January 2011 Archive
2011-01-31: Cumulus Media Inc. has announced that it has agreed to acquire the whole of Cumulus Media Partners, LLC (CMP) - the privately-held former Susquehanna Radio that it has managed since 2006.
Publicly-quoted Cumulus Media already owned 25% of CMP, which owns 32 radio stations in nine markets, including San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Kansas City.
Cumulus adds that in connection with the stock-led acquisition, Cumulus will issue 9,945,714 shares of its common stock to affiliates of the three private equity firms that collectively own the remaining 75% of CMP ---- Bain Capital Partners, LLC; The Blackstone Group L.P.; and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
Blackstone will receive shares of Cumulus' Class A common stock but, in accordance with Federal Communications Commission broadcast ownership rules, Bain and THL - which have attributable interests in Clear Channel - will receive shares of a new class of Cumulus non-voting common stock. Cumulus also intends to acquire all of the outstanding warrants to purchase common stock of a subsidiary of CMP, in exchange for an additional 8,267,968 shares of Cumulus common stock and Cumulus also announced that David M. Tolley, a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone, has joined the Board of Directors of Cumulus.
In a news release Cumulus noted that based on the closing price of Cumulus' common stock on January 28, 2011, the implied enterprise value of CMP is approximately USD 740 million, which includes an estimated USD 660 million of CMP net debt and preferred stock as of December 31, 2010. This, it says, represents a valuation of approximately 7.8 times CMP's estimated 2011 station operating income and it adds that the transaction will not trigger any change of control provisions in the Cumulus or CMP credit agreements or bond indentures.
Cumulus' Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey said they were "pleased to announce the combination of Cumulus and CMP after having run these two radio groups as essentially one company for the last five years" and said they expected the combination to improve revenue growth; increase station operating margins; increase free cash flow yield; provide a more diversified and strategic national media platform; maintain the attractive debt capital structures of Cumulus and CMP; increase the equity market capitalization and liquidity of Cumulus' common stock; and strengthen our capital base to position the Company for strategic acquisitions."
No specifics were mentioned in connection with the last" benefit" but Cumulus has made bids to take over Citadel.
2011-01-31: BBC Radio 2 has announced that as part of its latest cuts it has axed its Electric Proms music festival after airing the festival, a spin-off from the classical Proms for five years.
The Electric Proms were was designed by the BBC to create new moments in music by inviting legendary artists to present one-off collaborations and performances and amongst the artists it has featured are Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Shirley Bassey, Burt Bacharach, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Doves and Mark Ronson with last year's line-up featuring Sir Elton John, Robert Plant and Neil Diamond.
In a release, Radio 2 and 6 Music controller Bob Shennan said, "In the current climate, we are faced with making difficult decisions, including how best to deliver high-quality live music programming throughout the year in light of continuing efficiency savings. I feel that Radio 2 can achieve the same impact of the Electric Proms in an alternative, more cost effective way. I'm disappointed that the lifetime of Electric Proms has come to an end, but very proud of its fantastically rewarding run of creating new moments in music for the past five years."
Jeff Smith, Head of Music, BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, added that Radio 2 "remains as committed as ever to live music programming" and said it would "replicate the spirit of Electric Proms within the live music schedule."
He noted that in addition to Electric Proms last year, live performances on Radio 2 included Paolo Nutini performing in Paisley; Paloma Faith at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival; Scissor Sisters performing live on Ken Bruce's mid-morning show; and Bryn Terfel singing Christmas classics at the Mermaid Theatre for Friday Night is Music Night.
Smith also noted that last week the station featured a gig by the Manic Street Preachers in home town of Blackwood in Wales and added, "We intend to create more of these special moments throughout 2011."
2011-01-31: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a USD 10,000 penalty on a Pennsylvania FM for failing to install Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment.
It inspected Bold Gold Media Group, Inc.'s WWRR-FM, Scranton, following receipt of a complaint and confirmed that there was no EAS equipment at its main studio. The station engineer acknowledged the failure but said that an EAS test could possible be transmitted by switching the audio source from its studio location in Plains, Pennsylvania to the main studio location in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then conducting the test using the EAS equipment shared by Bond Gold-owned and co-sited stations WICK-FM and WYCK-FM although he admitted that no such test had been conducted.
The FCC in proposing the USD 10,000 penalty noted that the base forfeiture was USD 8,000 but felt an increase was justified since the company had owned the station since 2006 and failed to purchase EAS equipment.
2011-01-30: Last week was again fairly quiet as regards radio for the regulators with no radio-related decisions from Australia or Ireland and only elsewhere: The main issue came from the US where Sirius XM has asked that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allow an expiry of the voluntary three-year freeze on various subscription charges that was agreed when the merger of Sirius and XM was allowed.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has revoked the licence of Toronto community-based campus radio station CKLN-FM, located at Ryerson University, which had been found to have breached numerous regulations and conditions of its licence (See RNW Jan 28).
The CRTC also posted the following decisions:
*Approved an application Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. a broadcasting licence for a 100,000 watts Classic Rock and New Rock music format English-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Estevan.
The application was opposed by 5777152 Manitoba Ltd., which expressed its concern regarding market entry for future competitors and submitted that the Estevan radio market would be better served by another operator - Golden West already operates CJSL-AM and CHSN-FM in Estevan - who would add to the diversity of voices in that market.
*Approved an application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a licence to operate a 59,000 watts variety hits format English-language commercial FM radio station in Humboldt.
It denied a mutually -exclusive application from Fabmar Communications Ltd. for a 100,000 watts Classic Rock station in Humboldt, noting in the decision that Golden West proposal would introduce a new local voice to the Humboldt region, which would serve to complement the regional service provided by Fabmar from its local stations in Melfort and their related rebroadcasting transmitters and would also offer more live-to-air programming..
The CRTC also posted two public notices, one with a Feb 14 deadline for the submission of comments or interventions that only related to TV applications and the second with a Feb 28 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments concerning applications to be considered at hearing at its headquarters starting on April 1.
This included the following radio applications:
Alberta Holy Mother World Networks of Canada for a broadcasting licence to operate a national religious English-language specialty audio programming undertaking to be known as Holy Mother World Network.
*Application by Bhupinder Bola, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (Bhupinder Bola), for a broadcasting licence to operate a national specialty audio programming undertaking to be known as Tamil Radio.
*Application by Bhupinder Bola, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (Bhupinder Bola), for a broadcasting licence to operate a national specialty audio programming undertaking to be known as Chutney Radio that would serve English-language Caribbean communities in Canada.
*Application by Le Club de la radio communautaire de Plamondon-Lac La Biche for a licence to operate q 1,215 watts n French-language FM Type A community radio programming undertaking in Plamondon-Lac La Biche.
Application by Cobequid Radio Society for a broadcasting licence to operate a 50 watts English-language Type B community FM in Lower Sackville.
*Application by Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc. for a licence to operate an English-language World Beat and Non-Classic Religious Music 1,000 watts commercial specialty FM radio programming undertaking in Toronto.
*Application by Cochrane Polar Bear Radio Club for a licence to operate a 5 watts English-language developmental community FM radio programming undertaking in Smooth Rock Falls.
*Application by 7590474 Canada Inc., which is controlled by Radio Humsafar Inc., which is in turn controlled by its majority shareholder Mr. Jasvir Singh Sandhu, to acquire the assets of the French-language radio programming undertaking CJLV Laval from Diffusion Laval Inc.
*Application by Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Radio Station Corporation for a licence to operate a 30 watts English-language Type B Native FM radio programming undertaking in Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.
In the UK, the only radio posting from Ofcom was of its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld two radio complaints (See RNW Jan 25).
In the US as already noted the Federal Communications Commission has asked for comment as to whether it should be taking any action when Sirius XM's voluntary three-year freeze of various prices - a commitment made when the merger of the then Sirius and XM satellite radio companies were allowed to merge - expires on July 28.
The FCC is asking whether there should be an extension of the freeze or any modifications or whether the freeze should be allowed to expire as requested by Sirius XM (See RNW Jan 26).
Apart from this, the agency made only a few radio-related postings including a decision to rescind a staff decision to re-allocate Channel 231A, which has not yet been put up for auction, from to Keeseville to Morrisonville, New York.
Hall Communications, Inc. had filed for a review of the decision and Nassau Broadcasting III, L.L.C. opposed the review; The story began in 2004 when staff allotted Channel 231A to Keeseville, as a first local service: In doing so, it denied a competing proposal filed by the former licensees of Station WWOD-FM, Hartford, Vermont, and WXLF-FM (formerly WSSH-FM), White River Junction, Vermont, that would have re-allotted Channel 282C3 from Hartford to Keeseville, and modified the WWOD-FM license to specify Keeseville as the community of license.
Nassau, the current licensee of WWOD and WXLF, had filed a petition asking the commission to allocate Channel 282A to Enfield, as that community's first local service and to accommodate this proposed to re-allot Channel 282C3 from Hartford to Keeseville, and to modify the WWOD license accordingly.
Nassau also asked the FCC to replace the loss of the sole local service to Hartford, by re-allotting WXLF's frequency from White River Junction to Hartford, and amending the station's licence to specify Hartford as the community of license. Nassau also requested that Channel 231A be re-allotted from Keeseville to Morrisonville at a new transmitter site, thus providing Morrisonville with its first local service.
Hall filed a counterproposal proposing that the Commission retain the current channel allotments at Hartford, White River Junction, and Keeseville, but allot Channel 282C3 to Morrisonville as a new "drop-in" allotment that would provide a first local service at that community.
Staff had allowed Nassau's application and denied that of Hall but the FCC agreed with the latter on the basis of Commission case law, which states that the Commission will not remove a vacant FM or TV allotment from a community if a potential applicant has expressed an interest in applying to build a station on that channel, absent a compelling reason to do so.
Hall had also argued that if there was an error in re-allotting Channel 231A from Keeseville to Morrisonville the other allotments should also be rescinded but on this the FCC disagreed, commenting that Nassau's proposal to add Channel 282A at Enfield is preferred over Hall's counterproposal to add Channel 282C3 to Morrisonville.
It therefore reversed the allotment of Channel 231 but let the other decisions stand.
The FCC has also announced its decisions concerning 18 groups of mutually exclusive applications for new or modified non-commercial educational ("NCE") FM station construction permits in the states of Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio,; Oregon; Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2011-01-28: Townsquare Media has revealed in a filing to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that t it is to be paid USD 1.85 million for six former GAP West stations in the Idaho Falls and Pocatello, Idaho markets whose sale it announced earlier this month (See RNW Jan 24).
The buyer is the newly-formed Rich Broadcasting, headed by CEO Richard Mecham, formerly with Bonneville. The price was not given when the deal was first announced.
2011-01-28: Fisher Communications' shareholder FrontFour Capital, which in 2008 was involved in an effort to get the company to sell itself, is trying again and has written to the Fisher board to advise it that it has nominated four candidates, who if elected would press for a sale, for election to the board at this year's annual meeting.
FrontFour also announced that it had sent a letter to the Fisher Board "highlighting its serious concerns with the continued underperformance of the Company under the current Board and management team and its belief that a significant change to the composition of the Board is required now to maximize shareholder value."
It adds that the directors it has nominated would, if elected "support and pursue a robust and impartial strategic review process aimed at selling the Company to the highest bidder. "
Amongst the signatories to the letter is David A. Lorber who is currently a member of the Board and who is also a member of the board of Trustees of the Huntingdon Real Estate Investment Trust (and also co-founder and current portfolio manager of FrontFour Capital, which is the largest shareholder of Huntingdon) that Fisher said earlier this month in December made a bid for Fisher that was rejected by the board (See RNW Jan 4): that bid was rejected by all members of the board except Lorber.
FrontFour in its letter says it has "lost all confidence in the ability of management to take the necessary steps to enhance value at Fisher and in the Board's ability to hold management accountable for its poor performance" and adds that it believes the "vast majority" of Fisher shareholders would support a review aimed at selling the company "as opposed to the uncertainty and inherent risks offered by the current Board's poorly conceived strategic direction. "
It notes the rejection of offers for Fisher in 2008 and last year and also acknowledges its links with both Huntingdon and Fisher but says its "sole interest at Fisher is in pursuing a value-maximizing transaction for Fisher that benefits all shareholders, and we have taken the necessary steps to eliminate conflicts of interest that could arise as a result of Huntingdon's interest in acquiring Fisher."
Fisher has acknowledged receipt of the letter and says "While Fisher strongly disagrees with the assertions contained in the FrontFour letter, Fisher values input from all its shareholders, and the Board will evaluate the nominees and make a recommendation in the best interests of Fisher's shareholders."
Fisher shares closed today at USD 24.23, valuing the company just below USD 213 million: Associated with FrontFour, which says it owns 135,642 shares of Fisher Common Stock, in the letter was Event Driven Portfolio, which owns a further 43,379 shares, to make a combined total of 179,021 shares making the holding worth around USD 4.4 million, some 2% of the total.
2011-01-28: Singer (Sir) Elton John has apologized after swearing on air during an appearance on the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans' breakfast show today when in conversation with host Chris Evans he blurted out "Fucking hell" in response to a question.
Evans had asked the singer about his favourite room and had responded, "I don't really have a music room per se at the house. I don't really play the piano much."
Evans responded by mentioning "Jules Holland says the first thing he's got to do when he gets up in the morning is to go and play the piano to re-connect with it" to which Elton John commented."Oh fucking hell..."
Evans then interrupted after giggling with an apology." We must apologise for that, kiddies there " and the singer added, "I was just exasperated with that - I mean I can't think of anything worse than getting up and playing the piano.", then later said, "Sorry about that. The remark was just so 'eurgh' I'm very sorry for that awful word I said - 'Jools Holland'."
The BBC has received a number of formal complaints and there were many others online in forums, on twitter and the Radio 2 live iPlayer console, including one that referred to an incident last month in which UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was referred to as Jeremy Cunt (See RNW Dec 6, 2010) and said," That was the funniest F word since the Today show debacle over Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary!"
Others were less forgiving with another commenting, " my 8 year old was shocked just before leaving for school - very CLEVER."
The BBC said in a statement, "Both Elton and Chris apologized many times on this morning's live Chris Evans Breakfast Show for the language used by Sir Elton. The BBC apologizes if any offence was caused."
Audio of the exchange was posted on a number of sites including the Radiofail website but Evans on his blog does not even mention the incident..
BBC Radio 2 - Evans blog:
Radiofail - audio of exchange:
2011-01-28: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has revoked the licence of Toronto community-based campus radio station CKLN-FM, located at Ryerson University, which had been found to have breached numerous regulations and conditions of its licence.
Announcing the decision the CRTC said the licensee, CKLN Radio Inc., was unable to convince the Commission it would be able to operate in compliance in the future.
The decision followed a public hearing into the station's affairs last year that had been announced in March last year but was then adjourned because of litigation and judicial mediation before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (See RNW Licence News Oct 17, 2010).
CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein, said of the ruling in a news release. Holding a broadcasting licence is a privilege that comes with responsibilities and regulatory obligations. CKLN Radio was given several warnings and opportunities to come into compliance. Each time, it demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to address our concerns. Taking away its licence is the only appropriate course of action in this case."
The CRTC began investigating the station in July 2009 after receiving numerous complaints about the station's governance structure, day-to-day management and operations, programming and ability to remain on air.
At the time there was significant infighting and the volunteers, staff and management were locked out of the studio premises by the building manager and during a seven-month lockout the station aired an intermittent loop of programming without any ongoing community involvement or oversight by the licensee.
The CRTC added that when the station resumed normal operations, CKLN Radio Inc. lacked any significant quality-control mechanism for its programming and there was little involvement from the Ryerson University student body despite its status as a campus radio station and it was also unable to meet some of the basic requirements of all licence holders, which include the submission of audible on-air tapes, program log and other records, and complete annual returns.
2011-01-27: The Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA), reporting radio revenues up 4% on 2009 last year and a projected 3% year-on-year increase has described the Los Angeles market as in a "fragile recovery mode."
In a January Los Angeles market update the SCBA says "Some Things Are Moving in a Positive Direction, Others, Not So Much" and lists various factors including "double digit unemployment levels for December 2010"in all counties except Orange with the largest private-sector job losses reported by construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade but job creation in the information sector, (includes motion picture production); leisure & hospitality and private education.
Auto sales for the region it says are up over 2009, and auto radio spending for 2010 exceeded 2009 spending by 10%.
Overall it concludes, "We are in a fragile recovery mode with sales up, consumer confidence wavering and unemployment levels holding at best" and after noting the Los Angeles' revenue increases noted above adds "Considering Political spending accounts for 4.5% of radio revenue for 2010 Nov YTD and there is relatively little political spending expected in 2011, that's a pretty aggressive growth rate for a local economy that is sluggish in creating jobs. . If the job situation does not improve or deteriorates even more, we will likely just match 2010 revenue levels in 2011."
In terms of revenue categories it says the top ten "posting gains YTD Dec 2010 were Auto, Financial, TV Networks, Grocery, Political, Beverages, Department Stores, Health Care, Personal Fitness /Personal Care Products and Casinos/Charities."
2011-01-27: The Californian Senate is investigating a racist death threat sent to Democrat State Senator Leland Yee after he condemned Conservative host Rush Limbaugh's crude imitation of Chinese during Chinese President Hu Jintao's remarks at a joint news conference with US President Barack Obama (See RNW Jan 21) and subsequently called on advertisers to boycott the unrepentant host's show.
Yee has posted a copy of the faxed threat on his website (RNW Note- the misspelling of Leland as Leeland is in the fax): Headed "FIGHTING The Marxist Nigger Thug Hussein Obama & Fish Head Leland Yee" the fax goes on:
To: JoBama Rectum Sniffing Moron LEELAND LEE
Achtung! [German word meaning "watch out"] Fish Head Leeland Lee. Rush Limbaugh will kick your Chink ass and expose you for the fool you are.
Without exceptions, Marxists are enemies of the United States Constitution! Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!"
Yee on his website says he received similar messages in April 2010 after he called for Sarah Palin's speaking fee at California State University to be disclosed and Yee commented, "It is quite disturbing that such racist sentiment still exists in our country. As I have said in the past, it is unfortunate acts like these that demonstrate why we must continue to be vigilant against hate and intolerance. Such vitriol has no place within our political discourse or anywhere in our society."
The Mercury News reported that Yee, who represents northern San Mateo County and western San Francisco, has enlisted the aid of community groups to put pressure on Limbaugh advertisers and also wants people to stop patronizing the advertisers. He has also launched on online boycott petition.
The report also says that Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates Limbaugh's show, did not return a call for comment and an Associated Press report carried by a number of publications said that Limbaugh did not respond to an e-mail asking for his comment.
Limbaugh on his site had mocked the protests at his comments but so far has made no reference to this story: His site when we last checked had the usual range of anti-Obamas and Democrats stories and also carried a story headed "Hollywood Crisis: No Oscar Nominees of Color This Year.
RNW comment: Limbaugh can hardly be blamed for the crudity of this attack but some of his own comments would seem to anyone who is not a devotee to be quite crude and objectionable to members of various minority groups and it would not be unreasonable for him to condemn this aprticular fax - we doubt he'd let a similar one from a Democrat-supporter to go without comment..
