February 2010 Archive
2010-02-28: In yet another fairly quiet week last week the most notable figures came from the US where, despite the economic recession, the numbers of commercial radio stations still increased during 2009, and from Australia, where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched a consultation regarding its review of commercial radio standards and has also posed details of research and an issues paper on the matter (See RNW Feb 25).
The ACMA also allocated a community FM licence to serve Alice Springs, Northern Territory, to 8CCC Community Radio Inc., rejecting a competing application from Charles Darwin University (Territory FM). Announcing the decision ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said they felt the proposed service would need "existing and perceived future needs" of the area's community to a greater extent than would the service proposed by Territory FM.
Canada has a very quiet week with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posting approval of only one radio application - from Rawlco Radio to add 100,000 watts FM transmitters in Gravelbourg, Swift Current and Warmley, to carry the programming of CJME-AM, Regina: Rawlco said the purpose of the applications was not to address signal deficiencies but rather to extend CJME's News/Talk programming to underserved areas in southern Saskatchewan.
In approving the application, the CRTC noted that opposition had been expressed by Fabmar Communications Ltd. and Harvard Broadcasting Inc., who operate stations in Melfort and Regina respectively but that Golden West Broadcasting, which operates the two English-language commercial stations in the Gravelbourg market, had supported the application, saying it sees the proposed service as distinct to its offerings.
Harvard argued that the applications would allow Rawlco to gain "back door" entry into the markets of Swift Current and Moose Jaw (through the Swift Current transmitter but Rawlco argued that CJME already has a very good signal in Moose Jaw whilst the proposed FM signal from Gravelbourg (120 kilometres/ 80 miles away) would be inferior to its current AM signal and would therefore have no impact on the Moose Jaw radio market.
The CRTC in approving the application agreed with Rawlco and also noted that Rawlco was not proposing to offer any local programming. It also noted that CJME was not currently subject to any licence condition requiring it to operate a News/Talk format and to ensure that this format would remain available to Gravelbourg, Swift Current and Warmley imposed a licence condition requiring that at least half of CJME's programming should be from the spoken word category.
The CRTC also noted in relation to an earlier consultation announcement that Newcap Inc. has withdrawn its application for a new FM to replace its CKKY-AM, Wainwright, Alberta.
In Ireland the only radio-related posting by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) was of stations to whom it has made grants for 88 radio projects under its broadcasting funding scheme, Sound and Vision (See RNW Feb 24).
In the UK, Ofcom has issued five new community licences and also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld no radio complaints in its (See RNW Feb 23) as well as its latest Media Literacy Bulletin, which was mainly devoted to internet-related issues with no specific mention of radio.
The community licences went to Gateway FM (Basildon, Essex and offering a mixed output); The Vibe (Watford, Hertfordshire - offering a service targeted at the young people of Watford and its suburbs); SFM (Sittingbourne, Kent - offering a service for the general population of the area);
Insanity (Egham, Surrey - offering a service for students and other young people in Egham and the surrounding area); and Kane FM (Guildford, Surrey - offering a service with a primary focus on 15-39 year old fans of independent (mainly urban) music and to provide an outlet for showcasing local talented artists and musicians.).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted its latest figures for the number of licensed stations to the end of last year - showing that despite the economic problems of the country there were still takers enough to slightly increase the total for commercial stations (See RNW Feb 27).
The agency also approved transfers linked to the restructuring of Nassau Broadcasting that saw Goldman Sachs (in conjunction with P.E. Capital, LLC and P.E. Capital II, LLC) take 85% of the company's equity in return for forgiving around two-thirds of its debt (See RNW May 12, 2009). To comply with local ownership caps Nassau had to make divestitures and the FCC has approved applications to transfer control of two New Hampshire FMS - WNNH, Henniker, and WWHQ, Meredith - plus WHXR-FM North Windham, Maine to Du Lac Trust (Also May, 12, 2009). In addition the FCC approved the transfer of three Cape Cod, Massachusetts licences - of WFQR-FM, Harwich Port, WFRQ-FM, Mashpee, and WPXC-FM, Hyannis, to Mid-Cape Broadcasting, a company whose owners excludes Goldman Sachs, whose affiliate in another licensee owns four Cape Cod FMS, but include the other parties who have holdings in the Nassau II and Nassau III companies that now hold Nassau's 52 licences.
In enforcement actions, the agency issued a USD 1,500 Forfeiture to Bible Broadcast Church School, licensee of WMSD-FM, Rose Township, Michigan, for late filing of its renewal application. It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in this amount in December 2005 to which the licensee had responded arguing for a cancellation or reduction on the basis that the late filing was inadvertent and said it had thought it had filed for the renewal in 2004. It provided a "screenshot" from the Commission's electronic filing system showing that a renewal document was created on April 22, 2004, and filed on September 13, 2004 but also showing that the licensee failed to complete the filing process by hitting the "File Form" button. The FCC rejected the argument and confirmed the full penalty.
In a Tennessee case, however, it cancelled a USD 7,000 NAL issued to Fairview Broadcasting, Inc. former licensee of WPFD-AM, Fairview, for late filing of renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation, substituting an admonishment.
Fairview had responded by saying it made a good-faith effort to file its renewal application on time - it had filed a renewal application in paper form on time - and also that it was financially unable to pay the penalty. On the basis of the former argument, the FCC cancelled the fine.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-02-27: According to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensed broadcast station numbers continued to rise in the second half of last year despite the economic problems facing the country.
At the end of September the total was 30,480, up from 30,473 at the end of June and by the end of 2009 this had risen further to 30.503, up 671 from the end of 2008.
Within this there were 14,397 licensed radio stations at the end of September, up 42 from the figure at the end of June, and by the end of 2009 this had risen by a further 23 to 14,420.
Within the total the number of AM stations was 4789 at the end of September, the same as at the end of June, and up one on this at the end of the year to reach 4,790, compared to 4786 at the end of 2008.
Commercial FM numbers went from 6427 at the end of 2008 to 6460 at the end of June; 6472 at the end of September; and 6479 at the end of the year whilst Educational FM numbers went from 3040 at the end of 2008 to 3106 at the end of June; 3136 at the end of September; and 3151 at the end of 2009.
The total of Low power FMs fell from 859 at the end of 2008 to 858 at the end of June then rose again to 861 at the end of September and rose again to 864 at the end of 2009.
Previous FCC station numbers:
2010-02-26: Univision has reported net revenues in the final quarter of last year up 2.1% on a year earlier to USD 515.9 million although it was down for the full year by 2.9% to USD 1.973 billion and radio revenues were down for both the quarter - by 18.8 in the quarter to USD 83.7 million and for the full year by 22.3% to USD 338.7 million.
OIBDA was down 1.4% for the quarter to USD 210.5 million and up 3.1% for the full year to USD 823.4 million although for radio it was again down for both periods - more than halved in the final quarter as it fell from USD 43.4 million to USD 21.4 million and down by 60.3% for the year to USD 98.5 million.
Impairment charges took the company into a net operating loss of USD 7.4 million - including USD 175.7 million in impairment charges - in the final quarter compared to a year earlier loss of USD 2.035 billion including impairment charges of USD 1.572 billion and USD 598.7 million in charges related to its settlement with Televisa.
For the full year it moved from an operating loss of USD 5.396 billion into operating income of USD 416.4 million and overall the company had a net loss of USD 174.6 million in the final quarter - down from USD 1.988 billion a year earlier - and of USD 252.1 million for the year, down from a 2008 loss of USD 5.127 billion.
President and CEO Joe Uva said of the performance, "Univision made significant strides in many areas in 2009, even while navigating through a very challenging economic environment: we diversified our revenue streams through new retransmission consent agreements and key strategic partnerships; enhanced our future content offerings and production capabilities through the launch of Univision Studios; delivered strong, competitive ratings and maintained our strong leadership positions across all platforms; and effectively managed our balance sheet and strengthened our capital structure for the long-term."
Regarding radio, Univision commented that during the final quarter it "posted solid ratings in the markets measured by the Arbitron diary method and in Houston, where Arbitron's Portable People Meter ("PPM") is accredited" and also noted: "Univision Radio is not using PPM data in non-accredited PPM markets due to issues with the PPM measurement process and sample and the company is not encoding in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Antonio and Las Vegas."
Uva took up the issue of the PPM during the company's conference call, saying the system has recruitment problems that disadvantage the black and Hispanic population, which is more dependent on cell phones.
He added that the company would continue to "push and fight until we feel that Arbitron has come up with an acceptable solution in a timely manner - and implemented it."
2010-02-26:According to the London Times the BBC is to close down two digital radio stations - 6-Music and The Asian Network, shut down half of its web site - cutting its staff and GBP 112 million (USD 171 million) a year by a quarter, cap expenditure on sporting rights at 8.5% of the GBP 3.6 billion (USD 5.5 billion) a year licence fee, and cut back on spending on imported American programmes in an overhaul of services to be announced next month.
The Times says that BBC Director-General Mark Thompson will admit that the Corporation has "become too large and must shrink to give its commercial rivals room to operate."
It adds that Thompson will also promise to close down BBC Switch and Blast! and leave the teenage market to ITV and Channel 4 TV; will also pledge itself not to produce services at a "more local level" than it does now; and will order its commercial subsidiary BBC WorldWide to focus on overseas activities and dispose of its British magazines arm, a move that would affect such titles as The Radio Times and Top Gear.
The report, says the Times, was drawn up by the corporation's director of policy and strategy, John Tate, a former head of the (opposition) Conservative Party policy unit and is to be made public next month. It adds that it is being considered by the BBC Trust, the Corporation's governing body, and will be seen "as an attempt to show a potential Tory government that the BBC understands the effect the deep advertising recession has had on commercial rivals and that it does not need outside intervention to get its house in order."
In a leading article the paper attacks the Corporation as "Big, bloated and cunning" and says the plans "actually constitute an evasive and artful strategy designed to keep the next government from intervening, while in reality changing very little."
It goes on to argue that the BBC licence fee should be cut substantially and also that the Corporation stifles innovation, citing plans to "expand local news services when local papers are struggling to survive" and websites that "have destroyed jobs, livelihoods and creativity by dumping free content on to markets where its rivals have no public subsidy."
It also comments, "If the BBC were serious about reform it would consider selling Radio 1 and getting out of the pop music business, which is hardly ill served by others."
RNW comment: The Times, which would probably scream blue murder and whose tabloid sister paper The Sun would join in the attack were the BBC not to declare a vested interest should it attack a commercial rival, nowhere mentions that its parent, News Corporation, stands to benefit significantly if the BBC is cut back - both in broadcasting (where the Sky satellite TV service would gain if sporting rights become available more cheaply because the BBC spending on them is capped and also if it can pick up American imports more cheaply) and in other parts of the empire if BBC web sites and publications are also cut.
As for the suggestion that the corporation should sell of BBC Radio 1, we wonder how far this one has been thought through: the Radio industry has made more noise about cutting back BBC Radio 2 but has eased off calls for sell-offs, probably because it has worked out that to add two more national commercial channels that would compete for a shrunken pool of advertising revenue might well hurt it more than losing audience to non-commercial channels. News Corporation, of course, has no radio empire apart from providing a news service, based on Sky, to commercial stations, so would not be significantly affected by radio changes.
As for local news, the BBC made no real moves into this territory for years as it was fairly well served by local newspapers and commercial radio stations, but both of these have cut back their efforts in these areas as economic pressures bit into their revenues and other competition for advertising ("Free" papers that carried little news but took away much estate agency (realtor)_ advertising were responsible for the closure of a number of regional morning newspapers and online advertising has also hit local media revenues. The net effect has been that local audiences and readerships are worse served than they used to be and there is a void, which has been filled in many cases through recycling of PR handouts from companies and local authorities.
Whilst we understand the fears of local media, we would think it valuable were the Times consider seriously the interests of local democracy and minority audiences when it is weighing its arguments, albeit the standard rule for anyone taking information from a News Corporation source ought to be to first ask what the Murdochs' interest is and then consider how far there is bias in favour of those interests.
UK Times report:
UK Times leader:
2010-02-26:US host Bubba The Love Sponge (the former Todd Clem) has reacted strongly to legal action against him by TNA (Total Nonstop Action) wrestler Awesome Kong (Kia Stevens), who has alleged that he called her in the middle of the night and make threatening and racist remarks, threatening to "sucker-punch" her and adding "You'll be dead like all those other niggers in Haiti you fat black bitch!"
Courthouse News, whose report is quoted on Bubba's web site, said that she received a call at 05:00 at her Tampa home from a blocked number and the caller said, "'This is Bubba the Love Sponge here at (and at this point the caller named a radio station' and then alluded to the fact that the call was being broadcast on the radio."The caller then started talking in a stream, threatening to come to the petitioner's house and 'sucker punch' her until she stopped breathing and then said, 'You'll be dead like all those other niggers in Haiti you fat black bitch ... Fuck Haiti!"
The reference is to a spat between the two last month when the wrestler was alleged to have punched the host after he posted comments on Twitter in which he said "I say f*** hati. Why do we have to take care of everybody our country is in shambles?" (See RNW Jan 20)
The wrestler added that she did not respond at which stage the called said, "What d'ya think about that, Monkey Kong?' ... 'What? Those big fat Jimmy Walker lips ain't talking shit now, huh?" and added that she recognized the host's voice.
Stevens has sued both the host and AT&T, demanding that the phone company release records that would identify the caller, but Bubba in a statement posted on his web site said, "The allegations in this petition are one hundred percent false. To be clear; everything contained in this petition is not true. Ms. Stevens attributing outrageous racist statements and physical threats to me is disgusting."
"We can prove without any doubt the allegations made in this petition are false. First Ms. Stevens claims that she was called on the air, at 5:08 AM on February 10th, we are not even on the air until 6 AM Eastern time. We have phone records and eyewitnesses that account for my every movement that day from 4:50 AM forward. No call was made to Ms. Stevens at all."
The host then adds, "We will be pursuing all legal remedies available to us in the State of Florida to fight these deliberately malicious allegations."
RNW comment: One or other of this pair has to be rather foolish - either for announcing correctly who he was when making the call or for pushing the allegations so hard when the evidence as to the identity of the caller was unclear, to say the least.
Our money in this case is on Bubba since he would have so much to lose were he to make a call of this nature and additionally would have to be rather stupid to make statements as firm as those he has made if there is any chance that a court could order disclosure by AT&T of the source of the call.
Courthouse News report.
2010-02-25: The first Australian ratings of the year - covering the period from Jan 17 to Feb 13 - produced good news for Austereo as its stations took top FM ratings in every metropolitan city for the first time in years whilst in Sydney Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB did well as Alan Jones retained his top ranking as did Ray Hadley in the 0900-noon slot, with both taking record shares.
Austereo's gain was largely at the expense of DMG's Nova network whose fall was in part anticipated because of the change in its Sydney breakfast team as the combination of Merrick & Rosso (Tim Rosso quit last year after nine years on the show) and Kate Ritchie (The Home and Away starlet who also left last year) became the new team of Merrick Watts, Ricki-Lee Coulter ( a former Australian Idol contestant and Scott Dooley and its share fell from 10.5 to 6.5 - overall the Nova share in Sydney was down from 8.7 to 6.6, the largest fall in the market.
Scott Dooley had moved from Triple J's drive show but the move turned out to the benefit of the ABC station as under his replacement, The Doctor, its share was up from 4.8 to 6.6.
At the top of the Sydney ratings, 2GB was up from 14.9 to 15.7 overall with Alan Jones' share at breakfast up from 18.6 to 20.0 and Ray Hadley up from 16.4 to 19.5 whilst top Sydney FM remained Austereo's 2-DAY although it fell from second to third as its overall share dropped from 11.1 to 10.0: At breakfast, Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O'Neill Henderson's "Kyle and Jackie 'O' Show" on 2-DAY retained its top FM rank although it remained third and dropped share from 12.5 to 11.4 behind ABC 702 with 12.2 (12.9) - holding on to second place.
Nova's General Manager David Borean said the figures were "not a bad start" for the new team and added, "Clearly there's a lot of sampling going on and that has impacted on our share " noting to the Australian Associated Press that the "brand new team" had attracted more than half a million listeners and adding, "When you consider that in context, that is, when Merrick and Rosso first started on Nova their first result was a 4.2 per cent share - so I'd think you'd agree our 6.5 per cent breakfast share today is a strong start by any measure."
Austereo unsurprisingly headed its release "Austereo - Number One FM In All Markets" and then headlined the success of 2-DAY in Sydney in topping the overall FM ratings plus the retention of top rank by Kyle and Jackie at breakfast and Hamish and Andy at drive time with "a huge 14.6 per cent share" (Austereo did not note that this was down from 15.6) and later commented on the show's success in Melbourne where it again held "a commanding lead with a massive 21.05 of Drive - well ahead of their nearest rivals " (Down from 22.6% and with Fox FM overall down from 13.5% to a 13.2% share).
The company also headlined the success of new breakfast shows at Triple M - Sydney's new Breakfast show "The Grill Team with Gus Worland, Mark Geyer and Stuart MacGill doubled its share, gaining 2.3 points" (up from 2.2 % to 4.5 %) and in Melbourne with "the new Hot Breakfast team with Eddie McGuire gaining 1.5 points.(Up from 4.3% to 5.8%)"
It also headlined success for Mix 94.5 - "a phenomenal result as the number one radio station in Perth for the 82nd survey in a row" and gains elsewhere.
Austereo's new CEO Guy Dobson, who was appointed last month (See RNW Jan 6) said the results showed that "the Today and Triple M networks are resonating with listeners and is looking forward to the year ahead" and continued, "We're very encouraged by today's survey results and to see what the year ahead holds. The Triple M Network nationally has had a great survey especially with new Breakfast shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
Austereo Chairman Peter Harvie added, "The first survey under the watch of our new CEO Guy Dobson has been outstanding. It is a credit to Guy, our on-air teams, the programmers and each and every Austereo member. It is the first time in 7 years that we have led in every FM capital city market. The positive gains in Triple M Sydney and Melbourne have further complemented the success of the survey."
In Brisbane B105 added 1.6 to take its share to 12.8 and toppled Nova, whose share dropped 1.3 to 12.2% and went into top rank helped by the performance of its breakfast team of Labby, Camilla and Stav who added 2.5 to take top breakfast slot with a 12.9 share, the same as ABC 612, which added 2.3: Previous breakfast leader Nova lost 1 point to end with 12.2%.
In Melbourne the main news came in the AM breakfast slot where long-time leader Neil Mitchell of Fairfax Media's 3AW was put under pressure by ABC774's Jon Faine whose share was up 1.8 to 13.6 and Mitchell lost 1.9 to end at 14%.
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 14.3 (14.2) - same rank; SAFM with 12.7 (12.8) - same rank; Mix 102.3 with 11.5 (11.8) - up from fifth.
*ABC 891 with 11.1 (12.2) fell from third to fourth and Nova with 10.6 (12.0) was down from fourth to fifth followed by 5MM, which retained sixth rank with 9.4 (9.6).
