March 2010 Archive
2010-03-31: A New York judge has lifted the temporary order that it imposed last month requiring Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) to resume encoding its broadcasts for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system (See RNW Feb 12 & Feb 16), a decision that the broadcaster is calling a "notable decision" and a "significant victory."
SBS in a news release said that it had ceased encoding because it had lost confidence in Arbitron's PPM methodology, which it says undercounts minority audiences and notes that that "Arbitron's staunchest critic is the PPM Coalition, which has voiced its concerns regarding Arbitron's PPM methodology to the FCC, Congress and the Attorneys General of several states."
The lifting of the restraining order, it said, was essentially because Judge Shirley Kornreich found that failed to demonstrate that it would suffer "permanent and irreparable harm" if SBS did not encode its signals and adds that she "specifically noted Arbitron's failure to show proof that SBS's failure to encode would devalue the ratings that Arbitron provides to other subscribers or cause any meaningful damage to Arbitron's credibility."
SBS also noted that the court order refers to Arbitron's numerous contracts that expire at different times and says, "Arbitron's characterization of its business as one in which the loss of any one client will cause irreparable harm has not been established and is not plausible."
SBS Radio Chief Operating Officer Frank Flores said he was "glad" about the ruling but emphasized that the company remains committed to reaching an amicable resolution with Arbitron and has agreed to go to arbitration (See RNW Mar 29).
2010-03-31: The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a radio advert promoting UK digital radio on the basis that is claims about the advantages of digital over analogue were misleading because it implied that there would never be interruptions in the signal.
The campaign by the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) - now Digital Radio UK/Get Digital Radio - featured a voiceover that was intermittently interrupted by interference and said, "This is an advert for DAB Digital Radio. If you were listening to me on a conventional analogue ... (interference interrupted the speaker here momentarily and the voice then continued) ... radio you might very well hear strange noises (more interference)... which would ruin your enjoyment of your favourite programme (more interference)... meaning you might miss out on the crucial " (more interference)... but with a DAB Radio you can enjoy crisp, clear digital sound. To find out more and discover loads more stations visit getdigitalradio.com. .."
The ASA said it received three complaints that the advert was misleading because digital broadcasts would be interrupted if the signal was poor to which the DRDB responded by noting that the advert did not say DAB could be received everywhere and noted that unlike analogue a digital signal did not fade gradually and suffer from interference from other signals- such as fridges and electrical devices as well as other broadcast signals - but was either on or off (RNW comment - and in some areas of the UK it frequently goes to "off" which is just as annoying or more annoying than interference). It said that the advert carried a link to its website, which had a postcode checker to warn potential lFisteners of areas where stations might not be available.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) said they believed the ad compared analogue radio sound quality with digital radio sound quality in a general way and did not claim or imply that all sound degradation was eliminated in all circumstances with digital radio.
The ASA accepted the technical differences between analogue and digital but said that the advert gave the misleading impression that listeners would never suffer interruptions on DAB, which was not the case. It ordered that the advert be withdrawn from broadcast in its current form.
Previous Digital Radio UK/Get Digital Radio:
2010-03-31: In more US results, Radio One Inc. and Regent Communications have both reported revenue falls that were less in the final quarter than in the full year.
Radio One reported revenues for 2009 down 15.2% on 2008 to USD 272.1 million whilst in the final quarter of 2009 they were down 8.9% to 67.3 million but its operating expenses for the year, which in 2008 included USD 432.2 million in impairment charges compared to USD 65.9 million in 2009, were down from USD 661 million to USD 278 million (Excluding the impairment charges operating expenses were down 12% to USD 212.4 million).
For the quarter operating expenses, which in 2008 included USD 85.3 million in impairment charges compared to USD 17.0 million in 2009, went down from USD 137.6 million to USD 71.5 million (Excluding the impairment charges operating expenses were down 4.6% to USD 52.5 million)
Loss from continuing operations for the year- including the impairment charges - went down from a loss of USD 291.5 million in 2008 to a loss of USD 46.7 million last year whilst for the quarter they went down from a loss of USD 63.9 million to a loss of USD 4.59 million.
In divisional terms the final quarter showed Radio One revenues at USD 55.4 million, Reach Media with USD 9.8 million and Internet with USD 4.0 million with Internet making an operating loss of USD 4.5 million, Reach Media showing operating income of USD 944,000 and Radio One with operating income of USD 71.9 million.
Overall the company moved from a net loss attributable to common stockholders of USD 302.9 million in 2008 to a loss of USD 52.9 million last year (from USD 3.22 to 89 cents per basic share) and from a loss of USD 6.3 million in 2008 to a loss of USD 14.9 million last year (from Seven cents to 28 cents per basic share).
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III commented of the performance, "Our fourth quarter again demonstrated the sequential improvement that we had hoped for in our core radio business. Adjusting for 2008 political activity, our fourth quarter core radio revenues were down 4.2%. Looking ahead to first quarter, we are currently pacing up mid-single digits, with the recovery most apparent in our larger markets, where national business is performing strongly."
Of other divisions Liggins said the company's investment in TV One continues to perform well, that its digital strategy is now fully operational and traffic growth exceeded expectations, and noted that Reach Media has made the transition to selling inventory inside the Tom Joyner Morning Show with its internal sales force, and Citadel's Radio Networks group continues to sell the out of show inventory.
"I expect it will take a few months for this new arrangement to settle in," he added, "but I believe the long-term effect will be to strengthen pricing and improve margins. "
Regent revenues were down 12.7% for the full year to USD 84.1 million and down 10.1% in the final quarter to USD 21.3 million with station operating expenses down 6.7% to USD 61.4 million and down 5.5% to USD 14.0 million respectively. Operating loss went from a loss of USD 43.3 million in 2008 to a loss of USD 30.7 million last year - the figures included impairment charges of USD 67.5 million and 44.6 million respectively - and from income of USD 61 million in the final quarter of 2008 to loss of USD 9.0 million last year when the figure includes USD 12.82 million of impairment charges compared to none in 2008.
Overall Regent reported a net loss for 2008 of USD 119.0 million and for 2009 of USD 44.0 million (From USD 3.06 to USD 1.08 per basic and fully diluted share) whilst for the final quarter a net loss of USD 75.3 million in 2008 became a loss of USD 14.2 million (From USD 1.93 to 35 cents per basic and fully diluted share - 2008 included USD 71.9 million in income tax expenses compared to USD 74,000 in 2009).
Regent also noted that the company and its subsidiaries are currently operating as debtors-in-possession under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy with a confirmation hearing on its re-organization plan scheduled for April 9.
In connection with this plan, which would see Oaktree Capital taking control of the company, Regent has filed applications with the Federal Communications Commission to move Wyoming station KARS-FM, Laramie, and its translator at Fort Collins plus KPEL-FM, Abbeville, Louisiana into a "Fort Collins/Lafayette Divestiture Trust."
The move is required because the change in control means that the "grandfathered" status of Regents clusters in the Fort Collins and Lafayette markets, where it exceeds allowable limits, will be lost and the trust will operate the stations pending their sale.
The trustee is former Clear Channel executive Jay Meyers who is now president and CEO of Broadcast Management & Technology and who is also trustee of a second trust that the company has created for its other licences should it be useful as an interim step towards an "expeditious emergence" from Chapter 11.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2010-03-31: CBS Radio has dropped Bill Gamble as program director for its Chicago stations WUSN-FM and WCFS-FM after he had been in the post for less than a year.
Gamble who worked for ABC in Chicago for eight years before moving to CBS Radio in Denver in 2006, was appointed to the post in July last year after it had in effect been vacant for nearly a year.
He is not being replaced immediately although CBS Radio SVP and Chicago market manager Rod Zimmerman has said he expects to name a successor or successors and added that there were no planned format changes.
Gamble told the Chicago Sun-Times, "I think we accomplished a lot while I was at WUSN and WCFS. WCFS's ratings were the highest they've been in some time, and WUSN was the most-listened-to country music station in the United States.
He added that he didn't "any immediate plans except to watch Michigan State win the NCAA national basketball championship."
Chicago Sun-Tmes report:
2010-03-30: Austereo held on to the top FM rank in all five Metro markets in the latest Australian radio rating just posted and the top spots also remained the same everywhere although Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB lost share - down 1% to 14.7 whilst second-ranked ABC 702 was up from 10.5 to 11.1: The news was bad for Fairfax Media's Sydney commercial talk station 2UE, which went down from fifth to eighth as share fell from 6.5% to 5.3% although it did better in Melbourne where 3AW took its top ranking share up from14.1% to 14.6%.
For 2GB and Alan Jones it was a poor survey - although he retained the breakfast lead for 2GB Jones' share was down from 20.0% to 17.2%, the largest breakfast fall in the market -and that of Ray Hadley in the morning slot dropped from 19.5% to 18.5%.
Of Jones' rivals Adam Spencer on ABC 702 held on to a 12.4% share but John Stanley and Sandy Aloisi on 2UE were down from 6.7 to 4.9.
DMG headlined success in Melbourne where Nova increased its share by 1% to 8.3% and was up a rank to fourth and also with the 18- 39 demographic at breakfast where its shows were top ranked FMs in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth whilst in Sydney the new breakfast team of Merrick Watts, Ricki-Lee Coulter and Scott Dooley took its share in its second ratings up from 6.5 to 7.6.
The ratings cover the period from January 31 to March 20 and are the last in which DMG's former Vega stations in Sydney and Melbourne were in the ratings - they switched to a Classic Rock format on Mar 12 (See RNW Mar 12) - but in their last ratings there were no improvements - the Sydney station's overall rating slipped from 3.4% to 3.2% and in Melbourne were down from 3.7% to 3.4%. In Adelaide the company's only talk station 5AA retained top rank with 14.0%, down from 14.3%.
Austereo highlighted successes in every market and Chief Executive Officer Guy Dobson commented, "We're very pleased with the ongoing success of the Today Network and the resurgence of the Triple M brand. We have number one FM stations in every capital city and we're confident these great results will continue throughout 2010."
Chairman Peter Harvie added, "The on-air teams of Austereo performed superbly well. The leadership across Australia and our strength in the 18-39 key demographic will position the group well as the ad market continues to recover and grow."
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 14.0 (14.3) - same rank; Mix 102.3 with 12.0 (11.5) - up from third; SAFM with 12.0 (12.7) - previously second;
*ABC 891 with 11.6 (11.1) remained fourth and Nova with 10.3 (10.6) was remained fifth followed by 5MM, which retained sixth rank with 10.0 (9.4).
*Brisbane - B105 with 13.0 (12.8) - Same rank; Nova with 12.5 (12.2) - same rank; 4MMM with 11.8 (11.4) -Same rank
*97.3 FM with 10.8 (10.6) -remained fourth followed by ABC 612, which retained fifth rank with 10.1 (9.9).
*Melbourne - 3AW with 14.6 (14.1) - same rank; Fox FM with 13.6 (13.2) - same rank; ABC 774 with 12.5 (12.2) - same rank;
* Nova 100 was up a rank to fourth with 8.3 (7.3) swapping places with Gold FM, which dropped a rank to fifth with 8.0 (9.0), with 7.3 (7.9) after which 3MMM remained sixth with 5.4 (5.5) and Mix 101remained seventh with 5.0 (5.1). After this 3JJJ was up a rank to eighth with 4.3 (4.3) and Magic was down a rank down a rank to ninth with 3.8 (4.3).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 15.8 (16.0) - same rank; 92.9 with 12.5 (12.4) - same rank; ABC 720 with 11.3 (11.8) -same rank.
*96 FM remained fourth with 11.1(9.6) followed by Nova, which was up a rank with 9.7 (8.8), switching places with 6JJJ, in sixth rank with 8.3 (9.5) followed by 6PR in seventh with 7.9 (7.8).
*Sydney: 2GB 14.7 (15.7) - same rank; ABC 702 with 11.1 (10.5) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.3 (10.0) - same rank.
*WSM went up to fourth from sixth with 6.6 (6.4) pushing Nova down a rank to fifth with 6.5 (6.6) after which 2CH was up a rank to sixth with 5.6 (5.8) ahead of 2JJJ which was up a rank to seventh with 5.4 (5.8) ahead of 2UE, which fell from fifth to eighth with 5.3 (6.5).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian Ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio networks:
2010-03-30: Westwood One has reported revenues in the final quarter of last year down 8.7% to USD 92.3 million and full-year 2009 revenues - covering the predecessor company before refinancing and the current company - down 15.8% to USD 340.3 million.
Within the figures for the quarter Network Radio revenue was down 5.3% to USD 52.1 million and Metro Traffic revenue was down 12.6% to USD 40.3 million. For the full year Network Radio revenue was down 12.3% to USD 183.8 million and Traffic revenue was down 19.7% to USD 156.5 million
Operating loss in the final quarter - excluding goodwill impairment charges of approximately USD 224.1 million in 2008 - rose from USD 7.8 million in 2008 to USD 9.6 million last year. For the full year, the operating loss, including goodwill impairment charges of USD 50.5 million - was USD 97.6 million last year compared to USD 438 million in 2008 when impairment charges totalled USD 430.1 million.
Net loss for the final quarter was USD 3.9 million compared to USD 222.5 million a year earlier when the figure included USD 224.1 million in impairment charges (Per share loss was 19 cents compared to USD 3.16 a year earlier and reflect the effect of the company's 200:1 reverse stock split of common stock completed on August 3, 2009.
For the full year net loss was USD 82.6 million including USD 50.5 million in impairment charges compared to USD 427.6 million in 2008 when the figures included USD 430.1 million of impairment charges (per share figures, reflecting the effect of the company's 200:1 reverse stock split were a loss of USD 9.45 per diluted share in 2009 and USD 878.73 in 2008).
Westwood One said it was "cautiously optimistic" regarding trends in the advertising marketplace this year and added that it was seeing a more significant improvement in advertising spending in a range of categories reflected in our bookings to date in the first quarter of 2010.
It said it would continue to "make targeted investments in the business to enhance our competitive position" and that these "could include developing new programming, partnering with third-party content providers to represent their business, further expanding the advertising and affiliate sales forces in Network Radio and Metro Traffic, investing in our digital business, expanding the SigAlert product nationally, making continued investments in infrastructure improvements, and expanding our content and distribution in the television business."
Westwood One also announced that it had reached agreement at the end of March with its lenders on changes to its debt covenants for this year and next that will provide it "with a significant increase in our operational and financial flexibility and reduce financial risk" and added, "These amendments will allow us to continue to focus on our revenue initiatives and enacting our plans to continue investing in our infrastructure and the key drivers of our business on a broader basis."
President Rod Sherwood said the company "achieved significant milestones in its turnaround at the end of 2009 and is well positioned to participate in the economic recovery that has begun in the radio industry."
"In the fourth quarter of 2009," he continued, "our revenue performance improved, and our earnings (on an Adjusted EBITDA basis) were up compared to the fourth quarter of 2008, reflecting both improvements in advertising spending, and the results of our cost reduction program."
"Our focus," he added, "was to realign our capital structure, reduce our operating costs by approximately $60 million on an annualized basis over the course of the turnaround, and invest in areas with the most potential to grow revenue in 2010 and beyond. To that end, we invested in new programming, added to our sales force in both Network Radio and Metro Traffic, upgraded our systems infrastructure, and developed new revenue initiatives. We ended the year with positive momentum that has continued in the first quarter of 2010."
Previous Westwood One:
2010-03-30: An independent review commissioned by the BBC Trust has found that what it terms "'significant cultural changes are underway in BBC Audio & Music as a result of measures the Trust required following the breaches of editorial compliance identified in the Ross/Brand broadcasts in October 2008 in which Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand left crude messages about his granddaughter on the answering machine of actor Andrew Sachs and aired them in Brand's show on BBC Radio 2.
The incident led to more than 40,000 complaints and the resignations of Brand and of then BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas and the suspension without pay of Ross (See RNW Oct 30, 2008). It was followed by am Ofcom fine of GBP 150,000 (then USD 223,000 fine on the BBC - See RNW Apr 4, 2009).
Although the review, which was carried out by Tim Suter, formerly Partner for Content and Standards at Ofcom, and Tony Stoller, former Chief Executive of the Radio Authority, for the BBC Trust, was generally positive it also warned of the potential for future problems.
It specifically spoke of a "growing pressure on resources" because of the Corporation's existing compliance processes, particularly in relation to independent production for the corporation and noted that this was especially the case for BBC Radio 4 where it said the compliance load should be reviewed and extra resources provided as appropriate. It also commented that the planned move of BBC Radio 5 Live to Salford will add complexity and that this made it "it even more important that the processes in force should be clearly and unambiguously described."
It also noted that planned changes for a higher percentage of BBC spending to be spent on programming content rather than overheads and that the authors had been told anecdotally that compliance staffing had been identified as an area for potential savings, commenting that although its remit was not to argue for more spending on compliance the current system "leaves little room for slack."
In terms of compliance procedures the review called for a "spring clean of compliance processes", something the Trust commented would "ensure that all current practices are consistent so that staff and independent producers cannot be in doubt as to what is expected of them and it will also simplify the processes where possible."
The review also called for "further attention to training; and a periodic review to catch variations in practice and circumstances, as well as to deal with future changes", specifically saying that "urgent consideration" should be given to allow independent producers access to the BBC creative leadership training courses.
In terms of the current situation it commented that "Good practice is happening now whether it is formally mandated or not; key staff are sustaining very heavy workloads and doing very high levels of listening because they know how high the stakes are at the moment; and executive producers are anxious to learn from each other" but then added, "However, today's urgency will not necessarily last, and the system needs to be one where good practice is supported by solid process, rather than undermined by small inaccuracies."
In some areas it suggests that the current procedures could be eased suggesting for example that when an executive producer is in a studio for a final recording, it may not be necessary for the producer to then also have to listen to the final edited version of a programme.
It also suggests that in some cases either the formal system needs to be changed to be in line with common practice, suggesting in this regard consideration of Radio 4's practice of devolving responsibility for contractual and compliance related to independent programming to the network's Compliance Editor might be changed to move responsibility to the executive named in the commissioning and contracting arrangements, normally the Commissioning Editor: Standard contracts, it says should be amended to make it clear who in practice is responsible for the "final listen"to pre?recorded independent productions.
It also makes various suggestions related to training, to instituting periodic reviews to consider the impact of any increase in independent production on compliance.
Among the review findings highlighted by the Trust were that "The lessons of Ross/Brand have been fully learned and much work has been undertaken to implement them" and the compliance procedures subsequently put in place, particularly referring to "high risk" programmes. It also noted that the review concluded that "there is no evidence that programmes which ought to be made are not being made."
BBC Trustee Alison Hastings, a member of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee, said in a release, "As we have made clear in the past, Ross/Brand was an extremely serious breach of the BBC's editorial standards. Eighteen months on, the Trust expected to see real evidence of change - so I am pleased to see that this report concludes that this has been delivered and that it has not been at the expense of programme-making. There's still more to do, but it is clear that lessons have been learned."
BBC Audio & Music is to report to the Trust on the implementation of the review recommendations in November and the Trust will comment on progress in its Annual Report and Accounts.
BBC Trust report (756 kb 62 page PDF):
2010-03-30: Sirius XM Radio has disclosed in a 14A proxy filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in advance of its annual shareholders meeting, which is scheduled for May 27, that its CEO Mel Karmazin received a remuneration package of more than USD 43 million for 2009 and two other executives received more than USD 10 million. In each case the amount was significantly up on the 2008 figures.
Karmazin's total included a USD 7 million bonus - he received no bonus in 2008- plus a base salary of USD 1.25 million and USD 35.2 million in stock option awards, the first equity-based award to him since he joined the company in 2004. With other compensation his total came to USD 43,466,790 compared to USD 5,268,743 in 2008.
The filing also notes that in May last year Karmazin voluntarily forfeited an aggregate of 30,000,000 non-qualified stock options- 24,000,000 vested, and 6,000,000 unvested - that had had an exercise price of USD 4.72 per share and that then became again available for grants under the company's Long-Term Stock Incentive Plan.
Next highest total was that for President-Operations & Sales James Meyer whose USD 14,876,932 included a salary of USD 950,000; bonus of USD 1.25 million; stock awards of USD 1,000,022; and stock option awards totalling USD 11,500,278: His total in 2008 was 2,920,328.
Thirds highest total went to the company's President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein who received a total of 10,713,285 including salary of USD 850,000; a USD 1 million bonus, and USD 850,035 in stock awards plus stock options totalling USD 7,986,116.His total in 2008 was USD 2,416,610.
Other large increases went to Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Patrick L. Donnelly with a total of USD 2,896,684, up from USD 829,818 in 2008 (but lower than the USD 4,346,624 he received in 2007); and Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Dara F. Altman whose total of USD 2,315,506 was up from USD 92,986 in 2008.
