April 2010 Archive
2010-04-30: Beasley Broadcast Group has reported revenues down 3.2% on a year earlier at USD 21.8 million in the first quarter of this year, putting the fall down primarily to lower revenues from its Miami-
Fort Lauderdale and Fayetteville market clusters.
Costs, however, were down by 7.7% and operating income rose by 33.1% and overall its net income was up from a break-even in 2009 to USD 500,000 (From Nil to two cents per share).
Same station revenues -excluding results from its Las Vegas stations that were divested in August last year - of were down 1.8% to USDC 21.8 million with same station operating income up 8.9% to USD 6.1 million.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Beasley said of the results, "Increases in 2010 first quarter SOI, operating income and net income highlight the value of the Company's streamlined cost structure."
"Overall," he continued "the radio industry and Beasley Broadcast Group have begun to see a rebound in advertising spending. In the 2010 first quarter we generated monthly sequential improvements in revenue, with March representing the first month in over two years that Beasley
Broadcast Group recorded revenue growth."
"The Company," he added "also continues to drive strong interactive revenue growth with revenue from these sources rising approximately 22% in the 2010 first quarter compared with 2009 first quarter levels."
He also noted that the company had trimmed its debt by USD 1.8 million with total bank debt down to USD 150 million at the end of the quarter and added, "Given our initiatives over the last two years, Beasley Broadcast Group has an appropriate cost structure that will result in significant operating leverage from increased radio advertising activity."
Previous George Beasley:
2010-04-30: Corus Entertainment Inc. has announced that is has agreed to sell 11 radio stations in Quebec province to Cogeco Inc. for around CAD 80 million (USD 78.7 million) as a result of what it terms a strategic decision as it had not been able to make adequate returns on them. Corus has also put its other Quebec station - CKRS-FM in Saguenay - up for sale to another buyer.
President and chief executive John Cassaday said in a release, "Corus Entertainment has made the strategic decision to divest of its Corus Quebec radio stations and focus on brands in our Television division and our Ontario and Western Canadian radio stations" adding in am update to investors and analysts, "Despite investing millions of dollars in talent and facilities and broadcasting in different formats, we have been unsuccessful in generating adequate financial returns for our shareholders."
Cassaday went on to say that the station were a "better fit" for Cogeco, which if the sale is approved by regulators will increase from five to 16 the stations Cogeco will own in the province: He also attacked the regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), for its restrictions, which had limited the options open for change at the stations, which had come under increasing competition from Montreal-based rival Astral Media, the largest commercial radio broadcaster in Canada and the dominant player in Quebec.
For Cogeco, its President and CEO Louis Audet, said they were "pleased with the opportunity to pursue the development of these radio stations for the benefit of members of the Quebec community in which we have grown, in particular in broadcasting, for the last 53 years."
The stations being sold are in Montreal (French CKOI 96,9, 98,5, CKAC Sports - including CKAC's digital licence- and English The Q 92.5); Quebec City (102,9 Souvenirs Garantis, CKOI 102,1); Gatineau (104,7 Souvenirs Garantis); Sherbrooke (107,7 Souvenirs Garantis, CKOI 104,5); Trois-Rivières (106,9 Souvenirs Garantis); and St-Jérôme (CIME 103,9). Corus will continue to operate them until the sale closes.
The markets reacted in a mixed manner to the news with Corus stock closing up 0.05% at USD 20.33 on the New York Stock Exchange and down 0.05% at CAD 20.59 on the Toronto exchange whilst Cogeco, which was down 0.35% at CAD 20:45 in Toronto in late afternoon then rallied to close up3.31% at CAD 29.64
2010-04-29: Cumulus and Entravision have each reported revenue rises for the first quarter but radio revenues were essentially flat on a year ago at Entravision: They also each cut their loss dramatically year on year.
At Cumulus, net revenues for the first quarter were up 1.8% to USD 56.4 million, an increase put down primarily due to an increase in political revenue generated by mid-term congressional elections and an increase in revenue from national accounts.
Station operating expenses were down by 5.6% to USD 39.92 million and the net loss was reduced from USD 3.296 million to USD 144,000 ( From eight cents to one cent per basic and diluted share). The company also noted that it had paid down USD 12.8 million of debt during the quarter.
Commenting on the figures Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey said the company had "entered 2010 with very strong momentum fuelled by our Radio 2.0 initiative," adding, "Through our proprietary technology platform and franchise systems we continue to re-engineer the radio business model to reduce fixed costs across all of our radio stations. Simultaneously, the Cumulus Sales Operating System launched last year is generating positive year over year net revenue growth for our company once again."
"The combination of these efforts," he continued, "resulted in substantially increased operating margins and adjusted EBITDA growth of 62.7% over the same period last year. We complemented this organic growth in our core operations with additional strategic development of our digital media platform, significant revenue growth and margin expansion at Cumulus Media Partners, and announcement of a new strategic partnership in Cumulus Radio Investors. We are extremely pleased with these results and [are] increasingly optimistic about the forecast for our company."
Entravision followed the pattern of a rise in first quarter revenues driven by TV - in its case radio revenue fell slightly: Overall revenues were up 3% to USD 43.07 million within which TV was up 5% to USD 29.65 million and radio was marginally down from USD 14.443 million to USD 13.438 million.
Expenses were cut more steeply - largely because of salary and personnel cuts - and were down 6% overall to USD 29.82 million; down 7% to USD 17.96 million for TV; and down 5% to USD 11.87 million for radio
The loss before income taxes was reduced from USD 8.93 million in 2009, when it included a loss of USD 4.72 million on debt extinguishment, to USD 653,000 and net loss was cut from USD 14.49 million to USD 2.18 million ( from 17cents to three cents per basic and diluted share).
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Walter F. Ulloa said of the figures, "During the first quarter we saw signs of a stabilizing advertising environment in many of our television and radio markets. Our audience shares remain strong in the nation's most densely populated Hispanic markets, and we believe that our U.S. Hispanic audience will continue to grow. Additionally, we anticipate that retransmission consent revenue will continue to be a growing source of revenue, along with advertising revenue from the World Cup, the census and political activity during 2010."
2010-04-29: Fisher Communications has reported revenues in the first quarter up 24% on a year ago at USD 35.3 million, citing a "broad advertising recovery" as contributing to "the generation of strong year-over-year increases in revenue and broadcast cash flow and the narrowing of the Company's net loss."
Operating expenses were up 7% to USD 36.152 and within the figures, TV net revenues were up 31% to USD 26.6 million, radio was up 8% to USD 5.3 million and its Fisher Plaza revenues were up 5% to USD 3.5 million. Fisher noted that it had completed the integration of its corporate offices with its Seattle broadcast operations, taking the occupancy of Fisher Plaza down from 97% at the end of last year to 95%.
EBITDA moved from a loss of USD 2.057 million to a positive USD 1.756 million and TV Broadcast Cash Flow (BCF) was up more then ten-fold from USD 250,000 in the first quarter of 2009 to USD 2.97 million with TV whilst radio BCF was down from USD 500,000 to USD 356,000.
Overall Fisher's loss from operations went down from USD 5.385 million to USD 811,000 with a net loss of USD 4.265 million reduced to a loss of USD 2.179 million (from a loss of 49 cents to a loss of 25 cents per share).
Fisher President and Chief Executive Officer Colleen B. Brown commented of the results, "Our first quarter performance reflects the improving macro-economic environment and our ability to capture a larger share of the market through our operational improvements. Our efforts not only provided us some resiliency during the down cycle, but more importantly, we believe they have positioned us to take full advantage of the economic recovery as it takes shape. "
2010-04-29:TIML Radio Limited, , owners of UK Absolute Radio, the former Virgin Radio, has announced that it has settled its legal dispute with V&S Vin & Sprit AB, the owner of Swedish vodka brand ABSOLUT, over the former's allegations of trademark infringement and passing off by the radio company.
No terms were given of the settlement but Absolute Radio chief operating officer Clive Dickens said in a statement posted on its web site, "Absolute Radio is pleased with this settlement which will see us continue to build our music radio brand and advance our position as one of the leading commercial radio networks in a digital age."
The site also carried a statement from Paula Eriksson, spokesperson for V&S, saying, "I am pleased with the outcome of this matter which will enable us to continue to develop the iconic ABSOLUT brand without risk of confusion to the public."
RNW comment: This to us is yet another case that may have added to lawyers incomes but has achieved absolutely nothing in terms of public benefit. We regard the claim of passing off as ludicrous in this case and think that in such cases companies bringing them should be at risk of losing their trademark: Were we deciding in this case, Absolut Vodka would have lost any exclusivity in the trademark and had to pay all costs.
We also, however, think that there should be very strict restrictions on any trade marking or copyrighting of a word that is part of language in common use (Hoover may have become almost a synonym for a vacuum cleaner and makes the case for trademarks but choosing a name like Apple as a trade name in connection with a recording company or computer equipment should be such that any company claiming the name has to show significant real risk from passing off (and we think there was no such risk in terms of Absolute Radio and Absolut vodka) - including independently conducted surveys - before being allowed to bring a case. If they then bring a case there should be an option to remove trademark protection for the name from the company bringing the case.)
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co., Ltd (Ultimate parent of Absolute):
2010-04-29: An exchange on Citadel's News-Talk WJR-AM, Detroit, between Michigan Democrat Senator Carl Levin and morning host Paul W. Smith, has highlighted the potential for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indecency rules to prevent accurate reporting.
Levin, during hearings at which Goldman Sachs representatives were asked about their mortgage practices read out an e-mail in which a company executive referred to one mortgage deal as "one shitty deal" and questioned Daniel Sparks, the former head of Goldman's mortgage department, about the e-mail, repeating the "shitty" word numerous times during the hearing.
When the Senator was on Smith's show, he was at one stage asked not to "use those words. I don't have a beeper here" and a little later Smith commented, "They're calling you Senator Potty-Mouth now" to which Levin responded, "It wasn't my word. It was their word but I think it dramatised the problem."
Smith later commented that the word was "one of the words broadcasters aren't allowed to have on the air" and continued, "So let me just ask you this. Will you go to bat for any radio or TV station that has their licence jeopardized , or get fined because they were carrying you 'live' and couldn't do anything about it?"
Levin responded, "Sorry to put you guys in that position but ...yes - I'd go to bat, absolutely. To answer your question, of course I would."
RNW comment: Full marks to Smith here for pointing out the ludicrous position the FCC and Congress put into law when they changed previous FCC guidance concerning indecency to rule out even "fleeting references" and increased the penalties ten-fold to USD 325,000 with the passage of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 that was passed in June 2006 (See RNW June 8, 2006) and signed into law by President George W. Bush a week later (See RNW Jun 16, 2006 ).
Maybe it's a pity that it's it is impossible to take what would be a sensible way of making those responsible for enacting the law responsible for consequences of the way in which it was drafted: All stations that carried the words should be fined the maximum, with the cost then being divided equally amongst all those who voted for the act and the President and them each billed for their share with a week to pay and a subsequent doubling of the amount each week until the payment was made in full to all stations concerned. The last might seem unfair to those who paid promptly but they'd certainly then make sure their colleagues also paid up! And law drafting would get better very speedily
WJR web site:
WJR MP3 of exchange - starts around 2 minutes into the 11 minute, 3.97 Mb MP3 podcast on the site.
2010-04-29: Sirius XM Radio has announced that it is to redeem almost USD 114 million of debt - all of its 10% Senior PIK Secured Notes due 2011, CUSIP Nos. 983759AE1 and 983759AH4 - on June 1.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Frear said that the company's "strong cash position, strong first quarter subscriber growth and the improving outlook for the economy have put us in position to retire these notes a year ahead of schedule."
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-04-28: Clear Channel Radio has announced that it has hired industry veteran Bob Michaels in a newly-created post of Executive Vice President of Research, reporting to Tom Owens, Clear Channel Radio's Executive Vice President of Content/Programming.
Michaels, who has more than thirty years in broadcasting including a spell as Vice President of PPM Programming Services for radio and television at Arbitron, will continue as a consultant to existing customers of his company Bob Michaels MediaSense, Inc.
In his Clear Channel role he will be responsible for supervising Clear Channel research projects and personnel across all terrestrial and digital platforms and Owens commented, "Bob's important role in designing diary and PPM programming analysis tools combined with his unique ability to synthesize this data to rating and revenue benefits will increase Clear Channel's consumer insights and distinguish our service for audiences and advertisers."
Previous Clear Channel:
2010-04-28: Bidding in India's 3G auction has now reached nearly USD 2 billion with bidding for licences in Mumbai (Bombay) overtaking the bids for Delhi.
At the end of 94 rounds on Wednesday the total bid was INR 891.4 crore ((USD 1.997 billion - INR 89.14 Billion - a crore is 10 million). Bidding for Mumbai licences was keener than for those in Delhi for the third day running and now stands at INR 1.383 crore ( USD 309.9 million ) compared to INR 1.350 crore ( USD 302.3 million) for Delhi and INR 874 crore ( USD 195.9 million) for third placed Maharashtra.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Telecommunications Ministry web site (Has links to auction updates):
2010-04-28: Entries are now being invited for Australia's ninth New Artists 2 Radio (NA2R) competition that this year is to offer guaranteed airplay valued at AUD 1.3 million ( USD 1.2 million) to the winning artists.
The scheme aims to discover the next big music star to be played on commercial radio throughout the country and entries are open to unsigned, independent Australian artists who have not charted in the top 100 Australian National airplay chart.
Ten finalists will be announced this year with two winners to be selected from them with their prize to include six weeks of guaranteed airplay on major metropolitan and regional commercial radio networks.
The event is organized by industry body Commercial Radio Australia whose chief executive Joan Warner said it is "just one of the many ways in which the commercial radio sector helps to nurture and support Australian musical talent."
All finalists will also attend a radio workshop with leading program and music directors and music marketing professionals and the two winning acts will perform at the NA2R showcase event to be held in Melbourne on October 15 in front of key music and program directors from the commercial radio sector.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-04-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Saga Communications for false certification of its FM Translator Station W240CB (formerly W238AA), Ithaca, New York but denied an objections from Finger Lakes Radio Group, Inc. to Saga's application for a licence for the station and modification to its facilities.
In July 2007, the FCC had granted Finger Lakes permission to move its WFIZ-FM from Channel 240 at Dundee, to Channel 238 at Odessa, both in New York State, a move that meant that Saga would have to end operation of the translator because of predicted contour overlap.
Saga filed an application to operate at reduced power of two watts to avoid the overlap until it could find an alternate site that would allow it to resume full power operations.
This was granted and Saga in September 2008 filed an application to cover the construction permit for the alternate site.
It said the station was constructed in accordance with the underlying permit but Finger Lakes filed an objection on the basis that Saga had made false certifications in the License Application, specifically contending that it had installed two damaged antennas at far lower levels on the tower than specified in the permit.
Saga responded by terminating operation of the transmitter and filing a modification application to move to a different site to which Finger Lakes responded with an objection, arguing that Saga's false certifications in the License Application are evidence of Saga's lack of character qualifications, and on this basis, urged the Commission to revoke the Station's license.
FCC staff, said the agency, inadvertently granted the Modification Application and rescinded it that same day when it realized that the staff had not considered the Modification Objection and further filings were then made by Saga to which Finger Lakes objected.
The FCC said that Finger Lakes failed to raise a substantial and material question of fact calling into question Saga's character or its basic qualifications as a licensee but also found that the actual facilities did not meet those of the licence, adding that the record did not indicate an intention by Saga to deceive but rather that Saga's consulting engineer incorrectly concluded that he was using the proper technical information when preparing the License Application. It also dismissed arguments from Finger Lakes that Saga was "using its HD-2 and HD-3 services as quasi "studio-transmitter links" to feed programming to its FM translators creating an "over-the-local-ownership-limit situation."
Accordingly it granted Saga's modification application but issued the USD 10,000 NAL for false certification of the facility.
The FCC also announced a Consent Decree with WAY-FM Media Group, Inc., licensee of Non-commercial Educational Station KXWA-FM, Loveland, Colorado, in relation to the airing of underwriting acknowledgments in violation of underwriting laws.
Under the agreement WAY will pay a penalty of USD 1,000 and also set up and maintain a Compliance Plan to ensure future compliance.
2010-04-27: Sirius XM and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) have both regained compliance with the NASDAQ one-dollar minimum bid price requirement although so far only the former has issued a release to confirm that the market has told it that it is in compliance.
Stock in both companies closed above the dollar mark on April 14 and has remained above that since then - SBS closed at USD 1.60 today and Sirius XM at USD 1.15. Both companies had made contingency plans for a reverse stock split to regain compliance should it prove necessary and Sirius says that given the return to compliance its board will not now to consider such a split.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-04-27: Regent Communications has announced its emergence from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy following completion of its reorganization, which will give control of the company to Oaktree Capital.
All shares in the predecessor company have been extinguished and the company says that it expects that stockholders of record as of the close of trading on April 26, 2010 will receive a distribution of 13 cents per share by early-to mid-May.
The company's licences have been transferred temporarily into the Regent Trust, whose Trustee is Broadcast Management and Technology President and CEO Jay Meyer. The move was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this month and the Trust has agreed Local Management Agreements (LMAs) with Regent to operate the stations until the agency approves the transfer of the licences to the restructured company apart from two stations which will have to be divested for the restructured company to remain within market caps: The licences for one station in Fort Collins, Colorado, and another in Lafayette,, Louisiana, will be transferred to the Regent Divestiture Trust, which also has Meyers as trustee, until they are sold.
Regent has also announced that following the reorganization John F. DeLorenzo, John J. Ahn, Timothy M. Mooney, John H. Wyant and Andrew L. Lewis, IV. have left its Board of Directors although President and CEO William Stakelin remains on the board.
Appointed as new directors were Stephen Kaplan, head of the Principal Group at Oaktree Capital Management L.P; B. James Ford, who currently serves as a Managing Director at Oaktree; Andrew Salter, who currently serves as Senior Vice President of Oaktree; and David Quick, who currently serves as Vice President of Oaktree.
2010-04-27: Mexican radio operator Grupo Radio Centro has announced first quarter revenues up 6.7% on a year ago at MXN 166.3 million ( USD 13.43 million) but broadcasting expenses (excluding depreciation, amortization and corporate, general and administrative expenses) were up 43.4% to MXN 160.78 million ( USD 12.98 million ), an increase put down to expenses incurred in connection with its Local Management Agreement to operate Emmis's KXOS-FM, Los Angeles, which it began operating in the first quarter of 2009. (See RNW Apr 3, 2009).
Depreciation and amortization expenses were down by 6.1% to MXN 6.14 million (USD 496,000) and corporate, general and administrative expenses in were flat at MXN 3.78 million (USD 305,000) whilst other expenses were up 13.2% to MXN 13.46 million (USD 1.09 million) and financing costs were up nearly seven fold from MXN 1.07 million (USD 86,600) to MXN 7.36 million (USD 594,000).
Overall net income of MXN 14.66 million (USD 1.18 million) in the first quarter of 2009 became a net loss of MXN 25.60 million (USD 2.23 million): Its loss before income taxes was MXN 25.24 million (USD 2.04 million) compared to income of MXN 20.37 million (USD 1.64 million) in the first quarter of 2009.
The company noted that in March it renegotiated the interest rate of its credit facility with Banco Inbursa, S.A. from a fixed annual rate of 13% to a fixed annual rate of 9.5% and that shareholders at its annual meeting had approved a board recommendation to pay a dividend of MXN 100 million (USD 8.08 million- MXN 0.6145 per share for its Series A shares).
Previous Grupo Radio Centro:
2010-04-26: Citadel Broadcasting has reported first quarter revenues up 4% on a year ago at USD 165 million with radio markets revenues up 5.5% to USD 138.1 million and radio networks revenue slightly down 3.2% to USD 28.06 million.
Radio operating income was up 58.5% to USD 49.74 million within which radio markets operating income was up 30% to USD 46.38 million and a radio network loss of USD 4.3 million became income of USD 3.35 million: Overall operating income was up 161% to USD 37.14 million.
Citadel noted that in December it filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (See RNW Dec 20, 2009) and that it subsequently filed a plan for reorganization in February (See RNW Feb 4 ): This was amended in March and on Friday last week Citadel's debtors filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York a supplement to the plan. A confirmation hearing is scheduled for May 12.
2010-04-26:UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin has upheld radio standards complaints against six broadcasters - four of them involving competitions or sponsorship - as opposed to only one TV standards complaint in addition to which it gave details of a TV standards complaint not upheld and of a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint that was upheld. The numbers compare with the upholding of radio standards complaints against two broadcasters and part upholding of a radio fairness and privacy complaint in the previous bulletin in which another radio standards complaint was considered resolved by action taken by the broadcaster: In addition in the previous bulletin Ofcom upheld standards complaints involving four TV broadcasters and gave details of two TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints not upheld.
The radio complaints upheld in the latest bulletin involved:
*UTV's talkSPORT and an edition of the George Galloway programme in which a prize - a copy of the host's book, The Fidel Castro Handbook - was offered. The feature concerned in which listeners were asked to a topical news event linking music clips played in the programme did not normally include any prize but in this case the offer of the book made it a listener competition. In line with the normal practice, listeners were asked to call a premium rate phone line and text messages were 50 pence plus standard network charges.