*Brisbane - B105 with 12.8 (11.2) - Up from second; Nova with 12.2 (13.5) - down from top rank; 4MMM with 11.4 (9.7) -up from fourth
*97.3 FM with 10.6 (10.8) -fell from third to fourth followed by ABC 612, which retained fifth rank with 9.9 (8.4).
*Melbourne - 3AW with 14.1 (14.1) - same rank; Fox FM with 13.2 (13.5) - same rank; ABC 774 with 12.2 (11.3) - same rank;
*Gold FM moved up fifth to fourth with 9.0 (6.9), swapping places with Nova 100, which dropped a rank with 7.3 (7.9) after which 3MMM was up from tenth to sixth with 5.5 (3.9), overtaking
Mix 101- down up a rank to seventh with 5.1 (5.4). After this Magic was down a rank to eighth with 4.3 (4.7) and 3JJJ down a rank to ninth with 4.2 (4.6).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 16.0 (15.2) - same rank; 92.9 with 12.4 (14.1) - same rank; ABC 720 with 11.8 (11.5) -same rank.
*96 FM moved up from fifth to fourth with 9.6 (9.3) followed by 6JJJ, which was up from seventh to fifth with 9.5 (7.9) after which Nova, was down two ranks to sixth with 8.8 (9.8) and 6PR was down a rank to seventh with 7.8 (7.9).
*Sydney: 2GB 15.7 (14.9) - same rank; ABC 702 with 10.5 (10.7) - up from third; 2-DAY with 10.0 (11.1) - down from second.
*Nova remained fourth with 6.6 (8.7) followed by 2UE, which remained fifth with 6.5 (6.7) and WSM remained sixth with 6.4 (6.3).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2010-02-25:Mexican radio group Grupo Radio Centro has reported final quarter 2009 broadcasting revenues up 12.8% on a year earlier at MXN 260.9 million ( USD 20.4 million ) with full year revenues up 6.9% at MXN 785.9 million (USD 62.4 million) - the increased was put down primarily to increased advertising revenues in Mexico plus revenues from KXOS-FM, Los Angeles, for which it began selling time in April last year under a local marketing agreement with Emmis (See RNW Apr 3. 2009).
Broadcasting expenses rose by more - up 38.5% in the final quarter to MXN 172.8 million (USD 13.5 million) and up 31.5% for the full year to MXN 595 million (USD 46.5 million) and broadcasting income was down 17.4% for the quarter at MXN 88 million (USD 6.88 million) and down 32.5% for the full year at MXN 191 million (USD 14.9 million).
Overall the company had net income of MXN 25.3 million (USD 1.98 million) - down 56.2% - for the quarter whilst for the full year it plummeted from MXN 126.8 million (USD 9.91 million) in 2008 to MXN 4.44 million (USD 347,000).
Previous Grupo Radio Centro:
2010-02-25:Sirius XM Radio has reported a profit, albeit miniscule one compared to its previous losses, in the final quarter of 2009 with full-year loss reduced by a factor of ten: The markets, which have been marking up the shares amidst speculation that Liberty Media, which controls 40% of the company, could take Sirius XM global using the WorldSpace satellites that it acquired with WorldSpace's debt and might make a to take control of the company, were unimpressed and the company's stock closed down 2.73% at USD 1.07, the sixth consecutive day it has now traded above a dollar.
Revenues for the company were up 8% on a year earlier in the final quarter to USD 676.2 million and up 32.7% for the year to USD 2.47 billion with pro-forma revenues up 5.8% to USD 683.8 million for the quarter and up 3.6% to USD 2.527 billion for the full year whilst operating expenses were down by 14% in the final quarter to USD 592.5 million and more than halved for the full year - down from USD 6.7 billion to USD 2.244 billion with pro-forma operating expenses down 8.4% for the quarter to USD 636.1 million and again more than halved for the full year - they fell from USD 902.3 million to USD 441.3 million.
Overall a net loss of USD 245.8 million a year earlier turned into net income of USD 14.2 million (From a loss of 8 cents per basic and diluted share to zero) whilst for the full year the loss was cut from USD 5.31 billion to USD 549 million (from USD 2.45 to 15 cents per basic and diluted share) with a USD 248.5 million pro-forma loss for the final quarter of 2008 trimmed to a loss of USD 25.2 million and a 2008 full-year pro -forma loss of USD 902.3 million trimmed to a loss of USD 441.3 million.
Subscriptions at the end of 2009 were down 231,098 on a year earlier at 18,772,758 within which retail subscriptions were down from 8.905 million to 7.726 million; OEM figures rose from 9.996 million to 10.931 million; and rental subscriptions rose from 102.8 million to 116.1 million. Self-pay numbers were up from 15.55 million to 15.70 million and paid promotional numbers fell from 3.45 million to 3.07 million.
Subscriber addition costs were down 30% to USD 175 million - down from 24% to 16% of revenue and ARPU (Average Revenue per unit) rose from USD 10.56 to USD 10.56, primarily as a result of the U.S. Music Royalty Fee introduced in the third quarter of 2009, the sale of "Best of" programming, and rate increases to the company's multi-subscription and Internet packages.
CEO Mel Karmazin said 2009 was "notable year of firsts for SIRIUS XM: The first full year of positive pro forma adjusted income from operations and the first full year of positive free cash flow in the company's history."
"We demonstrated considerable operating momentum in the fourth quarter," he added. "- the addition of over 250,000 subscribers, ARPU growth, revenue growth, improved SAC, and continued operating cost reductions. These gains position us to deliver on our 2010 guidance."
That guidance is for full-year revenues of more than USD 2.7 billion with free cash flow expected to remain positive and an addition of more than 500,000 subscribers to exceed the previous high of 19 million at the end of the year and adjusted income from operations to be up approximately 20% to USD 550 million
RNW note: There seem to be widely differing views on the value of Sirius XM stock with Standard & Poor's analyst Tuna Amobi raising his price target from USD 1.00 to USD 1.50 and the Wall Street Journal expressing scepticism on the basis of the potential dilution of its stock and noting that the current total of 3.6 billion shares would go up to 6.45 billion when the total is recalculated to include the total that Liberty would get by converting its preferred shares to take 40% of the company.
The Journal, which says that a more realistic valuation would be around 26 cents per share meaning an EBITDA multiple of around eight, notes that on today's closing price Sirius XM stock was valued at 18 times 2010 EBITDA but adds that Liberty paid only USD 12,500 for its preferred stock when it bailed out Sirius XM with a loan, since re-paid. The stock underlying those preferred shares, it notes, is worth USD 2.8 billion, as Liberty reminded its shareholders in its earnings release today.
It was also noticeable during the company's conference call that there was no firm information from Karmazin about the renewal of Howard Stern's contract and that nothing was said about applications to allow the company's plans to make the service available on mobile devices.
Previous Sirius XM:
Wall Street Journal report:
2010-02-25: Moody's Investors Service in a new report has upgraded Clear Channel but also says that a restructuring of the company is inevitable although its private equity owners Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners may try to delay this as long as possible.
Reuters reporting on the report quotes Moody's analyst and lead author Neil Begley as saying that Clear Channel could issue additional debt through its outdoor unit to make it through 2014, the action would only postpone a restructuring by a couple of years and noting that Clear Channel will face a critical hurdle in 2016, when about USD 13.8 billion of debt comes due,
Reuters also quotes Moody's as commenting, "It is clear under our assumptions for operating improvement and valuation multiples that the company's debt levels are unmanageable and unrefinancable" and adds that the ratings agency expects the company to sell more debt through its outdoor subsidiary to postpone a restructuring and refinance its maturities.
Previous Clear Channel:
2010-02-25:The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched a consultation regarding its review of commercial radio standards and has also posted details of research and an issues paper on the matter: Its research, it says, shows that while three out of five commercial radio listeners acknowledge that commercial radio is a business, three quarters agree that advertising content should be clearly distinguishable from other content.
The details were released as part of the ACMA's review of the three commercial radio standards introduced after the 'cash for comment' inquiry and the deadline for responses if April 16.
ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman commented, "Australians are passionate about radio, but equally they don't want to be taken for a sucker. Their enduring touchstone remains -truth in radio."
He said the review has "two important objectives. It is intended to ensure appropriate community safeguards are being delivered, while addressing industry concerns about a range of operational issues within the existing standards. This is the first substantive review of the standards since their inception and will be a first principles, evidence-based review.'
The ACMA notes that it has registered revised commercial radio codes of practice - which cover matters such as material that should not be broadcast, requirements for accuracy in news and current affairs, privacy protections, the rules for advertising, and a responsive complaints mechanism - and notes that under the new codes commercial radio broadcasters will, for the first time, be required to accept complaints electronically.
Chapman described the change as a "major enhancement" that "responds to community demands for a streamlined complaints process."
Amongst the questions raised in the issued paper are whether, in relation to each of the current standards, there is "need for regulation and, if so, what model of regulation and what regulatory mechanism is most appropriate, effective and efficient"; the scope of regulation and how it should be put into operation
2010-02-24:CBS Corporation has announced a new employment agreement that extends the employment of President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves until Feb 22, 2015: It supersedes his current contract, which ran until 2011 and carries the same base salary of USD 3.5 million plus eligibility for an annual performance-related bonus plus incentives for Moonves, who will be 60 in October, to continue his relationship with the Company at the end of the employment term.
The current contract, extended in October 2007 from the previous contract, gave him a reduced base salary of USD 3.5 million plus an annual performance-based bonus that has significantly exceeded his base pay - in 2006 CBS Proxy filings showed he had received a total of USD 28.6 million including a base salary of USD 5.6 million plus a USD 15 million bonus.
Under the new deal he also had the option to purchase 5 million shares of CBS stock vest in four equal instalments plus restricted stock units worth USD 7.6 million per year. The company's proxy filings show that in 2007 his total remuneration was USD 36.81 million, including base salary of USD 5.3 million, a bonus of USD 18.5 million, stock awards of USD 11.19 million and option awards of USD 1.37 million. For 2008 the figure fell to USD 31.96 million, including base salary of USD 3.5 million and a bonus of USD 9.5 million as well as stock awards of USD 11.56 million and option awards of USD 6.83 million.
Announcing the extension, CBS Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone said in a release, "This is, above all, great news for every shareholder of CBS. Leslie is a superb executive who has led CBS to a position of unparalleled leadership in the industry. This agreement not only secures the future of the Company for many years to come, it also further aligns and strengthens the interests of the chief executive with those of our shareholders. I look forward to working with Leslie as we capitalize on all of the opportunities that lie ahead."
Moonves responded, "I have the privilege of working with the greatest team of people in this or any other business. I am very gratified that my relationship with the Company will continue as we build on the strong foundation we have laid for ongoing growth and success."
CBS has also announced a 50 cents per share quarterly dividend for the company's common stock, to be paid on April 1.
2010-02-24: BBC Radio 2 has announced more schedule changes that will see Desmond Carrington, who currently hosts a Tuesday early evening (1700-1800) show, moving to Friday evenings (20:00 to 21:00) from April 2 and Jamie Cullum launching a new weekly jazz show in the Tuesday slot from April 6.
Carrington will continue to broadcast the show live from his home in Perthshire where he had a collection of some 250,000 recordings and he commented, "When I was asked to introduce a record programme in 1981, the contract was for three months. With one or two changes, the latest being the move to Friday evenings at 7pm just after Easter - that three months will soon be 30 years! Thank you, Radio 2, for keeping me young."
Cullum, who in 2003 became the UK's biggest-selling jazz artist of all time, became the BBC Radio 2 Artist of the Year at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2005 and in 2007 won the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Award for "Best British Male".
He has already presented a number of documentaries on the station and commented of the new show, "It's an extraordinary privilege to be able to present an hour of jazz and jazz-related music at such a civilised hour. We're going to present a show that will excite people's ears and bring them into a scene they may not know about."
Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan said the station was "proud to demonstrate a continued commitment to jazz by announcing this brand new show" and added, "I look forward to Jamie unearthing burgeoning jazz stars of the future, as well as shining a light on the jazz world on a weekly basis."
Also at the BBC, Radio 1 has announced that recent signing Matt Edmondson will stand in for Sara Cox on the Sunday Morning "Radio 1's Lie In" show whilst she goes on maternity leave and at sister digital station 1Xtra DJ Target is to take over the weekly Sunday night "100% Homegrown" show from Ras Kwame on Sunday March 7. Kwame has hosted the show from the station's launch in August 2002 and will continue to host his weekly Sunday morning (05:00-07:00) show, which is weekly Sunday show which is simulcast on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra.
In UK commercial radio, Global Radio's Capital FM has gained publicity but not much else from R&B star Akon, whose Saturday evening show was launched on Feb 13 (See RNW Feb 9): He has now stepped down after only hosting the one show with his predecessor Dave Kelly taking over last weekend's show and is listed in the station's schedule to cover this weekend.
Capital says other commitments meant Akon was unable to continue the show but that they were talking to him about possible future shows.
Previous Global Radio:
2010-02-24: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced the award of Euros 956,000 (USD 1.3 million in funding for 88 radio projects in the ninth round of its broadcasting funding scheme, Sound and Vision.
Unlike its predecessor the IRTC (Independent Radio and Television Commission), the BAI did not post details of the amounts going to each station but it did note that documentary programmes continue to account for the largest amount of funding and that Euros 146,000 (USD 198,000) has gone to Irish language or bi-lingual programmes.
Overall it says it received a total of 239 applications for grants that totalled Euros 3.1 million (USD 4.2 million): It adds that the programmes funded will be aired on 40 different stations.
Of the stations getting awards, Raidió Corca Baiscinn got seven grants - for Thugmar Féin an Samhradh Linn; The Music Makers; Surf Clare; The Deadly Coast; Off the Beaten Path; Sounds from the West; and Festivals 2010.
Three stations received four grants: Athlone Community Radio - for Scaipeadh Scéal; John McCormack - The Golden Voice of Athlone; Easter Snow; and Gentex - The Factory that shaped the life of Athlone; Inishowen Community Radio- for Feiseanna Inis Eoghain; Sea of Change; The Right Step; and Ghostly Encounters - The Devil's Number; and Ocean FM - for All Star Heroes; Seeing is Believing; Bitten: Bram Stoker's Legacy; and Thinking Sideways - Spike Milligan.
Dublin South FM received three grants whilst receiving two grants each were Claremorris Community Radio; Flirt FM; Julien Clancy; Life FM; NEAR 90fm; Paul Wright; Scéal Eile; and Tipperary Mid West Community Radio.
2010-02-23:Entercom has reported final quarter 2009 revenues down 8% on a year earlier at USD 96.0 million with full year revenues down 15% to USD 372.4 million: Station expenses were down 5% in the final quarter and 8% for the full year; station operating income for the quarter was down 15% to USD 30.0 million and down 27% for the full year to USD 120.4 million; and net income for the quarter went from a loss of USD 429.8 million - including USD 651.1 million in impairment charges - in 2008 to net income of USD 24 million (from a loss of USD 11.91 to income of 68 cents per basic and diluted share) whilst for the full year a net loss of USD 516.7 million became net income of USD 5.7 million (from a loss of USD 13.94 per basic and diluted share to income of 16 cents).
Same station revenues for the final quarter were down 8% with expenses down 5% and for the full year were down 15% and 8% respectively with same station operating income down 12% and 27% respectively.
President and CEO David J. Field said of the results, "Entercom posted strong sequential improvement during the fourth quarter, ending the year with positive revenue and operating cash flow growth for the month of December."
"Business conditions," he added, "improved significantly during the fourth quarter and this positive trend has accelerated into the first two months of 2010. Furthermore, despite the terribly challenging conditions of 2009, we have fulfilled our stated goal of emerging from the recession with enhanced capabilities, a stronger competitive position and an improved business model."
Field noted that in 2009 Entercom generated USD 70 million of free cash flow, reduced net debt by over USD 100 million, trimmed expenses by 8%, and still "continued to enhance our capabilities in critical areas, such as digital, on-line and on-air content, and business development. We also achieved significant growth in station ratings and dramatic improvement in key digital metrics on our stations' websites."
"The outlook for 2010," said Field, "has brightened, bolstered by accelerating advertiser demand and improvement in radio's relative value proposition in comparison to other media and we believe we are well positioned to capitalize on this rebound."
In other US radio business news Salem has disclosed in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has entered into a new one-year contract with its chairman Stuart W. Epperson at a base salary of USD 250,000 a year plus health benefits for him and his dependants and other benefits.
The agreement means Epperson's base salary is now only a little more than half of what it was in 2008 when his base salary was USD 537,000 and he was paid USD 908,000 overall. The base salary was cut back to USD 345,000 in his current agreement, which runs to the end of June.
2010-02-23:UK Media regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio in its latest Bulletin in which it upheld Standards complaints against 13 TV items, gave details of a further TV Standards complaint and five TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
The figures compare with figures in the previous bulletin of one radio standards complaint upheld and two considered resolved through action taken by the broadcaster on top of which Standards complaints were upheld against six TV items with one TV Fairness and Privacy complaint also upheld and details posted of five TV Fairness and Privacy complaints that were not upheld.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 420 TV complaints against 190 items and 16 radio complaints against 16 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 617 TV complaints against 172 items (477 of them against two items) and 8 radio complaints against 8 items that it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-02-22:The Australian recording industry has launched a legal bid to Australian law that caps the copyright fees that commercial radio stations have to pay for copyright at 1% of the broadcaster's income.
The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), which collects and administers copyright payments to performers and record labels, says that the average copyright earnings for the 1500 to 2000 artists on its books is less than AUD 1000 (USD 900) a year and its Chief Executive Stephen Peach said in a release, "For years now, Australian recording artists and record labels have effectively been subsidising a billion dollar industry because of an antiquated piece of legislation."
"Since this inequitable price cap was introduced in 1969, radio operators have built large and profitable networks based on the music that is played every hour of the day but for which very little is paid. All we are seeking, and all that a successful challenge in the High Court will deliver to us, is the right to make our case to the independent umpire, the Copyright Tribunal, for a fair return to artists and labels."
"There is simply no justification for radio being a special case, protected from the need to pay a fair return to all those who create the recordings upon which they build their very substantial business."
Its case, says the PPCA, will be based on requirements in Australia's Constitution that require just terms in any law effecting the acquisition of property and it argues that the cap does not meet this criterion.
Peach commented that they had lobbied successive governments over this matter and in 2006 following a comprehensive review the Federal Cabinet resolved to remove the cap but the Bill to make the changes was delayed and has not been enacted by the time of the 2007 election.
PPCA Chairman George Ash added, "There has been no other copyright in Australia, relating to music or other material, that has been the subject of a statutory price cap. It's well and truly time for this one to go and this High Court case is an important step along that path. The radio industry has had a long-running legislative advantage over other media companies who derive income from content leveraged by advertising. This situation is untenable and, in a new media landscape, must change."