In the circumstances we can quite see that unless he is going to back-off - a very rare event as far as we can find out - Premiere is hardly going to comment and we suspect the boycott won't get very far except maybe in a few places.
Mercury News report:
Yee news release (Carries link to PDF of fax):
2011-01-26: The BBC has confirmed that it is to cut around 650 posts at the World Service over the next three years with around 480 posts to go over the next year as five language services are closed completely, others ended as radio services and short and medium wave transmissions reduced at a saving estimated at around GBP 19 million (USD 30 million) in the operating budget for the year from April - compared to a total 2010/11 budget of GBP 237 million (USD 376 million). The BBC estimates that the cuts will mean the loss of around 30 million in its worldwide audience of around 180 million a week.
In addition to the service closures -- in Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa,Serbian plus the English for the Caribbean regional service - the BBC is to end radio services in Azeri, Mandarin Chinese (Cantonese radio programming continues), Russian (some programmes which will continue but be distributed only online), Spanish for Cuba, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian.
In addition the BBC World Service will cease all short wave distribution of its radio content in March 2011 in Hindi, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Nepali, Swahili and the Great Lakes service (for Rwanda and Burundi) although these will continue online and to mobile phones and also via some local FM broadcasts. Other shortwave services except for a few "lifeline" services such as Burmese and Somali are to go by March 2014.
The cuts have been criticized in the UK Parliament and Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, who pioneered the theory of Soft Power, told the BBC Radio 4 programme The World at One that the cuts were "unfortunate", adding that the service provided an "enormous amount of soft power for Britain" and that he didn't know what else the BBC did that has as much influence.
Former World Service managing director Sir John Tusa described the cuts as "bad, bad, bad" and speaking on the Radio 4 breakfast "Today" programme added, "I think it's awful for World Service listeners because they won't have access to the programmes, and it is awful for British foreign policy because they are weakening substantially one of the most important elements of international cultural diplomacy."
The National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) General Secretary Jeremy Dear commented, "These ferocious cuts to a valued national service are ultimately the responsibility of the Coalition government whose policies are destroying quality public services in the UK" and the union added, "Overnight we will cut off millions of people in rural areas and by 2014, we will be leaving short-wave broadcasting to China and Russia.
The BBC said moves had to be made because of the budget cuts made as part of British government spending reductions - the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which currently pays for the World Service has said that its grant is to be cut by 16% over the next three years (the service will be funded from the BBC licence fee from 2014) and Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a written statement to MPs that the funding cuts meant that "difficult decisions" had to be made.
He continued, "We agreed with the BBC that the overall objective was to ensure the World Service should remain an articulate and powerful voice for Britain in the world, and a trusted provider of impartial and independent news."
Hague told Parliament that the World Service had initially suggested to the Foreign Office the closure of up to 13 language services but he had refused to give permission adding that the service had a "viable and promising future", but was "not immune from public spending constraints".
"It is absolutely right for the World Service to move more services to online and mobile," he said. "That is the way the world is going. The World Service has to move with the future, and of course some services have to close."
Opposition Labour MP and former foreign office minister and Denis MacShane told Parliament the changes would do "irreparable damage" to Britain and added that the government was "doing in part what no dictator has ever achieved - silencing the voice of the BBC, the voice of Britain, the voice of democracy, the voice of balanced journalism at a time when it is more than ever needed" and Labour's shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander added, "The reach and respect of the BBC World Service is a huge asset for Britain and the government should not be putting that at risk."
There was also some opposition to the moves from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, who form the UK's ruling coalition, with Andrew Tyrie, the Tory chairman of the Treasury select committee speaking of "deep concern" about the planned cuts and telling Hague "I hope you will reconsider it with your cabinet colleagues and in particular take a look at the overseas' aid budget which is increasing 37% in real terms at a time when you are intending to implement 16% cuts in the World Service. I hope you will hear the message from this house that if there is a choice between those two then we want to put the World Service first."
BBC Director General Mark Thompson writing in The Daily Telegraph said of the plans, "We understand the broader economic and fiscal context that has led to the reduction in the funding of the World Service, but these are still cuts that we would prefer not to have to make."
He then went on to say that the current cuts had nothing to do with the licence fee funding but were related to the Foreign Office funding for the service.
He took the same line as Hague, however, concerning technological change, writing, "The pattern of news consumption is changing around the world. Shortwave radio is in steep decline almost everywhere - already, FM rebroadcast is critical for reaching audiences in many countries. Use of TV, the web and mobile phones are on the rise almost everywhere. In some countries, where once the BBC World Service was a lifeline, free indigenous media makes our role less critical. Elsewhere, jamming or changing media use leaves some BBC services with marginal audiences."
Thompson also noted that the BBC through commercial services BBC World News and bbc.com had audiences of many tens of millions that "are growing rapidly around the world" adding "Though their funding model is commercial, they share the same public service objectives and values that inspired the founders of the World Service back in the 1930s."
Peter Horrocks, the Director, BBC Global News, in his statement to World Service staff praised their work before going on to confirm the details of the changes(cuts) , which he said would be carried out "as swiftly and compassionately as possible."
He then went on to say "We can't do it all by efficiency - doing the same for less money So, in plain language - there will be cuts - as a result of the reduction in our funding from the FCO. And it is worth reminding everyone that licence fee funding does not start until April 2014. This is about government funding and its impact."
The aims of the changes said Horrocks were to "ensure that BBC World Service maintains and strengthens its reputation as the world's leading international news provider" but he then spelled out more details of the effective cuts of funding saying the 16% figure did not take into account other factors that took the effective figure to 20% and noting "We initially faced the prospect of making cuts much deeper than those I am announcing today, simply to be able to afford the redundancy payments."
Horrocks said of services that would continue that there would be significant reductions in TV operations for Arabic and Farsi audiences, plus reductions in online and in the World Service English output "the schedule will become simpler and some programmes will be decommissioned."
The changes would include, he said, a reduction from seven to five daily pre-recorded "non-news" programmes, adding "This includes the loss of one of the weekly documentary strands. Europe Today and Politics UK are also being closed."
The BBC Trust in a statement said it had "fully considered and approved" the changes being announced that reflected the "financial settlement reached with the Government as part of the recent Comprehensive Spending Review, which sees the level of Government funding available for the World Service reduced by 16 per cent.
It added that in relation to the World Service "Exceptionally the BBC Trust has agreed to release a limited amount of licence fee funding over the next two years to meet the restructuring costs that will help ensure a smooth transition over to the BBC in 2014."
RNW comment: If Nye is only partly right, this decision would seem to be ill advised and rather rushed as there seem to be no plans by Germany to cut back Deutsche Welle, its international service, and Russia and China are both boosting their international services. The saving of GBP 19 million in the first year if looked at in the context of the cost of a fighter plane -around GBP 86 million (USD 136 million) for a Tornado, GBP 68 million (USD 108 million - Pentagon figures in 209) for an F35, and GBP 227 million (USD 360 million - US GAO figures) for an F22 Raptor would indicate that in terms of comparative expenditure the influence from a news service may well be fairly cost-effective. Time will of course tell and we will be interested to see how comparative surveys of audiences for international services show how accurate the BBC is in estimating the degree to which it can preserve the effectiveness of the World Service not only in relation to the Voice of America but also in relation to other services including those of current second-rank players such as Iran. It wouldn't take much success for the last - or much change in Turkey's foreign policy - to negate these savings.
Daily Telegraph - Thompson:
2011-01-26: Global Radio, the UK's largest radio company, is to report a pre-tax loss of GBP 31 million (USD 49 million) in the year to the end of March last year according to the UK Daily Telegraph, which notes that in the previous year it wrote off GBP 193.5 million (USD 308 million) after spending GBP 545 million ( USD 868 million) buying Chrysalis and GCap Media before the economic downturn struck and that pre-tax losses in the 18 months to March 31, 2009, were GBP 277 million (USD 441 million).
Total revenues for the year were GBP 204 million (USD 325 million) - down from GBP 215 million ( USD 342 million) ) a year earlier but adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the year were up from GBP 26 million (USD 41 million) in 2009 to GBP 46 million (USD 73 million).
The paper says reports to be filed at Companies House this week will say that the advertising environment remained tough in 2009 and early 2010, although audiences improved and the roll-out of its Heart brand across the country has been a success. They will also note that this year the company will be hit by cuts in government spending - around 8% of its total advertising revenues has come from the Central Office of Information in previous years.
Previous Global Radio:
UK Daily Telegraph report:
2011-01-26: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now asking for comment on whether Sirius XM should be allowed to change its subscription charges when the company's current voluntary agreement to freeze them for three years runs out on July 28.
Comment on whether the freeze should be extended or modified has to be submitted by February 24 with reply comments to be made by March 11.
At the time it approved the merger of the then two satellite radio companies the FCC said the voluntary commitment would "would mitigate the harm from any post-merger price increases" and accepted a three-year freeze although some commenters at the time proposed a longer period.
The agency at that time said it did not know what the "competitive landscape" would be like in three years and committed itself to "to review the price cap six months prior to its expiration by seeking public comment on whether the price cap continues to be necessary in the public interest and whether the price cap should be modified, removed, or extended.
It now says that on Jan 20 Sirius XM (as already reported - See RNW Jan 20) submitted a letter "stating its view that there is no reason to extend or modify the price cap condition, in light of changes in the competitive landscape and practical considerations that it asserts militate against extension" and asking that the "Commission allow the price cap to expire at the end of three years."
The agency is accordingly asking for comment on whether the freeze should be extended or amended in any way, noting that any commenter who asks for extension or change will be "asked to explain why such extension is necessary and would serve the public interest under current market conditions" or if suggesting changes to "propose specific modifications and to explain how its proposals will serve the public interest."
Previous Sirius XM:
2011-01-25: Journalists at the BBC World Service who are expecting around 650 job cuts to be announced are to stage a protest rally outside the service's Bush House building tomorrow and are also calling on parliamentarians asking them to review thoroughly BBC plans to cut the service, which is facing a 16% budget cut between now and 2014, when funding instead of coming from the Foreign Office will come out of the BBC licence fee.
According to a BBC News report the cuts will include the ending of five services - Albanian, Macedonian, and Serbian, along with Portuguese for Africa and English for the Caribbean.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), whose General Secretary Jeremy Dear referred to "ferocious cuts to a valued national service", has written calling for the review to Richard Ottaway chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and John Whittingdale, the chair of the Culture Media and Sport Committee.
BBC Director of Global News Peter Horrocks is scheduled to announce his plans for the service tomorrow and the NUJ says in the letter, "If the details we have obtained are accurate, we believe Mr Horrocks' plan will severely damage the national interest of the UK."
It goes on to point out that audiences for the English language service are at historically high levels and then goes on to say the journalists "fear that so many shortwave transmitters will be switched off in the next year that the bulk of our audience will no longer be able to listen to us in English. Overnight we will cut off millions of people in rural areas and by 2014 we will be leaving short-wave broadcasting to China and Russia."
They also express concern about other decisions citing a decision to replace an FM transmitter "used for decades in Berlin for one which has so little power that the signal can barely be heard"; the expected closure or downgrading of many language services; and fears for the future of the BBC World Service News and Current Affairs department with many of the surviving language services to be staffed by "people who will work in their home countries - in Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh."
They say they are fighting "for the very existence of a style of journalism that has brought hope to countless millions of people across the world and continue "Like many of our colleagues, we believe that the licence fee and the grant-in-aid settlements have to be understood in the context of the public outcry over executive salaries in the BBC. The plans that have followed from these will do irreparable damage to the World Service. We also worry that some of the BBC's independence from government has been traded away We hope that you will take our concerns seriously. They arise from a love of what we do, and our desires to stop the destruction of the World Service and contribute to its future success."
There is widespread speculation that Horrocks will announce cuts of around 650 taking the total with those announced for BBC Online (See RNW Jan 24) to some 1,000 this week with the overall total as other departments announce their plans to double this number.
The BBC report quoted Horrocks as saying the closures were "not a reflection on the performance of individual services or programmes".
"They are all extremely important to their audiences and to the BBC," he added."It is simply that there is a need to make savings due to the scale of the cuts to the BBC World Service's grant-in-aid funding from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and we need to focus our efforts in the languages where there is the greatest need and where we have the strongest impact."
BBC News report:
2011-01-25: Sirius XM Radio wants the freedom to raise its subscription rates from the end of July and has asked the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to extend the three year freeze on its rates that was part of agreement that allowed the 2008 merger between then separate Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio to go ahead.
The agreement - for a three-year freeze "current or proposed prices" (the current basic rate of USD 12.95 a month runs to July 28th and Bloomberg reports that Sirius XM in the filing asked the agency to take "no steps" to extend or modify the rate cap and refers to a "robustly competitive" market with consumers able to choose terrestrial radio and Internet music services such as Pandora and Rhapsody, while automakers offer ways to access Web- based entertainment in their cars.
Bloomberg adds that an FCC media bureau spokeswoman said it was reviewing the request and that Sirius did not immediately provide any comment.
Satwavespro in its report credits the original breaking of the news to Radio Survivor and notes that the filing, although dated January 20, has not yet been made public by the FCC, adding that there is typically a lengthy delay between the FCC's receipt of a filing and it being made publicly available. (RNW Note: A search just before we posted this report does not pull it up from the FCC's site): It then goes on to speculate on "Who leaked the letter? ", suggesting a possible source inside the FCC or the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
Radio Survivor in its report notes that then the FCC agreed to the merger and accepted the voluntary price freeze proposed by the satellite radio companies the agency also said that six months before the freeze expired the "Commission will seek public comment on whether the cap continues to be necessary in the public interest The Commission will then determine whether it should be modified, removed, or extended."
Previous Sirius XM:
Radio Survivor web site:
Satwavespro report (Subscription):
2011-01-25: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin rules that a Suffolk community station failed to provide key commitments and upholds one radio standards radio complaint along with ten TV standards complaints - including one each against editions of the X-Factor and one against a Channel Five talk show in relation to promotion of goods, another against X-Factor over the use of flashing lights that could lead to photosensitive epileptic seizures and a number against various adult channels:. It also gives details of two TV Fairness and Privacy complaints not upheld.
The community station found to have failed to provide key commitments is Blyth Valley Radio which has been providing a service for the people of Southwold and surrounding villages since July 2009 with output provided by volunteers.
Its Blyth Valley Radio is a community radio station providing a service for the people of Southwold and surrounding village include one saying "Live output will typically consist of 70% music and 30% speech (speech? excludes advertising, programme/promotional trails and sponsor credits)".
Ofcom received a complaint about the proportion of speech programming broadcast on the station, on 19 August 2010 and wrote to the station to ask whether it was complying with this condition.
In response the station conducted an analysis of its output for a week in August and estimated that its overall speech output was 15.8% with music at 84.2%.
Ofcom again wrote to the station and was told that it continuously monitors and updates its schedule to accommodate different presenters and that this can cause "peaks and troughs" in the station?s speech output percentage, which said was typically "around 30% on average over a period of time". In this week it surveyed it said there were "exceptional circumstances: 'one new presenter who had never been on air, another fairly new presenter who did a one off show and one person we also had in the studio a work experience youngster who also had a go at presenting'".
It also said that it has worked extensively over the past three months to train presenters to become more confident on-air and deliver more speech programming and that there has been a marked improvement in the peak/trough averages.
Ofcom noted that he station has subsequently been allowed to change the key commitment to 75% music and 25% speech but said that there had been a breach that it was formally recording.
The radio standards complaint involved BRMB and a lunchtime news bulletin that led a listener to complain that the presenter's comments about tickets for a pop group's concerts were tantamount to advertising.
BRMB owner Orion Media responded by saying that the reference to the availability of tickets on BRMB?s website was a "factual single statement, not a repeated insistence" and argued that "news stories often point listeners to useful places for further relevant information". It added that mentioning their own website as opposed to a site purely established to sell tickets was "less commercial" and that it did not consider the mention problematic.
Ofcom accepted that the report concerned a newsworthy item but said that nevertheless the mention promoted a product and therefore breached the codes that were in force at the time (RNW Note: Ofcom has subsequently loosened its rules on sponsorship and mentions of products or services).
In addition to the above findings Ofcom also listed without details 195 complaints against 496 TV items - 128 of them against one news item - and nine radio complaints against nine items that it did not uphold: This compared to 244 complaints against 167 TV items and 15 radio complaints against 14 items that were similarly listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Bulletin:
2011-01-24: Citadel's executives and board - and CEO Farid Suleman in particular - have come under attack in the New York Times in a report that in effect accused them of acting in their own self-interest to the detriment of stockholders and in particular expressed concern that the refusal to consider a buyout offer from rival Cumulus (See RNW Dec 17, 2010) may have been intended to let an "ineffective" Suleman hang on to his job.
The report notes a plan when the company emerged from bankruptcy to award Suleman and other executives along with board members stock worth around USD 100 million, a plan that was amended to replace the stock with options after legal action from Citadel debt-holder R2 (R-squared - See RNW Nov 3, 2010).
The Times notes that after rejecting the Cumulus bid for a second time, the company issued USD 400 million in debt that it says shareholders consider "the equivalent of a poison pill anti-takeover device" and that although Citadel denied that this was intended to increase the cost of a takeover it did contain a "provision requiring the debt to be redeemed, at a cost of USD31 million, if the company changed hands in the near future."
Citadel's board adds the paper in a statement denied impropriety and said, "We are sharply focused on maximizing shareholder value. We retained two financial advisers to help us evaluate the Cumulus proposal and thoroughly considered it at multiple board meetings. At our request, Citadel's financial advisers have had a dialogue with Cumulus's financial advisers regarding its proposed financing and other aspects of the proposal. We remain open to credible acquisition proposals from any third party at an appropriate valuation."
On the other side it quoted an "unhappy Citadel investor" who spoke on condition of anonymity as saying "I would have loved to hear an articulate argument as to why a combination with Cumulus doesn't make sense. Dismissing the approach outright is downright irresponsible."
It also quoted Geoffrey Raynor, senior managing partner and founder of Q Investments, an investment group in Fort Worth that owns Citadel shares, as saying "First they try to overpay themselves and management to the tune of USD 100 million. Then they put up roadblocks to a merger, which can only be a desperate attempt to keep their jobs, in our opinion. After all, if they lose their seats on the board, how else are they going to be able to siphon off another USD 100 million when no one is looking?"
The paper says four of Citadel's largest shareholders claim that Suleman does not return their calls and that a majority of the company's owners contend that they are being victimized by their board's refusal to entertain a buyout offer, noting that the company's by-laws bar stockholders from calling an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Cumulus deal. Such a meeting can only be called by the board or chief executive.
RNW comment: We understood that US company boards had a fiduciary duty to shareholders and if indeed a majority of shareholders rather than a vocal minority thinks the board is failing to meet its obligations it is open to them to go to the courts: Of course such a move might well cost them money - thus requiring principled rather than merely greedy shareholders - but the thought of Citadel's Board being put in the dock (literally) because their decision was tainted by self-interest is appealing. Even more appealing we suspect to many Citadel employees and former employees would be the thought of Suleman personally being brought down by his greed and opportunism.
New York Times report:
2011-01-24: BBC Radio 4 Controller Gwyneth Williams has announced changes to the schedule to start from October when on Tuesdays the station will launch a new science programme to be followed by a "15-minute interview strand": Titles are yet to be announced for the two programmes and no presenter has yet been named for the science programme that the BBC says "will cover all subjects across the scientific arena: physics, engineering, maths, biology, chemistry, engineering and natural history."