Executive Vice President and CFO David J. Frear, however, saw his package fall from a total of USD 5,827,186 to USD 3,323,998 - his salary was up from USD 631,251 to USD 750,000 and he received a bonus of USD 850,000 (none in 2008) but his stock awards were down from USD 1,292,002 to USD 700,012 and option awards were down from USD 3,897,033 to USD 1,000,336.
The filing also shows that at the end of February Karmazin owned 8,786,641 shares; Greenstein 4,340,526; and Meyer 4,340,526: Other directors' holdings above a million shares were those of Frear (4,166,702); Donnelly (3,377,971); Lawrence F. Gilberti (1,293,106) and Altman (1,003,998).
Items on the agenda for the meeting include the election of eight directors, approval of a short-term stockholder rights plan designed to preserve certain potential tax benefits to the company and the extension for a year of the board's authority to effect a reverse stock split should this be needed to maintain the stocks USD 1 minimum price that is required for a NASDQ listing in connection with which the company is to appear before a NASDAQ listings panel on April 29 (See RNW Mar 26).
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-03-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 5,000 forfeiture to a Missouri non-commercial educational station and a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to a Connecticut station, both in relation to late filing of licence renewals and subsequent unauthorized operation.
The USD 5,000 forfeiture was issued to the Board of Regents, Northwest Missouri State University licensee of KRNW-FM, Chillicothe, which had initially been issued with a USD 7,000 NAL to which it responded by seeking reduction or cancellation on the basis that it relied on "purportedly incorrect staff advice", good faith efforts to file the application on time and is status as an NCE licensee.
Northwest said that it owned both KXCV-FM and the KRNW, which simulcasts its programming, and that its station manager had been told by Commission staff to file both renewal applications on the same form and had made reference to the station in the timely renewal application for KXVC.
The Commission said that the non-commercial status of a station did not warrant reduction and added that under precedent parties relying on informal discussions with its staff did so at their own risk and noted that it could still enforce its rules "despite the public's reliance on allegedly erroneous staff advice" - it noted that the form made it clear that only associated translator stations may be included in a primary station's license renewal - not other full-service stations.
Accordingly it declined to change the forfeiture on either basis but did reduce it to USD 5,000 on the basis of a good faith to comply with its rules as demonstrated by the reference in KXVC's renewal application.
The USD 7,000 NAL was issued to Westport Board of Education, licensee WWPT-FM, Westport, Connecticut, which said it had inadvertently failed to file the renewal application on time.
It noted that the base forfeiture amounts for late filing are USD 3,000 and for unauthorized operation USD 10,000 and that in this case the station was operated for three years after the licence expired before filing its renewal application and had also continued to operate the station without authority since its Special Temporary Authorization expired this month. Taking all factors account it proposed to levy the full USD 3,000 penalty for late filing and USD 4,000 in relation to continued operation after the licence expired.
In each case the licences were renewed.
2010-03-29: CBS, which in 2002 when then parent Viacom bought KCAL TV in Los Angeles went above FCC ownership limits and filed to put Infinity (Now CBS Radio) station KFWB-AM into a trust rather then sell it (See RNW Nov 19, 2002) is finally preparing to sell the station according to the Los Angeles Business Journal .
Infinity then CBS has been operating the station under a waiver for the last eight years and at the time of the KCAL acquisition it was speculated that the company - which after the deal had two TV stations and six other radio stations in the market - might be hoping to retain the station under changes in cross-ownership regulations.
KWFB was the most likely divestiture because it was the one Infinity Los Angeles stations that was no co-sited with any other station and the Journal notes that it also had the lowest ratings and weakest signal - 5,000 watts compared to 50,000 for all-news KNX-AM - of now-CBS Radio properties in the market.
It adds that the station is now to be put under a trust headed by Bill Clark, a former President of Shamrock Broadcasting, as originally put forward and says that once the trust has ownership it will put the station up for sale although it is unclear what prospective buyers are likely to come forward.
The Journal speculates that the sale is likely to mean the end of KFWB as a news station since both it and all-news KNX-AM have seen double-digit declines in revenue and it adds that industry watchers said likely buyers for KFWB are foreign-language broadcasters - such as Spanish, Korean or even Farsi (Persian) - that would convert the station to music or talk radio.
Last year, CBS Radio combined the KFWB and KNX newsrooms as a cost-cutting measure and then to cut more and differentiate the stations flipped KFWB to news-talk, stocking it with syndicated conservative hosts: The results were poor - whilst KNX revenues of USD 40.4 million in 2005 fell to USD 25.4 million last year according to BIA/Kelsey those for KWFB were down from USD 36 million to just under USD 14 million and since the flop it has fallen from 27th rank in the market to a four-way tie in 38th.
The Journal says the move to put the station up for sale follows a complaint by local broadcaster Saul Levine of Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters Inc.
Levine, the owner and general manager of music stations KGIL-AM and country format KKGO-FM, was put under pressure by a move by CBS Radio to make one of its out-of-market country music stations, KFRG-FM ) in San Bernardino, available to L.A. listeners and told the Journal, "We were just saying to CBS, 'Hey, my God, what are you going to do, have 100 radio stations in town competing with us small mom-and-pop operations?''
He added, "If we're in a boxing match and I weigh 159 pounds and they threw me into a ring with a 200 pound boxer, I'd be in bad shape. Now they want to tie one hand behind my back. That's what they're doing to me."
Levine then complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that CBS remained above the market limit of eight stations for Los Angeles and soon after that the FCC approved the application to put KWFB into a trust.
The Journal says CBS Radio plans to continue to operate KWFB whilst it is in the trust and Clark said no changes were planned whilst the station was under his direction and that the 15 to 20 CBS Radio people who currently work at the station should retain their jobs at least until a buyer is found.
Levine has responded to this by filing another complaint challenging CBS Radio's right to operate the station whilst it is being held by a Trust and the Journal notes that when this complaint is resolved, CBS Radio will have 90 days to transfer ownership.
As regards buyers it quoted Mary Beth Garber, president of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA), as saying, "There are a number of foreign-language programmers who are quite interested in expanding their holdings in this market, or coming into this market, and AM radio stations are quite good for that."
The Journal said CBS Radio's only comment was to say that "the sale of KFWB "is purely a business decision based on a thorough evaluation of all our properties in the market."
Los Angeles Business Journal report:
2010-03-29: Arbitron says that the cumulative audience estimates for the 51 networks rated in its RADAR 104 survey show that network radio is delivering more listeners across major buying demographics than in previous surveys although its figures show a fall in those 12-18 and adults from 18-49 and a fairly small rise in those 25-54.
For the 12 plus demographic the increase between RADAR 103, released in December last year, and this month's RADAR 104 was 684,000 to 189.55 million but that for adults above 18 was 788,000 to 172.39 million. Within the breakdown there was a fall of 90,000 in the 18-49 demographic to 102.83 million, a rise of 185,000 in those 25-54 to 97.10 million, and a rise of 557,000 in those 35 plus to 119.40 million. Arbitron did not note that the figures would appear to show a fall of 104,000 for those between 12 and 18, which with the fall in those 18-49 would appear to show the medium losing ground amongst younger listeners.
The RADAR surveys now include Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in relation to which Arbitron has come under criticism for under-representation on its panels of younger and minority listeners and in another release the company said that it met or exceeded virtually all of its sample size metrics across the 33 PPM currency markets in the February 2010 survey.
It adds that across the markets in February the average Designated Delivery Index (DDI- a measure comparing the actual sample size for a given demographic to the target sample size for the demographic) for Persons aged 6+ was 108 in February; for Persons aged 18-54 it was 102; for those 18-34 it was 92 within which it was 94 for Black Persons and 92 for other persons (not Black and Hispanic).
In compliance terms it says the Persons aged 6+ average daily in-tab rate maintained the 82 percent achieved in January exceeding the benchmark of 75 percent by a significant margin whilst for those 18-34 it was 77% compared to a 70% benchmark within which it reached 74% for Black Persons and 80% for Hispanic Persons. .
Sample Performance Indicator, which measures the percentage of the total from an original random sample who have provided fault free data for at least eight hours on a given day, averaged out at 22.4%m up from an average a year ago of 20% when 14 markets were using the PPM as currency.
In other news related to PPM ratings, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), which was ordered by a judge to resume encoding its stations after it had stopped doing so in a dispute in which it alleged Arbitron had failed to meet its contractual obligations (See RNW Feb 17), is to go to arbitration over the dispute. The arbiter will be John Feerick, a former dean of Fordham Law School.
2010-03-28: Last week yet again saw the regulators more concerned with other areas than radio and as regards radio community radio decisions featured prominently.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that it is to make an FM frequency available for a new high power open narrowcasting radio service for Griffith, New South Wales. The service will be the first of its kind in the area bids are invited for allocation on a price-based system.
Also in the Griffith area, the ACMA has varied the specifications of a community FM licence to be offered covering the entire township of Narrandera and the immediate surrounding district. The service will be on a frequency currently being used by community broadcaster Spirit FM, the only community broadcaster in the Narrandera area, under a temporary community broadcasting licence.
Also in New South Wales the ACMA has announced that it is to make an FM frequency available for new ABC NewsRadio radio services in Deniliquin and the Upper Murray area and will also change the frequencies for planned community radio broadcasting services at Wodonga and Deniliquin.
In Wodonga, the service will be moved from 100.7 MHz to 98.5 MHz and the ACMA says the change will not affect the coverage of Albury Wodonga Christian Broadcasters Inc (AWCB) is currently using a temporary community broadcasting licence on 100.7 MHz. The Deniliquin is not currently being used.
In Queensland, the ACMA has renewed the licence of Toowoomba community broadcaster 4DDB for a five year period, commenting that the station, which gave an enforceable undertaking in May last year following several breaches of licence conditions, had enforceable undertaking from 4DDB as a result of several breaches of licence conditions.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented that the "ACMA's approach to 4DDB's compliance issues and renewal demonstrates its flexibility and willingness to work with the community broadcasting sector in addressing issues."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) denied an application from Rogers Broadcasting Limited to add a 635 watts FM transmitter at Saltspring Island, British Columbia, to carry the programming of CIOC-FM, Victoria.
The CRTC said that it received four interventions in support of this application, which Rogers said would improve reception quality within CIOC-FM's existing coverage area and provide a better signal to the north of Saltspring Island, as well as numerous letters, one comment and twenty-one interventions in opposition.
In rejecting the application it commented that it had found some technical deficiencies within CIOC-FM's currently authorized service area but added that the proposed change would also improve CIOC-FM's coverage in areas beyond its primary and secondary markets and extend its signal further to the west and to the north spreading to the Cowichan Valley as well as to the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia and that Rogers had not claimed an economic need for the transmitter.
It rejected the application on the grounds that Rogers had not demonstrated evidence of a technical or economic need for the proposed licence amendment.
In Ontario, the CRTC approved a request from Astral Media Radio Inc. to decrease the average effective radiated power of its new Ottawa FM from 45,000 watts to 38,000 watts and by increasing the effective height of the antenna above average terrain from 123.5 metres to 161 metres. Astral said that it will use an existing facility and combine its signal with that of CHRI-FM Ottawa by using the same antenna thus gaining increased efficiencies and cost savings.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland posted its latest complaints adjudications, upholding on radio complaint (See RNW Mar 27) and in the UK Ofcom upheld two complaints against a West Midlands community service (See RNW Mar 23).
Ofcom also announced the award of another community licence. This went to SAFE Radio, which is to provide a music-based service for young people in Grays and surrounding areas of Thurrock.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also had a quiet week as regards radio announcements although its enforcement bureau has proposed a USD 4,000 penalty on Journal Broadcast Corporation for failing to run a competition in accordance with its advertised terms (See RNW Mar 24).
In contested licensing cases it has posted decisions concerning stations in Hawaii and Virginia: In Hawaii, it accepted a petition from Mana'o Radio and dismissed an application filed by Les Seraphim for a new, non-commercial educational FM at Lahaina, Hawaii.
The FCC Media Bureau had initially tentatively selected Seraphim's application rather than Mana'o's mutually exclusive application but Mana'o filed a petition to deny Seraphim's application on the grounds that Seraphim lacked reasonable or any assurance of access to the proposed tower site listed in its application ( it submitted a declaration by the tower owner saying that he had only received one call about space on his tower and had told the caller that there was no room on the tower to add another antenna and also a sworn declaration from a consulting engineer who said he had visited the site and also said there was no room for another antenna) and had not submitted an acceptable programming proposal and was not entitled to points for local ownership regarding the alternative selection procedure
Seraphim responded by saying it did have a reasonable assurance regarding the transmitter site, and that its educational programming proposal is similar to a programming proposal already approved by the Commission regarding another station it had applied for and also argued that it was is entitled to localism points because it has been in existence for more than two years.
Seraphim had submitted a declaration by its counsel saying that Harmer had indicated space was available on the tower and included an e-mail from Harmer in which he said existing tenants wished to expand and he could not guarantee space.
On the evidence before it the FCC dismissed Seraphim's application and granted that of Mana'o.
In Virginia, the agency dismissed a petition from New Beginning World Outreach, Inc. for reconsideration of its dismissal of an application filed during the 2007 Non-Commercial Educational window for a new NCE FM at Wytheville.
The application was dismissed because the proposed 1.0 mV/m (60 dBµ) contour failed to cover at least 50 percent of the community of license but New Beginning then submitted a petition for reconsideration together with an amendment to bring the application into compliance with FCC regulations and the application was reinstated but then dismissed because it created creating impermissible overlap with WCQR-FM, Kingsport, Tennessee,
New Beginning filed its petition nine months after the dismissal and requested a waiver of the FCC's normal 30-day deadline for the filing together with another amendment that is said would eliminate the overlap. The FCC said that New Beginning had failed to demonstrate a case for an exception to be made and dismissed the petition.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-03-27: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) Compliance Committee has upheld just one complaint against radio at its March meeting at which it considered a total of 48 complaints - upholding eight, and rejecting the other 40, 14 of which related to a TV3 news report aired on December 26 last year saying that Ireland's Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan was being treated for pancreatic cancer. The complainants included former Fianna Fail minister and senior counsel Michael O'Kennedy and chairman of the Youth Green Party Barra Rountree.
Of the seven TV complaints upheld, six were against TV3's late night TV phone-in show Play TV and the other concerned a "plug" for a chocolate maker on an edition of The Apprentice, also aired on TV3.
The radio complaint upheld related to an editorial aired on Newstalk 106-108 fm in advance of the budget to be delivered by Ireland's Minister for Finance in December last year.
Newstalk responded by saying it felt it was important to produce an editorial message demanding leadership and calling on all citizens to draw on our community spirit to get us out of the current economic crisis. It had included a comment, ". Never before has a budget been so important; our cost base needs radical adjustment. We must all reduce our living standards. Our country cannot afford to pay our politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, accountants more than our European counterparts. We can no longer afford to out price ourselves against our nearest neighbours..........We need firm decisive action to replace the fear and uncertainty, the mistrust that has begun to fester in our homes and workplaces. "
The Committee considered this in relation to the requirement that broadcast treatment of current affairs should be "presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster's own views" and commented in relation to the response that the station was "precluded by the legislation from broadcasting such an editorial message and therefore, the reason for the decision was not relevant in the assessment of the complaint."
In its previous complaints adjudication the BAI considered 34 complaints, ten of which related to radio, upholding seven complaints four of which related to radio.
Previous BAI complaints:
2010-03-26: Sirius XM Radio Inc. has announced that the NASDAQ stock market is to hold a hearing on April 29th concerning its listing: At the meeting the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel can grant Sirius XM up to 180 days from its most recent notice of non-compliance to regain its compliance with the markets minimum USD 1 bid price for its stock.
If it does extend the deadline, Sirius XM will have up to Sept 13 this year to come into compliance and the company says it will ask its stockholders at its annual meeting to extend until the end of June next year the authority for its board to effect a reverse stock split that would brig it into compliance. The current authority for such a split expired at the end of June this year.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-03-26: Filings with the House Clerk's office show that the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) spent USD 3.25 million in lobbying in the final quarter of 2009 and that Clear Channel spent USD 8190,000.
The NAB figure compares with USD 2.84 million spent in the final quarter of 2008 and USD 1.98 million in the third quarter of this year and like that of Clear Channel much of it went on opposition to the introduction of performance royalties for music played on US terrestrial stations which, unlike those of most of the rest of the world, are currently exempt from such charges. Bodies lobbied included Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the White House
Clear Channel total was up on the previous quarter, when it spend USD 790,000 but down on the final quarter of 2008 when it spent USD 900,000. Amongst the topics on which it lobbied were radio ownership rules, the enforcement of rules on broadcast indecency.
Previous Clear Channel:
2010-03-25: Long-time top-rated Sydney talk host Alan Jones - he has topped the ratings in 148 surveys - is marking his 25th anniversary on air. He joined Sydney 2UE in 1985, having previously been a teacher, speech writer for then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (until early 1961) and then Executive Director of the Employers' Federation of New South Wales but moved to Macquarie Radio Networks 2GB in 2002 in an AUD 5 million (then USD 2.5 million) a year deal. (See RNW Feb 8, 2002).
During his career, Jones has been involved in considerable controversy including involvement in Australia's cash-for-comment scandal, issues related to the shareholding in Macquarie his family trust gained when he moved to 2GB (See RNW Nov 2, 2002) and numerous comments that led to complaints from various groups including Moslems, Aborigines, the 2005 Cronulla riots in which he was accused of inciting racial tensions and encouraging violence and in relation to which earlier this year he was ordered to pay damages to a Lebanese Moslem community leader (See RNW Feb 8).
He has also been involved in a number of other court cases where he has had to pay damages, has been fined for contempt of court after his comments led to the aborting of the trial of a policeman facing charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and for broadcasting the name of a juvenile witness in a murder case, a conviction that was later annulled (he had taken the details from the Daily Telegraph).
2GB on its web site terms the host "Australia's most successful broadcaster" and continues, "It's been a phenomenal journey. Along the way he's grilled politicians, tackled business leaders, championed the causes nobody else wanted to touch, interviewed thousands of brilliant entertainers, and not only listened to what you have to say - but taken the extra step to help you with your problems."
It continues, "Please feel free to leave your messages of support and best wishes."
RNW comment: Unsurprisingly after that invitation, the comments are all pro-Jones although the sceptical might well note that only 41 comments had been posted as against 180 related to Australia's Building the Education Revolution (BER) scheme and the cynical might suggest that the ability of his listeners to see flaws appears if anything rather less than that of Rush Limbaugh's dittoheads.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2GB re Jones:
2010-03-25: Five UK radio stations that had previously been owned by South West Radio, which went into administration in August last year and were bought by Your Media Communications Ltd (See RNW Aug 29, 2009), have now stopped normal broadcasts.
Bath FM, Brunel FM, 3TR (Three Towns Radio) and two Quay West FM stations stopped their service around 17:00 on Wednesday with non-stop music being aired from a back-up on all stations except 3TR, which went silent.
All the stations' staff were made redundant by administrators Kirk Hills, who remain the legal owners of the licences as Your Media was refused permission to take over the licences by UK media regulator Ofcom (See RNW Dec 2, 2009).
Your Media is reported to be involved in a dispute with the administrators over fees of approaching GBP 70,000 (USD 105,000) but the stations may yet again be saved as there are rumours that the owners of Star Radio in Cheltenham has agreed to take over the stations.
If the takeover is approved by Ofcom, the stations could be back on air next week according to web site RadioToday.
RadioToday UK report:
2010-03-25: Radio One Inc founder Cathy Hughes has again attacked recording companies and proposals that US terrestrial radio stations should pay performance royalties in an interview for the Atlanta Post: In it she also stressed the value of black radio and said that the company was "holding on" rather than "thriving", adding, "No radio corporation is thriving. Some have filed bankruptcy. The auto industry was our number one source of advertising. When the auto industry tanked, when Detroit went bankrupt, it trickled down to radio, in particular black radio."
Hughes also commented on the reason the company made preparations for a reverse split of its stock, saying the company wanted to make certain it "had a safety net should the market [face difficulties] again, because those are situations beyond our control" although she noted that the stock was now approaching USD 4 (RNW Note- The company's shares over the past year have ranged from 0:42 to USD 4.25 - this month they have ranged up to USD 3.66 and this week their highest was USD 3:26: Radio One stockholders voted to approve the reverse stock split in December last year (See RNW Dec 22, 2009) although it had regained compliance with the NASDAQ minimum dollar share price in October (See RNW Oct 19, 2009) having received de-listing notices in October 2008, at which time the NASDAQ suspended the requirements until Jan 2009 because of the turmoil in the markets (See RNW Oct 23, 2008).