A listener complained that he had called the studio at 00:10 to submit his answer to the competition and was told that his answer was correct but that another entrant had just given the same answer and accordingly the complainant had not won the prize.
Subsequently at 00:50 it was announced that the winning entry had come from a listener who had already submitted the winning entry the previous week and that the prize would go to the second winning entrant: The complainant believed from his earlier call that he had won but another entrant was announced as the winner.
He complained that the competition was not conducted fairly and that further invitations to enter had been aired after his call at which time he had been told that a correct answer had already been submitted.
talkSPORT responded by saying the features were intended to provide light relief in the programme and the charges were the same as for normal calls to the show: It was never intended to be a competition with "extra entry charges" and "high-value prizes".
Entries it said were selected by a call screener who then gave some of them to the producer who selected some at random for checks: As soon as the producer or presenter spotted a correct answer it was read out as soon as possible but, it added, the volume of messages meant that not all could be scrutinized.,
Ofcom said that Galloway had indicated that the prize would be allocated on the basis of a first correct answer rather than by the broadcaster's 'random selection' and that the method of selecting a winner in this competition was not as described on air at the time that listeners were invited to enter.
It accepted there was no evidence that the station sought to mislead listeners but said its rules had been breached and that it was requiring the licensee to attend a meeting to discuss its compliance procedures in relation to the conduct of listener competitions.
*Southend Radio, part of the Adventure Radio Network, and a competition called 'Tracie's Mystery Voices' in which three short clips were played containing the voice of a celebrity and listeners were invited to identify the "mystery voices." The first entrant to identify any of the voices would win GBP 500 (USD 775) and an entrant who identified one of the two remaining voices would win GBP 1,000 (USD 1,550) and the entrant who identified the final voice would win the grand prize of GBP 5,000 (USD 7,750).
The competition was also aired on three other stations in the Adventure Radio Network and a listener complained that both the on-air description and terms and conditions on the station's web site did not say the competition was being run on other stations, thus reducing the chance of winning and also that there was a conflict over the terms and conditions as aired and as given on the site.
The station said that the presenter had been told incorrectly that listeners had to be told that the competition was being run on other stations only once during each programme and that following Ofcom's enquiry it had edited all pre-recorded material relating to the competition and the presenter had been told that all promotions should contain clear information about the other stations' involvement.
Ofcom ruled that the conditions had not been clear and that its rules were breached.
*The mid-morning show on Chester station Dee 106.3 in which host Mike James trailed and ran a listener competition to win pairs of tickets to the 'Ultimate Ladies Night' at a local nightclub called. A listener complained that this competition had ended up as a live advertisement for the club and the station in response to an Ofcom enquiry said it had not intended to breach the code and had changed its procedures to avoid repetition.
Ofcom welcomed the measures taken but also said the programme had given undue prominence to the nightclub in breach of its codes.
*Bauer's Cool FM, Northern Ireland and sponsorship of Gareth Stewart's Afternoon Drive Show. In this case a credit spoke of a return ticket to Liverpool at only GBP 29.99 for a foot passenger but a complainant said that he was unable to obtain this advertised fare as the terms and conditions included a fuel surcharge.
Bauer said the credit had been approved by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) - but Ofcom agreed that listeners had been misled in breach of its codes.
*An interview on talkSPORT's First-Half Forum feature with a representative of the sponsor: Ofcom had noted the interview during routine monitoring and talkSPORT responded by saying that the mentions of the sponsor's name were editorially justified. Ofcom disagreed and ruled that the broadcast of odds in the feature breached its Code because it promoted an indirect interest of the sponsor and was likely to encourage listeners to use the sponsor's services.
In its final radio ruling Ofcom said received a complaint that Bath FM and 3TR FM - owned by Bath Radio Ltd and Three Towns Radio Ltd respectively who in their turn were owned by South West Radio Ltd. were not broadcasting in accordance with their formats.
Ofcom requested recordings but the licensees - the company and the licensees are now in administration - were unable to supply them. This is in breach of licence conditions and Ofcom said the matter will be held on record.
As well as these complaints, Ofcom also listed without details 268 TV complaints against 70 items -187 of them against one programme - and six radio complaints against six items it did not uphold: This compared to 530 TV complaints against 198 items and 23 radio complaints against 19 items that it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-04-26: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) in a 14C filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission says that its board and controlling shareholder and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. have given approval for a possible reverse split of up to one share for five should it prove necessary to regain compliance with NASDAQ's dollar per share minimum bid rule. SBS received a delisting notice in August 2008 but enforcement of this was then suspended for 180 days giving the company until December 4 last year to regain compliance. It had not done so but following a hearing the deadline was moved to June 7 this year and the reverse split can be effected from May 17.
The contingency currently seems unlikely to arise as the stock went above the dollar mark at closing on April 14 and has remained there: It closed up 7.48% at USD 1.58 today and the company will regain compliance if it remains above a dollar as of April 27.
Sirius XM, which also received a delisting notice, also closed at above a dollar on April 14 and has stayed above the mark - it closed today at USD 1.20.
SBS has also announced that its annual stockholders meeting is to be held on June 3.
In less welcome news for the company the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined it USD 16,000 for the recording by its WXDJ-FM, North Miami Beach, Florida, of a recording of a telephone conversation for broadcast without providing prior notification to the called party.
The recording in question was made at the request of the sister of the woman called by vendor "Rubin Ithier," with whom the station had a contract and who made the call and recorded the conversation for a show featuring prank calls to the friends and family members of WXDJ listeners.
The FCC had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for this amount in 2008 (See RNW Oct 18, 2008) to which the station responded by saying that it had obtained consent to a broadcast of the call before the recording was aired and that the amount was excessive in comparison to the penalty levied for similar violations and in view of the state of the US economy and decrease in broadcasters' revenues.
The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-04-26:Emmis Communications Corporation founder, Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Smulyan has become involved in a tie-up with private equity partners in a bid for the company, an agreement that is already potentially being challenged.
Under the plan JS Acquisition, a company that Smulyan has set up for the deal, and Alden Global Capital, a private asset management company with more than USD 3 billion under its management and which currently holds 42% of Emmis's preferred stock, would buy all of Emmis's Class A Common stock that J.S. Acquisitions does not hold for USD 2.40 per share, a price it says represents a 74% premium over the 30-trading day average closing price of the Class A Common Stock and a 118% premium over the 180-trading day average closing price of the stock. The price is ten cents more than the USD 2.30 at which Emmis stock closed on Friday.
On completion of the deal if it goes through, Smulyan, the two companies say in a news release, will hold substantially all of a new class of voting common stock of Emmis and Smulyan and his affiliates will hold all of the outstanding common stock of JS Acquisition.
Smulyan tried to take the company private in May 2006 with an offer of USD 15.25 per share, valuing Emmis at around USD 567 million through ECC Acquisition , which he owned (See RNW May 9, 2006) compared to USD 90 million under the new offer, but he withdrew the offer when he failed to reach terms with the Emmis board (See RNW Aug 5, 2006) and a later attempt by a group of shareholders to re-open negotiations (See RNW Jun 29, 2006) did not get anywhere . Emmis subsequently declared a special dividend of USD 4 per share (See RNW Nov 3, 2006).
As part of the agreement stockholders would have to consent to eliminate a section of Emmis's Articles of Incorporation that provide for a Going Private Redemption, provide for the automatic conversion of the Preferred Stock upon a merger into that amount of consideration that would be paid to holders of shares of the Class A Common Stock into which the Preferred Stock was convertible immediately prior to the merger, and to eliminate the right of the holders of the Preferred Stock to nominate directors to Emmis' board of directors.
Alden has agreed to consent to such amendments and exchange its Preferred Stock for Debt (12% Senior Subordinated Notes due 20117 and has also agreed to purchase 80 million principal amount of Series A Convertible Redeemable PIK Preferred Stock of JS Acquisition and will receive nominally-priced warrants in connection with this.
Completion also depends on various other conditions including stockholder approval, exchange of two-thirds of the preferred stock and completion of amendments to terms of the Preferred Stock, the Emmis board of directors waiving certain provisions of the Indiana Business Corporations Law and agreeing to submit any required merger directly to the Emmis stockholders for approval without the Board's recommendation of the merge, and meeting regulatory requirements.
Following the announcement of Smulyan's plan, the law firm of Rigrodsky & Long, P.A., announced that it is investigating potential claims against the board of directors of Emmis on the basis that the board "directors failed to adequately shop the Company and obtain the best price possible for Emmis' shareholders before entering into the Letter of Intent with JS Acquisition and Alden."
Rigrodsky & Long noted that Smulyan already controls approximately 70.4% of the Company's total voting power through his 100% ownership of the Class B common stock and is inviting holders of stock purchased before April 25 to contact it.
2010-04-25:Yet again last week was fairly quiet for the regulators as regards radio with most activity in North America: Elsewhere things were quieter and there were no radio decisions in Australia.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was fairly quiet as regards radio licensing activity: Its main posting was on of revised criteria to be adopted concerning licence "trafficking" in relation to which it re-iterated the need for such a policy, which currently applies to the any sale of a newly licensed broadcasting undertaking within the first licence term and sales of broadcasting undertakings shortly following a decision authorizing a change in effective control.
The agency said that it continues to take the view that the sale of a newly authorized broadcasting undertaking brings into question the basis for the Commission's original decision when the licence has been issued following a competitive process and as a result it will normally deny transactions involving a licence during the first two years of a service but will allow exceptions where "the applicant can demonstrate the necessity of the transaction as a result of a force majeure event."
It takes a different view when a licence was granted through a non-competitive process, saying that in such cases the transactions do not undermine the integrity of the licensing process: Consequently such licences are to be excluded from the application of the policy as will be any transaction involving a licence issued following a decision authorizing a change in effective control.
The CRTC also posted a list of decisions that did not require a public process and were made during the period from the start of this year to the end of February.
This included the change in effective control of R.B. Communications Ltd., licensee of English-language station CIXL-FM, Welland, Ontario, from David Holgate to Bryan Woodruff through the transfer of the shares held by Katlynx Communications Corporation in R.B. Communications Ltd. to MB Vision Media Corp.
Other radio decisions included:
*Extension to 22 July this year of deadline for CTV Ltd. to submit an amendment to its application for an alternative frequency for its new radio station in Edmonton approved in July last year subject to a suitable frequency being found. It notes that this will be the final extension to be granted by the Commission.
*Extension to 9 May 2011 of the deadline for Larche Communications to commence the operation the new English-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Owen Sound, Ontario, approved in May 2008.
*Approval of amendment to licence for ethnic station CINA-AM, Mississauga, to allow it to redirect its Canadian content development contribution to the Ethnic Broadcasters Scholarship Fund to be administered by Humber College.
In Alberta it approved an application from Newcap Inc. to convert its CIBQ-AM, Brooks, to a 6, 6000 watts FM: The new station will retain CIBQ's country music format and Newcap will be allowed to simulcast the AM and new FM signals for three months after the FM commences operation.
The CRTC also posted a notice of consultation with a May 27 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments that included applications by CIAM Media & Radio Broadcasting Association to add 50 watts FM transmitters in Three Hills, Alberta, and Dawson Creek and Prespatou, British Columbia, to broadcast the output of its English-language Type B community station CIAM-FM, Fort Vermilion, Alberta.
The CRTC noted that the licensee has been found to be in apparent non-compliance with regulatory requirements relating to the provision of annual reports for the 2008 broadcast year.
It also posted a further notice, this time with a May 28 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments that included the following radio applications:
Application by Northwest Broadcasting Inc. to increase the power of its transmitter CFQK-FM, Kaministiquia, from 50 watts to 250 watts. Northwest has also applied to increase the power of the station's re-transmitter CKED-FM, Shuniah Township, from 10 watts to 250 watts
Each amendment that would change the station's status from unprotected low-power to protected status and the licensee has requested an exemption to the Commission's common ownership policy
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) posted its final budget for 2010 (See RNW Apr 23) and in the UK Ofcom announced that it has nearly completed its second round of community radio licensing and has invited prospective applicants for a community radio licence to submit an "expression of interest" outlining their intention to apply for a licence in the third round.
It notes that it does not expect any FM frequencies to become available for a long list of areas including Greater London, most of southern England, the East and West Midlands, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Glasgow, Belfast and Londonderry although it may be possible to find a limited number of frequencies on the AM band.
The closing date for submission of expressions of interest is June 1.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mailed the first of its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) audit letters for 2010 to randomly selected radio and television stations (See RNW Apr 21) and also announced that it is to hold its May media ownership workshop at Stanford University, California (See RNW Apr 20).
It has also been involved in a number of enforcement actions including issuing Notice of Violation to Wilks Broadcast Group concerning interference from stations in Texas to the instrument landing system at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in February and penalties to a number of stations in relation to late filing of renewal applications (See RNW Apr 22).
In radio licensing decisions it denied a number of applications including the following
In Florida, the FCC denied a petition from by Northeast Florida Radio, LLC to reconsider a staff decision to dismiss an application for a major modification to its construction permit for a new AM station at Nassau Village-Ratliff. The three-year construction period expired in February 2006 but Northeast Florida Radio said it had failed in its efforts to find a transmitter site to serve Nassau Village-Ratliff and filed an application to relocate the station to Baldwin. This was dismissed and the agency has no dismissed the petition to reconsider the dismissal and also a request for tolling to give Northeast Florida additional time to build a new station at Nassau Village-Ratliff.
In Georgia, it denied a petition from Southern Stone Broadcasting, Inc to reconsider a staff refusal of an application to change to Washington the community of licence for its WMGZ-FM, originally licensed to Eatonton but whose re-allotment to Lexington, Georgia, the FCC had approved in 2006.
Southern Stone had argued that the decision should be based on a comparison of services in Eatontown and Washington rather than between Lexington and Washington but the FCC rejected the argument and denied the petition.
In Oklahoma the FCC approved an application to assign the licence for KESC-FM, Wilburton, from Little Dixie Radio, Inc. to KESC Enterprises, LLC; the licenses for KMCO-FM and KNED-AM, McAlester, from Little Dixie to Southeastern Oklahoma Radio, LLC; and the licenses for KTMC-AM and KTMC-FM, McAlester, from Bottom Line Broadcasting, Inc. to Southeastern.
As background the FCC noted that the applications, which were files in June 2004, disclosed that in April 2003 Little Dixie/Bottom Line President and sole shareholder Gene Stipe pled guilty to several criminal counts, including Conspiracy to Violate the Federal Election Campaign Act, Conspiracy to Obstruct a Federal Election Commission Investigation, and Perjury. In granting the applications FCC staff had imposed a condition requiring that Stipe demonstrate that he was qualified to hold a broadcast license before acquiring an attributable interest in any Commission licensee but ultimately decided not to pursue the issue of Stipe's qualification and allowed the assignment.
The FCC commented that staff had been in error in approving a for-profit sale of the licenses while the character qualifications of Stipe remained in issue but said that to reverse the decision would not be in the public interest
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-04-24: Bidding in India's 3G auction reached INR 7,900 crore (USD 1.78 billion - INR 79 Billion - a crore is 10 million) at the end of 13 days of bidding today with a total of 76 rounds completed.
As with the pattern at the start of the week the bulk of the increase came at the top end - the bidding for licences in the five least-favoured areas (Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir) has hardly moved since the start of the auction -that for Jammu and Kashmir remains at INR 30 crore (USD 6.78 million and only in Bihar, where it reached INR 34.41 crore (USD 7.77 million)has it increased by more than INR 1 crore (USD 226,000).
At the top end bidding for Delhi licences has now reached INR 1.083 crore (USD 244.4 million), for Mumbai (Bombay) it is up to INR 1.079 crore (USD 245.5 million) and for Maharashtra it is INR 769.1 crore (USD 176.3 million).
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Telecommunications Ministry web site (Has links to auction updates):
2010-04-24: US TV web sites are performing better than those of radio stations according to the latest "TV and Radio on the Web" survey from the RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association- formerly the Radio-Television News Directors' Association) /Hofstra University Annual Survey, which says that TV sites have continued to climb in profitability (up 4.3% on a year ago) with the sites with larger staffs more likely to make a profit.
Radio sites, however, fared less wall with the percentage breaking even or making a profit falling slightly on a year ago.
The survey found that TV sites are increasing use of audio, live cameras, recorded newscasts and blogs but have cut down on streaming audio, podcasts and assembling your own newscasts and Bob Papper, professor and chair of the Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations at Hofstra University commented, "These numbers suggest that, more and more, stations are deciding that certain web elements aren't working that well for them -- or aren't worth the effort -- and they're either scaling them back or not bothering with them at all."
Radio stations increased audio streaming and blogs but cut back slightly on still pictures and news video and the survey shows that the key determinant of complexity was not station size but how many people were working in news.
2010-04-23: Aurelius Capital Management in response to a motion from Citadel Broadcasting asking the US Bankruptcy Court to force it to sell stock it has bought in Citadel has said that it was aware of the court's order requiring anyone who acquired a "substantial" shareholding to give advance notice and allow Citadel to file a Notice of Objection to the purchase (See RNW Apr 19) and did not breach the order.
Aurelius says that the 16.7 million shares it bought are owned by three distinct funds - Aurelius Capital Partners LP, Aurelius Capital Master Ltd. and Aurelius Convergence Master Ltd. -which invest "three distinct pools of capital" with each making its own investment decisions and that none of them owns more than the 11.96 million shares that would trigger the requirement to advise Citadel.
The response says that the Aurelius funds obtained "sophisticated legal advice" concerning the order before they started buying Citadel stock and had consulted Citadel's bankruptcy counsel about the meaning of the order.
The funds concerned have asked the bankruptcy court to reject Citadel's Chapter 11 reorganization plan that they say short changes shareholders and junior creditors and illegally pays too much to senior creditors.
RNW Comment: We shall be interested to see whether in the end -as with Regent and Resilient Capital Management (See RNW Apr 21) - some deal is worked out under which Aurelius is paid to ensure smooth passage of the reorganization and drops its objections.
2010-04-23: Arbitron has reported first quarter revenues down 2.6% on a year ago at USD 95.9 million, putting the fall down to the decision by Cumulus and Clear Channel to subscribe to a Nielsen's diary-based radio ratings service in some small and mid-sized markets and the decision by some customers - it singles out Univision - not to subscribe to its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in some markets.
The impact of these factors, said Arbitron, offset the increase in revenues from the move to PPM pricing in the 33 markets where this service is currently commercialized.
Expenses however fell by a larger percentage - down 6.3% to ISD 70.7 million due largely to the impact of a USD 8.2 million restructuring and reorganization charge reported in the first quarter of 2009.
As a result net income was up 11.4% to USD 13.7 million (from 46 cents to 51 cents per diluted share): Arbitron notes that this year's figure includes included a pre-tax pension settlement charge of USD 1.2 million (Three cents per diluted share).
President and CEO William T. Kerr said the results fore the quarter "do not fully reflect the progress we have made in our PPM commercialization plan" and added, "We remain optimistic that an improvement in overall economic conditions will positively impact the advertising marketplace, which could favourably impact our customers and our own business."
Looking ahead he said priorities for the rest of the year were to "work toward the completion of the commercialization of the PPM ratings service" adding" "We will continue our programs that are designed to improve key sample quality metrics for our PPM and diary services. We will continue our efforts to obtain and maintain Media Rating Council accreditation for our services across all of our markets and we will continue our efforts to further develop our cross-platform measurement capabilities."
Of the economic climate he commented, "While we are encouraged by recent improvement in the overall economic environment and in the radio industry in particular, we also know that it will not turn around overnight. However, we are committed to working with our customers to help position the radio industry to benefit from the recovery as it may occur."
Arbitron re-iterated its guidance for 2010 of revenues to increase between 2% to 6% compared to a year ago with earnings per diluted share to be between USD 1.50 and USD 1.75.
2010-04-23: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has posted a final budget for 2010 of Euros 6.02 million (USD 8.06 million) compared to a provisional budget of Euros USD 7.63 million ( USD 10.22 million): The largest element is for Finance, Governance & People - provisionally set at Euros 4.23 million (USD 5.66 million) but down to Euros 3.40 million (USD 4.55 million) after which the next largest item sum was depreciation - which was up from Euros 350,000 ( USD 469,000) to Euros 365000 (USD 489,000) in the final budget.
As regards income the agency is listing a total of Euros 5.66 million (USD 7.57 million) Levy income; Euros 30,000 (USD 40,000) from licensing fees and other income of 93 Euros (USD 125) to make a gross total of Euros 5.69 million (USD 7.61 million ) and then topping this up with Euros 239,000 (USD 320,000) from its Capital Account to make a total of Euros 5.92 million (USD 7.93 million).
2010-04-22: Arbitron and the PPM Coalition have announced that they have "settled their outstanding disputes and plan to move forward collaboratively" adding that under the leadership of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman - New York Democrat Rep. Edolphus Towns - they have worked jointly with the Media Rating Council (MRC) to implement a series of steps designed to enhance the recruitment methodology of the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service. The enhancements include the addition of address-based sampling with targeted in-person recruiting to increase PPM panellist participation in key market segments and Arbitron has announced a number of initiatives relating to minority broadcasters including forming a minority leadership council in 2010 to bring the leadership of broadcasters and agency communities together and expanding current initiatives directed toward advertiser outreach for minority radio.