The PPCA says Australia's commercial radio companies earn revenue of up to AUD 1 billion ( USD 900 million) a year but because of the cap pay a total of only AUD 4 million ( USD 3.6 million) a year for recordings that they air but industry body Commercial Radio Australia challenged the figures.
It says that Australian commercial radio stations pay approaching AUD 25 million (USD 22.5 million) in Copyright Fees and its CEO Joan Warner commented, "Australian radio stations pay copyright fees twice each time a song is played on radio - firstly to the composers and songwriters through the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) and then a second fee to the record companies through the PPCA."
She then went on, in comments similar to those made by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in its fight against the introduction of performance royalties for US Terrestrial radio, to allege that the benefits would not go to artists so much as boosting multinational recording companies.
"We understand only around one third of the copyright fees collected by PPCA are subsequently distributed to the artists," said Warner. "This is all about increasing the profit margins of the multinational record companies at the expense of Australian commercial and public radio stations."
She went on to say the PPCA's comments "deliberately misrepresent the significant copyright payments made by commercial radio stations each year" and added, "In addition the PPCA omitted to mention its constitutional case also challenges the legislation which limits the price the ABC pays for the recordings it broadcasts."
In the US, the NAB has claimed the support of four more lawmakers in its fight against the introduction of Performance Royalties, charges that it calls a "performance tax."
The NAB says four additional House Democrats have voiced their opposition to "performance tax" legislation, taking the total number of lawmakers expressing opposition to the introduction of performance royalties to 256 House lawmakers and 27 U.S. Senators.
The NAB also cited comments by artists about the value of airings on local radio in boosting their careers highlighting comments made by Charles Kelly and Hillary Scott of Grammy-winning country band Lady Antebellum.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said in a release, "We're pleased that the bipartisan Congressional opposition to an RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) tax on free radio continues to grow. Local radio provides an unparalleled promotional platform for the record labels and performing artists, as validated by the comments of Lady Antebellum. We're hopeful that Congress will ultimately reject (Recording Industry Association of America) RIAA's reckless campaign against America's hometown radio stations."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-02-22: According to Crain's New York Business, New York radio has seen revenues in January up by 9% on a year ago, led by improving sales at CBS and Clear Channel stations.
Crain's cites sources familiar with the confidential monthly audit by accounting firm Miller Kaplan and adds that it was the second successive month in which revenues rose following more than a year of double-digit falls.
Clear Channel's sales, it says were up 16% compared to 9% for CBS but executives from both declined comment.
The report came as BIA-Kelsey in its U.S. Local Media Annual Forecast (2009-2014) said it expected spending on local media to rebound slowly in 2011 and more meaningfully in 2012 with the U.S. local advertising market to reach USD 144.9 billion in 2014, representing a modest compound annual growth rate of 2.2 percent from 2009.
Within the figures, it forecasts that spending on traditional media will decline from USD 115 billion in 2009 to USD 108.2 billion in 2014 - a compounded annual fall of 1.2% - but with spending on online/interactive media projected to grow from USD 15.2 billion to USD 36.7 billion - compounded annual growth of 19.3% - during the same period. It also says the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing corporate political advertising will benefit broadcasting sectors
Neal Polachek, president, BIA/Kelsey, commented in a news release, "The general economic conditions worsened during 2009 causing advertising dollars to remain on the sidelines as businesses - large and small, local, regional and national - reined in spending levels. Even with improvements in the overall economy, we do not anticipate a rapid recovery among traditional media over the forecast period, because we believe the structural change in the local media industry has accelerated."
Previous Clear Channel:
Cain's New York Business report:
2010-02-22: Arbitron has expanded its Radio Advisory Council, adding nine new seats - one each for digital radio, public radio, and network radio; an additional seat for urban and Spanish-language radio, to take them to two seats each; and four new diary seats.
The company says it is also to change the structure of meetings to make them more productive with changes to include regular joint sessions between the Radio and Advertiser/Agency Councils and dedicated tracks for Portable People Meter (PPM) and diary markets so as to allow focus on their specific needs.
Arbitron President/CEO William Kerr said the changes reflected "the evolving nature of the media industry" and added, "The representatives serve as valuable customer advocates, and their input helps Arbitron align our plans with industry priorities. I look forward to our new meeting format, where I hope to engage in an open, two-way dialogue that will move the industry forward."
2010-02-21:After three weeks in which it made no radio postings, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was back last week with one radio decision in what was in general a fairly steady week for the regulators.
The ACMA posting was of the allocation of three long-term community broadcasting licences in Bendigo, Victoria: The licences went to:
*Goldfields Community Radio Cooperative Ltd (Fresh FM) for a higher power (1kW) FM to serve the general community interest within the City of Greater Bendigo, with a focus on sport.
*Central Victorian Gospel Radio Inc. (Gospel Radio) for a 150W FM to serve the Christian community interest within the City of Bendigo.
*Central Victorian Community Broadcasters Inc. (Phoenix FM) for a 150W FM to serve the general community interest within the City of Bendigo.
ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said the awards were a "great outcome for the Bendigo community. These services will add to the nature and diversity of broadcasting services in Bendigo."
Both Fresh FM and Gospel Radio has applied for the higher power licence that was awarded to Fresh FM on the basis that it would meet the existing and perceived future needs of the community within the Bendigo RA4 licence area - which covers City of Greater Bendigo and includes Elmore to the north, Daylesford to the south, Heathcote to the east and Maryborough to the west - to a greater extent than Gospel Radio.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has posted two consultation notices including radio items.
One with a March 24 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments included the following radio item:
*Application by RNC MEDIA Inc. to add an FM transmitter at Rouyn-Noranda to the licence of its French-language commercial station CJGO-FM, La Sarre. The licensee says this transmitter is currently operational and re-broadcasts the programming of CHGO-FM, Val d'Or, but this change will enable it to accentuate the differences between East and West Abitibi and thus better serve both areas.
Subject to approval of this application, RNC also asks that the transmitter CHGO-FM-1, Rouyn-Noranda, be deleted from the licence of CHGO-FM, Val d'Or.
The second with a March 25 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments included the following radio item:
*Application by Radio Beauséjour inc. to change the frequency of CJSE-FM-1, Memramcook, New Brunswick - which carriers the programming of its French-language community Type B station CJSE-FM, Shediac - from 101.7 MHz to 92.5 MHz. The 101.7 MHz frequency was allocated to CKDH-FM, Moncton, when approval was given last year of the conversion of CKDH-AM, Amherst, to FM.
In addition the CRTC has called for comments on the reporting requirements for new media broadcasting undertakings: It says it seeks comment from interested parties to assist it in determining what information is relevant and necessary to understand trends in Canadian broadcasting in new media and from whom should the Commission should seek information, keeping in mind the relevance of the data to be provided by new media undertakings and the relative regulatory burden of requiring them to report the information?
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced that it is to make funding of up to Euros 25.5 million (USD 34.7 million) available for the production of new television and radio programmes over the next two years through its Broadcasting Funding Scheme Sound & Vision II.
Sound & Vision II, it notes, is funded by 7% of the net receipts of the TV license fee and is a revised version of the existing Sound & Vision scheme. It adds that the changes introduced in the revised scheme reflect the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and the outcomes of an operational review undertaken in 2008.
The funding for TV will be Euros 7 million (USD 9.5 million) per round whilst that for radio will be Euros 1.5 million (USD 2 million) per round.
In the UK, Ofcom has opened a consultation with a March 19 closing date for responses concerning a request by Passion Radio Oxford to change the format of Oxford's FM 107.9: The station is currently a "voice for the young" with a requirement to deliver the sort of cutting-edge and credible music that would be appreciated by Oxford's students and youth community and Passion Radio wants to change the station to an easy listening station targeted at an older audience of over 45's.
Ofcom notes that the station was originally launched in February 1997 as Oxygen FM, a very student-oriented station.
It was unsuccessful financially and was sold and re-launched as Fusion FM and again as Passion FM, before being bought by Passion Radio Oxford and re-named Oxford's FM 107.9 in June 2006. Passion Radio also own the Jack FM licence, which covers Oxford and South Oxfordshire with a format delivering pop and rock for the over 35s and the two stations share studios.
Oxford is also served by the BBC and commercial station Heart (formerly Fox FM), which covers a wider area (Oxford and Banbury) with chart and contemporary music for under 44s.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended from March 8 to May 7 the deadline for public comment on its examination of the future of media. It officially launched the inquiry with a pledge to keep the First Amendment at the centre of its work and Steve Waldman, the former print journalist who is spearheading the project, said following the agency's public meeting last Thursday that the First Amendment would be the starting point for the inquiry and added that another starting point will be the first workshop on the issue that is to be held on March 4.
Waldman said the aim of the project was to ensure that communities have vibrant and diverse sources of information and to examine whether the agencies policies are best suited to this at a time when the media landscape is changing dramatically and the traditional business model is collapsing.
Waldman and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski will moderate the panel discussions on the Local TV Marketplace and Local Radio marketplace at the media ownership workshop to be held on Tuesday (Feb 23) at the South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, South Carolina, as part of the Commission's quadrennial review of its broadcast ownership rules.
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps in a statement expressed his "personal gratitude" to Waldman for the work being done and added, "The country is in serious need of a robust national dialogue about what we expect of our journalism media going forward in this era of great technology and economic change. I can think of few, if any, challenges more central to the future of our country. In fact, I can think of none. You've heard me talk many times before about where the past three decades of media consolidation by the private sector, aided and abetted by this Commission's wholesale decimation of public interest oversight, have left us in terms of actual news. Watchdog journalism is a shell of its former self. It's dying in traditional media and unable to find oxygen in the new. The road we're travelling is inflicting irreparable harm not just on our media, but on the citizenry that media has an obligation to inform and enlighten."
He also stressed that time was not on the agency's side on this matter, saying, "With journalism's fuel tank fast approaching "empty" in so many localities, a leisured pace would only make an already dangerous situation totally untenable. This Commission has a responsibility to keep that from happening."
Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell put a different emphasis on the issue in his statement in which he asked if the government should "have any role at all in any effort to preserve or change journalism?" and continued, "Furthermore, what are the constitutional, legal and policy implications of such efforts? How would the freedom of the American people be affected by any government action beyond the solicitation of comment?"
McDowell said he didn't "equate today's transition period, as uncertain as it may be, with the imminent death of American journalism or a lessening of the media's ability to support the functioning of our democracy."
He then commented, "I remain confident that certain fundamental American principles must and will prevail. At the top of that list is the need to preserve the media's constitutional freedom from government entanglement.
The FCC is also seeking public comment on rule changes it is proposing that it says are intended to "improve decision-making and efficiency, promote participation in FCC proceedings."
All the commissioners issued statements concerning the proposals with Chairman Genachowski saying the changes should "make the Commission's procedural rules more effective and fairer."
Copps said of the proposals made "an essential down-payment on the broader reform agenda" whilst McDowell looked more to business interests commenting about proposals to require the filing of ownership disclosures along with ex parte notices that he wondered whether, since corporate owners had to make data available through SEC filings, whether "will those entities with corporate form bear a heavier burden than those groups that may be structured and funded differently?"
The agency also posted a number details of a number of penalties (See RNW Feb 17) and its decisions on the award of a number of construction permits for New or Modified Non-commercial Educational FM Stations filed in the October 2007 Filing Window. It had considered 59 Groups of mutually exclusive applications from that filing window with each group containing from two to four applications.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-02-21: Santa Monica College has appointed 41-years-old Jennifer Ferro, who currently serves as Assistant General Manager of its public radio station KCRW- FM and www.KCRW.com, as the station's new General Manager in succession to Ruth Seymour, who is retiring on February 26 after 32 years running the station.
Ferro has worked in all areas of the station's operations, including programming, marketing, new media, technology development and fundraising since joining the KCRW staff in 1994. She joined KCRW as a volunteer arts reporter in 1991and was promoted to her current post in 1997. She takes up her new post on March 1.
In a posting on the station's web site, College President Dr. Chui L. Tsang says, "Jennifer epitomizes the perfect mix of traditional public radio experience, and the strategic and creative new media thinking that will be critical to KCRW's continued success in the years ahead."
Seymour said she was "an ideal choice to lead the station forward. She brings her own unique approach and vision to KCRW. She's innovative, courageous and independent. She's an experienced programmer, producer and fundraiser. She will make a terrific manager and I look forward to a KCRW under her leadership."
Ferro responded, "I'm thrilled to be able to get the opportunity to lead the best public radio station in the country and I'm excited to work with the station's incredible staff on the challenges and opportunities in front of us. It's a dream job."
2010-02-20: Australia's radio industry representatives have met representatives of leading manufacturers and retailers to discuss promotion of digital radio in the country - the first meeting this year between the groups and one that saw new representatives of Sony, Phillips, Denon and Target welcomed to the Broadcasters, Retailers and Manufacturers Digital Radio Advisory Group.
The meeting recommended a promotion by all of Australia's new commercial DAB+ stations - Radar, Choose the Hits Jelli, NovaNation, Koffee, Classic Hits Plus, The Crack, Gorilla, The EDGE, The Buckle, Sky Sports 2, My Perth Digital and Hot Country Perth Digital - as well as "Pop-up" or "Event" stations, such as the High Voltage station also the name of AC/DC's 1975) debut album that is airing AC/DC's music for a month whilst the band is touring Australia (Feb 12-Mar 8).
Joan Warner, chief executive of Commercial Radio Australia, said the meeting discussed the importance of promotion and also the Digital Radio Industry Report that is to be released shortly, adding that the industry wanted to want to continue driving the digital radio uptake by working collaboratively with the other groups.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-02-19: With a final quarter that the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) said continued the encouraging signs that emerged in the second and third quarters and and gained further traction through the end of 2009, the bureau has reported final quarter total revenues down 8% on a year earlier at USD 4.277 billion whilst full year total revenues were down 18% to USD 16.029 billion. Third quarter total revenues had been down 16% on a year earlier, second quarter ones down 22% and first quarter ones down 24%.
Within the figures local spot revenues were down 10% for the quarter to USD 2.859 billion and down 20% for the full year at USD 10.8452 billion; national revenues were also down 10% for the quarter - to USD 658 million - and down 19% for the full year to USD 2.362 million with national and local revenues combined down 10% to USD 3.517 billion for the quarter and 20% for the full year to USD 13.203 billion.
Network revenues fared a little better - down 5% for the final quarter at USD 283 million and down 9% for the full year at USD .1048 billion and off-air revenues were down 3% for the quarter at USD 344 million and down 9% for the full year at USD 1.298 billion. As in previous periods, digital revenues were the only ones to increase - up 15% for the final quarter to USD 133 million and up 13% for the year at USD 480 million.
RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley said of the figures, "The green shoots that we saw earlier have fully taken root. In 2009, Radio went from -25% in May to flat in December - a tremendous lead-in to 2010."
In terms of spending categories a resurgent automotive sector went up from third to become the top spender in the final quarter, pushing communications down from first to second spot and also overtaking restaurant spending which was down from second to third.
RAB highlighted increases in Automotive - up 9% in local and national advertising; Grocery - up 12% in the quarter; and Financial Services in the final quarter, up 5%.
Previous RAB revenue (3rd quarter) figures):
2010-02-19: Arbitron has revealed in an 8K filing that its President and CEO William T. Kerr has a two year initial period with a base salary of USD 800,000 plus an annual incentive bonus of the same amount subject to meeting performance criteria set by the Company's Compensation and Human Resources Committee and up to the same amount on top of this if the criteria are exceed.
In addition Kerr gets an initial equity award of 45,254 stock options and 60,144 deferred stock units (DSUs): Assuming continued employment the stock options will vest in equal amounts over a three-year period whilst the DSUs will vest in equal amounts over a four year period.
In addition the company says that, subject to approval by its Compensation Committee, the company will grand Kerr a USD 1.5 million long-term incentive bonus.
Should the company or Kerr end his employment he will receive any earned but unpaid annual base salary and any earned but unpaid annual bonus and if his employment is terminated without cause during 2101 he will receive the base salary for the remaining period of his initial term and also USD 800,000 in bonus.
Kerr's predecessor Michael Skarzynski received a pay-off totalling nearly USD 1 million - 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 (See RNW Jan 12).
2010-02-18: CBS Corporation has reported 2009 revenues down 7% on 2008 at USD 13.01 billion - reflecting, it says, lower local non-political advertising for the first three quarters of the year and lower political advertising for the year as a whole: For the final quarter, revenues fell by less than 1% on the previous year to USD 3.50 billion as revenues at its Entertainment and Cable Networks - rose 4% and 8% respectively although these rises were offset by falls in publishing (down 10%), local broadcasting (its TV stations and radio - down 8%); and Outdoor (down 8%).
Adjusted operating income for the forth quarter was up 16% on a year earlier to USD 421.8 million whilst reported operating income, which include impairment charges and tax benefits resulting from the settlement of federal and state income tax audits, fell by 22.5% to USD 243.5 million and for the year adjusted operating income fell 40% to USD 1.22 billion whilst reported operating income went from an operating loss of USD 12.16 billion in 2008 to income of USD 1.01 billion - the 2009 figures include 210 million of impairment charges whilst a year earlier impairment charges were USD 14.181 billion.
Adjusted net earning for the quarter were up 23% to USD 171.1 million (Up from 21 cents to 25 cents per diluted share ) but reported net earnings were down 131.5% to USD 58.8 million (down from 20 to nine cents per diluted share) whilst for the full year adjusted net earnings were down 174.3% to USD 358.8 million (down from USD 1.46 to 53 cents per diluted share) and reported net earnings went from a net loss of USD 11.67 billion to earnings of USD 226.5 million ( From a loss of USD 17.43 per diluted share to income of 33 cents per diluted share).
CBS has re-organized its structure and the local broadcasting group, which includes radio and CBS TV stations, had revenues for the fourth quarter down 8% to USD 680.0 million within which TV stations revenues were down 3% to USD 358.2 million whilst CBS Radio revenues fell 12% to USD 322.2 million: For the full year local broadcasting revenues were down 20% to USD 2.36 billion within which TV stations revenue were down 20% to USD 1.14 billion whilst CBS Radio revenues fell 21% to USD 1.22 billion.
Commenting on the figures Executive chairman Sumner Redstone said, "We've managed through the year with financial prudence, while at the same time continuing to invest in our top-quality content businesses and maintain our industry-leading position. I'm very excited about all that we can achieve going forward."
President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves added, "As we promised, each quarter in 2009 improved on the one before - culminating in our best performance of the year in the fourth quarter. The good news is the rising revenue trends are continuing into 2010."
Of the improvements Moonves commented mainly on TV but also noted, "Local radio stations are pacing well above last year's first quarter, and Outdoor has reached last year's levels."
2010-02-18: Austereo has reported revenues in the half year to the end of 2009 down 2.8% on a year ago at AUD 131 million (USD 117.5 million) but costs were down by 1.7% to AUD 86.5 million (USD 77.6 million).