"Working scientists from all over Britain," it adds, "will talk about the way they work in a conversation featuring a personal story, a significant moment in their work and an explanation and exploration."
Williams on the station Blog says that she has "been talking to various people, among them Jim Al-Khalili, a scientist and an experienced broadcaster, about possibly presenting it."(RNW note: Al-Khalili, who was born in Baghdad of an Iraqi Shia father and English Protestant mother, is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Surrey, where he studied physics and later became a research assistant and lecturer. He is well known for contributions to science programmes on British radio and TV.).
In the blog, Williams says of the planned programme, that it will not be "about the ideas of science which Melvyn Bragg covers regularly in the brilliant In Our Time - but about science and working scientists, about the scientific method, across a range of subjects."
Of the planned interview programme she says she wants this to be a "strand in which some of our best journalists can be led by their passions and interests in choosing subject matter and interviewees" adding "I hope to entice Lyse Doucet, Robert Peston, Bridget Kendall, John Humphrys, Lucy Kellaway and others to give it a try."
To make way for this Radio 4 is planning to drop "Taking a Stand" ; "On the Ropes" ;"The Choice" and "Between Ourselves" although Williams adds, "I have not made this change without a lot of thought and I can assure you that, in different ways, these much-loved presenters will still grace the airwaves of Radio 4."
Williams also says there is to be a new comedy to air on Sunday evenings and new satire from Rory Bremner
Also at the BBC, the Corporation has announced that it is to severely cut back its online operations - whose budget had been reduced by a quarter - with the closure of up to 360 posts.
Putting spin on the announcement it says the plans are "are the first step in the delivery of the BBC's strategy, Putting Quality First" and then goes on to say that this "putting quality first" will mean amongst other things:
*The closure of half of the 400 Top Level Domains (with 180 closing ahead of schedule later this year)
*The replacement of the majority of programme websites with automated content
*The automation of bespoke digital radio sites 1Xtra, 5 Live Sports Extra, 6 Music and Radio 7
*The closure of RAW, Blast, Switch, Video Nation and the disposal of h2g2
*The removal of non-News features content from Local sites
*A substantial reduction in show business news on the News website
*Fewer News blogs, with more focus on the updates from leading editors and correspondents
*A reduction in the overall amount of Sports news and live sport
*Stand-alone forums, communities and message boards and blogs to be reduced and replaced with integrated social tools
*The closure of the 606 community site and the closure of the BBC iPlayer message board
It also notes a number of things that BBC online will not do including launching its own social network; offering specialist news content for specialist audiences; publishing local listings; Providing continuing professional development materials for teachers or a managed learning environment for schools; producing online-only music sessions
RNW note: The BBC release makes much of delivering a better quality service but looking at the details what is clear is that commercial interests have managed to significantly limit BBC online activities in those areas where they think money is to be made. It also speaks of transforming BBC online into "10 distinctive products" that will share common technical features including "the ability for licence fee payers to personalise and access them across a range of devices, from computers and mobiles to tablets and TVs." Nothing is said whether this mention of licence fee payers means that those outside the UK will find access to any of the "products" circumscribed according to geographical location (there is, of course, no practical way, to prevent UK inhabitants who have not paid their licence fee from accessing the sites.)
On the other hand there are many parts of BBC online that had as BBC Director General Mark Thomson commented grown "like Topsy" and that were hardly essential services for the Corporation (domains to go include a number for long-defunct shows although there can hardly be any significant saving in dropping them) as well as many areas where automating processes make sense
We do suspect however that the Corporation, which is already woefully unresponsive when there are site errors, will not improve in any areas where is more automated services malfunction even with its supposed new focus on priority areas.
We also note that the BBC Director of Future Media & Technology Erik Huggers is leaving to join Intel - and that around a third of the posts will go in BBC Future Media and Technology - but Huggers insists that the move was because the Intel offer to run its digital home group was too good to turn down.
2011-01-24: Townsquare Media,, which took over Regent and GAP Broadcasting, has announced agreement to sell six former GAP West stations in the Idaho Falls and Pocatello, Idaho markets to the newly formed Rich Broadcasting, LLC, which is making its first acquisition.
The six stations being sold are Country KID-FM and news-talk KID-AM (Idaho Falls) and Pocatello stations Adult contemporary KLLP-FM (licensed to Chubbuck); Rock KPKY-FM; News-talk KEGE-FM, and news-talk KWIK-AM.
No price was given for the deal which Townsquare Media Chairman and CEO Steven Price said emanated from "an ongoing strategic review of our portfolio of assets". He added that the company will retain four Idaho stations in Twin Falls
Rich Broadcasting CEO Richard Mecham, who most recently managed Bonneville International's flagship Salt Lake City stations KSL Television and KSL Newsradio, added, "This acquisition represents a strong commitment to localism in broadcasting and a solid foundation for our company's future growth. Our management team's previous experience managing stations in these markets for Bonneville International (RNW Note: Bonneville acquired seven stations in Idaho in a 2003 USD 175 million deal to purchase 15 stations from Simmons Media: It sold its Eastern Idaho stations in 2006 for some USD 13.5 million), selling gives us an appreciation for the communities and we look forward to working with the existing personnel as we build on their success."
2011-01-23: In a fairly quiet week yet again, the main regulatory news came from the Canada and the UK: In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has asked the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) to review its ruling that the use of the word "faggot" in the full version of Dire Straits "In the Money" breached industry codes (See RNW Jan 21) whilst in the UK Ofcom has announced a major reduction in the annual fees it is asking for national commercial analogue licences (See RNW Jan 21): Elsewhere was very quiet with no radio announcements from Australia or Ireland and only a few from North America.
In Canada, the CRTC also posted a two radio licensing decisions including the following:
British Columbia and Ontario:
*Revocation at the request of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation of the following transitional digital radio undertakings:
CBU-DR-1, CBU-DR-2, CBUF-DR-1 and CBUX-DR-1, Vancouver.
CBO-DR-1, CBOQ-DR-1, CBOF-DR-1 and CBOX-DR-1, Ottawa.
CBLA-DR-1, CBL-DR-1, CJBC-DR-1 and CJBC-DR-2, Toronto.
CBE-DR-1 and CBE-DR-2, Windsor.
*Approval of application by the Association des Églises baptistes reformées du Québec to add a 200 watts FM transmitter in Saint-Jérôme to rebroadcast the programming of its CFOI-FM, Québec, in its entirety.
As already noted there were no radio announcements from Ireland and in the UK there was only one, that of the lowering of the price being asked for national commercial analogue licences.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which was closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Day, was again more concerned with broadband and telecommunications than broadcasting although it made a few postings.
These included a decision to allow Tribune Co. a degree of confidentiality concerning documentation it has submitted ad debtor in possession to the agency and which is now subject to a Protective Order relating to its release to other parties.
The FCC also imposed a USD 3,200 forfeiture on Southern Broadcasting & Investment Co., Inc., licensee of WBTY-FM, Homerville, Georgia, for late filing of licence renewal and subsequent unauthorized operation.
The FCC had originally issued a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to which Southern responded by requesting cancellation or reduction on financial hardship grounds.
Southern provided tax returns for 2007, 2008, and 2009 show gross revenues of approximately USD 66,000, USD 61,000, and USD 66,000, respectively with losses of USD 16,935 and USD 5,845 in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Based on the figures the FCC said cancellation was not justified but it reduced the penalty to USD 3,200 based on the station's gross revenues.
In Louisiana, the agency denied an attempt by one broadcaster in the Monroe market to stop licence transfers to and from another (See RNW Jan 22).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2011-01-22: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied a petition opposing the assignment of the licences of Louisiana stations KNOE-FM, Monroe, from Radio Monroe, LLC to Holladay Broadcasting of Louisiana, LLC and of KJMG-FM, Bastrop, Louisiana, from Holladay to KP Music Group, LLC.
Opus Broadcasting Monroe, LLC, licensee of KMYY-FM, Rayville; KQLQ-FM, Columbia; KXRR-FM, Monroe; and KZRZ-FM, West Monroe - all in Louisiana - had filed the Petition to Deny on the basis that Holladay would continue to have an attributable interest in KJMG-FM after the assignments in violation of the agency's cap of six stations for the market (with a maximum four either AMs or FMs); that in filing a lawsuit in Louisiana state court against Opus Holliday seeks to punish Opus for participating in the Commission's processes and brings into question Holladay's qualifications to be a Commission licensee; that the assignments are not in the public interest ; and that allegations made by Opus in a pleading filed with the Enforcement Bureau on November 14, 2007, render Holladay unqualified to be a Commission licensee.
The FCC noted that Holliday currently owns the maximum number of stations allowed in the Monroe market but that Holliday was proposing that its acquisition of KNOE-FM be made contingent upon the assignment of KJMG-FM to KP for USD 700,000 - in order to comply with the multiple ownership rule.
The agency also noted that an Asset Purchase Agreement for KJMG filed with it on Sep 23, 2009m provided for Holliday to finance the entire USD 7,000 for which it would keep a first priority lien on the station's assets, and that Opus said this would leave Holliday with an attributable interest but that subsequently this was amended in Nov 2009 with a new agreement under which Holliday will receive the USD 700,000 in cash whilst KP borrows the money from the Community Trust Bank (in Monroe with Holladay, or Robert Holladay, the sole member of Holladay, providing "an unsecured guarantee" of the purchaser's obligations under the loan. Because under this amendment the loan guarantee is not secured by any collateral, the FCC said this did not amount to an attributable interest.
Opus also claimed that because the original proposal breached FCC multiple ownership rules, Holliday's initial certification of compliance was incorrect. Again the agency disagreed and found no attempt to falsely certify compliance although it cautioned Holladay that it should "exercise diligence to ensure the accuracy of any future certifications to the Commission. "
Regarding the lawsuit against Opus and three of its employees, in which Holladay alleged defamation and the making of false statements, the FCC accepted Holladay's response that the suit was "not filed for the purpose of retaliation, but because Robert Holladay believes that he has a cause of action under state law, which entitles him to damages" and it also commented that Opus had not substantiated its argument that grant of the assignment would harm listeners and advertisers in the market.
The agency also noted previous issues raised by Opus in which it claimed that Holladay was not qualified to be a licensee and had exercised improper control of KBYO-FM, whose licensee was Union Broadcasting Company, Inc. for a relevant period because Ness Sound, owned by Holladay's former General Sales Manager and Robert Holladay's former wife Cynthia Holladay solder advertising for KYBO and programming to it and also that on-air and production employees worked at KBYO-FM and the four Holladay-owned stations. In each case the FCC said that Opus had failed to make its case.
Accordingly it has approved the assignments and denied Opus's petition.
2011-01-21: US host Rush Limbaugh remains unrepentant about criticism of his crude imitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao's remarks at a joint news conference with US President Barack Obama when the Fox News broadcast he was watching failed to deliver simultaneous translation.
Limbaugh has posted his version on his website under the heading "Liberals Freak Out Over EIB Translation of ChiCom Dictator" with a sub-heading "Have you ever heard of a guy named Sid Caesar?" in reference to a clip he played in his show of Caesar in 2007 imitating Japanese in a skit "Foreign Film Dub."
The host comments, "Normally when you watch these things, the translation is either simultaneous or else the foreign language spokesman will speak for a while, pause, the translator will translate it, then resume, then the translator will translate, then resume. What I noticed was it was the first time ever they just kept going, both sides of this. So I'm saying, 'I have no idea what Hu Jintao is saying.' I wanted to report to you what he was saying, but there wasn't any translation so all I could do was tell you what he said, which I did a remarkable job of doing for someone who doesn't know the language. Back in the old days, Sid Caesar, for those of you old enough to remember, was called a comic genius for impersonating foreign languages that he couldn't speak. But today the left says that was racism; it was bigotry; it was insulting. And it wasn't. It was a service. I insulted the ChiComs. I insulted 3,000 years of Chinese history.
Audio of Limbaugh's comments have been posted on numerous sites but the one that caught our eye was that from The Economist magazine's "Johnson" blog - named after Samuel Johnson whose dictionary was published in 1755.
It had embedded the audio of Limbaugh that does not work (it carries a further link to Media Matters version that does) and comments after referring to "the gratuitous insult to a visiting head of state and an ancient culture" that Limbaugh's "fake 'Chinese' sounds a lot more like Cantonese to my somewhat untrained ear than it does the Mandarin Mr Jintao spoke in Washington. This is probably due to the fact that Cantonese is more familiar to Americans than Mandarin is, via immigration. And I'm also pretty certain I didn't miss the part where Mr Jintao started shouting like a maniac; his delivery was, if anything, exceedingly dry."
Other reports also referred to Stephen Colbert's version of the story when he "translated" back into English the sounds that had emanated from the host " My favorite doughnut is every doughnut. When I stand up, my chair smells like a cat shelter." (Video of Colbert's comments on Comedy Central is also online but it is blocked in a number of countries including the UK).
Responses posted to reports are generally condemnatory of Limbaugh except for those from his fans who seem to anything he says acceptable.
The best sequence of comments we noted were in the Huffington Post -- "I still say that we should send El Rushbo to China and let them deal with him. Or would the Chinese be disgusted at the very sight of him?
Response: "Nah, they love pork."
And then "would be too afraid he'd come back as soup. Probably #4."
RNW comment: The Economist is quite correct about Limbaugh's version of Chinese being more like Cantonese than Mandarin but unfortunately we can't find the Caesar audio to see how genuine that sounds as Japanese.
And of course, whatever criticism Limbaugh comes under, he is most unlikely to backtrack as his fans seem to worship at his altar.
Worth re-iterating maybe that there are some 300 million Americans, his audience is only 15 millin of them, and most of them are elderly
Huffington Post on Limbaugh comments:
Limbaugh on his comments:
The Economist - Johnson blog:
2011-01-21: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has asked the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) to review its ruling (See RNW Jan 13) that the use of the word "faggot" in Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" breached Canadian industry codes.
The decision attracted worldwide publicity and condemnation and a letter from CRTC Secretary General Robert A. Morin to CBSC National Chair Ronald I. Cohen notes that the CRTC has "received about 250 letters from all parts of Canada on this topic, most of which have suggested that the CBSC made an incorrect decision, and many of which have urged the Commission to take corrective action."
It goes on to add that many of the letters had mistakenly assumed that it was "the Commission, and not the CBSC, that determined that the version of the Dire Straits song containing the contested derogatory word was inappropriate for radio airplay" and then says "The volume of letters and perceived overlap of responsibilities between the Commission and the CBSC has created uncertainty for the public and for radio stations requiring information on the continued appropriateness of playing that version of the song."
The CRTC then says it is sending all the correspondence it has received to the CBSC and goes on, "The Commission is of the view that the CBSC should appoint a panel with a national composition to reconsider the matter and review the new correspondence regarding this song."
The reconsideration is says should, "after seeking submissions from the public by means of a public request for comments via your website, take into consideration all relevant factors, including:
*the context of the particular wording in the song's theme and intended message,
*the age and origin of the song and the date of its performance,
*the prominence of the contested word in the song and the use of that word over time, and
*the length of time and frequency that it has been playing on the airwaves.
The letter concludes, "It would be appreciated if the CBSC could consider this matter as expeditiously as possible and issue its reconsidered decision promptly."
RNW note: Amongst those objecting to the decision have been a number of musicians who are quoted in a report on the Xtra.ca web site that carries gay and lesbian news in Canada. The report is headed "Queer musicians denounce 'faggot' decision" and amongst the musicians quoted are Joel Gibb of the "gay church folk" group "The Hidden Cameras", who says, "It seems like North American society is getting more puritanical about language. Our fixation on words unnecessarily gives them more power then they deserve. When you censor a word, it draws much more attention to it than if you leave it alone."
Cohen in response to various comments said that suggestions that the decision was silly because it concerned a 30-years-old song that hadn't been an issue were failed to take into account that "nearly every time" the track was played it was the edited version and that the band themselves had not put the longer version in their best-of album.
2011-01-20: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that it has slashed the annual licence fee it is asking from commercial national station licensees Classic FM, owned by Global Radio, and talkSPORT, owned by UTV Media, to GBP 10,000 ( USD 16,000) a year for a seven-year renewal although the regulator notes uncertainties that mean they could be terminated with two years notice. Ofcom is due to release the details of its review of the national AM licence owned by Absolute Radio in April.
The two licensees have until February 18 to decide whether to accept the terms, offered says Ofcom because it does not think there would be competing bids were the licences put for auction and thus the incumbents would make only nominal bids.
Before the previous review in 2006, Classic FM, which was then owned by GCap Media, paid an annual licence fee of GBP 1.2 million ( USD 1.9 million) and a PQR of 14% and talkSport, which came under UTV's ownership in 2005 when it bought The Wireless Group, paid GBP 563,000 (USD 896,000) a year and a PQR of 6%.
At the moment Classic is paying GBP 50,000 (USD 80,000 a year) plus 6% of its "qualifying revenues" (PQR) whilst talkSPORT, whose signal is on AM, is paying GBP 100,000 a year with no revenue percentage.
Should they accept the new Classic FM licence would come into effect immediately as the station is already past its application deadline of June 30 last year whilst talkSPORT's new terms and licence would apply from Jan 1 next year: The Classic FM licence currently runs until the end of September this year, that of Absolute to 30 April next year and Absolute's until the end of next year with application deadlines of June 30 last year for Classic (Ofcom notes it was unable to meet this because the Digital Economy Act was only passed in April); 30 Jan this year for Absolute and 30 Sep this year for talkSPORT although Ofcom has allowed the AM licensees to have their terms considered at the same time as those for Classic.
In its review of the licences posted in October last year Ofcom noted uncertainty about a possible switch to digital and says that for the licences the appropriate period for valuation purposes is the period from their 'relevant date' to the end of 2015. It also notes that renewal is automatic if it is satisfied that the licensees will continue to provide the analogue service and a digital simulcast and the licensee agrees to its financial terms.
Ofcom also noted that is last review in 2006 led it to reduce the amounts paid for the licenses and adds that since then the values of the licences has gone down because of the increased percentage of listening via digital services;, falls in listening to Classic FM (Hours were down 7%) and talkSPORT (hours were down 9%) since the second quarter of 2007 although listening to Absolute since its launch in 2008 has increased (up 11%); and a fall in UK commercial radio revenues of 13% between 2006 and 2009 with national advertising revenues for the same period down nearly 20%.
It does note, however, increases in 2010 with a further but lesser increase anticipated this year although all respondents noted government cutbacks that meant its advertising has been cut and that the cuts are expected to be permanent.
In announcing the new terms Ofcom commented, "We have decided to set the financial terms at a nominal amount of GBP 10,000 per annum for each of Classic FM and talkSport (with a nil PQR). This is what we consider a reasonable view of the approach the incumbent licensees would take to making nominal bids, looking at nominal cash bids made by bidders and those set by Ofcom in (real and hypothetical) auctions for television licences."
Previous Bennett, Colemand and Co. Ltd. (Ultimate parent of Absolute):
Previous Global Radio:
2011-01-20: The Indian government has moved ahead on the auction of Phase 3 of private FM licensing in the country with a decision by a group of ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to hold an electronic auction for FM Phase III licences that will mainly cover small cities and towns.