It had already transferred its Class A shares (but not the Class D shares, which are more than 96% of the total) from the NASDAQ Global Market to the NASDAQ Capital Market (See RNW Aug 27, 2008) after those shares received a De-Listing Warning.)
In relation to performance royalties, which are paid in almost every other country in the world, she strongly attacked the recording companies as "very wealthy corporations that have historically beaten artists out of their money" and said that when the Performance Rights Act was introduced, "We came up with a proposal that would put together a USD 20 million fund that would go back to the artists exclusively. The [music industry] said no, because none of the money would go back to the record industry. Yet, that industry is already sitting on top of $100 million from the performance tax that satellite and new media pay through Sound Exchange."
She noted that after three years if SoundExchange "they can't 'find' an artist" they keep the royalties and said that Aretha Franklin had called her to say, "I cannot believe that these idiots are claiming that they can't 'find' me." To which she responded that "they're not idiots, the legislation was flawed and so [Sound Exchange] gets to keep the money after 3 years if artists don't show up to claim their money]."
She then argued against the Performance Rights Act because she already spends USD 14 million a year paying writers and publishers (a separate copyright payment to that for a recording) and continued, "It's a record company's job to pay the performers. I don't even know a performer exists until a record company brings me a finished product! It's like having to pay child support for a baby that's not yours. I agree the baby should be supported, but I ain't the mama! ... our radio stations already give up billions of dollars of free advertising. The reason satellite and Internet radio pay a fee to Sound Exchange is because they charge for their services. We are free radio. We don't charge for our services. They were foolish not to fight it. Satellite radio was going through that big merger, and they didn't want to stir up the waters. They're trying to back out of it now and it's a big mess for satellite radio. And, with Internet radio, people are very much into piracy."
RNW Comment: Hughes' attacks on the recording companies may have merit but there isn't much logic in her arguments - a little like saying he's a murderer so it's OK to beat up his children. As for the argument on satellite radio and Internet ratio paying the fees, her argument lacks almost any substance - they lost the lobbying battle rather than any argument (another example of US politics being as crooked as those of many a supposedly corrupt third world country) and had perforce to settle for the best they could.
At the time the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), to which Radio One belongs, came under attack from various quarters for not joining with the Internet and satellite radio companies to fight the introduction but preferring to continue its fight against them with various critics suggesting this was a foolish decision whose consequences would come home to roost with NAB members.
Mel Karmazin, of course, was quite sharp in ensuring when permission for the merger of Sirius and XM went through he would be able to add extra charges to pay for extra performance royalties as Sirius XM is now doing.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Atlanta Post report:
2010-03-24: Guardian Media Group (GMG) has announced that its chief executive Carolyn McCall is leaving later this year to become Chief Executive of budget airline easyJet. She joined the group in the Guardian in 1986 as a planner in the marketing department and at Guardian News & Media became the positions of advertising director, commercial director, managing director and chief executive before being promoted to chief executive of parent organisation GMG in 2006.
In a company news release she commented, "The Guardian has been my second family for a quarter of a century, and I feel incredibly privileged to be part of such a wonderful and unique organisation. However, the chance to lead a FTSE company of easyJet's calibre is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The business has a superb brand and a great future ahead of it, and I'm looking forward to driving its continued success. I will leave GMG knowing that our journalism has never been more influential or widely read, and with complete confidence that its financial position is secure."
RNW note: Bearing in mind the losses and cut backs at the newspaper - it and its Sunday sister the Observer are said to be losing around GBP 100,000 ( USD 150,000 a day) - allied with the sale of assets including part of its holding in Trader Media Group for some GBP 700 million (Currently round USD 1.05 billion) and most recently at the end of last year of GMG Regional Media including the Manchester Evening News, (the Guardian's last tie with its Manchester -it was the founded in 1821 as the Manchester Guardian and became The Guardian in 1959), we take leave to massive overdoses of salt in connection with the comment on the group's financial position although its radio operations do seem in fairly good shape.
Previous Guardian Media:
2010-03-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 4,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Journal Broadcast Corporation in relation to a competition run on its KJOT-FM, Boise, Idaho.
It had received a complaint that the station had failed to conduct the contest in accordance with its advertised terms and the Commission's rules because it did not say it would award all prizes to a single individual.
The complainant also alleged that the station "fixed" the results of the giveaway-event by awarding all prizes to a prior customer of one of the Station's sponsors.
Journal has responded by saying that it had des8gned the contest so as to award "numerous prizes to a single winner so that the winner could own the Ultimate Garage," and notes that promotional announcements for the Contest emphasized this winner-take-all aspect. It detailed the process of elimination to a final ten, each of whom had taken a numbered toy from a bucket and whose bags contained a unique key code, only one of which would unlock the garage containing the prizes.
It denied the allegation that the winner has a prior relationship with a co-sponsor of the event, providing a sworn declaration to that effect from the winner.
The FCC in ruling that the station had breached its rules noted that of ten different recorded announcements it provided, only two mentioned that the prizes would all go to a single winner. It also noted that text was provided of live reads that referred to information on a web site but that the details on the web site did not "contain a clear, consistent statement that there would be a single winner, instead variously referring to 'winners,' 'a winner,' 'the winner,' and 'each winner.'"
The agency proposed the base forfeiture of USD 4,000.
2010-03-24: The BBC has announced that it is to go ahead with expansion if its digital radio service and add a further 60 DAB digital transmitters as part of its commitment to reach 90% of the UK population during the current Charter period.
Of the additional transmitters, 15 will be in Scotland, ten in Wales, and seven in Northern Ireland. In England the largest number will be in the southwest, which gets nine, after which London and the Home Counties add three and Derby gets two.
The Corporation says that the move is the final part of a planned roll-out which started in 2008 and has which already resulted in more than 50 additional transmitters being added to the network.
The additional transmitters will mean that more than a million additional people will be able to receive the BBC's national digital radio services.
Tim Davie, the BBC's director of audio and music, said: "The BBC is fully committed to digital radio I'm delighted that we are now in a position to deliver on the BBC Trust's target to bring digital radio to 90% of the UK."
2010-03-24: Arbitron has announced agreement with Digimarc, which last year claimed that the former's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system infringed its patents (See RNW Aug 22, 2009), under which it will pay Digimarc USD 4.5 million to license the relevant technology.
Arbitron says that it will receive a non-exclusive, worldwide, and irrevocable license that will provide it with "various rights in Digimarc's technology including the rights to use it to enhance the Arbitron PPM technology through the end of 2021, or until the last licensed Digimarc patent expires."
The legal action is to be "jointly and voluntarily dismissed without prejudice."
2010-03-23: UTV revenues for 2009 were down 6% to GBP 112.1 million (USD 167.1 million) with operating profits down 19.4% to USD 23.7 million (USD 35.3 million).
Overall profit, after taking into account exceptional losses totalling GBP 3.36 million (USD 5.00 million) in 2009 and GBP 5.57 million (USD 8.30 million) in 2008 was up 21.2% to GBP 11.75 million (USD 17.51 million).
Without the exceptional items profit was down from GBP 14.83 million to GBP 14.10 million (From USD 22.1 million to USD 21.0 million).
In segment terms TV operating profits were down 45.4% from GBP 7.65 million (USD 11.40 million) in 2008 to GBP 5.26 million (USD 7.84 million) in 2009 whilst Irish radio was down 14.1% to GBP 7.04 million (USD 10.49 million) and Great Britain radio was down 13% to GBP 9.42 million (USD 14.04 million) with New Media down 0.2% to GBP 1.97 million (USD 2.94 million).
Radio revenues from continuing operations were down 3.2% overall to GBP 68 million ( USD 101.4 million) of which GBP 43.2 million (USD 64.4 million) came from UTV's GB Radio division and GBP 24.8m (USD 37.0 million) was from Irish radio operations and TV was down 16.9% to GBP 32.5 million (USD 48.4 million). Like-for-like radio revenues in the GB division were down 8% whilst those in Ireland were down 16%
UTV noted radio cost reductions made during the year and a "robust approach to radio stations which could not be brought to profitability within a reasonable timeframe" that led to the disposal of Valleys Radio and Central Radio in Great Britain.
Looking ahead UTV said recovery may be fragile and added that the advertising market remains very short term although it said there had been encouraging signs for TV at the start of this year and talkSPORT, in a soccer World Cup year, was expected to increase its revenues by 16% in the first four months of this year.
GB local stations, it said were likely to have revenues down by 3% in the first four months and Irish radio revenues were expected to be down 6%.
Group Chief Executive John McCann commented, "The current, prolonged downturn is unprecedented. Despite that, I believe today's results demonstrate the robustness of UTV Media. They are also testament to the hard work in very difficult conditions of everyone in the company.
He added, "I am particularly pleased that throughout the difficulties we have been able to significantly improve our capital position" and noted a reduction in net debt by 18% and cost savings ahead of target, that "mean that the company is in a strong position to tackle the new financial year."
"I am acutely aware," he concluded, "that any recovery is very fragile, but I am pleased that we have seen some improvements in the advertising market so far this year."
McCann also noted that UTV had renegotiated its banking covenants because, although they were meeting them, they were tight. As a result, he said they would be in a position to take advantage of acquisition opportunities if they arose.
In staff terms, UTV cut around 150 p osts during the downturn and is to continue with a pay freeze for those remaining.
2010-03-23: Seattle commercial classical station KING FM is to become listener supported from July next year, a move that Christopher Bayley, board president of KING's non-profit parent says on the station's web site will enhance the station's ability to "perform its mission."
Bayley said that the vision of Harriet Bullitt and Patsy Collins - the daughters of station founder Dorothy Bullitt who gave the station to the community - that the "station would not only be part of Seattle's arts and culture framework forever, but that through advertising it would also generate financial support to the symphony, opera, and smaller classical performing groups " had worker well for a time but with" all the changes in media in the United States, commercial advertising is no longer a fit for KING."
"As a listener-supported classical station, KING will be able to play more great music, provide more support to the local classical music scene, and be more engaged with its listeners and the arts community. We believe everyone will benefit," he added.
KING lists the steps it has to take to make the move including IRS approval of a new non-profit company; Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreement to change the licence to non-commercial; the development of a "a fund to offset any slowdown in revenue during the development of KING's listener support base"; and the recruitment of new board members and new staff and development of new programs for membership and listener support in the public radio model.
The web site also carries comment in support of the station from various groups including one from Jim Clayton, Fisher Radio Seattle VP/GM, in which he notes that the switch to Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings has created a particularly challenging environment for KING-FM and adds, "Fisher has been part of the process with KING-FM in helping them search for new paths to survivability and feel the Listener Supported concept to be promising. Fisher Radio will continue to represent KING-FM in full force through May 2011."
KING-FM re planned switch:
2010-03-23: UK Media regulator Ofcom upheld complaints against two radio broadcasts by a West Midlands community station serving the Asian Community in its latest Bulletin in which it also directed TV broadcaster Bang Channels Ltd - whom in its previous three bulletins it had ruled had breached broadcasting codes relating to adult sex chat channels - that it must immediately comply with the Broadcasting Code in relation to retention of recordings and the broadcast of adult sex chat channels. Ofcom has warned the station that failure could lead to revocation of the broadcaster's licence.
In addition to the above Ofcom also upheld a TV standards complaints; a TV advertising scheduling complaint and a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint and considered a further TV complaint resolved by action taken by the broadcaster on top of which it gave details of a TV standards and TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint that was not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld involved Radio XL and broadcasts on the Vicky Gill Show - which included an hour-long segment discussing family law during which listeners were able to call the studio to put questions to a lawyer from a company of solicitors - and of the Navrang show in which the presenter read out an advert for a Birmingham shop.
Ofcom received complaints that the comments made on the first show had promoted the solicitor and that the second was an advertisement not separated from editorial content.
XL was asked to comment on the Vicky Gill broadcasts in relation to rules saying that products must not be promoted in programming; undue prominence should not be given in any programme to a product and on the Navrang broadcast in relation to rules on separating advertising and editorial content.
Radio XL in response said that the Vicky Gill programme was used to provide information to its listeners but was not designed to promote the guest but that it was "editorially justified" in mentioning the guest's legal practice. It noted that the guest in answering questions encouraged one listener to contact any family law specialist and any immigration specialist and added that the guest had given her phone number so as to be able to assist listeners who needed more detail.
It also noted that it was made aware of this complaint whilst Ofcom was investigating a similar complaint (it ruled there had been a breach in the earlier case) and said it began to change its procedures to avoid further breaches.
In the Navrang case it argues that the presenter had separated programming and a live read by saying, "Now let us go towards this message" and "this message we are delivering to you is on behalf of "
Ofcom noted that the presenter had suggested listeners get a "pen and paper" before giving details of the solicitor and considered that the two codes had been breached and that in the Navrang case there was insufficient separation of editorial and programming.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 154 TV complaints against 104 items and 12 radio complaints against 11 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 278 TV complaints against 172 items and 20 radio complaints against 15 items that it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-03-22: Triton Media's Dial Global continued its dominance of the top-rated US radio networks according to Arbitron's RADAR 104 network rating survey just released that shows the Dial Global Contemporary Network and Dial Global Complete FM Network held on to the two top ranks amongst those 25-54 with the Premiere Informed Network taking third place, the Dial Global Adult Power network holding on to fourth and the Dial Global Female Perspective retaining ninth rank but its Dial Global Music & Entertainment, which was tenth in RADAR 103 fell back to 11th.
Dial Global did slightly better amongst the 18-40 demographic where its Dial Global Contemporary Network, Dial Global Complete FM Network, and Dial Global Contemporary Network and Dial Global Complete FM Network held the top three spots; Dial Global Female Perspective took eighth rank; and Dial Global Music & Entertainment was tenth.
In the 25-54 demographic, Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks took four places, up one from the three spots it held in RADAR 103 (the Premiere Male Focus Network, Premiere Today's Men Network, and Premiere Modern Women Network) - Second rank with the Premiere Informed Network, fifth with the Premiere Modern Women Network; seventh with the Premiere Today's Men Network and eighth with the Premiere Money & Smarts: 15 Network.
Westwood One again had one network in the top ten - its Adults Network in sixth rank, down a rank from RADAR 103 - and United Stations Impact Network was tenth, compared to eighth in RADAR 103
The Top ten networks amongst the 25-54 demographic (Arbitron also now posts details for the 18-49 demographic) were (with the RADAR 103 figures in brackets):
1 - Dial-Global Contemporary Network with an average audience of 3.979 million and an average rating of 3.1 (In RADAR 103 the network was first with an average audience of 3.953 million and an average rating of 3.1.)
2 - Dial Global Complete FM Network with an average audience of 3.335 million and an average rating of 2.6 (In RADAR 103 it was second with an average audience of 3.871 million and an average rating of 2.9).
3: Premiere Informed Network with an average audience of 3.335 million and an average rating of 2.6 (In RADAR 103 the Premiere Male Focus Network was third with an average audience of 3.160 million and an average rating of 2.5).
4: Dial Global Adult Power Network with an average audience of 2.936 million and an average rating of 2.3 (In RADAR 103 the network was fourth ranked with an average audience of 2.794 million and an average rating of 2.2).
5: Premiere Modern Women Network with an average audience of 2.470 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 103 it was in the seventh with an average audience of 2.412 million and an average rating of 1.9).
6: Westwood One Adults Network with an average audience of 2.464 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 103 it was fifth with an average audience of 2.587 million and an average rating of 2.0).
7: Premiere Today's Men Network with an average audience of 2.406 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 103 it was sixth with an average audience of 2.450 million and an average rating of 1.9).
8: Premiere Money & Smarts: 15 Network with an average audience of 2.388 million and an average rating of 1.9 (This network is new to the ratings).
9: Dial Global Female Perspective Network with an average audience of 2.370 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 103 it was ninth with an average audience of 2.405 million and an average rating of 1.9).
10: United Stations Impact Network with an average audience of 2.408 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 103 it was eighth with an average audience of 2.408 million and an average rating of 1.9).
As noted already Dial Global Music & Entertainment Network, which was tenth in RADAR 103, when it had an average audience of 2.343 million and an average rating of 1.8,fell to 11th - its average audience was 2.239 million and average ratings was 1.8.
The highest ranked Citadel Network was the Citadel Media Prime Access in 23rd rank with an average audience of 1.402 million and an average rating of 1.1 (In RADAR 103 it was 22nd with an average audience of 1.520 million and an average rating of 1.2).
Previous Citadel (Formerly Disney)/ABC, America):
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 103):
Previous Westwood One:
2010-03-22: According to industry body Commercial Radio Australia, the first official release of data on digital radio in Australia shows nearly half a million Australians are now listening in an average week with sales of around 104,000 receivers having been recorded.
Commercial Radio Australia's Digital Radio Industry Report adds that around four-fifths of those who own a digital receiver would recommend it to a friend and says that nearly two-thirds of Australians are aware of the launch of digital radio; more than two-thirds of those who had purchased a digital receiver thought it had delivered on their expectations and 38% of those living in metropolitan areas - the services was launched in five state metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide- plan to purchase a digital receiver within the next year.
Nielsen started monitoring listening by platform in January this year and showed that in an average week nearly 95% of people in the five state capital cities listened to radio in an average week with 3.7% listening via DAB+ and 4.2% on the internet - although the cumulative audience online was larger (some 504,000) the time spent listening on DAB+ was higher at 8 hours 16 minutes each week, compared to the internet listening at 5 hours and 31 minutes.
The report was compiled using date from Nielsen's ratings, consumer electronics market research company, GfK, and market researcher, the Hoop Group. It notes that as well as simulcasts of analogue stations there are up to 16 new DAB only stations on air in each of the markets in addition to additional pop-up or event stations created for short periods.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner commented, "The market information in the Digital Radio Industry Report has exceeded the industry's initial expectations. Initial predictions were up to 50,000 receivers sold in the first 12 months. Permanent high power digital radio services have only been on air for a short time and we are very pleased with these initial results,"
She added that the report gave the industry "a basis on which to work for the continued marketing, promotion, development and growth of digital radio across Australia" and noted, "We have to remember digital radio is a new technology, the internet has been available as an alternative way to listen to broadcast radio for many years and already digital radio time spent listening is greater than time spent listening via the internet platform."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Digital Radio Industry Report 2010 (20-page 2.57 MB PDF):
2010-03-21: Last week was one in which there were a few radio-related postings by the regulators in Australia and North America but none from Ireland or the UK.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has allocated a long-term community licence in Geelong, Victoria, to Geelong Ethnic Communities Council Inc (GECC), which has been operating 94.7 The Pulse under a temporary licence since 2004. It was the only applicant for the area, which already has the long-term community broadcasting licence two long-term community broadcasting services - 3GPH serving the print handicapped community interest and 3GGR serving the Christian community interest.
In Western Australia, the ACMA is proposing to make two new FM frequencies available for the ABC to provide its NewsRadio service at Kalgoorlie and for the provision of two new high power open narrowcasting (HPON) services at Kalgoorlie and at Kambalda, in which interest has already been expressed.
It is also planning to increase the power of an as-yet unallocated community licence for Kalgoorlie from 1kw to 6kw. Comment relating to the proposals has to be submitted by April 16.
In addition to licensing decisions the ACMA also posted revised guidelines relating to community broadcasting participation (a 38-page 369 KB PDF). The revisions contain a number of changes to the original draft including a listing of organizations that can be contacted for assistance; an updated definition of "community interest"; an updated definition of community participation and more detail relating to participation in community radio services that are operated by educational institutions with a subscriber base instead of members or services operating as a consortium; and means by which community participation in programming can be encouraged. Comment on the revised guidelines has to be submitted by June 1.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a quiet week as regards radio has posted a notice of consultation, with an April 20 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments, relating to an application by Durham Radio Inc. to decrease from 122 to 31 watts ((maximum ERP from 220 watts at 16 degrees to 175 watts at 0 degree) the power of its transmitter CJKX-FM-2, Toronto, which carried the programming of CJKX-FM, Ajax. Durham says this change would increase the population within the 3 mV/m contour of the transmitter from 131,776 to 500,921 people and within its 0.5 mV/m contour from 773,107 to 1,901,557 people.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) remained more focussed on broadband than broadcasting but did post details of a number of enforcement actions including proposing penalties totalling USD 30,000 on Birach Broadcasting in relation to control and staffing of two Michigan stations and also announcing two consent decrees relating to non-commercial educations stations in New Hampshire and Rhode Island (See RNW Mar 19).
In a further enforcement action it issued:
*A USD 4,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Escalante City, licensee of FM translator Station K237AD, Escalante, Utah, for late filing of licence renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation.
