago as a talk show host at the former WMAQ from 1986 to 1988, and after a brief diversion to Cincinnati, spent seven years at WLS, eventually becoming operations director. He later worked for ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, and KABC-AM in Los Angeles and then in Chicago was vice president of CBS Radio's WCKG-FM during the period when Howard Stern left CBS and Shane "Rover"French became morning host for a brief period before the station collapsed and dropped the news format to flip to AC as "FRESH 105.9". He was most recently as operations director of CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM and sports/talk WSCR-AM in Chicago.
Also making a return on Feb 1, this time to the San Francisco airwaves, is Conservative talk host Michael Savage, who was dropped by Clear Channel's KNEW-AM in September last year: At the time Program Director John Scott said the decision to drop Savage was taken because it has "decided to go in a different philosophical and ideological direction, featuring more contemporary content and more local information. The Savage Nation does not fit into that vision." (See RNW Sep 10, 2009).
Savage is joining Pappas Telecasting's Sports KTRB-AM and on his web site links to a WorldNetDaily report which quotes him as saying he made the move to reach out to new listeners.
It quotes him as saying, "Sports fans are generally tuned out of politics, and I want to tune them in to what is happening in this great country. Hopefully, with this new demographic, I will attain the high ratings numbers I once had and even exceed that in time."
The San Francisco Chronicle in its report notes that when Savage was dropped Joe Garofoli asked him about the matter and was told "Why don't you go ask your boss, Mao Zedong?"
This time it allows Savage to put his point directly, reproducing an e-mail it received from the host:" "WHAT PART OF THE STORY IS UNCLEAR?"CLEAR CHANNEL MADE A DISASTROUS DECISION. I WILL BURY KNEW, KGO AND KSFO IN THIS TIME-SLOT. EVEN BAY AREA LIBERALS MISS ME. I AM THE 'UNCLE" THEY LEFT BEHIND IN NEW JERSEY.....AND THEY KNOW I'M RIGHT! AFTER THE PROFILE OF ME IN 'THE NEW YORKER' MY BEING BANNED BY THE EVILDOING BROWN U.K. GOVERNMENT THE WORLD WANTS TO HEAR MY SIDE OF THE STORIES OF THE DAY. MASSACHUSETTS SHOULD TELL US THAT EVEN IN UBER-LIB SAN FRAN THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE TO EACH AND EVERY ISSUE.'"
San Francisco Chronicle re Savage:
Vocalo - Feder re Hayes:
WorldNetDaily report re Savage:
2010-01-26: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld one radio and five TV standards complaints in its latest bulletin in which it also considered another radio standards complaint resolved by action already taken by the broadcaster.
The complaint upheld was against Bauer's Southampton-based Wave 105 and followed a complaint that Steve Power in his breakfast show on December 3 last year had promoted a shopping centre; Bauer in response to an inquiry confirmed that the material was a live presenter-read spot advertisement for the centre and was asked to comment in relation to the requirement that advertising and programming have to be separated.
It admitted that on this occasion the separation was not clear and added that "in the presenter's enthusiasm to talk up this local event he strayed a little from the script and as a result failed to separate it from programming with the use of a jingle."
Ofcom in ruling that there had been a breach of UK codes commented that in this case the advertisement was not only not clearly separated from programming but also was presented as if it was programming.
The radio case considered resolved involved Cornwall commercial station Pirate FM, which ran a ran a competition in which listeners were invited to call the studio's landline number when they heard a clip of the song Precious Moments by The Three Degrees: Listeners were told that the first 20 successful callers would be awarded a bracelet.
A presenter had said before the first round of the competition that the bracelets were worth GBP 100 (USD 160) but a winner contacted Ofcom to say that when they collected the prize at a local retailer a member of staff said the true value was GBP 42 (USD 67).
Pirate FM explained that the information concerning the value had originally come from the manufacturer's advertising agency but that after the figure had been aired in good faith in two presenter reads, the manufacturer contacted the station to say the valuation was incorrect. Following this the station changed the reads to give the correct retail price.
Ofcom commented that the broadcaster had acknowledged that insufficient checks had been made to verify the accuracy of the prize description and noted that the station had now changed its procedures and requires its sales and programming team to receive written confirmation of prize details from the supplier and gain approval from a senior member of staff before a competition can go ahead.
Ofcom said it was concerned about the initial failure but welcomed the swift remedial action taken and considered the matter resolved.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 2530 TV complaints against 161 items and 16 radio complaints against 16 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 307 TV complaints against 185 items and 21 radio complaints against 20 item in the previous bulletin. The TV complaints figures were boosted by 1,318 complaints against an edition of the X-Factor TV Show in which Simon Cowell decided not to eliminate "Jedward", thus meaning that Lucie Jones was out of the contest: Ofcom commented that the matter was not within its remit as the format of the code was transparent and viewers placed their votes knowing the ultimate decision on elimination remained with the judges.
Previous Ofcom & Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-01-25: It didn't take long for Howard Stern to dismiss the idea of joining Clear Channel or any other terrestrial broadcaster, where he would be subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indecency regulations.
Following reports last week of expressions of interest in hiring Stern from Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan (See RNW Jan 23), Stern told his audience on Monday that he's not contemplating a return to terrestrial radio, adding, "I don't want to be censored Just because I said people call me from time to time doesn't mean I'm actually going back. I just said a lot of people called. I'm not contemplating it."
2010-01-25: Chris Smith, the drive-time host at Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB, who was suspended at the end of last year for groping women at a station Christmas Party (See RNW Dec 14) is to return to the airwaves at the start of February.
The Sydney Sunday Telegraph reported that the host, whose wife walked out on him after learning about his behaviour, is understood to have agreed a new three-year contract worth around AUD 450,00 to 500,000 (USD 408,000 -454,000) : it adds that his return was made easier because none of the women involved made a formal complaint.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Sydney Sunday Telegraph report:
2010-01-24: In yet another quiet week for the regulators, the main development again came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched an examination on the future of media and from Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA) has called on calls on commercial radio industry to come up with new codes for live hosted entertainment shows or face having the regulator impose requirements.
In Australia, as noted the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA), has called for the commercial radio industry to develop new codes for live hosted entertainment shows: the move followed the row over a programme in which a teenage girl said, whilst being subjected to a lie detector test, that she had been raped when aged 12 (See RNW Jan 18).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has announced that it is setting a February 1 deadline for the final submission of written comments from those who filed comments at its January 18 hearing in relation to its final written submissions from those who filed comments in relation to its Review of campus and community radio.
In Manitoba the agency approves the application by 5777152 Manitoba Ltd., which is controlled by William Gade, its sole shareholder and director, for a licence for a new 3,200 watts English-language commercial FM radio in Neepawa. The new station will offer blended music format featuring country (60%) and pop and rock (40%) music. In each broadcast week, the station will also provide at least 75 hours of local programming including 18 hours of local spoken word programming of which 8 hours and 8 minutes will be devoted to pure news.
The CRTC also approved applications by Bhupinder Bola, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a licence to operate a number of national specialty ethnic services - Apna Desi Radio (Punjabi) that will operate a Punjabi language service; Apna Desi Radio (Hindi) that will operate a Hindi language service; Apna Desi Radio (Classical Music) - a service in Hindi-, Punjabi- and Urdu; and Apna Desi Radio (Sports) - a Hindi- and Punjabi service.
Also in Canada, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that the use of Quebec French swear words on the "Prends ça cool ..." and "Deux gars le midi" shows on CKRB-FM (103.5 Cool FM, St-Georges-de-Beauce, Quebec, breached industry codes and were inappropriate for use at time when children might be listening.
The ruling followed a complaint about discussions in which the hosts used the words "tabarnac'"( French Canadian slang equivalent to using "FuckK" as an epithet but without a sexual meaning), and Quebec French profanities related to Christianity such as "calice"(literally a chalice ), "chrisse" and "crissez-moi".
There were no radio postings from the UK or Ireland but in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has launched an examination on the future of media. This initiative it says will "examine the changes underway in the media marketplace, analyze the full range of future technologies and services that will provide communities with news and information in the digital age, and, as appropriate, make policy recommendations to the FCC, other government entities, and other parties."
In a Public Notice the agency says the "objective of this review is to assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information that will enable them to enrich their lives, their communities and our democracy"
It adds that the initial topics under consideration include: the state of TV, radio, newspaper, and Internet news and information services; the effectiveness and nature of public interest obligations in a digital era; the role of public media and private sector foundations; and many others but emphasises that the initiative will not include any effort to control the editorial content of any type of media.
It specifically noted questions about the trends for local commercial stations in terms of "staffing, the amount of local news and information aired, the audience ratings for such programming and local station profitability" and in financial terms the "roles of station debt, advertising revenue declines, government policies, efficiency improvements, and ownership consolidation (including combining the news staffs of commonly owned or operated stations."
Regarding non-commercial television is asks about trends for nationally-oriented broadcasters and what state they are currently in regarding news staffing and coverage and for local stations similar questions, specifically asking what type of programming has been cut back.
It also asks to what extent low power FM (LPFM) stations are "providing local news and information to the communities that they serve?" and goes on, "Should the LPFM requirements be changed to encourage more of such programming by stations, and/or the technical interference requirements adjusted to allow the licensing of additional LPFM stations?"
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski commented in a news release, "We are at a critical juncture in the evolution of American media. Rapid technological change in the media marketplace has created opportunities for tremendous innovation. It has also caused financial turmoil for traditional media, calling into question whether these media outlets will continue to play their historic role in providing local communities with essential news and civic information. With this crucial initiative, the FCC commits to fully understanding the fundamental changes underway in the media marketplace and examining what impact such changes may have for Commission policies, while vigorously protecting the First Amendment."
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps added of the initiative, "Our democracy relies on a well-informed citizenry. The founders of this great nation understood this early on. So they worked, and generally succeeded, in finding ways to deploy critical news and information across our young Republic so citizens could make informed decisions. Now, as we begin crossing into the new frontier of digital democracy, it's time to heed the founder's wisdom and realize we're falling behind the mark they set. Everywhere around us are signs that the news and information journalism America relied on for so long is failing us today. Investigative journalism is, most observers agree, an endangered species. Newsrooms are shuttered, newspapers closed down, broadcast and newspaper journalists fired. The victims, just as much as the out-of-work journalists, are you and me, because we increasingly lack the journalistic nourishment that feeds democracy. "
"In a country where watchdog journalism is absolutely essential," he added, "more than two dozen states don't even have one reporter accredited to cover Capitol Hill. At the state level, legions of lobbyists far outnumber professional journalists by orders of magnitude."
He also commented of the plan, "I look forward to a thorough but also expeditious assessment. This problem is urgent and solutions are needed now. Enduring 5-10 years more of the present journalistic decline is not an option America can afford."
The agency also announced the panellists and agenda for its January 27 workshop on Media Ownership which will have two panels, one on Constitutional Issues in Advancing Minority Ownership through the FCC's Media Ownership Rules and the other on Constitutional Issues in Advancing Minority Ownership through the FCC's Media Ownership Rules.
In enforcement actions it has a quiet week as regards radio, although it did issue a USD 250 forfeiture to Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc., licensee of FM translator station K217EY, Laramie, Wyoming, for late filing of renewal application. It had initially issued a USD 1,500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) and dismissed BBN's arguments for reduction or cancellation of the penalty but then reduced the amount in line with other recent decisions in similar cases.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2010-01-24: Former US Federal Communications Commissioner and for a period in 1993 Acting FCC chairman James Henry Quello, who was according to his biography on the agency's website often referred to as the "Dean" of the FCC, has died aged 95.
Quello, who was born in Laurium, Michigan, graduated from Michigan State University in 1937 and in the same year married his fellow-student, the late Mary B Quello, who died in 1999: During the Second World War he served in the US army and took part in six amphibious landings in Europe, beginning as a Lieutenant and rising to become a Lieutenant Colonel..
He went into radio on his return from Europe in 1945 working in the promotions department of WXYZ-AM, Detroit, later moving to WJR-AM where he became Vice President and General Manager in 1960. When Capital Cities Broadcasting bought the station he became its manager and a Vice-President of Capital Cities.
He was appointed as an FCC Commissioner by President Nixon in 1974 and was on the Commission until he stepped down in 1998, serving as Acting Chairman in 1993 for the period after Republican Albert Sikes stepped down until Democrat Reed Hundt took over.
Quello was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 1995 and the following year was honoured by the John Bayliss Broadcast Foundation and was inducted into the Museum of Broadcast Communications' Radio Hall of Fame.
In 1998, he and his wife were honoured by Michigan State University with the founding of The James H. and Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunications Management and Law.
Current FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement said it was "with great sadness" that he had learned of the death and continued, "Jim was a friend and a beloved Commissioner of this agency for more than two decades. Known as the 'Dean' of the FCC - and 'Boss' to the many staffers who worked for him - he was a role model to generations of FCC employees and advocates for his decency, personal charm, and commitment to his work. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of service to the FCC, the communications industry, and the American people."
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps in a release commented, "You can tell a lot about how a person lived by the way he or she dies. Jim Quello died with grace, confidence, a calm spirit, and pride in a life well lived. I visited with him Friday and, albeit weaker, he was alert. Good-spirited, and still talking about issues and about the Commission he loved so much and served so long, so well."
"Jim's tenure at the FCC, particularly his Chairmanship," added Copps, "drew the best from people because he gave them his best back. He empowered people and they loved him for it. Warrior, broadcaster, public servant--wherever he served, Jim gave it his all and, when he left his various posts, he left them better than he found them. We won't be seeing another Jim Quello."
US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President Gordon Smith in his statement said the NAB mourned Quello's passing and went on to describe him as "a war hero, a friend to free and local broadcasting and an extraordinarily bipartisan public servant during a remarkable 24 years at the FCC" and added "We have lost an American original."
FCC - Quello biography:
2010-01-24: Following recent oustings by Citadel (See RNW Jan 22), Tribune Co-owned WGN-AM has added to the cut-backs in Chicago radio with the axing by the debt-laden company of veteran Bob Sirott and his Monday-through-Friday "Noon Show" and also of another veteran afternoon news anchor and City Hall reporter Dave Stewart.