The enhanced recruitment approach is scheduled to begin in July with targeted in-person recruiting that is initially to be deployed in the high density Black and Hispanic areas across the top 25 PPM Markets by year-end 2010 with implementation of address-based sampling and the addition of targeted in-person recruiting across all geographies of all PPM Markets by the end of 2011.
In a news release Arbitron Chief Executive Officer and President William T. Kerr commented, "Arbitron remains committed to the continuous improvement of our PPM ratings service. We have worked with the PPMC and the MRC to design these initiatives, and we believe they will help Arbitron deliver the quality data that our customers expect. These initiatives, together with other elements, are part of a larger ongoing program by Arbitron to obtain and retain MRC accreditation. We appreciate the leadership of Chairman Towns and his team for helping move this dialogue forward."
The PPMC was formed in 2008 to address concerns about the PPM's methodology (RNW comment: Specifically with the fact that the PPM ratings were hurting minority broadcasters and their incomes) with members who include ICBC Broadcast Holdings, Inc., Univision Communications, Inc., The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc.(SBS), The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.
NABOB Executive Director Jim Winston said, "We hope that this agreement has placed us on the road to the improved audience measurement," said Jim Winston, Executive Director of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters. "We have been talking with Arbitron for more than three years about PPM, and I am pleased that we have been able to come to an agreement for moving forward."
Univision President and CEO Joe Uva added, "Reliable ratings data is vitally important for all stakeholders in the radio marketplace. Arbitron's commitment to evolve its methodology is a step forward in achieving that goal "and SBS Chief Revenue Officer Frank Flores commented, "We are very pleased with the settlement. We hope it marks the beginning of a new kind of partnership with Arbitron where we all work together to continuously improve the PPM service which we believe will instil a new level of confidence in its results."
Jessica Pantanini, Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) chair-elect and COO of Bromley Communications, added, "In order to effectively reach and connect with minority populations, quality data and audience representation is imperative for agencies and advertisers. We appreciate the commitment to address the needs of minority communities and embrace the implementation of these initiatives."
For the MRC its CEO and Executive Director George Ivie commented, "The MRC has been focused on seeking more in-person recruitment, meter-installation and respondent coaching, as well as improved sample distribution, in Arbitron's PPM methodology as part of our accreditation proceedings. We are pleased to see Arbitron agree to add these enhancements, which we believe can improve the quality of Arbitron's currency ratings, and the MRC is proud to have been an independent and neutral component of this ongoing dialogue as requested by the House Oversight Committee."
2010-04-22: Digital station BBC 6 Music is to join the ranks of stations inviting celebrities to host shows with a series of programmes over the next four days that it says will celebrate "the music fan in everyone".
Four guests have been named to take over from the regular hosts of three different shows starting with Gordon Smart, editor of the tabloid newspaper The Sun's Bizarre section: Smart takes over from Steve Lamacq at 17:00GMT (1800 local) for an hour tonight as the presenter of a Roundtable discussion of latest releases with three guests and commented that he had "always been a big fan of Roundtable on 6 Music" adding "I've been lucky enough to be asked on as a guest with Steve Lamacq before, so it's a real honour to get a chance to host the gig myself. When I was last on we talked about an unknown band called Glasvegas and they've done alright for themselves since then."
The next guest host is James May, best known for his work on Top Gear: He will take over from Bruce Dickinson to host the Friday Night Rock Show tomorrow (2000-2300GMT) and commented, "I've never had a whole radio show to myself and I'm very much looking forward to inflicting the soundtrack of my youth on the nation."
On Saturday, Funk & Soul fan Ruth Watson of Channel 4 TV's Country House Rescue and Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue takes over Craig Charles' Funk & Soul Show (1800-2100GMT) and on Sunday television presenter Matthew Wright takes over from Stuart Maconie in the Freak Zone (1700-1900 GMT).
Wright, who has previously presented on BBC Radio 2, says he is a fan of all things esoteric in the musical universe and is looking forward to playing a selection from his record collection, adding, "I think some listeners will find my choices surprising. Others might find them alarming! People naturally make assumptions about you when you work in TV - they think they know the real you. Well, we'll see!"
2010-04-22: Salem Communications has announced that it is acquiring WWRC-AM in the Washington D.C. market from Red Zebra Broadcasting and will start to operate the station with its News-Talk format from May 15 under a local marketing agreement.
The USD 3.1 million deal will give Salem a third station in the market where it owns WAVA-AM and FM whilst Red Zebra, part of the broadcasting empire of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder will retain WTEM-AM, Washington; Maryaland stations WTNT-AM, Bethesda and WWXT-FM, Prince Frederick plus Virginia stations, WXTR-AM, Alexandria ; WXGI-AM (ESPN 950),Richmond; WWXX-FM, Warrenton and WXTG-AM and FM in the Norfolk-Newport News-Virginia Beach market.
Salem's Radio Division President David Santrella commented of the acquisition, "There is no better place to have a platform for our brand of talk radio than in our nation's capital and this acquisition provides us with just such an opportunity."
Previous Red Zebra:
2010-04-22: Interference from a group of three Wilks Broadcast Group's Texas stations disrupted the ILS (instrument landing system), which are used to permit aircraft to land in conditions of low visibility, at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in February according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
The paper reports that following an investigation of the problem the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued notices of violation to Wilks'KLLL- FM and jointly to its KONE - FM and KMMX- FM in connection with the interference.
The paper says that because of the problems more than 60 flights were cancelled and airline boardings were down 11.2% on a year earlier, quoting airport manager James Loomis as saying the cancellations cost it around USD 6,000 in landing fees.
The FCC was asked to investigate by Lubbock Congressman Randy Neugebauer according to the paper, which quotes a statement from his office as saying that his "primary goal was to ensure that the city of Lubbock and Preston Smith International Airport had the support they required to restore confidence in their equipment and, more importantly, continue providing reliable air services to travellers and commercial users in West Texas."
Initial investigations of the problem, reports the paper, led technicians to identify a variety of points related to arcing on electric lines owned by Lubbock Power & Light and Xcel Energy and subsequent FCC investigations found "spurious emissions" from both KONE and KMMX.
The FCC notices say that signals from KONE caused interference on the 109.5 megahertz channel assigned to the main runway instrument landing system and that signals from the KLLL transmitter produced varying signal levels on the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport Instrument Landing System (ILS) channel 109.5 MHz.
It adds that station engineers adjusted the transmitters to remove the relevant spurious transmissions: Under the FCC Notices, which were issued on April 14 Wilks, was given 20 days to respond with a written statement detailing actions taken to correct each violation and preclude recurrence.
The FCC in other enforcement actions has issued a USD 7000 forfeiture to Nicholls State University, licensee of KNSU-FM, Thibodaux, Louisiana, for late filing of licence renewal and subsequent unauthorized operation. The FCC has issued an NAL for this amount to which Nichols responded by requesting reduction or cancellation on the basis of inability to pay related to which it submitted financial statements that the FCC commented showed the penalty to be less than 1% of its gross revenues over the four years for which 2003-2006. It rejected the request and confirmed the full penalty.
The FCC also issued a USD 500 forfeiture to Centerville City Schools Board of Education, licensee of WCWT-FM, Centerville, Ohio, for late filing of licence renewal and subsequent unauthorized operation.: In this case it had also issued a USD 7,000 NAL to which Centerville submitted a request for reduction on the basis that the late filing was made because of staff unfamiliarity with the filing process and because it is a Class D student-run station. The FCC rejected the arguments but cut the penalty to USD 500 in line with recent forfeitures for such stations.
It also issued a USD 250 forfeiture to Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc. (BBN), licensee of FM translator station W201BW, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, for late filing of licence renewal, rejecting BBN's response to an NAL for this amount that requested cancellation on the basis that the failure was unintentional and that the agency had improperly dismissed its request for a waiver.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal report:
2010-04-21: Regent Communications appears to have cleared obstacles in the way of its exit from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy with an agreement to pay Resilient Capital Management USD 125,000 in return for which Resilient will end its attempts to have a special committee appointed to represent shareholders.
Earlier this month Delaware Bankruptcy judge Kevin Gross had rejected Resilient's motion, in which it said that the bankruptcy proceeding was being timed to take advantage of a temporary fall in radio company values (See RNW Apr 13) but Resilient had lodged an appeal against the rejection.
Judge Gross is to hold a further hearing tomorrow at which Regent will put forward the agreement on the basis that the settlement would avoid time-consuming and burdensome litigation and he is expected to approve the deal, allowing Regent to emerge from bankruptcy around Tuesday next week.
Under Regent's re-organization plan, which was announced in agreement with senior debt holders (See RNW Mar 1), the senior debt holders will convert their holdings into new equity, a move that gives Oaktree Capital Management a majority shareholding in the re-organized company.
Under the plan unsecured creditors are to be paid in full and existing shareholders will receive around USD 5.5 million (approximately 12.8 cents per share) for their stock: Resilient holds around 6.6% of the stock of the old Regent.
2010-04-21: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it has mailed the first of its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) audit letters for 2010 to randomly selected radio and television stations.
Each year around 5% of licensed radio and TV stations plus multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are selected for audit: The FCC also reminded stations that have a website and five or more full-time employees that they have to place their most recent EEO public file report on the website and compliance with this will be examined as part of the audit.
Stations with fewer than five full-time employees are still required to respond to the FCC letter but are only required to provide a list of the Unit's full-time employees, each noted by job title, the number of hours each is regularly assigned to work per week and to respond to the section of the audit that asks the recopied to disclose any pending or resolved complaints involving the Station filed during the Station's current license term before any body having competent jurisdiction under federal, state, territorial or local law, alleging unlawful discrimination in the employment practices of the Unit on the basis of race, colour, religion, national origin, or sex.
All cases have to be reported whatever their current status or disposition.
Stations with five or more full-time employees have to provide considerably more detail relating to their employment practices including copies of the two most recent EEO public file reports; details of posts filled and advertised during or after this period; documentation of the numbers interviewed for each vacancy and of recruitment initiatives; and details of those bearing responsibility to enforce EEO policies and of efforts to analyse the effectiveness of EEO programmes and address any problems found as a result of this analysis.
The agency has posted the letter that has been sent out and also a list of 265 stations - 189 radio and 76 TV - that have been selected for audit.
2010-04-20: Bidding in India's auction of third generation mobile spectrum has slowed down somewhat this week and at the end of today reached a total of INR 6.351 crore (USD 1.44 billion - INR 63.51 billion - a crore is 10 million) an increase of INR 641 crore (INR 6.4 billion with only 2.9 - just under USD 145 million) since the auction resumed this week.
The increase on Tuesday was of 287 crore (INR 2.87 billion - USD 64.9 million) with INR 267.9 crore of this coming at the top end.
Bidding in Delhi reached INR 733.7 crore (USD 165.8 million - up INR 107.3 crore this week) with that for Mumbai (Bombay) reaching INR 667.8 crore (USD 150.9 million - Up INR 69.2 crore this week) and that for third-ranked Maharashtra up to INR 624.8 crore (USD 141.2 million - up INR 91.4 crore this week)
There has been almost no increase in the amounts bid since the auction began nine days and 52 rounds ago for the five least-favoured areas - Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir: Only in Bihar has the overaall price moved up by u by more than INR 1 crore - it is now standing at INR 32.76 crore, a slight reduction on the previous round.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Telecommunications Ministry web site (Has links to auction updates):
2010-04-20: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is to hold its May media ownership workshop at Stanford University, California.
The workshop will feature two panels with issues on the agenda to include whether innovation is playing a role in how traditional broadcasters reach their audiences and if so, how; in what way, if any, advances in technology have spurred new content distribution opportunities; and how the changing marketplace should affect the Commission's review of its media ownership rules, if at all.
2010-04-20: Melbourne, Australia, talk station MTR, which made its debut on Monday has attracted widely differing reports from the city's two newspapers, The Age, which is owned by Fairfax Media, which also owns the market's long-time top ranked station 3AW, and News Corporation's Herald-Sun, which is linked to its new competitor.
The latter began its report by saying that the new station "started with a hard-hitting bang this morning" and continued on to say that breakfast host Steve Price went for hard news rather than the "light-hearted banter 3AW's breakfast kings Ross Stevenson and John Burns are famous for..."
The paper quoted price as saying, "Competition is a great thing, but when you are in a fight, obviously you want to win. We want to win and we are in it for the long haul "with Neil Mitchell of 3AW responding, "We've always had competition. The only difference is that this time it's Sydney-based", a reference to the fact that the new station carries material from Macquarie Radio Network-owned Sydney 2GB and reports that more than half of its content originates in Sydney.
The Age said the new station made its debut "with a predictable mix of fear-mongering and bureaucracy bashing as it makes its pitch for the heart and mind of the 'outraged of Melbourne'."
It quoted Price as responding to reports concerning the amount of cover from Sydney as saying, "we're not afraid to use the best content regardless of where it comes from."
The paper then made what might have been a dig at the involvement of Alan Jones, 2GB's breakfast host in the country's Cash-for-comment affair, by saying of the first caller to the new station that "The only point he wanted to make was that his business, a bakery, was open. For his efforts, he was promised a bottle of wine courtesy of a station sponsor. Not cash for comment, perhaps, but certainly plonk for a plug."
It also noted that half-an-hour into the show the station went to a guest hook-up with Ray Hadley of 2GB and then went on to comment on the content of the news bulletins - the first and second led on home invasions with the Age reporter commenting, "The pattern was quickly established. Melbourne isn't safe. You're not safe" and then went on to detail some of the "rants" of various hosts against politicians and bureaucrats.
RNW note: When we last checked the Age report had attracted nearly 100 comments one of which seemed to us to sum up much of talk radio quite concisely "Really, it's just a bunch of silly middle aged old men having a little bit of a rant, they won't last long before they need a cup of tea and a lie down" but with a number of others taking the opportunity to attack other stations for being too left wing - one commented, "It is about time that there is a genuine competition to Mitchell and co at 3AW, and the lunatic left of the ABC."
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Melbourne Age report:
Melbourne Herald-Sun report:
2010-04-20: An Indiana FM has been taken off the air by the felling of its broadcast tower, apparently by a tractor that caught the guy wires of the tower, toppling it onto the transmitter building.
Brothers Broadcasting Corporation's Earl Park oldies station WIBN-FM is currently airing its output as an online stream and its website has a note saying that it is "temporarily off-the-air on the FM dial" together with a link to the stream.
WIBN web site:
2010-04-20: BBC Radio One has announced that its breakfast host Chris Moyles, who has been stuck in New York following the closure of much European airspace because of fears about ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland, will be back on the air today from New York.
Moyleswill host his show from Sirius's studios in New York - Sirius airs BBC Radio 1 on its service. He missed his show on Monday and Scott Mills stood in for him.
Moyles had been due to return to the UK on Saturday after a two-week break but was unable to do so because of the grounding of most flights to and from Europe. He told the Press Association of his planned broadcast from New York, "It's brilliant. I'm so pleased I can get on the air. I'll have to sleep in the evening, then get up at midnight and be on air 1.30am New York time - but it'll be worth it and very exciting."
Other BBC DJs affected by the grounding of air flights include Radio 2 afternoon host Steve Wright, whose spot is being hosted by Richard Allinson and Paul O'Grady, also of BBC Radio 2, both of whom are also stuck in New York. Jodie Prenger was in O'Grady's slot last Sunday and is also to stand in for him next Sunday.
talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham missed his Match Day Live programme last Saturday and is also reported to be stuck in New York.
Another BBC Radio 2 host Stuart Maconie is making his way back to the UK from Venice and on Monday evening his co-host Mark Radcliffe handled the show solo.
Previous Radcliffe: :
2010-04-19: Citadel Broadcasting has asked the New York bankruptcy court to order hedge fund Aurelius Capital Management and its affiliates from purchasing shares in the company and to force it to resell shares it has already bought recently whose purchase Citadel says breached court orders that require any purchase that would make the purchaser a "substantial shareholder (of 11.96 million shares or more) to give advance notice and allow Citadel to file a Notice of Objection to the purchase.
Citadel in an emergency motion notes that Aurelius, its companies and Senior Managing Member Mark D. Brodsky had bought 16.7 million shares of its common stock: It asks that the purchase be declared invalid and that Aurelius should be required to sell the shares promptly with any profits to go to charities.
Citadel says it learned of the purchases through a filing by Aurelius to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that showed the purchases had been made since March 30.
2010-04-19: Industry body Commercial Radio Australia has launched a new series of radio and online adverts promoting digital radio as part of its digital radio awareness campaign: The theme of the new campaign is that digital radio receivers are a perfect gift for Mother's Day (celebrated on May 9 in Australia, as in the USA).
The campaign includes six new radio adverts and they will run on 42 commercial radio stations in the five digital radio metropolitan markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth over the next three weeks.
The ads were written by the award winning radio specialist agency, Eardrum whose Creative director Ralph van Dijk said of them "Radio is a great medium for demonstrating a product's relevance to a specific audience. We made sure we focused on the benefits of digital radio, not the functions."
RNW Comment: Whatever the features of digital radio we would find it surprising if a receiver was anywhere near the top of the list of most wanted presents by Australian women. Still, if nothing else, the campaign may well increase awareness of digital radio which is already at a fairly high level in Australia where recently released research showed nearly two-thirds of Australians were aware of the launch of digital radio in Australia.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-04-19: CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves received total remuneration of USD 43.24 million, including a USD 15 million bonus, basic salary of just over USD 3.5 million, just under 7.6 million in stock awards and USD 14.34 million in stock options in the 2009 financial year according to a 14K filing by the company to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The amount is some USD 9 million more than that for Philippe Dauman, who became Viacom President CEO in succession to Tom Freston in 2006 (Freston and Moonves had been each been co-president and co-COO of Viacom before it span off CBS in 2005) and more than twice the total for chairman Sumner Redstone whose total was USD 16.2 million (The Redstone family are CBS/Viacom majority shareholders and Redstone was also paid USD 16.8 million as chairman of Viacom).
Moonves' total is more than double the USD 21.2 million he received in 2008 but below the total for 2007 when he received USD 67.7 million. He signed a new agreement with CBS in February that extended his contract to February 22, 2015.
After Moonves and Redstone, the third highest paid CBS Executive was former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Fredric G. Reynolds, who retired in August last year: His total came to USD 8.2 million compared to USD 7.44 million for Executive Vice President and General Counsel Louis J. Briskman and USD 5.76 million for Joseph R. Ianniello who took over from Reynolds as EVP and CFO. The remaining executive, Martin D. Franks, who serves as Executive Vice President, Planning, Policy and Government Affairs, was paid USD 2.8 million.
2010-04-18: Last week the main regulatory news came from the UK where Ofcom announced a significant easing of regulation of commercial radio: Elsewhere the US was busiest with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) making various postings including those of a number of enforcement actions.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that Fairfax Media has put in place new procedures relating to change of control notifications (See RNW Apr 15): It also announced that it had made frequencies available for new radio services in New South Wales and Queensland.
In New South Wales it has made an FM frequency available for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to provide its NewsRadio service to the Upper Namoi region, which includes the communities of Gunnedah, Moree and Narrabri.
It also announced that Community radio broadcasting service 2TRR, Dunedoo, whose frequency is to be used for the BC service, will move to a new FM frequency and will thus be able to increase its power from 200 watts to 1 KW. It also extended 2TRR's licence area to include Coolah and made a frequency available for the rebroadcast of the service in Coolah. .
In Queensland, it made a frequency available for a new community radio service at Gin Gin and plans to call for applications for a long-term licence for the service in January next year.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) again had a quiet week as regards radio posting just two radio decisions that we noted. These were:
*Approved application by Radio Beauséjour inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the French-language Type B community FM radio programming undertaking CJSE-FM, Shediac, in order to change the frequency of its transmitter CJSE-FM-1, Memramcook, from 101.7 MHz to 92.5 MHz: The change was required following a decision to allow CKDH-FM, Moncton, to use 101.7 MHz in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
*Denied application by 9116-1299 Québec to add a 50 watts transmitter at Mont-Laurier to carry the programming of CFOR-FM, Maniwaki.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland, but in the UK as already noted Ofcom has announced a significant easing of restrictions on commercial radio (See RNW Apr 15).
It also released its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld radio standards complaints against two broadcasters (See RNW Apr 12).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding collection of regulatory fees for the 2010 Fiscal Year: Comments in relation to this have to be submitted by May 4 with reply comments then due by May 11. It is proposing to use the same methodology for assessment of the fees as it has used in its Fiscal Year 2009 and for 2010 has in all to raise USD 335.794 million in fees.
In relation to staff proposals for draft interference rules for the Wireless Communications Service and the Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service it agreed to a request from Sirius XM to allow a further week for it to comment on the proposals, making the new deadline April 23. Sirius XM contended that the staff's proposed rules raise important, complex, and unforeseen technical issues that will require more than the allotted two weeks to address.
The FCC also posted the agenda for its Media Ownership Workshop to be held in Tampa, Florida, on April 20: The session will be on the topic of Local Cross-Ownership.
In other activities FCC chairman Julius Genachowski addressed the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2010 Show in Las Vegas, noting that the last time he attended an NAB Convention was in the late 1990s as a broadcaster, part of the USA Broadcasting team that was launching stations that had carried HSN (RNW note - The stations were the second network of The Home Shopping Network and were sold to Barry Diller and the name changed to USA Broadcasting) and also that he had been a DJ whilst in High School.