The fall in earnings before interest and taxation was down 4.87% to AUD 45.6 million (USD 40.9 million) and net profit attributable to members was virtually flat - down from AUD 27.862 million to AUD 27.695 million (approximately USD 25 million) - with earnings per share maintained at eight cents.
The company also noted that at the auction of excess capital city digital radio spectrum in November it successfully bid for the greatest share of spectrum gaining 27.1% nationally and in terms of commercial spectrum now has holdings ranging from 19.6% in Melbourne to 42.9% in Brisbane. In Sydney it has 25%.
Austereo comments that the acquisition "opens up competitive advantages for Austereo, including potential additional digital radio channels and data transmission and reflects the strategy of building the company through new technology directions."
It also highlighted growth in its online and interactive business and noted that the Today and Triple M Networks retained their positions as first and second ranking radio websites, respectively, in Australia.
In terms of trends it said that towards the end of the period there were signs of improvement in the capital city radio market and also emerging positive signs in a range of client categories, including food and media.
It estimates that the capital city radio ad market for the January-June 2010 half year will be in gradual recovery with the overall FY10 outcome better than -1% and with clear positive indicators emerging and adds, " Importantly, the Australian Radio Industry is increasing audiences across all demographics - a unique position amongst most media. The future is strong, as new technologies offer a broadening range of platforms for radio?s audience engagement."
CEO Guy Dobson, who was appointed last month (See RNW Jan 6), commented, "Austereo is in an excellent position to capitalise on any sustained market growth.
Our priorities in programming are clear, with opportunities for upside in audience growth as well as sales potential. We will also maintain strong cost-line controls and seek further operational efficiencies."
2010-02-18: Arbitron has reported 2009 revenues of USD 385 million, up 4.4% over 2008 with final quarter revenues up 8.5% on a year earlier at USD 101.5 million with net income for the full year up 13.4% at USD 42.2 million (up from USD 1.37 to USD 1.59 per diluted share), a figure that included a one-off tax benefit of USD 4.7 million (17 cents per share) in the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter figures also included a USD 1.3 million pre-tax, non-cash charge (3 cents a share) and net income at USD 12.6 million was up 270% increase on the USD 3.4 million of a year (From 13 cents per diluted share to 47 cents per diluted share - without the tax benefit it would have been USD 7.9 million/30 cents per diluted share and the rise would have been 132%.)
Commenting on the figures, President and Chief Executive Officer William T. Kerr highlighted the commercialization of the PPM - in 19 new markets over the year to a total of 33 - and continued, "We have also continued our significant focus on the needs of the radio customers in diary markets by working to enhance the quality and utility of our diary-based ratings services."
Kerr said the priorities for 2010 were to "work to complete the planned commercialization of our PPM ratings service while continuing our programs designed to improve key sample quality metrics, our efforts toward Media Rating Council accreditation, and our work toward resolving responsibly the remaining concerns of certain customers and governmental entities" and also to "strengthen and defend our core radio service, while, at the same time, leveraging the important assets we have in our PPM technology and panel."
Kerr said Arbitron would continue to explore new potential business lines such as its away-from-home television service and cross platform measurement service.
Arbitron Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Sean R. Creamer added that the company expects revenue to increase between two percent and six percent this year compared to 2009, adding that its guidance includes the impact of the roughly USD 10 million in lost revenue in 2010 for the Fall 2009 and the Spring 2010 surveys due to the previously announced Cumulus and Clear Channel signings with Nielsen in certain small to mid-sized markets and also the spending of around USD 15 million for cell-phone-only household sampling in PPM and diary markets, spending that he termed "a costly, yet necessary, initiative that is designed to help ensure our services are competitive from a quality and customer service perspective."
RNW comment: At a time when their customers are suffering significant revenue falls, Arbitron's predictions for this year may well do it no favours and the whole edifice could be at risk should it lose over encoding and customers other than SBS start to pull out.
This could help explain on a day when all the US market indices rose, Arbitron's stock fell by 10.13% to close at USD 22.80.
2010-02-18: In a shake-up of UK soccer commentary radio rights, the BBC has taken four of the seven Barclay Premier League soccer national radio broadcasting packages - each covering 32 games - on offer for the next three seasons - a third fewer than it has now - with UTV-owned talkSPORT taking two - Sunday early kick-off and Saturday evenings/Wednesday evenings - to double the number for which it has rights and newcomer Absolute Radio as already reported taking one Saturday Afternoon's package (See RNW Feb 11).
No figures were released for the deals, which will kick in at the start of the next soccer season: rights at the moment are shared under a three year deal that ends with the current season under which the BBC has the rights to 192 games and talkSPORT to 32.
On the blog on its website, talkSPORT chief executive Scott Taunton comments, "This is a great day for talkSPORT and commercial radio in the UK. To have won the rights to broadcast live and exclusive Barclays Premier League football on both a Saturday and a Sunday, when no other national radio broadcaster - including the BBC - has commentary, puts the station at the very heart of Premier League football in the UK.
"Our distinctive, passionate and energetic approach to Premier League commentaries has proved to have widespread appeal. We're now able to provide listeners and advertisers with the best Premier League action through our live commentaries as well as all the up-to-the-minute action from around the grounds."
talkSPORT says it plans to reschedule its Saturday and Sunday programming with a pre-match build-up and post match phone-ins to further enhance its football coverage and notes that what it terms "This double coup" follows its acquisition of live broadcast rights for the 2010 World Cup and Champions League football involving Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.
On the BBC Radio Five Live Blog, the station's controller Adrian Van Klaveren notes that the rights it will have from next season are to games that kick off on Saturday lunchtimes, first choice of the Saturday 3pm games, the Sunday 4pm kick off and Monday and Tuesday evenings.
The new arrangements, he says, mean the station will "still have more live Premier League football than anyone else including what would generally be seen as the biggest matches" although it has fewer rights than before.
"In our bidding for these packages," he continues, "we have had to balance the vital importance of live football to our audience with the need to ensure we are offering value-for-money to all licence fee payers and an awareness of the overall radio market for football commentary. It's fair to say it's been a far more competitive process this year than previously."
Previous van Klaveren:
2010-02-17: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has responded to Arbitron's legal action against it over encoding for the Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system by saying that the ratings company has "not lived up to their contractual obligation to deliver reliable and accurate ratings".
It adds, "After Arbitron refused our repeated demands to rectify the situation, we concluded that Arbitron repudiated the parties' agreements. If they were not going to provide us with reliable information, we saw no need to encode."
The statement follows a New York court's ruling that SBS has to continue to encode its broadcasts for the PPM and SBS says it had been actively dealing with Arbitron over the PPM since its introduction; has been "one of the many outspoken critics of this new methodology"; and that "It has been and continues to be our contention that the PPM service unfairly discounts the listening audiences of both Urban and Hispanic communities. We have been consistent in our fight and have repeatedly asked that Arbitron gain accreditation from the MRC before implementing this methodology currency in any market. These pleas have been ignored by Arbitron, who has instead decided to continue its rollout despite being accredited in only two markets (they are currently in 33 markets).
SBS notes that the court's ruling was based on concern that other minority broadcasters would also stop encoding, something it says that relates to the larger problem, "minority broadcasters' fundamental dissatisfaction with Arbitron's PPM methodology."
SBS Radio Chief Operating Officer Frank Flores said Arbitron was continuing to "treat its customers with disdain" but that SBS would abide by the order to encode whilst it awaited its "day in court to dispute Arbitron's claims and prove that we are truly the ones being harmed."
"The fact the MRC, PPMC and Congress are continuing to meet with Arbitron to try to correct the flaws of PPM," he added "undermines Arbitron's contention that its PPM methodology is sound."
2010-02-17: After a week when it was almost out of action due to snow - followed by the President's Day holiday - the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now seems back to normal and has posted the agenda for its Columbia, South Carolina Media Ownership Workshop and details of a number of enforcement actions. It also changed the deadlines for applications that had fallen from Feb 5 through 12th to Feb 16.
Amongst the enforcement actions that related to radio, the agency:
*Reduced to USD 3,400 penalty on CARE Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of Missouri stations KHGN-FM, and FM Translator K220CN, Kirksville, for late filing of licence application and subsequent unauthorized operation.
It initially issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of USD 14,000 to which CARE responded by seeking cancellation on the basis that it attempted to file the license renewal applications for the Stations and believed they were filed after they were "validated" by the Bureau's electronic filing system. It also payment of the proposed forfeiture would cause it financial hardship.
The FCC dismissed first argument but reduced the translator penalty from USD 7,000 to USD 500 in line with recent similar decisions and on the basis of tax returns provided to it further reduced the penalty to USD 3,400 in total.
*Reduced to USD 1,000 forfeiture to WNLB Radio, Inc., licensee of WZBB-FM, Stanleytown, Virginia, for public file offences. The FCC initially issued a USD 9,000 NAL to which the licensee, which had declared that files were missing as part of its licence renewal application, argued for a reduction on the basis that the files were only missing for a brief period, not the entire renewal period.
The FCC accepted the argument and reduced the penalty.
*Reduced to USD 750 forfeiture to Spokane Public Radio, Inc., licensee of Idaho FM translator stations K220BW, Kellogg; K269DU, Sandpoint; and K220BX, Coeur D'Alene for late filing of licence renewal applications. The agency initially issued an NAL for USD 4,500 to which the licensee responded by arguing for its cancellation because the prime station is in Washington State and it thought the renewal deadline for the primary station would apply to the translators, although the wording of the rule, said the FCC, clearly says only licensees who operate translator stations "in the same state" as the primary station may file using a single renewal application.
It rejected the arguments but reduced the penalty to USD 750 in line with similar recent decisions.
2010-02-16: Arbitron has won the latest round of its fight with Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) over its Portable People Meter ratings with a ruling by New York State Supreme Court Judge Shirley Kornreich that SBS has to continue encoding its broadcasts for the PPM.
Last week the court had granted Arbitron a temporary restraining order ordering it to reinstate PPM encoding (See RNW Feb 12).
Following this order the PPM Coalition, of which SBS is a member, re-iterated its call for a full Federal Communications Commission to launch a full investigation into the PPM system.
2010-02-15: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced that the NASDAQ stock market has given it an extension until June 7 to come into compliance with the market's requirement of a minimum USD 1.00 closing bid for ten consecutive days.
The company in December received a notice of delisting to take place on December 16 last year (See RNW Dec 11, 2009) unless it requested a hearing on the matter: this was requested and at the hearing on January 7 SBS presented its plan of how it intended to regain compliance and as a result the deadline was extended.
SBS stock was trading at 70.01 cents - down by 1.26% on Monday's closing price of 70.9 cents - when we last checked and so far this year has closed at between 61 cents and 88 cents.
The outlook seems rather better in the short term at least, for Clear Channel Communications whose rating was upgraded by Moody's Investors Service at the end of last week on the basis that a full restructuring or bankruptcy is no longer imminent.
Moody's raised its rating of the privately held company from Caa3 to Caa2 - eight steps below investment grade and changed its outlook for the company to stable from negative. Clear Channel is now expected to remain in compliance with a key leverage covenant following the refinancing of a USD 2.5 billion loan to Clear Channel Outdoor and repayment of around USD 2 billion of bank debt with the proceeds of an issue of senior notes (See RNW Dec 30, 2009).
In the longer term, however, it remains at risk as it has some USD 3.7 billion of debt that will mature in 2014.
Doing less well is Armada Media, which owns 28 radio stations and is being sued by Wells Fargo Foothill Inc., which claims the company has defaulted on USD 16.2 million of debt.
Wells Fargo has asked a Fond du Lac County circuit judge to put Armada into receivership but according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel its CEO Chris Bernier said hearings on this call had been postponed to allow negotiations to continue on a possible restructuring of the debt.
Former Wisconsin governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson - who once held 12% of the company - now down to 3% - and Bernier expressed optimism that a deal could be done and Bernier told the paper, "The banks do what they have to do to protect their interests and protect their rights. ... But the fact that (a hearing on a receiver) has been postponed and not rescheduled is obviously positive."
Previous Clear Channel:
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report:
2010-02-15: A BBC Trust review into Radio 2 and digital stations 6 Music has concluded that the former, although well regarded by its audience, should "use its scale to be more distinctive" whilst the latter needs to reach a larger audience. Amongst the areas in which it suggests changes are comedy output, which it says should be refreshed and "better differentiated" from comedy on BBC Radio 4.
The review began in May 2009 and included a twelve week consultation with licence fee payers as well as drawing on a range of audience research, performance monitoring and financial analysis: Its remit was to look at the performance of the stations including their usage, quality, distinctiveness and value for money and BBC Trustee David Liddiment, who led the review, commented in a news release, "Radio 2 has a large audience who clearly love its output, but the review showed it must break out of the routine with its programming, in particular to be more distinctive during peak time. In contrast, 6 Music has a distinctive approach, but the review concluded that it needed to grow its audience base without losing its USP.
"We're aware of concerns about Radio 2 targeting a younger audience. The current average audience age of 50 is well within the station's target audience, but the Trust is clear that this must not fall any further, and we would like to see Radio 2 work on its appeal to over 65 year olds,"says the Trust.
The review, a 61-page 475 kb PDF, notes in its Key Findings of Radio 2 that it is "the nation's favourite radio station but faces criticism from some commercial radio stations" and cited the commercial radio body the RadioCentre's submission that argued that the station "prioritises reach at the expense of public value, targets young listeners who fall outside the station's remit and costs too much money."
The Trust says in its findings that it has "weighed these concerns carefully against what the audience has told us" and then goes on to say that listeners "think the station is distinctive and offers value for money" and comments that a survey of the station's listeners showed that "80% think the station is distinctive and offers value for money."
It also notes that because of its popularity, with some 13.3 million listeners a week, the station has a lower cost per listener hour - around 0.5 pence (0.8 US cents) - than any other BBC station with its share of the annual licence fee at around GBP 2.10 (USD 3.30) a year.
It then goes on to comment on "efficiencies" at the station, saying there "may be opportunities to make further savings by progressing plans to benchmark costs with commercial radio and revisiting talent saving targets, given that the economic climate has worsened since the Trust first reviewed talent costs in 2008."
It also says it has looked "in detail at commercial radio's concerns that Radio 2 is targeting younger audiences at the expense of older audiences" and notes that the station's remit is to appeal to those above 25 but that its audience below this age rose from 1999 up to 2005 but since then has been stable with some 82% of its audience of the target age and an average age of 50.
It then goes on to say the station because of its scale and licence fee funding could potentially make a greater contribution to the BBC's public purposes, although it recognizes that "some loss of audience may be a consequence of a more varied and challenging selection of programmes.."
Of 6 Music it comments that it is "very popular" with its listeners but adds that they are "relatively few in number" and says it believes that "the station needs to raise awareness and grow its audience to realise its potential and, in doing so, should seek to appeal to a more diverse range of people, particularly older listeners."
Later it responds point by point to the RadioCentre's submissions (Pages 27 & 28) listing eight points and cavils at most of them as too prescriptive and restrictive but its recommendations accept points made in terms of relating new music conditions to the number of plays rather than different tracks plays and the introduction of a condition to safeguard the station's documentary output.
Of BBC 6 Music it notes that its annual budget is GBP 6 million ( USD 9.40 million- the Trust does not give the Radio 2 budget but BBC figures for 2008-09 showed the station as costing some GBP 50.7 million compared to GBP 43 million for BBC Radio 1, GBP 50.1 million for BBC Radio 3, GBP 108.6 million for BBC Radio 4 and GBP 72.2 million for BBC Radio 5 Live with the corporation's digital only stations costing from GBP 6.9 million for BBC Radio 7 to GBP 9.6 million for BBC 1 XTRA. 6 Music cost GBP 9.0 million and the Asian Network, which also has e some analogue output, cost GBP 12.1 million.) and says the station has been criticized for costing too much compared to commercial stations.
It adds of cots, however, that there are "significant differences in the range and quality of 6 Music's offer compared with commercial digital-only stations " and also noted of criticism of presenters as "lacking credibility and failing to set their shows apart from content on other stations" that this criticism tended to be made of presenters who had been introduced to give the station a broader appeal , thus highlighting "a potential tension between 6 Music's aim to grow its audience and at the same time remain distinctive."
Reacting to the review, BBC Management issued s statement welcoming it and adding in regard to Radio 2 that it would be "revamping and refreshing" the station's arts coverage, "aiming to thread arts, documentaries and comedy into the peak time schedule and continuing to target audiences over the age of 35."
Regarding 6 Music it noted the need to reach more listeners and in a statement Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, commented, "I'm delighted that the Trust's research shows that Radio 2 exceeds its audience expectation in delivering BBC public purposes, as the network deserves to be recognised as one of the cornerstones of public service broadcasting, whilst remaining an entertainment network at its heart. "
He then detailed some of the station's offerings and went on to comment on the need for 6 Music to increase its reach, adding, "The network is attracting new listeners and I hope that by offering a rich mix of presenting talent, including Lauren Laverne and Jarvis Cocker, and leading radio coverage of musical events such as Glastonbury, the station will broaden its appeal."
He concluded, "I would like to thank the Trust for this report and the insightful and illuminating process which has allowed us to identify elements that we need to improve. I'm confident that all challenges will be met, some of which we've already begun to implement."
RNW comment: Much of this review seems to us to state obvious competing interests but be weak, to say the least, as to how to achieve the changes the Trust says it wants. We wonder how far in private some BBC Executives are taking the same view as some of those who have responded to newspaper reports of the review, namely to suggest that it devotes too much attention to the interests of the commercial radio industry and too little to that of the audience and also suggesting that if the need is to satisfy an older audience this should be done through other means such as a new digital channel rather than by changing Radio 2.
We rather appreciated one comment in the UK Guardian in response to the Trust's comment that 6 Music "currently appeals less to older people, to listeners from lower income households, to women and to ethnic minorities."
This elicited the comment, "I don't suppose there are many Pakistani women of pensionable age with a rabid interest in late 1970's Peel session recordings" - a much more pithy and memorable way of putting the findings!
The Guardian also reported on the RadioCentre's response - our view is that were we talking of medicine it would be a placebo; otherwise it could save on the sleeping pills. Link below for those who want to read it.
BBC Trust review (61-page 475 kb PDF):
UK Guardian report (getting on for 40 comments when we last checked):
UK Guardian re reactions:
2010-02-14: Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting's Hartwell, Georgia, WLHR-FM is now back on air a fortnight after its 284-foot tower was brought down in what the owners described as an act of vandalism (See RNW Jan 30).
A posting on the station's web site says it is operating at around d 70% of its maximum transmission power from a temporary transmitter but that it should be back to full power within a week.
The station says the loss exceeds USD 100,000 and Terry Carter, co-owner of WLHR and Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting Chief Operating Officer expressed thanks to Toccoa Falls College's WRAF-FM for the loan of its back up transmitter, thus allowing the speedy return to air.
"WRAF officials have been true ambassadors of goodwill to offer us the use of their equipment until WLHR rebuilds it licensed transmitter site," he said.