Also out according to Robert Feder of Vocalo are Steve Cochran's producer, Rick O'Connor, and Milt Rosenberg's producer, Zack Christenson plus "Sports Central" weekend co-host (and former Chicago Bear) Glen Koslowski, and two other staffers in accounting and the mail room.
Feder says John Williams is expected to take over the noon hour, extending his show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sirott, he adds, will still be heard on WGN as the promotional voice of the station and as the designated fill-in for morning personality Greg Jarrett and with his wife, Marianne Murciano, will continue to host their Sunday night talk show.
He quoted the host as saying, "I've known for about a year that working an hour a day was coming to an end. I'm surprised it lasted this long. Because I have some upcoming TV projects that will require my full attention, I'm happy that WGN gave me a new deal to free up my daily schedule and still allow me to make WGN my radio home."
Feder says WGN did not respond to requests for comment and adds that speculation is persisting that they are in negotiations to Jonathon Brandmeier, former morning personality at Emmis Communications classic rock WLUP-FM, for an unspecified shift.
Previous Tribune Co:
Vocalo: Feder report:
2010-01-23: The late Paul Harvey, billed as the "most listened-to" host in the US, had a two-decade friendship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and often submitted advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval according to the Washington Post.
The paper's report is based on nearly 1,400 pages of FBI files, released to it in response to a one-year-old Freedom of Information Act request and it says the files reveal that the two men came together following an incident in 1951 when Harvey, who was trying to breach security at the Argonne National Laboratory, which conducted nuclear testing some 20 miles from Chicago, in pursuit of a report: He was spotted almost immediately and detained by guards who in a search of his car found amongst other things a four-page, typewritten script for an upcoming broadcast.
Harvey, reports the paper, , had planned from the outset to feed the nation a bogus account of his escapade in which, rather than climbing over a barbed wire-topped fence as he had been when spotted said, "My friend and I were driving a once-familiar road, when the car stalled. . . . We started to walk. . . . We made no effort to conceal our presence. . . .
"Suddenly I realized where I was. That I had entered, unchallenged, one of the United States' vital atomic research installations. . . . Quite by accident, understand, I had found myself inside the 'hot' area. . . . We could have carried a bomb in, or classified documents out."
The affair made headlines but a grand jury declined to indict Harvey for espionage and the following year Rep. Fred Busbey, an Illinois Republican and long-time friend of Harvey, asked the FBI if he could bring the broadcaster by to thank Hoover.
The paper adds that Harvey's love affair with the bureau continued after Clarence Kelley took over as director in 1973 following Hoover's death. It also notes that Harvey also wrote to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who became infamous for hunting down alleged communists, with tips about "known Reds" at a Texas Air Force base.
RNW Comment: Although the Post doesn't go as faras to put it this bluntly, the record would appear to show, for all of Harvey's folksy charm that when push came to shove Harvey, like Hoover was an anti-Communist bigot who was prepared to lie to further his career.
Washington Post report:
2010-01-23:Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan has said that his company would be prepared to hire Howard Stern if the host, who is currently in negotiations over his future contract with Sirius XM, should the host be willing to work "within the limitations" of free over-the-air radio.
Stern, whose contract runs out at the end of this year, has been making noises about offers from other broadcasters, commenting in his show last Tuesday that he had an offer although he added, "Well, not a bona fide offer, but people have been making them."
Hogan in an e-mailed statement told Bloomberg Business Week the following day, "We clearly have both the willingness and the financial wherewithal to consider high-profile talent. We would be the most logical company for him to optimize his exposure and financial return."
Business Week quotes Tuna Amobi, an analyst at Standard & Poor's as saying that the satellite radio operator might not be able to afford to renew Stern's contract - his current contract was worth some USD 500 million - and adding, "Even if (a new contract) were half of what it was before, it would still be a major financial burden for Sirius."
RNW comment: Some of the responses to this report seem to us to have assessed the likelihood of Stern joining Clear Channel quite rightly as close to nil and that Hogan has no actual interest in hiring Stern but would like to push up his cost to Sirius XM.
We rather think that Mel Karmazin on a bad day could outsmart the whole of the Clear Channel stable on their best and doubt that Stern would want to return to the restrictions of terrestrial radio, and particularly of Clear Channel.
What the deal will be and what Stern may do as well as his satellite radio show we can't really fathom but we expect Stern to still be on Sirius XM a year from now.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Sirius XM:
Business Week report:
2010-01-22: Following the host's comments about the Haitian disaster, Radio Ranch founder and Creative Director Dick Orkin has asked the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to remove his plaque from the Broadcast Hall of Fame because the hall also honours Rush Limbaugh.
Radio Ink has posted Orkin's open letter to the NAB in which he expresses his pride at receiving the NAB Broadcast Hall Of Fame award, which each year honours individuals who have shown leadership in radio and television.
He then notes that he was "was especially pleased to be inducted into such distinguished company as Edward R. Murrow, Robert Trout, Paul Harvey, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, William S. Paley, Ronald Reagan, just to name a few" and continues, "Apart from 'leadership' recognition, it seemed to me that at the core of the selection criteria was also the essential 'humanitarian' character of the chosen inductee."
Regarding Limbaugh, who was inducted in 1998, he says that although politically he did not agree with Limbaugh he did agree with many people, including Ink's publisher Eric Rhoads, that "the uniqueness of his controversial radio style and performance made Limbaugh an appropriate choice.
Orkin then goes on, "However, that initial opinion has been gradually eroding over the last few years and has dramatically changed for me recently, with the capper coming during the disaster that struck Haiti last week."
After referring to the comment made by Limbaugh (See RNW Jan 16) Orkin says that although he agrees with those who think the host still fits the leadership and performance criteria, "I am also fully aware that he reveals a reckless insensitivity to one of the most horrific human tragedies of our time. The effect of this most recent Limbaugh calumny is, in my opinion, a clear SOS to mature and caring radio broadcast leaders to finally censure the man or, better yet, remove this dangerous hate-monger from the airwaves where he is increasingly and irresponsibly spreading his demagogic poison to the radical right and the emotionally vulnerable."
He then adds, "I am talking about the kind of action taken by the Catholic Church in terminating the racist and anti-Semitic message pedalled by Fr. Coughlin in an earlier shameful era of radio.
"Rush Limbaugh isn't simply exercising his right of free speech, but blatantly appealing to the very worst impulses in his ditto head listeners.
"Therefore, if there will be neither censure or removal, then I respectfully ask the NAB to remove my plaque from the Hall of Fame. I am embarrassed that my award, as well as those of others I so highly respect, is in the company of this perfidious human being."
Ink says that Premiere Radio Networks, who syndicate Limbaugh's show, refused to comment on the matter and the NAB did not respond to a request for comment.
Limbaugh's site, when we last checked, made no reference to the matter but had his usual mix of gloating (over the demise of Air America's progressive talk network - See RNW Jan 21) and attacks on Obama and also an attack on Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for accusing Limbaugh of "borderline anti-Semitism " (Limbaugh in his background material links to articles in his defence but not to the ADL whose site has a news release relating to Limbaugh's comments comparing President Obama's health care logo to a swastika, and policies championed by the Democratic Party to those of the Nazis as well as another release in which the comment was made in the context of Limbaugh's comments about bankers - the host refers to banker being a "code for Jewish" to some people.")
RNW comment: We applaud Orkin for his action but think there's as much chance of the NAB or Premiere taking any action so long as Rush retains his ratings as there is of Limbaugh ever acknowledging that those he opposes politically could just have humanitarian responses to disaster rather than turning the matter into one of partisan politics as Limbaugh has.
As regards the ADL, we often feel that the organization operates too much in the manner that Limbaugh operates - to attack over every issue - but can only agree with the ADL that Limbaugh's comparisons with the Nazis in terms of the health debate did cross the boundaries - we regard them as crass, tasteless, and offensive. As regards his comments about bankers, we feel the ADL over-reacted but had a point that any intelligent reader of The Merchant of Venice would immediately recognize.
We await Limbaugh's spin on this issue, assuming he does take it up.
ADL release re Limbaugh 'Borderline Anti-Semitic' Remarks:
ADL release re Limbaugh use of Nazi imagery in relation to health debate:
Limbaugh web site:
Limbaugh call for ADL apology:
Radio Ink report:
2010-01-22: Citadel is continuing to swing the axe in Chicago with the latest to go, according to Robert Feder in Vocalo, being Bob Shomper, who has been ousted as Program Director of WLS-AM.
Feder refers to a memo from Michael Damsky, who has just been promoted to President and General Manage of WLS in place after Mike Fowler's ousting (See RNW Jan 15), in which Damsky told staff, "As we evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of WLS-AM, we realized that we needed a program director with a different vision to capitalize on all of the opportunities that this compelling news environment and exciting political season present our station. We will immediately begin looking for the person with that vision."
Vocalo - Feder re Shomper's ousting:
2010-01-21: Liberal talk network Air America has ended its live programming and says in an announcement on its web site that it is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy "to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business."
The posting continues, "The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business. This past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally. National and local advertising revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection. From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry's long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signalled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times.
"Those companies that remain are facing audience fragmentation as a result of new media technologies, are often saddled with crushing debt, and have generally found it difficult to obtain operating or investment capital from traditional sources of funding. In this climate, our painstaking search for new investors has come close several times right up into this week, but ultimately fell short of success."
The posting then notes the history of the network - terming it the "only full-time progressive voice in the mainstream broadcast media world" at the time of its launch and says that it "build a new sense of purpose and determination among American progressives."
"Laws have changed for the better thanks to this revival," it continues ".....but all the same our company cannot escape the laws of economics. So we intend a rapid, orderly closure over the next few days. All current employees will be paid through today, January 21. A severance package will be offered tomorrow to full-time current employees with more than six months of tenure."
Previous Air America:
2010-01-21: JVC Media, which took over the low-power TV signal - WNYZ 87.7 LP-TV - used by Mega Media to air dance format Pulse FM when Mega filed for bankruptcy (See RNW Nov 2, 2009) has announced that has ended its simulcast of WPTY-FM's Party FM" format on the frequency.
An announcement by JVC Media's President and CEO John Caracciolo announcing the ending of the simulcast said, "There were a few factors that went into our decision to terminate our agreement with WNYZ. The FCC contemplating the fate of Low Power TV 6 as a radio signal was one. It's soon expected conversion to digital was another. It's hard to invest in a radio station when you don't know if the government will shut it down tomorrow. Spending time, man-power and dollars to grow a property with a very limited lifespan does not fit our business model."
The format continues on WPTY in Suffolk and Nassau Counties.
2010-01-20: ENIL (Entertainment Network India Limited), the country's leading private FM operator through its Radio Mirchi brand - its ultimate parent is Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd, which also owns the Times of India - has reported net profits for its fiscal third quarter ending on December 31, 2009, more than doubled on a year earlier on revenues up 5.8% and for the first nine months its net profit is up nearly seven-fold.
The quarterly profit was INR 107 million (USD 2.33 million), up from INR 49 million (USD 1.07 million) whilst for the nine months it was up from INR 17 million (USD 370,000) to INR 131 million (USD 2.85 million).
Revenues rose 5.8% in the quarter to INR 653 million (USD 13.8 million) and for the first nine months were up 5.8 % to INR 1.17 billion (USD 25.4 million).
Radio Mirchi EBITDA for the quarter was up 15% to INR 211 million (USD 4.56 million) whilst consolidated EBITDA for the quarter nearly tripled - up from INR 59 million (USD 1.29 million) to INR 176 million (USD 3.83 million) and consolidated EBITDA for the first nine months was up 20.3% to INR 448 million (USD 9, 76 million).
ENIL Executive Director and CEO Prashant Panday commented of the results, "We can now safely say that the worst is behind us! With revenues turning positive, and with costs tightly under control, we expect the turnaround to gain strength."
ENIL also noted that the latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS) - 2009 R2 - showed Mirchi to be a clear national leader with a total of more than 41 million listeners around India and a cumulative audience of 15.4 million in the eight key cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad,
Bangalore, Pune and Ahmedabad: It leads the ratings in 25 of its 32 cities across the country.
Panday commented of the ratings, "The IRS results of R2, 2009 are a big boost as it shows clearly that listenership shares of Mirchi are now stable and strong. Our revenue market shares also remain strong at above 40%. We look forward to the Phase III policy announcements from the
Ministry of I&B and resolution of the long pending music royalty issues"
ENIL has said that it will not bid for licences in the next phase of licence offerings unless the royalty issue is sorted out and in a recent interview Panday told the Business Standard that on the current basis where for a small town it could pay annual royalties of up to INR 5 million (USD 109,000), the business equation was not viable, adding, "Therefore, we made a categorical statement that if music royalty is not corrected, then we will not bid as there is no chance of making any money."
He suggested that on the basis of a worldwide figure of around 3-4% of revenues for music royalties Indian radio, which is not yet fully developed, should pat 1-2% but added that the music industry was not ready for this.
Currently he said, India's radio industry pays around INR 1.25 billion (USD 27 million) a year in music royalties whereas on the basis of 2-3% of revenues it would be a tenth of this - INR 120-140 million (USD 2.6 to 3.1 million) and said that if the music royalty were to be cut by INR 1 billion (USD 21.8 million) as this would mean, "many of the FM radio stations in the country could be very viable. Or else, they will be forced to shutdown."
Asked about representations by the industry bodies AROI (Association of Radio Operators for India, of which Panday is Senior Vice-President) and the Ficci Radio Forum (which he chairs), Panday said both had made representations to the government about putting pressure on the music industry concerning royalties and had also asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting if they can extend the period of licence from 10 years to 15 years.
The Business Standard in another report posted nearly three weeks after WorldSpace closed down its Indian operations (See RNW Dec 31, 2009) said fans and staff continued to lament its demise. It quoted a number of bereft former listeners about the service that had been offered whilst as regards staff it quoted a number of former RJs (radio jockeys) as well as musicians about their feelings of loss when the service was closed.