Most of his comments related to TV and the transition to digital and to broadband, specifically noting the demands on spectrum for mobile internet access - a wireless net book he noted generates 450 times the data of a cell phone and a smart phone with internet access 30 times: This he said meant the US had to use more spectrum-efficient technologies but also needed to be able to use spectrum currently licensed to broadcasters, for which is was proposing to allow broadcasters to auction part of their spectrum. The NAB responded to these comments with a statement from Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton who said they were reassuring and that they welcomed an ongoing dialogue with Chairman Genachowski.
Regarding radio Genachowski commented that it had grown its over-the-air audience by almost 10 percent over the last decade despite new competition, and the authorization of a power increase for HD radio and decision to allow AM stations to use FM translators.
In addition as already reported all but one of the Commissioners issued statements concerning the career of the agency's first black Commissioner, Benjamin L. Hooks, who died aged 85 (See RNW Apr 16).
The agency was also again involved in a number of enforcement actions with penalties including the following:
*USD 7,500 forfeiture to Christian Radio Fellowship, licensee of WFTF-FM, Rutland, Vermont, and FM Translator Station W220AX, Ludlow, Vermont, for late filing of licence renewal applications and subsequent unauthorized operation.
The FCC had issued a Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of USD 7,000 and USD 500 respectively in relation to the breached to which the licensee responded by arguing for cancellation on the grounds that it thought it had correctly filed the renewal applications. The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the penalties.
*USD 5,600 forfeiture to Manchester College, licensee of WBKE-FM, North Manchester, Indiana, for late filing of renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation. The FCC had issued a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to which the licensee responded by requesting cancellation or reduction on the basis that the filing failure was inadvertent, that it would be caused financial hardship, and a history of compliance. The FCC noted that no information had been filed to support the hardship claim and dismissed the argument that the filing was inadvertent but trimmed the penalty by USD 1,400 on the basis of a history of compliance.
*USD 4,000 NAL to Annabelle Savage. the Trustee of Universal Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of KQLO-AM, Sun Valley, Nevada, which is in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, concerning unauthorized transfer of control of the station to Jireh Media, Inc.
The FCC approved the transfer of the licence, denying a petition opposing this from Steven Lewis, who is involved in a contractual dispute with Jireh: It found that most of Lewis's allegations were either unsubstantiated or specifically rebutted by Savage and Jireh but that there had been a premature transfer of control to Jireh in breach of its rules.
The FCC in assessing the matter noted that the station had been silent for nearly a year before Ricardo Garcia, part owner of Jireh, won the bidding for the station and its equipment at an auction organized by Savage. She and Jireh subsequently entered into a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement (LMA) and executed an Asset Purchase Agreement following which they submitted a licence Assignment Application to the FCC.
Most parts of the LMA, said the FCC, complied with its rules regarding control by a licensee but two provisions breached them - one by setting a cap on the programming she could pre-empt or refuse to air and secondly by failing to retain ultimate control in regard to station personnel.
It additionally noted that the base forfeiture for the breaches was USD 8,000 but in this case added that it found "the circumstances in which the violation occurred - a bankruptcy trustee handed a station silent for almost a year and by all accounts in terrible technical shape has against all odds, with the assistance of Jireh, gotten the station back on the air and providing service to the public - support a reduction in the forfeiture amount."
It halved the proposed penalty and granted the licence assignment application.
*USD 250 forfeiture to La Promesa Foundation, licensee of FM translator station K217CM, Clayton, New Mexico. The FCC initially issued a USD 1,500 NAL to which the licensee responded by requesting cancellation or reduction on the basis that the failure was inadvertent and the penalty out of line with past practice and unfair. The FCC rejected the arguments but cut the penalty to USD 250 in line with other recent penalties for this breach.
*USD 250 NAL to Westchester Community College, licensee of WARY-FM, Valhalla, New York, for late filing of licence renewal application.
In contested licence decisions in Hawaii, it granted Hawaii Public Radio's application for a new non-commercial educational ("NCE") FM station in Kailua, denying petitions opposing this from Cedar Cove Broadcasting, Inc., which had applied for an NCE station at Kailua Kona, and by Kanu O Ka Aina Learning Ohana, which applied for an NCE station at Waimea.
All the applications were in the FCC's MX Group 510 and the agency also dismissed three petitions from Hawaii Public Radio (HPR) related to dismissal of all its other applications - for stations at Naalehu and Kula; from Wren Communications, which had applied for stations at Lahaina and Mountain View; from Lanai High and Elementary School, which had applied for a station at Lanai City; and by Cedar Cove related to its application for a station at Kailua Kona.
The five applicants were in a list of 57 mutually exclusive applications for NCE FM permits to serve various communities in Hawaii and the HPR Kailua was given preference under FCC rules.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-04-18: Entercom has suspended conservative talk host Howie Carr for a week from his drivetime show at WRKO-AM for publicly and repeatedly using his program to bad-mouth the station according to the Boston Globe.
The paper says that Julie Kahn, vice president and marketing manager for Entercom Boston, said Carr's behaviour toward his employer has become increasingly caustic and intolerable and added, "His behaviour and his anger at the company is unacceptable because he denigrates the company, the medium, the station, the signal, and he's a highly, highly, highly paid employee.''
The paper adds that the tension between the host and Entercom dates back to a contract dispute in 2007 when the company exercised a clause in his contract to prevent him taking up a breakfast slot at Greater Media's WTKK-FM (See RNW Sep 21, 2007): Carr lost a legal battle to allow him to move to WTTK and returned to the WRKO-AM drive slot in November that year (See RNW Nov 17, 2007).
It quotes an unnamed source "with knowledge of the situation" as saying things have "escalated markedly in recent weeks and included verbal attacks on station managers."
Entercom in March lost syndicated host Rush Limbaugh and the paper quoted Boston-based historian and radio consultant Donna Halper as saying, "I think Howie is very upset about the way the station let Rush Limbaugh go and how there's not much left on the air. Howie is just unhappy about the fact that the station is not what it was when he got there.''
The Boston Herald for which Carr writes a column, quoted him as saying that the suspension was nothing to get worked up about, quoting him as saying in a statement, "I'm off this week anyway, fleeing the Marathon, so it's no big deal. I'll be back soon, finishing my time, as always the happy warrior of AM radio."
It quoted radio analyst Brian Maloney as saying he suspects Carr is "attempting to head to another station and they know and they're not happy" and suggesting that Clear Channel's WXKS -AM ("Rush Radio 1200"), which flipped from a Spanish format to news-talk and now airs Limbaugh and other syndicated right wing hosts including Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity in the Boston area, was trying to sign up Carr.
Previous Clear Channel
Boston Globe report:
Boston Herald report:
2010-04-17: Bidding in India's auction of third generation mobile spectrum has topped INR 5,710 crore (INR 57.1 billion - a crore is 10 million - USD 1.29 billion) at the end of the first week of the auction, which resumes on Monday.
In all nine groups are in the final list of bidders and 40 rounds had been completed at the end of bidding today: It will resume on Monday.
Figures issued by India's Ministry of Telecommunications for the 22 areas for which licences are being offered show the highest bids as INR 626.4 crore (USD 141.6 million) for the Delhi area and INR 598.6 crore (USD 135.3 million) for the Mumbai (Bombay) area with the lowest bid of INR 30 crore (USD 6.8 million) for the Jammu and Kashmir area.
The auction is being held shortly after the Indian government approved an INR 1,540 crore ( USD 348 million) plan to digitise the output of the two state broadcasters All India Radio and Doordarshan (TV) - INR 920 crore (USD 208 million) for digitising AIR and INR 620 crore ( USD 140 million) to digitise Doordarshan - over the next three years.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the digitisation will "enable the most vulnerable section of our people in the remotest of the remote areas to receive higher quality of AIR and Doordarshan signals."
AIR will use the DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) system to convert its medium wave (AM) stations and the plan was welcomed by the DRM Consortium, which noted that AIR adopted the DRM system following extensive field trials that showed it to be offering what the broadcaster termed the most 'robust, reliable' technology: Last year AIR started a regular DRM broadcast from one of its high-power shortwave transmitter located at Khampur near Delhi and this year it acquired two high powered MW DRM transmitters.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Telecommunications Ministry web site (Has links to auction updates):
2010-04-16: Australian commercial radio has reported revenues for March in the county's five metropolitan markets up 15.6% on a year earlier to AUD 59.2 million (USD 54.7 million) with growth for the first quarter of 7.7% to take the total to AUD 151.1 million (USD 139.6 million).
For March, according to figures from the 2010 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue, as sourced by Deloitte, the strongest performer was Sydney with revenues up 21% to AUD 18.95 million (USD 17.51 million). Second was Perth with revenues up just under 21% at AUD 7.87 million (USD 7.27 million) followed by Adelaide - up 16.07% to AUD 5.58 million (USD 5.15 million); Melbourne - up 12.5% to AUD 17.30 million (USD 15.98 million); and Brisbane - up 6.9% to AUD 9.40 million (USD 8.68 million).
Sydney also swathe strongest growth for the quarter - up 11.23% to AUD 47.5 million (USD 43.9 million) followed by Perth - up 10.62% to AUD 20.8 million (USD 19.2 million); Brisbane - up 5.5% to AUD 24.2 million (USD 22.4 million); Melbourne up 5.44% to AUD 44.3 million (USD 40.9 million) and Adelaide - up 3.45% to AUD 14.2 million. (USD 13.1 million).
Commenting on the figures, Joan Warner, CEO of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said, "The strong start to 2010 is great news for the industry and reflects improved economic conditions and also the resilience of radio in attracting advertising dollars when marketing budgets are tight. The market has now recorded growth in advertising revenue each month since November, which obviously followed a challenging 2009, and this augurs well for the year ahead."
She added that the growth and take-up of digital radio would also provide new opportunities for increased advertising.
Australia has adopted the DAB+ system for digital radio and this week radio broadcasters from Malaysia and Hong Kong are visiting Sydney and taking part in a Commercial Radio Australia digital radio study tour to gain firsthand knowledge and experience of the system.
Both countries are to start trials of DAB+ shortly with Honk Kong to begin rollout of the system over the next year to 18 months whilst Malaysia is to commence a two-year DAB+ trial later this year.
Warner commented of the visit, "DAB+ digital radio technology is expanding its reach as an international standard and Australian commercial and public broadcasters have the knowledge and experience to share with our Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) colleagues."
Eureka DAB-based systems have been chosen by China for digital radio and DAB and DMB broadcasts are already on air in a number of cities. The DAB family has also been adopted by Indonesia and DAB+ trials are to start there in May this year.
In Europe, Italy conducted DAB+ trials in 2007 and has said it will go ahead with the system, Switzerland is in the process of migrating from DAB to DAB+; Poland launched a DAB+ multiplex in Wroclaw in May last year; and Malta and Hungary have already adopted DAB+
France has mandated that imported vehicles have to be fitted with DMB receivers by 2013 thus meaning that the two million or so vehicles imported into the country each year are likely to support DAB, DAB+ and DMB for pan-European sales reasons.
Germany is also to use DAB+ but the UK, Denmark and Norway are at the moment using the original DAB, which used MP2 encoding, rather than the more efficient advances coding in DAB+.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-04-16: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski and three of the four commissions have paid tribute to former FCC Commissioner Benjamin L. Hooks who has died aged 85 and whom Genachowski termed a "civil rights champion" who had worked "tirelessly to expand opportunities for minorities and the poor, communities that had long been without a strong voice at the agency or in the media landscape."
"He was a fierce advocate for minority broadcast ownership and increasing minority employment in the broadcast industry," continued Genachowski, who added that Hook's "legacy is a reminder there is still more that the FCC must do to realize his vision of a communications landscape that represents the vibrant diversity of America."
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps said the FCC and country at large had lost a "true trailblazer" and added "Through his leadership, his conviction and his flair, he gave a voice to minorities and the poor. When he started at the FCC, not a single TV station in this country was owned by an African-American, and employment of minorities and women in broadcasting was at abysmally low levels. Dr. Hooks set out to change this, and change it he did. He was instrumental in providing opportunities to get broadcast licenses into the hand of minorities - including Howard University, which ran the first African-American-owned TV station - and in boosting minority employment in broadcasting from a meagre 3 percent to 15 percent during his tenure."
Copps noted that he met Hooks at an FCC Field Hearing on Digital Inclusion in his hometown of Memphis in December last year and said he had recognized broadband technology as "the great enabler of the 21st century."
Copps continued,"As we implement the National Broadband Plan, we should honour Dr. Hooks' memory by ensuring equal opportunity in this Digital Age by bringing the benefits of enabling broadband technology and an open Internet to all Americans - no matter who they are, where they live, or the particular circumstances of their individual lives."
Copps fellow Democrat Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn said she had "lost an extraordinary role model for what it means to be a successful Commissioner and public servant" and also spoke of his participation in the Memphis field meeting.
She noted that Before joining the FCC, where he was a commissioner from 1972-77, "Dr. Hooks served his country in the military, served as a public defender in Tennessee, worked with Justice Thurgood Marshall to develop legal strategies to end racial segregation and discrimination, worked in the broadcast industry, and served as a county criminal judge."
"After leaving the FCC in 1977," she added, "Dr. Hooks became the Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served in that post until 1992."
Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell said the "FCC and America have lost a true pioneer for minority rights" and added that Dr Hooks "set a great example of placing the long term public interest first, even though he was sometimes criticized by the very groups whose causes he championed."
"As a recipient of the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom and an ardent defender of the Constitution, "added McDowell, "Dr. Hooks once said that 'even if it hurts sometimes, I'm a great believer in free speech and would never do to anything to tamper with it.'"
Hooks was the fifth of seven children of Robert B. Hooks, who with his brother owned a photographic studio, and Bessie White Hooks: His paternal grandmother, Julia Britton Hooks was the second American black woman to graduate from college.
He enrolled in LeMoyne-Owen College, in Memphis and took a pre-law course of study from 1941-43, and then moved to Howard University, graduating in 1944.
After graduation he joined the US army where he guarded Italian prisoners of war, who were allowed in restaurants from which he was barred. At the end of the war he left the army but no law college in his native Tennessee would admit him and he enrolled at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, graduating in 1948. He then returned to Memphis and passed the Tennessee bar exam and set up his own law practice.
He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1956, the first black criminal court judge in Tennessee in 1965; hosted and produced a number of local TV shows in Memphis before President Richard Nixon appointed him as an FCC Commissioner in 1973.
He was elected as executive director of the NAACP in 1976, remaining in the post until he resigned in 1992 after which he continued preaching and also taught at Fisk University in Nashville and served as president of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith also paid tribute, terming Hooks "a dedicated civil rights leader and committed public servant" who "had a tremendous and lasting impact on broadcast diversity during his tenure at the FCC ", adding "Broadcasters mourn the loss of a great American who was committed to equal opportunity in life and on the public airwaves."
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Gordon Smith also paid tribute, terming Hooks "a dedicated civil rights leader and committed public servant" who "had a tremendous and lasting impact on broadcast diversity during his tenure at the FCC ", adding "Broadcasters mourn the loss of a great American who was committed to equal opportunity in life and on the public airwaves."
2010-04-15: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced a significant deregulation of UK local commercial radio to start in June that will allow FM station owners to reduce the hours devoted to local programming and co-locate or merge stations whilst AM stations may be allowed to drop all locally made programming apart from the existing licence requirement to produce 10 hours a day of daytime programming (including breakfast) on weekdays from within their home nation and larger regional stations may be allowed to drop regional programming if they provide a national version of their programme service on DAB digital radio.
Regarding DAB, the regulator says operators of multiplexes may request changes to the areas they serve, so as to bring local DAB to new areas and increase the viability of the multiplexes.
Ofcom says the measures are being introduced because "In recent years, declining advertising revenues combined with regulatory constraints have led to an uncertain future for many local stations, particularly smaller ones."
It says its aim is to "create a sustainable future, where stations continue to deliver services that listeners value" and adds that the measures "will still ensure that local stations stay local providing the locally focused content listeners want and which is protected by the legislation governing radio but in a more flexible way."
In relation to local programming Ofcom says that where stations are allowed to co-locate and share programming within approved areas they must continue to meet their licence obligations to provide local material relevant to the listeners in their licensed areas and says measures are also being introduced to protect and promote what listeners want most from local radio with news at the top of the list of content most valued by listeners.
Ofcom has posted a 73-page "Statement on commercial radio localness regulation" that as well as detailing the deregulation to come into effect says the regulator will also "shortly be consulting on changes to the Broadcasting Code rules governing sponsorship and commercial references on radio to allow greater flexibility, and we are also considering the future regulation of music formats and the small scale radio sector."
It notes that the Digital Economy Act 2010 that has just become law "makes provisions for a possible future Digital Upgrade for national and local stations, under which they would stop broadcasting on the analogue platforms of FM and AM and broadcast only on digital platforms" and says that as digital stations are currently more lightly regulated than analogue ones, even without any changes "the process of Digital Upgrade establishes a 'glide path' towards a more lightly regulated radio sector as the proportion of digital listening increases." (RNW Comment: Did they really have to term the change an "upgrade" - marketing jargon often used to obfuscate - when the change that is proposed at the moment is to introduce an outdated digital radio technology and force individuals to spend heavily on new equipment whilst junking perfectly good existing analogue receivers? Maybe they did. How otherwise could you fill 73 pages?).
As well as the statement, Ofcom has posted maps of 30 local radio approved areas "within which stations would have far greater flexibility, while still being held to local programming requirements", noting that the areas are a confirmation of those it had consulted about except for northern Scotland and Greater London, where it will continue to consult on requests on a case-by-case basis for the foreseeable future.
Requests for "flexibility beyond these areas", says Ofcom will be considered "but will require individual consultation and assessment using the existing criteria of station size, local affinities between the licensed areas of the stations concerned, distance between them and financial viability."
The proposals received a lukewarm response from commercial radio industry body The RadioCentre which said it "cautiously welcomed" what it termed "modest" changes. The RadioCentre's chief executive Andrew Harrison said that they did "little to change the current operating costs and regulatory burdens on most small stations" and in particular said the areas proposed for co-location and programme sharing were "so narrowly defined as to make no practical operational difference" for many stations."
Ofcom Statement on commercial radio localness regulation (73-page 1.22 MB PDF):
Ofcom Local Radio Approved areas (Has links to PDFs of 30 area maps):
2010-04-15: Emmis Communications has failed to pay a dividend due on its 6.25% Series A Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock, triggering an entitlement by holders of the stock to elect two new members to its Board of Directors.
As of today it has now paid the dividend for six consecutive quarterly periods, thus automatically increasing the number of directors from eight to ten and entitling the holders of its preferred stock to vote as a separate class to elect the directors to fill the vacancies at Emmis's next shareholders meeting and subsequently at each annual shareholders meeting until all the dividends have been paid in full.
Nominations to fill the posts have to be submitted by the close of business on April 26.
The announcement did not significantly affect the value of Emmis common stock which ended the day up 1.69% at USD 1.80.
2010-04-15: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that following inquiries it made, Fairfax Media has implemented new procedures to improve the accuracy of its future notifications to the ACMA about changes in control.
After it bought a number of Southern Cross Broadcasting commercial radio licences, Fairfax had failed to provide the regulator with details of a directorship that one of its directors (David Evans) held in Village Roadshow Limited, thus breaching rules prohibiting being a director of two companies which between them are in a position to control more than two commercial radio licences in the same licence area
Evans resigned from the Fairfax board last year and the ACMA had opted to take not further action in view of the resignation and Fairfax's actions, which include detailed disclosure procedures for its directors and cross-check procedures relating to the appointment of any directors to its board and any appointment of its directors to other boards.
2010-04-15: Clear Channel has failed in its attempt to be removed from lawsuits related to the February 17,2003, E2 nightclub fire and stampede in which 21 people were killed at the Chicago venue, which has since been demolished.
Cook County judge Kathy Flanagan rejected Clear Channel's motion and ruled that it should remain a defendant in the case.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the plaintiffs allege that a disc jockey employed by Clear Channel incited the stampede by instructing a security guard to use pepper spray that ended up panicking the crowd and quoted Melvin Brooks, an attorney for the families of eight victims, said he was hopeful that the ruling would speed a potential trial or settlement.
The paper notes that last year the club's two owners Flanagan said that were found guilty of indirect criminal contempt and sentenced to two years in prison because they violated a judge's order before the stampede to close the club's second floor and adds that Flanagan commented that with criminal charges now resolved and the Clear Channel motion dismissed she was optimistic that the civil suit would regain momentum.
Clear Channel was also involved in suits relating to The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island three days after the Chicago fire: In that tragedy 100 people died and a further 230 were injured after pyrotechnics used by the Great White band ignited flammable sound insulation foam. In that case Clear Channel was named in a lawsuit along with brewer Anheuser-Busch: It initially denied any responsibility saying it had accepted advertising for the event from the club owners and its spokeswoman Lisa Dollinger commented, "We are deeply saddened that plaintiffs' lawyers are looking for deep pockets to pick, rather than allowing people the requisite time to grieve for those whom we have lost." (See RNW Mar 12, 2003). Clear Channel also named in a second lawsuit claiming USD 100 million in damages in relation to the fire (See RNW Jun 7, 2003) and in 2008 the company offered USD 22 million in settlement of claims against it (See RNW Feb 12, 2008).