A USD 1,500 Forfeiture to Faith Trinity Assemblies, licensee of Station WZYZ(FM), Spencer, Tennessee, for late filing of licence renewal application. The FCC had issued a USD 1,500 NAL for the breach to which the licensee responded by arguing for cancellation on the basis that the failure was inadvertent and that it is a non-profit entity. The FCC said that in this case there were no mitigating circumstances to warrant cancellation or reduction of the penalty.
*A USD 500 Forfeiture to Alacca Bible Conference, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Stations K213BN, Orofino, and K215AB, Kamiah, both in Idaho, for late filing of licence renewal application.
The FCC initially issued a USD 1,500 NAL in relation to each station to which the licensee responded by arguing for cancellation on the basis that the failure was not wilful, that it was staffed by unpaid volunteers, and is a "non-commercial, non profit" entity. The arguments were rejected, the latter because documentation provided was insufficient, but the penalty was reduced to USD 250 per station in line with other recent penalties.
*A USD 250 forfeiture to Friends of Christian Radio, licensee of FM translator station K228DI, Sidney, Nebraska, for late filing of licence renewal application. The FCC initially issued a USD 1,500 NAL to which the licensee responded by arguing for cancellation on the basis that the failure was inadvertent and financial hardship. The arguments were rejected, the latter because documentation provided was insufficient, but the penalty was reduced to USD 250 in line with other recent penalties.
The FCC also finally for the record dismissed Primosphere's petition for reconsideration of the award of the two available US satellite radio licences to Sirius (then Satellite CD Radio, Inc.) and XM (then American Mobile Radio Corp.) in its 1997 auction of the two licences for which Primosphere had also bid and after losing had challenged (See RNW Mar 16).
In another licensing action it denied a Group A Licensee, LLC 's Petition for Reconsideration of the agency's decision to allow Metro Radio, licensee of WKCW-AM, Warrenton, Virginia, to increase its daytime power from 10 to 22 kilowatts and night time power from 1.7 to 60 watts, utilizing a directional antenna system.
Group A, licensee of Class B Station WCOJ-AM, Coatesville, Pennsylvania, had filed a complaint alleging daytime and critical hours interference from WKCW-AM's modified signal to which Metro responded by saying the station had been operating in full compliance with its authorization, and that the alleged interference was likely to be from a different source.
WCOJ listeners also complained and the FCC carried out an unannounced inspection of WKCW, finding it to be operating in accordance with the terms of the licence, which complied with rules to protect other stations from interference and Group A's complaints were accordingly dismissed. The FCC on the basis of the evidence dismissed the petition for reconsideration.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
Draft revised ACMA guidelines on community broadcasting participation (369 kb PDF):
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-03-20: A clash over the future of bankrupt international satellite radio WorldSpace's satellites has developed between the company and Liberty subsidiary Liberty Satellite Radio with the company filing a motion with the Delaware bankruptcy court to move the satellites out of their orbits whilst Liberty, which bought WorldSpace's debt, says that the satellites are not part of WorldSpace's assets and the request should be refused.
WorldSpace's request - to be allowed to "de-orbit" its AfriStar and AsiaStar satellites, which would mean moving them into a higher orbit where they could not damage other communications satellites, or be allowed to sell them- is to be heard by bankruptcy court judge Peter Walsh on Wednesday.
Liberty in its filing says that any sale of WorldSpace assets should be handled by the filing of an appropriate sale motion with notice to be given to all interested parties and also adds that the satellite are not WorldSpace assets and "are not subject to the jurisdiction of the court."
It also accused WorldSpace in its filing of including "inaccurate and misleading factual statements concerning, among other things, negotiations among Liberty, the Debtors and the Committee, and the status of the proposed transaction."
WorldSpace earlier this month announced that Liberty Media had pulled out of "strategic" negotiations with it and added that it may decommission its satellites (See RNW Mar 16).
2010-03-19: In a run of enforcement actions, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued two Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) that together amount to USD 15,000 for each of two Michigan stations to Birach Broadcasting and has also announced two consent decrees relating to the two non-commercial educational stations, one including payment of USD 10,000 and the other a payment of USD 1,700.
The NALs issued to Birach related to an unauthorized transfer of control of WMFN-AM, Zeeland, and WMJH-AM, Rockford, "in the context of a time brokerage agreement" and also to failure to staff the station's main studio with a managerial employee and staff level employee of its own while the Station was being operated by a time broker.
The proposed penalties follow inspections of the stations at which it was found that no Birach employees were present at their main studios and was told that the stations were being operated for Birach pursuant to a "handshake" time brokerage agreement.
The agency subsequently sent a letter of inquiry (LOI) to Birach requesting information about any time brokerage agreements and specifically asking for any written time brokerage agreement that it had entered into.
In response, Sima Birach, sole owner and general manager of the two stations, said he was ultimately responsible for their programming, employment, marketing, and finances and that he entered into time brokerage agreements in relation to this (with Tyrone Bynum for WMFN and with Efrin Cano and Reynaldo Mayans for WMJH): Birach provided no copy of a written agreements but did provide a invoices for the sums owed for operation of the station and detailing terms for payment.
Birach also said that time brokers were responsible for the operation and programming of the station and that while it did not have an employee present at the station, he has subsequently employed a managerial level employee to work at WMFN-AM, and WMJH-AM, half-time at each station. Birach's business address if around two hours from Zeeland but his counsel said that it was possible for him to supervise the operation of the Station remotely.
The FCC decided that he was liable for a forfeiture for transferring de facto control of WMFN to a time broker without prior Commission approval and also for failing to maintain a meaningful presence at its main studio, commenting that in the latter case the remedial action taken was insufficient and that Birach was "was in flagrant violation of the Main Studio Rule both prior to the LOI and following the LOI." It proposes penalties of USD 8,000 - the base forfeiture -for violation of its rules relating to transfer of control and of USD 7,000 - also the base forfeiture - for the staffing violation. Birach is also ordered within 60 days to provide written statements concerning the steps that it has taken to reassert control over the stations and to comply with the FCC staffing requirements for their main studios.
The other cases involved St. Paul's School, licensee of non-commercial educational station WSPS-FM, Concord, New Hampshire, and Roger Williams University,licensee of non-commercial educational station WQRI-FM, Bristol, Rhode Island.
In the first case St Paul's School in its licence renewal application disclosed shortcomings related to compliance with the FCC's Public File and Ownership Report rules and the Consent Decree involves payment of USD 10,000 as well as implementing a compliance plan.
In the second case Roger Williams University disclosed shortcomings in relation to the maintenance of WQRI's Public File and the Consent Decree involves payment of USD 1,700 as well as implementing a compliance plan. In each case the licence was renewed.
2010-03-18: BIA/Kelsey says that Los Angeles has retained its top rank in radio billings last year - a total of USD 713.8 million compared to USD 575.6 million for second ranked New York with Clear Channel's Top 40 KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, holding on to its top station rank, billing USD 55 million in revenues, down from USD 66.3 million in 2008
In second rank for stations was Bonneville's WTOP, Washington, with billing totalling USD 51 million - it was sixth in 2008 with USD 51.75 million - followed by CBS Radio's WCBS-AM, New York with USD 43.6 million - eighth in 2008 with USD 46.7 million.
The rest of this year's top ten stations were:
4. CBS Radio's WINS-AM, New York- USD 42.9 million: Down from USD 51.8 million in 2008 when it ranked fifth.
5. CBS Radio's KROQ-FM, Los Angeles - USD 42.2 million: Down from USD 56.1 million in 2008 when it ranked second and down from USD 67.6 million in 2007 when it ranked first.
6. Clear Channel's WLTW-FM, New York - USD 41.6 million: USD 52.6 million in 2008 when it ranked fourth.
7. Clear Channel's KFI-AM, Los Angeles - USD 41 million: USD 54.4 million in 2008 when it ranked third.
8. CBS Radio's WBBM-AM, Chicago - USD 40 million: Not in the top ten in 2008.
9. Clear Channel's WHTZ-FM, New York- USD 38.3 million: USD 49.6 million in 2008 when it ranked seventh.
10. Tribune Co's WGN-AM, Chicago - USD 36.5 million: Not in the top ten in 2008.
Going out of the top ten were Emmis's KPWR-FM, Los Angeles, which was ninth in 2008 with USD 46.3 million in billings and Clear Channel's KOST-FM, Los Angeles, which was tenth with USD 45.7 in billings.
The top ten markets in 2009 were:
1. Los Angeles: USD 713.8 million
2. New York: USD 575.6 million
3. Chicago: USD 450.8 million
4. Dallas: USD 309.8 million
5. San Francisco: USD 272 million
6. Houston: USD 266.4 million
7. Atlanta: USD 259.4 million
8. Washington, DC: USD 251.9 million
9. Boston: USD 228.2 million
10. Miami: USD 228.2 million
The Top 10 Billing radio station owners in 2009 were:
1. Clear Channel Radio - USD 2,358,825,000
2. CBS Radio - USD 1,270,150,000
3. Entercom - USD 384,550,000
4. Cox Radio - USD 362,450,000
5. Univision Broadcasting - USD 325,425,000
6. Citadel Broadcasting - USD 310,505,000
7. Citadel/ABC - USD 284,900,000
8. Cumulus Broadcasting - USD 231,900,000
9. Radio One - USD 226,200,000
10. Bonneville Communications - USD 216,125,000
BIA 2008 station rankings:
2010-03-18: Arbitron has announced new members of its expanded Radio Advisory Council - it announced last month that it was to add one seat each for Network Radio, Digital Radio and Public Radio; four additional representatives for Diary markets; and one additional representative each for Urban and Spanish-language broadcasters and clients from Portable People Meter (PPM) markets (See RNW Feb 22).
The additional diary members are Erik Hellum, President, Gap Broadcasting; Frank Osborn, President, Qantum Communications; Craig Jacobus, President, South Central Communications; and Dan Savadove, Chief Executive Officer, Main Line Broadcasting.
Other names announced are of John Fullam, Vice President/Market Manager, Greater Media, Philadelphia for the additional PPM position; Deon Levingston, Vice President /General Manager, Inner City Broadcasting, New York for the additional Urban position; Jeff Liberman, President, Entravision, for the additional Spanish-language position; Deb Esayian, President, Emmis Interactive, for the new Digital Radio position; David Landau, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Dial Global, for the new Network Radio position; and Bill Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Southern California Public Radio, for the new Public Radio position.
In addition two replacement names were announced - Gary Stone, President and Chief Operating Officer, Univision Radio for Spanish Radio and Amy Vokes, Vice President Research, Radio One as replacement Researcher.
Arbitron also announced that the Spring 2010 Radio Advisory Council meeting will be held May 11-12 in Annapolis, Maryland.
2010-03-17: Sirius XM Radio has announced receipt of a letter from the NASDAQ stock market saying that it has not regained compliance with the exchange's minimum USD 1 price requirement and adding that it will request a hearing before a NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel at which it will request continued listing pending its return to compliance.
The company has already prepared plans for a reverse split of its stock if needed to regain compliance but says that for now the letter has no effect on the listing of its stock.
Sirius XM also announced that is has closed on the sale of USD 800 million of its 8.75% Senior Notes due 2015. The issue was fully subscribed and no discount was given. Proceeds are to be used to redeem its USD 500 million outstanding 9-5/8% Senior Notes due 2013; to prepay in full its USD 244 million outstanding borrowings under its senior secured term loan that matures in 2012; and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering with remaining net proceeds for general corporate purposes.
The announcements had no major effect on Sirius XM stock, which closed down 1.17% at 89.44 cents on Wednesday.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-03-17: BBC World Service DJ Charlie Gillett, known worldwide for his weekly world music programme on BBC World Service (and also as an author on pop music, presenter on various British radio stations and credited with helping launch the careers of Graham Parker, Elvis Costello and Dire Straits by playing their first demos) has died in London aged 68 after a long illness.
He was born in Morecambe, Lancashire and began his journalistic career in 1968 with a weekly column in the Record Mirror and in 1970 his book "The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll", originally written as his Master's thesis for Columbia University, was published.
In 1972 he launched the weekly Honky Tonk programme on BBC Radio London, and it was on this show that Dire Strait's "Sultans of Swing" - on a demo sent to him by the group - was first aired, leading to their being signed up by Phonogram Records two months later and subsequent signing with Warner Bros Records.
Gillett was also known for popularising the work of world music stars including Youssou N'Dour and Salif Keita.
He left Radio London in 1978 and in 1979 moved to Capital Radio, where he remained until 1990. He subsequently moved back to the BBC, presenting a two-hour weekly show on BBC London 94.9 from 1995 to 2006 and a weekly world music programme on the BBC World Service from 1999 until last week as well as being one of three regular presenters of BBC Radio 3's "World on Three".
He stood down from the last two months ago because of ill health but continued his World Service programme until the last - his show from March 13 is currently on the station's website (including an "I'll be back next week " line before the last song).
World Service director Peter Horrocks said Gillett was an inspiration whose spirit of adventure and passion for the rich diversity of global music opened the ears of the world, adding, "His broadcasts brought together music and radio fans from far flung corners of the globe. His postbag was one of the biggest, most affectionate and diverse in Bush House, which confirmed his special place in listener's lives. He was a very special broadcaster and he will be sorely missed."
BBC Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright said, "Radio 3 has always valued Charlie's immense knowledge and passion for world music which has been much enjoyed by listeners."
As well as his writing and presenting Gillette was also involved in managing Kilburn and the High Roads, whose lead singer was Ian Dury, and running his Oval Music recording and music publishing company.
Also with the BBC, Radio 4 has announced that the ashes of Norman Painting OBE, the actor who played Phil Archer in the station's The Archers for 60 years and who died last year aged 85 (See RNW Oct 29, 2009) , were scattered in a private ceremony in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on Wednesday afternoon.
Painting was Vice-President of The Tree Council and the ceremony took place in Painting's plantation, which was planted by The Tree Council in the grounds of the local school to honour him on his 80th birthday. A memorial service him is to be held later this year.
2010-03-17: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that its next media ownership workshop is to be held at the University of South Florida Tampa, Florida, on April 20.
It will run from 15:00 to 19:30 and will explore benefits and harms of newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership and the impact these combinations have on competition and diversity in the media marketplace.
Topics to be discussed will include how newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership affects competition in the local media marketplace; to what extent, if any, cross-ownership affects the production of news and public affairs content; and whether cross-owned combinations impact the quantity, quality, diversity, and responsiveness of local news and public affairs programming and if so, how.
2010-03-16: A short announcement from bankrupt international satellite radio company WorldSpace that Liberty Media, its debtor-in-possession lender (through a subsidiary), has terminated "strategic transaction negotiations" has thrown into doubt the future of the company's satellites: There had been widespread speculation that Liberty, which bailed out Sirius XM radio and has a 40% stake in the US satellite radio operator, was planning to use the WorldSpace satellites to take the US company global.
WorldSpace, which added that it is "awaiting information from Liberty as to its expectations as WorldSpace's secured lender with respect to the handling of Liberty's collateral", says that it is now "planning for a potential de-commissioning of its satellites and reviewing its strategic alternatives in light of the termination of negotiations."
Neither Liberty nor WorldSpace have released details of what the "transaction negotiations" involved and speculation so far includes the suggestion that Liberty, having done the number crunching, has decided that it does not make business sense for it to use the WorldSpace satellites for an international satellite radio service.
The WorldSpace announcement came shortly after the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had rejected an application for review of its decision to grant the two available US satellite radio licences to Sirius (then Satellite CD Radio, Inc.) and XM (then American Mobile Radio Corp.).
Primosphere Limited Partnership had submitted an application for a Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) licence in 1993 and took part in the 1997 auction of the two licences on offer along with Sirius and XM, which had the winning bids: They subsequently filed to make their applications conform to the FCC's technical rules and Primosphere filed a petition to deny these filings.
Primosphere argued that the dismissal of its application was premature before the Commission had reviewed its grant of the Sirius and XM licences but in 2001 the agency confirmed the licence grants and denied reconsideration of Primosphere's application.
Primosphere then petitioned the D.C. Circuit to review the Commission's licence grants and also filed an application for review of its application but in 2003 the Court denied Primosphere's petitions.
This decision was not appealed by Primosphere and is now final and Primosphere also filed a letter to the FCC in 2004 withdrawing its Application for Review but then in 2007 filed a letter seeking to withdraw this letter, saying it remains an applicant for an SDARS licence if one became available because of the then planned merger of Sirius and XM.
The FCC says that the Court decision made the Primosphere filings moot and accordingly "to provide clarity" has formally dismissed the application for review and any filings related to it.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-03-16: WCBS has reported the deaths of two of its veterans this week - Joseph Dembo who put in charge of the station in 1967 when then CBS Chairman William Paley decided to flip the "also-ran flagship radio station" (as it is described in a CBS report) to all news and radio personality Ron Lundy, whose on-air career in New York radio ran more than three decades.
Dembo, who died in Manhattan of cancer aged 83, spent 28 years with CBS, having started his broadcasting career at NBC in 1952. He was born in Vienna, Austria, and moved to the US as a child, graduating from Rutgers University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Letters degree in journalism.
He joined WCBS Radio in 1960 and became executive producer of the station within a year and in 1962 was appointed director of News and Public Affairs for WCBS.
He worked for CBS in TV as well as radio, including spells running CBS bureaux in Rome and Athens from 1971 to 1974 and as executive producer of "The CBS Morning News" network television broadcast from 1974 to 1976 after which he returned to the airwaves where he reported for the CBS Radio Network until November 1978 when he was named executive editor for hard-news broadcasts for the CBS Radio Network, going on to become news director and a network vice president in charge of all of CBS Radio in 1982.
Dembo left CBS in 1988 and became a professor of media studies at Fordham University, a post he held until last year. He also served as a member of the National Public Radio (NPR) board of directors for three years and had a short spell as acting NPR president.
CBS Radio Network anchor Charles Osgood, who along with Lou Adler Steve Porter, Jim Harriot, Robert Vaughn, Ed Bradley, Steve Flanders and sportscaster Pat Summerall was in the team he assembled at WCBS, told the station, "I've known Joe Dembo as a boss, mentor and good friend for four decades now. It's fitting that he spent his last years as a professor at my alma mater, Fordham. Even as a producer and executive Joe was always a great teacher. He certainly taught me a lot."
Lundy, who died aged 75 of a heart attack in Mississippi, began his working life as a record librarian at WHHM in Memphis, Tennessee, and then worked in Greenville, Mississippi; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and St Louis, Missouri, before moving to New York where he joined WABC-AM in 1965, becoming known for his catchphrase, "Hello Love... this is Ron Lundy from the Greatest City in the World!"
He left the station after it was flipped to talk in 1982 and in 1984 joined oldies WCBS-FM, remaining with the station until he retired in September 1997, and moved to the town of Bruce, Mississippi.
WCBS report on Dembo:
WCBS report on Lundy:
2010-03-15: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland has said he will approve Citadel Broadcasting Corporation's disclosure statement, which explains the company's pre-packaged Chapter 11 re-organization plans, overruling the objections of shareholders Virtus Capital LLC and the Kenneth S. Grossman Pension Plan.
The two organizations say the plan, under which the amount unsecured creditors will receive 36 cents on the dollar for their claims compared to 15 cents under a previous plan, undervalues Citadel because it does not take into account a rebound in advertising sales for the U.S. radio industry that they say could allow the company to report a revenue increase of 8%-10% this year compared to a company projection of less than 1%.
Bloomberg also reported that they said in a March 5 filing that the plan would enrich senior lenders and company managers at shareholder's expense and quoted Marc Richards, a lawyer for the stockholder group, which said in court papers it owns about 7 million shares, as saying, "They're not haemorrhaging cash; on the contrary, they're stockpiling cash. This is hardly a melting iceberg."
Judge Lifland agreed with lawyers for Citadel and its creditors that the issue of first-quarter numbers was something for a confirmation hearing and not a disclosure statement hearing and commented, "The plan itself is quite transparent. It's the result of ardent negotiations with the key players."
He added that the shareholders objections could be raised at the Confirmation Hearing which he scheduled for May 12.
Kenneth Pasquale, a lawyer for the official committee of unsecured creditors, said he thought that "in these circumstances it's an excellent deal for the unsecured creditors."
Under the new plan, the holders of USD 2.14 billion of Citadel's secured debt will get a new USD 762.5 million loan and 90% of the shares in the re-organized company whilst unsecured creditors will receive 2.2% of the new shares and around USD 8 million in cash.
Citadel filed its plan in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York at the start of last mont (See RNW Feb 4).