In another report on the industry, Indiantelevision.com said private FM operators are going into this year with the hope that policies will be eased for the industry, particularly noting proposals to increase the limit for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and allowing news on private FMs.
It also noted the slow growth of community radio, quoting an unnamed senior Information and Broadcasting Ministry official as saying, "Community radio can change the face of local broadcasting. But the growth in this segment is disturbingly slow despite adopting a painless procedure for obtaining licences to operate community radio stations."
The report noted that 48 community stations are now on air in 16 states and that in all 584 applications were made with a total of 189 Letters of Intent being issued, a further 316 applications are currently being considered whilst 79 were rejected.
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.:
Previous Indian Radio:
Business Standard - interview with Panday:
Business Standard - re WorldSpace:
Indiantelevision.com - re industry hopes for 2010:
2010-01-20: Bubba The Love Sponge (formerly Todd Clem), who has crossed a few lines in verbal comments on radio has now done the same on Twitter with the result that he was a little roughed up by TNW (Total Nonstop Action) Wrestling Knockouts star Awesome Kong - real name Kia Stevens - who was offended by his comments about Haiti to the extent that she is reported to have punched him two or three times at a TNA event.
Bubba, who either has a problem with spelling, reading or taking any care about his postings, had written on Twitter on January 14 "I say f*** hati. Why do we have to take care of everybody our country is in shambles."
This enraged Kong, who was the organiser of a fundraising event in Pennsylvania to raise money for the victims of the Haiti quake: It was attended by amongst others TNA stars Mick Foley and The Beautiful People.
According to the Miami Herald, after his post and the backlash that followed, the Wrestling Globe Newsletter followed up, noting Bubba then wrote on Twitter that he was scheduled for a TNA production meeting on Monday, Jan. 18, but somebody from the office called and told him to stay home.
He later backed off, writing, "I am going to say this one time and one time only. First of all, a real man sometimes has to take a step back and maybe look at something they said or did. So that being said I would like to apologize for my comments regarding Haiti. In the world of live radio that I operate sometimes you say things that you can't take back. So I am man enough now to say I am sorry for those I offended.''
The paper notes that TNA set-up collection buckets for Haiti relief during its TNA iMPACT tapings at Universal Studios Orlando.
Bubba was brought into TNA to conduct backstage interviews amongst other activities by Hulk Hogan, and in a segment on his satellite radio show with Hogan commented, according to the UK Sun, "She was wearing wrestling gear and she came in on me and sucker punched me right on my left cheek.
"Then she came at me again, hit me again in the mouth, and she goes, 'This if for Haiti! This is for Haiti!' and I'm like 'What is going on?'
"Then she hits me again and finally I put my left hand out and push her away from me, and she comes at me again and I just cover up, because I cannot fight back on a woman.
"Not only will I be fired from TNA, which I probably am, but my radio career is gone if I take a woman out!"
Kong later tweeted an apology for lack of recent tweets because she was trying "not to give certain talentless hacks publicity."
RNW comment: As the Herald report notes, "Sometimes it's difficult discerning between fact and fiction in pro wrestling and the same is true of outbursts by radio hosts who often seem to prefer any publicity to none.
In this case we suspect Bubba will be hit harder by the fallout than Rush Limbaugh was for his partisan and insensitive remarks about the tragedy earlier (See RNW Jan 16 #Rush3), if only because the percentage of partisan bigots in his audience is smaller. Both radio hosts will continue, of course, to receive thousands of times the income available to the average Haitian and a couple of months living at the latter's level in the open might do them a world of good.
Miami Herald report:
UK Sun report:
2010-01-20: Black Crow Media, which last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection but said it would continue in business as normal (See RNW Jan 13) has announced that it is to use Nielsen's radio ratings service the Huntsville, Alabama, market: it has 22 stations in five markets, three of them in Huntsville .
In announcing the deal, Black Crow CEO Mark Linn said the Nielsen diary-based service offers "the most accurate portrait of radio listeners today" and continued, "Their address-based sampling and single-source consumer behaviour data are setting a new standard for radio measurement."
2010-01-19: Sirius XM, which is due to report its full-year 2009 financial results next month, has announced in advance of them that it expects to report more than USD 100 million in Free Cash Flow for the year and ended it with 18,772,758 subscribers, adding 257,028 net subscribers in the final quarter of the year.
CEO Mel Karmazin said of the Free Cash Flow prediction that it was "an extraordinary improvement over the pro forma negative free cash flow of USD 552 million that the company experienced in 2008" and added, "This is the first year in our history that we have generated positive free cash flow for the entire year."
He continued, by noting that the company had net subscriber additions in the both the third and final quarters and said, "Improvements in automotive sales, conversion rates and better than anticipated self-pay churn suggest that the outlook for the auto sector and the effects of the economy on our business are beginning to improve."
CFO David Frear said the company expected to meet its guidance "and report over USD 400 million in pro forma adjusted operating income, an improvement of over USD 500 million from the pro forma adjusted operating income for 2008, and an improvement of nearly USD 1 billion from the pro forma adjusted operating income for 2007, the last full year prior to the merger of Sirius and XM."
Sirius XM also reported self-pay churn of 1.97% for the quarter and said the conversion rate to a self-pay subscription from a trial included in the sale of a vehicle for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 46.4%, up from 44.2% in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-01-19: Emmis is claiming what its news release terms a "Triumph" in the Budapest Municipal Court following an oral ruling that the award of the national FM licence of Emmis-controlled Sláger Radio to the FM1 Consortium last year that led to the closure of Sláger (another award led to the closure of Danubius Radio, which is controlled by Accession Capital - See RNW Nov 19, 2009) breached Hungarian law.
The court is to deliver a written judgment within a week and its ruling follows a similar one earlier this month in favour of Danubius (See RNW Jan 6).
In the Danubius case, it claimed that the ownership structure of Advenio, which was awarded its licence but already controlled other stations, did not meet the requirements of Hungary's media law: The court agreed but it also said that the ORTT (Hungary's National Radio and Television Board) was under no obligation to break the contract signed after the tender and did not award compensation to Danubius.
This led Hungarian commentators to suggest that it was a hollow victory for Danubius whilst Fidesz (A Hungarian political party ) ORTT delegate Annamária Szalai said in her view "the court had overall rejected Danubius's lawsuit."
Emmis in its release said that the ruling meant that "Sláger was one of only two qualifying bids in the recent tender for Hungary's two national radio licenses" because all bidders except Sláger and Danubius had interests in other radio stations but Emmis Chairman & CEO Jeff Smulyan in his comment did not refer to the potential weakness of the Danubius decision in terms of any reversal of the licence award or compensation.
He said that Emmis felt "vindicated that the courts struck down the regulatory decision, and ruled in favour for our claims" and added "The people of Hungary believed in Sláger, and we trust we'll be back on the air soon."
Emmis won the licence in 1997 and Sláger became Hungary's top-rated radio station with an audience of some 3.5 million a week from a population of ten million.
Emmis says that while it held the licence it 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."
It adds that there has been "enormous international pressure on the Hungarian Government to reverse the regulatory decision, including the U.S. Congress resolution condemning the ORTT's actions" and adds that a Special Prosecutor has been appointed in Hungary to investigate criminal wrongdoing and that the Prime Minster of Hungary; the President of Hungary; and the head of the Hungarian National Radio and Television Board "all denounced the license process as politically corrupt and contrary to the interests of the Hungarian people."
RNW comment: The markets appear to have reacted sensibly to the news and rather than marking its shares up, marked them down on Tuesday by 1.64% to a closing price of USD 1.20 (compared to a 1.1% rise in the Dow).
We also, as earlier, wonder about how Emmis comes to produce a total of USD 170 million of investment and the actual meaning of the figure.
As regards the treatment of Emmis - it was a matter of non-renewal of a licence that was always going to be subject to future competitive bidding (as we think licences in the US and elsewhere also should be and as they are in the UK, for example) and we have noted cases in the US and elsewhere where the remedy for a deal that breached the rules was not reversal but a requirement that there be disposals.
Should this happen in this case, the best Emmis and Danubius can hope for is to be able to bid for comparatively unimportant local licences rather than the national frequency that Danubius and Sláger held.
We share the view that the financial projections of the winners seem optimistic to say the least but then Emmis did play financial hardball in Hungary when the licences were extended.
2010-01-19: CBS Radio has announced that it is to flip WBZW-FM (B-94), Pittsburgh, from hits to a sports format from February 15. The new station will take the name "SportsRadio 93.7 the Fan" and the call sign KDKA-FM.
CBS is "blending" B-94's output with that of its Hot AC WPZT-FM (Star 100.7) and will redeploy B94 morning host Bubba to Star where he will join the morning team of J.R. Randall and Shelley Duffy whilst his co-host Melanie Taylor will move to host a midday show on Star whilst Star's Scott Alexander moves to afternoon drive.
Terry Foxx, who's been programming for ESPN Radio for three years, will be PD of the Fan and Jeff Hathhorn,Sports Director at CBS's news-talk KDKA-AM takes over the same post at the new station.
Michael Young, senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio Pittsburgh said the Fan was "being built for Pittsburgh's sports fans who are simply the best in the country" and added, "We'll feature an array of opinionated, compelling and very talented local talk-show personalities who will be highly engaged in discussions and commentary driven by our listeners."
2010-01-19: Affiliated Media, Inc. (AMI), the corporate holding company for the MediaNews Group, which is the second largest newspaper publisher in the US by circulation - - it owns more than 150 newspapers plus TV, websites and four Texas radio stations - has become the latest US media group to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In a letter from Vice-President and CFO Ronald A. Mayo to its suppliers and vendors it says that the "pre-packaged bankruptcy only affects our corporate holding company" and adds, "None of MediaNews Group publications or broadcast operations are part of the filing, and their operations will continue on a normal course basis."
The letter says that the pre-packaged filing of AMI is good news for all of the Company's vendors as the company's debt levels will be reduced from USD 930 million to USD 165 million and it will have one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry. Under the plan, trade creditors of the holding company will it says be paid in full and the company "plans to meet all its obligations before and after exit from bankruptcy, which could take less than 60 days."
In a news release AMI said that the plan was structured in consultation with the company's senior lenders, who will swap debt for equity and that MediaNews Group chairman and CEO William Dean Singleton and its President Joseph J. Lodovic IV will control the company through ownership of all the company's Class A Shares, which entitle them to elect a majority of board members. Other stockholders will own class B and C shares
Singleton commented that they had "come up with a solution that restores financial strength and flexibility to out balance sheet", adding that it does not affect any of its operations.
The Senior lenders are owed some USD 590 million, guaranteed by various affiliates, and in addition the company owns a total of around USD 326 million to holders of subordinate notes: Under the plan the senior lenders trade their claims and guarantees for a pro-rate share of the company's new small secured term loan with more collateral and ownership of the majority of the new equity of the reorganized company. Subordinated note holders will receive warrants for future equity and existing equity will be cancelled.
2010-01-18: British DJ Steve Penk has come under fire from mental health organizations for playing the Van Halen classic "Jump" today following a request from a motorist stuck in a traffic jam after four lanes of a motorway were closed whilst police tried to talk a suicidal woman from jumping from a motorway bridge in the Manchester area.
Penk now owns Oldham-based station The Revolution and told his listeners he was playing the track to "empathise" with motorists stuck in the jams: The 30-years-old woman jumped shortly afterwards but sustained only minor injuries.
Penk was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying, "The entire area had been thrown into total chaos by a single troubled woman. I was very sorry to hear that the lady had subsequently jumped from the bridge but relieved that her injuries were minor. If, as has been suggested, the woman jumped because she heard it (the track) from a passing car radio that's unfortunate. But I don't regret playing it for a minute."
A spokesman for The Samaritans said the action showed "lack of compassion and understanding" and Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind described it as in "very poor taste".
He added that the media had a "responsibility for their audience and jovialising such a situation could be fatal" and noted that the stigma that surrounded mental health meant that many people felt they had to cope on their own, with potentially tragic results.
Penk, who gained national notoriety in the UK for various pranks played in the past, bought the station in September 2008 (See RNW Sep 4, 2008). The incident was not in the news on the station web site when we last checked but it aroused mixed comment from readers of various publications that carried the story, some condemning the action but others supporting it or defending the DJ's right to play the track.
UK Daily Telegraph report:
The Revolution web site:
2010-01-18: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which launched an investigation into Australia's commercial radio practices for live hosted entertainment shows following the row about an edition of the Kyle and Jackie O Show (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neil Henderson ) last year on Austereo's 2-DAY FM - see RNW Jul 30, 2009) in which a teenage girl, attached to a lie detector, said she had been raped when aged 12, is calling on the industry to develop new codes or face additional regulatory measures.
The report - available on the ACMA site as a PDF (364 kb) or Word document (468 kb) - says that there is community concern about the treatment of participants in these programmes, particularly when a child is involved.
ACMA chair Chris Chapman commented of its proposals, "The ACMA recognises that commercial radio needs the flexibility to provide attractive and innovative programming to attract and retain audiences. However, the industry must also be responsive to issues of community concern and address them as and when they emerge."
He added that the changes to the commercial radio codes that the ACMA has suggested "are designed to ensure that new practices are introduced which specifically and meaningfully address these concerns, especially in relation to the treatment of children participating in commercial radio programs."
The agency wants the industry to develop new codes that seek to prevent the exploitation of participants in commercial radio programs
Ensure the industry has practices and processes in place that provide safeguards for participants in commercial radio programs and are transparent to the public and
Provide special provisions for dealing with children as participants in commercial radio programs, including the requirement that the best interests of the child is the licensee's key consideration, irrespective of any consent given.
The ACMA adds that if these community concerns are not addressed in a timely manner under the co-regulatory scheme enshrined in the Broadcasting Services Act.