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Tribune report:
2010-04-14: Corus Entertainment has announced revenues in its second fiscal quarter running to the end of February up 6.2% on a year earlier at CAD 192.7 million (USD 192.4 million) and up 4.2% in the first six months to CAD 415 million (USD 414 million), driven by rises in TV partly offset by falls in radio revenues.
TV was up 11% in the quarter to CAD 137 million (USD 136.7 million) whilst radio was down 3.9% to CAD 55.7 million (USD 55.6 million) and up 8.9% for the first six months to CAD 288.2 million (USD 287.7 million) whilst radio was down 5.0% to CAD 126.7 million (USD 126.5 million).
Profits, however were up in both segments: For the quarter consolidated profit was up 8.7% to CAD 55.5 million (USD 55.4 million) within which TV was up 12.0% to CAD 53.2 million (USD 53.1 million) and radio was up 20.5% to CAD 8.6 million (USD 8.6 million) with the rises partially offset by an increase in Corporate costs from CAD 3.59 million (USD 3.58 million) to CAD 6.33 million (USD 6.31 million)).
For the first six months, consolidated profit was up 6% to CAD 138.7 million (USD 138.5 million) within which TV was up 7.6% to CAD 120.3 million (USD 120.1 million) and radio was up 4.4% to CAD 30.4 million (USD 30.3 million) partially offset by a corporate cost rise from CAD 8.53 million (USD 8.51 million) to CAD 11.99 million (USD 11.97 million).
Net income for the quarter more than halved - down from CAD 29.1 million (USD 29.0 million) to CAD 14.6 million (USD 14.6 million - from 38 cents to 18 cents per basic and diluted share) whilst for the first six months it was up 27.1% to CAD 88.5 million (USD - up from 87 cents to CAD 1.10 per basic share and from 86 cents to CAD 1.08 per diluted share). Corus noted that net income for the period included a second quarter debt refinancing loss of CAD 14.3 million ( USD 14.3 million) whilst in the previous year the quarter's figures included a gain of CAD 7.2 million (USD 7.2 million) related to the disposition of a residential audio service.. If these amounts are excluded, earnings per basic share were 30 cents compared to 31 cents a year earlier.
President and CEO John Cassaday said the company believed "our results in the second quarter and the pacing we are enjoying in the third quarter indicate that the advertising recession is behind us," adding "Corus' Specialty and Pay television categories and Ontario Radio sales are performing very well, and we are also benefiting from strong cost control which has allowed us to improve our margins."
He specifically noted a return to spending by local advertisers, the bulk of the company's radio revenues, with national following on and commented that the switch to electronic ratings for radio had been positive for the company in its largest markets - Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary - which represent about 90 per cent of Corus' radio revenues.
Cassaday also attacked the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for licensing too many new stations to smaller players, saying that the regulator should "allow larger media companies "to control more of the shelf space."
2010-04-14: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says that attendance at this year's NAB Show in Las Vegas was up on last year with a total of 88,044 registered attendees compared to a final attendance of 82,650 in 2009.
Within this year's figures, there were 23,900 international attendees and 1,153 news media attendees with a total of 156 countries represented.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton commented, "Content professionals from across the globe turned out in force at the NAB Show, and we're delighted by the extraordinarily positive feedback from both attendees and exhibitors. The uptick in attendance and dazzling technology on display here in Las Vegas demonstrates again the NAB Show's enduring popularity and status as the premiere global event for the content marketplace."
2010-04-14: Sirius XM Radio says that it added 171,441 net subscribers in the first quarter of 2010 and ended it with 18,944,199 subscribers, an increase of 344,765 over the year ago quarter, when it had a net subscriber decline of 404,422: At the end of 2009 its total was 18,772,758.
It added that gross additions were up by 29% and deactivations down by 11% in the quarter compared to the first quarter of 2009 with the conversion rate from a trial subscription included in the sale of a vehicle to a self-pay subscription up from 44.6% in the first quarter of 2009 to 45.2% in the first quarter of 2010.
CEO Mel Karmazin commented, "Our subscriber results represent a remarkably positive turn from the year ago quarter, reflecting the broad appeal of our unrivalled programming, the benefits of a recovering auto industry and an improving economic environment for consumers. We also expect to report solid revenue growth and strong growth in pro forma adjusted income from operations for the first quarter of 2010."
Sirius shares rose after the announcement and shortly before 1400 were up 9.75% to USD 1.04.
Previous Sirius XM:
2010-04-13: BBC Radios 4 and 7 Controller Mark Damazer is to leave the Corporation to become head of St Peter's College Oxford.
He will take up the post on October and said he was thrilled to have been elected to the post and looked forward to furthering its reputation as a community of scholars., adding that when he takes up the post he will have had six years in his current post and there was no other big job in broadcasting that appealed to him.
BBC Director General Mark Thompson described Damazer as an outstanding controller of the station and wished him well in his move to an academic life.
Damazer, who gained a Double Starred First in History at Cambridge and was awarded the Harkness Fellowship at Harvard University, started his broadcasting career at a trainee at Independent Television News (ITN) in the UK. He joined the BBC World Service in 1981 as a current affairs producer.
He later spent two years as a producer with commercial TV breakfast company TVAM before returning to the BBC in 1984 where he worked on the Sixty Minutes programme and then helped launch the Six O'Clock News.
After a number of TV roles including becoming Editor of the BBC Nine O'Clock News in 1988 and Editor of Television News Programmes in 1994, he moved to head what was then Weekly Programmes, News and Current Affairs in 1996 - the department was re-named Current Affairs the following year - in which role had was responsible for a range of current affairs and documentary output on both radio and TV.
He then moved on to become Assistant Director and then Deputy Director, BBC News, before being appointed Controller of BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 7 in October 2004 (See RNW Sept 25, 2004 ).
2010-04-13: Oaktree Capital Management is now in effective control of Regent Communications following approval by Delaware Bankruptcy judge Kevin Gross of the company's re-organization plan.
Judge Gross rejected a request from Resilient Capital Management for the appointment of an equity committee of shareholders that Resilient had called from on the basis that the bankruptcy proceeding was being timed to take advantage of a temporary fall in radio company values.
The court on Friday heard testimony from Regent's CEO Tony Vasconcellos and Bill Lisecky of Oppenheimer & Co., which carried out the valuation of Regent for the management plan: They said that when it was put up for sale the top bid was USD 140 million compared to debt of some USD 212 million and the judge commented that there was no evidence produced as to when or whether there will be a turnaround in US radio.
Judge Gross said that the appointment of a committee would delay confirmation of the re-organization during which time debtors would remain in distress and there would be no substantial likelihood of a substantial recovery for equity but a greater likelihood that the USD 5.5 million being offered to current shareholders would no longer be available.
Under the plan, in addition to the USD 5.5 million (approximately 12.8 cents per share) to stockholders, unsecured creditors are to be paid in full and the company will have its debt reduced by around USD 87 million and have enough liquidity to continue operations as well as paying employees and creditors (See RNW Mar 1).
Also in the ruling, Judge Gross allowed a modification to recognize that SoundExchange holds an unsecured claim of USD 32,000 that will be paid along with other debts after the company emerges from bankruptcy.
2010-04-12: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Gordon Smith in his first NAB State of the Industry" keynote speech has stressed three issues to his audience at this year's NAB Show in Las Vegas - the potential introduction of a performance royalty for US terrestrial radio, the attempt to use part of TV spectrum for broadband and the continuing battle over retransmission consent rights for broadcasters.
Regarding the royalty issue - he went along with the NAB line of terming it a "performance tax" - adding "Labels like to call it a "right" or a "royalty," but whatever you call it, it's basically a bailout of the major recording companies, three of the four largest of which are foreign owned. I think the American people have had enough bailouts."
"The economics behind all of this are fascinating," he continued, "For 80 years, free promotion and free play were the yin and the yang of the music world. Life was in balance. Then a little thing came along called the digital revolution, which the recording industry handled about as well as Louis the 16th handled the French revolution."
He then went on to say that "Technology chopped the head off the record industry's business model", which responded by suing people and when that didn't work well, "decided to bite the hand that feeds it. Who's hand? Ours. In other words - us."
"In short," he continued, "the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) decided radio stations should pay for promoting the record companies' songs. To fully appreciate the outrageousness of this, recall that just a few decades ago record label representatives were willing to break the law and risk jail time for the economic benefit that radio promotion offers. "
Smith also took up the line of criticizing the recording companies for saying the issue was one of fairness to artists but at the same time keeping half the money with 45% then going to the performer and 5% to the background musicians with the industry keeping money if it can't find the artists. He also noted various lawsuits brought by artists against recording companies and then went on to differentiate terrestrial radio from others who already have to pay performance royalties, by commenting, "Now yes, satellite radio and the Internet do pay a fee for the songs they play. But what we're talking about here is free, local radio -- available to everyone. If you choose to pay to listen to Sirius you won't hear the local news or weather updates on the Elvis channel."
"The centrifugal forces of modern life," said Smith, "are fraying the bonds that tether our citizens to their communities. Broadcasting, however, serves to keep our citizens connected to our communities and gives those communities coherence. That is a public good. And that's why we will continue to fight the record labels in their attempt to save their business model on the backs of free, local radio."
Smith also as noted took up two issues concerning TV - those of retransmission consent rights and particularly of suggestions that some of the TV spectrum be used to provide wireless broadband services, saying that TV broadcasters gave back more than a quarter of the TV spectrum in the transition to digital with this being auctioned to broadband companies who haven't even started to use it yet.
RNW Comment: Smith's prepared remarks have been posted by the NAB here - thus ruling out any defence that they wre not thought through and off the cuff - and we have to say that he appears a man who obviously deserves a job as a fairground barker but who were he operating in a nation of moderately educated citizens and half-honest politicians would find it difficult to walk anywhere without attracting hoots of derision.
To take the issue of performance royalties first - and unless Smith is to apply the term "tax" to charges for all copyright material the charges are not taxes but royalties: We would love, to see his reaction, were his approach to be adopted into US law and the same rules applied to all programming - i.e. no copyright charges for movies, TV or radio programming - until the NAB and radio companies have fires all personnel who have ever gone on record using the term tax in this context.
Then let us look at the issue of how technology has changed the business model for the recording companies - as it did for manufacturers of horse-drawn carts and also, as it happens, is doing for the broadcasting business model of relying on adverts to pay the bills, a model that is facing new competition and will become weaker against competition from online advertising.
The fact that a particular model worked for 80 years - or any period - before technological change is an argument of no consequence after technology has changed the environment in which it succeeded for a period.
We would agree that the recording companies didn't handle things very well when it came to the change but a quick assessment of how far US radio companies have developed syndication and voice-tracking makes a nonsense of Smith's comments about broadcasting serving to keep our citizens connected to our communities and gives those communities coherence. A good argument here for regular review of the degree to which licensees are meeting responsibilities in providing local news and information and, rather than curbing Low-Power community FMs - which would also not require subscriptions, to instead if the latter can put up a good case that they can provide a better service to put licences on the block regularly rather then renewing them for life. It would of course increase competition, which we thought is considered a "good thing" in a market economy and incumbents always have an advantage. There is no strong market case however for giving them a perpetual lease on the airwaves.
As regards exploitation of artists by the recording companies, maybe Smith should look at some of the non-compete agreements that the broadcasters have used against ex-employees.
As for the contemptible emphasis that the recording companies are foreign owned, we have noted US broadcasters arguing that other countries should allow foreign ownership of broadcast stations and rather suspect that were the same rule to be applied in the US - NAB surely does believe in the market - the broadcast industry like much of Hollywood and the recording companies, once mainly American-owned - would be sold off to those same foreigners. But we would love to see Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck et al reacting to the NAB if the argument that airtime promoted their other activities meant that they got paid nothing for syndication of their programming.
And as to broadcasters "giving up" TV spectrum, what he means is that the spectrum was worth much more in the market for telecommunications and the broadcasters weren't powerful enough to buy the politicians in this case.
All in all Smith and the NAB are back to a C-minus maximum for intellect and down near the bottom of the alphabet for honesty in their arguments (or maybe the intellect is so weak they aren't smart enough to recognize the flaws in their verbiage).
2010-04-12: Tribune Company today filed its Reorganization plan with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, saying that it would "keep the company intact, sharply reduce its debt, and provide it with sufficient liquidity to expand its business in the future.."
Under the plan, which has to be approved by Tribune's creditors and the courts, the company would become owned by a group of lenders including JP Morgan Chase and Angelo, Gordon & Co., who approved it and would control more than 90% of the new company.
Another group of creditors, who say they are owed nearly USD 5 billion are opposed to it and have indicated that they will try to block it with one describing the purported global settlement that forms the backbone of the reorganization plan as "dead on arrival" according to a Chicago Tribune report.
According to the report, under the agreement the senior lenders would get around 62 cents on the dollar for USD 10.3 billion in claims whilst the junior group would get 35 cents on the dollar for claims originally valued at USD 1.3 billion whilst trade creditors owed up to USD 150 million would be paid in full in cash.
They are led by Oaktree Capital Management and have asked the court to be allowed to file an alternative restructuring scheme. It says it represents USD 3.6 billion, (42%) of the most senior level of Tribune Co. debt, and that the plan unfairly offers chairman Sam Zell, the Tribune Co. board of directors and lenders led by JPMorgan immunity from legal claims arising from the controversial 2007 LBO (leveraged buyout) of the company without asking for anything from them in return.
It also opposes part of the plan that sets aside as much as 7.5 percent of the new company's equity for future management compensation programs, a move that would dilute the value of other new shareholders in a reorganized company.
In a filing the group commented, "This is a settlement made possible with 'other people's money" and also said the settlement agreement proposes to indemnify Zell, the board, JP Morgan and others, despite the fact Zell and the board are being asked to pay nothing into the settlement and JP Morgan has already been paid handsomely in fees and interest as a result of the deal.
"If a material settlement payment is in order," the document adds, "all parties allegedly responsible (including Zell, JPMorgan and others) must make a proportionate contribution to the settlement."
The Tribune report says that a group of junior creditors are claiming that the USD 8.2 billion LBO led by chairman and real estate magnate Sam Zell "was a prime example of 'fraudulent conveyance,' meaning it left the company insolvent from day one. If proven, such a claim would allow the bankruptcy court to invalidate the $8.6 billion in claims held by senior lenders to the deal (led by JPMorgan Chase) and those who subsequently bought pieces of that debt on the open market (opportunists like Angelo, Gordon and Oaktree)."
In a news release, Tribune Company said it expects to continue its recently implemented employee retirement plan, featuring a 401(k) with a company match and a discretionary profit-sharing allocation: Under the plan the company's employee stock ownership plan will be terminated and the shares held by the ESOP (the Employee Stock Ownership Plan that was at the heart of the LBO) and in employee accounts would be extinguished.
Company chairman Sam Zell, commented in the release," Tribune's leadership team and employees have done an outstanding job of stabilizing and refocusing the company's business. Today's filing represents a significant and positive step forward for the business" and CEO Randy Michaels added, "We continue to transform Tribune into an industry-leading media company, improving our competitive position. This Plan better positions us to continue serving our users, readers, viewers, listeners and advertisers across our media platforms and gives us an opportunity to expand our business upon emergence from a solid financial base."
The Tribune report added that Michaels in a note to employees acknowledged that the plan still hinges on continued negotiations with creditors.
Tribune has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for 16 months and the plan does not deal with the future of Zell or his management team under new owners.
Chicago Tribune report:
2010-04-12: UK Media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin has upheld radio standards complaints against two broadcasters, including complaints against DJ Steve Penk concerning comments he made on Revolution FM's breakfast programme in January concerning a woman who was threatening to jump from a motorway bridge and disrupting traffic in the Manchester area (See RNW Jan 18). It also partly upheld a radio fairness and privacy complaint.
Penk, who owns the Oldham-based station as well as hosting its breakfast show, made a number of references to the incident in cross-chat with the station's News Editor.
In one he suggested that the police "just suddenly inflate a giant bouncy castle below this woman?" and. after an exchange concerning the police trying to talk to the woman in which the News Editor said she thought the police were trying " to get her away from the side rather than tell her to go for it ", Penk referred to her actions as "inconsiderate" and later asked "Am I not being sympathetic enough?" and there were further joking exchanges about bouncy castles, mattresses, and a giant trampoline. Penk also suggested that someone should "Video it and send it to Harry Hill, it's a win-win situation isn't it?"
Later on in the programme Penk mentioned on air that the broadcaster had received two requests from people stuck on the motorway: for the song "Jumping Jumping" by Destiny's Child; and for "Jump" by Van Halen. He played the latter recording a little later.
Ofcom received 57 complaints saying that the "broadcast was offensive and insensitive" and referred to the playing of the song and Penk empathising with motorists who had been inconvenienced but not with the woman.
Revolution in response to Ofcom responded by giving details of the sequence of events that day and said guidance was sought from the police as to how the story should be handled, to which the response was that it would be "quite appropriate to report the full facts, which we duly did."
Penk, it said, had not linked the track played with the incident and Revolutions said it considered the events to be "an excellent example of entertaining, engaging and highly interactive local radio presented by an 'edgy' but warm presenter totally 'in tune' with his audience."
The station also noted that the playing of the track "Jump" had attracted national newspaper coverage and in light of this Penk decided to apologise "to anyone who had been upset or offended by the episode".
It also commented, "We acknowledge the issue of suicide is a sensitive area and, with the benefit of hindsight, Steve Penk accepts that it may have been inappropriate to attempt to derive humour from a serious incident which could, potentially, have ended in tragedy".
Ofcom in its ruling that Codes had been breached commented that it "considered that the manner in which the potential suicide attempt was discussed on air on balance breached generally accepted standards."
The other radio standards complaint upheld involved a Restricted Service licensee, Radio Holy Ramadan FM, a radio service in Bradford, broadcast for a month during Ramadan in 2009.
Ofcom received two complaints alleging that the station promoted products and services in programming (editorial) on six occasions, contrary to the requirements of the Code and it requested recordings from the station for broadcasts on 17 and 18 September 2009.
No recordings were received and Ofcom subsequently requested recordings of material broadcast on 16, 19, 20 and 21 September 2009.
No recordings were received and the station when asked for them again said its original recordings of the material broadcast on Sep 17 and 18 had been despatched but did not comment regarding the other dates. Ofcom also noted that the licensee's representative told us that the licensee was out of the country and would contact us on his return to the UK but he provided no date (or likely date) for the licensee's return and it heard nothing further from him (or the licensee).
It ruled that it was unable to assess the material in relation to the complaints received but ruled that the failure to provide recordings was a serious breach of licence condition, which would beheld on record.
Details were also published of another complaint against BBC Radio Five Live during which the band Rage Against the Machine were interviewed and then performed their song 'Killing In The Name' during which singer, Zack de la Rocha, repeated the phrase "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" four times before the song was faded out by the show's producers.
Host Shelagh Fogarty was heard saying during the fade "Get rid of it" and then commented," "Sorry, we needed to get rid of that because that suddenly turned into something we were not, well we were expecting it and asked them not to do it, but they did it anyway - so buy Joe's record."
Co-host Nicky Campbell repeated the apology later in the show and editor of the programme issued a further public apology on his blog and a full apology was given to the 32 people who complained directly to the BBC.
The BBC said that the live nature of the programme was explained to the band members and their representatives on three separate occasions before the broadcast. The BBC had asked the band and its management for an assurance that they would change the original lyrics and not use strong language on-air and said that a specific assurance was given by the band on each occasion.
Ofcom in ruling that the action taken resolved the issue noted that during the interview with the band and the first section of the song performance, the band had refrained from using strong language and this therefore gave comfort to the producers that they would comply with the BBC's requests not to do so.
The radio Fairness and Privacy complaint partly upheld involved the Straight Talk programme aired by Voice of Africa Radio that involved live discussion shortly after Presidential elections in Ghana and featured between the studio guests, Ms Georgette Djaba and Mr Kwame Agbodza, who were affiliated with opposing Ghanaian political parties.
During the programme the two argued on a number of occasions and Ofcom held that Ms Djaba had not been treated unfairly in not being given advance information about the programme and the identity of the other guest but that derogatory comments made by Mr Agbodza that Ms Djaba's father was a "thief" were unfair to her.
It also noted that Ms Djaba had appeared on a previous edition of the programme and that although she had not been told what the main topic for the programme would be or who the other studio guest would be, she was an experienced advocate and not unfamiliar with the sort of robust political debate that ensued in the programme and added that although it would have been preferable that she had been given the information she did not appear to be disadvantaged in debating the issues that arose during the course of the programme.
In addition to these complaints Ofcom upheld standards complaints involving four TV broadcasters and gave details of two TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints not upheld.
In comparison in its previous bulletin Ofcom had upheld complaints against two radio broadcasts by a West Midlands community station and 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. It also directed a TV broadcaster to immediately comply with the Broadcasting Code in relation to retention of recordings and the broadcast of adult sex chat channels and said it had warned the station that failure could lead to revocation of the broadcaster's licence.
As well as these complaints, Ofcom also listed without details 530 TV complaints against 198 items and 23 radio complaints against 19 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 154 TV complaints against 104 items and 12 radio complaints against 11 items that it did not uphold in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2010-04-12: LBI Media has reported net revenues in the final quarter of last year down by 1% on a year earlier at USD 25.9 million compared to an 11.5% fall to USD 102.9 million for 2009 compared to 2008.