The electronic auction will follow the format used for the auction of 3-G mobile communications licences last year according to Netindian news quoting sources in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The licences are to be for 15 years rather than the 10-years for existing licences and the issue of extension of these licences had been put on hold.
The new stations will not be allowed to broadcast their own news, something that had been recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that suggested they be allowed to run news from various authorized sources such as news agencies rather then only being allowed to use news feeds from All India Radio and Doordarshan without changing them although the sources indicated that this decision could be reviewed at a later date.
In all around 600 licences will be auctioned in Phase Three, allowing private FM to be set up for the first time in some 125 towns and cities. Currently there are around 225 private FMs on air in the country.
Last year the Information and Broadcasting Ministry worked out plans for the auction proposing an initial auction to start in January of some 160 licences for stations in areas where there are already private FMs. These will be in metros, mini metros, state capitals and large towns and include some 19 stations in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Pune. Existing broadcasters will be able to bid for these as the government eased restrictions that had limited them to one FM in a city in earlier auctions. There would then be a further auction later this year of some 260-300 licences with a final auction by the middle of next year.
Restrictions are also set to be eased on foreign ownership with an increase from the existing 20% to 26% under Phase 3.
Previous Indian Radio:
2011-01-19: The BBC Trust has now formally confirmed the BBC services that it is to review this year as part of its duty under the BBC Charter to review all of the BBC's UK public services within a five year period.
Coming under its review are the radio stations BBC Radio Five Live and Radio Five Live Sports Extra, which will be reviewed first, followed by the BBC News Channel and BBC Parliament plus BBC Local Radio and the Asian Network.
Last year the Trust carried out reviews of Radio 2 and 6 Music, the BBC Nations and Radios 3, 4, and 7.
2011-01-19: Hubbard-family run Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., which operates three radio stations in its base city of Minneapolis-St Paul, has announced an agreement to purchase 17 of Bonneville International's radio stations in four markets for USD 505 million from Deseret Management Corporation (DMC), a for-profit arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that owns Bonneville.
The stations being sold are four FMs in Chicago (WDRV, WILV, WRMX & WWDV); four FM's in Cincinnati (WKRQ, WREW, WUBE & WYGY) three FMs in St. Louis (WARH, WIL, & WXOS) and three AMs and three FMs in Washington DC (AMs WFED, WTOP, and WWFD and FMs WTLP, WTOP, and WWWT) and as part of the deal Bonneville CEO Bruce Reese and COO Drew Horowitz will move to Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.
Bonneville will retain its radio stations in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle and Salt Lake City and has said Jeff Simpson, who is currently COO of KSL Broadcasting, which operates KSL AM and FM in Salt Lake City, will oversee the remaining Bonneville markets.
Commenting on the deal DMC President and CEO Mark Willes said in a news release, "Bonneville has built all its media properties into profitable, well-managed media outlets in lucrative markets, which has made them attractive to many potential buyers through the years."
"Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.," he added, "is a well-respected business that represents many of the same values Bonneville embraces, which we took into consideration when the company approached us. We felt Hubbard's long term hold strategy was the right fit for these stations."
Of the stations being kept along with their staff DMC said it planned to expand the regional and the online presence of these stations while supporting the core radio programming and Willes commented, "It is evident that a strong regional component is vital to the success of combined digital and broadcast marketplaces. It makes strategic sense for us to have these western markets continue as part of DMC."
Simpson commented of the operations he will look after, "We have excellent market managers and staff in each Bonneville location and I look forward to working with them to achieve their market goals. We will maintain our commitment to serve the communities we broadcast in and provide the quality sports, news and entertainment our listeners have come to expect."
Virginia (Ginny) Morris, who will become Chair of newly created Hubbard Radio, LLC upon closing, said in a Hubbard release, "This is an exciting opportunity for Hubbard Broadcasting. We have long admired the good work, reputation and leadership of Bonneville International and its management team and feel honoured to welcome these great stations into the Hubbard family of companies."
"With the proliferation of media in this internet age, local and free over the air radio remains a mainstay in the lives of virtually all Americans," she added. "This combination of radio assets and brands represents the best of the best in the industry. Hubbard Radio will continue to maintain the investment and commitment to excellence and community service that have built and sustained these brands".
The deal means that Hubbard will take on an extra 547 employees to take its total full and part-time employees to 701
2011-01-19: BBC Radio's 2 and 6 Music have made a number of announcements concerning star names to appear on the stations including an appearance today on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2 by "Take That" frontman Gary Barlow in advance of a special "GB40" concert tomorrow to mark his 40th birthday: The concert, which will be hosted for the station by Jo Whiley marks the first time Barlow has gone on stage on his own in more than 11 years and it will be aired live by the station (20:00 to 22:00 GMT).
Radio 2 has also announced that Donovan is to be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Radio 2's Folk Awards 2011 on Monday 7 February: He will be performing an acoustic version of one of his classic songs at the awards ceremony which celebrates the UK's vibrant folk scene and its achievements over the past 12 months, as well as giving special Awards to honour outstanding lifetime achievement.
This year's Radio 2 Folk Awards, which for the first time is combined with the station's Young Folk Award, also has a special honour - the Good Tradition Award - for shanty choir, Fisherman's Friends, whose album "Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends" last year became the first ever album of traditional folk music to debut in the top 10 of the UK network album charts: The group has been nominated for Best Group in their first ever nominations for the awards.
The Awards will also be aired live - for the first time - by the station and the ceremony will also be streamed live online. Other performers scheduled to appear include The Levellers; Bellowhead who are nominated for Best Live Act, Kate Rusby, and Chris Wood - shortlisted for Folk Singer of the Year, Best Album for "Handmade Life" and Best Original Song for the ballad "Hollow Point"..
Mother and daughter Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson have also received three nominations - Best Duo, Best Album for "Gift" and Best Traditional Track for "Wayfaring Strange" and vocal trio Coope Boyes & Simpson have been nominated for Best Group and Best Album for "As If".
At BBC 6 Music Kaiser Chiefs and Tinchy Stryder, as well as specialist musicians, music industry executives and BBC DJs, have signed up to the first ever "BBC Introducing Musicians' Masterclass" to be held on February 3rd across two legendary music studios - Abbey Road and Maida Vale.
The Musicians' Masterclass will include a mixture of intimate practical sessions, where musicians will hear and interact with established industry specialists including drummer Andy Gangadeen (Chase & Status, The Spice Girls); guitarist Deptford John (Iron Maiden, Take That, Kylie); vocal coach Sam Blue (Dizzie Rascal, The Streets); and producers and DJs Annie Mac, Toddla T and Kissy Sell Out and special insight sessions, where BBC DJs will be joined by Tinchy Stryder and Kaiser Chiefs, as well as the key people in their career journeys, all offering advice and guidance for new musicians.
The event is to be streamed live on the day, on the BBC Introducing website and Jason Carter, Editor, BBC Introducing, commented, "We are very pleased to have pulled together such a fantastic line-up of music industry experts from inside and outside of the BBC. For the musicians that attend, it should be a fantastic learning experience at two of the UK's most legendary recording studios.
"The focus of the day will be solely built around developing musicians and advising them about all facets of the industry. From sessions on drumming and lyrics to the artist led talks, the live streaming content online and available after will enable musicians from all over the UK to benefit from the wealth of advice on offer."
2011-01-18: Another commercial classical station in the US - the last in the country - has bitten the dust but in this case will keep its call letters, staff and facilities and remain on air as a non-commercial station but not its frequency through a deal between Entercom and the University of Southern California (USC).
Under the deal KDFC-FM becomes a non- commercial based in San Francisco airing on the 90.3 frequency, which previously aired the University of San Francisco's free-form college station 2,850 watts KUSF-FM - which is to move to an online -only format - and the 89.9 frequency that previously aired Howell Mountain Broadcasting Company's 800-watts Christian music KNDL-FM.
The University of San Francisco, announcing the transfer of the frequency to USC-owned Classical Public Radio Network, said the station might go dark for a few days for engineering work but that all KUSF-FM staff would be offered similar positions at KUSF.org. It added that the "move to online-only distribution gives KUSF a powerful opportunity to grow its worldwide audience. Previously, the station was limited to 100 online listeners at a time, but capacity will be increased to accommodate thousands of listeners."
It did not say what was paid for the frequency but said it will invest the proceeds from the sale to support its mission, adding that it will focus on the station's primary purpose as a teaching laboratory for students and that CPRN will make internships available to qualified USF students interested in radio broadcasting.
The new KDFC takes over from the former classical outlet with the same call letters that had been on air since 1947 -and its signal will reach north to Napa and Sonoma Counties, and extend to the Northern East Bay. Programming will also be available online and via iTunes.
Following the agreement, Entercom will simulcast the signal of its Classic Rock 98.5 KFOX, licensed to San Jose, which it bought from the Aloha Station Trust that has been selling stations Clear Channel had to divest after it was taken over by private equity interests (See RNW Jan 11) on the 33,000 watts 102.1 frequency that had previously aired KDFC.
Commenting on the agreement, Dwight Walker, Vice President/Market Manager at Entercom San Francisco, said in a release, "Entercom is both pleased and honoured to entrust the outstanding listeners, employees and iconic heritage of KDFC to the esteemed organization of KUSC. At the same time, we are excited about creating the Bay Area's first full-metro mainstream Classic Rock station by building on the 20-year heritage and success of KFOX from San Jose."
C.L. Max Nikias, President of the University of Southern California, added, "USC recognizes classical radio's value to the community and is committed to its preservation in the Bay Area, where many of our students and alumni live. California, with two great symphony orchestras, is at the forefront of classical music today, and we are happy to play a role in the stewardship of an important resource for 700,000 classical music lovers in the Bay Area."
2011-01-18: US NPR is offering streams of new albums from Gang of Four, Wanda Jackson and Joyce DiDonato at least a week before their release for free on-demand listening at www.npr.org/music.
The release is part of the site's "First Listen" series and complete track listings and album information is available at NPR Music: The site is also currently offering Gregg Allman's new solo record "Low Country Blues" (52 mins).
The four albums to be offered will offer 12 tracks from post-punk band Gang of Four's "Content" (39 mins); 11 from Wanda Jackson's "The Party Ain't Over"(39 mins); and 16 operatic arias from Joyce DiDonato's "Diva, Divo" (1hr 20 mins).
2011-01-18: Univision has announced that it has hired Randy Falco, a former chief executive of AOL and president of the NBC Universal television group, as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, reporting to CEO Joe Uva.
Falco, who will take up his new role immediately, left NBC in 2006 after more then three decades with the company - he joined it in 1975- and joined AOL where he was Chairman and CEO until March 2009. Since then he has been an informal consultant to Comcast as it prepared to take a controlling interest in NBC and there had been speculation he might return to NBC.
In his new role he will oversee all Univision's business functions -- advertising sales, marketing, research and corporate development including operations of Univision's radio and TV stations.
In a statement Falco commented of his move, "I have long admired Univision -- a pioneer in the industry -- and recognized the tremendous potential and influence of the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic population. I look forward to working alongside Univision's exceptional team as we work to further realize the substantial growth potential of this dynamic organization."
2011-01-17: Industry body Commercial Radio Australia has announced the postponement of Brisbane's first radio audience survey of this year because of the devastation caused by flooding.
The survey was due to commence yesterday and Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said in a news release, "Given the scale of the Queensland flood crisis and the challenging aftermath, we believe the main priority and focus of people in Brisbane, Ipswich and all flooded areas will be very much on clean up and recovery."
She added that the radio industry "is exploring options with The Nielsen Company, which conducts the survey, about what can be done but adds that the second" and said the second survey of the year for Brisbane will commence on schedule on February 13.
"While the floodwaters have started to recede," said Warner "there are many factors that will make the conduct of a radio survey in Brisbane at this time unviable. Access to nearly 50% of Brisbane collection districts and parts of Ipswich has not been possible. The huge clean-up task is now underway and likely to continue for some time. In addition, weather forecasters have indicated the strong possibility of further rain creating potentially challenging situations in the coming weeks. We need to be sensitive to the impact of such a major natural disaster on the day to day lives of Brisbane and Ipswich residents."
He also noted the part radio had played during the emergency, commenting, "Radio stations throughout Queensland have played and continue to play a major role in the recent emergency throughout Queensland, and across Australia. They have provided key information to listeners, especially at times when electricity supplies have been cut and other forms of communications have been unavailable."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-01-17: Last week's decision by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) that the airing of the full version of Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing", which includes three uses of the word "faggots" as a term for homosexuals (See RNW Jan 13), is continuing to get publicity worldwide following a decision by Newcap to rebel against the decision - or should that be to get publicity by opposing it.
On Friday Newcap aired the full version repeatedly for an hour uninterrupted on its classic rock K97 (CIRK-FM) in Edmonton, and Q104 (CFRQ-FM) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
A notice on the K97 web site says, "K-97 is well aware of the dangers of censorship and the effect it has on Canadian's Freedom of Speech. K-97 has had many censorship attempts, but through it all the microphones are turned on everyday giving the announcers the freedom to say whatever is on their mind."
It continues, "Earlier this week the CBSC ruled that the song "Money For Nothing" has violated broadcasting decency standards because of the use of the word "Faggot". The Dire Straits song was originally released in 1985 and has since aired tens of thousands of times across Canada, has won a Grammy and has been performed by GLBT supporter, Elton John. If you listen to the context of the term, you will realize it is an artistic portrayal of a bigoted person looking at the riches and excess of the music industry."
The decision was also featured prominently on his site by Guy Fletcher of Dire Straits who says of the lyrics by Mark Knopfler, "Like most people, my immediate reaction was one of amusement, then disbelief, especially considering the context of the song. We recorded 'Money For Nothing' in the mid '80's, and on its release, there was some controversy over Mark's lyrics but for this to come to light today, 25 years later, is slightly unnerving. All artists and writers (including Mark Twain) should have the right to freedom of expression and as a songwriter myself, I'm surprised by the decision. I am however glad to hear that so many radio stations are ignoring the ban. It's surprising that the CBSC haven't backed down on this in light of the public reaction."
The Toronto Sun, however, reported that far from backing down the CBSC stands by its decision: It quoted CBSC national chair Ronald Cohen as telling the QMI Agency he sees nothing wrong with the fact one person was able to stop every private radio station across Canada from playing the popular 1985 song 'Money for Nothing.'
"The number of complaints is irrelevant," Cohen said. "Everybody is on our back about it (but) I think it was absolutely the right decision. This was a word that has no place today on the airwaves."
Postings in response to reports were very much opposed to the CBSC decision although at least one did note that the CBSC has no legal power to ban the report; that compliance with its decisions only applies to stations who are members of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters; and that broadcasters can leave the CAB.
In particular postings on the www.xtra.ca web site, that carried "Canada's Gay and Lesbian News" were largely opposed to the CBSC decision although one did comment, "When Dire Straits released "Money for Nothing" back in the '80's, it made me sick. As a teenager growing up in a small hick town in Ontario it really bothered me as a closeted gay kid. I've been waiting 30 years for something to be done about it!"
Another defended the song as a "parody of an outsider - working man's view of musicians and the rewards they get for doing what appears t be such little work. (Get a blister on my little finger) The video enforces that perspective. It's a parody of those who would use the word as an insult - it is not an insult as it is used in the song."
RNW comment: We noted in our original comment that the word "faggot" was also used in the UK, home of Dire Straits, for a meatball dish and for those interested the Fletcher posting ends with the comment, "In light of recent news from Canada, I thought I'd do my bit to rekindle awareness of a childhood favourite, 'Brains@ faggots, in this moment of heightened publicity" and then has a picture of a pack of four of the aforesaid Port Faggots " In a rich West Country Source." The pack isn't all that old - the weight is in grams not ounces - the target for conversion was set as 1975 and the move to decimal currency took place in 1971although metric weights and measures had been legal under the 1864 Weights and Measures Act.
Guy Fletcher web site:
K97 web site:
Toronto Sun report:
Xtra.ca on controversy:
2011-01-17:The BBC has announced that it is to cut 72 posts - around a sixth of the total - at its Monitoring Service following a decision by the government to cut GBP 3 million (USD 4.8 million) from its annual grant of GBP 23.3 million (USD 32.7 million) over the next two years.
Under the new BBC Licence Free Agreement BBC Monitoring Service will be funded by the government until the 2012/13 financial year after which the service will be funded from the licence fee.
Announcing the cuts package to staff, the Director of BBC Monitoring, Chris Westcott, said that: "regrettably service cuts and post closures are inevitable given the scale of the cut in funding from the Cabinet Office. We are now beginning a period of consultation with staff on our proposals."
The Monitoring Service supplies details of news, information and comment from media round the world, monitoring some 3,000 to radio, TV, press, internet and news agency sources from which it selects information, translates it into English from up to 100 languages from 150 countries, and delivering it online.
2011-01-17: According to a report in Satwavespro Sirius XM radio appears to be making plans to introduce its service to subscribers in Hawaii and Alaska, who are not covered by its satellite service, following approval in December by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its application to use terrestrial repeated in the two states.
The FCC permission, granted on December 20 with details listed in the agency's Jan 7 Daily Business granted Special Temporary Authorization (STA) to operate four terrestrial repeaters, each with an Effective Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) of less than 2,000 watts (average) at various locations in Alaska and Hafwaii, for a period of 180 days. The agency also dismissed petitions to deny the request that were filed by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters, Inc., and the Alaska Broadcasters Association and Hawaii Association of Broadcasters. It also gave permission to Sirius XM to operate five terrestrial repeaters, each with an EIRP at or above 2,000 watts (average) in Cincinnati, Ohio, for a period of 180 days.
At the moment the only way subscribers can receive the service in the two states has been through the Internet because the satellite footprint does not allow reception and satwavespro says Sirius XM has moved to remedy this both through the use of terrestrial repeaters and also in a newer filing by asking for approval reposition satellites so that they would provide cover.
A report in the Daily News-Miner, Fairbanks, that quotes from the satwavespro report, says the satellite radio operator said Alaskan broadcasters had objected to its plans because they did not want any form of competition whilst the broadcasters argued that satellite radio would harm "localism" and that Sirius should buy AM or FM stations instead of being allowed to use repeaters to deliver the signal, as opposed to satellite delivery.
"Reduced revenue means diminished resources for all types of station operations, including locally-responsive programming" and allowing Sirius to use land-based repeaters would "ill serve the public interest," argued the broadcasters.
The report adds that most of the commercial radio stations in Alaska provide little in the way of local programming and relay on national programs to fill most, if not all, of the hours in the day.
RNW comment: Perhaps it's a pity that when filings of the nature made by the Alaskan and Hawaiian broadcasters are received the FCC isn't mandated to examine the output of the objectors on the basis of their objection with licences being automatically revoked and put up for auction if they are found not to be providing an adequate service of the nature they say would be harmed by a change. We suspect that were such a rule instituted it would cut the workload of the FCC considerably and shut up a lot of self-interested but unjustified whines from the NAB and broadcasters but maybe it might make them improve their service to local communities, which would be a considerable improvement for those communities.