In its report the ACMA says the concerns expressed were in two broad categories - protecting participants, particularly children, from exploitation and the protection of children from exposure to inappropriate content, in particular sexual references and offensive language - it particularly noted concern about programming regarded as unsuitable for minors and that subjects complained about included advertisements for sexual health products; inappropriate language in song lyrics; and concerns that live hosts were encouraging drug use
It also noted that its research revealed a community expectation that radio stations will obtain the permission of the victim of a prank call prior to broadcasting that call but in the case of the girl said that the majority of complainants "cited concerns that a child was put in the situation in the first instance, irrespective of the mother's consent and of the outcome of the broadcast" and that " Many noted that the broadcast was ill-conceived, with no regard given to the welfare of the child involved."
It also noted that concerns had been expressed about a number of programmes including Dearly Deported - a competition which had the basic premise of reuniting estranged relatives; the similar Home or Away; Heartless Hotline - a series of competitions that featured a participant telling their 'hard luck story' and being offered money or a requested prize; Porn Star Competition in which members of the audience were encouraged to send in photos of themselves posing as a pornographic star for a chance to win a walk-in role on a pornographic movie; various pranks and stunts and Pigs Might Fly - a radio stunt in which helium balloons were tied to a piglet to see if it would fly.
It noted that industry submissions to its consultation on the matter included one from industry body that suggested there was little community concern as demonstrated by the low level of complaints about stunts, prank calls, competitions and challenges.
Regarding pranks and stunt calls, the ACMA noted that submissions from most licensees indicated that these were pre-recorded; that the 'victim's' permission was sought prior to broadcast with some obtain permission after playing the call back to the victim and that when consent is not obtained, the recording is destroyed.
Macquarie Southern Cross Media said its policy is that only participants who have nominated themselves and who have completed a consent form can participate in physical stunts.
"The vast majority of licensees," says the ACMA, "indicated that more onerous requirements for obtaining consent would be impractical, with specific opposition to stations having to obtain written consent. Fairfax indicated that 'their listeners would be less inclined to provide information if they were always required to provide a written record of their contribution to the station'. DMG stated that a requirement for a person 'to first listen to a recording and then sign a legalistic consent form would be too impractical'".
The ACMA said that it had also looked how its counterparts in other countries handled such matters, including Ofcom in the UK, the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) together with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC).
In relation to the protection of participants (including children) it said the Ofcom and New Zealand codes have been identified as preferred models and noted that they both recognised children as a special group needing protection and balances that need with the need for some protections and the desire to limit the burden on industry.
Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner said of the report that the industry was more than willing to discuss the ACMA's recommendations, and added, "The commercial radio industry already has in place a number of protections and safeguards for participants in on-air activities and for the community in relation to programs unsuitable for broadcast, as part of its existing Codes of Practice, and as acknowledged in the ACMA report. While the industry does not believe the problem to be widespread, we are happy to work with ACMA in exploring options in relation to their recommendations for the inclusion of additional provisions in the Codes."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
ACMA web site re report (carries links to both PDF and Word versions of the report):
2010-01-17: Veteran Washington DC morning host Donnie Simpson has begun negotiations with CBS Radio about a termination of his contract with WPGC-FM according to the Washington Post, which cites "sources familiar with the discussions" as saying the move could end his 32-year career on Washington airwaves.
It adds that although the host has more than a year left of his current two-year contract he will probably leave before March 11, the anniversary of his hiring by WPGC.
Simpson, who is 55, joined the station in 1993 after a long stint at WKYS-FM: According to his biography on the station's web site, he began his career at WJLB-AM in Detroit when he was 15. He moved to DC in 1977 joining WRC-FM, now WKYS, as morning drive host and program director.
Washington Post report:
WPGC - Simpson biography:
2010-01-17: In another generally quiet week for the regulators, the main news came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission has posted proposals for changes in the country's Emergency Alert System (EAS): Elsewhere there were a few routine postings from all areas except Ireland where again there were no postings from the Broadcasting Association of Ireland (BAI).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted only ne radio-related notice, a ruling that New South Wales Community station 2MIA, Griffith, had breached its licence conditions and the Community Broadcasting Radio Codes of Practice 2008 by not encouraging participation in the operation of the service and not having in place policies and procedures to resolve internal conflict.
The ACMA investigated following complaints from two members of the community and noted that in response to the breach finding, the licensee's newly elected committee of management has endorsed a conflict resolution policy and is working to improve the ways in which it encourages community participation and will provide the ACMA with a report on its progress. On this basis it has decided to take no further action for now.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted two public notices of Consultation, one with a February 16 deadline for submission of interventions or comments and the second with a February 19 deadline, but only the second related to radio.
It related to an application by Radio Port-Cartier inc. to increase the power of CIPC-FM Port-Cartier, Quebec, from 18,766 to 41,687 watts and from My Broadcasting Corporation to add a 3,100 FM transmitter at Port Elgin to broadcast the programming of CIYN-FM, Kincardine.
In relation to the latter the CRTC noted that in 2005 it approved transmitters in Port Elgin and Goderich for a new Adult Classic Hit FM in Kincardine but the transmitters were not in operation when the deadline expired and no request for an extension of the deadline was received, making the authorization granted null and void.
Subsequently in March 2008 it approved a new transmitter for CIYN-FM in Goderich and in May 2009 it approved a change in effective control of 2079966 Ontario Limited but denied the addition of a transmitter in Port Elgin.
At the time the Commission indicated that, if it were to approve the proposed licence amendment, the profit to be realized from the sale of the transmitter would be significant (CAD 125,000 - USD 123,000) particularly in view of the fact that the vendor had not fulfilled the original requirements set out in Broadcasting Decision 2005-68 to establish a transmitter in Port Elgin and had not made any financial investment in the undertaking.
It added, however, that MBC could file an application requesting a licence amendment to add a transmitter of CIYN-FM in Port Elgin nine months from the date of that decision. In that case, MBC would not be required to pay extra compensation to 2079966 Ontario Limited related to the additional transmitter in Port Elgin and noted that In the current application, the licensee filed an agreement between MBC and 2079966 Ontario Inc. stating that there will be no further payment required regarding the addition of a transmitter in Port Elgin..
As already noted there were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has pre-advertised the local FM licences for Bolton & Bury currently held by Tower FM and for Loughborough, currently held by Oak FM Limited.
In each declarations of intent to apply have to be filed by January 29 together with a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 8,140) ) and a deposit of GBP 10,000 (USD 16,280), which will be refunded upon receipt by Ofcom of a valid application in response to the subsequent re-advertisement of this licence.
In each case should only the current licensee submit a declaration, the licensee will be invited to re-apply but if competing applications are received the frequency will be re-advertised. If no declarations are received the licences will not be re-advertised.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has posted a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to proposals for changes in the country's Emergency Alert System (EAS).
In the announcement the agency notes that the EAS system was set up "primarily to enable the President of the United States to issue warnings to the American public during emergencies" but that so far neither the system nor its predecessor have been used to "deliver a national Presidential alert".
It adds that no "systematic national test of the EAS has ever been conducted to determine whether the system would in fact function as required should the President issue a national alert" and says that it is vital that the system should operate as designed and notes that so far the warning systems have been mostly used to issue local weather-related alerts.
The agency says that because "of its daisy chain structure, the EAS is potentially vulnerable to '"single point of failure' problems and notes on such failure during an inadvertent issuance of a national alert during a testing operation conducted by FEMA (The US Federal Emergency Management Agency) to check a satellite warning system in Illinois. FEMA contractors inadvertently triggered a national-level alert that caused some confusion before the event was ended through a combination of action taken by participating broadcasters and equipment failure with some equipment failing to pass on the alert.
The agency says the current system will continue as a critical alerting system for the foreseeable future, although significant efforts are being made to transition to Next Generation EAS, and adds that a working group set up by the Commission, FEMA, NWS (National Weather Service), and EOP (Executive Office of the President), is planning an initial national test of a Presidential-level EAS.
The agency is proposing to amend its rules to require all EAS participants to take part in national testing and provide test results to the agency and is seeking comment on the language of the rule to be introduced and also on a proposal to implement an annual national EAS test.
The FCC has also announced that it is to hold its next media ownership workshop on Wednesday, January 27, as part of the Commission's 2010 quadrennial review proceeding: The workshop will have two panels, one of academics and the second of broadcasters and representatives from media advocacy groups.
In addition the agency was involved in enforcement action including the issuing of a USD 5,000 forfeiture to R-S Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of WCWV-FM, Summersville, West Virginia, for failure to maintain radio issues/programs lists in the station's public inspection file.
It had issued a USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to which the licensee responded by saying that the failure had been an oversight by new management that took over the stations and also asking for a reduction on the basis of inability to pay.
The FCC rejected the first argument but halved the penalty to USD 5,000 on the basis of ability to pay.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-01-16: Although Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh has denied on his web site that he told his listeners not to donate to Haitian relief, the denials are getting scant acceptance anywhere except from some fellow-Conservatives with many commentators posting audio of some of his comments to sustain the original charge.
Transcription of the audio shows that the denial is a weasel one but strictly accurate: Limbaugh does not tell his listeners not to donate but he does effectively discourage donations, following comments that suggest that those who donate through the White House web site will find their name "on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations for him and other causes" with comments such as "Besides we've already donated to Haiti. It's called the US income tax" and suggestions that there is not much point trying to save Haiti - "There are people who do charitable work everyday in Haiti. It's not as though (Florida Democratic Representative) Debra Wasserman Schultz, 'It's our fault. Reverend Wright "It's our fault; excuse for such poverty when there' a nation as rich as we are so close. Uh. There are people who have been trying to save Haiti, just as we're trying to save Africa. You just can't keep throwing money at it cause the dictatorships there just take it all. They don't spread it around...and even if they did you're not creating a permanent system where people can provide for themselves."
Limbaugh's response on his site was to comment, "I'm gonna respond to this absolute BS that I said don't donate. But, you know, I do not make this program about me. I try very hard not to make this program about me. So if I have time to deal with that, I will. I'm confident everybody in this audience knows what I said and what I didn't say. Even the Washington Post says without the context, "What Limbaugh said is horrible." All I said was, if you paid your income taxes, that's how you donate to government for aid, and sure enough, here comes Obama announcing USD 100 million from the government for aid to Haiti, fine and dandy. But, you paid for it, it's your taxes. All I said was if you're going to donate do it outside the government, pure and simple. I was attacked, folks, because I am the leading voice of mainstream conservative views, not for any other reason. And this outrage is totally feigned, just as Tony Blankley said, all this outrage at me is totally faked up. They know exactly what I said, and they know for a fact that I would never tell people not to donate to any charitable cause like this, so it is what it is."
In a posting on the San Francisco Chronicle City Brights Blog site Zennie Abraham refers to Limbaugh's response with the comment, "Right. He didn't say donate to Haiti and he made a long statement that anyone would interpret as 'don't donate to Haitian relief.'"
The on-air comments were made, notes Abraham, in response to a caller named "April" whom Limbaugh then called an ill-informed blockhead and bigot, saying in part "Your mind is totally closed. You've got tampons in your ears."
What Rush Limbaugh likes to do is say things that he knows will upset people, then backtrack after people do get upset about them and say that what he did say was wrongly interpreted by "The Liberal Media"
The London Times in its Comment Central headlines the link to the comment, "The most offensive reaction to Haiti's earthquake yet?" and starts with a reference back to a previous "Comment" related to the Rev Pat Robertson's comments to the effect that the Haitians made a "pact with the Devil" to gain their freedom from French colonial rule and ever since "have been cursed by one thing after the other." (Needless to say Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network-CBN - later issued a statement saying that the comments had been based on the 1791 slave rebellion and the pact that was said to have been agreed with the Devil but did not attack the remarks as such , any more than it has commented in any forthright manner on his financial links with such figures as the former Presidents of Liberia (Charles Taylor, who is currently under indictment for war crimes) and Zaire (Mobutu Sese Seko - widely linked with torture and murder of opponents).
The Times article picks up later comment by Limbaugh, and posts a speech segment in which Limbaugh comments in terms of it, to quote Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama's Chief of Staff, as being a crisis too good to waste and then goes on, "This will play right into Obama's hands humanitarian , compassionate, um ..they'll use this to burnish their . er.. shall we say credibility with er ..the black community in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country ..it's made also that's why couldn't wait to get out there ...could not wait to get out there."
RNW comment: Having listened to as much of the Limbaugh audio as we can without supporting him financially (we would regard that as rewarding the immoral in the current case) and read the transcripts Limbaugh has posted, we have concluded that Abraham's comments are fairly well on the ball and that Limbaugh is weaselling out of responsibility for the most probable effect of his remarks.
Limbaugh web site - transcript of his denials:
San Francisco Chronicle City Lights blog - Abraham:
London Times "Comment" on Limbaugh:
London Times "Comment" on Robertson:
2010-01-15: Citadel Broadcasting has dumped Michael Fowler as president and general manager of its news/talk WLS-AM and oldies WLS-FM in Chicago and replaced him with Michael Damsky, who has been vice president and director of sales for the two stations since July 2008.
The decision according to Robert Feder in a posting on Vocalo was made by Citadel chairman and CEO Farid Suleman, who like Damsky was a former Infinity/CBS Radio veteran: Damsky spent 24 years at CBS Radio's adult rock WXRT-FM and Suleman was with CBS Radio and its predecessor Infinity Broadcasting for 16years.
Feder quotes Suleman as saying in a memo to staff, "I have known and worked with Michael Damsky for a long time, and I know his background will be critical in taking both of our stations to new highs."
Vocalo - Feder report:
2010-015: BBC Radio 1 has announced that comedian and TV presenter Tom Deacon is to host a new Sunday night show on the station from March 28 as part of a re-vamp of the station's weekend output.
Deacon will retain the name "The 5:19 Show" -used for his show on BBC "Switch" (the term used by the BBC for a mix of radio, TV and online shows - Deacon's show aired on BBC 2 TV every weekday at 5:19pm and also on Saturday afternoons) - for his radio show, which will be part of "Switch Zone" collection of Sunday night programmes that the station will air.
The "Switch Zone" will start at 16:00 with the Chart Show hosted by Reggie Yates after which Deacon takes over at 19:00 to be followed at 21:00 with "The Surgery With Aled" and then Nick Grimshaw and Annie Mac whose show moves from its current 19:00 to 22:00 slot to run from 22:00 to midnight.