Operating expenses were down deeply in the final quarter - down by 67.6% to USD 22.8 million - but most of this reduction relates to USD 45.1 million of licence impairment charges recorded in 2008 compared to no such charges in the final quarter of 2009. Excluding these, the expenses reduction was 9.8% (from USD 25.3 million in 2008).
For the full year operating expenses were up 15.7% to USD 206.3 million with most of the increase down to impairment charges of USD 126.5 million compared to charges of USD 91.7 million in 2008: Excluding these, operating expenses were down 7.8% to USD 79.8 million.
Adjusted EBITDA was up for the final quarter - by 5.6% to USD 6.4 million with the increase put down to reduced expenses partially offset by a "modest" revenue decline - but down for the year - by 19.8% to USD 34.6 million, put down primarily to a fall in revenues partially offset by reduced expenses.
Overall LBI, which noted that it has re-stated its figures for the fiscal years to the end of 2006. 2007, and 2008, recorded net income of USD 200,000 in the final quarter compared to a net loss of USD 49.4 million a year earlier whilst for the full year it recorded a net loss of USD 107.3 million compared to a USD 2008 net loss of USD 87.3 million. It put the improvement for the quarter down primarily to the absence of impairment charges in the final quarter of last year and the increased loss for the year down primarily to the increase in impairment charges, partially offset by a USD 13.1 million increase in income tax benefit.
In divisional terms radio revenues were down 8% in the final quarter to USD 14.1 million whilst TV revenues were up 10% to USD 11.7 million whilst radio expenses were down 7% to USD 9.2 million and TV expenses were up 1% to USD 10.3 million. Radio adjusted EBITDA fell 10% to USD 5 million and that for TV was up from USD 476,000 to USD 1.4 million.
For the full year, radio revenues were down 9% to USD 59.1 million with those for TV down 14% to USD 43.8 million whilst radio operating expenses were flat at USD 34.6 million and TV operating expenses were down 13% to USD 33.7 million (In both periods the expenses figures exclude stock-based compensation expense, depreciation, loss on sale and disposal of property and equipment and impairment of broadcast licenses).
In the final quarter an operating loss for radio (including the above noted) of USD 23 million became operating income of USD 3.6 million whilst TV moved from a loss of USD 21.3 million to a loss of USD 527,000 and for the full year and for the full year the radio operating loss rose from USD 36 million to USD 59.5 million and the TV operating loss rose from USD 26 million to USD 43.9 million.
LBI noted that in December last year it completed the sale of KSEV-AM in Houston for around USD 6.5 million in cash.
Commenting on the figures, President and CEO Lenard Liberman said, "While the current economic environment still presents challenges for the broadcasting industry, we are encouraged by the sequential improvement we have seen in our total revenues since the second quarter. Our television segment returned to revenue growth during the fourth quarter as our stations in Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas recorded improved results Given our strong market position, attractive radio and TV broadcasting assets, and the successful launch of our Estrella TV network, we believe we are well positioned to deliver improved performance in 2010."
Previous LBI Media:
2010-04-12: According to the New York Post, US radio giant Clear Channel's large creditors want it to fail in its restructuring and collapse, allowing them to pick up the pieces.
The paper says that one source told it the company had been unsuccessful in negotiating refinancing of its debts with some lenders and adds that a spokesman for private-equity groups Bain Capital and THL Partners, which bought Clear Channel in a 2008 leveraged buyout, said there had been "no discussions" between them and Clear Channel's creditors since they clashed in December last year.
The paper says that its sources say Clear Channel will eventually default on its USD 18.4 billion in debt unless it can change its capital structure and notes that amongst the major creditors is OakTree Capital Management that last week took over Regent Communications (RNW Note: As we had it hearings were held last Friday by US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross concerning the company's planned re-organization that would see Oaktree owning almost all of the company and a ruling is due from him today. The plan was being opposed by Resilient Capital Management and Sanders Morris Harris, both of whom say the payment proposed to shareholders - of around 12.8 cents per share in cash - undervalues the company. Regent had announced that it had agreed the re-organization with its senior lenders- See RNW Mar 1).
It adds that a group of lenders had threatened a lawsuit against Clear Channel in December if it went ahead with a plan to raise new debt at its Clear Channel Outdoor subsidiary in order to repay Clear Channel debt and the company changed the terms of the loan so that it did not need approval, allowing it to raise USD 2.5 billion and avoid default.
Commenting on this it says a third source told it, "I don't think they will be able to get away with avoiding them twice."
In terms of numbers the Post says Clear Channel generates around USD 1.4 billion in cash flow but then has to pay USD 1 billion in interest and spend around USD 200 million on capital expenditures according to one lender. This leaves it would only around USD 200 million a year in annual free cash flow and it has debts of USD 700 million due for payment in May next year and of USD 4.5 billion due in July 2014.
It has around USD 2 billion of cash available, which should see it through 2011 but it may not be able to meet is 2014 obligations.
The Post also quotes Jim Brady, a former sales director for Clear Channel in Albany, who said that in his area the company had reduced from 24 to six the people selling spots on its local stations and had cut costs too deeply to be able to turn itself around.
"Clear Channel may have come to a point where they don't have enough people to make the stations profitable," Brady said.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Post report: .
2010-04-11: The main regulatory news last week again came from the US and again was more concerned with broadband than broadcasting, in this case a court's decision to strike down its decision in FCC v Comcast, an "Open Internet" ruling in which the agency said ISPs could not reduce services to heavy users to speed up its overall service: Perhaps predictably the two Republican on the commission issued statements broadly in favour of limiting the agency's powers to regulate commercial operators, and the two Democrats issued statements in favour of preserving an open internet whilst an agency spokesman noted that the court invalidated the approach taken but did not disagree with the agency on the need to preserve a free and open Internet.
Elsewhere things were more routine with only a few postings relating to radio.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA) again made only one radio posting and it again related to community services, in this case the allocation of long-term community licences in the Gosford and Lake Macquarie areas of New South Wales, both of which already had three community services.
The Gosford licence went to Coast Community Broadcasters Inc, which has been broadcasting its Today's Country service under a temporary licence and was in competition from Radio Yesteryear, which also proposed a country music service.
In Lake Macquarie, the award went to Radio Yesteryear, which was the only applicant and proposed a nostalgia music (1930s-1960s) service.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was only a little busier as regards radio postings: It extended until Sep 6 this year the deadline for UCFV Campus and Community Radio Society to commence operations of its new English-language community-based campus FM in Abbotsford, British Columbia, the third extension it has allowed.
The application was approved in 2006 and the CRTC notes that it normally only grants a maximum of two extensions for a total of 24 months but in this case added that the previous extensions had been allowed to give the licensee time to seek acceptable technical parameters and that this third extension would allow it to pursue a frequency exchange with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that would allow both parties to address issues of unacceptable interference for their respective radio stations.
The CRTC also approved an application by Torres Media Ottawa Inc. to decrease the power of its English-language commercial station CIDG-FM Ottawa/Gatineau from 1,300 watts to 934 watts and relocate the antenna. The station was authorized last year and Torres said the change was required because it had been unsuccessful in its negotiations with the owners of the building where the antenna was originally supposed to be located.
The changes will increase the population served within the station's 3 mV/m contour will increase from 305,381 to 462,901 whilst the population served within its 0.5 mV/m contour will increase from 592,972 to 765,086.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) announced the in-principle award of three new community licences (See RNW Apr 6) and in the UK, Ofcom posted its Restricted Annual Services Licences (RSL) report for 2009 and also its March Radio Update.
During 2009 it said it received 551 applications for short-service RSLs, up from 504 in 2008, and awarded 369 licences, down from 428 in 2008.
Of the short term RSLs, 88 were for community broadcasts, 82 for religious broadcasts, 74 for Student and educational broadcasts; 55 for Sports event broadcasts; 40 for Festival broadcasts; and the remaining 30 for other reasons.
Regarding long-term RSLs it said that there are now 96 such services in the UK - down from 98 a year earlier, of which eight were renewed in 2009 with four new licenses issued and six being surrendered. Of these licences 42 are at hospitals, 40 at educational establishments, 12 are on military bases with one tourist information service and one traffic and travel information service.
There are also nine Audio Distribution Systems Restricted Service Licences currently licensed, with five of the licences awarded in 2009. The licensees are three soccer grounds, two cricket clubs, one entertainment arena, and three companies which provide audio services at a range of different venues, including major sports stadia
The March Update listed five services whose licences had been revoked or handed back, three of which were local digital services (Islam Radio, Muslim Radio, and Flaunt on the Bradford and Huddersfield multiplex; one was a satellite service (Raaj Radio); and one was a local FM service (Pennine FM). In addition Ofcom noted that following the folding of Classic Hits Radio Ltd. the Hereford and Worcester AM service ended on April 6 (For this and Pennine closure see RNW Apr 6).
Two local commercial FMs were pre-advertised - the Dundee licence held by Wave 102 Ltd and the Southampton licence held by Play Radio Ltd. - with only the existing licensees applying and thus being invited to re-apply under Ofcom's fast-track procedure.
In addition two other licences which had also been re-applied for under the fast rack procedure were re-awarded - the licences for Tower FM, Bolton and Bury, and Mansfield 103.2 - and four-year extensions were granted to Midwest Radio (Blandford & The Vale); Buzz Asia ; KMFM West Kent; Metro Radio (Tyne & Wear); Magic 1152 (Tyne & Wear) ; and London Turkish Radio and two Multiplex format changes were approved - the removal of Radio Plymouth from the Plymouth and Cornwall multiplex (Plymouth only) and the addition of My Baby Radio to the Stoke multiplex.
Analogue format changes were allowed for two stations - Tindle Newspapers' Radio Ceredigion which is to be co-located with the company's Radio Pembrokeshire and Radio Carmarthenshire in Narberth and Radio Plymouth, which is being allowed to reduce live programming from 16 hours to ten hours per day in weekdays.
One Content Sampling report was posted, for Buzz Asia, which in September last year had been found out of compliance. At that time it was broadcasting as Club Asia and owned by Club Asia (London) Ltd. but it was subsequently taken over and re-branded and has now been found to be operating in compliance with its format.
As regards Community Radio, four new licences were issued - to Erewash Sound, Ilkeston, Derbyshire; Meridian FM, East Grinstead, West Sussex; Sutton Youth Radio, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire; and Redroad FM, Harthill, South Yorkshire; a five-year extension was granted to Unity101, Southampton; and reasons were posted for the award of a licence to Safe Radio to serve Grays and the surrounding areas of Thurrock, Essex.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has again issued a number of penalties for various breaches: It also, as already noted, found the courts ruling against it concerning its powers to regulate Internet Service Providers.
Regarding digital radio, the agency has dismissed two petitions for reconsideration of its Order on Digital Audio Broadcasting Systems And Their Impact on the Terrestrial Radio Broadcast Service issued in January and which allowed FM stations to increase the power of HD digital signals up to a tenth of the analogue power rather than the one per cent allowed at the moment and also establishes procedures to resolve any complaints of interference with analogue stations (See RNW Jan 29).
The two petitions were each rejected as premature because the "Digital Audio Order has not yet been published in the Federal Register, the pleading cycle for the reconsideration or review of the Digital Audio Order has not yet been established."
In other administrative decisions the FCC has now put its ownership Form 323 online after making changes at the requests of broadcasters (See RNW Apr 9).
It also announced a number of enforcement actions including the following penalties or proposed penalties:
*USD 7,000 forfeiture to Colby Community College, licensee of KTCC-FM, Colby, Kansas, for late filing of renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation. It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount to which the licensee responded with a letter from the radio broadcasting instructor at the college in which he said the renewal was partly due to his predecessor's failure to document the process and to his own unfamiliarity with the process and argued for reduction on financial hardship grounds and another letter from the College President also arguing on grounds of financial hardship. The FCC rejected the arguments, noted that no documentation had been submitted to show financial hardship, and confirmed the full penalty.
*USD 1,500 forfeiture to Little Miami Local Schools, licensee of WLMH-FM, Morrow, Ohio for late filing of renewal application. The agency had previously issues an NAL for this amount to which the licensee argued for reduction on the basis that the failure was inadvertent, the forfeiture would cause financial hardship, and the licensee in a non-commercial entity. No documentation regarding financial hardship was supplied and all arguments were rejected and the penalty was confirmed.
*USD 1,500 forfeiture to Barnesville Broadcasting, Inc., former licensee of WBAF-AM, Barnesville, Georgia for late filing of renewal application. The agency had previously issues an NAL for this amount to which the licensee argued for reduction on the basis that the failure was an oversight and the penalty would cause financial hardship. Again no documentation was submitted to substantiate the hardship argument and the penalty was confirmed.
*USD 500 forfeiture to Kane County Special Service District #1, licensee of FM translator station K269DQ, Orderville, Utah , for late filing of renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation. The agency had previously issues an NAL for this amount to which the licensee argued for reduction on the basis that the failure was an oversight and the penalty would "greatly restrain the ability for this local organization provide this public service." Again no documentation was submitted to substantiate the financial argument and the penalty was confirmed.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2010-04-11:According to the UK Sunday Times, the BBC rather than actually closing down its digital station6-music as announced is in fact to essentially keep it going but re-brand it asBBC Radio 2 Extra, a move that would save face for BBC executives.
The papers says the station will "feature many of the same DJs and much of the same playlist as it does now" and quotes an unnamed BBC insider as saying "It's a typical BBC fudge, compromise and, I suppose, solution."
The papers adds that the move will probably cut some costs and adds that broadcasts on the station could be limited to 12 hours a day during the week.
There have been protests about the planned closure from listeners, musicians and the recording industry since BBC Director General Mark Thompson announced the plan to axe it and another digital service, the BBC Asian Network (See RNW Mar 2) and a public consultation by the BBC Trust over the plan will continue until the end of May.
6 Music programming was nominated in sevencategories of this year's 35 Sony Awards, the "Oscars" of the British Radio industry, last week, and the Asian Network received two nominations: They were in in the Best Speech Programme (for "Nihal on BBC Asian Network") and Best News Special categories whilst 6 Music's nominations were for Best Music Programme (for Laurence Laverne's show); Music Radio Personality of the Year - Laurence Laverne; Music Broadcaster of the Year (with Radio 2 for Huey Morgan of Wise Buddah Creative) & Steve Lamacq; Best Comedy - Adam and Joe; Best Specialist Contributor (for Steve Levine of Magnum Opus Broadcasting Ltd for BBC Radio 2 & BBC 6 Music) & Best Station Imaging.
Both the BBC and commercial stations are guaranteed wins in some categories - the BBC received all the nominations in the categories for Best Specialist Music Programme; Best News & Current Affairs Programme; Best Breaking News Coverage; Best Specialist Contributor; Best Comedy; and Best Drama whilst only commercial stations were nominated in the Best Entertainment Programme category.
Overall programming on the BBC gained 94 nominations and that on commercial stations 62 with a further seven going to others including a prison radio broadcaster and various podcasts.
In terms of individuals, Nick Ferrari of Global Radio's LBC headed the list for nominations - his show was nominated in the Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus) category; Best Speech Programme; with Ferrari nominated as Speech Radio Personality of the Year; Speech Broadcaster of the Year; and News Journalist of the Year.
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Sony Awards:
Sony Awards 2009 winners:
Sony Radio Academy 2010 Awards nominations:
UK Sunday Times report:
2010-04-10:Emmis in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission has reported that its Compensation Committee has adopted a new bonus scheme for the year to the end of April 2011 under which bonuses to executives will be based solely on whether specified EBITDA goals have been achieved.
The goals will be set for each quarter for domestic radio, international radio, interactive and total Company EBITDA and the Committee will determine whether or not they were achieved and award a quarterly bonus to all participants who met the target. The bonus if awarded will be a fifth of the participants annual target bonus amount and at the end of the year the Committee will award an annual bonus made up of the participant's annual target bonus amount less and quarterly bonuses received.
Emmis will also set up an excess bonus pool of 10% of the amount by which total Company BITDA for the year exceeds the total Company EBITDA goal for the year and each participant in the plan who achieves their specified annual EBITDA goal will participate in the excess bonus pool in proportion to their annual target bonus amount.
Emmis adds that bonuses are expected to be paid in cash but may be paid in Class A Common Shares and that the scheme is generally designed to maximize the tax deductibility of any bonuses paid and accordingly the plan is to be administered under a new 2010 Equity Compensation Plan that will be put before the Company's shareholders for approval at Emmis's annual meeting in July.
RNW Note: No clues are given as to the criteria for the targets and how demanding they will be, thus in essence the filing simply says bonuses will be related to performance as measured by EBITDA.
2010-04-09:The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that its revised Form 323 Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcast Stations is now available online, allowing those required to complete a biennial ownership report to create and file electronic copies of the form on the agency's Consolidated Database System.
The introduction of the form was delayed following a filing in December last year by a number of counsel and legal assistants to various commercial broadcasters and commercial broadcaster organizations asking for changes to the form including provision of an ability to upload machine-readable data instead of requiring manual data entry. The deadline was also suspended from January 11 this year pending completion of the technical improvements and has now been set as July 8 this year.
The FCC stresses that although the deadline has changed the information to be entered must reflect ownership interests existing as of November 1, 2009.
2010-04-09:BBC Radio 3 has announced that from next Monday it will start to broadcast highlights from the Official Specialist Classical Chart, the first time the station has broadcast a weekly chart.
The Top 20 Official Specialist Classical Chart is issued on Mondays and the station's 17:00 local "In Tune" programme will give details of the chart, which was launched in February last year and is designed to focus on new classical releases (excluding compilations and soundtracks) and play a track from the No 1 recording to be followed by more detailed review of the chart plus clips and comments from 08.00-08.30 in its Breakfast Programme on Tuesdays.
Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright commented of the introduction in a release, "The Specialist Classical Chart will be a new and significant part of our Radio 3 programming, providing our listeners with more insights into the classical music recording market. Building a Library with expert analysis in CD Review is a long standing part of our schedule and I am delighted that we will now extend our recommendations for further listening in our breakfast and drivetime programming."
RNW comment: We have considerable doubts about the value of this chart, which to us would sit more comfortably within the format of national commercial station Classic FM, for Radio 3, if only because so many great works have in the past made an inauspicious debut.
The chart is currently published by the Gramophone and the chart to April 3 (here) shows Forever Vienna by André Rieu retaining top spot from the previous week's chart as does the second ranked recording (Mozart - Symphonies 29, 31, 32, 35 and 36 from the Scottish CO / Mackerras)
The top-ranked new entry is Tchaikovsky - Works for piano and orchestra (Stephen Hough, Minnesota Orchestra / Osmo Vänskä) in third rank followed by another new entry - Jon Lord - To Notice Such Things (Jon Lord, Cormac Henry, RLPO / Clark Rundell) in fourth rank - after which Via Crucis (Barbara Fortuna; L'Arpeggiata / Christina Pluhar), which was third the previous week.
2010-04-09: Tribune Company has announced an agreement, supported by its major creditors (J.P. Morgan and Angelo Gordon, lenders under the company's senior credit facility before its re-organization petition, and Centerbridge Partners, holder of approximately 37 percent of the company's outstanding prepetition senior notes) under which potential claims from the company USD 8.2 billion leveraged buyout by Sam Zell in 2007 (See RNW Dec 21, 2007). would be settled.
Under the agreement, which also has the support of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, of the senior notes receive 7.4 percent of the company's distributable value, which would be paid in a combination of cash, debt and stock and its senior credit facility lenders receive cash and debt, and stock representing in excess of 91 percent of the equity of the reorganized company.
The deal does not have support from all bondholders and a group represented by Wilmington Trust, which holds USD 1.2 billion of Tribune debt, had already complained about being excluded from negotiations.
Tribune says that the agreement will become part of a reorganization plan that the company said in a release will see it "emerge from bankruptcy, significantly deleveraged, with its business units intact and with adequate liquidity for operating and capital needs."
Tribune's Chief Legal Officer Don Liebentritt said of the agreement, "The company supports the resolution of our bankruptcy through a plan of reorganization that implements the terms of this agreement. The plan will allow us to resolve these cases without the distraction, expense and delay of protracted litigation, and is in the best interests of Tribune and all of our constituents" and CEO Randy Michaels added, "We're very pleased that an agreement has been reached, and we appreciate the support we've received from J.P. Morgan, Angelo Gordon, Centerbridge and the Committee. This will enable us to file our plan prior to next Tuesday's court hearing. It is another significant step forward as we continue to transform our media businesses, attract and retain talented people, and seize opportunities to grow."
Tribune filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in December 2008 and has continued operations since then. The reorganization plan will be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. .
Previous Tribune Co.:
2010-04-09: More Americans aged up to 34 now use the Internet to find music than radio according to Arbitron-Edison Media's latest Infinite Dial report, The Infinite Dial 2010: Digital Platforms and the Future of Radio, which also highlights the growth of social media and shows the Internet as surpassing TV in being considered the most essential medium and suggests that the automobile may be amongst the next battlegrounds between broadcast and digital media.
There is even worse news for lovers of printed newspapers with nearly half of those surveyed - a total of 1,753 were interviewed between January 25 and February 22 to investigate Americans' use of digital platforms and new media. Just over half were Arbitron diary keepers chosen at random from a national sample of Arbitron's Fall 2009 survey diary keepers with the others chosen through random digit dialling (RDD) sampling in certain geographic areas where Arbitron diary keepers were not available.