2010-03-15: Arbitron in a release of some details from its RADAR 104 Network Ratings (the full report is to be released on Monday) says that the medium now reaches more than 239 million persons 12 and above over a typical week, with a total of 219 million listening to RADAR Network Affiliate stations, up from 212 million a year earlier in the RADARD 10-0 survey.
The company adds that reach has increased as additional markets make the transition from diary to electronic (Portable People Meter- PPM) ratings.
It says that despite new competition from portable music plays and mobile and Internet only stations, radio reached 93.1% of those 12 and above each week; 91%of those aged 12-17; and 87 percent of Adults aged 18-34, up from 84% a year ago.
Arbitron also noted that the diversity of formats in radio attracts advertiser-coveted demographics in both Black Non-Hispanic and Hispanic persons, attracting more than 93 percent of Black Non-Hispanic persons and 94 percent of Hispanic persons, aged 12 and older tune into radio over the course of a week and about 93 percent of both Black Non-Hispanic persons and 95 percent of Hispanic persons aged 18-49 over the course of a week..
The figures improve amongst the educated and affluent with radio reaching 96% of college graduates aged 25-54; of those aged 25-54 with a college degree and an annual income of USD 50,000 over the course of a week; and of college graduates aged 18-49 with a household income of USD 75,000 or more.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 103):
2010-03-14: Last week was yet another when there was a low level of activity relating to radio by the regulators - there were no radio postings from Australia or Ireland - and only a few elsewhere.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted one radio decision, the approval of an Ontario application from My Broadcasting Corporation to add a 3,100 watts FM transmitter in Port Elgin to carry the signal of CIYN-FM, Kincardine.
The CRTC also posted a consultation notice, with a deadline of April 9 for the submission of interventions or comments, relating to a hearing to be held in Gatineau, Quebec, on May 10 that includes the following radio applications:
*Application by Nakusp Roots Music Society for authority to acquire from Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) the assets of the English-language low-power Type B community station CJHQ-FM Nakusp.
*Application by Joel Lagacé, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence to operate a 39.9 watts English-language Type B community FM with a mixed Country/Pop, Rock and Dance music format in Iroquois Falls.
*Application by 3553230 Canada Inc. to renew the licence for its French-language commercial station CJMS-AM, Saint-Constant, expiring 31 August 2010. The CRTC noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence concerning contributions to Canadian talent development (CTD).
*Application by Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc. to renew the licence for its English-language commercial station CFQR-FM Montréal, expiring 31 August 2010. The CRTC noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with Regulations concerning the broadcast of Canadian musical selections from content subcategory 34 (Jazz and blues) for the week of 5 to 11 July 2009.
*Applications by Rawlco Radio Ltd., 587681 Saskatchewan Ltd., DavidCo1 and HarryCo2, partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Northwestern Radio Partnership for authority to effect a multi-step corporate reorganization and requiring the issuance of new broadcasting licences to the applicant to continue the operation of the broadcasting undertakings under the same terms and conditions as those in effect under the current licences issued to Rawlco Radio Ltd., 587681 Saskatchewan Ltd. and Dekkerco Holdings Limited, partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Northwestern Radio Partnership. Stations involved are CJCQ-FM, CJHD-FM and CJNB-AM North Battleford, and CJNS-FM, Meadow Lake.
The CRTC has also posted a public notice with an April 12 deadline for inventions or comments relating to a public hearing to be held on May 12 in Toronto to consider issues relating to the licence of various broadcasters. In all cases they will be required to show cause they should not be ordered to come into compliance with Canada's Radio Regulations and their licence conditions including and why other action should not be taken up to suspension, non-renewal or revocation of the licences.:
*Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. The CRTC is to examine the renewal of AVR's licenses in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa, expiring 31 August 2010 and comments that the stations may not be complying with Canada's Radio Regulations and l its licence conditions relating to the minimum level of local programming.
*Arctic Radio (1982) Limited's CFAR-AM, Flin Flon, which may be operating out f compliance with Canada's Radio Regulations.
*CKLN Radio Incorporated, licensee of the community-based campus radio programming undertaking CKLN-FM Toronto. The agency received complaints concerning the station's governance structure, day-to-day management and operations, programming and the ability to remain on air.
*Pellpropco Inc. The CRTC is to examine the renewal of the licence for CHSC-AM, St.Catharines, Ontario, expiring 31 August 2010. The CRTC says it intends to clarify various issues including the station's programming service to the residents of St. Catharines and the Niagara region, its transmission facilities and the status of its studio facilities in the St. Catharines market.
The CRTC also intends to consider, subject to interventions, during the non-appearing phase of the public hearing, applications by Hornby Community Radio Society for a licence to operate a 5 watts English-language FM developmental community radio programming undertaking at Hornby Island, and by Total Change Ministries Inc. for a licence to operate a 26 watts English-language, low power Specialty non-commercial FM in Campbell River.
In the UK, Ofcom has approved a format change for Nation Radio, the former Xfm South Wales (See RNW Mar 10) and also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld one radio complaint (See RNW Mar 9).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) devoted most of its attention to broadband but was also involved in a number of radio enforcement actions: These included:
Issuing USD 5,500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to James K. Sharp licensee of non-commercial educational Station WDJL-AM, Huntsville, Alabama, for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation after the licence expired. The base penalties for the breached are USD 3,000 for the late filing - reduced to USD 1,500 - and USD 10,000 for unauthorized operation - reduced to USD 4,000.
*Issuing USD 1,500 forfeiture to San Juan Unified School District, licensee of KYDS-FM, Sacramento, California for late filing of renewal application. The licensee had been issued with an NAL for this amount and responded by arguing that the failure was inadvertent and the penalty should be cancelled. The FCC disagreed and confirmed it.
*Issuing USD 1,500 forfeiture to Chapel of the Holy Spirit Church and Bible College, licensee of WKCL-FM, Ladsen, South Carolina, for late filing of renewal application. The licensee had been issued with an NAL for this amount and responded by arguing that the failure was inadvertent and the penalty should be cancelled. The FCC disagreed and confirmed it.
*Issuing USD 1,500 forfeiture to Tennessee Technological University, licensee of WTTU-FM, Cookeville, Tennessee for late filing of renewal application. The licensee had been issued with an NAL for this amount and responded by arguing for a reduction because the failure was unintentional and based on a misunderstanding because its engineer had thought the deadline was 30 days before licence expiry. The FCC again confirmed the full penalty.
In another case concerning an amateur radio operator, Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Sippel overruled a move by the FCC Enforcement Bureau to revoke the licence of 35-years-old David Titus.
Revocation had been proposed on the basis of his fitness to hold a licence because of a history of coercive sex against minors, three of which occurred when he was a minor- aged from 11 to 15 - and a conviction when 18 when he pleaded guilty to one felony count of communication with a minor (an 11-year-old boy) for immoral purposes. He was sentenced to 25 months confinement in a correction centre, and assessed USD 500 in penalties.
Titus, who became a HAM operator with a novice licence when he was 14 and in 1989 became a licensee had been sexually abused by his father and after the conviction when he was 18 has not been convicted of or charged with any other offence.
He was however in 2004 involved in two incidents - a traffic accident and use of a public restroom in the early morning (paint was said to have been splattered against an outside wall but Titus has no paint in his vehicle - and these led Seattle police detective Schilling to increase his classification from Level 2 "moderate risk" to Level 3 "high risk."
Judge Sippel commented that no rational explanation was given for the re-classification and also said of a characterization of |Titus by Det. Schilling that it showed "at a minimum, ill will, malice, and disrespect towards Mr. Titus."
Titus produced testimony from Douglas J. Allmon, Ph.D., a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department of the University of Washington, saying that he was not likely to re-offend and ten character witnesses complimented Mr. Titus' character, including: a clergyman, a police officer, a corrections officer, a school counsellor, a government contractor, a Red Cross worker, a lab engineer, and Mr. Titus' mother.
Judge Sippel said the Bureau argument that Titus presented a danger was not based on evidence, and added that Titus has held an Amateur Radio license for 20 years, and there is no credible or reliable evidence even suggesting that he ever has used or ever would dare to use HAM radio communication as a means to contact minors for illicit purposes.
He ruled that the licence should not be revoked.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-03-13: Rogers' stations have taken the largest number of awards - five in all - in the broadcast section of this year's Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards with Astral taking four awards after which CTV GlobeMedia took three and Corus Entertainment and Harvard Broadcasting two each with Newcap and Jim Pattison Group each taking one award.
Of the Rogers' awards, 680 News, Toronto, took the News/Talk/Sports Station of the Year Award; 101.7 World FM, Edmonton, took the Multicultural Station of the Year Award; 98.1 CHFI, Toronto, took the Mainstream AC Station of the Year Award; and Sonic 102.9, Edmonton took the Rock Station of the Year Award. The other award to Rogers was the Program Director of the Year - Medium Market, which went to
Doug Elliott of K Rock 105.7, Kingston
Astral's four awards were the CHR Station of the Year Award - to Virgin Radio, Toronto plus three awards to 99.9 Sun FM, Kelowna - The Station of the Year -Small Market; Music Director of the Year - Small Market to Darren Robertson; and Program Director of the Year - Small Market, to Mark Burley.
All the CTV Globemedia awards went to CHUM - Hot AC Station of the Year plus the On Air Talent of the Year award to Roger, Darren and Marilyn and the Major Market Program Director of the Year which went to David Corey.
Corus's Awards were Station of the Year - Classic Gold - to Q107, Toronto; Station of the Year - Country to Country 105, Calgary; and Harvard Broadcasting took two Music Director awards -Music Director of the Year - Major Market to Chris Lynch, X92.9, Calgary and Music Director of the Year - Medium Market to Chris Lynch, X92.9, Calgary and Trapper John, 104.9 The Wolf, Regina.
Jim Pattison Group took the Promotion of the Year Award -for the Peak Performance Project, 100.5 The Peak, Vancouver; and Newcap took the Station of the Year - Medium Market, award for Q104.
2010-03-12: DMG Radio Australia has given up on its Vega FM format in Sydney and Melbourne that was launched to target the baby boomer market of people in their 40s and 50s and replaced it today with Classic Rock and the Vega web sites now bring up Classic Rock sites.
An announcement on the Sydney web sites from Dan Bradley, Programming Department (Described in its corporate release as Assistant Group Program Director), says, "You may have noticed Vega is no longer broadcasting on 95.3 FM. Instead you will hear a brand new radio station for Sydney - Classic Rock 95.3. "(RNW note: In Melbourne the frequency is 91.5 FM but otherwise the ntoe is the same).
It goes on, "We've talked to a lot of people to find out what they felt was missing from the radio, and the feedback was overwhelming .there is no radio station 100 % dedicated to playing timeless, passionate, incredible Classic Rock music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
The two Vega stations were launched in 2005 after DMG Australia paid AUD 106 million for the Sydney licence (Then USD 78 million -See RNW Apr 2, 2004) and AUD 52 million for the Melbourne licences Then USD 37 million - See RNW Aug 13, 2004).
Unlike the Nova network targeted at a youth audience that DMG also launched, the Vega stations did poorly in the ratings from the start - in their first ratings the Sydney station took a 1.8% overall share and 2.9% of its target 40-54 audience whilst the Melbourne station took only 1.2% overall, 2.2% of its target demographic (See RNW Dec 7, 2007).
The ratings improved somewhat but never had the success that DMG had hoped - the Sydney vega station high point was a 5% share in the fifth ratings survey of 2008 and overtook WSFM to become the highest-rated Sydney FM amongst those 40-54 with a 10.0 share with the Melbourne station also doing well in the same ratings (See RNW Aug 7, 2008)
They then fell back - in the final survey of last year vega in Sydney had a 3.7% overall share with only 6.6% for those 40-54 (WSFM was the highest rated FM for this group with 11.5% and ABC 702 the highest share of 12.3%) whilst in Melbourne vega had a 4.3% share overall and 7.4% of those 40-54 compared to 13.4% for Fox FM and 12, 4% for ABC 774.
There was a further fall in the first survey of this year in Sydney where vega had a 3.4% overall share and 8.3% of those 40-54 compared to 9.3% for WSFM and 13.7 for 2GB and in Melbourne the overall share fell back to 3.7% and that for the 40-54 demographic was down to 7.0 % whilst Gold FM had 14.8 and ABC 774 14.4%.
DMG Radio Australia announcing the launch of the two new stations carried a comment from its CEO Cathy O'Connor in which she said, "In building these new stations we knew we needed a simple, focused music concept that would appeal to the 35-54 audience. Classic Rock 95.3FM and Classic Rock 91.5FM provides exactly that and will be a celebration of an era of music which evokes enormous passion from adult listeners."
The company said it had developed the new stations after an extensive strategic review of the Sydney and Melbourne markets in recent months and added, "Classic Rock 95.3FM and Classic Rock 91.5FM's clearly defined music position, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, along with Maroon for Breakfast in Sydney and Dicko and Dave in Melbourne, will be a compelling offering in the radio landscape."
Bradley added, "The timeless quality, the energy and the raw passion for Classic Rock music warrants a radio station dedicated to it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For those who grew up listening to AC/DC, INXS, Zeppelin and Chisel, Classic Rock 95.3FM and 91.5FM are stations they'll love."
2010-03-12: Sirius XM Radio has announced an offering to institutions of USD 550 million of Senior Notes due 2015, saying it will use the proceeds to redeem its 9 5/8% Senior Notes due 2013. Should there be any remaining net proceeds, these would be used for general corporate purposes.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-03-12: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says that 258 lawmakers, 40 more than a House majority, have now sponsored The Local Radio Freedom Act that opposes any introduction of a performance royalty for US terrestrial radio (The NAB persists in mislabelling any such fee a Performance Tax and also somewhat disingenuous in comments about the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lobbying for legislation "that would require local radio stations to pay an additional fee for every song aired free to listeners" in that the current fee paid is for the copyright in the music as opposed to a particular performance or recording. US radio stations have licensing agreements with The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) ).
The NAB continues its propaganda by quoting an audio message from pop musician Chris Brown who says, "Some radio station's (the incorrect use of English is taken from the NAB release) aren't playing my records."They're not being as supportive, and I wouldn't expect them too. ... My singing, my music, it's all great, and I do it for y'all, and I do it for the love and everything else, but it won't be possible if I'm not relevant on the radio " and also refers to the "end "of Pink Floyd's lawsuit against EMI "over online royalty payments and the sale of single tracks" as the latest in a long list of lawsuits filed by artists against "their record label to recoup allegedly unpaid royalties."
RNW note: Although Brown makes no reference to the issue, many radio stations dropped his music following his arrest - and subsequent guilty plea and sentencing for assault of and making criminal threats against his former girlfriend, the fellow E& B singer Rihanna, a fact that somewhat weakens the NAB's choice of Brown as a poster boy for its case. In addition, although the Brown comments imply a value in air play, they hardly make a case against the principle of performance royalties - paid almost everywhere else in the world - although the value would be a factor to take into account in the amount to be paid.
Equally making allegations against the recording companies over their alleged ripping off of artists, whilst it may be work as propaganda for some people, is hardly a strong argument in terms of the issue of performance royalty payments.
As regards Pink Floyd, the band won a victory in the UK High Court over the recording company's online sale of single tracks from the group's albums against its wishes, and they claimed successfully, in breach of clauses in their 1967 contract with EMI about not selling single records without the band's permission.
Pink Floyd is also making claims in terms of the royalties due on digital sales, but the case is continuing and has not ended as the NAB release says it has.
Strike rate - around zero out of a hundred for the NAB's ability to make a convincing case based on facts. Perhaps a formal renaming as the National Association of Bullshitters is called for?
2010-03-11: Clear Channel Media Holdings has reported fourth quarter 2009 revenues down 6% on a year ago at USD 1.5 billion and for 2009 down 17% on 2008 at USD 5.6 billion, a decline it puts down to the global economic downturn and related decrease in advertising spend worldwide.
Income before discontinued operations in the fourth quarter was USD 149.7 million compared to a loss of USD 5.0 billion in 2008 when the figures included an impairment charge of USD 5.27 billion compared to a charge of USD 77.67 million in 2009.
For the whole year the company reported a loss before discontinued operations of USD 4.0 billion compared to a loss of USD 4.6 billion in 2008: The figure for 2008 included the same impairment charge of USD 5.27 billion whilst for 2009 the impairment charge was USD 4.12 billion.
Overall Clear Channel's USD 5 billion loss in the final quarter of 2008 became net income of USD 147.9 million in 2009 whilst for the full year the loss of USD 4.005 billion in 2008 was up slightly to a loss of USD 4.034 billion.
Within the figures radio revenues in the final quarter of 2009 were down 10% on a year earlier at USD 712 million with Americas Outdoor down 1% to USD 340 million and International Outdoor down 5% to USD 423 million whilst for the full year radio was down 17% to USD 2.736 billion, Americas Outdoor was down 13% to USD 1.238 billion and International Outdoors was down 21% to USD 1.859 billion.
Expenses were down 12% for the quarter to USD 1.082 billion and down 14% for the full year to USD 4.031 billion within which radio expenses were down 20% in the final quarter to USD 468 million and down 17% for the year to USD 5.551 billion.
President and CEO Mark Mays commented, "We began to see encouraging trends in the global advertising environment during the fourth quarter, as our overall revenues demonstrated sequential improvement in the final three months of the year."
He also noted that during the past year the company had "implemented a concerted plan to achieve significant cost efficiencies across our operations" and continued, "We have also strengthened our management team and sales organization and made considerable progress in developing our content distribution and advertising capabilities. These efforts will continue in 2010 as we seek to maximize our performance. We have a world-leading platform in the out-of-home media market, which enables us to deliver what we believe is an exceptional value proposition to advertisers. As we drive revenue growth across our operations, we believe we will increasingly benefit from our improved operating leverage, resulting in increased returns for our shareholders."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2010-03-11: The BBC Trust has announced that it is to carry out two service reviews of BBC Radio this year, the first to look at Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 7 whilst the second will assess Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, Radio Ulster/Foyle, Radio Scotland, Radio nan Gaidheal and English local radio.
The reviews are part of a rolling programme under which the Trust has already carried out a review of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. Its report released last month said Radio 2 should use its scale to be more distinctive whilst BBC6 Music needed to find a larger audience (See RNW Feb 15) and was followed at the start of this month by the release of a BBC Executive plan that included proposals to close two digital radio stations - 6 Music and the Asian Network (See RNW Mar 2).
The Trust says the reviews will look at the services' performance including the stations' usage, quality, distinctiveness and value for money, and the BBC's future plans for the services. Each review will incorporate a 12 week period of consultation when the public will be able to give their views on the two services. The review of Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 7 will begin in the spring and will be published next winter, while the timetable for the review of nations and local radio is currently being considered.
David Liddiment, BBC Trustee and Chair of the Trust's Audience & Performance Committee, commented in a news release, "Radios 3, 4 and 7 all offer output which is hard to find elsewhere - and licence fee payers tell us that the BBC's radio stations serving the nations and local regions make an invaluable contribution to their communities.
"As well as the current performance of these services," he added "we'll also be looking at the BBC's future plans for the stations to ensure they are robust and deliverable. If change is needed the Trust can alter the stations' service licences or ask the BBC Executive to address the issues we raise."
The planned closure of 6 Music has sparked a substantial campaign to get the decision reversed - the BBC Trust is currently asking for public comment on the BBC management's proposals -and the UK Guardian today reported that the Corporation was planning to use some of the money saved from the closure of it and the Asian Network on "digital spin-offs and extensions to programmes already being broadcast on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live.."
It says that the new services would be developed along the lines of BBC Radio 5 Live's digital sister station "5 Live Sports Extra", which is only aired at times when sporting events justify it and is relatively cheap to run.
The review by BBC Director General Mark Thompson that proposed the closures of 6Music and the Asian Network praised 5 Live Sports Extra as an example of how such stations could complement their analogue sister stations.
The paper did not quote sources for its report although it did quote a BBC spokesman as saying, "It's too early to speculate on how we might use the funds from the proposed closure of 6 Music, other than to reiterate our commitment to invest it in digital radio content."
RNW comment: This report appears to us to be an example of kite-flying by the BBC management to test out the reactions and dampen down the campaign to save 6-Music.
Also at the BBC, Radio 2 has announced announces a new spring schedule that it says will "complement the network's ongoing commitment to comedy, documentaries and live music programming."
The Radio 2 Comedy Hour, which was formerly aired at lunchtime on Saturdays will be back from April 3 in a new Saturday evening slot from 22:00 to 23:00 and will feature both new and established names.
As regards documentaries, this programming is to run in 22:00-23:00 time slot from Mondays through Wednesdays from April 5 and will include a new four-part series with Tony Bennett, in conversation with Michael Parkinson; another season of Comedy Great profiles including Bob Monkhouse, Tommy Cooper and Dave Allen; and, in May, a celebration of the Sixties with a series of documentaries and features including profiles of JFK, David Frost and The Hollies.