2010-01-14: Astral Media has followed rival Corus (See RNW Jan 13) in announcing a revenue growth of 3% in its fiscal first quarter to the end of November with revenues in its case rising to CAD 250.7 million (USD 245.0 million): It also reported a 42% rise in net earnings to CAD 56.2 million (USD 54.9 million - from CAD 0.71 to CAD 1 per share).
Like Corus growth was driven by TV, whose revenues rose 6% to CAD 141 million (USD 138 million) - whilst radio was down 1% to CAD 89.2 million (USD 87.2 million) and Outdoor was down by 4% to CAD 20.3 million (USD 19.8 million).
EBITDA was up 29% for both radio and TV - to CAD 39.5 million (USD 38.6 million) and CAD 56.6 million (USD 55.3 million) respectively - and very marginally down for Outdoor at just below CAD 7.8 million (USD 7.62 million).
Like Corus the bottom line was boosted by one-offs, in Astral's case by CAD 11; 6 million (USD 11.3 million) because of reversal of licence fees (CAD 8 million -USD 7.8 million - net of income tax amounting to CAD 0.14 per share with CAD 3.2 million - USD 3.1 million - of this from TV and CAD 8.4 million - USD 8.2 million - from radio).
President and CEO Ian Greenberg commented, "Our relentless focus on execution and on offering our consumers and advertisers the best media products in pay and specialty television, radio and outdoor advertising contributed to an impressive start to this new fiscal year."
He added, "Despite the economic challenges the industry has faced this past year, our sustained investments in branding, programming and sales initiatives have started to yield tangible benefits and have helped to further strengthen the customer experience across our brands and platforms."
2010-01-13: Daytona Beach headquartered Black Crow Media LLC, which owns a total of 22 radio stations - five AMs and 17 FMs - in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy listing debts of between USD 50 million to USD 100 million with assets of between USD 10 million and USD 50 million.
The group owes USD 38.9 million to GE Capital, which on January 4 seized two o the company's operating accounts and filed a lawsuit to appoint a receiver: Other companies owed substantial sums include Arbitron - owed just under USD 550,000, ASCAP, which is owed USD 300,000 and ASCAP to which it owed USD 275,000. In addition it owes a note for USD 1.57 million to Frederick Wells of Hunstsville and around USD 305,000 to James Wolfe of Jackson, Tennessee.
In all Black Crow has filed 11 separate Chapter 11 cases seeking court permission to allow it to continue operating.
The Dayton Beach News Journal quoted CEO Mike Linn as saying, "We want to assure everyone -- our customers, suppliers, our people and our communities -- that our stations will remain open for business as usual. This is an extremely difficult decision that I believe is necessary to ensure that Black Crow will have access to the resources necessary to serve our communities in a manner they deserve."
Although it has cut costs - court documents say these have included "senior management compensation, on-air talent, research, sales commissions and a host of other expenses " - Black Crow's revenues have fallen by nearly a quarter over the past year and its filings say that "As with other radio broadcasters, Black Crow's chief source of revenue is advertising Across the radio broadcasting industry, local and national radio advertising revenues began to falter in 2007. . . . Most analysts do not anticipate significant improvement in the industry until the end of 2010."
In a news release, Linn said, "Unfortunately, over the past year and despite enormous efforts to reduce expenses, economic conditions have finally deteriorated to a point where it has become impossible for us to support our existing debt. It is our hope that this restructuring will bring our debt in line with existing market conditions thereby allowing us to once again focus on operations and the job of providing our markets with the highest quality news, information and entertainment possible."
Daytona Beach News-Journal report:
2010-01-13: Former Sydney 2UE morning host John Laws, who retired in December who retired two years ago after a 55-year broadcasting (See RNW Dec 2, 2007) has been told that the station is going to exercise a non-compete clause that will prevent him appearing on any other station until December this year.
Laws had said he would like to return to the airwaves and there had been speculation about his signing a deal with Super Radio Network boss Bill Caralis, who owns 38 stations across New South Wales including 2SM in Sydney (See RNW Jan 3) but the Sydney Daily Telegraph says that
Graham Mott, Group General Manager Radio for Fairfax Media, which now owns 2UE, has said that 2UE had no openings for Laws and added, "He signed with us for 10 years in 2000 with an early retirement option, which he took in 2007, so he's unable to work anywhere else until December when it expires. John is obliged to comply with the terms of that agreement and we will enforce it."
Previous Fairfax Media:
Sydney Daily Telegraph Report:
2010-01-13: Corus Entertainment has reported first quarter revenues up 3% on a year ago at CAD 222.3 million (USD 215.7 million) with net income nearly doubling - up from CAD 40.6 million (USD 39.4 million - CAD 0.51 per basis and Cad 0.50 per diluted share) to CAD 73.9 million (USD 71.7 million - CAD 0.92 basis and CAD 0.91 per diluted share).
The figure was not as bright as the totals suggested however as it included CAD 30.4 million (USD 29.5 million in one-offs - CAD 16.2 million (USD 15.7 million) from the reversal of a disputed regulatory fee accrual and a CAD 14.2 million (USD 13.8 million) recovery due to income tax rate changes. Without this the total was CAD 43.5 million, a more modest 7.1% increase.
The increase was driven by TV with revenues up 7% - although advertising revenues were down 1%, subscription revenues were up 8% - and profit up 4% whilst radio revenues were down 6% and radio profit was down 1%. In geographical terms radio revenues were up a little in Ontario and down slightly in Quebec but were down 16% in the West.
President and CEO John Cassaday said of the figures, "We are pleased with our continued strong results in the first quarter, particularly the advertising sales momentum we experienced in the month of November" and added "We expect this ad sales recovery will continue for the balance of the fiscal year. We are also excited by the continued growth of our pay television business and the opportunity to launch two new networks, Sundance Channel and W Movies, later this fiscal year."
2010-01-13: New Jersey Democrat Senator Robert Menendez has put more pressure on Arbitron following the forced resignation of its CEO Michael Skarzynski by calling for a thorough investigation of the matter and of the company's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system.
Skarzynski's resignation was linked by the company to a statement made to a house committee saying he had attended a Portable People Meter (PPM) session that he was not present at (See RNW Jan 12) and Menendez in a statement termed the matter "deeply troubling."
He continued, "It must be thoroughly investigated to ensure that Congress was not intentionally misinformed and appropriate action must be taken based on the findings. The denial of Accreditation for PPM in 18 markets, including those covering much of my home state of New Jersey, and this disturbing incident reaffirms the critical need for a thorough investigation into the PPM methodology."
Menendez then noted that he had "long been concerned about the propensity for the PPM methodology to misrepresent the listenership of minority-owned and minority-focused stations" and added, "These stations are vital sources of information and culture for minority communities, but they cannot withstand the drastic reductions in revenue stemming from flawed PPM ratings. I remain committed to ensuring Arbitron adopts an accurate ratings system with acceptable standards that is fair to all radio stations. I will continue to seek a solution to these concerns by working with my colleagues in Congress and minority stakeholders to implement fair standards for the PPM methodology in all markets nationwide."
2010-01-13: The BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit, responding to complaints from UK commercial radio body The RadioCentre has agreed that the corporation's cover of a Coldplay tour and later cover of U2 when the group launched a new album amounted to giving undue prominence to commercial products or organizations.
In regard to the Coldplay tour it noted that the "Radio 1 presents Coldplay" website included direct links to the websites of ticket agents and that this breached BBC guidelines on links to external sites.
As regards U2, it says the use of the mathematical symbol for identity in the graphic "U2 = BBC" gave an inappropriate impression of endorsement and that in a pre-recorded interview of Bono by Zane Lowe aired by BBC Radio 1 a reference to the station being "part of launching this new album" was inappropriate although it found most of the interview acceptable.
The unit did not uphold complaints about an edition of Jo Whiley on Radio 1 and a News Online report of the U2 concert on the roof of Broadcasting House
It noted that in response to the Radio Centre's original representations the management of BBC Audio & Music had arranged for the removal of the links from "Radio 1 presents Coldplay" to the websites of ticket agents and that the finding related to Zane Lowe had been discussed at the Radio 1/1xtra editorial meeting. In addition it said the Radio 1 leadership team have reminded Executive Producers and presenters about the issues to be considered in relation to judgements about undue prominence, and the distinction between the reporting of new artistic work and commercial promotion.
As regards U2, the management of BBC Marketing, Communication and Audiences, the division responsible for the "U2 = BBC" graphic, has reminded staff that they should consult the Editorial Policy team in a timely manner for advice when potentially sensitive issues such as commercial interests are involved and a session on working with third parties is to be included in Mica's monthly editorial issues training programme.
2010-01-12: Arbitron has now confirmed that the departure of its former president and CEO Michael Skarzynski, which was announced on Monday, followed testimony given to a Congressional Committee that he had been present at a PPM training session meeting related to the Portable People Meter (PPM) when he wasn't.
Arbitron when it announced the resignation said that the resignation had followed the violation of "a company policy in a matter unrelated to its financial performance" - See RNW Jan 12 - and in a letter to New York Democrat Edolphus Towns, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Californian Representative Darrell Issa, the Committee's ranking Republican member, acknowledged what it termed a misstatement.
Speaking on the conference call that Arbitron set up today its CFO Sean Creamer said that Skarzynski "erroneously" claimed at a congressional hearing on Dec. 2 that he attended a training session at a home using Arbitron's portable device to track radio listening.
In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the company said it had learned that Skarzynski had testified that he had "personally participated in a November 2009 training visit to a home of Arbitron panellists with other Arbitron personnel" and then continues, "This testimony was erroneous. While Arbitron personnel did participate in a home visit in November 2009, Mr. Skarzynski did not personally participate."
"Arbitron," said the filing, "sincerely regrets the misstatement and has requested that the Committee correct the record in connection with its official transcript of the hearing. Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of Arbitron's values. We take any acts inconsistent with these values very seriously. Accordingly, Michael submitted his resignation."
Following its initial announcement Arbitron revealed in an 8K filing to the SEC that it was to pay nearly USD 1 million to Skarzynski - : USD 750,000 in a cash severance payment in addition to which it will not seek repayment of around USD 125,000 in relocation expenses that were to have been repaid under his employment contract and will also indemnify him for up to USD 100,000 in legal costs in connection with "connection with matters that culminated with his resignation." Arbitron will also cover Skarzynski and eligible dependents for COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) health cover up to the end of this year.
Skarzynski will continue to be bound by the non-competition, non-recruitment and non-disparagement provisions of his employment contract but will get equity awards made to him a year ago under his employment agreement.
During the conference call, Arbitron's new CEO William Kerr said the company had acted "very quickly" when it learned of the House Committee's concerns about Skarzynski's testimony and added that he hopes that there would be "no more exposure for the company."
Kerr did not answer a question about the severance pay-off rather than a dismissal but did add that the company's board had made a "fairly exhaustive effort" to trace any other problems during Skarzynski's period as CEO but had "found nothing beyond this specific question that should raise concern."
Kerr also said he was to reduce his other business activities and focus his attention on Arbitron, adding that he had the board of Meredith to find a replacement for him as its chairman.
The conference was also asked if there was any connection between Skarzynski's departure and the Monday announcement that the Media Rating Council (MRC) had denied accreditation to the Portable People Meter (PPM) radio ratings service in 18 of 21 markets, granting accreditation only for the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Houston-Galveston, and Riverside-San Bernardino markets.
Markets where accreditation was denied are Chicago, Los Angeles and New York plus Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Washington, DC. In addition the MRC closed without action audits for San Francisco and San Jose and these two markets remain unaccredited although the company says it will collaborate with the MRC to re-audit each of these markets in 2010.
Commenting on the MRC decisions, the company said it is "encouraged by the accreditation of Minneapolis-St. Paul, which further validates our Radio First methodology" and added that it "believes that across all of its PPM markets it has demonstrated significant progress and ongoing commitment to improvement requested by the MRC."
Previous Media Rating Council:
2010-01-12: The UK's Security Minister Lord West has told the country's House of Lords that the ban on American shock-jock Michael Savage (Michael Weiner) is to stay: It was imposed by former home secretary Jacqui Smith who put him in a list that included murderers and terrorists issued in May last year and led the host to say he would pursue legal action against her (See RNW May 31, 2009).
UKIP (UK Independence Party) leader Lord Pearson had brought up the matter of the ban in the House of Lords, calling for it to be reviewed. He said that offensive remarks needed to be taken in context and also noted that Savage had donated a rare botanical collection to Kew Gardens but was barred from visiting it. Lord Pearson specifically noted that comments about the deaths of a large number of Muslims had been made in the context of the suggestion that a rogue group had acquired a nuclear weapon.
West in saying the ban would remain said that the former Home Secretary had imposed the ban because Savage was involved in "unacceptable behaviour by making comments that could provoke others to serious criminal acts and that the host's comments could lead to "intercommunity violence" and civil unrest fostering hatred that might lead to serious inter-community violence."
He went on to say that in the absence of "clear, convincing and public evidence"that Savage had repudiated his statements the current Home Secretary is not prepared to review the decision.
Invited to detail some of the comments he said he did not wish to quote them in the House but would submit a copy to the Lords' library and referred to Savage having spoken of killing " a hundred million Muslims" and in "very violent and
unpleasant terms about homosexuals", some of which were "deeply offensive", adding that the usual practice was that those who were barred could appeal and changes made in if they repudiates some of their comments, something that had not happened in this case.
Labour Peer Lord Peston raised a laugh by commenting that he was "under the impression that this was part of the government's policy of protecting British jobs for British workers" and adding, "We produce enough nutcases in this country without needing to import any from the Untied States."
RNW Note: We picked up the details of this story from the BBC Radio 4 "Today in Parliament" programme whilst driving but unfortunately the replay is not yet available to listen to (the Radio 4 web site currently has what a BBC notice terms a "major technical fault" meaning that some programmes are not currently available.) so we have been unable to check for further detail. The segment on the Lords starts with the report on Savage and starts around 22 minutes into the (nominally) 30-minute programme.