Previous Sirius XM:
FCC Daily Business listing decisions:
Fairbanks News-Miner report:
Satwavespro report (Subscription):
2011-01-16: Last week was again fairly quiet as regards radio announcements by the regulators although all did make at least one posting: In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ruled that two radio company directors including Rupert Murdoch's eldest son Lachlan had breached rules limiting directors' control of radio stations although it is to take no further action (See RNW Jan 14).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was a little busier with announcements including the following (In order of province):
*Approved application by Astral Media Radio (Toronto) Inc. and 4382072 Canada Inc., partners in as Astral Media Radio G.P., for a licence to operate a new 160 watts English-language commercial FM radio station to replace existing adult contemporary CHTK-AM, Prince Rupert.
The CRTC had received a mutually exclusive application, which it denied, from Barry Alan Wall, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a new classic hits music format commercial FM.
Astral had opposed this application on the basis that the Prince Rupert market could not absorb additional competition and that approval of this application would have a negative impact on its plans for CTHK. It also said the current AM tower facilities had been condemned and the site no longer viable from a safety and economic standpoint.
The CRTC agreed and granted the Astral application
*Approved application by Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. for a licence to operate a 12,000 watts English-language commercial FM, Barry's Bay, with a minimum of 120 hours of local programming in each broadcast week, which Haliburton says will include approximately 19 hours of spoken word programming.
*Approved application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to increase the power of CKLO-FM, London, from 4,000 to 12,600 watts, relocate the transmitter and increase the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 106.5 to 150 metres.
Astral Media Radio had commented that there could potentially be interference to its CIQM-FM, London, but that noted Blackburn's commitment to resolve interference issues.
*Approved application by My Broadcasting Corporation to increase the power of CHMY-FM, Renfrew, from 1,660 to 7,100 watts.
*Approved application by My Broadcasting Corporation to increase the power of CIMY-FM, Pembroke, from 1,620 to 16,600 watts
*Approved application by Radio 1540 Limited to increase the power of its transmitter CHIN-FM-1, Toronto, from 161 to 1,850 watts.
*Approved application from Island Lake First Nations Radio Inc. for a licence to operate an English- and Cree-language 33.3 watts low-power Type B Native FM radio station in Island Lake.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) posted only one broadcast notice, a draft of its "Right of Reply" scheme that is intended to "provide for the broadcast of a Right of Reply Statement which will facilitate the correction of incorrect information which has been broadcast and which has resulted in a person's honour or reputation being impugned."
BAI Chief Executive Michael O' Keeffe said of the plan, "the Scheme will provide an opportunity for a person to exercise his/her right to the correction of incorrect information, the broadcast of which has impugned that person's honour or reputation, but without recourse to legal proceedings which may prove time-consuming and costly."
Responses to the draft, which details how the process would work and a review process where a broadcaster has refused a right of reply, have to be sent in by February 4.
In the UK, Ofcom has also posted a consultation, this time relating to its Draft Annual Plan for 2011/12 for which responses have to be in by March 1: The 57-page document notes "significant developments in the technology, devices and platforms available to consumers" and adds "These changes in how consumers are using communications services create a range of challenges for regulation. Concerns such as mis-selling still need to be addressed and new issues are also emerging, for example where consumers seek to switch between services."
It also notes the economic climate and plans for it to cut by 28.2% in real-terms its current annual funding cap of GBP 143 million ( USD 227 million), noting that it has already "delivered six consecutive years of like-for-like budget reductions in real terms."
It notes that it "will remain important to manage the efficient allocation and use of scarce public assets like spectrum and numbering" and in regard to broadcasting that "use of traditional services remains significant while use of new services is growing."
Regarding radio Ofcom notes that the UK government "via the Digital Radio Action Plan, has asked Ofcom to play a technical supporting role in developing government policy and working towards the digitisation of broadcast radio" and that it proposes to publish the second annual Digital Progress Report for Radio.
Ofcom also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld two complaints against radio (See RNW Jan 10) and also its December Radio Update in which amongst other things it noted the handing back of the licence of Lanark station L107 (See RNW Jan 14).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) again had a fairly quiet week as regards radio-related announcements although it did propose a USD 6,000 penalty on a California AM for failing to have operational Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment (See RNW Jan 13).
The agency also announced that David Hung, who had been standing in the role sine June 2009, is being appointed its Inspector General (See RNW Jan 10).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BAI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
Ofcom Draft Annual Plan 2011-12: (67-page 417kb PDF):
2011-01-15: WDUQ-FM, Pittsburgh's oldest public radio station - it was founded in 1949 and airs a mixture of jazz and news programming is being sold for USD 6 million by Duquesne University to a new joint venture, Essential Public Media (EPM), that was set up by WYEP, Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation's eclectic music station, the and Public Media Company (PMC), a non-profit launched by Colorado-based Public Radio Capital that assists communities preserve public radio stations in their markets.
A posting on the station web site reporting the vote in favour of the sale says it came after the university turned down an offer, which was believed to be larger, from non-profit Pittsburgh Public Media (PPM), which was founded to buy the station by a group of business and community leaders, 90.5 staff members, other broadcast professionals, and interested listeners . PPM, says the report, had indicated that it would keep the NPR, local news and jazz format which made 90.5 the most listened to public radio station in Western Pennsylvania.
Teh station report goes on to quote Duquesne University president Dr. Charles J. Dougherty as saying, "We recognize that WDUQ is a vital community resource as Pittsburgh's first public radio station, so we are pleased that we've reached an agreement that will continue its legacy of more than 60 years of service to the community. The sale not only preserves the public character of the station, it also will allow us to make significant investments in key academic initiatives that are aligned with Duquesne's strategic plan."
Susan Harmon, Public Radio Capital's managing director and PMC board director, added, "Essential Public Media is planning to develop and sustain a vibrant media service that brings NPR, global and national news to the region, building on today's media technologies and a deeper emphasis on local journalism" and WYEP Board chair Marco Cardamone commented "Through WDUQ, Essential Public Media has an amazing opportunity to transform local journalism, offer reliable news and information, spark civic conversation and shed light on important issues."
Lee Ferraro, general manager of WYEP, added, "While local journalism, reflecting the diversity of voices and issues in our community, is a high priority for EPM, we look forward to working with the community of jazz lovers in Pittsburgh as well" but the station report went on to say the news release about the planned sale did not specify whether or not jazz would be part of the station's format. It also did not specify where the station's studios would be located after the sale but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that at a news conference Cardamone said the station would move to WYEP's South Side-based station, which has excess capacity in its new building, which opened five years ago, and can house the new station. The two stations, he added, will share back-office functions to save money.
Dougherty said the WDUQ call letters will disappear and when the deal closes, station employees "will no longer be employees of the university."
Asked by WDUQ-FM staff member Kevin Gavin if the new station will offer jazz, Cardamone was not specific, saying, and "We don't really have specifics. We understand the legacy that jazz represents in Pittsburgh."
The University had announced in January last year that it was looking at options for a sale, saying the station had evolved to become virtually independent of the university and a sale "could be an opportunity for Duquesne to reallocate assets for the enhancement of our educational enterprise and for the station to thrive on its own".
The university had hoped to attract bids of USD 10-12 million but at the news conference Dougherty said," We started on the high side. We met where the market is today.
Duquesne University release:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report:
Pittsburgh Public Media web site:
WDUQ web site:
2011-01-14: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that Rupert Murdoch's son eldest Lachlan, who was a director of Prime Media Group Limited and is the sole director of Illyria Pty Ltd., which bought half of DMG Radio Australia in November 2009 (See RNW Nov 27. 2009) and Siobhan McKenna, a director of Prime and a director of two companies, DMG Radio Investments Limited and Illyria Radio Investments Limited, breached Australian limits on commercial radio broadcasting directorships although it is to take no further action.
The ruling notes that Murdoch breached the limits in October last year when he was appointed as a director of Prime Media Group Limited (Prime), which is in a position to exercise control of Hot91/4MCY in the Nambour radio licence area - which overlaps with the Brisbane market and that are treated as a single licence area in relationship to the relevant legislation: At the time, he was also a director and a controller of a number of companies which were in a position to exercise control of Nova 106.9/4BNE and 97.3/4BFM in the Brisbane radio licence area. Murdoch resigned as a director of Prime on 9 November 2010.
McKenna was a director of Prime and a director of two companies, DMG Radio Investments Limited and Illyria Radio Investments Limited, which were in a position to exercise control of Nova 106.9/4BNE and 97.3/4BFM and was similarly found to have breached the rule. She resigned as a director of DMG Radio Investments Limited and Illyria Radio Investments Limited on 10 November 2010.
The ACMA noted in its ruling that it would take no further action because of the details of the breaches, including the overlap complexities, and also because of Murdoch and McKenna's co-operation and resignations. It added that following the findings, companies in the Illyria group have implemented revised procedures to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the radio directorship limits before new directors are appointed to their boards.
2011-01-14: UK media regulator Ofcom in its December Radio Broadcast Update just released notes the demise of one local commercial FM and has pre-advertised four local FM licences and announced that only current holders applied for four others.
The station that appears to have finally died was L107, which had a licence to serve North Lanarkshire, and which had a chequered history. Launched as Clan FM in 1999, the station was saved from closure in 2003 when Kingdom Radio Group took it over (See RNW Sep 29, 2003 ).
Kingdom re-branded it as L107, The Edge but it was again on the edge (pun intended) in 2005 when Kingdom decided to close it but gave it a short stay of execution (See RNW Jul 16, 2005)
It was closed but then bought by Garrison Radio (See RNW Nov 28, 2005) who re-launched it as full service L107. In 2008 it closed yet again in August (See RNW Aug 18, 2008) but was again saved by a buyout, this time by Alan Shields, a former managing director (Scotland) of The Wireless Group.
The station went off air again at the end of April last year when its main transmitter was removed while it was on air (See RNW May 4, 2010) and it was then taken over by Strategic Intelligence Ltd.(See RNW Sep 7, 2010).
It went off air again for a week at the end of October after which it resumed transmissions with automated music and commercials. In early November Ofcom ruled that it had breached its format by providing inadequate local news (See RNW Nov 8, 2010) and on November 11 the licence was handed back to Ofcom.
The local licences pre-advertised were those of Ridings FM, Wakefield, whose licence expires on Oct 2 with a new licence proposed to run to Oct 2018; Bristol Community Radio Limited (BCfm), whose licence expires on Nov 16 this year with a new licence proposed to run to Nov 25, 2018; Q97.2 FM Ltd, Coleraine, whose licence expires in January next year with a new licence proposed to run to Jan 25, 2019; and Heartland Radio Foundation Ltd , Pitlochry and Aberfeldy whose licence runs to March next year with a new licence proposed to run to Mar 13, 2019.
In all cased declarations of intent have to be submitted by January 27 this year - accompanied by payment of a deposit of GBP 20,000 (USD 31,700) which will be refundable upon receipt by Ofcom of a valid application and a non-refundable GBP 5,000 (USD 7,900) application fee. If more than one declaration is received for a licence it will be re-advertised but it only the current holders submit declarations they will be invited to re-apply under Ofcom's fast-track procedure and if no declarations are received the licences will not be re-advertised.
In the case of four other licences only the current holders submitted declarations of intent and each will now be invited to re-apply under Ofcom's fast-track procedure: The licensees concerned are Bridlington Radio Ltd (Yorkshire Coast Radio); Trax FM Ltd (Trax FM, Doncaster); South Hams Radio Ltd (Heart); and Play Radio Ltd (The Breeze, Winchester).
Ofcom also noted six format change requests, one of which was refused, a request from Town & Country Broadcasting Ltd to co-locate Bridge FM (Bridgend) and Bay Radio Swansea) anywhere within the South Wales approved area as opposed to their current co-location at Neath in the West Wales approved area.
Approved were requests from KMFM to be allowed to share weekday breakfast hours between its Maidstone and West Kent stations; from Celador's Star Radio (Bristol) to reduce locally-mad weekday daytime hours from ten to seven hours - which must include breakfast - but retain the fours hours weekend requirement and news requirements. Celador was also given permission to change the music emphasis from a "soulful, adult contemporary music based service, aimed primarily at 30 to 50 year-old Bristolians" with an Easy Listening format; and from Bauer Radio to be allowed to turn its KISS stations into a network (See RNW Dec 17, 2010).
Digital changes recorded included the award of a short-term licence to Celtic Music Radio Ltd to simulcast its community station programming from Jan 10-31 during the Celtic Connections 2011 festival.
In addition there were a number of changes on local digital multiplexes as follows:
*Swindon and West Wiltshire, Reading and Basingstoke, Southend and Chelmsford - replace Galaxy with Capital and remove Absolute 90s.
*Cambridge, Bournemouth, Norwich, Kent, Peterborough, Plymouth and Cornwall, Sussex Coast - Replace Galaxy with Capital.
*Leicester, Nottingham - Replace Galaxy with Heart.
* Cardiff and Newport - Remove Absolute 90s:
*Central Lancashire, Humberside, Teesside, Tyne and Wear, South Yorkshire, Leeds, Liverpool - Remove Gold and add Absolute Classic Rock.
*Ayr, Wolverhampton, Cardiff/Newport, Coventry, Swindon and West Wiltshire - Add Absolute Classic Rock.
*Cambridge, Peterborough, Norwich - Remove Magic.
*Ayr, Sussex Coast, Kent, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Northern Ireland, Dundee and Perth, Birmingham, Swansea, Aberdeen, Bradford and Huddersfield, Stoke on Trent - Replace Magic with Kiss.
*North West and North East - Replace The Arrow with Gold.
*Inverness - Replace Heat with Kiss.
In addition two new community radio licences were issued in the month - to Coventry & Warwickshire Media Community Ltd (Radio Plus- Coventry) and Betar Bangla Ltd (Betar Bangla Radio - Stratford, east London) and five-year extensions of licences granted to two others - those of Radio Ikhlas Limited (Radio Ikhlas -Derby) and Karimia Ltd (Radio Dawn - Nottingham).
2011-01-13: Astral Media has reported fiscal first quarter revenues ( for the period to the end of November last year) up 7% on a year earlier to CAD 267.1 million ( USD 269.8 million ) with EBITDA up 5% to CAD 89.3 million ( USD 90.2 million).
Net earnings however fell - down 18% to CAD 53.3 million (USD 53.9 million) because of the effect of a CAD 11.6 million (USD 11.7 million) increase in Copyright Board tariffs: Excluding this they were up 11% to CAD 53.3 million (USD 53.8 million - from CAD 0.86 to CAD 0.94 per share) the
The rises were on a similar scale to those at rival Corus Entertainment whose revenues were up 8% and profits up 11% (See RNW Jan 11) and were described by President and CEO Ian Greenberg as a "another solid quarter of growth."
Greenberg added that towards the "end of Fiscal 2010, we saw encouraging signs of recovery in the Canadian advertising markets" whose momentum carried on to the first quarter and benefitted all of its business units.
Within the figures Astral, like Corus, did between in TV than in radio: TV revenues were up 6% with advertising revenues up 16% and subscriber-related revenues up 3% respectively whilst EBITDA was up 8%.
Radio revenues by comparison were up only 3% and EBITDA was down 5%, mainly because of Copyright Board tariff increases that came into effect in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010.
Best performance however came from Out-of-Home where revenues were up 27% with EBITDA up 31%.
The fight between Astral and Corus also continued on another front as Corus and Cogeco fought back against legal moves by Astral to reverse a Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision to allow Cogeco to exceed the normal market cap on station ownership in Montreal.
Astral had asked the Federal Court to suspend the CRTC approval, a move that would hold up a CAD 80 million (USD 80.8 million) deals in which Cogeco is buying 11 Quebec radio stations from Corus.
The delay would hold up completion of the deal and Corus and Cogeco say they consider Astral's applications to be "without merit" and Corus said it will continue with the process to effect the closing of the transaction on February 1 this year.
Cogeco, whose first fiscal quarter revenues were up 4.5% to CAD 331.5 million ( USD 334.9 million) although its net income was down from CAD 56.7 million ( USD 57.3 million) to CAD 33.6 million ( USD 33.9 million) -primarily because of a "favourable tax adjustment" of CAD 29.8 million ( USD 30.1 million) - said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Astral legal action, terming it a "last ditch attempt by Astral to protect its dominant position in the Quebec radio industry by challenging a decision duly made by the CRTC . . . following a rigorous, public and transparent process."
2011-01-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a USD 6,000 penalty on North County Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of KFSD-AM, Escondido, California, for failure to maintain operational readiness of its Emergency Alert System.
The proposed penalty follows an inspection in March last year when the EAS equipment, which is shared with the licensee's co-located KCEO-AM, was found to be capable only of transmitting a signal for KCEO. An examination of logs for the stations showed that the operator on duty at KFSD had twice contacted the station's chief engineer concerning problems with the equipment.
The licensee in response to a Letter of Inquiry said hat on the first occasion the Chief Engineer thought the problem was intermittent but on the later occasion performed a complete inspection a d attempted to resolve the problem. The equipment was subsequently repaired.
2011-01-13: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that the broadcast of an unedited version of the song "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits on CHOZ-FM (OZ FM, Newfoundland contravened the Human Rights Clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.
The song includes the use of the word "faggot" three times and a listener complained that the word was discriminatory to gays: The lyrics of the section concerned are
"The little faggot with the earring and the make-up
Yeah, buddy, that's his own hair
That little faggot's got his own jet airplane
That little faggot, he's a millionaire."
The station, which has a declared policy of broadcasting classic rock songs in their original form argued that the song had been aired countless times since its original release in the 1980s (First in the "Brothers in Arms" album in 1985 with a subsequent release as a single), had remained popular and detailed of music industry awards it had won.
The listener pointed out that the station has edited other songs that contain other types of offensive language - citing Kanye West's 2005 song "Gold Digger" that contains the racial reference "But she ain't messin' with no broke niggas" as an example. He said he was "highly dissatisfied" with the station response and added, "I do not feel the argument in favour of the unabridged version of the song was valid, and it is certainly not strong enough to justify playing such words on the radio. This word carries an unavoidable connotation of hate. By airing it unapologetically on the radio, this station is indirectly propagating hate. Although I can see the value in a timeless classic rock song in its original form, I cannot help but feel that it does not overshadow the importance of ending discrimination."
The Atlantic Regional Panel agreed that the song was unacceptable under Canadian Codes, ruling that there had been breaches of two codes. It also noted that in evolution of language some formerly unacceptable language becomes part of common usage (citing the "F-word" and derivatives) whilst other language formerly considered acceptable for broadcast becomes unacceptable. It also referred to the use of the word "fag" that it had considered acceptable in previous decisions but said that in the Canadian context the word faggot is no longer acceptable.
RNW comment: The CBSC noted that a "fag" is also a cigarette in the UK and "faggot" a bundle of twigs (RNW note: The term is also used for a kind of meatball -recipes easily found online. We assume they would not rule use of the word in a drama where the reference was to collecting twigs or in a cookery programme as still unacceptable but in view of the current row in the US over a bowdlerised version of Huckleberry Finn being published, maybe not.
2011-01-12: US public broadcasting supporters have started a fight against proposals to end Federal Funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and NPR (National Public Radio), put forward by Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn (See RNW Jan 7).
A website 170millionamericans for Public Broadcasting- taking the name from the monthly audience for US public broadcasting, more than half of all Americans - has been set up that outlines the work of public broadcasters to "ensure that Americans have universal access to high-quality non-commercial programming with a particular focus on the needs of underserved audiences, including children, minorities, and low-income Americans" and notes the local nature of public broadcasters and terms them a "great investment" for the US.