Live programming will include a new 20:00 to 22:00 weekly programme "Radio 2 In Concert" on Thursday evenings, to be comprised of a headline concert specially recorded for the network (both new and from the archive) as well as a gig guide, a round-up of the week's live music offering across the network, and classic live album tracks.
Religious programming gains an extra hour with Good Morning Sunday, presented by Aled Jones, to run from 6.00 to 9.00 am from 4 April.
Commenting on the changes, Bob Shennan, Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music, said, "These changes demonstrate our continuing efforts to evolve the schedule and ensure that Radio 2 remains distinctive, focusing on our commitment to documentary, comedy and live music programming. They follow recent announcements on a new jazz show presented by Jamie Cullum, a revision of our arts programming, and a refreshed and extended Friday Night Is Music Night (See RNW Feb 24)."
UK Guardian report:
2010-03-11: Nielsen has added Sunrise Broadcasting, which operates four stations in the Newburgh-Middletown, New York, market - oldies simulcast WGNY-AM and WDLC-AM plus AC simulcast WGNY-FM and WTSX-FM - to its radio client list in 51 small US markets.
Nielsen's customers include Cumulus Media, an original back of the service that also has six stations in the market, and Clear Channel and it uses a diary system based on that used in its Australian radio ratings service.
2010-03-11: Fisher Communications has reported final quarter 2009 revenues down 19% on a year earlier at USD 38.6 million but as with other recent reports the percentage fall was less than earlier in the year - for the whole year its revenues were down 23% on 2008 at USD 133.7 million.
Within the figures, fourth quarter radio revenues were down 8% to USD 6.1 million whilst TV was down 23% to USD 29.1 million - within which political advertising was down USD 10.9 million to USD 1.2 million and Fisher Plaza revenues were up 5%: For the full year the corresponding figures were a 38% fall in radio revenues to USD 22.8 million although Fisher notes that excluding 2008 revenues linked to its broadcast of Seattle Mariner games the fall was 19% whilst TV was down 22% to USD 97.2 million and Fisher Plaza revenues were again up 5% .
Overall the company reported net income of USD 1.1 million in the quarter, including a USD 2.6 million pre-tax gain on the exchange of broadcast equipment pursuant to the Sprint Nextel Broadcast Auxiliary Service relocation and a USD 1.3 million pre-tax gain from net insurance reimbursements received from the Fisher Plaza electrical fire insurance claim: This compares to a net loss of USD 47.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, when the Company incurred a pre-tax impairment charge of USD 78.2 million (A change from a loss of USD 5.42 to net income of 12 cents per basic and diluted share).
For the full year, the company made a loss of USD 9.3 million compared to 2008 net income of USD 44.7 million when the figure was boosted by a USD 152.6 million pre-tax gain on the sale of Safeco stock, set against which were a USD 78.2 million pre-tax impairment charge, and a USD 5.0 million pre-tax charge related to the Company's change in national representation firms:The per share figure moved from net income of USD 5.11 to a loss of USD 1.06.
Commenting on the figures, President and Chief Executive Officer Colleen B. Brown commented, "While our 2009 financial results were severely impacted by the worst economy since World War II and extremely cautious advertising spending, I am very pleased with our stations' competitive ratings performance and our response to these economic challenges."
"In 2009," she continued, "we aggressively managed our expenses while increasing total revenue share in our radio and TV markets; we expanded newsroom multiplatform synergies between our TV, radio and online businesses; and we launched new digital distribution platforms which allow us to better serve our neighbourhoods."
"As we look ahead," she added, "we are encouraged by some of the trends we witnessed in the fourth quarter, including an improvement in our core, non-political television advertising. Fisher's automotive ad spending grew in the quarter for the first time since the recession began, and we are hopeful that this pace will gradually increase throughout the year."
2010-03-10: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has reported final quarter 2009 revenues down 12% on a year earlier at USD 35.96 million within which radio revenues were down 9% on a year earlier at USD 31.68 million and TV was down 27% at USD 4.28 million.
As with other broadcasters reporting recently the fall was smaller than in previous periods and for the full year overall revenues were down 15% to USD 139.39 million within which radio was down 15% to USD 123.60 million and TV was down 14% to USD 15.79 million.
Operating income before depreciation and amortization, (gain) loss on the disposal of assets, net, and impairment of assets and restructuring costs more than tripled for the final quarter - up from USD 4.19 million to USD 10.84 million within which radio was up 9% to USD 13.80 million and TV cut its loss from USD 5.6 million to USD 825, 000 with full year figures showing the total figure doubled from USD 19.28 million to USD 38.30 million whilst radio was up 13% to USD 54.4 million and TV's loss of USD 16.05 million in 2008 was trimmed to a loss of USD 6.42 million.
Net loss for the final quarter was down from USD 31.59 million in 2008 to USD 6.75 million in 2009 (from a loss of 42 cents to a loss of 14 cents per basic and diluted share) whilst for the full year net loss was down from USD 328.7 million to USD 13.78 million (from USD 4.67 to 33 cents per basic and diluter share). The 2008 final quarter figures included a total of USD 20.14 million in impairment and restructuring costs compared to USD 1.65 million in 2009 whilst for the full year they included a 2008 loss of USD 408.19 million compared to a net gain of USD 10.41 million in 2009.
Commenting on the figures Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr. commented, "Our fourth quarter results reflect the positive impact of our disciplined approach to managing our costs during the global recession, as we generated significantly improved cash flows from our operations for the fourth consecutive quarter. As we seek to capitalize on the early stages of the rebound in the advertising market, we believe the operating efficiencies in our new broadcast model will become increasingly evident, even as we prudently invest in our content and sales resources."
"Looking ahead," he added, "our radio, TV and online brands continue to grow, as we cross-promote our multi-platform media assets with both our advertisers and consumers. As the nation's Hispanic population continues its rapid expansion, we believe we are well positioned to benefit given the strength of our diverse media platform and our leadership position in serving this increasingly influential and powerful audience."
SBS also noted that it had received a de-listing notice from the NASDAQ in August 2008 but that NASDAQ subsequently suspended enforcement of this for 180 days; By the new deadline of December 4 last year it had still not regained compliance with the USD 1.00 minimum bid price requirement but following a hearing it now has until June 7 this year to regain compliance.
2010-03-10: Tribune Co CEO Randy Michaels has issued a list of 119 words and phrases that are to be barred from use on the company's news/talk WGN-AM and staffers are being asked to report breaches of the ruling by colleagues according to a report by Robert Feder, who has posted the full list on Vocalo.
Feder writes, "WGN news director Charlie Meyerson, good soldier that he is, passed on what he identified as Michaels' 'list of forbidden 'news-speak' words and phrases' in a memo to his staff Monday, with the explicit warning: 'Don't say them on WGN.'"
He then says that Meyerson in his memo says, "The real goal here is to avoid using words that make you sound like you're reading, instead of talking - that shatter the image you're speaking knowledgeably to one person. By not using 'news-speak,' you enhance your reputation as a communicator."
But, adds Feder, Meyerson then takes the matter further by directing his staff to keep tabs on each other's compliance: They're to report any on-air infractions by their co-workers, making sure to note the precise time and date on "bingo cards" he provided that contain a random assortment of Michaels' forbidden words. "If you ask me," comments Feder, "that's just plain creepy."
The post has attracted a large number of responses, approaching 140, when we checked with none that we noted defending Michael's use of his time to write such memos rather than concentrating on turning round the fortunes of the company but a fair number did comment in favour of some of the examples being banned and also approving of an attempt to improve the use of language at the station.
Examples listed include clichés - "Killing spree", and "In harm's way"; poor pronunciations - "Eye Rack or Eye Ran"; oxymorons - "Giving 110%" and "Definitely possible"; and tautologies - "Bare naked" , "5 a.m. in the morning" , "Fatal death ", and "Completely destroyed, completely abolished, completely finished or any other completely redundant use
Others are examples of using pretentious rather than plain English - Laud" meaning "praise"; jargon - "Underwent surgery"; English that is unclear when spoken - "Mute point (It's moot point, but don't say that either)" - or adjectives that, when the opposite meaning is used, are clearly shown up as inappropriate - "Perfect storm" (what's an imperfect storm?) or "Senseless murder" (as opposed, presumably, to a sensible one); vague terms rather than being specific - "authorities" and clearly incorrect English as in technical terms - "Two to one margin" . . . "Two to one" is a ratio, not a margin. A margin is measured in points. It's not a ratio. "
Vocalo - Feder report:
2010-03-10:Tyler Media has dropped the Jack FM format from its 1000 Watts KOJK-FM 97.3, which is registered to Blanchard, Oklahoma and is airing its country format KKNG-FM on the frequency.
The 100,000 watts 93.3 frequency will continue to carry the KKNG signal until next week when a new format will make its debut according to The Oklahoman, which said Tyler Media President Ty Tyler declined comment about the new format.
The paper adds that KKNG, which had been Oklahoma City's top rated station in fall 2005 had gradually lost the country battle to Clear Channel's KTST-FM and KXXY-FM and noted that on Monday it laid off (a euphemism for fired?) three veteran on-air personalities- Bill Thomas and KC Sheperd from the morning show and afternoon personality James Ayers.
Lynn Waggoner, it reported, will continue as morning show host and Tyler said the station would emphasize "traditional country."
KKNG, says the paper, had already dropped its news team and in recent years was airing more contemporary songs, leading KXXY to bill itself as "Oklahoma City's only classic country station."
Shepherd on his blog notes that he is no longer employed by the station and then adds, "I've had nothing but fun, good times with them, and its time for us to part ways. So I will continue to update this blog, but it will not be affiliated with the station."
Ayers on his blog said it had "been a great twelve years at KKNG" and then added, "Please continue to support KKNG and its efforts to bring you great country music."
KKNG makes no mention of the dismissals but when we last checked the blogs on its web site led to a page bereft of comments.
KKNG web site:
2010-03-10: UK media regulator Ofcom has given the go-ahead for Nation Radio, which serves South Wales, to change its format from being primarily an 'alternative rock' music station to a "new music station" playing primarily 'modern rock' music.
Nation Radio took over the Xfm South Wales licence when GCap Media sold the station to Town and Country Broadcasting in 2008 (See RNW May 31, 2008) and in November last year Ofcom launched a public consultation over the format change request (See RNW Licence News Nov 22, 2009).
Ofcom in approving the application noted that it received three responses to the consultation, one from an individual who opposed the change because of "lack of definition" of the new format. This comment was mirrored by a response from Guardian Media Group (GMG), which also said it felt Nation Radio had not spelled out in enough detail exactly the sort of station that would be created whilst UTV felt that Ofcom could not agree to the change as none of the statutory criteria which must be taken into account were satisfied, and that Nation would effectively become too mainstream for a service licensed as a specialist rock music station.
Following the responses, Nation Radio clarified its request, and in particular confirmed that it was not seeking to move to a more 'mainstream' Format and the licensing committee approved the change, commenting that it would not narrow the range of programmes available in the area, that the revised format wording meant that the change would bring flexibility rather than a different direction, and that the amended wording prevented 'creep' towards mainstream music and would still require the provision of a specialist rock music service, and one which is likely to be of appeal to the same listenership.
The approved format says the station will be "a predominantly modern rock station for 15-34 year-olds. Other compatible genres will complement the output, which will also include coverage of local artists."
2010-03-09: 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 declines for traditional media but growth for online/interactive media (See RNW Feb 22), has now issued a forecast that local advertising revenues for television and radio will grow at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8 percent to reach USD 34.3 billion in 2014, up from USD 29.9 billion in 2009.
Rick Dicey, BIA/Kelsey's chief strategy officer and program director, Digital Strategies for Broadcasting, commented, "Broadcasters must evolve to participate in more areas of the media ecosystem. This means developing the right multiplatform and multiple revenue stream strategies, which in turn requires new workflow, partnerships, business models and resources. The mission of DSB is to provide the strategic guidance and market intelligence to the media and technology companies that can help broadcasters successfully transform."
2010-03-09: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh has provided opponents with ammunition with comments about going to Costa Rica that he made on his show on Monday, in response to a question about where he would get medical treatment should health care plans put forward by the Democrats be passed.
The comment led to a number of news reports suggested that Limbaugh has said he would leave the US.
In response to a caller from Florida, Limbaugh had responded by saying none of it was going to happen for four or five years but that private doctors would have to go into the federal programme. He then continues, "My guess is even in Canada and even in the UK doctors have opted out "but then cannot "see anybody under Medicare, Medicaid or what will become exchanges" but have to have a "clientele of private patients that will pay them a retainer and it'll be a very small practice."
He then says he does not know it this has been outlawed in the Senate Bill and then goes on to say, "...if this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented -- I am leaving the country. I'll go to Costa Rica."
Various subsequent reports have pointed out with some delight that Costa Ricans have a higher life expectancy than US citizens with a per capita income around a tenth of the latter and that it has a universal health service, ranked by the World Health Organization as one of the best in Latin America, as well as private treatment that is cheaper than in the US, some from hospitals affiliated with US hospitals. The government-sponsored Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has been going for some 60 years and its services are available to foreigners living in the country for a small income-based monthly fee as is health insurance from the state monopoly Instituto de Seguro Nacional (INS).
Other reports have noted Limbaugh's description of global warming as a hoax whilst Costs Rica has a strong history of conservation projects and also has no army - and in reference to reports of Limbaugh's "sexual tourism" have suggested that he might be able to conduct his sex tourism without anyone knowing.
One post on Alter Net by Doug Disney, which incorrectly starts off by accepting the line that Limbaugh had said he would leave the US, asks, "Did he choose Costa Rica because he knows he will have access to a quality government run health care system? Or is he seriously just a clueless dipshit?"
Limbaugh says has posted a report on his website (audio available only to those who subscribe to his service) in which he re-iterated (with subtle changes) what he had said - the post says, "Well, if doctors are not permitted to opt out of the government insurance pool and so forth, Medicare, Medicaid, whatever it is, and if they're not allowed to establish a private practice with private sector patients paying their own way, then I'll go to Costa Rica .Well, that has been turned into I'm going to leave the country for Costa Rica and move there if Obamacare passes."
He then goes on to say the comments were made in a context of other comments about the fears of US insurance companies should the reforms pass and adds that he had said, "Look, there are insurance companies who don't want to be put out of business." We've talked to them on the program. I've talked to them privately. They are establishing health care clinics with quality doctors in places like Costa Rica. They're going to continue to sell policies to people who have the ability to fly down there and get treatment. If I have to get thrown into this massive government health care insurance business and end up going to the driver's license office every day when I need to go to the doctor, yeah, I'll go to Costa Rica for treatment, not move there."
Limbaugh adds that he didn't say he would move to Costa Rica but would go there "to get major medical health care."
These comments are posted within a context of him having received e-mails from New Zealanders saying Limbaugh had been saying he would move to New Zealand and he ends the transcript saying, "Now, New Zealand is reading about this and they're all bent out of shape that I'm somehow not coming there, all because of the stupid media. They are not competing for me because Costa Rica doesn't think I'm going to move there, which I wouldn't. Gosh."
RNW note: New Zealand also has publicly run hospitals although there are also private health insurers and dental services (expensive) and prescriptions (also fairly expensive) issued by general practitioners (hospital prescriptions are not charged for) have to be paid for.
As for Limbaugh's actual comments, he is correct in that the comment was made in response to a question about medical treatment but we cannot see quite how far his remarks reflect a changed situation in that it would already be cheaper for him to go to Costa Rice for major medical treatment (there are plenty of adverts of private treatment services in the country) and after any US changes he would still be able to afford private treatment in the US.
Audio of the comments is available on YouTube and elsewhere but does not have the context in which Limbaugh says they were made. He could of course post the whole segment of the show if he wished to emphasise the wider context within which the exchange occurred.
AlterNet - Disney blog:
Limbaugh web site posting:
YouTube - Young Turks report including Limbaugh audio:
2010-03-09: UK Media regulator Ofcom upheld one complaints against radio in its latest Bulletin in which it fined one TV broadcaster of daytime chat and (post watershed) adult sex chat services a total of GBP 24,000 (USD 36,000); gave another TV broadcaster until March 15 to provide information it has requested concerning its service; upheld complaints against four broadcasts by adult TV sex chat service Bang Babes and also in relation to another five broadcasts for which it requested recordings that the broadcaster was unable to supply in full; upheld two sponsorship complaints against an Asian TV service and other complains concerning sponsorship broadcast by two other Asian TV services; a further complaint over a cookery programme in which the chef swore on air; and yet another case where an adult chat TV service failed to provide a requested recording.
In addition a complaint against another TV service over sponsorship was considered resolved by action taken by the broadcaster and posted details of a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint that was not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld involved Club Asia, former holder of a London AM licence that required it to air a format comprised of "A music-led, full service for London Asians primarily targeting those aged 15 to 34 with a mix of Asian music and other more mainstream music where appropriate."
The Format also required Club Asia to broadcast local news bulletins at least each hour during "peak time."
Club Asia went into liquidation in August last year and replaced its regular output with continuous music and its administrator in response to a query from Ofcom admitted that it was, on a temporary basis, breaching its licence and also said that it planned to sell Club Asia's broadcast licence to a new company called Buzz Asia Ltd, owned by Litt Corporation Ltd, which was keen to re-launch the station and return it to Format compliance as soon as practicable.
Ofcom accordingly asked for a date by which the station would return to compliance with its format and on the basis of information supplied agreed to the transfer of the licence. Subsequent monitoring showed the station to be in compliance but Ofcom formally held that the former licensee had breached licence conditions although it is to take no further action.
In addition to the above, Ofcom also listed without details 278 TV complaints against 172 items and 20 radio complaints against 15 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 420 TV complaints against 190 items and 16 radio complaints against 16 items that it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-03-08: CBS Radio has announced that it is launching "The FAN Sports Network," -the first "quadcast" station in the US with a four channel HD Radio digital multicast.
The company says it will use the frequency of its WJFK-FM, 106.7 The Fan to offer listeners the output of its biggest Northeast sports stations - WJMK on channel 1; Baltimore's WJZ-FM (Channel 2), New York's WFAN (Channel 3) and Philadelphia's WIP (Channel 4).
CBS Radio Vice President of Programming Chris Oliviero commented in a release, "This industry milestone is a great way to further promote and distribute the premier programming on CBS Radio's exclusive portfolio of sports radio stations. Washington D.C. is home to a diverse range of sports fans, many originally from other parts of the Northeast, making WJFK an ideal home for this breakthrough quadcast. We're thrilled to offer local audiences various opinions and insights from the best sports stations up and down the East Coast."
2010-03-08: Corus Entertainment has purchased the former CTV building in Polo Park, Winnipeg, and is planning to move three of its stations in the market - News-talk CJOB-AM, Modern Rock Power 97, and Smooth Jazz Groove FM into the building, possibly by the start of next year, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
The paper says that the building in which the stations are currently housed is being put up for sale and that Corus would take one floor in the former CTV building, which it is planned to redevelop as a mixed commercial-retail space.
The Free Press added that the stations' general manager, Garth Buchko, had said the move has been in the works for three years and must take place because the stations have outgrown their current location.
Winnipeg Free Press report:
2010-03-08: Astral Media Radio has announced an agreement with Emmis Interactive under which the latter will provide its interactive platform and sales consulting service to the Canadian company which is renewing an emphasis on developing its interactive business.
In a news release, Astral Media Radio's Chief Digital Strategies Officer Philippe Patrice said the Astral Interactive team was enthusiastic about the agreement and that "all its employees and resources will be dedicated to make this project a great success for all our radio stations."
In addition to all the technical benefits of this partnership," he added "we believe that working side by side with an industry leader will be both stimulating and exciting."
For Emmis Interactive its Co-President Deborah Esayian commented, "Everything Astral Media Radio does is with purpose and with the highest regard to broadcasting excellence. It is an honour and privilege to serve beside them as they stretch beyond what they have already accomplished to discover more of the wonderful possibilities interactive media presents. We are excited that Astral will be using BaseStation (Emmis Interactive's proprietary Audience Engagement platform) to craft their signature 'branding' magic in the digital space."
2010-03-07: Last week was yet another where the main postings related to radio came from North America but things were fairly quiet everywhere: There were no radio announcements from Australia or the UK and in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week as regards radio, posting only two decisions, which were:
*Approval of application by Paul Blackmore for licence for a 50 watts English-language, low-power commercial FM to offer a music format of a mix of rock, classic rock, oldies and country music in Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia.