BBC Radio 4 "Today in Parliament" web site:
2010-01-12: UK Media Regulator Ofcom has upheld only one radio standards complaint in its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld five TV standards complaints, considered another TV standards complaint resolved by action already taken by the broadcaster and gave details of one TV Fairness and Privacy complaint not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld was against Radio XL 1296 AM, which provides a service for the Asian community in the West Midlands, and whose broadcast of a sponsor credit in promotional material was held by Ofcom to have "sounded more like a full advertisement than a brief branding statement."
A listener had complained that in an edition of the station's Drivetime programme comments aired concerning office space available in West Bromwich was "blatantly plugging office space/rooms for letting disruptive in [Radio XL's] usual programming", adding that "it wasn't even a sponsorship or an advert ... it was the presenter announcing it."
The station confirmed that the material in question was a presenter read and paid-for advertisement and was asked about its compliance with codes requiring that "advertising and programme elements of a service are kept separate."
Ofcom also noted that the recording provided by the station included a pre-recorded sponsor credit, presenter-read weather forecast, and pre-recorded promotional material of travel services "broadcast over a consistent rhythmic sound-bed, following a post-news weather-check ident."
The station was also asked about this material in relation to the requirement that sponsorship credits be short branding messages and responded by saying that the presenter was in one case "clearly doing a paid for live read" with "no attempt to disguise this as normal programming" although it conceded that with hindsight it might have been appropriate "to avoid confusion to separate the live read from the programming with a jingle." It also said that it considered that the manner in which sponsorship material was aired shoed the credits involved to have been linked.
Ofcom disagreed and ruled that there had been breaches of both codes.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 307 TV complaints against 185 items and 21 radio complaints against 20 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 414 TV complaints against 175 items and 16 radio complaints against 16 items that it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-01-12: Arbitron President and CEO Michael Skarzynski has resigned from his post and as a member of the company's board over what the company terms violation of its police "in a matter entirely unrelated to the financial performance of the Company".
Arbitron says that his post is to be filled by William T. Kerr, a member of the Company's Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Meredith Corporation, a media and marketing company that publishes magazines and operates TV stations amongst its activities. Kerr was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Meredith Corporation from January 1996 until July 2007 prior to which he was its President and Chief Operating Officer for two years.
Arbitron chairman Philip Guarascio said in a company news release, "Bill's experience as a Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of a large public media company coupled with his board memberships make him uniquely qualified to lead Arbitron. Additionally, Bill's service as a member of Arbitron's Board of Directors should provide a fast and effective transition into his new role."
Arbitron adds in its release that it is to hold an investor call at noon ET on Tuesday but gives no further details or background related to the resignation.
2010-01-11: Jackie O'Neil Henderson - Jackie O of the "Kyle and Jackie O" Sydney breakfast show, which she co-hosts with Kyle Sandilands - in her first interview since the row over an incident in which a 14-years-old girl said on air during a lie-detector test stunt that she had been raped when 12 (See RNW Jul 30, 2009) , has said that she considered giving up her radio career.
In the interview with the weekly (celebrity gossip) magazineNew Idea, which is targeted at a female audience, she commented, "You would have to be an ice queen not to cry about everything that happened, but you can only cry so much before you pick yourself up and say: OK, what can I learn from this? Many times I've thought it's not worth it, many times I've been tempted to walk away."
She also admitted that much of the backlash against the show, which was suspended for a short period and also led to conditions being imposed on the station (See RNW Dec 16, 2009) was deserved, saying, "A lot of the criticism was warranted. The rape incident completely shocked us and broke our hearts."
Most of the criticism over the incident was directed at Sandilands for his insensitive response to the girl.
RNW comment: Much of the response to Australian newspaper reports of the interview tend to treat the comments as self-serving drivel: We tend to take the view that this is what makes up most of most celebrity magazines which says as much or more about their purchasers as it does about the "celebs" who appear in them. And as the reports also noted, the incident didn't harm the duo's ratings (See RNW Nov 3, 2009).
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
Sydney Daily Telegraph report:
2010-01-10: Last week was yet another quiet one for the regulators with no radio decisions from the UK or Ireland and only a few elsewhere: In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found codes breaches by community stations in Bundaberg Cairns and Toowoomba in Queensland and also in Queensland has said it will make two new FM frequencies available for services on Fraser Island:
On the Bundaberg case, Bundaberg Burnett Community Broadcasting Association Inc., licensee of 96.3 FM Bundaberg , was found to have breached licence conditions that prohibit the broadcasting of advertisements and limiting the broadcasting of sponsorship announcements to no more than five minutes per hour.
An investigation started following a complaint about this and also an allegation that it did not have the required written policies and procedures dealing with internal conflict, promoting diversity and encouraging participation as required under the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice 2008.
The ACMA found that there had been no breach as regards the second matter and accepted in this case that the breaches relation to advertising and sponsorship had resulted from a misunderstanding the requirements.
The station responded by undertaking a range of measures including changing the name of the Friday breakfast program, ensuring it includes tags when mentioning sponsors on air, providing training to all presenters and implementing a new sponsorship policy and no further action is to be taken at this time.
In the Cairns case, Cairns Community Broadcasters Inc, licensee of 4CCR, was found to have failed to meet requirements for policies and procedures regarding corporate governance, membership, conflict resolution, complaints handling, encouraging participation, and volunteering.
The station was investigated following a complaint in relation to its licence renewal application and it has now committed itself to undertake a review of documentation required under the codes and formulate a timetable for the development and implementation of the required policies and procedures.
The ACMA in renewing the licence noted that it had accepted a number of measures designed to strengthen the licensee's management capacity as part of which it is required to report on its progress to the agency.
In the Toowoomba case, Darling Downs Broadcasting Society Inc, licensee of 4DDB, was found to have breached licence conditions that prohibit the broadcasting of advertisements and limiting the broadcasting of sponsorship announcements to no more than five minutes per hour.
An investigation conducted following two complaints revealed that the station had broadcast one advert and exceeded the limit for sponsorship announcements: It followed two earlier investigations that had found that the station had committed the same offences in 2008 as a result of which in May 2009 it entered into enforceable undertakings to implement new policies and procedures and conduct training in order to reduce the risk of similar breaches occurring in the future.
The ACMA noted that it is currently assessing 4DDB's compliance with the undertaking and is also considering 4DDB's application to renew its community broadcasting licence and said it would determine what action is required in relation to these new breaches following the completion of its assessment of these two current matters.
The Fraser Island frequencies are being made available at Eurong, Fraser Island, to improve the coverage of Rebel Radio Network's 4RBL and 4BRZ commercial services.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has posted a public notice, with a deadline of February 11 to submit comments or interventions, concerning a licence applications that included one radio matter, a request from Groupe Radio Antenne 6 inc. to use the frequency 104.5 MHz instead of 97.7 MHz for its new French-language FM commercial radio station CFGT-FM, Alma,, Quebec
There were no radio announcements from the UK or Ireland and in a generally quiet week in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has started making moved in its consideration of media ownership issues with the Media Bureau announcing the panellist and agenda for its media ownership workshop to be held at its DC headquarters on Tuesday.
The workshop is being conducted as part of the Commission's its 2010 quadrennial review process and sessions on the agenda include one considering financial issues facing large broadcasters and broadcasters in larger markets and another looking at small broadcasters and small markets.
Three of the four panellists announced for the first session are money people whilst three of the four for the small market session are from broadcasters.
In enforcement actions the FCC has issued a USD 10,000 penalty to a Texas couple for operating an unauthorized FM station: Jerry and Deborah Stevens had been found operating transmissions from their residence at the end of August last year and a notice of unlicensed operation was issued to which they responded by requesting additional time to provide information.
Subsequent checks by agents found operations continuing in September and October and a second notice was issued to which the couple responded by denying that the Commission has jurisdiction over this matter because their operations were solely within Texas and requesting that the matter be dropped.
The FCC responded that they did have jurisdiction and has now issued a USD 10,000 forfeiture.
At the end of the week is issued a USD 17.500 forfeiture notice to Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of KRAL-AM and KIQZ-FM serving Rawlins, Wyoming, for public file offences, failing to ensure operation readiness of Emergency Alert System equipment and for failing to operate station WHB734, an aural studio-transmitter-link from its licensed location.
Mt Rushmore was initially issued with a USD 20,000 Notice of Apparent Liability Forfeiture to which it responded by saying the violations had not been discovered during a prior inspection and were corrected after the inspection that found them took place. It also argued that it had relied on a manager "who was not being truthful" and whose employment was later terminated and that the manager rather than the company should be held responsible: Regarding the public file it said that was actually complete and a copy could be sent to the FCC.
On this basis the FCC reduced the penalty for the public file offences from USD 8,000 to USD 5.500 but it declined to reduce the other penalties and issued the USD 17,500 Forfeiture order.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2010-01-09: Australia's commercial radio industry has ended 2009 on a strong note with revenues up by nearly 5% in December, the second consecutive month in which there has been growth according to the 2009 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue, as sourced by Deloitte.
In November figures were up by 4.15% overall with all areas except Adelaide recording increases (See RNW Dec 8 2009) and for December the increase was 4.67% overall to a total of AUD 54.15 million (USD 49.36 million) with only Perth showing a fall - of 1.96% to AUS 7.62 million (USD 6.95 million).
The largest percentage increase was recorded in Sydney - up 8.19% to AUD 16.55 million (USD 15.09 million); followed by Brisbane -up 8.16% to AUD 8.90 million ( USD 8.11 million) Adelaide - U 6.36% to AUD 5.25 million ( USD 4.79 million) and Melbourne - up 2.14% to AUD 15.80 million (USD 14.40 million).
For the whole of 2009, metropolitan commercial radio advertising revenues were down 2.71 % on a year earlier at AUD 626.23 million (USD 570.86 million) with all markets down except for Melbourne, which grew 1.23% to AUD 189.9 million (USD 173.1 million). Of the other centres, Sydney was down 6.18% to AUD 194.5 million (USD 177.3 million); Perth was down 4.78% to AUD 81.4 million (USD 74.2 million); Brisbane was down 2.27% to AUD 100.5 million (USD 91.6 million) and Adelaide was down 1.11% to AUD 59.9 million (USD 54.6 million)
Joan Warner, Chief executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, commented of the most recent figures, "This is positive news for the commercial radio industry and augurs well for 2010. While I will not speculate about advertising revenue forecasts for the upcoming year, the consecutive growth in the last two months of 2009 is good news for the industry and particularly the Sydney market, which recorded growth of eight per cent in December."
Regarding the full year, she added that overall they are "better than expected in what was a tough trading year for all media, particularly in the Sydney market."
Commercial Radio Australia also noted that commercial radio continued to attract its audience with an average cumulative audience of 8.94 million or 76 percent of Australians tuning in each week during the year. This was 146,000 more people than in 2008, when 8.79 million people listened on average each week, and also up from 8.74 million people in 2007.
In terms of time spent with the medium, on average, Australians spent nearly 17 hours per week listening to commercial radio during 2009, or 2hrs and 24 minutes per day.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-01-08: Emmis in its third quarter has reported revenues to the end of November down 18.5% on a year earlier at USD 64.6 million but overall it went from a USD 121.7 million loss a year ago, when the figures included USD 210.7 million impairment loss, to net income applicable to common shareholders of USD 1.7 million (from a loss per common share of USD 3.45 to income of five cents : Excluding the impairment charges operating income went from USD 12.1 million a year ago to net income of USD 9.1 million this year).
Within the figures radio revenues were down 19% on a year earlier at USD 45.7 million and publishing was down 17.2% to USD 18.9 million with station operating expenses cut by 18.4% to USD 33.6 million and publishing operation expenses cut by 13.7% to USD 15.9 million.
For the first nine months of the year revenues are down 23.4% to USD 188.6 million within which radio revenues were down 23.1% to USD 138.9 million and publishing was down 24.2% to USD 49.7 million.
For the year to date an overall net loss of attributable to common shareholders of USD 125.5 million including an impairment loss of USD 210.2 million became a loss of USD 121.9 million including an impairment loss of USD 176.6 million (From a loss of USD 3.46 to a loss of USD 3.30 per share).
Emmis shares were down 9.3% on Friday, closing at USD 1.17
2010-01-07: Regent Communications has revealed in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it is to be delisted by The NASDAQ Stock Mark as of the opening of business tomorrow. The action that follows its receipt of delisting notices on the basis of its stock price, which had been below USD 1 (See RNW Dec 7, 2009) and also on the company's capitalisation (See RNW Dec 23, 2009).
Regent had also been in the news this monthafter failing to make a loan payment at the end of last year (See RNW Jan 5), since when its stock has plunged by around 40% to end today at 18 cents.
The company has also disclosed in another filing that it has entered into new three-year employment contracts with his President and CEO William L. Stakelin and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Anthony A. Vasconcellos, whose previous contracts expired at the end of 2009.
Stakelin will receive a base salary of USD 366,000 plus various benefits in 2010 after which it will be increased in line with the US Consumer Price Index, but not cut if the CPI falls. He will also have a target bonus of 80% of base salary in 2010 and will also be able to take part in any stock-option or other equity-based incentive compensation plan or program sponsored by the Company or its successors.
Vasconcellos receives a similar deal with a base salary of USD 277,000 a year.
2010-01-07: Jonathan Ross, the BBC's highest-paid on-air star, has announced that he is to leave the corporation when his current contract runs out in July. The announcement came a day after it was revealed that Graham Norton had signed a two-year deal with the BBC at a reported GBP 2 million (USD 3,2 million) a year with newspapers speculating that he could take over Ross's Friday night TV slot.
Ross was suspended without pay for three months by the BBC in 2008 (See RNW Oct 30, 2008) following the row about crude remarks by him and former BBC Radio 2 host Russell Brand that were left on the phone of actor Andrew Sachs and led to some 42,000 complaints (See RNW Oct 26, 2008) and was followed by am Ofcom fine of GBP 150,000 (then USD 223,000 fine on the BBC - See RNW Apr 4, 2009 ).