It notes that unlike commercial broadcasters, "Public broadcasting reflects the values of viewers and listeners, not advertisers" adding "America has tremendous diversity of broadcasting outlets, but only public broadcasting is commercial free. This is one reason why public broadcasting is so highly trusted by the American people."
Federal funding says the site is "the 'lifeblood' of public broadcasting, providing critical seed money and basic operating support to local stations, which then leverage each USD 1 of federal funding to raise over USD 6 from local sources -- a tremendous return on the taxpayer investment."
The site is sponsored by nine national public TV and radio organizations and co-managed by two of them, the Association for Public Television Stations and Minnesota-based American Public Media.
Republican opponents of federal funding to public broadcasting has specifically targeted their attack on NPR, making much of the row over the ending of Juan William's contract (See RNW Oct 21, 2010) but the new site has deliberately omitted mention of the affair and American Public Media spokesman Bill Gray said the campaign was not about Williams but the concept of public media, which was actually what was under attack.
NPR has also fought back against Lamborn's proposals and The Hill reported on a e-mailed response in which NPR described them as "an intrusion into the programming decision-making of America's public radio stations " and added "His legislation will disrupt and weaken the free and universal public media system that serves 170 million Americans each month."
It continued, "It seems ironic that Congressman Lamborn who seeks to withdraw federal support for public radio wants federal legislators in turn to assert control over how local public radio stations can make use of programming funds This legislation would ultimately dictate the daily editorial schedules and news programs of nearly one thousand public radio stations across America. " (RNW comment: We're not quite sure hhow NPR worked this one out!)
Unsurprisingly many of the comments made in response to The Hill's report opposed funding, called NPR a "liberal" organization with a number of them obviously from people who it would be kind to term "unbalanced " but others making reasonably-argued points about public funding. Others were from NPR listeners who defended its broadcasts.
170millionamericans web site:
The Hill report:
2011-01-12: Been considered by most people as a single company for a while now, Sirius and XM formally became one today when XM Satellite Radio (XMSR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sirius XM Radio Inc., formally merged with and into the company.
In an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Sirius XM says the merger "complies with all covenants and conditions precedent contained in the pertinent debt instruments of XMSR and the Company, including the applicable leverage ratio tests."
It adds that in connection with the merger XMSR various of its subsidiaries and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee, entered into a supplemental indenture governing the 11.25% Senior Notes due 2013 issued by XMSR - around USD 36.7 million of the notes were outstanding at the time of the merger and XMSR and some of its subsidiaries entered into a supplemental indenture governing the 13% Senior Notes due 2013 issued by XMSR -there were some USD 778.5 million of these notes outstanding.
Previous Sirius XM:
2011-01-12: Arbitron has announced the appointment of Paul Krasinski to the new position of Senior Vice President, Digital Media and Analytics, a role in which the company says he "will be responsible for leading Arbitron's service development efforts in the continuously evolving digital space" and will work closely with the company's product, sales and IT departments.
Krasinky, who was formerly the Chief Operating Officer at Ando Media, will be based primarily in Boston, Massachusetts.
In other US appointments, the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced that Ann Marie Cumming will join the NAB Communications department on January 18 as vice president, Communications reporting t to Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president, Communications.
Cumming joined the NAB Government Relations staff in 1994 following a stint on Capitol Hill with Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy and later worked in its the Communications department for five years, becoming director media relations.
More recently she ahs worked for the NAB as a consultant handling media relations and managing the Newsroom for the NAB Show.
2011-01-12: A comment in Examiner.com on the killing of six people by Jared Loughner in the shooting in which he injured Democrat Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a dozen others caught our eye, not so much because of comment about the shooting itself (we see no point in speculating on Gifford's motives and even less in the partisan bile seen in much comment on the incident) but because of the perspective it gives on the actual size and make-up of US audiences, particularly the right-wing talk audiences.
In the report Bruce Maiman comments, "The average age of a Fox News viewer: 65 --the oldest audience in cable news. Think I'm picking on Fox? Not really. CNN's average viewer? 63. MSNBC, 59.
"Fox's viewers are older than the Hallmark Channel. That's the channel that gets made fun of for its geriatric appeal with things like 'Matlock' and 'Murder, She Wrote' marathons.
"The average age of the Rush Limbaugh listener: 67 (and getting smaller, down to 14 million from the 20 to 25 million during the Clinton years. It's because the audience is aging, and dying.)
"That's not a criticism; it's just numbers, and they come directly from Nielsen and Arbitron, respectively."
"People talk about how the debate on cable news and talk radio is dominating the airwaves. Katie Couric, who supposedly is an abject failure with her evening newscast, has more viewers than O'Reilly, Olbermann and whatever's on CNN at that time, combined. True."
The report also listed the results of a cable company survey on what network people, asked "Please list which TV channels you must have available online for you to turn off your TV subscription" said they could not live without - the top five were CBS; ABC; Fox Television; NBC & ESPN.
If noting else, it firmly puts in their place many of those so often in the headlines, indicating how important they actually are in the eyes of most of the 300 million plus Americans.
2011-01-11: Emmis has reported revenues in its fiscal first quarter to the end of November last year up 2.9% on a year earlier at USD 66.47 million with radio revenues up 5% to USD 48 million but publishing revenues fell by 2.2% to USD 18.5 million.
Operating income for the quarter was up 27.5% to USD 11.6 million and net loss attributable to common shareholders a year earlier of USD 1.67 million was turned into net income of USD 1.67 million (From a net loss to net income of four cents per share): Consolidated net income fell from USD 4.6 million to USD 2.1 million .
For the nine months to the end of November revenues were up 3.5% to USD 154.6 million; operating income moved from a loss - including USD 174.6 million of impairment charges - of USD 162.5 million to income of USD 23.8 million and consolidated net income went from a loss of USD 111.8 million to income of USD 2.65 million. A net loss attributable to common shareholders of USD 121.9 million was reduced to a loss of USD 7.9 million (From a loss of USD 3.30 to a loss of 21 cents per share).
Emmis also notes that based on Miller Kaplan reports its gross revenues for the first nine months fell short of the industry performance in its markets, rising 5.1% compared an industry increase of 6% year on year. Within the figures its revenues exceeded industry figures in three mid-sized markets (St. Louis, Indianapolis and Austin) but trailed the market average in its three largest markets (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago).
In its 10Q filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Emmis says that can it meet its liquidity needs through the end of fiscal year 2011 but warns that after September 1 this year when the suspension of certain covenants provided by the Second Amendment to its Credit Facility expire it will have maintain compliance with the original financial and non-financial covenants in its Credit Facility, which are more restrictive.
Without asset sales, which it says it is actively pursuing, the company says it is unlikely that it will be able to maintain compliance with its financial covenants after September thus going into default under the agreement and giving its lenders the right to accelerate the maturity of its Credit Agreement indebtedness.
It adds that factors related to its credit and ability to meet its covenants in fiscal 2012 will be factors considered by our auditors in rendering their opinion on our financial statements for the year ending February 28, 2011, which are expected to be issued in May 2011. If the auditors express substantial doubt about Emmis' ability to continue as a going concern, adds the company, this would also constitute a default under its Credit Agreement.
2011-01-11: Corus Entertainment has reported first quarter Fiscal 2011 revenues up 8% on a year earlier at CAD 240.6 million ( USD 243.3 million) within which TV revenues, helped by a 17% rise in TV specialty advert revenues, rose 10.8% to CAD 167.5 million (USD 169.3 million) and radio revenues were up 2.9% to CAD 73.13 million ( USD 73.93 million). Corus noted that within the radio figures Ontario radio revenues were up 9%.
Segment profit was up 10.9% to CAD 92.3 million (USD 93.3 million), driven by Television whose profit rose 16.5% to CAD 78.1 million (USD 79 million) whilst radio profit was up 1.5% to CAD 22.2 million (USD 22.4 million).
Net income fell from CAD 73.9 million (USD 74.7 million - CAD 0.92 per basic and CAD 0.91 per diluted share) to CAD 46.2 million (USD 46.7 million - CAD 0.57 per basic and CAD 0.56 per diluted share) after the effects on 2010 First Quarter figures of a CAD 16.2 million (USD 16.4 million (reversal of a disputed regulatory fee accrual and a CAD 14.2 million USD 14.4 million) recovery due to income tax rate. Without this the 2010 income was CAD 0.61 per basic share.
Commenting on the results President and CEO John Cassaday said it was an "outstanding start" to the year and added, "Our advertising sales momentum continued in our first quarter and, in combination with our cost control initiatives, we delivered double digit segment profit growth. We are also very encouraged by the strong viewer response to OWN in the USA and the positive reaction from Canadian advertisers."
Also in Canada, Corus rival Astral Media has filed a motion with the Federal Court of Appeal seeking leave to appeal a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last month to allow an exception to its common ownership policy and allow Cogeco, which bought most of Corus's Quebec radio stations, to own and operate three French-language FMs in Montreal when the normal limit is two (See RNW Licence News Dec 19, 2010).
Astral says the decision is prejudicial and puts an end to nearly twelve years of consistent application of the policy and disrupts the competitive equilibrium.
Its Vice President, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Claude Laflamme, said, "The sudden lack of predictability in the application of the CRTC policy penalizes all broadcasters which in the past decided not to pursue business opportunities in order to abide by the policy as formulated and as consistently applied."
Astral also says the CRTC erred in law by not following the standard regulatory proceeding to review the common ownership policy, acted in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner; and also neglected to consider the possibility for COGECO to divest itself of one of its FM music radio stations in order to abide by the current policy and complete its acquisition.
It is asking the Court to suspend the execution of the CRTC decision until final judgement on the appeal.
2011-01-11: Entercom is buying KUFX-FM (K-Fox), San Jose for USD 9 million from the Aloha Station Trust, the privately-owned company set up by Clear Channel to handle the sale of Clear Channel stations that was required to comply with ownership caps when Clear Channel was taken over in 2007 by private equity interests led by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
The classic rock station was the last of three Clear Channel had to divest in the market - considered by Arbitron to be "embedded" in the San Francisco market where Entercom owns three stations.
The sale was handled by Media Venture Partners which also handled other trust sales including the previous San Jose sales to Principle Broadcasting of KSJO-FM (agreed in principle in November last year when no price was announced) and KCNL-FM (USD 5 million in March last year).
Entercom will operate KUFX under a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) until the deal closes.
Previous Clear Channel:
2011-01-11: Australian metropolitan commercial radio revenues rose 7.8% on a year earlier to AUD 675.08 million (USD 666.73 million) in 2010 according to figures released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia, that also showed them down on a year earlier for December: Despite the December fall the second half of the year showed a larger increase than the first - up by 8.59% to AUD 353.8 million (USD 349.0 million)
The figures from the 2010 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue, as sourced by Deloitte, showed a December overall fall of 1.7% on a year earlier to a total of AUD 53.22 million (USD 52.56 million): Within them there were rises in Perth - up 2.21% to AUD 7.78 million (USD 7.67 million) and Brisbane - up 1.54% to AUD 9.04 million (USD 8.91 million) but falls elsewhere.
Down most was Adelaide - by 5.15% to AUD 4.98 million (USD 4.91 million) followed by Sydney (Down 3% to AUD 16.0 million (USD 15.77 million) and Melbourne - down 2.9% to AUD 15.35 million (USD 15.13 million).
For the full year the rises were of 9.59% to AUD 89.19 million (USD 87.92 million) in Perth; of 8.55% to AUD 211.15 million (USD 208.11 million) in Sydney; of 8.25% to AUD 108.8 million (USD 107.25 million) in Brisbane; of 7.05% to AUD 203.2 million (USD 200.33 million) in Melbourne and of 4.57% to AUD 62.6 million (USD 61.33 million) in Adelaide.
Commercial Radio Australia also noted continued strong listening to commercial radio in 2010 with the metropolitan surveys highlighting an average cumulative audience of 9.19 million each week during the year - up from 8.94 million in 2009, 8.79 million in 2008 and 8.74 million in 2007.
Commenting on the figures Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said, "The industry has worked hard to keep its message top of mind with advertisers over the past twelve months and this work will continue in 2011. However, the figures also show a slower month of December, which reinforces how competitive the media market is and how important it is to deliver the message that radio is an extremely effective and efficient advertising medium."
Previous Australian Revenue figures:
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-01-10: Entravision has announced that it has taken full control of Lotus Entravision Reps (LER), a national sales rep firm representing more than 156 Spanish-language radio stations, with the purchase of the half-interest in the company held by Lotus Communications Corp.
LER will now become a consolidated and wholly-owned subsidiary of Entravision but will continue to operate as before the takeover and remain under the direction of LER President Phillip Woodie.
LER was formed in 2001 and is the exclusive national sales force for stations that reach approximately 68% of the U.S. Hispanic market.
2011-01-10: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin upholds two radio standards complaints and also a TV advertising minutage complaint involving ten cases in which one broadcaster aired more than the permitted allowance of 12 minutes of adverts in an hour and also listed cases in which four other broadcasters had aired more than the permitted advertising on a single occasion.
The radio complaints upheld relate to a case of endorsement by a presenter of a competition's sponsor and a case where a presenter falsified the results of a quiz competition by substituting for a genuine listener entry to its Quizroads competition an entry from his 17-years-old son who had entered using an alias.
The latter case involved Banbury Sound and came to light when Quidem, which acquired the station at the start of October last year, contacted Ofcom to say that the presenter had admitted the action "following an allegation by other staff members."
Quizroads is aired throughout the year and each contestant takes part for one week, in five daily rounds, accumulating their score in each round by answering correctly as many questions as possible in 60 seconds. At the end of the competition, the highest scorer wins a prize pack worth GBP 1,000 (USD 1,560), with any tie resulting in a playoff.
Quidem told Ofcom when asked for its comments on rules requiring fair conduct o broadcast competitions that the presenter, who had subsequently been dismissed, had said he had considered his action editorially justified, on the basis that he had been unable to make contact with the genuine entrant for that week?s part of the competition. Quidem added that when it found out what had occurred, it halted the competition, telling listeners that it would return soon and that subsequently, it had found no evidence that any contestant had been disadvantaged as a result of the presenter?s actions. It noted that, currently, five listeners, which did not include the presenter's son (the false entrant), were jointly in first place.
Ofcom noted that in this case no consumer harm had been caused but said that rules had been broken, commenting that "Breaching the audience's trust in this way is unacceptable, regardless of the circumstances in which it has occurred."
In the other case, during the Howard Taylor at Breakfast show that is aired by Total Star - Wiltshire - a network of three radio services covering Bath, Swindon and Warminster-, the presenter trailed a competition sponsored by a local car dealership leading to a listener complaint about endorsement of the sponsor.
When contacted by Ofcom Total Star apologised, admitting that "on this occasion we did get it wrong" and the presenter was "a little overenthusiastic with his comments " and saying that the comments had not been made in return for payment or other valuable consideration, and that the presenter?s intentions had been "in good faith."
Ofcom said that three rules in its code had been breached and also noted action taken by the broadcaster to avoid recurrence but added that it had recently found the station to have breached its codes on the promotion of products and services in programming (See RNW Nov 23, 2010). It commented on changes made to its rules on sponsorship and paid for references last month (See RNW Dec 22, 2010) and said it Ofcom expects Total Star to ensure that compliance issues do not arise under the new rules.
The figures compare with findings in its previous bulletin that two community stations have failed to meet key commitments of their licences. In that bulletin it also upheld one TV and one radio standards complaint concerning sponsorship and references to businesses as well as a two standards complaints concerning adult TV channels and considered a further TV complaint resolved through action taken by the broadcaster.
In addition to the above findings Ofcom also listed without details 244 complaints against 167 TV items and 15 radio complaints against 14 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 412 complaints against 221 TV items and 17 radio complaints against 17 items that were similarly listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Bulletin:
2011-01-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has appointed David Hunt, who has been in the role on an acting basis since June 2009, as its Inspector General.
Hunt was a senior attorney in the FCC's Enforcement Bureau from 1999-2006 in which role he managed formal complaints and conducted investigations. Prior to that he worked as a trial attorney at several national law firms in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California, before joining the FCC in 1996 as an attorney-advisor in the Pricing Division of the former Common Carrier Bureau.
Making the announcement FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said in a release, "I am delighted that David will continue to serve in the important role of Inspector General to detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. During the time he served as Acting IG, David and his team have been instrumental in working with us to uncover millions of dollars of fraud in federally funded programs, and helping to obtain numerous indictments and criminal convictions nationwide."
2011-01-10: The UK Guardian, whose holdings include GMG Radio, reports that Bauer Media chief executive Paul Keenan - Bauer's holdings of 42 radio stations in the UK include the Kiss and Magic radio brands- has joined other commercial radio executives in calling for the BBC to commit funding for DAB transmitters to stop a stalling of the switch from FM to DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) in the UK.
Bauer has expressed scepticism about the switch and in November was among commercial radio companies that refused to air a DAB advertising campaign in the run up to Christmas (See RNW Nov 24, 2010) and Keenan said uncertainty about funding for DAB transmitters could see FM broadcasts continuing long after the 2015 target date.
He added that dual transmission could continue for a decade and in particular referred to problems with receivers in automobiles, asking, "When will the car industry adopt as a very cost-effective standard fit in-car DAB? Will there be some form of seismic content innovation or intervention that really pulls listeners across?"
Keenan said Bauer could live with mixed DAB and FM and added, "We don't want the listener to be forced into doing something that they must do. We think that the BBC plays a very significant role in encouraging people across."
RNW comment: As time has gone on, it has increasingly seemed to us that for the majority of listeners there are no great benefits in a switch to digital, particularly if wireless telecommunications develop to the point that the Internet becomes widely available in vehicles.
Even if there is to be a switch, we think the loss of a "world radio" - something now available in portable AM/FM/SW receivers at a reasonable price - would be a serious loss and think the rather than a push into DAB the whole concept should be rethought. No switch in our view should take place until at the very least an EC agreement on the essential features of a world radio that can receive DAB+ (with Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) rather than the very outdated MP2 in DAB), other Eureka-based DAB transmission systems, and DRM at the very least with such a radio to be available below a threshold figure - say around GBP 60/USD 100 - for automobile, domestic and portable use. If that can't be done then the matter should be left to the marketplace with commercial broadcasters having to make their own decision as to whether to continue to broadcast in both analogue and DAB and which to drop if need be.
The BBC at the very least should continue to provide at least three stations on analogue for the foreseeable future - say news & sports cum speech stations Radio Five Live on AM, Radio 4 on FM, and Radio 2 on FM as a music station. This would then leave it a matter for Global Radio to decide whether to continue to air its national classical music station Classic FM on analogue and equally UTV should be allowed to retain the option of airing talkSPORT on AM (with a negligible licence fee from Ofcom) as well as digital. Such a plan would still provide incentives for those who wanted a wider service to go for DAB receivers but not force those with older automobiles or existing good quality analogue receivers to scrap them.
UK Guardian report:
2011-01-09: Following his exit from KYI Inc. after 51 years (See below), rival stations in the area are to give Washington radio veteran Dick Pust a chance to say goodbye to his listeners on their airwaves according to The Olympian.