Carter also thanked station staff for their work in continuing to operate the station through an internet stream and said that the station had "received hundreds of phones calls and emails from listeners, advertisers and other broadcasters offering their help and encouragement."
He also thanked Franklin County officials for the offer of towers for temporary restoration of service although they were unable to use them for technical reasons.
WLHR web site:
2010-02-14: Last week was yet another when there was very little activity relating to radio from the regulators - indeed vey little activity at all in D.C. where snow put many government agencies effectively out of action for the week: Elsewhere there were no radio announcements from Australia, only the release of ratings from Ireland, and only the release of the latest Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin in the UK.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made more radio-related postings than the other regulators put together, including the following decisions (in order of province):
*Approval of application by 5777152 Manitoba Ltd., which is owned by William Gade, for a new 1,640 watts English-language commercial FM in Winnipeg Beach plus a 119 watts transmitter in Arborg to rebroadcast its output, subject to the applicant finding a suitable alternative frequency to the one applied for.
The application, for a Country and Pop/Rock format station, was competing against an application from Riding Mountain Broadcasting Ltd for a 53,0000 watts Adult Contemporary FM in Gimli: It was opposed by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. and Nostalgia Broadcasting Cooperative Inc, who argued that the frequency applied for be better suited for Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba as frequencies for those areas are scarce.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 20 watts transmitter at Sackville to carry the programming of CBAM-FM, Moncton.
*Approved application by RNC MEDIA Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the French-language commercial radio station CHOI-FM, Québec, in order to operate the station in a specialty FM format. The station is currently offering alternative rock and the licensee is proposing to more than 50% of the broadcast week to spoken word programming.
The application was opposed by the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ), which expressed concern about the loss of the alternative rock format and said Québec already has three spoken word stations, all in French. RNC responded by saying the three stations mentioned by ADISQ target a different audience and also noting that CHXX-FM offers a music format that is almost identical to that of CHOI-FM.
The CRTC notes that in 2006 it approved an application from Nord Communications inc. (now RNC MEDIA) for a broadcasting licence to operate a French-language FM radio programming undertaking in Québec. The purpose of the application was to enable RNC MEDIA to continue operating the station following the 2004 non-renewal of its licence, when it was owned by Genex Communications (See RNW Oct 22, 2006 and RNW July 14, 2004).
In addition the agency posted a number of Public Notices and an Information Bulletin listing applications processed under its streamlined procedures during the period from Nov 1 to Dec 31, 2009:
The bulletin included the following radio-related items:
*Approved extension to 22 January 2010 of the time limit to commence operation of CTV's English-language commercial station CKXE-FM, Edmonton, which was authorized in October 2008 but had to find a suitable alternative frequency to the one applied for.
*Approved extension to 17 October 2011 of the time limit to commence operation of Touch Canada Broadcasting Limited Partnership's new English-language commercial FM in Red Deer approved in October 2008.
*Approved in part application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to commence the operation of the transmitter CBH-FM-3, Yarmouth, approved in December 2007. The new deadline is Dec 12, 2010.
*Approved change in contours for My Broadcasting Corporation's English-language CIYM-FM, Brighton.
*Approved extension to 31 December 2009 of the time limit to commence operation of Fondation Radio Enfant's French-language Type B Community AM in Gatineau/Ottawa approved in March 2007
*Approved extension to Nov 1, 2010, of the time limit for the simultaneous broadcasting of Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC 's CHNC-AM and CHNC-FM New Carlisle, Quebec and of the transmitters CHGM-AM and CHGM-FM Gaspé plus CHNC-FM-3 Percé. The original approval was given in March 2008 as part of the station's conversion to FM.
The first Public Notice with a March 16 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments included the following radio applications:
*Application by UCFV Campus and Community Radio Society for an extension of the time limit to bring into operation its the new English-language community-based campus FM radio station in Abbotsford approved in March 2006. The CRTC notes that this would be a third extension of the limit and that, while its normal practice is to grant a maximum of two extensions for a total of up to 24 months, in this instance, the applicant is requesting an extension of 30 months in total.
It adds that the Society says the request for the extension is needed to allow it to pursue a frequency exchange with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that would allow both parties to address issues of unacceptable interference for their respective radio stations.
*Application by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation to amalgamate the transmitter sites of its CIXK-FM and CKYC-FM, Owen Sound. The lease of CIXK-FM's current transmitter runs out in September and it would move to a new site and decrease its power from 100,000 watts to 63,000 watts whilst CKYC-FM would also move to the new location and reduce its power from 31,600 watts to 24,000 watts.
*Application by Larche Communications Inc. to move the transmitter for its CJOS-FM, Owen Sound, to a site to be shared with Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of CKYC-FM and CIXK-FM Owen Sound, which plans to consolidate the transmission facilities of the two stations at a new site (See above). Larche also wants to decrease the station's power from 20,000 watts to 9,000 watts and increase its antenna height above average terrain from 212 metres to 214 metres.
A second Public Notice with a March 17 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments included the following radio applications:
*Application by Aylesford Community Baptist Church to renew the broadcasting licence for its religious radio programming undertaking CVCR-FM, Aylesford. The CRTC noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with regulations concerning the submission of annual returns for years 2005, 2006 and 2008.
* Application by CKDU-FM Society to change the transmission site of English -language community-based campus radio programming undertaking CKDU-FM, Halifax, and reduce its power from 3,200 watts to 2,640 watts. The licensee says its current transmission site will no longer be available because it was deemed to be a public safety hazard.
*Application by Gail Welygan, in her capacity as Town Administrator for the Town of Wadena, to renew the broadcasting licence for the tourist information service CHTW-FM, Wadena.
A third public notice with a March 19 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments included the following radio applications:
*Application by Houssen Broadcasting Ltd. to increase the power of its -power English-language station CKOE-FM, Moncton, from 50 watts to 4,500 watts, a change that would change its status from unprotected low-power to protected status.
*Application by 1760791 Ontario Inc. to increase the day time power of its commercial ethnic station CINA-AM, Mississauga, from 1,000 watts to 5,000 watts. The night-time power would remain at 680 watts
As already noted the only radio-related posting from Ireland was of latest ratings in which the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is involved (See RNW Feb 13) and from the UK Ofcom's only radio-related posting was of its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld one radio complaint and considers two others resolved through broadcasters' actions (See RNW Feb 8).
In a week when snow closed down much of Washington, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) amongst other postponements re-scheduled its Open Commission Meeting, planned for last Thursday until next Thursday.
In terms of radio, it had a very quiet week but did post one decision regarding issues related to the acceptability of agreements that may take programming decisions out of the hands of a licensee.
The case in involved Rocking M. Radio Inc., licensee of 11 Kansas station and Steckline Communications, Inc., which had an agreement with Lesso Inc, a former licensee of the stations that was controlled by Lawrence Steckline, and that in 1966 entered into perpetual Affiliation Agreements with Steckline-family owned Mid-America Ag Network and Mid-America News Network, both owned by Mid-America Ag Network, Inc. At that time, Lawrence Steckline held a majority interest in Lesso and an 88% interest in Mid-America Ag Network, Inc. His son, Gregory Steckline, owned the remaining 12% interest in Mid-America Ag Network, Inc.
The Affiliation agreements could be ended by the networks but not the licensee and each successive licensee was bound by the agreements: Rocking M changed the formats of two of its stations in Liberal - KSMM AM (formerly KYUU-AM) and FM (formerly KSLS-FM) to a Spanish language format and advised SCI, which is owned by Gregory Steckline and under the trade name Mid-America Network, operates the two Networks, that it would no longer broadcast SCI's English language programs or commercials.
The FCC notes that for reasons not in the records KSMM-AM had been deleted from the Affiliation Agreements in 1998 but its FM sister remained bound by then and SCI filed a suit in a Kansas state court for breach of contract, seeking damages of more than USD 75,000: It also proposed to some affiliates that they could end broadcasts of SCI programming but would have to continue to broadcast the commercial spots that were supplied with the programming, said with some caveats that it would not enforce the agreements for two stations not owned by Rocking M, and said it intended to give its affiliates the option of ending the perpetual term of the agreements to a maximum forty years.
Rocking M has sought a declaration from the FCC as to whether the agency considers it allowable for a licensee to enter into an agreement requiring it to air programming or commercial matters in perpetuity, whether if so the licensee if bound to air whatever is supplied to it, and if the format of a station is changed so that the programming provided becomes inappropriate whether the licensee can be made to air the programming or pay substantial damages.
SCI argued that no declaratory ruling was needed because of the changes it was proposing to the agreements and also that the agreements are typical of similar agreements entered into by television networks when they sell owned and operated stations to third parties.
The FCC noted that under its rules it will refuse to allow assignment of a licence or transfer of control if the transaction includes agreements that restrict the "licensee's ultimate rights to determine programming" and also that excessive damages could bring into question the licensee's control of a station. In cases of Local Management Agreements (LMAs), time brokerage agreements or affiliation agreements, it said the right of a licensee "to terminate agreements or reject programming has been a paramount consideration in the Commission's analysis of whether the agreements constituted a transfer of control."
In this case, it said, the agreements bind Rocking M to "to broadcast fixed amounts of agricultural and news and sports programming and commercials, in perpetuity, despite the fact that the licensee had opted to switch to a format in which this English-language material would be of "limited interest to the station's listeners."
It commented that although the agreements allow "allow Rocking M to reject specific programs - but not commercials - on a case-by-case basis, the underlying Affiliation Agreements, themselves, may not be terminated by Rocking M, thus impermissibly binding Rocking M to fixed types and amounts of the Networks' programming."
It did not, however, accept Rocking M's argument that the SCI suit was contrary to a previous ruling it made involving Citicasters since it involved monetary damages which could properly be taken before a local court.
It then went on to say that it regarded the perpetual term of a programming agreement to be in conflict with US Communications Act and is thus unenforceable and add that the act that successor licensees had acquiesced to the programming restrictions in the agreements did not make them legitimate. It also noted that a TV agreement submitted by SCI in support of its case had a five-and-a- half year fixed term and allowed the licensee to reject any content it reasonably believed to be contrary to the public interest.
As regards SCI's proposals of a 40-year term the FCC said this was excessive and it also considered unacceptable the option to discontinue programming and air commercials for the same term.
It concluded that perpetual agreements were unacceptable; that an agreement barring changes in programme format is unacceptable although the issue of actual damages for breach of a contract was a matter for civil courts; that any agreement that does not allow a licensee to reasonably reject programme and commercial content is void.
It accordingly made the Declaratory Ruling requested to the extent detailed and also noted that Rocking M has a complaint pending before the Enforcement Bureau concerning the Affiliation Agreements and SCI's attempted enforcement of same, which is to be addressed separately by the Enforcement Bureau.
Previous Licence News:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-02-13: (Sir) Terry Wogan, formerly Britain's top rated radio host with his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show - he had 8.1 million listeners a week in his last ratings - is back on the station's airwaves at 11:00 GMT tomorrow with his two hour "Weekend Wogan" show.
His star guest for the first show will be Sir Ian McKellen as well as regular features from his breakfast show and there will also be live performances from Norah Jones and Jamie Cullum.
The station has also selected the four finalists for next Saturday's final of its Young Brass Soloist Competition, which will be hosted by Frank Renton and highlights of which will be aired on Friday February 26th at 21:30 GMT.
The finalists, who will play alongside the Black Dyke Band are 14-years old Jonathan Bates, from Huddersfield, who plays tenor horn; 18 years old Zoe Hancock, from St Austell, who plays flugel horn; 19 years old Matthew White, from Westhoughton, who plays euphonium; and 20 years old Benjamin Richeton, who lives in Salford, who plays cornet. The winner will take two performance prizes that will offer the opportunity to play with the BBC Concert Orchestra on Radio 2's flagship live music programme Friday Night Is Music Night, and to play as a soloist with a Championship-standard brass band at a prestigious event with both events to be broadcast by Radio 2.
Also at the BBC, digital station 6 Music has announced that singer/songwriter Cerys Matthews is to host her own 10:00 Sunday morning show starting on Easter Sunday: She has already had a stint at the station covering for Nemone in the weekday 1.00-4.00pm slot last year.
Cerys takes over from Jon Richardson who leaves after three-and-a-half years to commit fully to his career as a stand-up comedian.
2010-02-13: According to the latest JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering the period from January to December 2009 an unchanged 87% of the Irish population listened to radio daily - figures compared the previous ratings from October 2008 - September 2009. Listening was up from 85% January-December 2008 and also up from a year earlier (January-December 2007) when listening was 84.
Listenership to any multi-city/regional/local radio was up from 57% to 58% and up from 55% for 2008, before the February 2009 launch multi-city service 4FM.
Within the listening figures weekday reach was unchanged for RTÉ Radio 1 at 26% (24% a year earlier); Today FM at 15% (16% a year earlier); Newstalk at 8% (7% a year earlier) and RTÉ Lyric FM at 3% (3% a year earlier) whilst RTÉ 2FM was down from 16% to 15% (17% a year earlier).
In overall market share for weekdays 07:00 to 19:00 there was a 1% increase to 50.6% (49.6% a year earlier) within which RTÉ Radio 1 was up 0.1 to 23.4% (21.9% a year earlier) and Newstalk was up 0.2% to 4.0% (3.5% a year earlier) with Lyric FM retaining a 1.6% share (1.7% a year earlier) but RTÉ 2FM was down 0.4% to 10.1% (11.8% a year earlier) and Today FM was down 0.8 to 9.9% (10.9% a year earlier).
Of the multi-city and regional stations Beat 102-103FM had an unchanged weekday reach figure of 20% (20% a year earlier); regional youth service Spin South West held on to 18% (16% a year earlier); North-West regional service i102-104FM held on to 17% (11% a year earlier) and new North-East regional service i105-107FM, which went on air in November 2008, held on to 3% while Multi-City Service 4FM, which went on air in February 2009, held on to 2%.
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five ranks (weekday reach compared to the previous ratings) were taken by Highland Radio with 68% (Up from 67% and from 66% a year earlier); Limerick's Live 95FM with an unchanged 53% (55% a year earlier); WLR-FM with an unchanged 51% (48% a year earlier); then with 50% Mid West Radio (Up from 48% +2), Shannonside/ Northern Sound 50% (Down from 53%)and Tipp FM (down from 52%); then with 47% Ocean FM (Up from 46%) and Radio Kerry (Up from 45%)
In weekday share terms the top five ranks were taken by Highland Radio with 65.5% (down from 65.9%; Radio Kerry with 54.7% (52.2%); Tipp FM with 53.5% (Up from 52.6%); Mid West Radio with 50.9% (Up from 50.5%); and Shannonside/ Northern Sound with 46.9% (Down from 48.2%).
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekly reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 39%, up from 38%; FM 104 with 29%, up from 28%; Dublin's 98 with 23%, down from 24%; Spin 1038 with an unchanged 20% and then, each with 19%, Q102 (unchanged) and RTÉ 2FM (Down from 20%).
In Cork the leaders in weekly reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with an unchanged 68%; Cork's 96FM with an unchanged 54% ; RTÉ Radio 1 with an unchanged 40%; Cork's Red FM with 33%, down from 34% ; Today FM with an unchanged 32% ; and C103 with 27%, down from 28%.
Previous Irish Ratings:
2010-02-12: Clear Channel's Los Angeles KFI-AM has announced that from a week on Monday Canadian host Bill Carroll - who will continue to contribute to his current station, Toronto's Newstalk 1010 - is to take over the noon to 1400 slot, currently hosted by Bill Handel, who will concentrate on is 0500-0900 show. Handel's midday show is currently syndicated by Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks but nothing has been said about possible syndication of the replacement.
KFI Program Director, Robin Bertolucci commented of the changes, "The noon show has been taking its toll on Bill and his morning show since the day it launched. Bill's tremendously talented and we need all of his energy to go into his 5-9AM show" and Handel said, "I definitely underestimated how much having a second show would eat up my day. That's why I'm leaving the noon show behind that, and the fact that no one wants to hear that much from me, not even my wife!"
Clear Channel Los Angeles' Market President Greg Ashlock stressed the local programming that the station was offering, saying, "During a time when many stations are cutting back, it's nice to be able to invest in the product that so many Southern Californians trust for news and information. Our line-up has never been stronger. With the exception of Rush (Limbaugh) we'll be taking listeners from breakfast to bed, live and local, with Bill Handel, Bill Carroll, John & Ken and Tim Conway Jr. The on-air adjustments that we began a few months ago are now complete."
Scottish-born Carroll, who has been with Astral Media's CFRB-AM (Newstalk 1010) in Toronto since 1988, currently hosts The Bill Carroll Show from 09:00 to 13:00 and had also been an occasional Sunday host on KFI.
Newstalk 1010 on its web site has audio of the announcement by the station's Program Director Mike Bendixen on his show about the move preceded by Carroll's thanks to Astral, the station and various colleagues- he terms them "unbelievably classy" and says Astral is an "incredible organization and company to work for."
Bendixen says Carroll recently approached management and discussed wanting to pursue a career in Los Angeles, and adds that Bill's daughter suffers from spina bifida meaning that "re-locating to Los Angeles allows them easier access to the unique therapy she needs from her specialist in Chile."
He added, "As a long time, valued member of the Newstalk 1010 family, it was important for us to accommodate Bill and the needs of his family. At the same time Bill is an important asset to us and our listeners so we wanted to find a way of keeping Bill's unique voice on our station and we have done just that. Bill will continue to be heard on the air during The Live Drive with John Tory. He will also join our hosts on a regular basis to provide his unique opinions on the news and social issues of the day.
Carroll responded, "I'm so grateful that Astral and Newstalk 1010 have allowed me to follow a dream, look after my family and be on the air everyday at the most powerful talk stations in both the United States and in Canada."
Later in his show he talks about his work on the station, an earlier wish to move to the US in which he was held back by his daughter's health, and how he appreciated the station's reaction of wanting to do anything they could to help him and his family.
Previous Clear Channel:
KFI report on Carroll/Handel move:
Newstalk1010 announcement (Carries link to audio of on-air announcement):
2010-02-12: International broadcasters the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and Voice of America, have issued a joint statement condemning Iran's jamming of their broadcasts in a new wave of action coinciding with the 31st anniversary of the country's Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah.
The jamming is affecting services on the Hotbird satellite, which covers much of Europe and the Middle East: They include BBC Persian television, the Voice of America television channel in Persian, the Radio Farda service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Deutsche Welle's television and radio services.
In the statement, Peter Horrocks, Director of BBC World Service, Erik Bettermann, Director of Deutsche Welle and Dan Austin, Director of Voice Of America, say, "We condemn any jamming of these channels. It contravenes international agreements and is interfering with the free and open flow of international transmissions that are protected by international treaties."
They add that the jamming "violates article 45 of the Constitution of the International Telecommunication Union that prohibits signal interference and we look to the international regulatory community to take a firmer stance on this deliberate act of jamming" and note that the Iranian authorities are using the same satellite services to broadcast freely around the world including broadcasts in English and Arabic but are "denying their own people programmes coming from the same satellites from the rest of the world."