Ross hosts a Friday night TV chat show, a TV film programme, and a Saturday BBC Radio2 show and said that the decision was not about money, although there had been recent reports that he had volunteered to cut his remuneration to around half of its current reported GBP 6 million ( USD 9.6 million) a year (See RNW Dec 17 2009). He commented, "I would like to make it perfectly clear that no negotiations ever took place and that my decision is not financially motivated.
Ross, who is 49, has been with the BBC for 13 years. He said he had opted not to renegotiate his contract and added, "Working at the BBC has been a tremendous privilege, and I would like to thank everyone who has watched and listened so loyally over the last 13 years."
In a statement to reporters outside his home he added, "It's probably not a bad time for me to move on - and it's probably not a bad time for the BBC, either. I've got six months left; I'm hoping to make the best shows of my career with them."
In a Twitter posting he responded to other comments by writing, "Thanks for all the kind words about my decision. I feel sad that I can't keep making the shows so many of you love!"
Ross says he had previously turned down "more lucrative offers" from other Channels because e he wanted to be at the BBC where, he said, "I love making my Friday night talk show, my Saturday morning radio show and the Film Programme, and will miss them all."
In a BBC news release, Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, said, "Jonathan is an extremely talented broadcaster and his programmes for BBC TV and Radio have been a great success. However, it's been a difficult year for him and I understand why he feels it's the right thing to do."
2010-01-06: The Budapest Municipal Court has ruled in favour of Danubius Radio in a civil suit that it brought following a decision by the country's National Radio and Television Board (ORTT) not to renew its licence and that of Sláger Radio in which Emmis holds a controlling interest, putting both stations off the air in November last year (See RNW Nov 19, 2009).
The licences went to bidders with connections to Hungarian political parties and the new stations- Klassz FM, owned by Advenio, which took over the Danubius frequency, and Neo FM, owned by the FM1 consortium of the Est Média Group, which took over the Sláger frequency launched on Nov 19.
Both Danubius, in which Accession Capital has a controlling share, and Emmis launched lawsuits: Emmis's suit is due to be heard on January 19 but it is not clear whether the decision, which is likely to be appealed, could mean a return to the air of the two stations or monetary compensation.
The award led to accusations that a political deal was agreed between the Socialist Party and Fidesz to split the licences.
Danubius had claimed that Advenio's ownership structure did not meet the requirements of Hungary's media law as it already owned Budapest station Lánchíd Rádió,which is openly pro-Fidesz : The court agreed but it also said that the ORTT was under no obligation to break the contract signed after the tender and has not awarded compensation to Danubius.
Hungarian international business publication Real Deal reported that after the decision Fidesz ORTT delegate Annamária Szalai said in her view "the court had overall rejected Danubius's lawsuit" whilst Socialist ORTT delegate Péter Gyuricza said the next move will be decided on after the ruling has been studied.
On the other side of the issue, it quoted Democratic Forum Chairwoman Ibolya Dávid as saying ORTT is now trapped because the Court ruled that "party-backed stations" were awarded their tenders illegally
The decision not to renew the licence led to widespread criticism by foreign investors and also by the passage of House Resolution criticizing the move to which the Hungarian Embassy in Washington responded by saying the awards were conducted transparently (See RNW Dec 10, 2009).
2010-01-06: Austereo has announced the appointment with immediate effect of its Head of Content Guy Dobson as Chief Executive Officer to replace Michael Anderson who announced last July that he was to step down at the end of the year (See RNW Jul 24, 2009).
Dobson is an industry veteran who studied at Radio School in Brisbane before securing his first radio position as an On- Air Announcer in Gladstone at age 17after which he worked in various on and off air roles, with networks in Australia, including Austereo, Canada, and UK, before rejoining Austereo as its Head of Content in 2005. He joined its board as an executive director in 2008.
Making the announcement, chairman Peter Harvie said, "Guy Dobson inspired and led the team who have taken the company to FM radio audience leadership in Australia. He is an excellent strategist with strong creative and business skills. He will lead a well-proven management team."
Dobson in the same company news release commented, "By world standards, Austereo is an outstanding radio and online business and I am both determined and committed to building upon our excellent Sales and Content leadership".
2010-01-06: The BBC, which had come under criticism for dropping a number of older women from its TV programming, has announced that Moira Stuart, who left BBC TV in 2007 amidst accusations that she was dropped from BBC Breakfast and Andrew Marr's Sunday morning show because of her age, is to be the main newsreader on Chris Evans' Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2.
Evans takes over the slot from (Sir) Terry Wogan next Monday, and commented of the appointment in a BBC news release, "It doesn't get any better than Moira Stuart. The voice, the authority, the style, the class, plus a side of her the majority of people have never seen before. She's funny, she's cheeky and dare I say it - ever such a little bit naughty. Always brilliant on the telly, I predict she's going to be even better on the radio. In fact, I know she will be."
Stuart, who began her BBC career as a production assistant in Radio's Talks and Documentaries department in the Seventies and was then a BBC Radio 4 announcer and a newsreader and programme presenter before moving to TV News in 1981 as the UK's first female African-Caribbean newsreader, said, "I'm delighted to be joining The Chris Evans Breakfast Show team at Radio 2. We'll certainly have some fun."
Evans in an interview on ITV's This Morning programme today was asked if his BBC Radio 1 Breakfast rival Chris Moyles should be "running scared" of the new competition responded by making reference to Moyles girth, saying, "I don't think he can run scared can he? Not fast anyway, he might be jogging scared" but then added, "No, the thing with me and Moyles is, we're on the same team. I don't think badly of the competition."
Moyles has claimed that he will take top spot in the ratings because people who liked Wogan would not like Evans and would turn off to which Evans has responded by saying he expects some initial loss of listeners to be followed by a recovery back to where Wogan was or above.
Evans has also mocked Moyles as being too old for Radio1 and he repeated the suggestion in a mild dig at Moyles by commenting, "I just want to know where he's going to go next because he's getting older and he's been there quite a few years now, and I just wonder what he's going to do next."
In the latest UK radio ratings Wogan's Show had 7.75 million listeners a week compared to 7.04 million for Moyles and 5.4 million for Evans' Drivetime Show on BBC Radio 2.
Evans also paid tribute to Wogan, who launches his new Sunday show on February 14, saying, "Terry couldn't have been more gracious in the way he handed over to me. He invited me round for Sunday lunch after he'd finished the show with all his friends and family and he said to me 'Just be yourself'. And he's right, I have to be me, I can't dumb me down."
He also took up the issue of possibly losing older listeners who had been faithful to Wogan, commenting, Terry's average listener was 53 which is a lot younger than people think and my average listener is 51, which is a lot older than people think, so we just have to see how it goes."
Also at the BBC, its London 94.9FM has confirmed that Gaby Roslin is to co-host the station's new look Breakfast Show with Paul Ross for from Monday next week. She has previously been a stand in on the show and also for Lesley Joseph and Vanessa Feltz.
Roslin, who is best known for her TV presenting and first became prominent on the Big Breakfast Show working with Chris Evans, commented, I've always said I would never do a breakfast show again, but the lure was just too strong and I couldn't resist the opportunity of working on my favourite station. And being paired again with my old Big Breakfast pal Paul Ross was too good an opportunity to miss."
The station's Editor David Robey describer her as "exceptional speech radio talent" and said he was "delighted" to confirm she would be joining the station.
ITV This Morning web site:
2010-01-05: Arbitron has announced that it is not to commercialize its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in New Orleans this year but will "maintain an ongoing evaluation of the market."
It says part of the reason is "to help broadcasters in the market continue to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina."
The New Orleans market was to have been commercialized in December this year as part of the final group of markets being commercialized including one group to go live in September - including Austin, Charlotte, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Orlando, Providence, Nashville, Norfolk and Raleigh with a another group of Greensboro, Hartford, Jacksonville Memphis and West Palm Beach going live in December.
In addition Arbitron's SVP/Marketing Bill Rose said at the company's regular conference call to discuss PPM results that in December - excluding the separate holiday ratings period - it met or exceeded its DDI (Designated Delivery Index, which compares the actual with the target sample) benchmarks for almost all metrics. In addition it said the Sample Performance Indicator (in effect response rare) was up 28% in the 33 markets where the PPM has been commercialized: The markets concerned take around 60% of the advertising revenues in the markets measured by the company.
Rose also re-iterated plans to increase the 18-54 sample size and Arbitron's Director/Panel & Field Services Nancy Weissman said it had made a lot of progress in this regard and noted six new panel regions that she said helped it to respond more speedily to potential problems.
RNW comment: In view of past comment we have seen from Arbitron about the extra value of PPM ratings for radio, we at first wondered quite how the delay was helping New Orleans stations: But then of course nobody should ever be naïve enough to really believe any statement from any US business where self-interest is at stake!
2010-01-05: Regent Communications shares fell heavily today - they were down 10% to 27 cents just before noon ET and then after a short recovery plunged further to end 36.3% down at 19 cents - following an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it failed to make a scheduled payment of principal and interest to its lenders as well as some professional fees on December 31 last year.
The filing notes that as it had previously disclosed in 8k filings in April and May last year Regent had received notice of a Specified Default and an Event of Default, respectively, under its Credit Agreement dated November 21, 2006, from Bank of America, N.A., as the administrative agent for the lenders and secured parties under the Credit Agreement
It then adds that on December 31 it failed to make its scheduled payment - totalling just under USD 1.27 million - to counterparties to certain interest rate swap agreements and notes that as of that date the outstanding balance under the Credit Agreement totalled USD 190.7 million.
2010-01-05: Westwood One has announced that it has bought the Sigalert business, a regional provider of traffic information to eight markets, from Jaytu Technologies, LLC.
No figures were given for the deal but Westwood One President and CFO Rod Sherwood commented of the acquisition in a news release, "Sigalert has become a source for the most up-to-date, useful traffic information in Southern California, one of the most highly congested traffic areas in the country, as well as in Northern California and Arizona. It is a perfect platform for Westwood One to expand our digital business and provide the most useful on-line traffic information to our radio, television, and digital affiliates."
The acquisition is being made through Westwood One's Metro Traffic business and the company says it plans to expand Sigalert's traffic business to some 65 markets this year: Steve Kalin, President of Westwood One's Metro Traffic, commented, "We are committed to supporting our radio station affiliates in their local markets with a traffic product that gives their audiences easy access to the information they want and need across multiple products" and Jonathan S. Marshall, EVP - Business Affairs added, "Sigalert's digital presentation will provide Metro's TV affiliates with a 'three-screen' best in class solution for on air, on line and mobile applications. It allows television affiliates to have a consistent look and feel across their TV, Web and mobile products."
Sigalert was launched in 1998 by its co-founders, Jonathan Berke and Joel Johnstone.
Previous Westwood One:
2010-01-04: Detroit veterans Deminski and Doyle (Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle) today hosted their last show on Greater Media's WCSX-FM, which they joined in November 2008: Greater Media announced that another Detroit veteran, afternoon host Ken Calvert will take over their morning slot from January 11 and WCSX Operations Manager Doug Podell will add on-air duties to his post and move into the afternoon slot.
In an announcement posted by Greater Media, Podell paid tribute to the departing hosts, commenting, "Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle are very talented talk hosts, and we appreciate their contributions to the station."
According to the Detroit Free Press, Deminski and Doyle said when they announced their departure on air that the parting was amicable and they encouraged fans to continue listening to the station: The paper quoted Greater Media's Detroit market manager John Gallagher as saying that after the duo had been on air for a year "just never saw the ratings get to where we'd originally thought we would." He noted that the contract ran for more than a year but added that "there were different opportunities to come up with an amicable agreement to go our separate ways."
As regards ratings Gallagher said that the hosts peaked as high as No 2 in one week but the overall Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings showed them as ranking from tenth to twelfth amongst Detroit morning show on most weeks last year.
Gallagher said Calvert would produce a more music-intensive show than his predecessors, commenting, "Our audience told us they wanted music in the mornings" and adding, "K.C. was the logical choice. He's got such a positive perception in the marketplace. He's associated with classic rock, knows a lot of the artists on a personal level, and he knows the music."
Deminski and Doyle first teamed up in Trenton, New Jersey, but have been in Detroit since 1999 when they joined WRRK-FM: The CBS-owned station flipped to a sports format in October 2007 but retained the pair. In 2008 they failed to reach agreement on a new contract and after they had been off air for nearly a year they joined WCSX, taking over the morning slot from the long-running JJ and Lynne Show (J.J. Johnson and Lynne Woodison).
Previous Greater Media:
Detroit Free Press report:
2010-01-04: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh, who was taken to hospital last week after suffering from chest pains but subsequently told that no problems had been found with his heart (See RNW Jan 1), has announced on his web site that he is to return to the air on Wednesday.
Mark Steyn will fill in Monday and Tuesday before Limbaugh's return.
2010-01-04: Boyzone singer and solo artist Ronan Keating, who has already featured as a guest DJ on Bauer's Magic FM in London is to get a regular Sunday afternoon show from Jan 10th.
The station says that the show will feature a mixture of celebrity interviews and music chosen by Keating: It will air from 10:00 to 14:00 following Kim Wilde's Sunday Morning Show and take the time out of Danny Pietroni's show, which will now air from 16:00 to 19:00 instead of starting at 14:00.
Its managing director Steve Parkinson said listener feedback had shown Keating to be popular both as a personality and as a ginger cum songwriter.
The announcement on the station web site says that Keating will be on air every Sunday from the 10th but it also links to Keating's own site, which lists him as performing live in Australia from January 16 through to the 30th including Saturday gigs in Perth on the 16th; the Hunter Valley on the 23rd; and Adelaide on the 30th.
The announcement does not clarify whether the shows will be pre-recorded or whether a link is to be set up to Australia.
Keating web site:
Magic FM site:
2010-01-03: With the regulators either closed during the holiday period (Australia and Canada) or making no radio related announcements (Ireland and the UK), only the US provided any radio-related regulatory news last week and there the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a very quiet week.
We did, however, note one radio posting, a denial of a petition from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Inc. for reconsideration of a staff dismissal of an application to move the community of licence of WCJL-FM's community of license from Morgantown, Indiana, to Paragon, Indiana.