On the positive side for radio, the survey says that Americans continue to hold radio in relatively high regard and adds that four out of ten consumers aged 12-24 said they would listen to more FM radio if a tuner were built into mobile phones.
The survey shows that despite a growth from half of Americans having internet access in 1999 to 84% in 2010 and of those with broadband at home from 21% in 2002, when 78% had dial up access, to 84% in 2010 with only 13% relying on dial-up, household income is not the most important factor in determining those who have home broadband: Half have it in households where people are employed full time with 35% on dial-up; 43% have it where household income is above USD 50,000 with 29% dial-up; and 46% of those with a college degree or higher with 24% on dial-up.
In terms of which medium is considered most essential, Internet has risen from 20% in 2002 to a leading 42% followed by TV, which fell from a leading 39% in 2002 to 37%; then radio, which fell from a second-ranked 26% to third-ranked 14% and newspapers, down from 11% to 5% in fourth rank. Given a forced choice between losing TV or the Internet for ever, the figures changed from 72% opting for TV and 26% for the internet in 2001 to 49% opting for the internet and 48% for TV but when this is split into age groups 75% of those over 65 still choose TV compared to 22% the internet whilst for those 18-24 the Internet leads by 62% to 36%.
For those younger - aged 12-17 the internet leads 63% to 35%; for those 35-44 by 53% to 43% and then TV goes into a 56% to 41% leader for those 45-54 and a 60% to 39% for those 55-64.
When it comes to discovering music, the internet leads 52% to 31% for those 12-34; but lags 32% to 39% for those 12 plus with a further 10% and 12% respectively citing TV and 2% and 3% respectively citing newspapers.
In listening to radio online, 17% said they had listened in the past week, the same as in 2009, but up from 13% in 2008 and 2% in 2000 with 55% of males and 45% of females in the online audience and the demographic with the highest listening (27%) being those 25-34 followed by 20% of those 45-64 and 16% aged 35-44 with only 2% above 65.
Compared to the total population above 12, more of those in full time employment (61% to 42% said they were weekly listeners) and for those with a college degree of higher the figures were 55% to 36% but this fell back to 18% and 10% for those in a household with an income of more than USD 100,000 a year (The study highlights this as "Online Radio Attracts an Upscale,
Well-Educated and Employed Audience", not mentioning that for those with high incomes the total falls).
In terms of reasons to listen online a fifth said it was to control or choose the music played, 17% that it was a matter of more variety, and 14% that it was for few commercials with the same percentage citing audio that could not be heard elsewhere.
After this 12% said the reason was to get a clearer signal than off-the-air radio and 6% chose each of the categories "Because it's new" and "less DJ chatter."
Asked about what online-only services they were aware of, 28% named Pandora; 9% Yahoo Music; 6% AOL Radio; and 4% Last.fm.
Significantly in terms of being "very interested" in various ways of listening online, 30% of those 12-24 and 27% of those above 12 opted for being able to listen in an automobile' 28% and 18% to a phone or portable player; and 20% and 18% for an internet radio that appears like an analogue receiver.
The survey also indicated that a higher percentage of people watched video online in the previous week than listened to radio (295 to 17%, up from 37%/17% in 2009 and 18%/13% in 2008) and also that 26% of those who listened to digital audio files did so nearly every day by connecting a player to their automobile audio system with 23% saying they did this a few times a week and 10% once a week whilst 40% said a few times a month or less.
The survey also asked about those who were aware of the Sirius XM satellite service, finding this was up from 65% in 2009 to 71%, a total only a little behind the high point of 74% who had heard of Sirius or XM in 2006 and 2007, a figure well ahead of that for those who had heard anything about HD radio recently - 31% in 2010 and 29% in 2009 with the percentage saying they were interested in HD remaining at 7% as in 2009.
When it came to how important people rated analogue radio, 51% said they would be "very disappointed" if the station they listened to most went off air, 28% that the would be somewhat disappointed , 8% that they would not be very disappointed, and 9% that they would not be disappointed at all. 4% opted for don't know.
Most people said that would continue to listen to analogue radio despite technological change (78% of those 12 plus) 76% of those who listen to internet radio monthly, 68% of those who listen monthly to internet-only audio, and 73% each for those who listen monthly to digital audio in automobiles and those who listen monthly to music on a cell phone.
Radio listening was higher for those who listen to digital audio sources - 100 minutes for those 12 plus; 120 minutes for weekly online radio listeners, 107 minutes for those who own a portable player, and 103 minutes for those who listen to digital audio monthly in an automobile.
When it came to purchasing habits, the figures were less encouraging - the highest percentage for those who said a radio spot would lead them to seek more information as 16% amongst African Americans (10% of those 12 plus) with 11% of African-Americans saying they would purchase a product or service they hear advertised ( 6% of those 12 plus).
Radio station web sites were seen as having improved although only 31% said they had ever visited a local station site (28% in 2002) - 48% of those questioners said they were getting more interesting, 28% that they were about the same and 17% less interesting with 7% don't-knows.
Reasons for visiting a local web site included to get details of songs played (57%), to listen to the station (55%, to get concert information (54%), for local weather forecasts 53%, listings of fun or interesting places (43%) and 38% each for local traffic reports or to take part in concerts. Bringing up the tail end was communicating with the station's personalities at 20%.
The study also showed radio behind local TV and newspaper sites when it came to logging on to a site in the past month - 27% each for the last two and only 16% for radio.
In its conclusions the study says that with the majority of online Americans having social
networking profiles, radio stations must incorporate social networking content to remain relevant, noting that for many Americans below 45 Facebook is their start paged and also that use of such sites is growing quickly amongst older age groups.
Radio stations, it says should create unique and "share-worthy" content to facilitate trial and discovery and it adds that People connect with people-not "stations".
It also comments that the current adoption of online radio listening in-car is remarkable considering how hard consumers have to work at it today
Commenting on the report, Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron Inc., said the "use of social networking sites has expanded beyond younger consumers, with substantial numbers of Americans over the age of 35 now using social media" although he added, "Americans continue to hold radio in high regard, with nearly eight in ten saying they plan to listen to as much AM/FM radio in the future as they do now - despite advances of technology."
RNW comment: Most of the findings of this study are what we would have expected in terms of trends although the rate of change is not so obvious, particularly growth in the use of social networking sites.
It does seem that the use of internet audio is likely a grow considerably once devices make it available in automobiles and we suspect that quite a lot of this will come at the expense of local stations - after all there is comparatively little that is unique to many a local station and other services are likely to make local news, weather, and traffic available.
The most interesting factor to us is how bandwidth will become available for the expansion of wireless internet whilst on the move and we suspect that whatever the NAB lobbying throws into the mix, the pressure to use "white spaces" within TV signals will become irresistible once technology develops to the degree that it demonstrably does not pose a threat of interference to broadcast signals.
The NAB will also continue to bribe/pressure as many politicians as it can to oppose enforced use of such spectrum without concessions to the broadcasters and we suspect this will be a more interesting battle: In public interest terms, if their signals (on leased not owned spectrum, it should always be remembered) are not affected there is no sound reason to do other than sell off the rights to others and tell the broadcasters this will be a condition of renewal of any of their licences, but then it is difficult not to see the US as irretrievably in hock to commercial interests at the moment.
Previous Edison Media:
Arbitron-Edison Media Infinite Dial report (89-page 2.54 MB PDF - requires entry of personal details):
2010-04-08: The new Melbourne, Australia, talk radio station, which is to take over the frequency used by 3MP, has announced that it will launch at 06:00 on Monday April 19 under the sign MTR 1377.
It is owned by Melbourne Radio Operations Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Macquarie Radio Network Ltd, and Pacific Star Network Ltd., and is to spend around AUD 500,000 (USD 462,000) on promoting the launch.
Its line-up will include a one-hour show at 20:00 showing highlights from the Alan Jones and Ray Hadley breakfast and morning shows on Macquarie's Sydney 2GB as well as a local line-up of weekday hosts that includes Steve Price, formerly with Melbourne talk station 3AW then with 2UE in Sydney (He left at the end of last year - See RNW Dec 14, 2009), in the weekday breakfast slot; Comedian and former TV host Steve Vizard in Mornings; and TV reporter Martin King in the Drive slot.
Other weekday hosts listed by the station are Jim Ball (Midnight to 0300); Andrew Moore (0300-0600); Chris Smith (1300-1600); Ross Greenwood (1800-2000); and Luke Grant (2100-midnight) with weekend hosts including Mike Williams (Midnight to 0500 Saturday and midnight to 0600 Sunday); Michael Guest (The Fishing Show 0500-0600 Saturday); Scott Cam (0900-1100 Saturdays); Mark Moraza (Real Estate show 1100 to Noon Saturdays); Glenn Ridge (1200-1800 Saturdays and Sundays); Glenn Wheeler (1800 to Midnight Saturdays); Simon Stevenson (Home Handyman show 0900-1000 Sundays); Deborah Thomas and Andrew Rochford (Health and Wellbeing show 1000 to Noon Sundays); Dr Malouf (Medical show 1800-2000 Sundays); and The Rev Bill Crews (2000-midnight Sundays).
The new station is going up against long-time market leader 3AW, owned by Fairfax Media and drawing on talent from the company's Age Newspaper, and is itself drawing from News Corporation's Herald Sun.
The Australian, also owned by News Corporation, said of the station's likely political stance that Price said it would be right-wing whilst Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt, who is to be one of his contributors, opted for the term "conservative", saying that he was not right wing.
It quoted Price as saying, "The most successful talk stations do occupy the right-of-centre opinion on politics in particular but life in general. I don't know that there's a successful left-wing radio station in the country " and as adding of 2UE, which he left at the end of last year, that it had become "middle of the road, sit on the fence" and was consequently "going down the toilet".
The Age in its report also took up the issue of political stance and additionally noted that only one woman was listed in the line-up of hosts - Deborah Thomas ,editorial director of The Women's Weekly who will co-host the Sunday health and wellbeing show - and also that the line up consists almost entirely of Herald Sun and Channel Nine personalities.
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio network:
The Age report:
The Australian report:
2010-04-08: Astral Media has reported revenues for its second fiscal quarter to the end of February up 4% on a year earlier to CAD 218.3 million (USD 217.9 million) with Outdoor leading the way - its revenues were up 23% followed by TV with a 6% increase and held back by radio whose revenues fell 2%.
For the first six months of the year, revenues were up 3% to CAD 469 million (USD 468 million) with Outdoor and TV each up 6% whilst radio revenues were down 1%.
EBITDA for the quarter was up 6% on a year earlier at CAD 62.6 million (USD 62.5 million) and up 18% for the six months at CAD 159.4 million (USD 159.1 million) and net earnings rose 24 % in the quarter to CAD 33.6 million (USD 33.5 million- from 48 cents to 60 cents per basic share and from 48 cents to 59 cents per diluted share) and 35 % in the first six months to CAD 92.3 million (USD 92.1 million from 1,19 to CAD 1.74 per basic share and from CAD 1.18 to CAD 1.72 per diluted share).
President and CEO Ian Greenberg commented, of the performance, "I am pleased by the strength of our second quarter results and delighted that all our business units continue to perform well in a challenging environment, allowing us to record a 54th consecutive quarter of profitable growth. Throughout the economic downturn, we have continued to invest strategically in sales, programming and branding initiatives across all our platforms, making important headway in further strengthening our position in key Canadian markets."
At the company's conference call Greenberg put much of the improvement down to a strong rebound in automotive advertising, commenting, "I think the entire industry, and TV, has seen the rebound, and basically because of the car business; there's been a return."
2010-04-08: News Corporation has announced that it is has agreed a sale of its stake in four Russian radio stations - Nashe Radio in Moscowand St Petersburg , Best FM, and Ultra - to Russian Senator Vitaly Bogdanov, who represents the Kursk region. No amount was announced for the deal but the price is rumoured to be between USD 15 and USD 20 million.
Bogdanov, who in early 2008 sold his 39% stake in the Russian Media Group of which he was a co-founder for around USD 117 million, returned to the media business in February this year with the purchase, rumoured to be for around USD 15 million, of Moscow radio stations 92.5 FM, which airs rock music, and social and talk format "My Family" (94.8FM), from State Duma deputy and TV presenter and producer Valery Kommissarov
Nashe Radio launched in 1998 and is the top rated commercial station in Moscow for 18-34 year olds, Nashe Radio St Petersburg (The Nashe stations are owned by "Our Radio") and Radio Ultra Moscow were both launched in 2001 while Best FM was launched in Moscow in 2004.
News Corporation managed all three stations but made no mention in its announcement concerning their ownership - according to rusmergers.com it owned only half with the rest owned by the late businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili, whose assets are currently subject to judicial review in the London and New York courts.
Patarkatsishvili, who was living in exile in the UK but had campaigned from the UK for the Presidency of his home country Georgia, collapsed and died aged 52 at his Surrey Mansion in February 2008. His death that was investigated by Surrey police but a post-mortem indicated to be the result of a heart attack.
His holdings also included the Imedi TV station, which was also managed by News Corp. He built up his fortune through a partnership with fellow tycoon Boris Berezovsky, who is also living in exile in the UK, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
News Corporation has been trying to sell its interests in Russia since 2008 when its founder, chairman and managing director Rupert Murdoch expressed fears that the government could take them over. A deal to sell News Outdoor, the largest outdoor operator in Russia to J.C. Decaux, for up to USD 1 billion, collapsed in October 2008, another victim of economic conditions.
News Outdoor controlled more than half the Russian market and up to 90% in some cities and its founder, chairman and Managing Director Rupert Murdoch had started to explore a partial sale of the operation because of concerns over a new law that could prohibit a single company from controlling more than 35% of the space in a municipality
2010-04-08: Cumulus Media Inc. and Crestview Partners, a USD 4 billion private equity firm, have announced the formation of an investment partnership - Cumulus Radio Investors, L.P. - that they say will target USD 1 billion of radio investments.
Cumulus already has a similar partnership in existence with Cumulus Media Partners, which was formed in conjunction with Cumulus and three private equity firms - Bain Capital, the Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners - to buy Susquehanna's radio stations for USD 1. 2 billion (See RNW Nov 1, 2005).
Under this new deal, Crestview will lead a group that will invest up to USD 500 million in the partnership, that it adds with "financing expected to be available through the capital markets" could "target acquisitions totalling in excess of USD 1 billion."
As with the previous deal, Cumulus is to provide all management, financial, operational and corporate services to the partnership and its operations under a management services agreement.
Crestview partners Jeffrey Marcus and Thomas Murphy, Jr. commented in a release, "Crestview is excited to partner with Lew Dickey and the rest of the Cumulus Media management team to pursue investments in the radio industry. The Cumulus Media team has demonstrated the ability to grow radio businesses while achieving significant operational efficiencies. We are confident that our investment and operating experience in the radio industry combined with Cumulus Media's management capabilities and strong technology platform will lead to compelling investment opportunities."
Cumulus Chairman, President and CEO, Lew Dickey, added, "We are pleased to announce the formation of Cumulus Radio Investors in partnership with Crestview and other investors to uniquely combine the synergies of one of the largest radio broadcast companies with the backing of a strong financial sponsor whose senior partners, Thomas Murphy, Jr. and Jeffrey Marcus, have significant investing and operating experience in the radio industry."
"We will be deliberate and disciplined in our investment approach, " he added, "but we are prepared to move quickly to capitalize on the strategic investment opportunities that we believe are available today."
2010-04-08: Towson University has announced that because of the current economic situation it has dropped plans for its WTMD-FM AAA public radio station to acquire and restore Baltimore's historic Senator Theatre
The Theatre is an Art Deco landmark in the city: It opened in October 1939 but at in March last year owner Tom Kiefaber closed it down, citing as one reason a proposal by Baltimore's Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation to preserve the building that he said had scared off an investor.
1st Mariner Bank, which was owed around USD 900,000 on the property, had shortly before that announced that it would foreclose because no payments had been made on its mortgage for months. The city subsequently took over the mortgage and then the building in July after an auction drew an anonymous bid for USD 800,000 that it topped by USD 10,000 to keep control of the Senator.
Baltimore Development Corporation has put out a call for proposals to restore the Theatre and the Towson/WTMD plan to convert it into a studio and performing arts centre was amongst the finalists but Towson University's Vice President of Finance and Administration, James Sheehan, said in a statement, "Due to the continuing economic pressures faced by the State of Maryland and thus Towson, we have determined that it is best not to take on this complex new venture. With the added uncertainty of the economic climate that we will face the remainder of this year, we must concentrate on the needs of our students at this time."
The city has now been left with one proposal, from James "Buzz" Cusack, who owns an art house with five screens and has submitted a plan to add two restaurants and start showing movies again.
2010-04-07: According to the Houston Chronicle, Houston-based BizRadio, which at one time operated a network of three AM stations airing financial and business news, is facing an involuntary bankruptcy petition.
BizRadio last month sold Houston station KTEK-AM (1110) to Salem Communications for USD 3.7 million (including cancellation of a loan - now estimated at around USD 1.26 million - see below): It had bought the station from Salem in December 2007 for USD 7.8 million in a deal partly financed through a USD 1.5 million loan
The Chronicle says three creditors - Stephen C. Cook of Houston, Florence Reiley of Bellaire, Michigan, and Kevin Deering, who lives in Argyle, north of Dallas - filed the petition to which the company has 21 days to respond.
BizRadio co-founder Albert Kaleta and his investment firm, Kaleta Capital Management were sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over claims that they misled investors about the sale of USD 10 million in promissory notes and a receiver was appointed to recover funds, primarily from BizRadio and Daniel Frishberg Financial Services Inc, the investment firm of BizRadio CEO Daniel Frishberg.
BizRadio when we last checked was still online and being aired on KMTR-AM, San Antonio, through a lease agreement with Siga Broadcasting and the sale to Salem allowed it to buy airtime on Salem stations: As part of the deal Salem had agreed to let BizRadio have USD 1.64 million in credit to buy the airtime.
In February, BizRadio was involved in legal action over the airing on KTEK of programming for Asia Vision after Rehan Siddiqi, the latter's owner, agreed a lease to air its programming on the station with Ronald Crider, who signed the documents as BizRadio CEO.
BizRadio had at the time agreed to move its programming to Entravision's more powerful KGOL 1180-AM signal under a leasing deal and Siddiqi agreed a deal to move his programming to KTEK 1100.
The broadcasts of both went ahead in January this year but then BizRadio was unable to pay the deposit required by KGOL and wanted to move back to KTEK. Siddiqi said he had been approached before November last year about a five-year lease to broadcast on KTEK for USD 50,000 a month together with an option to buy the station for USD 3.5 million.
He said he was subsequently approached about a six months lease with the amount reduced to USD 30,000 a month if paid in advance and had paid USD 180,000 to lease the station for six months.
Initially a Houston judge granted Siddiqi, who had testified that Frishberg introduced him to Crider as the person who would negotiate the contract on BizRadio's behalf (Frishberg testified that he didn't recall meeting Siddiqi) a temporary restraining order preventing BizRadio from moving back to the station.
Later, however, State District Judge Robert Schaffer rejected the request allowing BizRadio back on the air on KTEK. Siddiqi, who says that the core of his business was the radio broadcasts, has launched a lawsuit claiming damages of more than USD 18 million against BizRadio and Frishberg (RNW Note: For more detail on this see Chuck Gallagher's comment and interview with Siddiqi here).
Houston Chronicle report:
2010-04-07: A UK Department of Health radio advert promoting contraception has been barred from the airwaves when children (under-16s) are likely to be listening following a complaint from a listener who heard the advert on a Global Radio station during a school run.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) had approved the advert but said it should be scheduled away from times when under-16s were likely to be listening such as breakfast and drivetime shows.
Global aired the advert at 15:58 and noted in a response to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that drivetime was normally considered as being between 16:00 and 19:00 but also noted that ratings figures showed there may have been children listening at this time and said that, in light of this, the ad should have been excluded from airtime for an hour longer than it was, adding that that did not happen was an oversight on their part.
The ASA upheld the complaint, noting in turn that the time concerned (Many UK schools end the day between 1500 and 1600) listening figures showed that 20% of the audience at the time of the ad's broadcast were aged under 16.
It commented, "We welcomed Global Radio's acknowledgement that the ad should have been excluded from broadcast between 3pm and 4pm. However, we considered that particular care should have been taken when scheduling an ad for family planning services in order to ensure that it was kept away from times when children under 16 were likely to be listening. Because it was not, we concluded that the ad had been scheduled inappropriately."
It ruled that there should be no further broadcasts of the advert when children were likely to be listening.
Previous Global Radio:
2010-04-07: Madonna beat the Beatles in terms of UK licensed plays of artists recordings over the past decade according to the BBC Radio 2 People's Artist Chart aired by the station this week and compiled from data from recorded music licensing body PPL (formerly Phonographic Performance Limited).
The show, hosted by comic Patrick Kielty, was comprised of the top 50-most played acts from the start of 2000 to the end of 2009 and the top five were Madonna, The Beatles, Robbie Williams, Queen, and Take That.
PPL logs licensed playing of music not only by radio and TV broadcasters but also that aired in public places including shops and restaurants and its Chairman & CEO Fran Nevrkla commented in a BBC release, "The latest People's Chart show is an accurate and democratic reflection of the most popular artists of the last decade, based both on what radio and TV programmes have chosen to broadcast in that time, as well as what people have been hearing in public venues."