"We will not stop broadcasting accurate and impartial news and current affairs into Iran," they add. "We will try every avenue to give our large audiences in Iran the television news services that they want."
Previous Deutsche Welle:
Previous Voice of America:
2010-02-12: Arbitron has announced that New York's Supreme Court has issued a Temporary Restraining Order requiring Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. (SBS) to resume encoding its broadcasting signals for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM radio ratings service until next Tuesday.
Arbitron says it sought the order after learning on February 4th that SBS had ceased encoding its broadcast signals for the PPM service in any of its radio properties in cities where Arbitron has commercialized the PPM ratings service and its Chief Legal Officer Timothy T. Smith added, "SBS has existing contracts with Arbitron for both the PPM service and to encode its broadcast signals that remain in effect. We expect SBS to honour the terms of its agreements."
Arbitron notes that it suspended delivery of PPM date to SBS in December last year
SBS has been prominent amongst minority and ethnic-targeted stations that have complained about the effects of PPM ratings on their business and in December last year its radio Chief Operating Officer Frank Flores told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings on the PPM that Arbitron was an "unregulated monopoly" and, after noting that SBS had been the first group to sign up for the PPM, said that the results had been devastating whilst the price had risen by 60% and that significant improvements were needed.
2010-02-11: Hubbard Radio has announced that it is to flip itsTwin Cities KTSP-AM, Minneapolis, from news-talk to sport from Monday when it becomes an ESPN affiliate - AM1500 The Sports Talk Station.
Morning drive host Patrick Reusse switches to a noon to 14:00 show after which he will team-up with Joe Soucheray until 16:00 when Soucheray will continue to host his regular "Garage Logic" show until 18:00. On days when there is no Minneapolis Twins game, Joe Anderson will then take over.
In a news release, Hubbard Radio President/General Manager Ginny Morris refers to "an ever-changing landscape" at radio and continues, "Throughout its 87-year history, KSTP-AM has been known for many things. In the very earliest days, when my grandfather was programming the station, we covered a lot of news and carried the NBC radio network, we aired soap operas and played many different types of music. Later, when my dad ran the station, he played Jazz and classical music, and then evolved into playing rock music, which at times dismayed his dad."
Of the two hosts she comments, "Joe Soucheray and Patrick Reusse invented Sports Talk in this town - arguably in the country - and we look forward to featuring them together every afternoon."
Morris says the new format "enhances and strengthens" its relationship with the Minnesota Twins, whose games the station has aired for the past three years under a four-year deal that expires this year.
She also notes that currently ESPN is contracted "to another outlet in town" (Clear Channel's KFAN-AM) but that as of Monday Hubbard will air the Colin Cowherd show from 09:00 to noon and will soon add "Mike and Mike (Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic) In The Morning," and other ESPN programming, When they are able to, she says, the name will be changed to "1500 ESPN Twin Cities."
The station has already dropped its current mid-day programme, which was hosted by Shawn Prebil and Chris Murphy and The Star Tribune says that others dropped include morning-show sidekicks Bob Berglund and Jay Kolls, afternoon host Kelly Webb and evening host Al Malmberg.
The paper adds that until the station can air the Mike and Mike show, it plans to fill the 05:00 to 09:00 weekday slot with a show co-hosted by Joe Anderson and fill-in host Scott Korzenowski.
It suggests that the move is related to the introduction of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings, which has hit the station's ratings whilst KFAN held its own and quotes Hubbard vice-president Dan Seeman, who helped launch KFAN as a sports station in 1991, as saying, "We studied to find out where we are and where I think we can compete and this is the path. We found it's a big hill in a pretty big town. If you look around the country there are two or three sports talk stations in every major market, and in a town where there are four pro teams and a major university, there is a lot to talk about."
Clear Channel played down the potential competition and the Star Tribune quotes its Minneapolis operations manager Gregg Swedberg as saying, "I think putting on a couple of syndicated shows for a radio station that always prided itself on being live and local doesn't sound too live and local to me."
He added of how long KFAN will keep ESPN programming, "I don't think it will be a long period of time. We'll let it go as soon as we figure out what to put on in its place."
Previous Clear Channel:
Star Tribune report:
2010-02-11: Detroit veteran Dick Purtan (Born Paul Richard) announced shortly after 07:31 on his show today that he was to retire after 45 years on Detroit airwaves, the last 14 of them with CBS Radio's WOMC-FM.
After saying he had an announcement to make, Purtan said he had shared "many difficult moments" on Detroit's airwaves including the deaths of former colleagues and his wife Gail's "13-year struggle with ovarian and breast cancer" and other situations.
Purtan said he had made another difficult decision - £to retire from radio" and added that the "decision did not come about easily" but he and Gail had discussions about when the "time would be right" for him to turn off his microphone.
He then said they had decided the time was now because 2010 marked his 45th year on air in Detroit, a job he had always loved and enjoyed but lately had "begun to enjoy less." He then said his last broadcast would be on Friday, March 26th, after which he planned "to do a lot of things. First and foremost going to bed late and getting up even later..."
He also gave thanks to his co-workers - "Purtan's People " - and then ran through his involvement in charity work and news events during his time on air and then went on to say that for the last two months he wanted to "do the show the way I have always done it, with humour and hopefully some heart as well " and then quipped, "To be honest with you, I was trying to put off retirement until the Lions made it to the Super Bowl, but frankly I've got to get some sleep."
The station has posted audio of his farewells and in its report says he is "regarded as one of the country's most respected, revered and recognized air personalities", notes that he has "been installed in both National Radio Halls of Fame, as well as the Michigan Broadcasters Hall of Fame and has won the coveted "Marconi" as the nation's top radio personality."
Debbie Kenyon, Vice President and Market Manager CBS Radio Detroit, commented, "Unfortunately, we are losing a legend. No one has made more of an impact on Detroit radio than Dick Purtan. He is truly one-of-a-kind. Millions of people have woken up to Dick's voice in the morning his departure will leave a void I'm not sure anyone can fill."
The report also notes his charitable work, highlighting his annual Radiothon for The Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Program, which has raised more than USD 22 million since 1988 to feed the homeless and hungry in the Metro Detroit area. This year's radiothon is to be held on his final day on the station.
Purtan began his radio career in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, and then worked in Syracuse, New York; Jacksonville, Florida; and WSAI-AM in Cincinnati, where he arranged for The Beatles to perform in their first US tour - he and Gail put together life-savings of USD 2,500 and convinced four fellow DJs to do the same to ensure the performance - before first moving to Detroit with WKNR-AM.
After a brief spell at WBAL-AM in Baltimore, where he was fired after five months for being "too wild for the town", he returned to Detroit where he worked at WKYZ-AM for a decade, before moving again in 1978, this time over the border to CKLW-AM, in Windsor, Ontario.
Four years later he was back on the Detroit airwaves, this on WCYZ-FM (later WKQI-FM), after which he made his final move to WOMC-FM in 1996.
WOMC web site (Curently links to audio of retirement announcement):
WOMC report on Purtan retirement:
2010-02-11: Absolute Radio is moving into UK soccer commentary with a deal to purchase the rights to broadcast football commentary of 32 Saturday Barclays Premier League games each season under a three-year deal that starts in August.
The package it has picked up is one of three being offered by the Premier League, with further packages to be announced.
Until the end of this season the League has deals under which it sells two packages for Saturday afternoon rights - been taken by BBC Radio Five Live - with the first pick and UTV-owned talkSPORT, which has second pick.
The Absolute deal gives it the rights to the second pick and the station is to allow its listeners a choice of output - the commentary from the new deal will be aired on its AM frequency and it will continue to broadcast its Rock 'n' Roll Football - - a mix of music and the scores - on its London FM frequency. Both shows will be available on digital multiplexes and online
Absolute says it will announce the hosts for the new shows "in the coming weeks" and adds that it is to re-unite David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, who currently hosts 08:00 to 10:00 on Saturday mornings on the station, for podcasts and broadcasts from the soccer World Cup in South Africa. The duo, friends and former flatmates, formerly teamed up for Fantasy Football League broadcasts.
Skinner will also feature, along with weekday breakfast host Christian O'Connell and Sunday morning (10:00 to noon) host Dave Gorman in the station's biggest marketing exercise since its launch.
The new campaign will start on March 1 and under the line "Faces for Radio" will feature the three hosts looking unshaven and bedraggled: A sample of the billboard is currently on Absolute's blog site.
In other UK radio news, guest co-presenter Jodie Kidd, who was standing in for Lisa Snowdon on the breakfast show for Global Radio's Capital FM, today put an expletive on air. She was heard to say after the weather and a jingle introducing Johnny Vaughan and her shortly after 06:00, "Good Fuck off! Oh!" Vaughan picked up after another jingle with "Massive apologies er if you ...er...heard some bad language a couple of minutes ago. We er had a technical problem in which some microphones were up and down and It was a technical problem. You heard something on air you shouldn't have done; for that we are profoundly sorry. ..er Sorry if we offended er...er...we apologise. Let's roll on with the show "
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (ultimate parents of Absolute Radio):
Previous Global Radio:
Absolute Radio blog:
2010-02-10: Citadel today fired Erich "Mancow" Muller after 16 months in the role of 0900-1100 co-host on WLS-AM, Chicago: The move was part of changes by new management at the station that also saw his co-host Pat Cassidy dumped.
Robert Feder writing in Vocalo says that the move was made as Muller left the air and quoted the host as saying, "There's no rhyme or reason to this business. I've stopped trying to figure it out. I thought we were doing a great show. I think it had a lot of interesting elements, and I'm proud of the show we did."
In a reference to "The Odd Couple" movie, Muller added of Cassidy, who Feder says is expected to return to CBS Radio's all-news WBBM-AM where he'd anchored mornings before joining WLS in August 2008, "Pat Cassidy was Felix to my Oscar - and I loved every minute of it."
The slot is to be filled from tomorrow by Cisco Cotto, who's been co-hosting Roe Conn's afternoon show on WLS since he returned to the station last month from Salem Communications news/talk WIND-AM, and Feder comments that "By most accounts, Conn and Cotto did not mesh particularly well on the air."
The changes come from the new team of Michael Damsky, who was promoted to president and general manager of WLS last month (See RNW Jan 15) and Drew Hayes, whom he hired as operations director (See RNW Jan 26) and Damsky paid tribute to the departing couple.
"Mancow has been an outstanding talent and an ideal employee in every respect," he said. "Unfortunately, he does not fit the needs of the radio station as we try to fulfil a very clear vision of what listeners expect, and try to restore credibility to conservative talk. We thank him and Pat Cassidy for their contributions, and wish them both well."
He and Hayes said audience research showed that Muller's show did not appeal to the station's core audiences for the Don and Roma Wade show that preceded it and Rush Limbaugh's show that followed and Damsky commented, "The two hours has to be a very consistent bridge between those two programs, and Mancow's show just wasn't the bridge."
Vocalo - Feder report:
2010-02-10: According to The Hindu newspaper, India's Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting S. Jagathratchagan, who was taking part in a poetry reading session in all 14 official Indian languages held in Chennai, has said he will issue orders for organising poetry reading sessions in all the radio stations across the country.
The event was organized by the Indian Broadcasters Forum (IBF) and the minister said poetry was the only literary form that would link all the languages.
Previous Indian Radio:
The Hindu report:
2010-02-09: WHIO-AM, Dayton, Ohio, the first Cox Radio station, is celebrating its 75th anniversary today with old news clips, jingles, and other items from the past as well as its current talk-format programming: Reporting on the anniversary the Dayton Daily News notes that the station, founded by former Ohio Governor James M. Cox, went on air at 16:00 on Feb 9, 1935, with a prayer (delivered by the Rev Herman Page) and an address from Cox, who also owned the Dayton Daily News.
Speaking on "The Soul of Radio" he said, "May I express this christening sentiment - that the voice of this Miami Valley empire will always be an instrument of dignity, culture and practical service" ending his address by saying " may WHIO in its long watches of the night and in its endless days be conscious of its duty to God and humanity."
The station was initially broadcast at a power of 1,000 watts but in 1936 this was boosted five-fold to its current 5,000 watts. To launch it, Governor Cox purchased WBLW in Oil City, Pennsylvania, and moved it to Dayton. It first aired on WLBW's 1260 AM frequency but moved to its current 1290 AM in January 1941 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) changed all US radio frequencies.
Commenting on the station, Cox Media Group vice-president Alex Taylor, great-grandson of the founder, said, "To me, WHIO is more than a radio company. It's a symbol of Cox's first step toward diversification. Prior to that it was all newspapers. So it represents a willingness to change and take risks, and it sure paid off. I'll bet Gov. Cox never imagined how successful a bet it would become - that it would be transmitted on AM and FM, and now iPods and over the Internet."
Amongst its personalities was Lou Emm who, the paper reports, for "six decades, from 1941 to 1992, he interviewed visiting celebrities, read news and informed and aided listeners during events such as the Xenia tornado (This tornado in 1974 virtually destroyed Zenia, killing 33 and injuring hundred more)" and it quotes WHIO mid-day anchor Jason Michaels, who is also the station's honorary 75th anniversary historian, as saying, "Unlike other cities where you had AM and FM radio, Dayton had AM, FM and Lou Emm."
When Emm died all Dayton radio stations observed a moment of silence and shortly afterwards the station was flipped to news-talk: Until then it had a music-based format - mainly a middle-of-the road mixture although in 1984 it was briefly flipped to a Hot A/C-Adult Chart format, which flopped.
The station's web site has a history segment including audio from the archives including an excerpt from a Lou Emm report with Bob Hope and Phil Donahue, who began his career at the station, talking about his time in Dayton plus a selection of the station's jingles over all the years.
Previous Cox Media:
Dayton Daily News report:
WHIO web site:
2010-02-09: The BBC has disclosed in a posting today that for the year to the end of March 2009, it spent GBP 229 million (Currently USD 360 million) to artists, presenters, musicians and other contributors.
The sum amounts to 6.56% of the Licence Fee that funds the corporation and more than half of it - GBP 115 million (USD 181 million) went in payments up to GBP 50,000 (USD 79,000). Above this GBP 44 million (USD 69 million) went in payments of GBP 50,000 to 100,000 (USD 79,000 to 157,000); GBP 16 million (USD 25 million) in payments from GBP 100,000 to 150,000 (USD 157,000 to 236,000) and GBP 54 million (USD 85 million) in payments above GBP 150,000 (USD 236,000).
The Corporation has come under attack for the amounts it pays to its top stars but does not reveal individual payments and its Chief Operating Officer Caroline Thomson in a release defended the payments on the basis that this group is "central to the BBC's ability to deliver high quality and distinctive programming" and added, "The BBC engages some of the greatest performers in the world across television and radio, and also nurtures and develops people that will be at the heart of our programmes in the future. They add to the credibility, expertise and creativity of the BBC."
The Corporation has also posted details of expenses claimed by its 107 most senior decision-makers for the period July to September 2009 and the Gifts & Hospitality Register for these senior managers covering the period April to June and July to September 2009 and ranged from small amounts such as 75 pence (USD 1.17) for a parking meter for Director-General Mark Thompson to rather larger items such as a GBP627 (USD 986) for a taxi for the corporation's director, future media and technology Erik Huggers.
They totalled GBP 188,000 (USD 296,000) in the second period and GBP 175,000 (USD 275,00) in the previous quarter.
RNW note:Various British newspapers trawled through the expenses - they include small amounts such as parking meter fees: The Daily Mail highlighted what it considers extravagant charges and there were also reports in The Guardian, Sun, and Telegraph.
2010-02-09: Global Radio-owned Capital FM has signed Grammy-nominated R&B singer Akon to host a Saturday evening show on the station from this weekend.
He will take over the 19:00 to 21:00 slot from Dave Kelly, who will retain his weekday 22:00 to 02:00 show on the station.
Previous Global Radio:
2010-02-08: Howard Stern has further fuelled speculation that he may leave radio by confirming on his show today that he is talking to the producers of "American Idol" about possibly replacing Simon Cowell, who is leaving the TV show at the end of this season.
Stern's current five-year USD 500 million deal with Sirius XM runs out at the end of this year and he and Mel Karmazin, the company's CEO, have both made public statements that have been widely seen as part of negotiations about a new deal: Karmazin has said he would like to keep Stern's show but not at any price, saying a deal had to be on "terms that are in the best interest of our shareholders (See RNW Nov 17).
A week ago Stern on his show dismissed the idea that he would consider joining Clear Channel (See RNW Jan 25) but in November last year he had said on air that he didn't think he was going to sign again for the satellite radio company, commenting, "I know exactly what I want to do here and I don't know if it would interest them."
Since then there has been continuing speculation about what moves he might make and last week the New York Post quoted an "insider" as saying that American Idol's producers would like Stern to take over from Cowell, who was paid around USD 50 million a year.
Stern's latest comments sparked reaction to various reports including a Los Angeles Times blog that quoted Stern's comments - "There's not a better job on the planet than judging that ... karaoke contest," he said of Idol - but expressed scepticism about him leaving not just radio but New York.
Comments ranged from the very supportive - one post read "Howard is a great interviewer who would be a funny and honest judge. I would even start watching the show again with Howard on board" to the definitely opposed - another post said, "will never watch even a COMMERCIAL for this show with Howard Stern on it. What I like about American Idol is that it is relatively free of the filth you find on TV these days. Simon might be harsh, but he tells the truth- and there are very few people that can argue the reality of what he has to say, even if his methods of delivery are seldom kind. Howard Stern is the slime of the earth- who spews nothing but filth, degradation, and debasement. Fox, listen up- I promise you will kill the show dead...dead...dead if you put in a disgusting judge like Howard Stern."
The news, which at one stage would have sent Sirius XM stock tumbling, had little effect on the markets - it dropped three cents to close at 82 cents but then started to rise, possible as a result of publicity given to the recent approval by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to NASDAQ (and NYSE rules) rules.
In regards to Sirius XM, which is listed on the NASDAQ, the most important change is that amongst other things in some cases can double from 180 days to 360 days the period, after an initial 180 day notice of non-compliance with its rules, for a company to regain compliance.
Karmazin had said he was working with the NASDAQ and SEC to argue for a market cap exemption and the changes mean that Sirius XM is likely to gain an extra period, running to March next year for it to regain compliance: Sirius received a de-listing notice last September because its stock had fallen below USD 1.00 for thirty consecutive days (See RNW Sep 17, 2009).
It said it intended to regain compliance before the deadline of March 15 this year and also said it would consider various options to do so including a reverse-split of its stock, a move that its stockholders approved in May last year should the board determine it to be in the best interest of stockholders.
Previous Sirius XM:
Los Angeles Times blog:
2010-02-08: UK Media regulator Ofcom has upheld one standards complaint against radio and considered a further two resolved in its latest bulletin in which it also upheld standards complaints against six TV broadcasters, upheld a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint, and posted details of a further five TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints that were not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld was against Sunshine AM, which is licensed to broadcast to Hereford and Worcester but whose Hereford transmitter has been off the air since at least December 23, 2008.