*Approval of application by Groupe Radio Antenne 6 inc. to use the frequency 104.5 MHz instead of 97.7 MHz for its new French-language, commercial station CFGT-FM Alma, approved last year as part of the conversion of CFGT-AM, Alma, to FM. The applicant said that use of the original frequency in Alma would involve constraints and that there could be problems in using the frequency.
The CRTC also posted a consultation with an April 9 deadline for comments or interventions relating to two radio applications, which were:
*Application by Dufferin Communications Inc. to relocate the transmitter of CIRR-FM, Toronto, whose service is targeted at Toronto's LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, and increase its power from 50 to 128 watts.
*Application by Radio Mégantic ltée to increase from 57.2 watts to 114.4 watts the power of its French-language CKLD-FM, Thetford Mines.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) posted its latest Broadcasting Complaints decisions, upholding four radio complaints (See RNW Mar 2) and has also now made available application documents for broadcasters wishing to apply for programming grants under its Sound and Vision Scheme. The posting relates to three rounds each for radio and TV applicants.
As already noted there were no radio postings from the UK.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Media Bureau announced its First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making in the Matter of Policies to Promote Rural Radio Service and to Streamline Allotment and Assignment Procedures.
The deadline for comment is May 3 and for reply comment Jun 2 with the primary issues whether, and how, it should establish an auction bidding credit for federally recognized Native American Tribes and Alaska Native Villages ("Tribes") and on whether, and how, to extend the Tribal Priority adopted in the Rural Radio First R&O to Tribes without tribal lands.
The agency also held a workshop on the Future of Media and the Information Needs of Communities in Washington D.C. This was focussed on commercial media and is likely to be followed by a further workshop focussed on non-commercial media.
The agency also cancelled a proposed USD 7,000 penalty on WSVX-AM (formerly WKWH), Shelbyville, Indiana, for late filing of renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation, substituting a 25% late-filing penalty.
It had issued a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) to the station's former licensee RSE Broadcasting, LLC. in January 2007 to which the licensee responded by saying it had thought it had filed the application on time and, when it learned that the Commission had no record of receiving its renewal fee had tried to make payment only to have the attempt rejected by the FCC electronic filing system. It then filed a Special Temporary Authority (STA) request and submitted a further application along with another filing fee.
The agency noted that a check had shown that the application had been submitted but the fee had not been paid and substituted the late-filing fee of USD 187.50 on top of the filing fee for the USD 7.000 penalty.
In Texas, the agency denied an informal objection from Cameron Broadcasting Company, licensee of KMIL-FM, Cameron, to an application by BMP Austin License Company, L.P. to relocate its KTXX-FM from Dripping Springs to Bee Cave.
Cameron had filed an application to move KMIL from Cameron to Thrall and said it was mutually exclusive with BMP's application. It argued that BMP's reliance on the KLLR construction permit constituted an illegal "backfill" proposal but this was dismissed on the basis that a service had in fact been launched in Dripping Springs.
Subsequently BMP filed a further application for changes that included a power reduction and increase in antenna height and Cameron again objected but the agency has now also dismissed this objection.
Previous Licence News:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2010-03-06: Australian commercial revenues continued to grow in February, the fourth successive month that they have risen, according to figures released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
Overall revenues for the country's five metropolitan markets were up 2.74% on a year earlier in February to AUD 48.36 million (USD 43.93 million) but the rise was less than the 3.69% rise in January and rises of 4.67% in December and 4.15% in November last year,
Within the figures there was again considerable variation with a 4.71% fall in Adelaide to AUD 4.63 million (USD 4.21 million) with rises of 1.15% to AUD 14.21 million (USD 12.91 million) in Melbourne; 2.3% to AUD 7.72 million (USD 7.01 million) in Brisbane; 5.52% to AUD 15.18 million (USD 13.78 million) in Sydney; and 6.28% to AUD 6.61 million (USD 6.00 million) in Perth.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-03-05: Beasley Broadcast Group has reported final quarter revenues down 16.4% on a year earlier UD 26.2 million, replicating the reduction in percentage falls as the year has progressed that other companies have reported - its third quarter revenues were down 20.1% and full year revenues were down 25.5% on 2008 at USD 96.7 million.
Station operating income was down 6.4% to USD 7.8 million for the quarter and down 30% to USD 26.7 million whilst operating income moved from a loss of USD 56.8 million in the final quarter of 2008 to income of USD 5.4 million and from a loss of USD 39.7 million in 2008 to income of USD 17.7 million: The 2008 figures included impairment losses of USD 62.48 million that were recognized in the final quarter.
Overall Beasley's loss of USD 36.43 million in the final quarter of 2008 became net income of USD 1.52 million a year later (from a loss of USD 1.58 to income of six cents per basic and diluted share) whilst for the full year a net loss of USD 30.55 million became net income of USD 3.45 million (from a loss of USD 1.32 per basic and diluted share to income of 15 cents).
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said the company's "revenue comparisons improved in the second half of 2009 and when excluding political advertising in last year's fourth quarter, 2009 fourth quarter same-station net revenue was own approximately 8%, the Company's best comparison since early 2008. Key Beasley clusters in Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Augusta continued to show progress in the fourth quarter as revenue from these clusters was down low single digits. The Company also continued to drive strong interactive revenue growth with fourth quarter revenue from these sources rising approximately 16% from 2008 fourth quarter levels."
"Our focus on expense management," he added," enabled the Company to generate fourth quarter SOI growth in six of our eleven clusters. By managing the areas of our operating and financial structure that we can directly control Beasley Broadcast Group recorded bottom line profitability in every quarter of 2009.
In addition, reflecting our focus on debt-reduction, total bank debt was USD 151.8 million at the end of 2009 down from USD 174.5 million at December 31, 2008."
Looking ahead eh commented, "It is evident from the fourth quarter results that advertising activity in our markets is slowly picking up and as it does, Beasley Broadcast Group is well positioned to participate in the upturn on both the top and bottom line. Looking forward, we remain focused on maintaining a streamlined cost and operating structure to ensure that we participate in increases in radio advertising spending as they occur as well as expected higher levels of political spending and growth from our digital initiatives in 2010."
Previous George Beasley:
2010-03-04: In further US radio results Entravision, Saga and Salem have reported revenue falls for the final quarter but the decline was smaller than in previous quarters.
Entravision final quarter revenues were down 9% in the fourth quarter at USD 75.76 million and down 19% for the full year at USD 232.34 million with operating expenses for the quarter down 14% to USD 30.15 million and down 15% for the full year at USD 122.18 million.
The loss from continuing operations was reduced by 61% in the final quarter to USD 52.02 million and for the full year by 86% to USD 67.67 million, largely because impairment charges fell from USD 170.4 million in the final quarter of 2008 to USD 47.9 million in the final quarter of 2009 whilst for the full year they fell from USD 610.5 million in 2008 to USD 50/7 million in 2009.
Overall the company reported a net loss applicable to common stockholders in the final quarter of 2009 of USD 52.0 million, down from USD 136.5 million (down from USD 1.58 to 62 cents per basic and diluted share) whilst for the full year the loss fell from USD 487.9 million to USD 67.7 million (from USD 5.34 to 81 cents per basic and diluted share).
Within the figures, TV revenues in the final quarter were down 3% to USD 32.4 million with radio down 19% to USD 15.7 million.
Commenting on the results, chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa noted the significant downturn in advertising revenue primarily as a result of the "the global financial crisis and recession" but added that the company's "audience shares remained strong in the nation's most densely populated Hispanic markets."
Saga Communications final quarter 2009 revenues were down 8.9% on a year earlier at USD 31.8 million, an improvement on the fall in the third quarter of 11.3% and full year of 13.7%.
Station Operating Expenses were down 10.2% in the quarter at USD 23.9 million and down 10.6% for the full year at USD 94.7 million and overall net loss was down from USD 74.0 million in the final quarter of 2008, when the figures included USD 116.4 of impairment charges, to USD 7.4 million, including USD 17.3 in impairment charges.
For the full year the loss was USD 2.6 million (61 cents per fully diluted share) including the final quarter impairment charge of USD 17.3 million compared to USD 66.5 million ( USD 14.05 per fully diluted share) in 2008 when the charge as noted above was USD 116.4 million.
Saga commented that without the impairment charge net income for the year would have been USD 7.9 million (USD 1.88 per fully diluted share) in 2009 compared to USD 9.9 million *USD 2.08 per fully diluted share).
The company in its release highlighted a 1.7% increase in Free Cash Flo to USD 19.2 million for the year and a USD 11.8% increase in the final quarter to USD 6.6 million.
Within the figures, radio operating revenues for the final quarter were down revenues 8.7% to USD 27.38 million with TV down 20.7% to USD 4.4o million whilst for the full year radio was down 15.7% to USD 104.60 million and TV was down 16.6% to USD 16.20 million.
Radio operating loss in the final quarter dropped from USD 107.7 million to USD 9.15 million with TV moving from an operating loss of USD 367,000 to operating income of USD 286,000 whilst for the full year a 2008 radio operating loss of USD 84.45 million turned into operating income of USD 8.01 million whilst TV net income of USD 2.66 million in 2008 was down to USD 1.35 million in 2009.
At Salem, final quarter revenues were down 7.9% on a year earlier at USD 50.8 million whilst for the full year they were down 10.5% to USD 199.2 million with operating expenses excluding impairment charges and some other one-off items were down 7.5% to USD 40.1 million and 14% to USD 160.8 million.
Operating income from continuing operations for the quarter turned round from a 2008 loss of USD 41.1 million to income of USD 10.6 million with a net loss of USD 30.6 million reduced to a loss of USD 6 million ( from USD 1.29 to seven cents loss per share) whilst for the full year an operating loss of USD 31.8 million became operating income of USD 7.6 million and net loss was cut from USD 33.1 million to USD 8.3 million (from a loss of USD 1.40 per share to a loss of 35 cents.).
Within the figures, net broadcast revenues in the quarter were down 8.8% to USD 43.3 million (same-station revenues were down 8.9%) whilst for the full year they fell 11.4% to USD 172.1 million (same-station revenues were down 11.7% to USD 167.4 million.
Impairment charges of USD 52.69 million in the final quarter of 2008 were down to USD 187,000 in 2009 and for the full year 2008 impairment charges of USD 73.01 million were down to USD 28.0 million in 2009.
2010-03-04: Dallas-based RadioTime Inc. has announced that its web radio service is now an option for the BMW Mini, allowing a USB interface for integration of the Apple iPhone into the car's audio and infotainment system.
It says this is the first time that its web radio function, which will allow the driver to rune into online audio sources including thousands of radio streams, has been offered in a regular production vehicle.
RadioTime CEO Bill Moore commented in a release, "Drivers love radio because it's free and requires no registration or setup, but accessing Internet radio used to require patching a smartphone into a car's existing sound system, and fiddling with a smartphone's controls."
"Now," he continued, "instead of looking at your smartphone screen, you can use the dash display and MINI Joystick to tune to web radio. Radio has always been an integral part of our cars, and we're opening up the world of music, news, talk, sports and entertainment that only web radio can offer."
RNW comment: We now await the first massive damages award when a driver who has been playing with his joystick rather than concentrating on driving safely caused an accident.
Like so many devices that have a screen as part of the information display, including Satnavs, we suspect that time will prove the willingness of the motorist to kill far more people than terrorists so far have in the pursuit of their convenience and rather think the most valuable development would be a law requiring the screens of all such equipment to go dark when a vehicle is in motion, thus forcing drivers to plan ahead (as they used to have to) rather than endanger others.
2010-03-04: The UK radio industry has unveiled a working prototype, developed by Frontier Silicon, of an integrated FM and digital station guide that will enable listeners to tune seamlessly between FM and digital frequencies, selecting stations by name irrespective of whether they are analogue or digital.
It was demonstrated on a Roberts ecologic 1 receiver and Frontier Silicon's CEO Anthony Sethill commented, "Our engineers have already made great progress in the development of the integrated guide. The prototype that we've demonstrated gives a really good working impression of how we can effectively and simply eliminate the need for a button or switch to navigate between digital and analogue."
Ford Ennals, Chief Executive, Digital Radio UK, added, "It's really exciting to see this project make such rapid and significant progress. Creating a secure and thriving future for all sectors of the radio industry is our primary objective, and ensuring that listeners can navigate with ease between their chosen stations, regardless of platform, is crucial to delivering that."
Previous Digital Radio UK:
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2010-03-04: The US has lost yet another smooth jazz station with a format flip by Entercom of its KSSJ-FM, Sacramento, to alternative radio947. The smooth jazz format had been 23rd ranked in the market in the coveted 18-49 demographic in the latest ratings.
In a notice on the KSSJ web site, the company comments of the change, "Playing Smooth Jazz favourites is one side of who we are - it's the side you hear. The other side is the reality that operating a radio station is a business - that's the side we see."
It then continues, "In the past few years, the business side of KSSJ has become increasingly difficult. There are many reasons for it, but the unfortunate fact is that the audience for the station can no longer sustain the business of the station. In that way, we're no different from a retail business that doesn't have enough customers to keep the doors open."
No information is given about the new station - whose web site is www.radio947.net - but the post does note that "many of the shows" from its Smooth Jazz Concert Series at the Radisson Hotel will continue.
KSSJ web site:
Radio94.7 web site:
2010-03-04: Emmis has revealed in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has entered into a new agreement with its President of Radio Programming Rick Cummings.
The new agreement initially runs for one year from Mar 2 and will automatically be renewed unless either party has given written notice by the end of the year before a current contract expires.
Cummings will receive a base salary of USD 446,500 plus an automobile allowance and up to USD 5,000 a year in premiums for health and other insurance and his annual incentive compensation target is 60% of his base salary.
Should he not be offered substantially similar employment when an agreement is renewed he Cummings will receive severance pay equal to his previous base salary and will also, if entitled to severance pay, be offered a four year part-time programming role with total payments over the four years of USD 530,000.
2010-03-03: Cumulus has reported final quarter 2009 revenues down 7.3% on a year earlier at USD 69.6 million within which cash revenues were down 12.8% to USD 61.7 million whilst barter revenues were up 84.2% to USD 7.9 million: For the full year net revenues were down 17.8% to USD 256.1 million with cash revenues down 19/3% to USD 239.4 million.
Cumulus put the revenue fall down mainly to a decrease in political advertising and the effects of the economic recession but added that it believed that political and automotive advertising were areas of potentially strong growth this year.
Station operating expenses were down 8.9% for the quarter and 18.5% for the full year with station operating income down 4.3% and 16.6% respectively whilst a net loss of USD 393.7 million a year ago became net income for the quarter of USD 6.5 million (from a loss of USD 9.55 to income of 16 cents per common share) whilst for the full year the loss was down from USD 361. 7 million to a loss of USD 126.7 million (from a loss of USD 8.55 to a loss of USD 3.13 per share.
In each period in 2008, the figures included USD 498.9 million in impairment charges whilst for 2009 impairment charges were only USD 1.86 million in the final quarter although for the full year they totalled USD 174.95 million.
2010-03-03: The fight over the possible introduction of Performance Royalties for US terrestrial radio has continued with two Democrat Congressmen putting cases for and against and the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) again responding by referring to a performance "tax" and adopting a chauvinistic stance by saying the legislation would benefit "foreign-owned" record labels.
Commenting in favour of the introduction at a news conference to promote it, House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (Michigan Democrat) likened the current situation to involuntary servitude for artists.
Conyers noted that slavery was abolished in the US in 1865 and continued, "It abolished at the same time involuntary servitude. What does that have to do with what we're here for today? Well, when you tell somebody that you're benefiting from their work product, but there's no avenue for compensation, it kind of harkens back to that great problem."
Lobbying group the MusicFirst Coalition has said that most stations would pay no more than USD 5,000 a year and smaller ones USD 100 a year and Conyers commented in reference to this, "If USD 100 will put you out of business, we can loan you the money."
On the other side of the fence, Michigan Democrat John Dingell, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus, and former Commerce Committee chairman, speaking at the NAB State Leadership Dinner in Washington, echoed the NAB line, commenting, "I am concerned that such a tax would be of less benefit to recording artists than to record labels, many of which are based abroad. Further, recording artists and record labels have profited handsomely for years from the free publicity they get from broadcasters, a mutually beneficial relationship that a performance tax will destroy. Lastly, and perhaps most practically, it seems ridiculous to me to impose a new punitive fee on broadcasters during this time of recession, especially as broadcasters have seen their revenues decrease by up to 40 percent over the past several years."
Dingell also opposed possible approval by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of plans before it to utilise unused portions of the TV broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband, noting that TV broadcasters had lost around a third of their spectrum with the transition to digital TV and saying he remained "unconvinced by arguments that broadcasters are using their remaining spectrum inefficiently."
NAB EVP Dennis Wharton in a statement in essence re-iterated comments he had made before commented, "The unfortunate truth is that this legislation benefits foreign-owned record labels to the detriment of 'struggling artists.' With diminished revenues, radio stations will take less risk in exposing 'struggling artists.' This is a job-killing bill that threatens a musician's number one promotional vehicle while transferring hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers of companies based in Tokyo, Paris and London."
RNW comment: As we have noted before, the recording companies in question were at one time mainly American-owned and those owners were paid for their stock by the foreign companies in question, thus in our view making the chauvinistic comments of NAB and Dingell truly contemptible.
Either they're ignorant and/or stupid or are relying on the bigotry, ignorance or stupidity of the American public to gain traction for this particular propaganda. Whichever of these is the case, any argument that may be made by NAB or its members against government intervention in the marketplace should in our view attract derision: What they mean is the government should stay away if it increases our profits and get involved when that would increase them.
We still remain of the view that there should be different performance royalty bands allowing artists and the recording companies to choose what they will charge and then let the marketplace show whether the promotion lost does or does not outweigh the loss in royalty revenues.
2010-03-03: Yet more US classical broadcasting has been moved onto an HD channel, this time by college station KCSN-FM, which is based at California State University, Northridge.
It has switched its analogue signal to a 24-hour Adult Album Alternative format and moved the classical music, which had been broadcast during weekday mornings and afternoons - it was already airing Triple-A after 18:00 and on weekends - to its HD2 channel plus an online stream.
Karen Kearns, interim general manager of KCSN and associate dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, which holds the license for the station, commented in a news release, "We've researched what is the best public radio format to reach the broadest audience and we're convinced this is it. This format serves the musical interests of listeners in our region."
Kearns noted the success of Triple-A in the ratings and in the station's fundraising and said of the classical service, "Our small but devoted audience for classical music can now listen to unmatched digital-quality classical music on our HD2 channel and streaming online 24 hours a day at KCSNClassical.org. That's a dramatic increase in the hours of classical programming time over what we are now providing."
As well as the classical site, the station keeps its KCSN.org site, which includes a live stream of the Triple-A service.
2010-03-02: BBC Director General Mark Thompson has confirmed BBC management proposals to close down the BBC Asian Network and BBC 6 Music digital radio stations and also halve the number of sections on its web site as well as closing the BBC TV Switch and Blast! services, which are targeted at teenagers.
In staff terms the proposals include the loss of around a quarter of the jobs in BBC online and a similar level of cuts in the number of managers with pay rises for managers suspended.
The cuts, says Thompson, will save around GBP 600 million (USD 900 million) a year, which will be put into programming.
The BBC Trust has posted the strategy review, which it set in train in summer last year, as a 69-page PDF and is to hold a public consultation about the proposals before making any final decision.
It notes that soundings it took from media companies confirmed its view that "BBC content could be more distinctive and ambitious in fulfilling its public service mission"; expressed concern that the BBC is not clear enough about where the boundaries are with the commercial sector, especially online; and questioned "the value provided by some of the BBC's proposals for partnerships, and of whether the BBC has a genuine incentive to open itself up more to work cooperatively with other companies."
It then comments that it supports the Director General's core vision of a "BBC focused on quality content and enduring values, keeping open a public space for all."
Being put to the Trust is a plan that lists five "content priorities" - the best journalism in the world; inspiring knowledge, music and culture; ambitious UK drama and comedy; outstanding children's content; and events that bring communities and the nation together - and also the maximizing of the percentage of the licence fee spent on content; the creation of more distinctive online service with clearer boundaries and objectives; changes to improve the distinctiveness of Radio 2; an increase in funding for children's services; and a sports rights strategy that includes capping the percentage of the total licence fee funding that can be spent on sporting rights.
The proposals - "Putting Quality First" - refer to public space in the digital age and amongst other things note that technological change may mean that "Above the vast and unruly world of the blogosphere, professional media power may actually concentrate in fewer hands. Individual plurality may increase but collective, effective plurality decrease-with societies around the world left with fewer reliable sources of professionally validated news. The risk of bias and misinformation and, in some countries, of state control, may grow."