Pust will be a guest on Dale Hubbard's show on KMAS-AM, Shelton on Wednesday, during the first hour of the show. Program Director Randy Roadz said the station wants to give Pust the chance to say goodbye to the community, commenting, "We want to give him a forum we think he definitely deserves."
KXXO-FM (Mixx 96) in Olympia will take up the reins later this month and host a community event for him starting at 17:30 On January 20.
Mixx 96 co-owner and general manager David Rauh said of the planned event, "He's lived and breathed Olympia his whole life, and he deserves to know how much he's appreciated."
The Olympian report:
2011-01-09: The year continued on a fairly quiet pace for the regulators as regards radio last week with no announcements from Australia, Ireland or the UK and the main news from North America where the FCC was on the losing side in a court broadcast indecency decision but did finally see progress with low power FM (LPFM).CRTC web site:
In Canada there were a few announcements from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), primarily one that it is to hold a hearing in March over the planned merger of Sirius and XM in the country (See RNW Jan 7)
The CRTC also approved an application from Paul Lefebvre, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence to operate a 47,100 watts adult pop music format French-language FM commercial FM in Nipissing, Ontario.
It also posted a consultation notice with a February 10 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments, relating to the following Quebec radio applications.
*Application by La radio campus communautaire francophone de Shawinigan inc. to change the frequency of its CFUT-FM, Shawinigan, from 91.1 MHz to 88.1 MHz; increasing its power from 199 to 8,235 watts; and re-locate the transmitter site from Shawinigan to Mont-Carmel and increase the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 9.2 to 152.1 metres.
*Application by Radio Gaspésie inc. to add 250 watts FM rebroadcasting transmitters at Grande-Vallée, Petite-Vallée and Cloridorme to carry the signal of its French-language community radio programming undertaking CJRG-FM Gaspé.
In the US as already noted, the main news was a combination of low-power FM and indecency/obscenity regulation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) losing yet again in court as regards the latter (See RNW Jan 5) whilst in the former case there was a warm welcome for LPFM from chairman Julius Genachowski and Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps (See RNW Jan 5).
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site:
2011-01-08: Washington State radio veteran Dick Pust's career with KGY Inc, which operates KGY-AM and FM in Olympia, has ended after 51 years with the host saying he was fired and Jennifer Kerry, the President and Chief Executive of KGY Inc., saying he had been asked to step down as general manager but continue his show according to The Olympian.
The paper, which notes that Kerry lives in Florida and that her mother, Barbara, used to own the station, says Kerry had said the station was likely to face a slower first quarter for advertising and she had asked him to step down from the general manager's position because the station could not afford to continue to pay for the role but had asked him to continue with his show and work in the community.
"Dick made the decision to leave the company because he did not choose to continue on in a lesser role," Kerry told the paper which added that she had not yet made any other changes in the staff of 25 but would not rule them out.
She added that she told Pust the station likely would be going in a different direction with its sales-management leadership- saying the sales manager is considering an alternative position - and Pust then "issued an ultimatum"
Pust told the paper tension had been building between him and Kerry, who had approached him two weeks ago and asked him to prove his loyalty to the station by firing a particular staff member.
He said he couldn't do that in good conscience adding "It was so abhorrent to me that it felt like I was being initiated into a gang," adding that he wouldn't "play their game" and was fired.
Pust added that severance was not discussed - Kerry told the paper the issue would be addressed later - and added that he understood the station was struggling financially but he thought it "could've made it."
Pust had been hosting his show, which went on air at 05:30 six days a week, since 1967.
The Olympian report:
2011-01-08: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced that it has appointed Albert Rodriguez as Chief Revenue Officer: He has been Chief Revenue Officer of the television segment and General Manager of the Miami television market since October last year and takes over from Marko Radlovic, who had added the CRO duties to those of EVP and Los Angeles General Manager since Frank Flores left in June last year (See RNW Jul 27, 2010 and RNW Jun 16, 2010).
Announcing the appointment President and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. commented in a release, "This promotion is well deserved due to his many contributions to SBS during the last 12 years. Albert not only executes credible and ambitious revenue plans, but most important, he delivers Albert is admired, respected and liked by everyone in the industry,"
2011-01-07: US public broadcasting and particularly NPR (National Public Radio) is racing new threats to its income from public funding in the new Congress with Colorado Republican Representative Doug Lamborn re-introducing two bills that he put forward in the last congress that would end all federal funding after fiscal year 2013 to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (HR 68) and just for NPR (HR 69).
Both were listed with no co-sponsors when we last checked and have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
On his website Lamborn under the heading "New Congress to Reconsider Defunding NPR" describes the move as "Part of Larger Push to Reduce Government Spending" and later comments, "Congressional Republicans must show the American people that we are serious about cutting spending and reducing the size and scope of the federal government. We simply cannot afford to subsidize NPR, or any other organization that is not doing an essential government service. The government must learn to live within its means."
He then goes on, "While I like much of NPR's programming, the fact is, it is luxury we cannot afford to subsidize. This effort to cut government spending should be part of the larger push from this new Republican Congress to cut spending and get our nation's fiscal house in order."
Lamborn says that this year the CPB will receive more than USD 430 million from taxpayers and adds that "Congress has appropriated funding beyond the rate of inflation for the CPB. Over the past decade, funding for public broadcasting has risen over 26 percent
He also says that Federal Funding for the CPB is unnecessary because the aim of the funding in the Public Broadcasting Act was to "telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States" and nowadays more than 99 percent of Americans own a TV and more than 95 percent have access to the Internet, adding, "Government-funded broadcasting is now completely unnecessary in a world of 500-channel cable TV and cell phone internet access."
He also takes issue with NPR over its assessment that less than 2% of its annual budget comes from federal funds, saying that when indirect revenues from federal funds to local stations are included the figure rises to an estimated 20%.
RNW Comment: According to the Inflationdar.com web site, which uses figures from the US Bureau of Labor, inflation over the ten years to the November 2010 - the latest it lists - was 25.68%. This seems remarkably like 26% to us.).
We also note that Lamborn in the release refers to significant funding from individuals and organizations and chooses as his example "liberal activist billionaire George Soros pledged USD 1.8 million to NPR" and from this and NPR's figures for revenue from government sources goes on to say "Therefore eliminating taxpayer support should not materially affect NPR's ability to operate. It will, however, save taxpayers millions of dollars each year."
Were he making a case rather than deploying partisan propaganda he might we suggest, have chosen as his example the record USD 200 million donation from MacDonald's heiress Joan Kroc although that was a while back (See RNW Nov 7, 2003) but of course his case is partisan.
Regarding NPR's finances, we would quite like to see how he got to the figure of 20% of its revenues coming from the - our calculation from the CPB's breakdown of public station revenues by category is more like 16% from funding from Federal, state and local government (5.8% of the total) and CPB (10.1%) combined with a further 13.6% from Universities, which do receive taxpayer funding.
In 2009 the total income of the CPB was USD 483.7 million if which it listed some USD 8.3 million going to radio programming and USD 25.7 million to "National program production and acquisition grants": The former is not for NPR but even if we assume the whole USD 34 million radio programming went to NPR then NPR's income from the CPB is around USD 11.3 million - NPR lists 34% of its unrestricted revenues as coming from programming fees. That year the revenue total for NPR was 161.96 million of which USD 62.9 million came from programming fees.
We are puzzled as to how it is possible to make a reasonable calculation from this of 20% of NPR revenues coming from federal funding.
2011-01-07: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that it is to hold a hearing in March over the planned merger of Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. (CRSI), operator of XM Canada, XM's services in Canada, and Sirius Canada Inc., which operates the Sirius service in the country: The planned merger was announced in November last year (See RNW Nov 25, 2010).
The hearing will be at held in Gatineau, Quebec, and interventions or comments have to be submitted by February 7: The agency notes that in their applications to merge the two organizations say that their services in Canada will continue to be "distinct from one another" and that they will continue to abide by the conditions of their current licences: Both organizations have also requested a one-year administrative renewal of their respective licences from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2012.
Under the plans Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (CSRHI), which is controlled by John Bitove and in which Sirius XM has a 10.82% share, will acquire Sirius Canada in exchange for CHRSI shares and will also make additional payments to Slaight Communications Inc., which holds 40% of Sirius Canada; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which also holds 40%; and Sirius XM, which holds 19.99% in the form of cash, promissory notes and/or shares based on the balance sheets of Sirius and CSRHI at closing.
After the deal closes, if it is approved, CSRI will hold 30% of the shares of CSRHI; the CBS 20.2%; Slaight 20.2%; and Sirius XM 25% with the remaining shares held publicly.
The CRTC also notes that no benefits - in Canada a takeover is normally accompanied by a payment of 6% of the deal's value for Canadian talent/content initiatives - will apply in this case as both companies have made losses before interest and taxes over the past three years.
Amongst topics slated for discussion are the market impact of the merger; the compliance of licensees with the conditions of their licences relating to contributions to Canadian Content Development; and technical plans including the compatibility of receivers for both satellite radio services, as well as the satellite coverage of both networks..
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous Sirius XM:
Previous XM Canada:
2011-01-07: Johnson and Johnson (Tommy Johnson and Joe Johnson), the morning team at Citadel's country KUBL-FM, Salt Lake City, are out of the station after 13 years.
Its web site has removed mention of the pair and their public Facebook page contained no details of their plans although they have said they have a proven success record with PPM (Portable People Meter) ratings, will go anywhere and work on any format.
Johnsons' Facebook page:
2011-01-06: US NPR (National Public Radio) has announced completion of its review of the termination of the organization's contract with Senior News Analyst Juan Williams following remarks he made about Muslims and terrorism (See RNW Oct 21, 2010) and has announced various measures it is to take; the resignation of Senior Vice-President for News Ellen Weiss, and a vote to deny CEO Vivian Schiller her 2010 bonus although it expressed "confidence in Vivian Schiller's leadership going forward"
Amongst the measures to be taken are the establishment of a committee comprised of NPR personnel, respected journalists, and others from outside NPR to review and update NPR's current Ethics Code; the development of policies and procedures to ensure consistent application of and training on the Code to all employees and contractors; a review and updating of its policies relating to NPR journalists appearing on other media outlets "to ensure that they understand the applicability of the Ethics Code to their work and to facilitate equitable and consistent application of the Code"; and a review and definition of the roles of its journalists including news analysts. The review said Williams' contract was terminated in accordance with its terms but "because of concerns regarding the speed and handling of the termination process, the Board additionally recommended that certain actions be taken with regard to management involved in Williams' contract termination.
NPR chairman Dave Edwards said in a news release, "We have taken this situation very seriously and the Board believes these recommendations and remedial steps address the concerns raised in connection with the termination of Williams' contract. The Board regrets this incident's impact on NPR and will work with NPR's CEO, Vivian Schiller, to ensure that these actions will be expeditiously completed, examined, and monitored on an ongoing basis."
In a memo to staff concerning Weiss's resignation, Schiller commented, "Ellen Weiss has notified me that she will be leaving her position. Over her decades at NPR, Ellen has made meaningful and lasting contributions to the evolution of NPR and our newsroom. She is a strong journalist who has brought her considerable talents to how NPR covers the world and meets the ever-increasing expectations of today's audiences. Ellen exemplifies journalistic professionalism and integrity. I'm grateful to her for what she has accomplished at NPR, and I encourage you to reach out to her in the days ahead with your own thanks."
She added that Vice President for Programming Margaret Low Smith is to stand in as SVP for News until a replacement for Weiss is found.
RNW comment: The termination of Williams' contract resulted in a cacophony of criticism from various Republican leaders and we doubt that even a public stoning to death of Weiss and Schiller would silence some of them whose objection of any public funding for broadcasters (or almost anything except for companies that support their campaigns and the wishes of the executives of these funders?). However, as we commented at the time, we think NPR made a serious error irrespective of any issues of public funding.
2011-01-06: The Australian commercial radio industry, which had previously signed similar agreements with the Victorian, South Australian and Queensland Governments, has now signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the New South Wales Government, making commercial radio stations official providers of emergency services information.
Commenting on the MOU, Joan Warner, CEO of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said, "This is a sensible decision given commercial radio reaches 80 per cent of Australians and can provide a crucial role in helping disseminate information to local communities in times of emergency."
She added, "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 nationwide in the near future."
All commercial stations in NSW are involved in the MOU including stations owned by DMG Radio, Australian Radio Network, Fairfax Radio Network, Grant Broadcasters, Austereo and Southern Cross Media.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-01-06: Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), which last year had attacked Fox News host Glen Beck and its leadership for breaching what they said was a breach of an understanding to reign in the host's "constant and often inappropriate invocation of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany on the air", has urged New York radio stations not to pick up his syndicated radio show after the announcement that it is to be dropped by Buckley Broadcasting's WOR-AM.
WOR is to replace Beck's show with a local show hosted by Mike Gallagher from January 17, saying he did not bring in the expected ratings although Chris Balfe, president of Mercury Radio Arts (Beck's production company - his show is syndicated by Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks, which says he has more than 300 affiliates), told Businessinsider.com that the host had outperformed or tied the station's Monday-Friday 6AM-7PM ratings in 11 out of the last 13 months (actually winning 8 of those months) with Adults 25-54; and outperformed 13 out of the last 13 months with Men 25-54."
The a not-for-profit Jewish news organization JTA quoted JFSJ President Simon Greer as saying in a statement, "WOR's decision to remove Glenn Beck tells me that even conservative listeners are rejecting Mr. Beck's fear speech, anti-Semitism and Holocaust revisionism. We believe that New York City, with its incredible diversity and large Jewish community, is rejecting Beck, and we will encourage other radio stations to learn from WOR's experience and not pick up his syndicated show."
Despite its decision to replace Beck, WOR when we last checked still had a page online in which he was described as "as the next phenomenon of talk radio" and highlighting his ratings success in Tampa, Florida, where he took WFLA-AM from 18th to top rank in his first year and as host of the third most listened to talk show in America among Adults 25-54.
Previous Buckley Broadcasting:
Jewish Funds for Justice web site:
WOR-AM web site- Beck page:
2011-01-05: The Local Community Radio Act that removed third adjacent channel protection requirements and clear the way for the launch of more community stations in the US has now been signed by President Obama and become law.
The Act was first proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when George W. Bush was President but was fought by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which argued that the new stations could cause interference to existing stations despite FCC studies that said the risk was minimal and also had provisions to remedy any interference that might be caused: It finally passed at the end of last year after the NAB supported an amended version that included remedies should there be interference and also game LPFMs the same status as FM translators - now being used by commercial AM stations to fill-in areas, particularly at night when they have to reduce power (See RNW Dec 18, 2010).
Welcoming the signing, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement termed it "a big win for radio listeners" and continued "Low-power FM stations are small, but they make a giant contribution to local community programming. This important law eliminates the unnecessary restrictions that kept these local stations off the air in cities and towns across the country The FCC will take swift action to open the dial to new low-power radio stations and the valuable local service they provide."
The signing was also welcomed by Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps who commented, "I have been waiting for this day for a long, long time! Enactment of the Local Community Radio Act gives local radio stations, grassroots media, and consumers nationwide genuine cause to celebrate. Thanks to this legislation, more than 160 million people underserved by local power FM will be able to reap the benefits of these stations. This means potentially many new opportunities for local and independent broadcasters to provide truly local and independent programming-and to be heard."
"In this day of way-too-much media consolidation, stifling program homogenization, and the decimation of local news," he continued "new voices are critically important to sustaining America's civic dialogue and citizen engagement How fitting that, as we begin the New Year, we can turn the page on years of waiting to celebrate a victory for independent media voices and consumers nationwide."
Both he and Genachowski praised the politicians who had led passage of the legislation.
The FCC had issued FM Class D licences covering transmitter powers up to 10 watts until 1978 when it stopped issuing them (they remained in effect for broadcast translators) under pressure from the NAB , Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and NPR (National Public Radio): In 2000 the agency established the new class of Low Power FM (LPFM) stations, which were allowed to operate at up to 100 watts - the minimum requirement for a broadcast station but only one filing window was opened (in 2003) after the NAB had pressed Congress to include the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000, which amongst other things required third adjacent channel protection (0.6Mhz) and barred anyone who had been involved in the operation of an unlicensed station from being awarded a licence, into a general spending bill that was signed into law.
After the FCC had commissioned a study (The Mitre report, whose findings were strongly criticized by the NAB - See RNW Oct 18, 2003) that showed minimal interference was to be expected from LPFMs, Senators John McCain (Arizona Republican) Maria Cantwell (Washington State Democrat) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont Democrat) introduced the Local Community Radio Act of 2005 and later Cantwell and McCain sponsored the Local Community Radio Act of 2007 but neither were passed.
The next attempt, the Local Community Radio Act of 2009, was passed by the house and referred to the Senate but again failed to make it into law although it was the basis from which the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 sprang and was passed as already noted.
2011-01-05: Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) has told the Hollywood Reporter that he left Sirius XM after it tried to cut his pay by 80% from USD 1 million to USD 200,000 a year and said the company is asking "everybody to take a pay cut", an offer that in his case he decided to leave rather than take.
Bubba blamed the company for agreeing deals with personalities who have name recognition - such as Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart, who are paid around USD 18 million a year and USD 17 million a year respectively according to the Reporter, and then wanting to cut the pay of radio talent.
He commented, "They paid an exorbitant amount for Hollywood people like Jamie Foxx with no fucking radio talent, so radio people like me have suffered. A lot of good radio people aren't getting an opportunity because of these Hollywood people."
Bubba went on to say that Hollywood actors should stay out of radio and radio people stay out of Hollywood and also to note that he had done a deal with Sirius XM three times before arriving at an impasse this time.
He also indicated that his decision to move to internet site radioIO, owned by ioWorld Media (which trades on the Pink over the counter market but whose market capitalisation is not available) was spurred by an offer that beat that from Sirius: Under the deal he will host a free show plus a further show that will be part of the service's subscription package and he commented, "They gave me a fairly lucrative base salary, plus incentives like stock and commission on subscribers. It's far better than Sirius ever was."
Hollywood Reporter report:
2011-01-05: Eastlan Ratings has announced an agreement with Dix Communications to provide four ratings books a year for the Gainesville/Ocala market in Florida starting with Winter 2011.
Jim Robertson, Vice President/General Manager of Dix Communications' K COUNTRY and WIND-FM commented of why they had opted for Eastlan rather than Arbitron said in a release, "The lack of stability book to book and the high cost for our independently owned stations made the decision simple for us. We opted for double the sample size for a lot less money and investing the difference in our locally focused radio stations."
For Eastlan its President/CEO Mike Gould said, "We think the bottom-line message here is that broadcasters do have choice as it relates to ratings vendors. Many independent broadcasters have now proven that Arbitron is no longer a necessity".
"Although no one size fits all, "he added, "there are three real options: go naked, stay with Arbitron or switch to Eastlan. Going without ratings sometimes offers a short-term benefit, but is not a viable solution beyond a few months. Being shareholder focused, Arbitron is extraordinarily expensive in many markets and becoming more so. Consequently, Eastlan is increasingly embraced as the make-sense compromise."
2011-01-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has lost another round in its clash with broadcasters over its indecency and obscenity rules with a decision by the Federal Appeals Court for the Second Circuit (New York) to throw out a USD 1.2 million fine the agency had imposed on ABC TV and affiliates for the airing an episode of NYPD Blue that showed a woman naked as she prepared to take a shower.