Ofcom noted that licensee Classic Hits Radio Limited is a subsidiary of Laser Broadcasting Ltd., which is in administration and added that the administrator said the station was not broadcasting to the Hereford area because of an ongoing dispute with the owners of the transmitter site.
It ruled that this dispute did not remove the obligations under the licence terms to broadcast to both areas and said it had notified Classic Hits and the Administrator of its parent company that, given the seriousness of the breach and its ongoing nature it was considering the case for statutory sanction.
Of the resolved cases, one concerned to Global Radio's Capital FM and the other to its Luton station Heart FM. The Capital case related to a competition it broadcast in which listeners were invited to enter a series of prize draws to win pairs of tickets for the Jingle Bell Ball - a live music event held at the O2 Arena on 5 and 6 December last year.
The broadcasts ran from Nov 2 to Dec 4 and normally a draw was held once an hour daily between 06:00 and 23:00 with listeners invited to text in a keyword during the first quarter of the hour, after which a winner was randomly selected, contacted and taken to air, to be awarded their prize tickets. The texts were at normal, not premium rates, and a free response sent back to entrants to thank them for entering.
In connection with this Capital asked the text service provider to devise a system that sent only one response text back to entrants who submitted more than one entry and the service provider also made the random selection and provided the contact details to the station.
The system was tested by Global employees in the first draw but on November 7 an entrant who had entered a draw some 40 times but had not won contacted the station to express concerns that his tests might have not been entered correctly: A manual check by the employee who took the cal revealed that only one entry had been included from the caller and Global management then made checks that showed that only the first ever entry from any mobile phone was being entered into the draw -- 94 draws had been affected at this time to which 51,093 entrants had made a total of 196,430 entries.
Global said that the station held a weekly senior management meeting at which it would have become noticeable that the normal/expected patterns of entry were not being displayed for the competition and that it would have therefore probably have picked up the problem two days after the listener's call.
It changed its system and service providers were not given all terms and conditions of competitions so that system checks could be set up and in this case it had also made additional pairs of tickets available as prizes, identified entrants omitted from the affected draws, re-run each draw with only them included - thus giving them a greater chance of winning - and then notified the winners. Global added that because of the complicated nature of the issue and solution it did not think it would help to explain the details to each of its listeners.
Ofcom took the view that the actions taken and the fact that no entrant was put at a disadvantage resolved the matter.
In the other Global case, Heart FM had aired a live interview with pop singer Daniel Merriweather prior to his performance at the Heart FM Christmas Lights event during which the singer began to speak "negatively about the fast food chain KFC, having worked there when he was younger, and used the word "fuck".
The station immediately apologized for the language which drew one complaint and when Ofcom asked about the incident Global explained that the interview was due to be pre-recorded but had to be conducted live because of a flight delay. It said the presenters had tried to steer the singer away from the subject when he spoke in disparaging terms about KFC and this elicited the swear word for which both the presenters and the singer apologized on air.
Ofcom said that in the circumstances it considered the actions taken resolved the matter.
The figures compare with one radio and five TV standards complaints upheld in the previous bulletin in which Ofcom also considered another radio standards complaint resolved.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 617 TV complaints against 172 items (477 of them against two items) and 8 radio complaints against 8 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 2530 TV complaints against 161 items - 1,318 complaints against an edition of the X-Factor - and 16 radio complaints against 16 items that were not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-02-08: Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB, Sydney, and breakfast host Alan Jones have had to pay a Sydney Lebanese Muslim community leader Keysar Trad AUD 10,000 (USD 8,600) in damages despite a request to stay the order whilst they appeal although it did succeed in getting a stay on having to make apologies.
Both orders were made by the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal in relation to comments made by Jones before the riots in 2005 in the Sydney suburb of Cronulla and subsequent attacks Jones made on Trad.
Although Jones had warned against illegal action he repeatedly read out a call for people to "Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day " Jones in comments following an altercation between a group allegedly of Middle Eastern or Lebanese origin in which two volunteer surf lifesavers were injured told a caller in relation to who was responsible.. "What kind of grubs? Well, I'll tell you what kind of grubs this lot were. This lot were Middle-Eastern grubs" and later also commented, "The truth is they're Lebanese gangs and the Lebanese leadership in this state needs to have something to say about it . let's identify who these people are " and read out letters that included the comments, " the only language the Middle-Eastern youth understand is a good hiding These Middle-Eastern people must be treated with a big stick "and " My suggestion is to invite the biker gangs to be present at Cronulla Railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive "
The comments led to a ruling by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that Jones and the station - owned by Macquarie subsidiary Harbour Radio - "breached Australian industry codes by broadcasting material likely to encourage violence or brutality and also vilified people on the basis of ethnicity."
Trad complained to the complained to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal about Jones comments and in December last year the tribunal ruled that Jones' commentary, when taken as a whole, was unreasonable: In its ruling it commented, "Rather than dispassionately analyzing the evidence and commenting on it, Mr. Jones appears to have been induced or stimulated by his own preconceptions to place highly exaggerated and distorted interpretations on the few objective facts apparently known to him" and in another section said, Jones' comments about vast numbers of Lebanese males raping, pillaging and plundering the country were "reckless hyperbole calculated to agitate and excite his audience."
Jones and the station were ordered to pay the damages - which Trad said would be donated to a Muslim women's charity - within 21 days and to make an apology, the terms of which were to be discussed with Trad- eight week was allowed for this before the Tribunal took further action; It also ordered 2GB to review its policies and training procedures within six months.
The ruling was appealed but the station and Jones only succeeded in getting a stay of the apology.
The Sydney Morning Herald in its report says that attention is now turning to the issue of who will pay the costs of the case - estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars - and adds that both parties are arguing that the other should pay them all.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network
NSW Administrative Tribunal Ruling (294 KB RTF file):
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2010-02-07: Last week was yet another where the main regulatory news came from the US and indeed, as regards, radio, all significant postings were from North America - there were no radio postings from Australia or Ireland and only a few from Canada and the UK.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made a number of radio-related postings including (in order of province or territory):
*Approval of application by Northern Lights Entertainment Inc., the licensee of CKIQ-FM, Iqaluit, for a licence for a 415 watts predominantly English-language commercial FM in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The CRTC commented, "Even though the modest size of the Iqaluit market suggests that the market has limited capacity to accommodate a second commercial station, the Commission is of the view that the synergies available to the applicant contribute to the potential viability of a second commercial station in the market."
*Approval of application by Radio de la communauté francophone d'Ottawa to use the frequency 94.5 MHz for its new French=language community FM in Ottawa that was approved last year subject to the applicant proposing a suitable alternative frequency to the one for which it had applied.
*Denial of application by Radio du Golfe inc to add a 50 watts low-power FM transmitter at Percé to carry the signal of its CFMV-FM, Chandler. The application was opposed by Michel Mathieu, broadcasting consultant, on behalf of the Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC.
The CRTC in denying the application noted that during the current licence period CFMV-FM may have contravened requirements of its licence relating to French language musical selections and that its longstanding practice to deny licence amendments requested by licensees that are in non-compliance with their regulatory obligations.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to increase the height of the transmitter for CBF-FM, Montréal, 242.7 to 298.9 metres above average terrain so as to improving La Première Chaîne's service in the greater Montréal area.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a March 12 deadline for submission of interventions or comments relating to an application by Torres Media Ottawa Inc. to relocate the transmitter and decrease the power of its English-language commercial station CIDG-FM, Ottawa/Gatineau, from 1,300 to 934 watts.
The applicant says the request was made because it was unsuccessful in its negotiations with the owners of the building where the antenna was originally supposed to be located and the CRTC noted that the change would increase in the population within the station's 3 mV/m contour from 305,381 to 462,901 people and within its 0.5 mV/m contour from 595,972 to 765,086 people.
In the UK, Ofcom made only one radio-related posting - that of details of the grants it is making in the second round of Community Radio Awards from is 2009/10 Fund (See RNW Feb 2).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has, as already noted, put forward a USD 352.5 million budget for its 2011 fiscal year (See RNW Feb 1).
In other actions it has put forward proposals to give priority to applications from entities controlled by Native American and Alaska Native Tribal Groups when it comes to proposing allocation of FM frequencies and the filing of AM and non-commercial educational (NCE) FM applications for radio services that would primarily serve tribal lands and also adopted a proposal to prohibit some kinds of downgrading of AM facilities - so as, for example to serve a smaller population and thus negate factors that led to the preference being given - that were given such priority and thus not subject to competitive bidding.
The agency dismissed objections from the Catholic Radio Association (CRA) and Maryland law firm Booth, Freret, Imlay & Tepper, P.C., that argued that giving such priority was unconstitutional because it gives precedence to faith or ethnic groups, commenting that the US federal government has a relationship with Tribes that is unique, and not analogous to such other groups.
The agency commented of a CRA proposal to award the priority only if the proposed facility would exclusively serve tribal lands, that "the laws of physics and the historical development of tribal lands make such a suggestion impractical at best." (RNW comment: The CRA would seem to be another example of petty-minded and unseemly religious organizations - with ethical standards to match those of a shady attorney, never mind a reputable US law firm).
The agency also sought further comment was to whether it should implement a special bidding credit to tribal applicants in addition to or in lieu of our existing new entrant bidding credits
Commenting on the proposals Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps said he was "delighted" to add his vote of approval and added, "Increased tribal ownership of radio stations furthers the Commission's core goals of competition, localism and diversity. More tribally-owned stations will mean new opportunities for these rural communities: economic advancement from construction activity to erect broadcast facilities; advertisements for goods and services geared especially to tribal audiences and markets; career and employment opportunities in media-related fields; outlets for the distribution of diverse cultural programming and viewpoints, as well as public safety information for tribal lands. This initiative goes to the heart of localism. There can be no doubt that radio stations owned by Tribes, for the benefit of those residing on tribal lands, advance the FCC's localism objective."
His fellow Democrat Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn said the FCC was taking "a step in the right direction" and added, "The Tribes and Villages have been woefully underrepresented among the radio ownership ranks, and for decades they have suffered a lack of radio programming addressing issues of importance to them. As a result, many Tribal members simply do not have access to a critical source of information that can contribute significantly to the economic and community development of Native peoples."
Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell in his comment said that by "affording the Tribes an improved opportunity to provide news, information, entertainment and public safety alerts to their members" the initiative was in line with the Commission's charge to provide a "fair, efficient and equitable distribution of radio service" across the nation."
He added," It also is consistent with the Commission's longstanding recognition of tribal sovereignty and the federal trust relationship between the U.S. government and federally recognized Native peoples" and said that he hoped that the new stations that resulted would "help to promote tribal self-sufficiency and economic development."
The FCC also took action over the airing of phone calls that were recorded without the permission of the person called, proposing a USD 16,000 penalty in one case and confirming the base level USD 4,000 penalty in the second case (See RNW Feb 5).
In other enforcement action, the agency reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 8,000 a penalty on a North Carolina College Station for public file offences (Also RNW RNW Feb 1) and licensing decisions included the approval of an application by of Jodesha Broadcasting, Inc, the licensee of KANY-FM, Ocean Shores, Washington, and permittee of KSWW-FM, Montesano, Washington, for channel changes that would upgrade KANY and downgrade KSWW.
The changes, commented the FCC, would enable KANY to serve an additional 483,000 people whilst retaining a first local service at Ocean Shores.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-02-07: Former Hawaii Congressman Cecil Landau "Cec" Heftel, whose Heftel Broadcasting developed into Hispanic Broadcasting Co., now Univision Radio, has died aged 85 in San Diego: According to a news release his family said he had "been in failing health for a while and died of natural causes."
Heftel who was born in Chicago served in the US Army from 1943-6. He moved to Arizona where in 1951 and obtained a Bachelor's Degree at Arizona State University.
Heftel bought and sold various stations during the 70s, 80s, and 90s including an early success story with KIMN-AM, Denver, which he purchased in 1957 and sold three years later having taken it to the top of the ratings. He moved to Hawaii in 1964 and built up a broadcast empire that included KGMB-AM, KMGB-FM and KGMB TV and other radio and TV stations but in 1973 was back buying on the mainland -but living in Hawaii -with the purchase of WHYI-FM (Y100- which was built up by John Rook and Bill Tanner - see John Rook's web site for his personal memories of Heftel), Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
He also purchased WJAS-AM in Pittsburgh but sold his top-40 AM stations in the late 1970s, moving into FM and building up a holding that he sold in the 80s.
He was also partnered with Scott Ginsburg from 1986-1987 as H & G Communications, whose holdings included WLUP AM/FM, Chicago.
Heftel was active in Democratic Party politics on Hawaii from the early 1970,s being elected to Congress from 1977 to 1986, when he resigned to run for governor, losing the race for the Democratic nomination to John Waihee: The Honolulu Advertiser reports that Heftel, who had been well ahead of Waihee, claimed that he was smeared by false rumours in the closing days of the primary but that when nothing came of a state investigation to look into the matter he left for California, although he retained a home in Hawaii.
He had continued to build up his broadcasting holdings and his last group of stations - in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Miami - were sold to Clear Channel in 1996 and later merged with Mac Tichenor's Tichenor Media into the last Heftel Broadcasting, which changed its name to Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, and was eventually taken over by Univision.
He returned to politics in Hawaii in 2004, when he was elected to the state Board of Education but did not seek re-election in 2008.
Honolulu Advertiser report:
2010-02-06: Revenues for Australian commercial radio grew for the third consecutive month in January this year according to latest figures from industry body Commercial Radio Australia, which says that the overall growth was 3.69% on a year earlier to a total of AUD 43.61 million (USD 37.97 million) for the five metropolitan markets. The rise followed a December increase of 4.67% to AUD 54.15 million (Then USD 49.36 million - See RNW Jan 9) and a November increase of 4.15% to AUD 58.95 million (Then USD 53.90 million- See RNW Dec 8, 2009).
As in previous months there was considerable variation from market to market with January growth ranging from a 7.2% rise to AUD 7.12 million (USD 6.20 million) in Brisbane and a 1.62% fall in Adelaide to AUD 4.07 million (USD 3.54 million) according to the 2010 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue, as sourced by Deloitte
The largest market Sydney did well with a 6.64% rise to AUD 13.36 million (USD 11.63 million), followed by 3.96% growth to AUD 6.29 million (USD 5.48 million) in Perth and 1.51% growth to AUD 12.77 million (USD 11.12 million) in Melbourne.
Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner commented of the increases, "Growth in January is good news for the radio industry and augurs well for 2010. The market has been challenging over the past twelve months but the recent three months of consecutive growth is a very positive sign for the year ahead,"."
She added that the industry was focused on continuing to promote the medium as a cost effective and efficient way to advertise and noted that it had recently launched the "Smart marketers use radio" campaign.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-02-06: Frank N. Magid, the chairman and founder of Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., and a pioneer in developing media research, has died aged 78 from cancer.
Magid, who was born in Chicago, graduated from the University of Iowa where he became a member of the faculty of the Department of Sociology, and, says the company's web site, "His keen interest in human behaviour, combined with his academic experiences, led Frank Magid to see the potential for using the scientific study of human behaviour to gain practical business insights and competitive advantage."
He founded the company in 1956 and his broadcasting research began ten years later with WMT-TV (now KGAN) in Cedar Rapids, whose ratings were boosted following a survey that he did. He commented in an interview to mark the company's 50th anniversary, "Changes in editorial content and presentation style might cost them little or nothing to make, and yet have a profound impact on the value perceived by the consumer."
Magid worked for all the major US broadcast networks and was also a an early proponent of a move into FM at a time when many AM station owners in the US thought there was little opportunity in the transmission system.
Magid was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 1992. He retired as CEO of Frank N. Magid Associates in 2002, handing the post on to his son Brent, but remained chairman until his death.
In 2002, he retired as, when he was succeeded by his son, Brent, but remained chairman of the company until his death.
Frank Magid Associates web site:
2010-02-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed fines totalling USD 20,000 against two stations in relation to the recording of phone calls for broadcast without gaining permission from those called to record the calls.
It also warned of possible future licence revocation proceedings if Spanish Broadcasting System's WSKQ-FM, New York, which is facing a USD 16,000 penalty, was involved in future violations.
The case relates to a call made to a woman by a station employee who claimed to be employed at a local hospital and told here her husband had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and had died at the hospital. The woman became distraught and was subsequently told that the call was a "joke."
WSKQ in response to a letter of inquiry from the FCC said that its parent had a contract with Rubin Ithier, who recorded the call for a prank call feature show and said he initiated the call that it broadcast, which was made at the request of the husband. It also admitted that Ithier did not tell the woman that the call as being recorded for alter broadcast until after it had actually been broadcast - it was aired twice.
The agency posted a transcript of the call that detailed Ithier's telling of supposed injuries to the husband, spoke of the need for a blood transfusion, and then, after the woman had passed the phone to a friend, Ithier telling the friend that the man had died and adding, "So if you want to stop by here to pick up or identify the body or something "
The phone was then handed back to the wife who was told of the death and then later asked ", you listen to El Vacilon de la Manana?" and told when she said she did, "Well this was a joke mami. He is alive and kicking."
The wife hung up the phone when she learned that the call was a prank and Ithier telephoned her again to obtain her permission to broadcast it.
The FCC noted that its rules required a station to inform the call recipient prior to recording the call that it was intended for broadcast and that this had not been done although it did note that WSKQ said its independent contractor obtained the call recipient's permission to broadcast the call before it was aired.
It noted that, although the base forfeiture was USD 4,000, it had previously proposed a USD 16,000 forfeiture on the licensee for a "very similar conduct" and said it considered that "USD 16,000 is also an appropriate forfeiture here"and added, "Although we exercise discretion in this instance in not imposing a higher forfeiture, we warn the Licensee that future violations of this nature may result in harsher enforcement action, including license revocation proceedings. "
In South Carolina, the agency issued a base-level forfeiture - namely USD 4,000 - to Rejoynetwork, LLC, licensee of WAAW-FM, Williston, for "apparently broadcasting multiple telephone conversations without giving prior notice to the individuals being called of its intention to do so.
This case involved calls made by a station personality to three airport officials and their broadcast for which it had issued a USD 4,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL). The licensee responded by arguing that the host had identified himself by name and said that he was from the station when he called and they could have ended the calls.
The FCC noted in relation to this that the calls were put directly to air and said, "Mere identification of oneself by name and as calling from a radio station does not provide notice that the call is being broadcast or recorded for broadcast."
It dismissed the argument and other arguments including one that its rules violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution and confirmed the penalty.
2010-02-05: The White House has nominated Richard M. Lobo, currently chairman of the Florida Public Broadcasting Service Inc. and president and chief executive officer of public broadcaster WEDU-TV, as Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, which provides transmission services for US government civilian international broadcasting services.