"The series of People's Chart shows," she added, "provides a real insight into current tastes and I pay tribute to all the artists who are featured, because it is their creativity and music talent which gives pleasure to millions."
Amongst other features of the shows, which this year was produced at Wise Buddah by journalist and broadcaster Paul Sexton, have been the airing last Easter of the most-played pop recording of the previous 75 years (Procul Harum's "A Whiter Shade Of Pale") and at Christmas last year of the most played classical recording of the previous 75 years (Carl Orff's "O Fortuna", which was aired in The People's Classical Chart.).
The top 20 artists played during the past decade according to this year's People's Chart Show showed most of the artists from the UK but also settled any dispute that might linger about the relative popularity of the Beatles and The Rolling Stones - the latter only squeaked into the chart - at 19th rank, followed by the Welsh rock band, The Stereophonics at 20th.
2 The Beatles
3 Robbie Williams
5 Take That
7 Elton John
8 Elvis Presley
13 Kylie Minogue
14 Stevie Wonder
16 Scissor Sisters
17 Rod Stewart
18 Girls Aloud
19 The Rolling Stones
20 The Stereophonics.
2010-04-06: Two more UK radio stations have closed this week - Huddersfield local station Pennine FM and the Hereford and Worcester AM service run by Sunshine Radio.
Pennine FM, originally Huddersfield FM when it launched a decade ago, was originally part-owned by Minster Radio and later bought by Radio Investments, which became The Local Radio Company.
It was then renamed Home 107.9 and later re-launched as The New Pennine FM in February 2008 but closed down in April 2009 only to be re-launched a month later.
This closedown - at 22:00 on Monday night after a four-hour programme presented by Programme Controller Jonathan Gold - appears to be final and the licence has been handed back to regulator Ofcom.
In the case of the Hereford and Worcester service, the licence was still held by its previous owner Classic Hits Radio Ltd. which was dissolved before the licence was transferred. The owner before Classic Hits was Laser Broadcasting, which is in administration.
Sunshine Radio is continuing to operate its services on sister stations in Ludlow and Herefordshire/Monmouthshire.
2010-04-06: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced the in-principle award of three new community licences with detailed negotiations now in progress with the groups concerned.
The licences are for East County Limerick - awarded to Boherroe Broadcasting Limited; Athlone Town and environs - awarded to Athlone Community Radio Limited; and a service for South West Donegal (Killybegs - Milltown) - awarded to South West Donegal Community Radio Limited.
2010-04-05: The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for Interep, which closed down in 2008 leaving Clear Channel-owned Katz Media as the only major radio rep company in the US (See RNW Nov 26, 2008) is suing former Interep directors for at least USD 20 million, claiming that they had failed to ensure that the company was properly capitalized and managed.
Attorney Kenneth Silverman also claims that the directors failed to operate independently. Named in the lawsuit are Interep founder and former chairman Ralph Guild and former directors Terry Bate, Howard Brenner, Les Goldberg, Marc Guild, John Palmer, George Pine, Arnie Semsky, and Arnold Sheiffer and also David Kennedy, the former President and CEO of Susquehanna Media Co., who became Interep CEO and Vice Chairman in February 2007 when Guild stepped down as CEO to become non-executive chairman (See RNW Feb 9, 2007).
Bate and Sheiffer resigned from Interep's board in 2006 at management's request as part of cost-cutting measures (See RNW Aug 10, 2006)
Interep had been involved in a clash with Katz in late 2003 after it enticed a number of the latter's executives to move to it (See RNW Nov 25, 2003) and it subsequently lost a number of its large clients to Katz, pushing its revenues down and going into loss.
Oaktree Capital bought a large stake in its public bonds at the start of 2005 and called for a financial restructuring and also said that Guild was too highly paid. Subsequently the gap between Guild and Oaktree widened with Guild accusing Oaktree of trying to organize a takeover of the company.
Subsequently Oaktree offered to purchase some USD 2.5 million of the company's stock and proposed a severance deal for Guild and at a board meeting in November 2005 a special committee of Interep's independent directors recommended acceptance of the offer but only the independent directors voted in favour of it.
Others were said to be interested in taking over Interep's business but no progress was made and in April 2006 Oaktree withdrew its offer although talks continued between it and Guild, who was also advising the board of other potential bidders.
None of these came to anything and in March 2008 Interep announced a Chapter 11 restructuring that it said has been agreed by Oaktree and Silver Point Capital, L.P. , its largest bondholders (See RNW Mar 31, 2008). This restructuring attempt also fell apart leading to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
RNW Note: RBR (here) has a good report on some of the details of the Interep saga including a note that it was recently subpoenaed for information relating to stories about former Interep employees who formed Spanish Television Sales and signed former clients of Interep's Spanish TV rep firm, Hispanic Independent Television Sales (HITS). It suggests the trustee could also be launching suits in connection with this.
2010-04-05: Cumulus Media in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed details of bonuses paid to its executives in 2009 during which its revenues were down 17.8% on 2008 although thanks to reduced impairment charges it reduced a 2008 loss of USD 361.7 million to a loss of USD 126.7 million (See RNW Mar 3). Cumulus stock has been as low as 45 cents in the past year but it closed 2009 at USD 2.28, only a little below the USD 2:49 at which it closed 2008.
Chairman, President, and CEO Lew Dickey received a bonus of USD 469,000 on top of which he was awarded 320,000 shares of restricted common stock in accordance with the Company's 2008 Equity Incentive Plan - half of it in time-vested shares and half performance-based. In addition the company's Compensation Committee also reviewed the three-year performance criteria established in March 2007 for 160,000 performance-based shares of restricted stock awarded to Mr. L. Dickey on March 1, 2007: The vesting conditions for these required that the company achieved financial performance targets that were not achieved in this case but the committee said that modification of the targets would be appropriate "in light of the unprecedented adverse developments in the economy in general, and the radio industry in particular." It changed the conditions so that the shares will now vest in full on March 31, 2014, if the company achieves its specified financial performance targets for the three year period ending December 31, 2012.
As far as 2010 is concerned the committee set criteria under which Dickey will receive a cash bonus of between USD 470,000 and USD 940,000 if performance targets are achieved.
The filing said that Dickey's bonus was set in line with the bonuses to other executives that it had set in consultation with Dickey. The other bonuses were of USD 145,000 to Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer John W. Dickey; of USD 120,000 to Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer Jon G. Pinch; and of USD 17,500 to Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer J.P. Hannan.
Previous John Dickey:
Previous Lew Dickey:
2010-04-04: Last week was yet another quiet one as regards radio announcements for most of the regulators with no announcements from Ireland and only a few elsewhere.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) made only one radio announcement, a proposal to make spectrum available for an additional open narrowcasting radio service in Perth.
Canada was little busier with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posting a number of decisions and public notices including the following:
*Approval of application by 101142236 Saskatchewan Ltd., as part of a corporate re-organization, to acquire the assets of the English-language stations CHAB-AM, CILG-FM and CJAW-FM, Moose Jaw from Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. The CRTC notes that the corporate reorganization was for estate planning and did not affect the effective control of these undertakings
Short-term renewals that do not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist with respect to the renewals:
*Renewal from 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011, of the following licences:
Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc.'s CFXY-FM Fredericton; CIKX-FM Grand Falls, ; and its transmitter CIKX-FM-1, Plaster Rock, all in New Brunswick, and CKTO-FM, Truro, Nova Scotia.
The following Astral Media Radio G.P.' stations:
CKMX-FM, its transmitter CFVP-SW in Calgary.
CFBR-FM and CFRN-AM, Edmonton.
CFMG-FM, St. Albert'
Alberta/ British Columbia:
CJAY-FM, Calgary, and its transmitters CJAY-FM-1, Banff, in Alberta and CJAY-FM-3, Invermere, British Columbia.
CJFW-FM, Terrace, and its transmitters CJFW-FM-1, Kitimat; CJFW-FM-2, Prince Rupert; CJFW-FM-3, Sandspit; CJFW-FM-4, Masset; CJFW-FM-5, Burns Lake; CJFW-FM-6, Smithers; CJFW-FM-7, Houston; and CJFW-FM-8, Hazelton.
CKRX-FM, Fort Nelson.
CHRX-FM, Fort St. John, and its transmitter CHRX-FM-1, Dawson Creek.
CHTK-AM, Prince Rupert.
Manitoba - CKX-FM, Brandon.
Ontario - CKTB-AM, CHRE-FM, and CHTZ-FM, St. Catharines.
*Renewal from 1 April 2010 to 31 July 2010 of the licence of BAF Audio Visual Inc.'s low-power CHEV-AM, Toronto. In respect to this the CRTC notes that if the licensee has not filed an application for a new frequency by 17 May 2010 the Commission may not renew the licence further.
*Renewal from 1 April 2010 to 30 June 2010 of the licences of Aylesford Community Baptist Church's CVCR-FM, Aylesford, Nova Scotia, and the town of Wadena's CHTW-FM, Wadena, Saskatchewan.
*Notice of consultation with an April 16 deadline for the submission of comments or interventions concerning application by Corus Radio Company to renew the broadcasting licence of the commercial radio programming undertaking CFNY-FM Brampton, expiring 31 August 2010.
The CRTC notes that the licensee may have failed to comply with the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations) and its condition of licence relating to its Canadian talent development (CTD) contribution for the 2009 broadcast year by contributing to a non-eligible initiative for CTD funding.
*Notice of Consultation with a May 4 deadline for the submission of comments or interventions relating to two radio applications in British Columbia - an application by UCFV Campus and Community Radio Society to change the frequency of its community based campus station CIVL-FM, Abbotsford, move the antenna site, and increase its power from 92 watts to 220 watts and an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to changing the frequency of its transmitter CBU-1-FM, Abbotsford, which carries the programming of CBU-AM, Vancouver, relocate the antenna site, lower its antenna height and increase the power from 67 watts to 2,390 watts.
In the UK, Ofcom has invites expressions of interest in short-term radio licences during 2012 London Olympic Games (See RNW Apr 1) and also posted its Annual Plan for 2010-11 and its Tariff Table for the 2010-11 Year. In relation to these it says that for the sixth consecutive year it has cut its underlying operating budget: For 2010/11 Ofcom's total budget is GBP 142.5 million (USD 217 million) including funding for a number of new responsibilities required by government and also deficit repair payments to the pension schemes of the legacy regulators that Ofcom was required to take on by Parliament.
Excluding the extra items it says cuts the figure to GBP 127.5 million (USD 194 million) a figure that on a -like-for-like basis it says is .6% lower in real terms than its budget for 2009/10.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted complaints figures for the second and third quarters of last year showing a massive fall in the number of broadcasting complaints (See RNW Apr 2): It was also involved in levying or proposing number of penalties for licence offences - and also in enforcement of its ownership caps with rulings that are pushing CBS Radio and NextMedia Inc into disposals.
In Los Angeles the agency approved an application filed by CBS Radio to put KFWB-AM into a trust, reportedly in preparation for a sale, although action has been delayed by a complaint by Saul Levine of Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters Inc., who had complained that CBS was still operating above its limit for the market under a waiver granted after its 2002 purchase of KCAL TV that took it above the limit (See RNW Nov 19, 2002), and now says CBS plans to operate the station whilst it is in the Trust should be prohibited (See RNW Mar 29).
In Chicago, NextMedia Group, which in December last year filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (See RNW Dec 21, 2009) - and which, incidentally, still describes itself as a "rapidly growing" company on its web site), is putting suburban Chicago stations WZSR-FM and WWYW-FM plus Havelock, North Carolina, WSSM-FM, into The Mile High Station Trust, LLC., after the agency rejected its arguments that the stations did not compete in the Chicago and Greenville-New Bern markets and thus did not take the re-organized company above ownership caps in those markets.
Enforcement actions included issuing a USD 5,000 forfeiture to a Missouri non-commercial educational (NCE) station and the issuing of a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to a Missouri NCE for late filing of renewal applications and unauthorized operation (See RNW Mar 30) and the issuing of a USD 7,000 forfeiture to Ritenour Consolidated School District, licensee of NCE KRHS-FM, Overland, Missouri, for the same breaches.
The FCCC had issued an NAL for this amount and Ritenour had argued for a reduction on the basis that it had attempted to file the renewal application on time and had relied on FCC staff advice in relation to continuing operations after the licence expired but the FCC dismissed its arguments and confirmed the penalty.
In Massachusetts, the FCC confirmed a USD 4,000 penalty on Saga Communications, licensee of WAQY-FM, Springfield, for failing to conduct a contest substantially as announced. In this case the contest rules said the prize would be delivered within thirty days but in fact the company took around seven months. Saga had responded to an NAL for this amount by arguing that the FCC rules did not require prompt payment, that the FCC had incorrectly found that its own rules required the prize to be awarded within 30 days as the intent of the rule was to "persuade" winners to claim their prizes within thirty days, not to impose an obligation on Saga to award prizes within thirty days, and that the agency had not proved that the failure was wilful. The FCC rejected all arguments and confirmed the penalty.
In Connecticut, the agency has issued a USD 1,250 NAL to Connecticut Radio Fellowship, Inc., licensee of WIHS-FM, Middletown, for violation of public file regulations by failing to maintain a copy of its articles of incorporation and by-laws or, alternatively, a list of these documents, in the Station's local public inspection file, and by failing to provide requested copies within a reasonable amount of time.
The FCC had received a complaint about failure by the station to make the documents available and in response to letters of inquiry the licensee station personnel were unable to locate the document at the time it was requested but nevertheless said it believes it otherwise complied with the Commission's public file requirements, adding that the reason the documents were missing when requested was that they were "being reviewed", their exclusion was inadvertent and the failure to mail documents to the complainant was an "oversight."
The FCC rejected the arguments, ruled that its regulations had been breached and issued the NAL.
In New Mexico, the FCC rejected a Petition from Hodson Broadcasting, licensee of KHOD-FM, Des Moines, to overturn the denial of a staff refusal of a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) to operate the unbuilt station from a location at Raton, New Mexico and also a modification application to relocate the station to Raton.
Staff had denied the STA on the basis that it was not the appropriate vehicle for the establishment of a new service and that a grant would grant would circumvent the two-step construction permit and license process which is mandated by the Communication Act of 1934
The FCC in denying Hodson's petition and application noted that at issue was whether a second local service in the less populated community of Des Moines (population 177) is preferred to a sixth local service in the larger community of Raton (population 7,282and added that the staff decision had been consistent with precedents.
In other actions the agency yet again extended of its own accord - this time until July 6 this year - the deadline for Cox Enterprises, Inc.; Calvary, Inc.; Bonneville International Corp.; Scranton Times LP; and Morris Communications to file amendments to pending waiver requests or renewal applications or to file requests for permanent waivers of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule. The extension was in line with previous extensions on the basis of the parties' request that the deadline be delayed until 90 days after the issuance of a final court order on pending judicial challenges to the Commission's modified newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.
The FCC also dismissed a total of 280 reserved band FM translator applications that had been frozen ten years ago albeit noting that they could be re-filed in the next announced NCE reserved band FM translator filing window although this is not likely to be opened for several years. The applications were all affected by the filing freeze announced in 2000 as part of the transition to the new NCE comparative licensing process. They were for translators in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In another licensing decision it gave details of its closed auction 88 to start on July 20 in which a number of one AM group, 13 FM groups , and one FM Translator group which will resolve pending closed groups of mutually exclusive applications that have been the subject of various Commission and judicial decisions and a similar .
It also posted details of its Second Future of Media Workshop that it to be held on April 30 on the topic "Public and Other Non-commercial Media in the Digital Era."
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
Ofcom Annual Plan for 2010-11 (57-page 415 kb PDF):
Ofcom Tariff Tables for 2010-11 (18-page 98 kbm PDF):
2010-04-03: The South Australian Country Fire Service has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that makes the State's commercial radio stations official providers of emergency fire services information: the agreement follows a similar one signed with the with the Victorian Government last year (See RNW Oct 27, 2009).
The agreement involved all commercial stations in South Australia including those of Austereo, the Australian Radio Network, DMG Radio, Fairfax Radio Network, Grant Broadcasters, and Southern Cross Media and Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner commented "The industry has argued for some time for commercial radio to be included and promoted as an official provider of information in emergencies, along with the ABC. This is a common sense decision and one which will hopefully be emulated in other States in the near future."
"Commercial radio stations are an integral part of many local communities around the country and stand ready, willing and able to assist these communities in times of emergency," she added.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2010-04-02: Figures just released by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the second and third quarters of 2009 show a large fall in complaints with most of the fall in broadcasting where complaints fell from 188,558 in the first quarter of 2009 to 17,047 in the second quarter and then fell much further to 6,700 in the third quarter.
Inquiries however more than doubled in the second quarter compared to the first - up from 245,505 to 585,164 with 98% of the total concerning equipment issues as the US moved to digital TV - but then fell back again to 26,605 with most of the change again related to broadcasting, most of it to equipment: The first quarter figure of 215,928 rose to 563,397 in the second quarter and then fell back to 6,307
Within broadcasting complaints, the total related to "Programming - Indecency/Obscenity" went down from 181,080 (of these 179,997 were made in March last year) in the first quarter to 12,940 in the second quarter, some three quarters of them (9109) in April and then dropped to 3,149 in the third quarter, fairly evenly divided over the three months.
The most numerous complaints in the first quarter were Wireline Telecommunications - 34,491 of which 11,119 related to the Do Not Call List and 12,017 to other issues covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The position was similar in the third quarter where Wireline complaints totalled 34,925 of which 10,766 related to the Do Not Call List and 11,694 to other issues covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Previous FCC complaints figures (First quarter of 2009):
2010-04-01: Absolute Radio has announced that Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood is to host a Friday evening weekly show on its Absolute Radio Classic Rock, with a repeat to be aired on both Absolute Radio and Absolute Classic Rock on Saturdays at 22:00 (currently 2100 GMT) after Leona's Absolute Classic Rock Party.
Absolute Radio Classic rock was re-launched this week, branding itself as the home of the "Great British Guarantee" with a playlist that includes recordings from The Who, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen and the Rolling Stones.
The Ronnie Wood Show, which launches tomorrow at 18:00 (17:00 GMT), is produced by independent production company Somethin' Else and is being syndicated in Japan and Canada. It is also to be podcast and be available on ronniewoodradio.com.
Somethin Else on its website says of the show, "Each week in a one hour programme Ronnie will deliver a playlist that comes straight from his heart, playing music that he loves and is passionate about, all accompanied by his uniquely fascinating stories, experiences and memories and using his trusted guitar to illustrate elements of the tunes played."
The first show will feature Wood talking about being with Jimi Hendrix on his last night.
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co., Ltd (Ultimate parent of Absolute):
2010-04-01: Entercom has said that all the payments it receives from white supremacist Glenn Miller, who has filed as a write-in candidate for the Missouri Senate, will be donated to two charities - the Olathe chapter of the NAACP and a Jewish charity..
Miller's adverts demean Jews and non-whites but under federal law broadcasters are required to allow "reasonable access" to all qualified candidates and have to air the adverts without changes.
Entercom has been airing the adverts on its news-talk KMBZ-AM and country WDAF-FM along with disclaimers but a number of broadcasters have argued that Miller may not be qualified to be a candidate.
As a result the Missouri Broadcasters Association has written to state Attorney General Chris Koster asking him to determine whether white supremacist Glenn Miller is a "legally qualified" Senate candidate.
The Kansas City Star said that a spokesman said Koster had received the letter but had not yet reached a decision: Mark Sableman, a St. Louis lawyer who wrote the letter on behalf of broadcasters, told the paper, "There's some uncertainty at this point as to whether Mr. Miller is qualified and whether he has a right to be on (the air) at this stage."
He added that the letter is asking Koster to determine whether Miller meets residency and other legal qualifications and whether his is properly using his name Frazier Glenn Miller. Sableman added that some stations are also arguing that Miller isn't "bona fide" write-in candidate because he hasn't demonstrated substantial campaign activities such as opening an office, giving speeches and passing out campaign literature.
Kansas City Star report:
2010-04-01: UK media regulator Ofcom has invited "'preliminary expressions of interest" from organizations wanting to run short-term radio services during the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games but says that almost all the services will have to be digital.
Interest expressed, it says, will allow it to "gauge the level of demand" for such services and also how it should set up the licensing proves but it adds that there is a lack of useable frequencies throughout the UK and particular in London and major conurbations.
In the case of the 2010 Games it says availability of FM spectrum is "likely to be minimal" and that although some limited AM frequency resources may be available, although coverage is likely to be limited to a few kilometres radius: No wide-area analogue frequency will be available either on AM or FM.
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) spectrum, it adds, may be more widely available, but the scale of achievable coverage will depend upon the location of transmitters and the nature of the geographical area to be served and additional secondary legislation may be required to allow for the licensing of short-term digital radio multiplex services.
Those interested in the service are asked amongst other things to tell Ofcom what kind of service they are proposing; the amount of programming planned and data capacity needed; the geographical area they wish to cover; the transmitters needed for the proposed service and an outline of the proposed business model.
It adds that expressions of interest do not bind those submitting them to apply for a licence and that equally those who have not submitted an expression of interest will be allowed to apply for licences and also warns of the strict control of broadcasting rights to the games.
As regards other applications for small-scale analogue Restricted Service Licences during the period, it notes that these are usually licensed on a first-come first-served basis but if there is high demand selection may be made through a draw.
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