In numerical and practical terms, Thompson proposes to reprioritise nearly GBP 600 million ( USD 900 million) a year, around a fifth of the BBC's cost base, to higher quality content by 2013; invest GBP 50 million ( USD 75 million) a year from within this total to raise quality and originality including across BBC Two, children's output and journalism; and commit itself from 2013 to spend at least 90% of its licence-fee income on "high-quality content and getting it to audiences." (Currently 12% is spent on running the Corporation).
To achieve this Thompson proposes to halve the number of sections on the BBC website, turn the site into "a window on the web by providing at least one external link on every page and doubling monthly 'click-throughs' to external sites", and cut spending on it by a quarter.
As regards radio, as already noted he is recommending the closure of BBC 6 Music and "focusing popular music output on Radio 1 and an increasingly distinctive Radio 2, using the resources released to drive digital radio in other ways"; recommending the closure of The Asian Network as a national service and "using the resources released to serve Asian audiences better in other ways", and "Increasing the quality of local radio: boosting investment in local news at breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime using resources released by sharing content at other times."
He also proposes the closure of teen offerings BBC Switch and Blast!
As regards staff, Thompson is proposing to reduce senior management numbers, freeze their pay and suspend bonuses.
In relation to commercial competitors, Thompson's proposals are likely to benefit them considerably by reducing the amount the BBC spends on imported programmes and films and sporting rights - reducing the first by a fifth and then capping it an no more than 2.5% of licence fee income and capping the latter at 9% of licence fee income; Recognising the lead role commercial radio plays in serving popular music to 30-50 year-olds and the lead role other broadcasters play in serving younger teenagers on TV; pledging the corporation not to launch services more local than at present in England; and defining publicly the areas of activity that BBC Online will eschew.
In relationship to pop music Thompson comments that "it is clear that commercial radio effectively delivers mainstream popular music broadcasting to younger and middle-aged adults" and adds, "This audience is commercially attractive and the BBC's digital services in this space (for instance, Radio 6 Music) do not currently deliver significant enough public value to justify their intervention."
He proposes in line with this to focus Radio 1 on a target audience of 15-29 year olds and to ensure that the average age of BBC Radio 2's audience does not fall below the current 50 and if possible increases.
He says that although the BBC will continue to serve teenage audiences on radio through Radio 1 and 1Xtra on television it will recognise the role that Channel 4 and other broadcasters are likely to play in meeting the gap that has been identified in public service television for younger teenagers.
Of the proposals that to close BBC 6 Music has attracted most criticism with both the British Phonographic Institute and the Association of Independent Music expressing alarm and around 90,000 people have joined the Facebook group "Save BBC 6 Music"
Many postings express great doubt about whether commercial radio will in fact deliver the exposure to new music that is provided by the station. Amongst musicians Jarvis Cocker said the station airs "music that otherwise wouldn't get heard" and David Bowie had echoed the concern, saying in a posting on his web site after the London Times first carried a leaked version of the plan (See RNW Feb 26): "6 Music keeps the spirit of broadcasters like John Peel alive and for new artists to lose this station would be a great shame."
Bowie comments that it is well known of the mutual admiration between him and the station but comments that his view is that "the exposure for new bands by the line-up of informed and
BBC 6 music presenter Adam Buxton told Channel 4 news that he did not understand why it was necessary to get rid of a station in the name of quality "when it's a station working really well and that people seem to love It seems to be doing everything that the BBC wants to do best" and Asian Network DJ Bobby Friction said that commercial radio stations in the UK offered a very different service to that of the Asian Network.
BBC Radio 5 Live and 6-Music host Richard Bacon commented on Twitter, "6 Music is distinctive and serves an audience not catered for by the commercial sector. What happens when folk use whatever rationale they have come up with to justify the 6 Music decision and apply it to other parts of the BBC?"
Amongst others commenting, former Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie told the BBC Radio 4 "You and Yours "programme that the cuts did not go far enough, saying the corporation was a Pay Broadcaster like Sky but that people could go to prison for not paying. He said that people were "being sacked left, right and centre" in the commercial sector and said the licence fee should be halved.
He also suggested that the move meant the end of plans to switch-off of analogue radio, to which he had always been hostile, and said it was never going to happen.
Ford Ennals, chief executive of digital radio switchover body Digital Radio UK, took a different view, commenting that the move could ultimately lead to more listening to digital radio (RNW Comment: For those who remember the Perfume scandal, the Mandy Rice Davis comment, "Well he would, wouldn't he?" comes to mind and we cannot work out quite how the closure to two more digital stations will aid take up of digital radio.).
The unions with members at the BBC expressed opposition to the plans with BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey saying, "The BBC will not secure the politicians' favour with these proposals and nor will the Corporation appease the commercial sector which will see what the BBC is prepared to sacrifice and will pile on the pressure for more cuts. " and
National Union of Journalists General Secretary Jeremy Dear commented, "In confirming these proposals today, Mark Thompson has put BBC management on a collision course - not just with us and the hundreds of BBC staff who face losing their jobs, but with licence fee payers up and down the country."
"Public outrage at the proposed cuts has been overwhelming," he continued. "A 'Save BBC6 Music' Facebook group has gained almost 90,000 members in just a few days and group members have appealed to us and other BBC unions to organise a joint demonstration."
The unions fear that as many as 600 jobs could go at the Corporation and Dear said they would make it clear at a meeting with Thompson on Wednesday morning that "we will make it clear that the proposal to jettison huge amounts of valuable public service output, with hundreds of staff losing their jobs in the process, will be opposed" and added, "We cannot stand by and watch staff and outstanding public service content sacrificed to satisfy the demands of Rupert Murdoch and other commercial interests."
A Times report said that publication of the review was brought forward by a week following its publication of details last week and added that BBC executives openly admitted that the report, has been drawn up to appease a Conservative government although it did not name any of the executives.
Commercial rivals, it said, hinted that they would wait until the closing stages of a 12-week consultation period to comment, adding that privately, they fear that Thompson's decision to cut spending on its website and little-known radio stations to plough money back into programming on BBC One and Two will heighten the damage the corporation does to commercial channels.
RNW comment: We recall that when the BBC began, British newspapers fought against it being allowed to carry any news because they feared the competition and that view seems in essence to be taken by many commercial media organisations today with mean-minded and unimaginative executives wanting to gut a great institution because technological change has rendered their business model increasingly less profitable.
There is no doubt in our minds that any sane British government given the choice between retaining a world-ranked broadcaster like the BBC or allowing the whole commercial broadcasting system to shrink - there's still money in it but not as much and it has gone as far as it dare in dropping any public service commitments - would keep the Corporation.
This is not to say that the BBC should have moved into all the areas that it has nor that it shouldn't change but as regards radio we can see no strong justification in the review's own terms for axing 6 Music: Thompson did make more arguable points about the diversity of the Asian community meaning that the Asian network's resources could better serve the potential audience by being redeployed to local stations but even there we see no evidence that the commercial industry will provide the same kind of service as the BBC does.
We rather suspect - and reports are now suggesting that BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons has already hinted that 6 Music may be saved if the reaction to the consultation is strong enough to warrant this - that 6 Music might yet be kept if the reactions against its closure are wide-ranging and numerous enough.
So far there seems to be a combination of the music industry, musicians and listeners who don't think that the savings justify the closure and a number have already made the point that the commercial industry could have found a digital channel to air more adventurous music had it thought it worthwhile to do so. It didn't and we doubt that it will but if the closure does go ahead it will be a good test of how far commercial radio is prepared to back its comments with action.
As for the glib suggestions of a sell-off of BBC Radios 1 and/or Radio 2, we wonder whether the industry executives concerned have thought for a moment from whom the commercial versions of these stations would take advertising share.
Previous Digital Radio UK:
BBC News report - audio of 6 Music presenter Lauren Laverne and Asian Network presenter: Sonia Deol comments on their shows.
BBC Strategy Review (79 Page 1.39 Mb PDF):
David Bowie web site (links to comments re 6 Music):
Channel 4 News report:
UK Times report:
2010-03-02: Citadel Broadcasting Corporation has reported final quarter 2009 revenues down 9.9% on a year earlier at USD 192.9 million with full year revenues down 19.3% to USD 723.6 million.
An operating loss of USD 787.3 million in the final quarter of 2008 became net income of USD 50.47 and for the full year was reduced from USD 1.024 billion to USD 841.4 million: The 2008 figures include an impairment charge of USD 836.5 million in the fourth quarter (excluding this operating income for the quarter was up 2.6%) and of USD 985.7 million for the full year..
Citadel said the final quarter revenue declines was due in part to the discontinuance of certain network programs as well as the absence of political revenues in the fourth quarter of 2009 and Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman commented, "The current economic environment for our industry combined with the Company's bankruptcy filing made for a difficult fourth quarter. However, our focus on expense reductions enabled the Company to generate segment operating income of over USD 65 million or a decline of less than 3% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2008."
Citadel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December and Suleman said in spite of this filing "the Company has continued to make all of the interest payments required under its senior debt and had approximately USD 57.4 million in cash as of December 31, 2009. The Company did not need to secure debtor in possession financing."
2010-03-02: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has posted details of its latest complaints adjudications in which it considers 34 complaints, five of them relating to commercial or community radio and five to RTÉ, and upheld seven, four of which were radio complaints.
The radio complaints upheld involved Newstalk and RTÉ Radio 1 with the Newstalk complaints related to the debate on the Lisbon Treaty on EU Reform in September last year and to comments made about Susan Boyle of "Britain's Got Talent" fame during a discussion about the X-Factor whilst the RTÉ complaints related to adverts placed by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).
In the case of the Lisbon Treaty debate, the complainant alleged that Karen Coleman, presenter of the station's "The Wide Angle" show, showed pro-Treaty bias and all but one of her guests were pro-Lisbon. He also said she allowed on of the guests to say that Cóir, a lobby group opposed to the treaty, were liars in respect of their minimum wage posters and did not correct him.
The station responded that following criticism of inadequate media coverage of the first Lisbon Treaty vote (which went against) it felt it had a duty to "offer leadership and deliver the facts to the public" and that it was not required to allocate equal airtime to opposing views although over the course of the entire Lisbon campaign, numerous members of the 'No' side featured across all programmes.
The BAI Compliance Committee noted disappointment that the broadcaster's response was general in nature and "did not address the specific issues raised by the complainant in relation to the programme broadcast", which related to discussion of an article in the Sunday Tribune entitled 'The Cóir question: Who's lying to us?'
One of the contributors, the Tribune's political editor Pat Leahy observed that Cóir's anti-Treaty position was a "perfectly reasonable position to come from" but was critical of, and took issue with, what he perceived to be misinformation published by Cóir about the Treaty, whilst another, Sadhbh McCarthy, Director of the Centre for Irish and European Security, said Cóir tell "down right lies."
The Committee took the view that in the absence of a Cóir representative taking part in the discussion, there was an onus on the presenter to explore or/and challenge the assertions/claims of the contributors in an impartial manner and noted that in this case at the end of the programme the presenter had responded to text that stated that the Lisbon Treaty was the EU plan to enforce abortion in all countries, by agreeing with the contributors that this statement was not true but then went on to say that "some people believe it is true and this is the spin Cóir is giving it and people are believing it even though we know all the guarantees have been given."
It gave other details and upheld the complaint, concluding that the discussion amounted to a one-sided viewpoint on the Lisbon Treaty Referendum and was not fair to all interests concerned.
In the second Newstalk case presenter Claire Byrne said that Susan Boyle was had made a reported appearance on the X-Factor because of a freak show; he comments included saying, "'She annoys me. I can't listen to her or watch her. She does my head in.'
'The whole thing, she's a freak show, she is a freak... But she's not right in the head .Her voice isn't brilliant, it's because she's a freak that she's up there
The station responded by saying that the word "freak" had been used in relationship to the freakish nature of the 'Britain's Got Talent' show and how a complete unknown such as Susan Boyle has been propelled to worldwide fame as a result of her appearances on this talent show. It said it was in no way related to the character of Susan Boyle.
The committee disagreed after hearing the broadcast and took the view that the comments were directed at Susan Boyle and not at the show and also took the view that the language and manner of presentation were inappropriate.
It noted that neither of the breakfast show's male presenters intervened to moderate the comments and upheld the complaint, saying the comments themselves were inherently offensive and further, were disrespectful and not editorially justified.
In the RTÉ Radio 1 cases, the complaints were about two broadcasts of adverts that the complainants - a man who operates an architectural services business and is not registered with the RIAA and a complaint made on behalf of the Architects' Alliance - each said that the advert made a direct link between being qualified and being named on the register of architects.
This they said was not true and they noted that many eligible architects had no chance of appearing on the register until the middle of 2010 and that the only names on the launch of registration on November 16 were the members of RIAI Ltd.
The advertiser said its advert encouraged people to check if their architect was registered by visiting its website which clearly said that during the initial stages of registration there would be people not on the register who had qualifications listed in the Building Control Act or who were preparing for assessment under the Technical Assessment Process, which evaluates relevant experience in architecture and can lead to registration or who were taking the Register Admission Examination..
RTÉ said that the advertisement advises listeners to go to the RIAI website to find a list of qualified architects and suggests that if a person is not on the RIAI list that person is not a qualified architect and added that it believed the adverts were truthful.
The compliance committee said it agreed that the text of the advert appeared to be truthful but that the General Advertising Code also requires that commercial communications do not mislead by omission or implication.
It commented that on hearing the opening sequence of the advert, a listener would have heard "unqualified' architects, like unqualified surgeons and dentists, are not to be trusted." This it said was likely to mislead and it upheld the complaints.
2010-03-01: In another restructuring that sees senior management keeping their jobs, Regent Communications has announced what it terms a "Consensual Restructuring Agreement" - through a prearranged reorganization under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - with its senior lenders that will reduce its debt by around USD 87 million.
Under the deal current senior debt-holders will convert their holdings into a new series of equity in the Company, thus giving Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. a majority of the new equity in the company, whilst public equity shareholders will receive approximately 12.8 cents for each share they own - their stock (RGCI) closed at 18 cents on Friday but were only 13 cents at the start of March last year compared to high of 1.29 in 2008. The new stock (RGCI.PK) fell by 38.33% on Monday to close at 11.1 cents having ranged between 10 and 17 cents.
The company said in a news release that the "restructuring process will have no impact on Regent's day-to-day operations and will not result in any changes to senior leadership" and adds, "In addition, the Company has a current cash position of approximately USD 11 million, giving it ample liquidity and sufficient funds to pay all of its vendors and employees."
President and CEO Bill Stakelin said in the same release, "We are pleased to move forward with the majority of our senior lenders in taking the necessary steps to substantially strengthen our capital structure. Throughout the economic downturn, we have continued to implement our strategic plan to build our presence among advertisers and audiences across our local market clusters, while carefully managing our costs."
"Following our reorganization, he continued, "We will benefit from a strong financial position and solid cash flow, giving us the flexibility to continue to invest in our operations and execute our strategy. This is a solution that preserves Regent's unique voice in the nation's mid-sized media markets and enhances our ability to fully benefit from the rebound in the nation's advertising industry."
2010-03-01: Arbitron, which has come under much criticism over the effect of its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings on minority station ratings and of shortfalls of its samples for ethnic groups, has announced that its hit new highs for its sample metric amongst black persons from 18-34 in January.
It also disclosed in a 10K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that on Feb 12 it "submitted a proposal to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform comprised of several elements, which are designed to enhance our PPM methodology and to help better achieve MRC accreditation of the data produced by our PPM ratings service in each PPM Market as quickly as possible."
Whilst saying that it believes the "current PPM methodology is valid and reliable", Arbitron adds that its proposal "includes introducing a multimodal recruitment approach that is intended to increase the participation rate of key segments of our sample that are heavily comprised of youth and minorities. Under the multimodal recruitment approach, we plan to begin in-person recruiting in July 2010."
It adds "includes introducing a multimodal recruitment approach that is intended to increase the participation rate of key segments of our sample that are heavily comprised of youth and minorities. Under the multimodal recruitment approach, we plan to begin in-person recruiting in July 2010" and says that it also "proposed to undertake several initiatives focused on minority broadcasters" - to include "forming a minority leadership council in Spring 2010 to bring the leadership of broadcasters and agency communities together"; expanding its current advertiser outreach initiatives directed towards minority stations and renewing its commitment to improvement and obtaining or maintaining Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for the PPM ratings service.
In January, says Arbitron it "met or exceeded substantially all of its sample size metrics across the 33 PPM currency markets" in the survey, adding that the average Designated Delivery Index (DDI) for Persons aged 6+ was 109 in January and 104 for Persons aged 18-54 whilst for Black Persons aged 18-34 was a new high of 98 and for Other Persons (not Black and not Hispanic) in that age group it was 94 (If the index is 100, it means Arbitron has met its target).
Arbitron also says that its average in-tab rate for the Persons aged 18-34 demos reached new high marks and exceeded the 70 percent Company benchmark - for the 18-34 demographic, the average in-tab rate was 78% for all Persons; 75% for Black Persons aged 18-34; and 80% t for Hispanic Persons aged 18-34.
It also says its Sample Performance Indicator, which relates to the percentage of people providing "fault-free data", also improved - averaging 22.3% for the 33 current PPM markets compared to 19.7% in 14 markets a year ago.
2010-03-01: Current BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles is to host a TV documentary - on BBC 2 - on the story of the show, which was launched in 1967 - Radio 1 was launched on 30 September 1967 in response to the popularity of offshore pirate radio stations off Britain and the launch DJ was Tony Blackburn, who had previously worked on Radio Caroline and Radio London.
Titled "When Moyles Met the Radio 1 Breakfast DJs", the one hour programme will tell the story of the station as experienced by its former breakfast DJs including Blackburn, Simon Mayo, Mike Smith, Sara Cox, Zoe Ball, Mike Read and Steve Wright.
Moyles moved into his current slot in January 2004 and is the longest-serving breakfast host on the station - he overtook Blackburn's previous record of five years, eight months last year on Sept 7 last year, an event that his BBC Radio 2 rival (Sir) Terry Wogan upstaged on the show by announcing that he was to leave his show (See RNW Sep 7, 2009)
Moyles commented of the show in a release, "Millions and millions of people have grown up listening to the Radio 1 Breakfast Show; it's been on everyday for over 40 years."Everyone between the ages of eight and 80 will have heard it at some point - it's massive." (RNW comment: Bearing in mind that the ratings show the show has around seven million listeners a week and it was launched in 1967, this doesn't come over as a very sparkling comment!).
The programme is being produced by Magnum Media whose, Executive Producer Andy Auerbach added, "Every generation has its own Radio 1 Breakfast Show and people of all ages feel incredible nostalgia for DJs that they grew up with. As the current incumbent, Chris Moyles is uniquely placed to tell the inside story of the biggest job in radio."
The station itself has confirmed plans to keep up its presence at major UK festivals this year whilst sister digital station 1Xtra will go on the road to air programming from events in four major cities including the NASS Festival in Somerset in July and the Notting Hill Carnival in London in August.
Radio One will be at the Glastonbury, T in the Park, Edinburgh, Leeds & Reading Festivals amongst other events in the UK as well as Ibiza for a couple of days in August.
In UK commercial radio, Radio Plymouth became the latest FM to launch yesterday when it formally went on the air at 10:00 after starting test transmissions on Thursday: It was awarded the licence in July 2007 (See RNW Jul 23, 2007) following re-advertisement of the licence after Macquarie Radio, which had won the licence in March 2006 with its bid for rock station Diamond FM- amidst much local opposition (See RNW Mar 18, 2006 ), but then pulled out of its UK radio plans and handed the licence back to Ofcom.
the licence was re-advertised in November 2007 (See RNW Nov 30, 2007) and while the original offer attracted five bids when it was re-advertised Plymouth FM was only in competition with a bid from UKRD with its Pirate FM format.
Amongst those taking part in the two-hour special launch show were TV presenter Philip Schofield, who is one of the station's backers and station manager Tim Manns, a radio veteran whose career began as a DJ at Radio Bahrain in 1979 because at the time "there were not too many places where an aspiring DJ could get on air." He later returned to the UK to work for Orchard FM, part of the Orchard Media Group (run by David Rodgers, now the chairman of Radio Plymouth) and subsequently launched a station in Bath, ran The Saint radio station for Southampton Football Club for three years and most recently worked in Channel Islands as manager of programming for Jersey and Guernsey's commercial stations.
Also now on air with test transmissions is community station Erewash Sound, which formally launches at 09:00 GMT on Mar 6 serving an English East Midlands borough that includes the towns of Long Eaton and Ilkeston. The format is "the hits of today, and your favourites from yesterday" and the station is streaming its transmissions.
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