The application had been filed under rules that allow a licensee to specify a new community of license without affording other interested parties an opportunity to file competing expressions of interest should the move result in a preferential arrangement of allotments.
In this case the change would have removed Morgantown's only local operating service to Paragon, a smaller community and staff had pointed out that under the rules Morgantown would have preference.
Calvary Chapel argued that the station had never provided a local service to the community but that the original construction permit was issued along with a number of others to resolve conflicts among mutually exclusive applications for new non-commercial educational (NCE)stations and that the commission had waived for certain settling applicants the requirement that a proposed facility provide fifty percent of its community of license with a 60 dBu city-grade signal. It added that the transmitter was 23 miles from Morgantown, and cannot be changed to provide coverage to Morgantown without violating the Commission's NCE FM contour protection requirements and said it had never provided a listenable signal to the community.
The FCC in denying the petition said that a staff analysis showed that the station covers 50% of Morgantown with a signal strength of at least 54 dBu and as such was providing a local service to Morgantown.
RNW comment: To a naïve outside it seems that the only analysis required is to take a reasonable quality receiver to Morgantown and check on reception of the signal. If it is reasonable then Calvary's claim that it had never provided a listenable service is demonstrably false and in our view it would be sound practice that in such cases licensees should automatically lose the licence so as to encourage reasonable checks - but not require expensive technical checks - by licensees in such cases. Indeed, we'd go further, if there were a pattern of such statements from a licensee and say that they should be declared unfit to hold any licence - something that of course would never happen as more honest dealing would become standard practice before this happened.
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site:
2010-01-03: The political clout of the late Percy Sutton, co-founder of debt-laded Inner City Broadcasting, gets an airing in today's New York Post, which reports on pressure put on the White House by his friends in the Congressional Black Caucus to save the broadcasting empire.
The paper notes that (as previously reported by The New York Times - See RNW Dec 3 2009) the Caucus, which had been involved in meetings with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the president's chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel to demand that the Administration squeeze Sutton's biggest creditors to renegotiate Inner City's debt of nearly USD 230 million, withheld support for President Obama's financial reform plans to ensure that the White House knew they meant business.
The tactics, it notes, worked and Goldman Sachs announced that the company would renegotiate its loans with Inner City in what the paper terms "a final payback of sorts for Sutton, a pillar of the old guard of Harlem."
The Post then goes on to say that it is "a measure of Sutton's importance that even as the 89-year-old power broker lay in a New York nursing home struggling with dementia, his political allies scrambled to save his family empire" but then goes on to say that his estate remains under siege, adding that one of his companies - Percy Sutton Intercontinental - owes more than USD 1 million in taxes and in addition is facing a number of lawsuits from shareholders and former business associates including on lawsuit from two co-founders of Inner City Broadcasting who are demanding millions in damages and claim in the suit that Sutton and Inner City executives have "looted the company."
The Post comments that in its heyday Inner City "did a great deal to promote black issues and the careers of Sutton's political friends" and notes criticism of Sutton in May 1990 when he threatened to close down WLIB-AM if callers continued to criticize his friend, Mayor Dinkins, who was embroiled in scandal after his transfer of Inner City stock to his son during his mayoral campaign.
The Post also notes scandal involving the Apollo Theater, bought by Sutton for USD 225,000 in bankruptcy court in 1981, and into which Inner City put millions for renovation: In 1998 the New York State Attorney General's office launched a lawsuit against the non-profit foundation that managed the theatre and was chaired by Democrat New York Representative Charles Rangel, whose career was boosted by Sutton: This suit said the theater's board had failed to collect nearly USD 4 million owed to it by Sutton but a year later the lawsuit was dropped and Sutton and Rangel were exonerated by then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, also a Democrat.
The Attorney General's office was also involved in an investigation related to USD 2.2 million in loans that Inner City made to the Suttons to enable them to take majority control of the company and that in 1999 ended with a settlement under which Sutton agreed to pay back the loans and prepare audited financial statements for his shareholders.
Two of Inner City's original founders, Hugh Wyatt and Chester Redhead, claim that the company has refused to comply with the terms of the settlement and last month they launched a suit claiming USD 110 million in damages from the Suttons.
Percy's friends, says the paper, rallied round to protect him but, it adds, the remaining members of his Gang of Four" (the name given to the group of influential New York black Democrats including Rangel - currently the subject of a wide-ranging congressional ethics probe, former New York major David Dinkins and former deputy mayor and New York secretary of state Basil Paterson whose son David is the current governor of New York State.) are now so enmeshed in their own problems they "may no longer have the time to save what remains of the legacy of their best friend and benefactor."
RNW Comment: The Post is of course, owned by News International, and Rupert Murdoch is no friend of the Democrats and could also potentially sweep up some Inner City assets if the company collapses but irrespective of any Murdoch self-interest (something we always think should be taken into account in any report published by parts of his media empire) there does seem to be a fairly strong case to make of possible dodgy, if not illegal dealings, by Sutton and his allies.
And of course any scandal that blows up here will be grist to the mill of various Murdoch media in terms of attacks on Obama for his association, directly or indirectly, with Sutton.
Previous Inner City:
New York Daily Post report:
2010-01-03: Former 2UE Sydney morning host John Laws, who retired two years ago after a 55-year broadcasting (See RNW Dec 2, 2007) is preparing for a comeback according to The Sunday Telegraph.
The paper quoted his manager John Fordham as saying that since Laws retired there "have been various discussions from time to time with interested radio industry groups" but saying they hadn't so far resulted in a firm decision to return to radio.
It then adds that it understands that months of talks with John Singleton's Macquarie Radio Network recently stalled and Laws is now believed to be close to signing with Super Radio Network boss Bill Caralis, who owns 38 stations across New South Wales including 2SM in Sydney.
Caralis, it said, would not discuss his plans but did comment, "I have an awful lot of time for John Laws, and a lot of respect. As far as I'm concerned, he is still the king of radio."
Laws is two years into a three-year non-compete clause with 2UE-owner Fairfax Media and would have to negotiate his way out of that to make a return, although he is said to also be in talks with Fairfax:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Sunday Telegraph report:
2010-01-02: Former ABC Radio Networks president Mitch Dolan, who subsequently became President of Citadel's major market station group after it took over ABC, has lost the latest round in his fight for a USD 850,000 severance pay-off according to Courthouse News.
Dolan resigned from Citadel in February last year after CEO Farid Suleman fired and replaced John Davidson, the company's general manager in Los Angeles without consulting Dolan (See RNW Feb 8, 2009) and Courthouse News notes that the new general manager, Bob Moore, was given the same salary as Dolan, even though he reported to Dolan.
Citadel said that it found out that "Dolan had solicited Sean Hannity ... one of Citadel's most lucrative on-air personalities, to enter into a separate and independent business venture with him while he was supposed to be attempting to renegotiate Hannity's contract with Citadel" and claimed that this disqualified Dolan from receiving the payment.
An arbitrator ruled for Dolan, saying that Citadel owned him the money plus interest, attorneys' fees and costs but Citadel appealed, saying that Dolan should forfeit "all compensation, benefits and other economic benefits of any kind that he or his representatives received from Citadel at any time after his first disloyal act: Dolan wanted the Citadel claim dismissed on the basis that the allegations were inextricably tied to his severance agreement, which mandates arbitration but U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that Citadel isn't barred from suing in federal court simply because the misconduct allegations briefly surfaced as a defence in arbitration.
It is not clear what action Dolan will now take, particularly as Citadel's bankruptcy filing (See RNW Dec 20, 2009) means he would be one of many creditors, including lenders and organizations such as ASCAP and BMI, who are each owed more than USD 1 million, and also those owed smaller sums including Sound Exchange (owed USD 136,000) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (Owed around USD 60,000).
2010-01-02: Focus on the Family founder James Dobson has announced on his Facebook page that he is to launch a non-profit and radio show "JCDs Family Forum" - to be changed to "James Dobson on the Family" that he will co-host with his son Ryan.
Dobson in his posting says he opted to leave Focus on the Family - he stepped down as president in 2003 and resigned as chairman of the board in February, 2009 - because he had "felt since the turn of the century that I needed to begin passing along the leadership of the ministry to a younger generation."
The new show he says will run for a daily 30 minutes and "will be much like what you have heard on Focus on the Family for the past 33 years. It will deal with marriage, child-rearing, family finances, medical and psychological concerns, national issues, the sanctity of human life, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ".
Dobson Facebook posting:
2010-01-01: Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh has now left hospital following checks at The Queen's Medical Center in Hawaii that he said showed nothing wrong with his heart: Limbaugh was taken to the hospital after experiencing chest pains on Wednesday (See RNW Dec 31, 2009),
In a message post on his web site, Limbaugh said he was leaving the hospital "feeling strong and rested" but added that he was "going to take several days of rest over this weekend and the early part of next week, and will be back on the radio with you sometime next week, taking the advice of so many of you to rest and fully recover."
At a news conference at the Center, Limbaugh began by thanking those who responded to his distress call - "I have been very, very, fortunate. I have been treated to the best health care the world has to offer" and went on to say he was "overcome" by all of the prayers and flowers that have come in.
He then commented that for all of his life he had wondered what a heart attack would be like and say he had never had any heart disease - "experienced pain in my upper left-chest like I had never experiences before" and went on to say "the pain was real. They don't know what caused it"
Limbaugh said that when the pain did not abate, he called security staff and was at hospital within 20 minutes and that subsequently he had an angiogram and "they found absolutely nothing wrong" Limbaugh advised people who experience chest pain to go to the professionals "don't tough it out" and said he had received" the best treatment in the world", adding "Based on what happened here I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American healthcare system. It is working fine, just dandy I got no special treatment."
Limbaugh wrapped up by noting that the no questions were being taken although one question was put - in relation to his taking painkillers - to which he said he was not.
RNW Comment: The question about painkillers - an obvious reference to Limbaugh's problems with oxycontin - seemed to us singularly inappropriate in the context but then so did some of the overtly political comment that came from Limbaugh's supporters in reactions to his comments and illness.
Limbaugh's site links to an Associated Press report posted by Fox News and also to You Tube video of his news conference as carried by Fox and when we last checked there were nearly 170 comments with the video, nearly all from his fans or supporters although one posting did raise issues of the problem for Americans who became ill and did not have funds or insurance to pay for treatment.
Responses to this posting were unsympathetic over the plight of "Cindy", who made the posting and said her mother, who had been denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition and had a brain aneurysm but did not get treatment for financial reasons and died from it.
The posts seemed to suffer from the same blind spots as Limbaugh himself in not accepting the pressures that poverty put on people when it comes to health treatment - one said that Limbaugh doesn't have insurance but pays his bills himself (somewhat missing the point) and another responded, "Unless you are willing to elaborate fully on your claim, I'm calling you out as a classic lying liberal..........Nobody, but nobody is denied health care in this country!"
Without being particularly vicious it wouldn't upset us at all to find this writer or indeed Limbaugh himself suffering catastrophic financial problems and having to worry about paying for treatment if ill.
This would at least then show if indeed nobody is denied healthcare in the US: The evidence would seem to be against this and also that those with wealth and celebrity do get special treatment.
We wouldn't wish ill health on anyone but the nature of many of the comments from Limbaugh supporters are such that we wouldn't have particular concern over any stress they might face through going into poverty and then having to worry about such care.
The evidence going back many decades is that many people do indeed face significant stress in such cases and do put off treatment for financial reasons. We can find no evidence to suggest that there is any healthcare system in the world that is perfect (which presumably is what "not one thing wrong" is saying) but plenty to suggest that the US healthcare system is not the best in the world for many people, however good it may be for multimillionaires like Limbaugh, and indeed that if the system is considered in terms of treatment for everybody the US system is not the best in the world.
You Tube - Fox News video of news conference:
2010-01-01: Three Spanish-language radio stations and two TV stations in Oregon have been closed down by owner Churchill Media, which is owned by real estate developers, Arlie & Company: Churchill Media was founded in 2004 by Arlie's president Suzanne Arlie and at its peak it had some 45 employees and operated radio stations in Eugene, Wilsonville and Yakima, Washington State, plus TV stations in Eugene and Salem but cut backs had already meant taken a major toll and when the company was closed 17 people in Eugene and Wilsonville lost jobs
Company spokeswoman Sadie Dressekie said the closure decision was made because of a sharp drop in advertising revenues and also noted that the closure also meant the end for two annual festivals in Springfield. She said they realized that the closure cut off many Hispanics from a major source of information, commenting, "I don't believe there are any other radio stations-Hispanic radio stations-in the area, so it will be a big loss to the community. Radio is a big part of the Hispanic culture; a big part of where they get their information."
"Revenues were good and the network grew fairly quickly. But the world changed for everybody in 2007," Dressekie added. "The whole of the last year was a challenging year for us. We're a victim of just what's happening all over in the broadcasting industry."
The Eugene Register-Guard in its report said staff learned of the closure only minutes before the closure and quoted one advertiser on the stations, Samuel Recinos, owner of Plaza Latina, as saying, "This is the only way that we can communicate to our Spanish language population here in Eugene. I thought they were joking. It's really bad news, honestly, for the Hispanic community. What's shocking is there weren't any warnings. All of the sudden, I turned the radio on and it's off the air. People don't even know what's going on yet."
The paper also quoted Bill Johnstone, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Broadcasters, as saying that two other Oregon radio stations - in Albany and Waldport - had closed down in 2009 but buyers had materialized and they would soon be back on air.
Dressekie said broadcasters had approached Churchill media with offers to buy one station or another in the past but they hadn't wanted "to break up the network" and added, "But now we will sell those off piecemeal."
She added that Arlie is considering offers from buyers who want to convert the Eugene radio station to religious broadcasting or a business news station and said a Portland broadcaster is interested in Churchill's north valley television station.
Recinos said he's tempted to try to raise money to buy the Eugene radio station because of its important link to his customers and for general communications within the local Spanish-speaking community. "It's crossing my mind. I'm going to talk to a few people. We'll see,"
Eugene Register-Guard report:
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