The broadcasters - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Radio and TV Martí, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN)-Radio Sawa and Alhurra Television - come under The Broadcasting Board of Governors.
In 1994 Lobo, the 73-years-old grandson of Cuban immigrants, was appointed by President Bill Clinton to run the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which oversees Radio and TV Marti: He spent some four decades working for network TV affiliates and came out of retirement in 2002 to help WEDU weather a financial crisis. At the end of September and last year he announced plans to retire from the station: His wife Caren spearheaded fundraising for then candidate Barack Obama in Florida during the 2008 presidential election.
His appointment requires Senate confirmation.
2010-02-04: Latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint AUdio Research) for the final quarter of 2009 show good news for the medium - compared to the previous quarter listening was up but worse news for digital enthusiasts - the digital share of listening was down.
They also provided good news for Sir Terry Wogan who stepped down from his BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show on a high with 8.10 million listeners each week, a figure that matched his previous record reach in the first quarter of 2008 - but worse news for Jonathan Ross, who is leaving the BBC when his current contract expires in July - the figures for his Saturday Radio 2 show were down.
BBC network radio fared well with its reach up on the previous quarter and on a year earlier and the BBC's 6-music and BBC 7 digital stations bucked the trend to record increased reach with the Asian Network recording a small increase: Of the national commercial stations. UTV's talkSPORT increased its listening share (but not its reach) whilst Times of India-owned Absolute Radio's reach was down although its share was unchanged and Global Radio's Classic FM was down in both reach and share.
In London, Global Radio's Heart FM led the commercial race in terms of reach - its weekly audience of 1.881 million was down 12,000 on the previous quarter - overtaking Bauer's Magic FM with 1.821 million, having lost 188,000 from its top-ranked 2.009 million in the previous quarter to fall to third rank: Magic held on to its lead in share terms - 6.1%, up from 5.5% in the previous quarter- followed by Heart with 5.3%, up from 4.7% in the previous quarter and Global Radio's Capital FM, whose share of 4.9% was down from 5.6% in the previous quarter when it led in reach. Capital had the consolation of moving up in terms of reach and had a second-ranked 1.827 million, up 9,000.
In terms of overall share the BBC took 55.2% - up from 55.0% in the previous quarter but down from 55.7% a year earlier whilst commercial radio's share was up from 42.2% a year ago and 42.4% in the previous quarter to 42.6%. The BBC reach however fell by 313,000 from the previous quarter's figures to 33.264 million -33.520 million a year ago - whilst commercial radio recorded an increase of 149,000 on the previous quarter to 31.374 million - 31.210 million a year ago.
In the national breakfast show battle, Sir Terry Wogan as already noted left on a high - he moves to a two-hour show, Weekend Wogan, on the station from next Sunday and his last ratings in the breakfast slot showed an increase of 345,000 on the previous quarter to 8.102 million and up from 7.964 million a year earlier: The ratings almost matched his record of 8.104 million in the first quarter of 2008.
The BBC in its comments highlighted Wogan's success and also noted an audience increase for BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles - his weekly audience is up on the previous quarter by 200,000 to 7.24 million listeners but it was down by 60,000 on a year earlier- and in listening to its digital stations.
BBC Director of Audio and Music Tim Davie commented, "Terry is a legendary broadcaster and these figures show his popularity has never been higher. I'm now looking forward to tuning in to his new show later this month, along with all the TOGs (Terry's Old Gals or Geezers)."
He added, "I'm also pleased to see growth amongst our digital-only stations and robust figures across the BBC Radio portfolio."
For the commercial sector Andrew Harrison, chief executive of the RadioCentre, was upbeat about the ratings, commenting, "Today's figures are very encouraging for our sector with an increase in reach and audience share. The figures for local commercial radio highlight that local commercial radio is at the top of its game and delighting its audience. With an increase in listening for all radio across the board, and the number of listeners tuning into DAB showing encouraging growth, it's clear that Britain loves radio."
"The figures," he added, "are an added boost to our sector which has benefited from healthy revenue increases in the Q4 period, which have been maintained into Q1 2010."
Within the figures compared to the third quarter and a year ago:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 349,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 10.763 million with listening share down from 9.9% to 9.8% (10.1% a year ago when it had 10.576 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 149,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 13.473 million but listening share was up from 15.9% to 16.5% (15.8% a year ago, when it had 13.465 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 lost 318,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.874 million and listening share was down from 1.4% to 1.1% (1.3% a year ago, when it had 1.981 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 lost 377,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.841 million but listening share was up from 12.4% to 12.5% (12.4% a year ago when it had 9.812 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 264,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.106 million, with listening share down from 4.9% to 4.5% (4.8% a year ago when it had 5.830 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it lost 347,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.188 million and a listening share down from 5.3% to 4.6% (5.0% a year ago when it had 5.993 million listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 30,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.227 million and listening share unchanged at 0.6% (0.7% a year ago when it had 1.362 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network gained 3,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 360,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.2% (0.2% a year ago when it had 379,000 listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd's (Times of India parent) Absolute Radio - the former Virgin Radio - (total including all AM and FM) - lost 94,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.493 million and listening share unchanged at 1.1% (1.1% a year ago when it had an audience of 1.887 million).
*Global Radio's Classic FM lost 311,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.134 million and listening share down from 3.7% to 3.5% (4.0% a year ago when it had 5.702 million listeners).
*UTV's talkSPORT gained 22,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.496 million and listening share up from 1.9% to 2.1% (1.8% a year ago when it had 2.313 million listeners.).
Among digital stations the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below - (previous quarter in brackets) - this excludes Bauer's Kerrang! which has a substantial analogue and digital listenership and had a total weekly reach of 1.277 million including its analogue stations (down from 1.316 million quarter on quarter and down from 1.398 million a year ago) but includes BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network:
1 The Hits (Bauer) -1.151 million (up from 1.243 million).
2 Smash Hits Radio (Bauer) - 961,000 (down from 1.155 million).
3 BBC 7 - 931,000 (Up from 834,000).
4 Planet Rock (Now independent, having been sold by GCap) - 698,000 (down from 708,000).
5. BBC 6 Music - 695,000 (Up from 624,000 and up from 552,000 a year ago.)
6 BBC Five Live Sports Extra -663,000 (down from 963,000 and from 776,000 a year ago).
7. BBC 1Xtra - 531,000 (down from 547,000).
8 Heat (Bauer) -447,000 (Down from 623,000)
9 BBC Asian Network -360,.000 (up from 357,000 ).
10 NME Radio Down from 218,000 to 177,000
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (Ultimate parent of Absolute Radio):
Previous Global Radio:
Previous RAJAR (Third quarter 2009 ratings):
2010-02-04: Citadel Broadcasting in a bankruptcy filing to the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York says that if its re-organization plan is approved it will cut its total debt - currently standing at around USD 2.8 billion - by USD 1.4 billion to USD 762.5 million: The deal has been pre-agreed with more than 60% of its senior lenders who under the deal will end up controlling 90% of the stock of the re-organized company and also a share of a new term loan.
In the filing, the company notes that over the past three years its net revenues have fallen from around USD 418 million in 2007 to USD 382 million in 2008 and for the first eleven months of this year were USD 294 million, suggesting a total for the full year of around USD 321 million.
Most of its secured debt- USD 2.144 billion - is held by JP Morgan Chase. In terms of funding the plan, Citadel says that it expects to have around USD 72 million in cash by the end of April
2010-02-03: The BBC's chief operating officer Caroline Thomson has told the House of Lords communications committee inquiry into digital broadcasting that the corporation would not commit funds to expand its DAB cover to match that of the current FM network until the British government has set a firm date for a switch and has also made licence fee settlement that would enable it to pay for the expansion.
The BBC already has plans to take if DAB network coverage to around 90% of the UK population but FM is available to around 99% and the cost of extending DAB cover to the same level would be tens of millions pounds and Thomson commented that adding this final segment could nearly double the cost of DAB transmission.
The move could either put pressure on government to hasten a switchover or possibly see a future government - the opposition Conservative Party has already raised reservations about the funding of the Corporation and its governance - opt against pursuing a switchover.
Thomson also commented on the BBC review of its digital operations as part of the strategic review of all its activities by its Director -General Mark Thompson and highlighted the Asian Network as being at risk: BBC Digital TV services are expected to remain in their present form after the review but as of the radio services, BBC 6-Music well as the Asian Network could face changes.
Thomson said of the Asian network that it was trying "to cater for many disparate groups simultaneously" and added, "We are wrestling with how to best serve this audience and whether one whole network is the right way to do it."
The Asian Network audience has been falling - its weekly reach was down 15% on the previous quarter at 357,000 in the third quarter of last year, the most recent ratings (Figures for the final quarter are to be released tomorrow).
Also at the BBC, BBC Radio 2 has announced the winners of the station's the 11th annual Folk Awards: Amongst the awards, Nanci Griffith and Dick Gaughan received Lifetime Achievement Awards; Jon Boden was named Folk Singer Of The Year; Squeezebox player John Kirkpatrick was named Musician Of The Year; Lau took the Best Group Award for the third consecutive year; Cara Dillon took the Album Of The Year Award for Hill Of Thieves; Arrogance Ignorance And Greed, written by Steve Knightley and performed by Show Of Hands, was named Best Original Song; Show of Hands, winners of Best Live Act in 2004, were named Best Duo; and Bellowhead took the Best Live Act Award.
In addition with the Horizon Award for folk's best emerging artist went to guitarist Sam Carter; The Good Tradition Award went to Mike Alexander and Douglas Eadie, producers of the BBC TV Transatlantic Sessions; and Martin Simpson was presented with Best Traditional Track for Sir Patrick Spens by fellow musician Richard Hawley.
Highlights of the ceremony were aired in a 90-minute Show hosted by Mike Harding on Wednesday and are available on the BBC Radio web site until next Wednesday.
2010-02-03: According to the New York Times a number of air staff at the former progressive US radio talk network Air America Radio were still owed money when it closed down on January 21 (See RNW Jan 21).
The paper says that Air America's bankruptcy filing in Manhattan Federal Court showed Rachel Maddow was owed USD 3,592 - her monthly pay was USD 5,833 - and Ron Reagan's company was owed USD 6.531 - his monthly pay was listed as USD 9.375.
Chairman Charlie Kireker was owed USD 2,317 in expenses, a sum that pales in comparison to the amount owed to his Pendulum Media - it is owed almost all of the unsecured debts, which exceeded assets by more than USD 15 million.
Previous Air America:
New York Times report:
2010-02-02: According to the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIWs) the number of women reaching General Manager level in US radio stations continued a steady rise last year when they totalled 1,719 (16.2%) of 10,730 AM and FM radio stations, up from 15.8% in 2008: in 2004 the figures was 14.9%.
MIWs adds that there has also been slight growth for stations in the top 100 markets - up from 15% in 2004 to 16.8% in 2008 and 17.3% last year: It says that overall, the best management opportunities for women continue to be in Sales Management, although the position here has remained essentially unchanged and notes that in 2009, 30.5% of all stations had women SMs, flat from the previous year whilst in the top 100 markets, 32.6% of the stations had women SMs, down slightly.
The greatest challenge for women in radio management, it says, continues to be as programmers and notes that in 2009 women programmed only 11.1% of all stations, up from 10.7% five years ago. In the top 100 markets, women programmed only 9.7% of all stations.
Heidi Raphael, MIW Radio Group Spokesperson and Vice President of Corporate Communication at Greater Media, Inc., commented in a news release, "The MIWs have been analyzing and publishing these gender numbers for the past ten years. We are very pleased to see the steady, consistent increase in the area of sales management and senior management. We will continue to work towards promoting future growth in the area of programming management opportunities."
2010-02-02: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the grants it is making in the second round of Community Radio Awards from is 2009/10 Fund: It had already made awards totalling GBP 233,500 (USD 373,000) in the first round in June and in this round made a further 14 awards totalling GBP 226,500 (USD 362,000). Awards were not made in the case of a further 25 applications in the second round.
The awards made averaged GBP 16,180 (USD 25,850) and ranged from GBP 11.580 (USD 18,500) to Saint FM, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, for a part-time advertising salesperson up to GBP 39,700 (USD 63,400) to Pure Radio, Greater Manchester, for a Regional Account Manager. The latter came in response to a was for a joint application, which will fund a post benefitting 12 individual community radio stations in the Greater Manchester area whose combined coverage includes around two million people.
Other awards were made for Station Managers at Bishop FM, County Durham and Blast 106, Belfast; for Development Officers at Burngreave Community Radio, Sheffield, and WCR FM, Wolverhampton; for a Fundraising and Marketing Officer at Community Voice FM Middlesbrough; for a Community Fundraising Development Officer at Drystone Radio, Keighley, North Yorkshire; for a Sales and Fundraising Manager at BRO Radio, Barry, Wales; for a Sales & Fundraising Coordinator at Harborough FM, Market Harborough, Leicestershire; for a Fundraiser at Somer Valley FM, Midsomer, Norton, Somerset; for a part-time Fundraising & Community Outreach Officer at Radio Teesdale, County Durham; for a Programme Manager and a Technical Manager at Flame CCR, Wirral; and for a Project Training Manager at BRFM Bridge Radio, Sheerness, Kent.
Ofcom also announced that applications for the first round of funding in 2010/11 will be invited in April 2010, with a closing date in May 2010 and a meeting to allocate these awards will be held on 28 June this year. So far it cannot confirm how much funding will be available in the period.
2010-02-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put forward a budget of USD 352.5 million for its 2011 Fiscal year, up from USD 335.8 million in 2010, albeit this was lower than the previous high of USD 338.9 million in 2008 and also lower than the actual appropriation of USD 341.6 million in 2009..
The FCC says the funding is to be used to "implement the National Broadband Plan; continue to manage the nation's spectrum use; overhaul the Commission's data systems and processes; continue to improve the FCC's operations using improved technology; support the Commission's public safety and cyber-security role; strengthen the Commission's consumer information programs; and enhance the FCC's role as a strong advocate for U.S. interests internationally."
It will also cover mandatory increases in salaries and benefits and inflationary increases for contractual services
Within the figures the FCC is listing staff numbers of a total of 1,980 Full Time Equivalents, up 75 from 1905 in 2009 and up 170 from the 1,810 in 2008: It says the additional staff requested would bring it the skills to "support the cyber-security role
the Commission is to undertake; implement fully the broadband responsibilities placed on this agency well after the broadband report is delivered to Congress; overhaul the Commission's data systems and processes; create a new way of working with the public and consumers; revitalize our position and influence internationally; and enable the Commission to lead the entire U.S. Government in the use of new media technologies that will ensure broad based public participation and transparency into our deliberations."
In other actions the agency has reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 8,000 a penalty on Gaston College, licensee of non-commercial Educational station WSGE-FM, Dallas, North Carolina.
The penalty followed a complaint that the station had refused to make its public files available to the complainant, who alleged that he had been told he could only view the files after making an appointment with the college attorney, who had subsequently called and told him that he had to leave the college premises or be arrested, meaning that he left without seeing the files.
He said he returned the following day and was told that he first needed an appointment with Gaston College's attorney to view the public inspection file but after informing the General Manager that such a policy was illegal was he permitted to review a public inspection file binder and a hanging folder. Upon review of the binder and hanging folder, he states that the Complainant noticed that the FCC publication, "The Public and Broadcasting," a copy of which is required under the rules to be maintained, was omitted from the public inspection file. When he inquired about the absence of the publication, he was provided with a copy. He states that he also discovered that the required issues/programs list and equal employment opportunity ("EEO") report were also missing from the public inspection file, but were later provided after he inquired about them. He asserts that the issues/programs list was incomplete.
Gaston College had responded to a Letter of Inquiry by alleging that the complainant was "hostile" and asked the FCC to view the Complaint in the context of its past dealings with the Complainant's employer, Columbia Bible College, which it contended had been engaged in a "pattern of harassment and intimidation" by pursuing FCC proceedings against Gaston College. It alleged that that Columbia Bible College's actions, through the Complainant, were motivated by its prior unsuccessful efforts to acquire the station and that Columbia Bible College is attempting to misuse the Commission's processes to force the licensee to sell the station.
After it then received a USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), Gaston responded by saying the forfeiture was excessive and not in keeping with precedents: It called for a reduction or substitution with an admonishment and also asked for a reduction on the basis of a history of compliance.
The FCC reduced the penalty to USD 8,000 on the last grounds but rejected the other arguments, saying the penalty was "well supported by Commission precedent" and noting that in the past it had "imposed even larger forfeitures" for public file violations.
2010-02-01: The British radio industry is considering a "scrappage" scheme, analagous to that intrdoduced to boost new automobile sales, under which old analogue radio could be traded in for a discount on a digital receiver as part of efforts to push a switch-off of analogue radio broadcasting, which the commercial radio companies says costs them around GBP 30 million ( USD 50 million ) a year in dual transmission costs.
A spokeswoman for Digital Radio UK, the body set up to drive the switch to digital, told the UK Independent, "One of the ideas under review is scheme whereby consumers who upgrade to digital will receive a discount on a new digital set in exchange for their analogue set, with the analogue sets going to a good cause (the proposal is to ship the obsolete analogue models for use in the developing world). No decisions or commitment has been made as yet. It is not really scrappage at all, we want them (be to go to a good cause and be usefully deployed, so if the programme does go ahead we will definitely not refer to it as scrappage."
The UK Guardian, whose parent also owns GMG Radio, said Digital Radio UK has already held exploratory talks with leading retailers, including Currys owner DSG International, and leading manufacturers and quoted an unnamed "senior radio industry source" as saying, "The idea is that stores will accept analogue sets in part-exchange for new digital models, which will be far cheaper by the time the signal is switched off."
It quoted the Digital Radio UK spokeswoman as saying, "Digital radio UK is working with the radio industry on a number of initiatives to drive digital radio take-up and encourage the responsible recycling of analogue sets. Future details will be available as the projects progress."
The vast majority of responses to the Guardian report were hostile to the switch, pointing out the deficiencies of the UK digital radio system, the fact that new cars are still being sold with analogue-only radios, the problems of coverage, and the extra power consumption of digital receivers, which in almost all cases use a transformer, meaning that in addition to the extra power, this is usually left on even when the receiver is not in use.
Previous Digital Radio UK:
UK Guardian report:
UK Independent report:
2010-02-01: UK Channel 4 has confirmed that it is in talks with BBC host Jonathan Ross, who had earlier announced that he will not renew his radio and TV contract with the Corporation when it runs out in July (See RNW Jan 7)
Ross began his broadcasting career at Channel 4 where he started as a programme researcher for the Loose Talk show and then made his presenting debut 1987 presenting "The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross".
In 2008, Ross was suspended without pay for three months following the airing of crude messages that he and Russell Brand had left on the answering machine of actor Andrew Sachs (See RNW Oct 30, 2008).
The host has recently suffered from suspected swine flu and last Friday pulled out of the recording of his Radio 2 Show, being replaced at the last minute by actors David Tennant and Catherine Tate.
Previous Channel 4:
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