The agency had launched a crackdown under political pressure following brief exposure of a Janet Jackson breast during the 2004 Super Bowl half time show for which it issued a then record USD 550,000 penalty against Viacom (the then owner of CBS before it split off the broadcaster) in relation to its stations airing of the show although it did not penalise CBS affiliates not owned by Viacom (See RNW Sep 23, 2004).
In this week's ruling, the Court has again held that the FCC rules were too vague, a ruling it had previously made in a case in July last year involving Fox (again in conjunction with other broadcasters) and a broadcast of "The Simple Life" in which Nicole Richie commented, "Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse?" It's not so fucking simple."
ABC in conjunction with other broadcasters had asked the court to re-consider the FCC ruling against it case in light of the Fox ruling and the court said the rules violated the First Amendment, as they had in the Fox case, because they were "unconstitutionally vague"
The FCC had asked the court for a rehearing or full court review of the Fox decision but this was refused and following the latest decision its general counsel Austin Schlick commented, "The Second Circuit's decision confirms what we have already said: The Court's Fox decision was excessively broad in rejecting the FCC's ability to use context to evaluate indecency cases."
So far the agency has not said it will take the matter to the Supreme Court although there is widespread expectation that the issue will go to that level and the Parents Television Council, one of the leading opponents of the broadcasters, has "denounced" the ruling.
It described the scene (briefly showing naked buttocks and the side of a breast in what the court ruling termed a "non-sexual context" as the character Detective Connie McDowell is in the bathroom about to take a shower and is seen by the son of Detective Andy Sipowicz (who has become involved with McDowell following his wife's murder and who, with his son, has moved into her apartment)) as a "a graphic and lengthy display of female nudity" and on its web site its President Tim Winter commented, "Once again the Second Circuit has proclaimed that it knows better than the Supreme Court, the Congress, the FCC, and the overwhelming majority of the American people. Regardless of one's political viewpoint - left, center or right - this may well be the most egregious example of 'legislating from the bench' that our Federal Court system has ever witnessed."
He continued, "This ruling is as devoid of common sense as it was predictable. The Second Circuit's three-judge panel has stated that it doesn't like the concept of broadcast decency ABC intentionally chose to air a scripted visual depiction of a fully-naked woman before 10:00 pm. There was absolutely nothing fleeting or accidental about it. The inclusion of the lengthy and ogling scene was intended to pander and titillate."
The Super Bowl case is also still working its way through the courts: CBS subsequently took the case to appeal and in 2008 the US Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Philadelphia) threw out the penalty (See RNW Jul 21. 2008), a decision that the FCC appealed and is still being considered by the court.
CBS in a filing last month had said that it "neither knew of nor approved the broadcast involving the material at issue" adding "Consequently the Court should vacate the forfeiture."
It is also arguing on First Amendment grounds and says the court should consider these whilst the FCC, which is backed by the Justice Department, is arguing that broadcasters five up full First Amendment rights when they are awarded a broadcast licence and thus should be subject to its regulation. It made the submission in the light of a request from the court for input on whether if CBS was found to have had knowledge of the incident the agency should apply criminal or civil recklessness standards. In the first case CBS would have to have been aware of the risk and chosen to disregard it but for a civil recklessness case it could be culpable if it is held that it should have been aware of what Jackson and Justin Timberlake were going to do even though it was not actually aware of this.
"Although broadcasters engage in speech, they are not like other speakers," argued the FCC. "A broadcast licensee is 'granted the free and exclusive use of a limited and valuable part of the public domain' for which it agrees to be 'burdened by enforceable public obligations', including the obligation not to broadcast indecent material."
The FCC is arguing that the civil standard should apply whilst CBS says First Amendment implications of content regulation require consideration as in the case of criminal liability.
After the Super Bowl incident, the FCC subsequently hardened its policy on "fleeting indecency"- applying it initially in 2004 in relation to the 2003 Golden Globe broadcast on NBC during which U2 front man Bono in accepting an award declared it "fucking brilliant" : In this case the agency's Enforcement Bureau had initially rejected complaints saying that the broadcast did not contravene its then regulations that banned material that described sexual or excretory organs or activities and didn't dwell on or repeat the language.
The commission then reversed this decision - although it imposed no fine - saying that "fuck" was patently offensive and had an inherent sexual connotation. It also and declared other past broadcasts to be indecent including episodes of various shows including Without a Trace - it proposed the maximum USD 32,500 penalty against each of the 111 CBS stations that aired this episode that included scenes of a teen sex party to make a total of more than USD 3.6 million - the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards broadcasts by Fox in which the word "fuck" was used but in this case imposed no fine as the broadcasts took place before the Golden Globe broadcast.
All the broadcasters involved have been fighting the FCC rules and in 2008 the issue reached the US Supreme Court, which ruled in a decision released in April 2009 that the FCC could penalize fleeting expletives, dismissing the Second Circuit Court's reasons in its ruling that the FCC had been "arbitrary and capricious" and sending the issue back to the Court without ruling on the constitutional issues.
RNW comment: There seem to us to be at least three issues at stake in these cases, which we do expect to end up before the US Supreme Court. On one issue, we have no doubt, namely the "chilling effect" of the rules on freedom of speech. We also have no doubt that by the definitions posted by the FCC before the Super Bowl its rules were not breached and that the reversal by the Commission of the Enforcement Bureau ruling was ill-judged. The third issue, of whether the FCC's new rules are too loosely worded is one where there is room for debate - indeed in the Supreme Court ruling there was dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas: it does seem to us that it is not unreasonable for the FCC to have rules regarding indecency cum obscenity and indeed the airing of particular words before a watershed but equally that those rules need to be tempered with due regard for freedom of speech.
Live broadcasts have already effectively gone off the airwaves for most major events as broadcasters put in delay systems, thus making the broadcasts only near live, and though regrettable we would regard this acceptable but there are also issues of censorship in other areas as when senior politicians utter banned words in public. In this case it is obviously not in the public interest that such comments should be censored although of course nowadays they can be posted on a broadcaster's web site to make them available. A Supreme Court on how far such an option chills speech would be illuminating not only of attitudes but of how far the Justices consider an option that is only acceptable to those with decent quality broadband mitigates the chilling effect.
Second Circuit latest ruling (9-page 72KBPDF RNW note: This link may only be short-term):
2011-01-05: Clear Channel Communications has revealed in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that three employees were granted stock options in parent CC Media Holdings at the end of last year: All the options are priced at USD 10 - making them worthless unless and until the stock rises as they traded at the end of last year at USD 9.00 - and they vest n four equal instalments of a quarter.
The largest grant goes to CFO Tom Casey, who gets 250,000 options. Next in line is Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan who gets 170,000 options whilst CC Media Holdings/Clear Channel Communications Executive Vice President and General Counsel Robert Walls gets 100,000 options.
Clear Channel has also announced that it has appointed Dirk Eller as CFO of Clear Channel International: Eller, who has been Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategic Planning at Clear Channel Communications for six years, takes up his new post, which is based in London, on January 10.
Clear Channel International CEO William Eccleshare said in a company news release, "Dirk brings both a wealth of financial management expertise, as well as unique knowledge of the Company as a whole, to this role. It is my pleasure to welcome him to our senior leadership team and we look forward to his contributions to CCI."
Previous Clear Channel:
2011-01-04: Fisher Communications announced on Monday that its board has rejected an offer from Canadian industrial and retail real estate investment trust Huntingdon Real Estate Investment Trust that was made privately on December 6, terming the offer "not in the best interest of the shareholders".
Fisher in a news release said its board "carefully reviewed and considered the proposal shortly after receiving it" and that with the exception of one director decided to reject it and not pursue the proposal, which offered an implied offer price of USD 23.99 on the day of the offer - when Huntingdon was trading at CAD 6.70), at that time an 18% premium on Fisher's closing price on December 6 and a 10% premium on its closing price on December 31st, the last day of trading before Huntingdon made its offer public.
The director who did not vote for the rejection was David Lorber, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Huntingdon and a co-founder and current portfolio manager of FrontFour Capital Group LLC, which is the largest shareholder of Huntingdon. Fisher adds that Lorber has been excused from all Fisher Board deliberations and reports in connection with the Huntingdon offer and also notes that Huntingdon's President and Chief Executive Officer, Zachary George, is also a co-founder and managing member of FrontFour.
The offer was part cash and part shares - of 3.58 units of the Huntingdon Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), or 1.79 Huntingdon units plus a cash payment of CAD 12.00 (currently USD 12.566) per Fisher share.
Huntingdon made the offer public to put pressure on Fisher, saying it wanted Fisher's board to "reconsider their 'hasty decision' and to consult with Fisher's shareholders about their views as to both the merits of Huntingdon's proposal and proper process for evaluating it."
Fisher's operations include internet, radio, TV, and mobile operations but the focus of interest for Huntingdon seems to be is Fisher Plaza state of the art office tower and data centre in Seattle: Non US companies can only hold up to 25% of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadcast licensee and are prohibited from owning more than 20% of the stock of a broadcaster or common carrier in the US.
In its third quarter results Fisher said the Plaza's occupancy was 95% and its revenues for the quarter were USD 3.7 million. Fisher's stock closed at USD 23.45 on Monday making its market capitalisation just above USD 206 million compared to around USD 211 million offered by Huntingdon, whose stock closed at CAD 7.01 at the end of 2010 (The Toronto Exchange was closed on Monday), valuing it at around CAD 107.7 million (USD 108.3 million) and taking the bid price up to around USD 220 million.
2011-01-04: The BBC says that in 2010 it added 30 new digital radio transmitters to make DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) available to an additional three quarters of a million people and improving DAB coverage for over 8.5 million people in the country.
Areas able to receive DAB for the first time include the Rhondda Valley, Windermere, north Northamptonshire, Rochdale and Littleborough, the Sevenoaks Weald and north Kent and South Hams and the corporation says reception has been significantly improved in many other areas.
In Northern Ireland it added five new transmitters taking DAB coverage up to reach 75% of the population and extending the signal into Enniskillen, Ballymena, Coleraine, and Larne whilst in Scotland transmissions now cover Oban, Fort William, Dumfries and Galloway, and reach into the north-east of the nation with coverage throughout Aberdeenshire.
In England reception has been improved for households in Cornwall, London, Plymouth and Dartmoor; Suffolk and north Essex.
The BBC adds that it expects to add 40 more transmitters with new transmitters Saffron Walden, east Devon, Sunderland and High Wycombe to go on air in the first few weeks of this year and it is on target to meet its aim of DAB serving 92% of the population by the end of 2011.
BBC Director of Audio and Music Tim Davie commented in a news release, "It is excellent news that more listeners will be able to enjoy the full range of BBC services. Driving up national DAB coverage is an important part of building a digital future for radio."
2011-01-04: Following a round of US radio station format changes after Christmas (See RNW Dec 28 2010), more have been added in the New Year whilst others have changed their emphasis or moved to FM including the following - order of states.
CBS Radio has rebranded its top 40 KMVQ-FM, San Francisco, as "997-Now" rather than "Movin" but is retaining its line-up and music. Its web site flags it as "99.7 All the Hits".
Salem Communications has flipped KSAC-FM, Sacramento (Licensed to Dunnigan) from Spanish Christian to "Money 105.5" carrying the "Wall Street Radio Network". So far no details were on the site about its local output.
Wilks Broadcasting's KCKC-FM, Kansas City, has dropped its Star 102 format, introduced by then-owner CBS Radio in 1999 (CBS sold its Kansas City cluster to Wilks in 2006) and moved to become Alice 102 with a prime focus on "80s and modern rock hits". The station's new website proclaims it to be "All about the Music"
In Syracuse, Clear Channel's WSYR-AM has added an FM simulcast, taking over the 106.9 frequency from WHPR-FM whose "Power Jamz" moved to 620AM whilst WHEN-AM moved from 620, droppeds sports and became talk/urban music "Power AM 620 - The Voice of the Community."
Clear Channel's WMVX-FM has replaced its former hot adult format with a classic hits one and become "106.5 The Lake". The new station's web site says its goal is "Be unpredictable. So, We play anything."
Non-commercial NPR outlet WAMU-FM is being rebranded to coincide with its 50th anniversary with the slogan "The mind is our medium" that its general manager Caryn G. Mathes said in a news release "says all that we want to signify about WAMU 88.5 - that we embrace discussion, that we value intelligence, that we are a multi-platform content provider - in a way we believe will translate well to air." The call sign stays but the station has rolled out a new logo.
Previous Clear Channel:
997 Now web site:
106.5 The Lake web site:
Alice 102.2 website
Money1055 web site:
WAMU web sitr:
2011-01-03: Global Radio's Capital brand went national at 10:00 GMT today - launching on local FM frequencies in Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, South Wales and across the South Coast in addition to its London base to reach a total audience estimated at some 6.5 million and provide the first national network competition from a pop music channel for the BBC. The figure compares with 2.13 million for Capital Radio in London in the latest ratings and 11.65 million for BBC Radio 1, whose national audience the new station is widely seen as targeting (See RNW Oct 28, 2010).
The move means theeffective end of the Galaxy network, Red Dragon FM in Cardiff, Leicester Sound, Ram FM in Derby and Trent FM in Nottingham although local stations retain their own breakfast and drive shows on weekdays and Capital in London retains its own output. Local advertising will continue to be sold locally.
Between the breakfast and drive shows, local stations air a network feed including pre-recorded links.
The move was described by Global Radio founder and Executive President, Ashley Tabor as "a monumental day for British commercial radio, Capital FM, and Global."
"The UK," he added, "has never had a national commercial hits station before, this is game changing - another national brand, delivered locally, from Global Radio."
Meanwhile in The Archers, the BBC Radio 4 soap that is the world's longest running drama, a slip of the tongue by programme editor, Vanessa Whitburn, on the station's breakfast Today programme appears to have confirmed the death of Nigel Pargetter, the character played for 30 years by Graham Seed.
Sunday's episode ended with a shriek as Pargetter fell from the roof of his stately home after going up on it to take down a banner, in defiance of his wife's wishes. The episode left things open but Whitburn commented, "There's a birth and a death - and that's quite iconic, I think "before correcting herself and saying "a birth and a potential death".
Previous Global Radio:
2011-01-03: The Board of Prasar Bharati, India's public broadcaster, has named Rajiv Takru as acting CEO: He takes over from B S Lalli, who was suspended last month by order of India's President Pratibha Patil pending an inquiry into allegations of financial mismanagement ((See RNW Dec 20 2010).
Takru, the Additional Secretary in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, will stand in as CEO until an inquiry into Lalli's conduct that was ordered by India's Supreme Court is completed.
The board also dissolved a the three-member committee that had been running the day-to-day work of the organisation and set five committees to streamline its operations according to a statement: These will deal with finance; personnel; production and content; project monitoring and implementation; and strategy and vision.
Chairperson Mrinal Pandey said the committee had been dissolved "primarily because the Supreme Court had provisioned for a three-member committee and with the suspension of the CEO there were only two members left." She added that the five new committees were set up to avoid "snarl-ups" in day-to-day decision making and that they would start work immediately and submit monthly reports to the board with an intention to have workable plans by the end of March.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
*RNW note: This is an update of our earlier report saying the board was to meet today to make the appointment.
2011-01-03: Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem), who before Christmas was twittering/tweeting that he was on the way out of his Sirius XM show when his contract ran out at the end of 2010, has now made it official, burned his boats fairly thoroughly, and announced a move to Internet web site radi io with a schedule announced starting on January 10.
Announcing the end of the satellite show, he commented on his Twitter account, "Ok it's official I'm done. I really am relying on u all 2come 2radio io dot com. I'm scared. But also somewhat relieved. I'm my own boss now!! As of midnight tonight my name and all content will be removed from Sirius/xm."
He also called on fans to cancel their satellite subscriptions, tweeting, "So I've never said this. But I am now cancel cancel cancel. They don't think we have a following that's why they have done this.show them!!
Clem had told his fans that he was offered "five times less" than he got on his original Sirius XM Contract for the show that aired on the Howard 101 channel, part of the Howard Stern empire, and he is offering his show on the RadioIo site at USD 9.99 month or USD 9.99 a year and says he planning a press conference on Wednesday to discuss his new venture.
On his official web sit the host has posted a schedule for his rioio.com venture, staring with his Morning Show from 06:00-10:00 followed by two hours of "Bubba UNCENSORED" and then a further two hours of "The Wrap up Show" to be followed by re-broadcasts of the first two shows and from 20:00 to whenever "Special programming."
The Radioio site lists six Bubba Army offerings - Bubba Army Music Channels; Bubba; Spiceboy; Ned's Head, Manson and Bent and other featured channels.
RNW note: A report on the departure on the Sirius Buzz website, before Clem made his move to Radio.io official, noted that he had been "pumping" the site in which "agent has a substantial stake."
The report is dismissive of his chances of future success, noting that "Neither radioIo nor Bubba The Love Sponge have enough cache to guarantee success", commenting that he can "could be easily replaced on the Howard channels"; and that he "The most foolish part of this whole mess is that once again Bubba is burning bridges. He claimed a loyalty to Howard Stern for giving him a second chance. He repays that kindness by telling subscribers who listen to Stern channels to cancel their service. Bubba simply is far too reactionary for his own good. He will rant and rave, but will people actually listen? The answer is no.
Responses to this included those from a number of his fans, who unsurprisingly disagreed.
Previous Bubba (Todd Clem):
Previous Sirius XM:
Bubba official site re Radioio.com schedule:
Radioio.com web site:
Sirius Buzz report:
2011-01-02:Last week was exceedingly quiet for the regulators as regards radio announcements with offices closed in Canada and no radio postings from Australia, Ireland or the UK.
The US filled the gap slightly with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) proposing penalties of USD 20,000 and USD 8,000 on two radio broadcasters for breaches of its equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules (See RNW Dec 30).
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site:
2011-01-01:A brief report in Gary Lycan's radio column in the Orange County Register, which also includes a some two dozen broadcasters "we lost in 2010", notes not only a station sale but a massive drop since a previous sale.
Magic Broadcasting sold California 4,200 watts KDAY/93.5 FM, Redondo Beach, and 5,000 watts sister station KDEY-FM, Ontario, for USD 35 million to SoCal935 whose principal investors, Warren Chang and John Hearne.
The stations notes the report had changed hands in a deal announced in 2004 for USD 120 million: They were sold by Spanish Broadcasting System (the calls were then KDAY-FM and KDAI-FM) to Styles Media (See RNW Aug 19, 2004) as part of its disposal of what it termed "Non-core" stations but the sale hit various delays - in August 2005, following an earlier delay agreed in April that year, the deadline for closure was extended to the end of 2006 with Styles agreeing to pay USD 200,000 a month to operate the stations under a time brokerage agreement and also involving extra payments totalling USD 55 million that SBS could retain if the closing did not take place on schedule. The deal finally completed in 2006 with a final payment of USD 65 million to SBS (See RNW Feb 2, 2006).
OC Register - Lycan radio column:
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem.
Regarding external links, we give links where we can but an ever-increasing number of newspapers and stations either require registration or only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA).
Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
Back to top :
- December 2010 - -- February 2011 -
Radionewsweb.com, 38 Creswick Road, Acton, London W3 9HF, UK: