March 2011 Archive
2011-03-31: Arbitron has gained Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for eleven more Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings markets, taking the total up from three to 14.
The existing accredited markets of Houston-Galveston; Minneapolis-St. Paul and Riverside-San Bernardino are now joined by Atlanta; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Kansas City; Milwaukee-Racine; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo; St. Louis and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.
Accreditation has been denied, however, in 34 other markets based on the findings of audits in 2010: All 48 markets where the PPM has been commercialized are submitted for annual audits and will be audited again this year.
Commenting on the new accreditations, said Gregg Lindner, executive vice president, Service Innovation and chief research officer, Arbitron Inc., commented in a release, "Arbitron shares the MRC's commitment to improving the quality of audience measurement services. Thanks to the impact of our continuous improvement initiatives on quality of our samples and services, 11 more PPM markets can now display the MRC 'double checkmark' symbol."
For the MRC its chief executive officer and executive director George Ivie added, "The MRC appreciates Arbitron's continuing commitment to our accreditation process for its Portable People Meter services. In working with the MRC, Arbitron has demonstrated its continued commitment to enhancing the quality of its services and ensuring transparency and openness with respect to its methods and procedures."
The MRC has also accredited the PPM Analysis Tool, a software application designed for monthly average-quarter-hour PPM data that provides standard audience analysis reports including rankers, trend reports and audience composition reports and also the ability to analyze audience estimates based on customized demographics and dayparts.
2011-03-31: A New York judge has set May 2 to hear a class action lawsuit being brought against Sirius XM Radio claiming that the combination of the former Sirius and XM satellite radio companies was an illegal merger to monopolize and eliminate competition in the satellite radio market.
Sirius XM according to plaintiffs' co-lead counsel Paul F. Novak of the firm Milberg LLP., had provided assurance to regulators to get the deal through but then reneged on them, saying "They promised lower prices and more choice, and once the deal was done, they immediately implemented the opposite of what they had promised."
Co-lead counsel James Sabella of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. added, "Sirius XM has shown no hesitation in making completely contradictory legal claims before different tribunals."
In a news release the plaintiffs' attorneys say that Sirius' lawyers had posed a "filed rate doctrine" defence in the case, arguing that the rates charged by Sirius XM were set under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") and could not be attacked in federal court but then within days different set of Sirius XM's lawyers made exactly the opposite argument to the FCC in a letter stating that "(t)he FCC has no direct or ancillary authority to regulate satellite radio rates."
They say that Judge Harold Baer, Jr., who is to hear the case in the Southern District of New York, had taken note of these contradictory claims and noted in the order rejecting this argument, "Strange as it seems, Sirius XM has itself taken the position that the FCC has no rate-making authority over its rates."
The plaintiffs are claiming treble antitrust damages resulting from the unlawful post-merger price increases, which they say could result in an award exceeding USD 1 billion and also an injunction to curb Sirius XM's future anticompetitive behaviour. Such an injunction say the lawyers could include a freeze on future rate increases or divestiture of the company.
Sirius shares were down 3.79% to
Previous Sirius XM:
2011-03-31: The UK radio industry today launched its Radioplayer, details of which were announced last October at the UK Radio Festival: Then it was promoted as to be launched in February with at least 200 stations (See RNW Oct 19, 2010).
The player currently features 157 stations but Bauer Media and UTV stations are to be added within the next week to take the total to 228. Other stations to be featured will include Fun Kids, Global Traffic Network, Planet Rock and Manx Radio, plus local, regional, student and commercial stations.
A news release says the player will give listeners "access to a one-stop shop for hundreds of stations, with Radioplayer's intelligent functionality making online listening accessible, intuitive and simple."
"Users," it adds "will be able to flick between stations at the click of a button as well as store favourites as pre-sets, offering all the simplicity of a traditional radio, with all the benefits of digital."
The player will use existing audio streams from stations and commercial stations will be able to add sponsorship and advertising to their "skins" - pop-up front page.
It currently complements the BBC i-Player but the BBC had announced in January that it was to drop audio from its i-Player and make it for TV only. However nothing on the home pages of the BBC stations we checked gave any prominence to the new player and the live streams went to the i-player. Similarly checks on a few commercial station showed no promotion of the new player - they were promoting apps to make stations available on mobile platforms - and their streams buried mention of Radioplayer (Absolute stream did have a "Search Radioplayer "window but there was nothing on Global Radio's Capital and Classic FM sites to indicate there was such a thing as the Radioplayer.)
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison, who is also Chairman UK Radioplayer Ltd., said the player would "benefit the entire UK radio industry - BBC, commercial, and all Ofcom-licensed community, hospital and student radio." "Every station on Radioplayer will be one click away from every other station," he added "and listeners will have the ability to search the whole of UK radio, discovering exciting new content. All stations will be treated equally, and the smallest station will pay the least to join. We're aiming for the whole of UK radio to be on Radioplayer within a year."
UK Radioplayer Ltd. Managing Director Michael Hill added, "Radioplayer represents a united industry investment in its digital future. Over the next few weeks Radioplayer is set to expand rapidly, offering consumer choice across hundreds of stations and thousands of programmes. That choice could soon extend to platforms including mobiles, tablets, connected TVs and hybrid radios."
For the BBC, all of whose local and national stations are available through the player, Tim Davie, Director, BBC Audio and Music, commented, "Radioplayer's strength is a simple, powerful offer to listeners: all of radio in one place. This partnership is another signal that the radio industry is accelerating cross-industry innovation."
The player is to be embedded in station websites as a pop-up player and will offer access not only to station audio streams but also where they are provided to listen-again facilities and podcasts - although BBC podcasts will not be searchable within the console - with a fee charged for the player that is proportional to a station's size. It has been designed for use on computers with Adobe's Flash installed but future developments are planned to make it available on mobile devices such as iPhones, tablets, and Android handsets.
RNW comment: A quick check today did not give the impression of a major step forward. A clunky front page from which the first stage - using the search engine - showed it to be inadequate - a search for Terry Wogan brought up an initial page listing Wogan as a guest on Steve Wright's Show on BBC Radio 2 yesterday, various editions of Terry Underhill's show on Smooth Radio, and "Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?" from BBC 7 because it includes a line "Terry's not keen ." But not a mention of "Weekend Wogan" on BBC Radio 2 - albeit we did know it was currently in a break period.
Similarly a search for "John Humphrys" brought up a list of Johns and Jons including John Cleese appearances on "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again" but not a mention of Humphrys, who has been on BBC Radio 4 in the past few days.
As well as being able to search for presenters, the player also has functions for searching for station by name or its location; programmes, and specific interests.
After the inadequate search, the player takes you via a pop-up to the i-player (so far) for BBC stations and a station website, complete with annoying advert introduction in some cases, for commercial stations, most of whom offer only a live stream.
From the point of view of BBC listeners this seems to offer no advantages and may even be a step backwards; from the checks we have made the national commercial stations already offer as much and more; and from the perspective of finding stations there are already plenty of ways to do this for the whole world, not just part of the UK.
Overall we don't see much point in the player apart from the politics involved and possibly marginal benefits for some of the small stations and we suspect that if the fee to be charged is more than nominal it won't be worth it for them either.
What might make it a little more useful would be a much better search facility but what was launched today offered very little for most people who already listen online. The time we spent checking it out would have been better spent doing almost anything else.
RadioPlayer UK web site:
2011-03-31:The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 20,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to a Florida man for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter.
In June last year the FCC, responding to a complaint, traced transmissions to the residence of Marckenson Bazile of Miami: They also found information on the Internet listing an email address with "marcbazile@..." as the contact information for a Disc Jockey on "103.9 PARADIS FM." - the frequency that they had been investigating.
Bazile, noted the FCC, had previously admitted to operating an unlicensed transmitter in 2007, and on this basis it doubled the proposed penalty upwards from the base amount of USD 10,000.
2011-03-30: Citadel has reported final quarter 2010 revenues down 0.7% to USD 191.5 million but for the full year up they were up 2.2% to USD 739.6 million: It also noted "merger" agreement (otherwise known as being taken over and with most of the executives presumably going to be axed, albeit with pay-offs) with Cumulus, a topic on which its executives remained tight-lipped.
It also noted that it emerged from bankruptcy in June last year, thus meaning comparisons with the previous year's results are not in accord with general US accounting principles.
For the final quarter the successor company reporting operating income of USD 25.15 million compared to its predecessor's USD 49.53 million and for the full year an operating loss of USD 842.34 million (after impairment charges of USD 985.7 million) became income of USD 152.22 million whilst segment operating income moved from 65.44 million to USD 75.75 million for the quarter and from USD 28.50 million to USD 272.16 million for the year.
Commenting on the results CEO Farid Suleman said, "In spite of the Company operating in bankruptcy for the first five months of 2010 and the disruptions that resulted from operating in a bankruptcy environment, the Company reported a full year 2010 Adjusted EBITDA of USD 251.2 million, an increase of USD 54.9 million, or 28.0%, compared to 2009."
He added, "I am particularly grateful to Citadel's dedicated employees, who have been instrumental in creating substantial value since the Company's reorganization in June 2010."
On the radio results he noted "revenue growth of over 4% and segment operating income growth of over 18% for the year" and changes made to its network business that "significantly increased segment operating income from USD 3.6 million in 2009 to USD 17.5 million in 2010, a USD 14.0 million increase, or 393%."
"Throughout 2009 and 2010," said Suleman," the Company has been focused on eliminating marginal or unprofitable shows, which, while contributing to lower revenues, resulted in expense savings which more than offset the lower revenues."
He concluded by noting: "The Company ended the year with a strong balance sheet and low leverage and in December 2010, was able to complete a refinancing, which is expected to save approximately USD 35 million in interest costs during 2011. The revenue increase and cost reductions reflected in 2010 operations resulted in free cash flow of USD 169.8 million, a 78% increase, for 2010. The Company also had cash at year end of USD 111.6 million."
At the company's conference call, which lasted less than quarter-of-an-hour, Suleman made only a brief statement, taking no questions whilst COO Judy Ellis discussed inventory very briefly.
RNW comment: For those interested in more on the results the Citadel site links to its 10K filing but they matter little, although it does offer a full list of stations and other details as well as earnings figures.
In essence, howevrer, either Lew Dickey has done his due diligence properly before taking control or he hasn't so the figures don't matter and the main comment about Suleman has to be that whatever his pay-off, he doesn't deserve a dime.
Citadel SEC filings site (Has link to its 10k filing, a 188-page 1.33Mb PDF)
2011-03-30: Latest Australian ratings show the leaders holding onto or increasing their ratings with Sydney and Melbourne commercial talk stations - Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB and Fairfax Media's 3AW - both taking their overall share up: from 15.1 to 15.6 and from 15.0 to 17.3 respectively.
In Sydney, 2GB saw Alan Jones' breakfast show slip back a little - from 18.8 to 18.3 but in mornings Ray Hadley was up from 18.6 to 19.3, overtaking Jones albeit Jones' absences for health reasons could have been a factor in this; in afternoons Chris Smith was up from 13.3 to 14.8 and at drive Ben Fordham was up from 10.5 to 11.2.
Fordham took over in January from Jason Morrison after Morrison was appointed to host rival Fairfax Media-owned 2UE's breakfast show.
For 2UE Morrison, who took over breakfast from the team of Sandy Aloisi and John Stanley, managed only a small increase with the show's share up from 5.3 to 5.4 and overall 2UE remained sixth with an unchanged 6.0 share.
ABC 702 took the lead at drive as Richard Glover increased his share from 11.4 to 13.1 whilst Austereo's 2-Day dropped a rank despite an increase from 12.4 to 12.5. Overall ABC 702 increased its audience slightly - from 10.6 to 10.8.
In Melbourne the breakfast team of Ross Stevenson and John Burns took their breakfast share up from 20.0 to 21.0 as 3AW had its best overall ratings for four years but its largest increase was for Neil Mitchell in mornings - up from 17.1 to 19.9. There were also healthy increases in the afternoon, where Dennis Walter was up from 10.9 to 13.3; Drive, where Derryn Hinch took the share up from 11.6 to 13.3; evenings - up from 15.1 to 17.5 and at weekends- up from 14.4 to 17.4.
Around Australia, Austereo celebrated the success of its new drive hosts Fifi Box and Jules Lund who were taking over from long-time ratings leaders Hamish Blake and Andy Lee from Mondays to Thursdays.
Overall Austereo highlighted success in holding the top FM rank in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, with company CEO Guy Dobson commenting "The Today Network is a force led by the unstoppable combination of our great breakfast and drive shows. With Mick Molloy joining Eddie McGuire in Melbourne and Matty Johns joining The Grill Team in Sydney, watch this space for more growth on the Triple M Network".
Regarding drive time the company noted an FM-winning 12.5 FM share in Sydney (up from 12.4 abut dropping behind after ABC 702) and Melbourne where Austereo's Fox FM took its share up from 15.1 to 17.1, comfortably ahead of second-ranked 3AW, which was up from 11.6 to 13.2.
The Fairfax-owned Sydney Morning Herald quoted Dobson as saying of drive, "Everyone was telling us we'd lose listeners. Instead, we had the biggest increase of any drive show."
In contrast to Austereo DMG's Nova lost share in Melbourne- down from 6.6 to 6.5% although this took it up a rank to fourth but did better in Sydney where its overall share was up from 6.3 to 6.9.
There was no good news either in Melbourne for comparative newcomer Melbourne Talk Radio (MTR) , which was down overall from 2.1 to 2.0, only marginally ahead of ABC NewsRadio, which was up from 1.8 to 1.9
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: Mix 102.3 with 14.7 (15.6) - same rank; SAFM with 13.9 (13.4) - same rank; 5AA with 13.4 (12.5) - same rank;
* Nova, was down a rank to fifth with 10.6 (10.4) swapping ranks with ABC 891 which was up a rank to fourth with 10.1 (10.8) followed by 5MMM, which remained sixth with 8.5 (8.8).
*Brisbane- comparison is with Survey 8, 2010, as first ratings of the year were cancelled in Brisbane because of severe weather problems.
B105 with 11.8 (12.1) -Same Rank; Nova with 11.7 (11.6) - Same rank; ABC 612 with 11.4 (10.8) - up from fourth.
*97.3 FM was down a rank from third to fourth with 10.6 (10.9) and 4MMM remained fifth with 10.4 (9.6) followed by 4BC, which was up from eighth with 8.1 (7.0).
*Melbourne - 3AW with 17.3 (15.0) - same rank; Fox FM with 12.4 (12.4) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.1 (11.3) same rank.
*Nova was fourth, up a rank, with 6.5 (6.6) followed by Gold, which was up from sixth to fifth with 6.4 (6.3), then Magic -up from seventh to sixth with 5.6 (6.2). Mix 101 was up a rank to seventh with 5.1 (5.6) followed by 3MMM in unchanged eighth with 5.1(5.4) and then 3JJJ in ninth rank - down from fourth with 6.7 (5.1).
DMG's Classic Rock, the former Vega, remained eleventh with 2.9 (3.0) whilst Melbourne Talk Radio remained next to bottom with 2.0 (2.1), and ABC News Radio was still bottom with 1.9 (1.8).
In the commercial talk breakfast slot 3AW increased its lead even further as it went up from 20.0 to 21.0 but MTR fell back from 2.6 to 2.3; in Mornings 3AW again increased its share - from 17.1 to 19.9 and MTR was up from 2.0 to 2.1; and at Drive time, where Fox FM took its leading share up from 15.1 to 17.1, 3AW remained second but was up from 11.6 to 13.2 and MTR was up from 1.4 to 1.9. Its highest share in demographic terms was a 4.6 (4.1) with those 55-64 but it was down from 4.4 to 2.8 for those 65 plus.
Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 14.1 (15.2) - same rank; ABC 720 with 11.9 (12.3) -same rank; 92.9 with 11.6 (12.2) -same rank;
* Nova was up from sixth to fourth with 10.5 (9.3), ahead of 96 FM, which was down from fourth to fifth with 10.0 (9.5) after which 6PR was up from seventh to sixth with 9.1 (8.5) and 6JJ was seventh - down from fifth, with 8.8 (9.4).
Sydney - 2GB 15.6 (15.1) - same rank; ABC 702 with 10.8 (10.6) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.3 (10.4) - same rank;
*WSFM remained fourth with 7.1(6.9), followed by Nova 6.9 (6.3), after which 2UE remained sixth with an unchanged 6.0, followed by 2JJJ- up from tenth to seventh with 5.5 (4.6) overtaking Mix 106.5, which remained eighth with 5.4(5.2) and 2CH, down from seventh to ninth with 4.9 (5.5).
DMG's Classic Rock, which took over the former Vega slot, remained 12th with 2.6 (3.0).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian Ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2011-03-29: Bonneville's WTOP-FM in Washington DC moved up from second place in 2009 to become the highest billing station in the US last year according to latest estimates from BIA/Kelsey, which puts the station's revenues at USD 57.225 million. WTOP, which is being sold to Hubbard Broadcasting as part of a 17-station USD 505 million deal (See RNW Jan 19) is the only station in the list not in a top three market - DC is ranked ninth.
It was followed by Clear Channel's KIIS-FM in Los Angeles with USD 54 million and then CBS Radio's WCBS-AM in New York with USD 49 million.
A table issued by BIA-Kelsey shows four of the top ten stations have news formats - WTOP and three AMs owned by CBS Radio (WCBS; WBBM in Chicago ( seventh in the list with USD 42.5 million billed); and WINS-AM in New York (eighth with USD 41 million).
Half the top ten are AMs - the three listed above plus Clear Channel's KFI-AM, Los Angeles (fourth ranked with USD 46 million) and CBS Radio's Sports-Talk WFAN, New York ( ninth with 40.5 million).
The FMs in the list are WTOP and KIIS as already noted then Clear Channel's fifth-ranked Lite AC WLTW-FM in New York (44.3 million) and sixth-ranked CHR WHTZ in New York (43 million) and finally CBS Radio's tenth-ranked alternative KROQ-FM, Los Angeles with 39 million.
BIA SVP Mark Fratrik comments of the news and sports related formatters that the audiences they attract are "very attractive to national and local advertisers, and thus, these stations can generate substantial revenues" and notes that nine of the ten stations this year were also in the 2009 list.
The change since then was the move back into the list of WFAN - which was twelfth in 2009 but had been in the list before - and the fall of Tribune Co's News/Talk WGN-AM, Chicago that was down a rank to eleventh.
2011-03-29: India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry is reported to be drafting new measures that would ease restrictions on private FM station ownership and also the limits on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Livemint says the comments were made by Rajiv Takru, additional secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting, at the AROI Radio Congress 2011, a one-day event organized at the Kingdom of Dreams. Gurgaon, Haryana, by the Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI), an official body representing private commercial radio stations in India.
Takru added that within the next two months the government will conduct a final review of issues related to the third phase of FM licence auctions in India and a ministry official said it was broadly in agreement with recommendations made by the he Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Amongst restrictions likely to be eased are a prohibition on private FMs airing news but the stations are expected to only be allowed to source their news from state broadcaster All India Radio although TRAI had said they should also be allowed to also run news from various authorized sources such as news agencies (See RNW Jan 20).
TRAI has also recommended that the cap on FDI be lifted from 20% to 26% (See RNW Nov 11, 2009), a recommendation likely to be accepted although many operators think the new limit is too low.
George Sebastian, general manager, marketing, 94.3 Club FM, part of Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd, which has three separate radio stations operating in Kerala, said: "Given how critical the medium is, FDI of 26% is not sufficient. The government should encourage more investments in the sector."
The report also said that two ministry officials said on condition of anonymity that other changes suggested included allowing operators to own more than one station in a market and broadcast live sports commentary.
Live commentary could raise advertising rates by 15-20%, says the report quoting Basabdutta Chowdhury, chief executive of Madison Media, an arm of marketing communications group Madison Communications Pvt. Ltd.
"Sports will drive advertisers to invest more in the medium, something that doesn't happen now as far as national advertisers are concerned," Chowdhury said.
India's commercial radio advertising revenues are expected to be around INR1,000 crore (USD 223 million: a crore is ten million) according to the Ficci-KPMG media sector report and Chowdhury noted that local advertising accounted for 60-70% on radio.
He estimated that a ten-second spot on radio in India's metros could cost from INR 700-500 (USD 16 to 34) but in smaller towns fetched more like INR 50-200 (USD 1-4.5).
In all some 550 new frequencies are likely to be sold in Phase 3 of the private FM auctions -taking the total number of stations in the country up to around 800 radio stations in about 280 cities and towns, up from the current total of 245 in 84: The government favours e-auctions of the new licences although some in the industry oppose this with Anurradha Prasad, president of AROI and managing director of BAG Films and Media Ltd, which runs Dhamaal 24, saying AROI is not in favour of e-auctioning given that it could lead to unrealistically high bidding.
There does seem to be agreement, however, on the benefits of allowing multi-station ownership, which could potentially widen the choice to listeners: Prashant Panday, executive director and chief executive, Entertainment Network (India) Ltd (ENIL) , which operates 32 FM radio channels under the Radio Mirchi brand, commented, "Today, all broadcasters are playing similar kind of music. Multiple frequencies will motivate broadcasters to start different music and talk formats. It will attract more listeners to radio, offer advertisers access to different audience profiles."
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (Ultimate parent of ENIL):
Previous Indian Radio:
2011-03-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has posted details of a consent decree with Hanmi Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WPBC-AM, Decatur, Georgia, under which Hanmi will pay USD 22,000 and institute a compliance plan whilst the agency terminates its investigation into allegations that it transferred control of the Station without Commission authorization, failed to provide access to the Station's public inspection file, failed to maintain required documents in the Station's public inspection file, and failed to file ownership reports and certain contracts with the Commission.
The FCC began investigations following a complaint in June 2009 and in response to a Letter of Inquiry Hanmi admitted that it might have broken various rules as alleged.
It added that it was in financial distress, submitting documentation to substantiate this and also argued in mitigation that it had a history of compliance but "noted that its present ability to comply with applicable regulations has been greatly hindered by its principal's language difficulties and financial constraints in hiring and retaining counsel."
Under the consent decree, as well as paying the penalty in five equal USD 4,000 instalments, Hanmi agreed a compliance plan under which within thirty days all Hanmi employees, officers, and directors shall be trained on general FCC requirements for license ownership. It will also file Compliance Reports in 12 months time, 23 months time, and 36 months time at which time the Consent Decree expires.
2011-03-28: Commenting on the deferral of the third phase of Indian private FMs, an article in moneylife says that the big players are "treading cautiously" because there has still been no government decision over the revenue structure and also because of the legal fight with the country's music industry over performance royalties.
The private radio industry has done well in reaching audiences according to LV Krishnan, CEO of media research firm TAM who commented, "Radio has gained popularity, and penetration is much better compared to newspapers or television channels." He noted that there are 40 million radio users in the four metros and over 250-300 million audiences across 80 towns and that compared to a 95% reach of TV, radio reaches out to 90%-95%.
Krishnan predicted a boom with the phase III rollout, noting that there will be "800 new channels in 300 towns, and the license period has been extended from 10 to 15 years" but he warned that "new players may bid over-enthusiastically and lead to increase in price."
Harrish Bhatia, CEO, My FM, also sounded a warning note, pointing out, it takes three years on an average for a radio venture to break even and that though the existing big players in the field have done extremely well and absorbed most of the revenues, many more have broken down before breaking even.
In similar vein, Rahul Gupta, director of Radio Mantra, said, "We find very few players who operate exclusively in the radio space."
Most of the radio ventures that have succeed, says the report are those radio ventures which are associated with print or digital media houses such as Radio Mirchi of ENIL, which is a part of Times of India group, BIG FM - owned by Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Anil Dhirubha Ambani Group, and regionally-focussed Radio Mantra, which is part of Dainik Jagaran group.
Also in India, the BBC in a report on a planned closure of the Hindi Service, which has been cut back but given a temporary reprieve to allow possible commercial funding (See RNW Mar 7) says that listeners feel the slimmed-down one-hour a day service currently still on air is inadequate.
For the report Geeta Pandey went to the northern Indian state of Bihar to speak to the listeners to the service, starting off with comments from a 63-years-old farmer who spent 700 rupees (currently USD 16) - in what was termed "rather indulgent" expenditure - on a radio receiver in 1980.
Naval Kishore Thakur said he bought the set to listen to the BBC service which has since then provided him with all the main news and that even now many of his neighbours who don't have their own radio sets join him every evening to listen to the Hindi broadcast.
Missing (government-controlled) All India Radio (AIR) news he said was OK but it was "unthinkable" to miss the BBC broadcast, adding, "We have faith in BBC broadcasts. We don't trust Indian or regional channels or the newspapers".
Thakur's 28-year-old daughter-in-law Shweta Kumari Thakur, a schoolteacher, said she comes from "a family of BBC listeners "including her father and grandfather and commented of the programmes she had listened to "I like the science programme and the discussions on social and sociological issues. Sometimes I tell my students about the new things I learn from the BBC."
"BBC must stay, not just for a year, but permanently," she added.
Pandey notes that the service now has some 10 million listeners despite the reception problems with short-wave but this is down from three times that, as competition has frown from TV, the internet and mobile services.
Arun Kamal, a well-known poet and professor of English in the state capital, Patna, , said the BBC has been a part of history for generations of Indians and an effective tool of Britain's foreign policy.
"We had a choice between Radio Moscow, Radio Peking (Beijing), Voice of America and BBC. We chose the BBC because it was believed to be the most neutral," he commented, adding, "The new generation is more into TV. In cities and towns, radio also has competition from the internet and mobile telephones. Now there is news on Twitter and Facebook. So the short-wave listeners are going down in numbers."
The BBC is still intending to close the service if it cannot find commercial funding by the end of the 2011-12 financial year and there is some interest from advertisers.
Rajeev Jha, owner of the ViaMedia advertising agency in Patna, said of this, "The advertisers look for returns and the BBC's consumer base is very large so we are bound to be interested. The BBC Hindi radio would be ideal for the biggest advertisers here - for the education sector and the government awareness programmes. Millions of villagers are its dedicated listeners so anyone who advertises here is assured of reaching the mass market."
Previous Indian Radio:
BBC report re Hindi Service:
Moneylife report re private FM:
2011-03-27: Last week was again fairly quiet for the regulators with the most newsworthy posting by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of a requirement that licence renewal applications for broadcasters include a certification that advertising contracts contain non-discrimination clauses: Elsewhere things were fairly quiet and there were again no radio postings from Ireland.
From Australia there was only one posting by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) containing details of an enforceable undertaking accepted from Southern Cross Media Group Limited (SCMG) and related companies to divest the radio network's two commercial radio licences in Nambour. This is required following a bid from SCMG to take over Austereo, a move that would take it above market caps (See RNW Mar 26).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted only one radio decision - the approval of an application from Trust Communications Ministries to amend the licence of CJLF-FM, Barrie, Ontario, by replacing the current condition of licence relating to the broadcast of local programming and by adding a condition of licence relating to Canadian content development.
For weeks where less than one-third of the programming aired is local the new licence condition will bar CJLF from soliciting or accepting local advertising for that week and in addition the station will be required to devote a minimum of CAD 2,000 to Canadian content development (CCD) each broadcast year.
As already noted there were no radio postings from Ireland and from the UK there was only one from Ofcom, of its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it found a community FM in breach of its licence conditions and upheld one radio standards complaint (See RNW Mar 22).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a fairly quiet week with its most important posting of an Enforcement Advisory to alert commercial television and radio broadcasters to a new requirement to certify that their advertising sales contracts contain non-discrimination clauses (See RNW Mar 23).
The agency was also involved in a number of enforcement actions including the confirmation of a USD 3,200 penalty issued to West Texas A&M University, licensee of KWTS-FM, Canyon, Texas, for late filing of licence renewal and subsequent unauthorized operation (Also Mar 23).
Later in the week it fined a Florida man USD 20,000 penalty for operating equipment without a licence on Marine Safety Channel (See RNW Mar 23).
The requirement for certify that advertising contracts include non-discrimination clauses drew anger from some commentators and so we suspect did a speech by Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps in which he welcomed a petition from the Media Access Project calling on the FCC to "to exercise the authority I believe it already possesses to require full and complete disclosure of political ad sponsorship. "
Copps noted that in the "most recent election cycle last year, way over $2 billion was funnelled into political ads, a record high for a midterm campaign" and argued that the US Supreme Court Citizens United decision that said corporations and unions had the right to buy political advertising "does not mean that citizens should be left in the dark as to who is making an argument to voters" continuing "In fact, Section 317 of the Communication Act dictates that 'listeners are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded.'"
Previous Licence News:
2011-03-27: BET cable TV DJ Megatron (Corey McGriff), who began his broadcasting career on WKRS-FM (Kiss FM) in New York has been shot dead near his home in Staten Island. He was a regular on BET's "106 & Park."
Megatron, aged 32, built his career on hip-hop and R&B radio stations before he moved to BET - according to his mySpace biography also worked for the then Hot 97.7 (WBOT-FM) in Boston (the signs were killed in 2005 when Radio One Inc. moved the WILD-FM signal to WBOT's frequency) and WPHI-FM in Philadelphia - was killed by a single shot according to police.
The New York Daily News quoted friends as saying he had a friendly personality and was not one to make enemies with people on the street but added that about three months ago, someone using who used the handle "MegaPayup " and who claimed Megatron owed them money began posting a flurry of nasty messages on nearly all of the deejay's videos on YouTube.
The paper quoted the DJ's mother Louvenia McGriff as saying her son had never said anything about owing someone a debt but added, "I wouldn't doubt that he may have borrowed money. We all have to do that now and then. I don't know about any financial hardship."
New York Daily News report:
2011-03-26: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has posted details of an enforceable undertaking given by Southern Cross Media Group Limited (SCMG) and related companies to divest within a year its two commercial radio licences in the Nambour, Queensland,area:: Southern Cross Media (SCMG - formerly Macquarie Southern Cross) has made an AUD 741 million (USD 748 million) bid for Austereo (See RNW Feb 1).
SCMG has put forward the undertakings as part of its application to gain regulatory approval of its acquisition of a controlling interest in Austereo Group Limited that puts it in breach of Australian market caps.
The ACMA notes that the overlapping Brisbane and Nambour commercial radio broadcasting licence areas are treated as a single licence area for the purposes of the relevant legislation since more than 30% of the Nambour licence area population is attributable to an area that overlaps with the Brisbane licence area.
The acquisition of Austereo gave SCMG control of Triple M/4MMM and B105 FM/4BBB in the Brisbane licence area and it was also in a position to exercise control of Sunshine Coast Broadcasters' Sea FM/4SEE and MIXFM 103.5/4SSS in the Nambour area.
Under the agreement the stations can only be sold to an Approved Purchaser and any proposed purchaser is required to advise the ACMA - in confidence - of details of its proposal including a copy of the proposed sale and purchase agreement and details of the proposed purchaser's business and names of people in a position to exercise control of it: The parties are prohibited from entering into an unconditional Sale and Purchase agreement until the ACMA has confirmed that it does not object to its terms. Should the ACMA take the view that the proposed purchaser is inappropriate it has ten days to advise details of its objections.
If the sale is not completed within the Divestiture Period, the business becomes classified as "Unsold" and a Divestiture Agent has to be appointed with a brief to sell it for the best cash price as quickly as possible it can get with no minimum set.
Previous Macquarie Bank/Southern Cross:
2011-03-26: Houston-area businessman Daniel Frishberg, who is the BizRadio host "The MoneyMan", has agreed a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in relation to alleged fraudulent conduct.
According to the SEC. Frishberg's firm Daniel Frishberg Financial Services (DFFS) advised clients to invest in notes issued by Business Radio Networks (BizRadio), but did not tell them of its "poor financial condition or his significant conflicts of interest with the note offerings that helped fund his salary at BizRadio."
The SEC says that Frishberg agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying a USD 65,000 penalty that will be distributed to harmed investors in addition to which he will be barred from future association with any investment adviser.
He did not admit nor deny the SEC allegations but according to the SEC's complaint filed in federal district court in Houston, at least USD 11 million in promissory notes were issued by BizRadio and Kaleta Capital Management (KCM), which is owned by Frishberg's associate Albert Fase Kaleta. Frishberg and Kaleta jointly controlled BizRadio and the SEC alleges that Frishberg authorized Kaleta to recommend the notes to DFFS clients, and clients were not provided with critical disclosures.
SEC news release:
2011-03-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 20,000 penalty to a Florida man for operating equipment without a licence on Marine Safety Channel 16- International Distress, Safety, and Calling Channel.
Vincent E. Aversa, Jr. of Indialantic was issued with a USD 20,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for this amount in February this year but did not respond.
The offences came to light when the United States Coast Guard contacted agents at the FCC Enforcement Bureau's Tampa Field Office regarding interference on the channel and later provided multiple audio recordings of what appeared to be Mr. Aversa operating on Marine Safety Channel 16 covering a three-month period lasting between December of 2009 and February of 2010. On all but one of the recordings, the USCG warned this individual on the air that his transmissions on Marine Safety Channel 16 were unauthorized, and, on several of the recordings, the USCG directed him to cease transmitting.
The source of the interference was traced to an automobile being driven by Aversa in Melbourne, Florida, on three days that month and he admitted to operating a radio to talk on Marine Safety Channel 16 and other Marine channels and voluntarily gave up his marine radio.
2011-03-25: The spat between Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan and Alden Global Capital, whose decision to pull out of financing the deal stopped him taking Emmis private, has moved on yet another step.
Smulyan sued Alden in September over the pull-out and Alden last month counter-attacked with a suit against Emmis in which it accused the company of ignoring its obligations to investors such as itself by making a loan to Smulyan to enable him to pay his legal fees for the suit against it.
Emmis has now countered again, this time with a lawsuit in the New York Southern District Court in which it alleges that Alden and its manager Randall Smith had violated "short swing" securities rules.
The suit says that in February and March last year, Alden engaged in a series of cash settled equity swaps -legally equivalent to buying stock - and then terminated those swaps less then six months later in April 2010 to make a profit of some USD 310,000.
The suit says that this violates securities laws that are designed to prevent insiders using their position to make a profit because of their privileged position and that say a large shareholder of a public company cannot make a trade in its stock less than six months after the shareholder's last trade in the same stock.
Emmis lawsuit (Case 1:11-cv-01946-RJS):
2011-03-25: Tillman Thomas, the Prime Minister of Grenada and Chairman of the 15-member Caribbean Community regional group (CARICOM) today praised the work of the BBC Caribbean Service, which dates back to 1939 and today ended broadcasts, one of a number that BBC World Service is cutting to save money: The next to go will be the Russian language service, which makes its final broadcast tomorrow after 65 years.
BBC World Have Your Say is broadcasting a special programme from the Caribbean on 25 March at 1800 GMT to mark the last day of the BBC Caribbean Service, with reporters in Jamaica, Trinidad and Antigua.
In Barbados, the Nation News reported that Thomas said the Caribbean service had been objective, reliable and informative but then sounded a positive note saying he would work to "fill the void" that had been created.
"I think it's something that we've grown accustomed to in the region and I believe it is something we should have really tried to maintain," he said, adding, "We have built political institutions, we have built educational institutions as a region and I think we can build institutions relating to the media."
Thomas said he would lobby for a regional institution to be set up to provide services, commenting, "We could co-ordinate as a region to really provide information to the people of the region at a standard as established by the BBC. I believe that we have competent and capable journalists in the region to deal with matters of information."
The BBC Caribbean web site carries final reports from each of the service's hosts and a brief history of the service, which had its origins in 1939 as a programme called "Calling the West Indies" launched in 1939 that featured West Indian troops on active service during World War Two reading letters to their families.
This then became a programme called "Caribbean Voices," highlighting West Indian writers - including VS Naipaul, George Lamming, Andrew Salkey and Samuel Selvon- that aired from 1943 to 1958 and which was supplemented with other programming.
The wider service was closed in the mid-1970s, but in 1988 was re-opened as a news and current affairs department with a 15-minute evening drivetime programme BBC Caribbean Report which then grew to a short morning drivetime news edition and a weekly BBC Caribbean Magazine programme which dealt with cultural issues and the human face of the news agenda.
Copies of the sound and text content of the service's radio and online output are being donated to the University of the West Indies, which will have a team working at the BBC's Bush House base to catalogue the material.
Caribbean Service head Debbie Ransome said of the closure "Since the announcement, we have come to truly know the important role we have been playing across the Caribbean. We're going out on a high - what more can any broadcaster ask for?"
The Russian Service, which is to end broadcasts tomorrow with a live weekend programme (18:30 GMT) was founded broadcasting to what was then the Soviet Union on March 24, 1946. Its site is also carrying special programming in the run-up to the closure.
Although broadcasts are ending, along with three of its Russian-language radio programmes - Ranniy Chas (Dawn), Utro na Bi-bi-si (Morning with the BBC) and Vecher na Bi-bi-si (Evening with the BBC), BBC Russian will continue to produce BBSeva, Vam Slovo and Pyatiy Etazh which will be available for listening via the website bbcrussian.com as well as for FM partners outside Russia.
Commenting on this closure, Sarah Gibson, Head of BBC Russian, said, "This is a sad time for all of us at BBC Russian. We are also proud of the unique heritage our broadcasts have left behind - in the hearts and minds of millions of radio listeners. As we move on, we will continue to serve our audiences through online and mobile services. Our website bbcrussian.com will continue to bring global stories to the Russian audience, and put Russian stories in a global context."
BBC Caribbean Service report:
BBC Russian web site:
Nation News report:
2011-03-24: Clear Channel-owned Katz Radio Group (KRG) has announced that Mary Beth Garber, who has spent 13 years as President of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) is to join it as Executive Vice President for Radio Analysis and Insights.
The remit of her new role it adds is to "collect and generate research and other materials that educate a variety of constituencies - from major advertisers to media, sales forces and market analysts - on the continuing power and value of radio, as well as implement partnerships that both provide accurate research and measurement metrics across a variety of platforms and enhance the industry's ability to communicate those results."
Announcing the appointment KRG President Mark Gray, who earlier took on additional duties at Katz Media Group overseeing the company's national marketing and business development arm, Katz Marketing Solutions, as well as Katz Group Sales, commented in a release, "The weekly reach of radio is higher now than it was three decades ago -- yet the power of radio to reach and influence consumers unfortunately remains a bit of a well-kept secret. Adding Mary Beth to our team will enable us to educate key audiences about radio's continuing vitality and relevance."
With her deep understanding and knowledge of our industry," he added "Mary Beth will be the strong and highly informed national advocate that radio needs and deserves."
Garber commented, "The ability of radio to reach and influence listeners of all ages has never been clearer, and yet somehow the facts of radio's power seem to get lost in an increasingly crowded media landscape," said Garber. "I feel so strongly about establishing the truth about radio that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to tell the real story of radio on a national canvas by working with Mark and his team at Katz."
The SCBA on its website announced the move, commenting, "Everyone who works in radio across America has benefited in some way from Mary Beth Garber's knowledge, passion and support of the radio industry" and saying it is making the announcement with "mixed emotions."
It then adds, "we wanted to take a moment to recognize how fortunate we are to have had her promoting our cause and to look forward to the ongoing efforts of the SCBA as an integral force in broadcasting's future" and notes "Over the past 13 years, Mary Beth helped create the first USD 1 billion radio market in the country. She understands as well as anyone the power of radio and the vital role it plays in the advertising community and for listeners, whose numbers continue to increase despite increased competition from other media."
It adds of its own future that its Executive Board is to meet to discuss its future options and the process to search for a replacement, saying it "is committed to continuing its efforts to make advertisers understand the power and value of radio as an important part of any media campaign through the dissemination and development of market research, sales training and grass roots community programs."
Previous Clear Channel:
SCBA on Garber move:
2011-03-24: Entercom has announced changes to its eight-stations cluster in Kansas City that will see its NewsRadio 980 (KMBZ-AM) simulcast on sister FM station KUDL-FM, which is to become 98.1 FM KMBZ as of next Wednesday.
It had already switched KGEX-FM on the 99.7 frequency (it was rebranded from KKSN-FM (call signs it had used from January 2009) at the end of May last year and changed to KGEX to tie with a "GenX" branding) back to a hot AC format with the name 99.7 The Point on Wednesday this week.
Entercom is to simulcast the new Point format on 98.1 - currently used for KUDL-FM - from Monday until the switch to news and KUDL has been pushing its listeners towards the new Point station: Entercom says this will be a "Bright Adult Contemporary radio station featuring today's biggest hits by artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift, as well as hits spanning the past 3 decades" and will also have local hosts in Tanna Guthrie and Kelly Urich.
The Point's Brand Manager/Program Director Mark Edwards said in a release, "We've worked hard to find out what kind of music and interactive elements the women in Kansas City desire, and we built an entertainment experience from the ground up just for them. 99.7 The Point is more than a radio station, it will touch its listeners via social networks, the web, on mobile devices, and in person, allowing for a new level of interaction with the station."
Of the planned news simulcast, KMBZ Program Director, Neil Larrimore said the change offers "the information-hungry Kansas City market one more way to connect with KMBZ in addition to the AM signal, and our comprehensive online, text and social media news product" adding "It completes the picture. It's a bigger, better KMBZ."
2011-03-24: In a follow up report to its 2010 report Public Radio In The New Network Age, the Station Resource Group (SRG) - an alliance of public media organizations that operate leading public radio stations - delivers some good news for larger US public radio stations in audience terms.
Although they may be embattled over issues of Federal Funding - the US House voted to end funding for NPR earlier this month (See RNW Mar 17), the audience for the stations is growing according to the report.
"Audience Goals: Report on System Progress", which compared ratings in the fall of 2009 and 2010, says the average audience for the stations in 30 large markets grew by 5.2% from 531,400 to 559,100.
This is comfortably above the 3.6% growth that the 2010 Grow the Audience report set as a goal to increase the audience by half over ten years.
SRG notes in its report that in assessing the audience growth it confronted "some important and complex measurement issues" because Arbitron had moved from diary-based ratings to the Portable People Meter (PPM) system in 48 of the largest 50 radio markets in the country - which account for 64% of the population 12+.
The new system, it said, tends to show that listening is more fragmented than reported by diary keepers; that they listen to more stations than were entered in diaries; and that they listen for shorter periods than were entered in diaries: This, it adds, means that the PPM shows lower listening to stations and a fall in average quarter hour (AQH) audience, although actual listening may not have been changed.
The report indicates Spring 2010 public radio's cumulative rating (for those 12 Plus tuning in at least once a week) was a record 11.8% and its share of listening was down from a record 5.02% in 2008 to 5.0%. The weekly Spring 2008 weekly cumulative audience was 28.7 million and that in 2010 was 30.6 million.
It then notes that the figures have been affected by the change to PPM ratings so for the report opted to compare figures for the 30 stations that were in PPM markets both in fall 2009 and 2010, a change that eliminates differences due the switch from diary ratings.
On this basis the figures - a PPM to PPM comparison - shows the average audience increasing by 5.2% as already noted of which 2.8% was for year-to-year increases at same stations with the rest made up of the audience for three stations that were newly-acquired by public broadcasters.
In addition the report notes that the 2010 figure only includes broadcast listening as online and mobile listening information is not yet available although between Fall 2008 and Spring 2010 NPR (National Public Radio) was reporting an increase from 10 million to 11.7 million in unique monthly visits to NPR.org as well as growing use of its podcasts and mobile apps.
The report also pays attention to the diversity of listening to NPR from 2008 to 2010, an area where the overall figures show a fall in listening in Black and Hispanic listening that is in line with the overall listening fall but also a fall in the share of the audience that was black - down from 7.2% in Spring 2008 to 6.3% in Spring 2010 - but an increase for Hispanics - up from 4.4% to 4.9% for the same periods: Examining these figures further, the report notes that the loss of black listeners was "was overwhelmingly concentrated in a handful of jazz/contemporary Black music stations that had previously had the largest numbers of Black listeners in their average audience, compared to other public radio outlets."
It adds that it "is too soon to conclude whether this concentrated loss is primarily a result of the change in methodology (all five stations are in markets that converted to PPM) or a decline in the power of the jazz format to attract listening."
SRG report (8-page 505 kb PDF)
2011-03-24: Fisher Communications, which is under siege from shareholder FrontFour Capital, which wants the company put up for sale and has said it will put forward its own slate of candidates for the company's board (See RNW Jan 28) has announced that it has hired Moelis & Company, LLC to explore options for the future of its Fisher Plaza facility.
FrontFour Capital co-founder and current portfolio manager David Lorber is also a director of Fisher and a member of the Board of Trustees of Canadian industrial and real estate company Huntingdon Real Estate Trust that in December last year made a bid for Fisher that was rejected by the Fisher Board which in disclosing the rejection said it was not in the "best interests of the shareholders" (See RNW Jan 4). Huntingdon, which as a non-US company cannot hold more than a quarter of a US broadcast licensee, was thought to be interested in the real estate rather then Fisher's other businesses.
Fisher says that it intends to use the proceeds of any "sale or financing transaction" that may result among other things to "redeem the Company's outstanding 8 5/8% Senior Notes or repurchase common stock" and noted that the indenture for the notes currently allows for the redemption of Senior Notes at 102.8750% of par value and the repurchase of up to approximately USD 32 million of common stock.
2011-03-23: Univision Communications has appointed Jose Valle, an industry veteran who was most recently vice president and general manager of Univision Radio Los Angeles as president of Univision Radio.
He takes over his new role immediately and announcing the appointment Peter Walker, president of Univision Local Media, commented in a news release, "Jose is one of the most accomplished and experienced broadcast executives that I have had the pleasure to work with in this industry who has a passion for Hispanic media. We were most pleased to have him join Univision last year and are excited to have him oversee the operations of our entire radio division."
Valle's career includes a spell as vice president and general manager of various radio stations, including Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation's Las Vegas three-station cluster; Dallas-Fort Worth's seven-station, four-format cluster; and from 2002 to 2008 as VP-GM of KXTX TV in Dallas.
2011-03-23: The report in the UK Guardian that the BBC World Service was bidding for US funding for software to help it beat blocking of its services (See RNW Mar 21 ) has aroused opposition on the right in the US with amongst others Thomas Lifson writing in a blog in the right-wing American Thinker in opposition to the idea.
In his blog Lifson starts by commenting, "As Republicans try to defund NPR, the Obama administration laughs in the face of critics and sends US taxpayer moneys to fund Britain's left wing BBC. Ben Dowell of the UK Guardian writes "
Lifson then quotes from the report and ends up by commenting, "The BBC has a problem with political bias at least as bad as that of NPR. But that is no obstacle to shipping money, borrowed from China, to yet another left wing network. Don't worry: we'll just let our children pay for it when the Chinese come to collect."
The Guardian itself in a further report has clarified its original report somewhat, with comments from Courtney Austrian, office director, policy planning and public diplomacy at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, making it clear that the bid for funding came from the World Service Trust (the corporation's international charity - and not to the World Service international broadcaster) and was amongst "many" organizations invited "to submit a proposal for funding in the area of internet freedom to the state department."
Austrian added, "This invitation was extended based upon a statement of interest the World Service Trust had previously submitted. We have not yet received a full proposal from any organisation and no funding decisions have yet been made."
The paper also reports that the idea has aroused ire amongst some BBC rivals, saying some in US international broadcasters are "deeply angry" at the idea of such funding being put forward when the US Congress is in a budgetary standoff with the Obama administration.
The paper said one (unnamed) source said the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the US government agency which distributes about USD 760m of public money annually to five US international broadcasters, should receive the funding and not the BBC World Service Trust and went on to say, "We are deeply angry here in the States. The Voice of America is the US government's international broadcaster and needs support. This is coming at a time when the US government is cutting funding for the BBG as well as National Public Radio and people are angry that money is going to the BBC World Service Trust."
The source added, said the paper, that the sums were "puny but it's the symbolism that's important. Americans are trying to conserve resources and our money is going to something which supports the work of a foreign broadcaster - it's infuriating."
RNW comment: Taking a step back and dismissing Lipson as merely a pin-brained bigot who in line with the American Thinker would probably find something to oppose any step Obama might make on anything (Have a quick look at its website), the reactions to this report seem to be making a lot of a little.
We would like to know who the source for the comments about the BBG reaction were, but cannot see anyone at the top of that organization being so lacking in knowledge about the ways of Washington to genuinely believe what is being attributed to it (albeit some American lawmakers and many members of the US public almost certainly are).
The later report indicates a sensible belief at the State Department that getting information to the populace of countries that their leaders would prefer kept away may well be to the interest of the US. In addition, comparing the cost to that of US munitions would indicate that it may be very cost effective. The proposals would appear to be ones made to a schedule that was there before the current US budgetary battle.
As for the narrow-minded chauvinism displayed that, like many comments made by the NAB such as their attacks on foreign-owned recording companies, it reflects badly on those concerned in that they would presumably be quite prepared to damage the wider interests of their country for pettifogging self-interest. There obviously area arguments to be made for and against the idea of such funding at all and in favour of other bids than that of the BBC but Lifson certainly doesn't make them nor do any other comments we have seen.
American Thinker - Lifson blog:
UK Guardian report:
2011-03-23: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released an Enforcement Advisory to alert commercial television and radio broadcasters to a new requirement to certify that their advertising sales contracts contain non-discrimination clauses and do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.
The Notice reminds commercial broadcasters of this requirement, which is now part of the Form 303-S renewal application and notes that it was adopted to address "reports that some advertising contracts contain 'no urban/no Spanish' dictates that are intended to minimize the proportion of African American or Hispanic customers patronizing an advertiser's venue - or dictates that presume that African Americans or Hispanics cannot be persuaded to buy an advertiser's product or service."
Renewal applications cannot now be accepted without the non-discrimination certification - the form contains a tick-box and if the "no" box is ticked space for an explanation for non-compliance that will be taken into consideration as part of the renewal decision.
The advisory also notes that broadcasters have to exercise due diligence in ensuring a truthful answer where a licensee uses a third party to arrange advertising sales and ensure that the advertising agreement contains the non-discrimination clause.
Should a licensee learn of a breach whilst a renewal application is pending it is required to update the application and the Commission warns that a misrepresentation could result in licence revocation proceedings.
In other enforcement action, the FCC has denied a petition from West Texas A&M University, licensee of KWTS-FM, Canyon, Texas, for reconsideration of a USD 3,200 penalty for late filing of licence renewal and subsequent unauthorized operation.
The FCC initially issued a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for the breaches in February 2007 and had reduced it to USD 5,600 in July last year in response to USD 5,600 on the basis of a history of compliance after the university argued for cancellation or reduction on this basis and also because the violations were not wilful and financial hardship grounds.
The university then filed its petition and the agency has cancelled the late filing penalty because it was too late in issuing the forfeiture - it can only do so up to a year after the breach. It noted, however, that the NAL relating to unauthorized operation was issued within the requisite period and confirmed the USD 3,200 penalty for this beach.
2011-03-23: The BBC's Director of BBC Audio and Music Tim Davie, speaking at the Radio Production in the North (RPIN) annual conference in Salford, has announced a five-point plan to improve the radio commissioning process for the independent radio production sector.
The measures have been introduced in response to the BBC Trust's review of the independent supply of radio programming last year which recommended increased openness and greater clarity and included in the plan are a less complex budgeting process; Confirmation of a simpler system of commissioning rounds; and the introduction of 10% Window of Creative Competition across BBC Audio and Music.
In addition Chris Burns, BBC Audio & Music Group Manager and A&M Group Board member, has been appointed as "Indie Champion" and a simpler commissioning process will be introduced for all BBC Radio networks.
The BBC says criteria for commissioning will be based on four areas of expertise - Editorial Capability, Technical, Editorial Standards, and Business - and will ensure consistency and transparency across the production and commissioning process for in-house and external BBC productions.
The measures are scheduled to be introduced by the beginning of next year and will mean the closure of the current preferred supplied list for BBC Radio 4 commissioning rounds. There will also be a review of the commissioning timetable to allow independent production companies more time to prepare pitches.
Davie said of the move in a BBC news release, "These measures represent a real advance in building the partnership between BBC radio and the independent production sector. Overall, we intend to make BBC Radio a simpler and easier place to do business with so that the best ideas make it to air."
2011-03-22: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin finds a community FM in breach of its licence conditions, upholds one radio and one TV standards complaints; considers another TV standards complaint resolved through action taken by the broadcaster, lists two TV advertising minutage breaches and also upholds a TV fairness and privacy complaint, partly upholds another, and gives details of a third not upheld.
The figures compare with the revocation of a TV licence, one radio standards complaint upheld and a finding that a commercial AM breached its licence conditions and the upholding of standards complaints against four TV broadcasters in its previous bulletin.
The radio standards complaint upheld in the latest bulletin involves a competition run by Bauer's Kiss FM from November 22 to December 24 last year: In the annual "Kissmas" competition last year entrants were required to register free of charge on the station's website by giving their name, contact details and desired prize (up to the value of £500).
Entrants were advised to listen to the station during the competition's operating period. At various points during this period, an entrant's name was selected at random and read out on air. This particular entrant was then given a period of twenty minutes within which to call the station and claim their specified prize.
A listener complained that there that there appeared to be discrepancies in Kiss FM's description of the competition's operating period in that the competition's web entry page and on-air presenters indicated that names would be read out between 09:00 and 18:00 but the online terms and conditions, available in a different document on the station's website, indicated that the period was from 07:00 and 19:00.
The complainant also noted number of occasions where names had been read out on air before 09:00 or after 18:00 and was therefore concerned that some entrants may not have been aware of this in view of the advice given on the web entry page and on air.
In response to an enquiry from Ofcom, Bauer Media, which owns the station, said it deliberately drew up "separate Terms and Conditions for this competition in order to provide entrants with as much detail as possible in a clear, consider[ed] and easy to understand way". It added that the competition's web entry page included a direct link to the full terms and conditions and advised entrants to read to them. Decision
Bauer said it "did not intend to mislead, make unfair or lessen the chances of winning in any way" and explained that there were 21 occasions where an entrant's name was read out on air either before 09:00 or after 18:00, the intention being to "maximise the giveaways on days when fewer people had heard their names and called to win".
All of these it said were within the 07:00 and 19:00 period stipulated in the competition's online terms and conditions and that, where names were scheduled to be announced outside 09:00 and 18:00, it normally made listeners aware by broadcasting frequent announcements and posting information on social media sites. It explained that there were two occasions when this type of additional announcement did not take place
Ofcom in its ruling said it accepted there was no intent to mislead and noted the reason given for the extra broadcasts but added that there did not appear to be any clear reason why the competition operating periods that had been stated on air and on the web entry form differed from those specified in the online terms and conditions.
Rules regarding the competition, it said, had not been made clear as required and it therefore upheld the complaint.
The breach of licence conditions ruling involved Westside FM, a community station serving Southall in West London with a service focussed on young people.
In February Ofcom received a complaint that the station was not on air on a number of occasions and it spoke on the phone with the station manager who on February 28 confirmed that the station had not been broadcasting for some weeks.
Ofcom accordingly asked licensee BBA Media for its comments about this and the licensee apologised for its oversight in not contacting Ofcom regarding its intention to temporarily cease broadcasting. It said that BBA Media had to vacate its studio premises at the end of January 2011 when its lease expired. In mid-January the licensee found suitable premises to move into but the lease was due to be signed early in March and therefore at the end of January, with no extension available on its current premises and no studio for live programmes to be broadcast, the licensee "decided to broadcast pre-recorded shows for a short period of time."
It negotiated with a company based in the same building as its transmitter to house the broadcast play out system in order to continue broadcasting pre-recorded programming but this solution did not come to fruition and the station was off air and not broadcasting output until " finally on 26th Feb we got an automated service back on air".
BBA said it now expects to be delivering its full service by the start of April.
Ofcom noted that it has been in correspondence with Westside FM about a possible studio and transmission site move in late December and that in mid-January the licensee had said it had settled on a studio move to a location near to its current site with the transmitter site to remain unchanged.
Given this, it said, it was concerned that it was not told of the problems that developed and led to the service being off air for nearly four weeks. It formally recorded the breach of licence conditions.
In addition to the above findings Ofcom also listed without details 368 complaints against 206 TV items and 32 radio complaints against 26 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 359 complaints against 187 TV items and 33 radio complaints against 26 items that were similarly listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Bulletin:
2011-03-22: According to figures just released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia nearly 700,000 people now listen to digital radio in the country in the average week.
Digital radio services were rolled out in the country's five state metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide in August 2009 and according to the Digital Radio Industry Report 2011 just above 406,000 digital receives have now been sold in the country.
Listening figures says the report were up to 691,000 - 5.6% of the listening - in the period January 2010-2011 compared to the initial period from July to December 2009 when the figure was 449,000 - 3.7% of listening.
Commenting on the figures, Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner noted that the country's commercial radio industry has spent more than AUD 25 million (USD 25 million) on marketing digital radio and added," We're very pleased with these latest figures but recognise there is still much work to be done, particularly in relation to the roll out of digital radio to the rest of Australia. Our priorities over the next 12 months will be to build the growing metropolitan audience and the range of receivers available to them; work on specific promotions with retailers; work with car manufacturers to get DAB+ radios into cars; and work with the Government to plan the regional rollout."
The report says the country has the "highest powered digital radio transmission system in the world" but notes that despite this there were a small number of black spots in each city as a result of which an On Channel Repeater (OCR) solution was developed and trialled in Melbourne area to assess its impact of on reception throughout the city centre. This showed a significant improvement and a plan is being developed for OCR rollout in the five cities.
It also notes of listening that in the latest Nielsen survey around 11.67 million Australians (94%) in the five capital cities listened to radio via the analogue platform for 19 hrs 14 minutes a week with 691,000 listening on DAB+ for an average 11 hours 11 minutes a week whilst listening online attracted a cumulative audience of 745,000 a week with an average listening time of 5 hours 11 minutes.
In demographic terms listening was lowest amongst the young - an average 4 hours 10 minutes for those 10-17 then 12 hours 35 minutes for those 25-39; 11 hours 13 minutes for those 40-54; and 15 hours 34 minutes for those 55 plus.
Most DAB listening was in the home (76%) then at work (12%) followed by in-vehicle (8%) and other locations (4%).
In terms of awareness some 78% of those surveyed (people in the metropolitan areas where DAB+ is on air) were aware of the existence of DAB compared to 63% a year earlier whilst asked about purchasing intentions in the next year 7% answered that they were "very likely" to purchase a receiver; 26% said "Likely"; 43% not sure or undecided; 14% unlikely and 9% very unlikely.
Top reasons for considering a purchase were audio quality (58%); New features combined (58%); new DAB+ only services (30%); liking latest technology (23%) and bad analogue reception (12%).
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Digital Radio Industry Report 2011 (26-page 680 kb PDF):
2011-03-21: Triton Media's Dial Global yet again dominated the top-rated US radio networks according to Arbitron's RADAR 108 survey just released that shows the Dial Global Contemporary Network, Dial Global Complete FM Network and Dial Global Adult Power Network holding on to the top three ranks amongst those 25-54;
The Premiere Informed Network was again fourth followed by the Westwood One Adults Network holding on to fifth after which Citadel got some good news as its Media Family FM leapt up the ranks from 18th to sixth.
Amongst the 18-49 demographic Dial Global again had four out of the top ten networks with its Dial Global Contemporary Network, Dial Global Complete FM Network and Dial Global Adult Power Network in the top three spots' and the Dial Global Female Perspective in sixth rank- down a rank: Premiere had three networks in the top ten - its fourth ranked Premiere Modern Women Network; fifth ranked Premiere Today's Men Network and seventh- ranked Premiere Young Influencers:15 (the ranked Premiere Informed Network dropped from tenth to 11th ) and Citadel's Media Family FM was in eighth, pushing t Westwood One with its Adults Network down a rank to ninth place and the United Stations Impact Network down a rank to tenth.
The Top ten networks amongst the 25-54 demographic (Arbitron also posts details for the 18-49 demographic) were (with the RADAR 107 figures in brackets):
1 - Dial-Global Contemporary Network with an average audience of 4.302 million and an average rating of 3.4 (In RADAR 107 the network was first with 4.371 million and an average rating of 3.4).
2 - Dial Global Complete FM Network with an average audience of 3.971 million and an average rating of 3.1 (In RADAR 107 it was second with an average audience of 4.070 million and an average rating of 3.2).
3: Dial Global Adult Power with an average audience of 3.042 million and an average rating of 2.4 (In RADAR 107 the network was third with an average audience of 3.117 million and an average rating of 2.5).
4: Premiere Informed Network with an average audience of 2.930 million and an average rating of 2.3 (In RADAR 107 it was fourth with an average audience of 2.999 million and an average rating of 2.4).
5: Westwood One Adults Network with an average audience of 2.804 million and an average rating of 2.2 (In RADAR 107 it was fifth with an average audience of 2.804 million and an average rating of 2.2).
6: Citadel Media Family FM with an average audience of 2.648 and an average rating of 2.1 (In RADAR 107 it was 18th with an average audience of 1.717 million and an average rating of 1.4).
7: Premiere Today's Men Network with an average audience of 2.6.06 million and an average rating of 2.1 (In RADAR 107 it was seventh with an average audience of 2.539 million and an average rating of 2.0).
8: Premiere Modern Women Network with an average audience of 2.513 million and an average rating of 2.0 (In RADAR 107 it was sixth with an average audience of 2.539 million and an average rating of 2.0).
9: Dial Global Female Perspective Network with an average audience of 2.427 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 107 it was eighth with an average audience of 2.478 million and an average rating of 2.0).
10: United Stations Impact Network with an average audience of 2.187 million and an average rating of 1.7 (In RADAR 107 it was tenth with an average audience of 2.150 million and an average rating of 1.7).
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 107):
Previous Westwood One:
2011-03-21: According to the UK Guardian, BBC World Service, whose funding has been cut by the British Foreign Office and which is to come out of the BBC licence fee from 2014 when the current deal ends (See RNW Jan 25), is to "receive a 'significant' sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China."
The paper says the funding -expected to be in low six-figures - will be used to develop developing anti-jamming technology and software and the deal is expected to be formally announced on International Press Freedom Day (May 3).
The BBC currently relies on reports from users and listeners and the move says the report follows an increase in incidents of interference with World Service output across the globe, according to its controller of strategy and business, Jim Egan, who added that the developments would include early warning software that "helps monitor dips in traffic which act as an early warning of jamming, and it can be more effective than relying on people contacting us and telling us they cannot access the services."
The Guardian says it is understood that the US government has decided the reach of the World Service is such that it makes this investment worthwhile.
UK Guardian report:
2011-03-20: Last week saw a steady flow of radio related postings from the regulators except from Ireland but no major ones with most decisions being made in Canada.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has posted details of proposed changes to radio services in Queensland: In the Bundaberg and Kingaroy area it is to make available FM frequency 97.7 MHz at Wide Bay for a new national radio service that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is proposing to transmit its NewsRadio service, as well as making a new community radio service available at Bundaberg on FM frequency 96.3 MHz: To allow the service at Wide Bay the ACMA is to remove the planned but non-operational national frequency (97.7 MHz) at Murgon and it will also change the technical specifications of the long-term community radio broadcasting service at Yarraman in the Kingaroy area to increase the transmitter power and extend the licence area.
In the Bourke, Cairns and Maryborough area it the ACMA is to new community radio broadcasting services available at Wilcannia, Mossman and Tiaro.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made a number of radio-related postings including the following:
Short-term administrative renewal from 1 April 2011 to 31 August 2011 of the licence of Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc. 's CKBC-FM, Bathurst.
*Approval of application by 1760791 Ontario Inc. to increase the day time power of CINA-AM, Mississauga, from 1,000 to 5,000 watts. The night-time power would remain at 680 watts.
The CRTC received a number of interventions supporting the application and others opposing it from Michael Caine, President CJMR, on the behalf of CJMR producers; Michel Mathieu on the behalf of Communication Média Évangélique and Radio Shalom; The Canadian Association of Ethnic Broadcasters; Evanov Radio Group and Canadian Multicultural Radio. They noted that approval would change the status of CINA from a low-power station to a regular power, protected station and as a result its reach would expand so that it would cover all of the Greater Toronto Area. Opposing interveners also submitted that the applicant has not provided any technical evidence to support its argument that it cannot adequately reach the market it is licensed to serve.
In approving the application, the CRTC noted amongst other things that the expanded 15 mV/m contour proposed by CINA does not fully encompass the city of Mississauga and that the cities of Toronto and Brampton will remain largely outside of the proposed 15 mV/m contour and also commented that as an ethnic station, CINA targets its programming primarily to specific ethnic communities located within its principal marketing area.
Short-term administrative renewal from 1 April 2011 to 31 August 2011 of the licences of MZ Media Inc.'s CFMX-FM, Cobourg, and CFMZ-FM, Toronto.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with an April 15 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments, relating to the following radio applications that are to be considered a hearing in May.
Applications relating to licensees who are in apparent non-compliance with the Radio Regulations, 1986 and/or certain conditions of licence.
*Astral Media Radio G. P.'s English-language commercial station CIBK-FM, Calgary (Canadian content development (CCD) contributions, for the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years).
The CRTC noted that in 2007 the station was granted a four-year short term renewal, until 31 August 2011, due to the licensee's non-compliance with its condition of licence relating to contributions to Canadian talent development.
*Vancouver Co-operative Radio's English-language Type B community station CFRO-FM, Vancouver (of annual returns, for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years).
The CRTC noted that in 2004 the station was issued a four-year short term renewal until 31 August 2008 based on its non-compliance with section 8 of the Regulations, relating to the submission of logger tapes and in 2008 was granted a three-year short term renewal, until 31 August 2011, based on non-compliance relating to the broadcast of Canadian musical selections from content category 2.
*Rogers Broadcasting Limited 's English-language commercial station CFUN-FM, Chilliwack, and its transmitters CFUN-FM-1, Abbotsford, and CFUN-FM-2, Vancouver (formerly CKCL-FM, CKCL-FM-1 and CKCL-FM-2)( contributions to Canadian content development, for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years.).
The licensee is requesting a change in licence conditions relating to the broadcast of local programming and and removal of a requirement to broadcast at least twice hourly a station identification which includes specific reference to the Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Vancouver transmitters.
The CRTC added that CKCL-FM was granted a four-year short term renewal, until 31 August 2011, due to a lack of locally relevant programming for the Chilliwack and Fraser Valley areas.
*Radio Péninsule inc.'s French-language Type B community station CKRO-FM, Pokemouche (of annual returns, for the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years.)
*La radio communautaire du comté's French-language Type B community station CKMN-FM Rimouski and Mont-Joli (submission of annual returns, for 2005-2006, 2006-2007 and 2009-2010 broadcast years.).
*Northwest Broadcasting Inc.'s low-power, English-language commercial station CFQK-FM, Kaministiquia, and its transmitter CKED-FM, Shuniah Township (Broadcast of Canadian content for category 3 music: The Commission noted that in 2007 the station was granted a four-year short term renewal, until 31 August 2011, based on its failure to comply with its condition of licence relating to Canadian talent development contributions.
* 1158556 Ontario Ltd.'s English-language commercial specialty station CHIM-FM Timmins and its transmitters CHIM-FM-1, North Bay, CHIM-FM-2, Iroquois Falls, CHIM-FM-3, Kirkland Lake, CHIM-FM-4, New Liskeard, CHIM-FM-5, Red Deer, CHIM-FM-6, Sault Ste. Marie, CHIM-FM-7, Elliot Lake, CHIM-FM-8, Chapleau and CHIM-FM-9, Wawa (filing of annual returns for the 2009-2010 broadcast year, and to contributions to Canadian content development initiatives, for the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years: The Commission noted that in 2007 the station was granted a four-year short term renewal, until 31 August 2011, based on its failure to comply with its condition of licence relating to the filing of annual reports and to Canadian talent development contributions.
*Way of Life Broadcasting's low-power, English-language specialty station CJIV-FM, Dryden (filing of information requested by the Commission, specifically, a report detailing the licensee's plan to broadcast local programming in Dryden, including the range and type of local and Canadian programming to be offered.)
Applications for renewal of the following French-language commercial stations expiring at the end of August (Breached indicated are in brackets):
*Gatineau - Astral Media Radio inc.'s CKTF-FM (Broadcast of required level of French-language vocal music and also Regulations, relating to Canadian content development (CCD) contributions, for the 2009-2010 broadcast year.)
*Gatineau - RNC MEDIA Inc.'s CFTX-FM, Gatineau, and its transmitter CFTX-FM-1, Gatineau (Buckingham Sector) (Broadcast of required level of French-language vocal music and also Regulations, relating to Canadian content development (CCD) contributions, for the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 broadcast years.)
*Montréal - Cogeco inc's . CKOI-FM, Montréal (Broadcast of required level of French-language vocal music).
*Port-Cartier - Radio Port-Cartier inc.'s CIPC-FM, Port-Cartier. (Broadcast of required level of French-language vocal music).
*Application by Bouctouche Community Radio for a licence to operate a 10,423 watts French-language community FM in Bouctouche.
*Application by Société Radio Taïga for authority to acquire from L'Association Franco-Culturelle de Yellowknife the assets of the French-language Type A community station CIVR-FM, Yellowknife. There is no financial value linked to this transaction.
*Application by City Church, Halifax, for a broadcasting licence to operate a 50 watts English-language commercial specialty FM in Spryfield.
*Application by Bouctouche Community Radio for a broadcasting licence to operate a French-language FM community radio programming undertaking in Bouctouche.
*Application by Campbellford Area Radio Association to renew the licence of its English-language Type B community station CKOL-FM, Campbellford, and its transmitter CKOL-FM-1, Madoc, expiring 31 August 2011.
The CRTC notes that in 2007, the station was granted a four-year short term renewal, until 31 August 2011, based on the station's non-compliance relating to the broadcast of Canadian musical selections from content category 2.
*Application by Kiig.da.win Media (Walpole Island First Nation) for a broadcasting licence to operate a 50 watts English-language FM Type B native radio FM in Walpole Island First Nation.
*Application by Dufferin Communications Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a 40,000 watts English-language commercial FM in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.
*Application by Radio Humsafar Inc. for a broadcasting licence for a 1,000 watts day and night time commercial ethnic AM in Montréal.
In another Public Notice with a deadline of April 21 for the submission of Interventions or Comments, the CRTC lists the following radio applications:
*Application by CIAM Media & Radio Broadcasting Association to add a 50 watts FM transmitter in Three Hills to broadcast the programming of its English-language Type B community radio station CIAM-FM, Fort Vermilion.
*Application by CIAM Media & Radio Broadcasting Association to add 50 watts FM transmitters in Dawson Creek and Prespatou to broadcast the programming of its English-language Type B community station, CIAM-FM Fort Vermilion.
*Application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. to increase from 3,000 to 60,000 watts the power of its English-language commercial radio station, CFIT-FM, Airdrie.
*Application by Byrnes Communications Inc. to delete from the licence of its commercial English-language radio programming station CIHR-FM, Woodstock, conditions of licence relating to Canadian Talent Development (CTD) so as to vary the allocation of the contributions.
*Application by Byrnes Communications Inc. to increase from 7,096 watts to 8,950 watts the power of its commercial English-language station CIHR-FM Woodstock.
The CRTC also notes that the licensee may have failed to comply with its conditions of licence relating to specific contributions to its individual third-party Canadian talent development/Canadian content development recipients for the 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 broadcast years.
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has posted its February Radio Update and also announced the terms to be offered to Absolute Radio for renewal of its national AM licence: It had already issued terms for the other two licences (held by Global Radio's Classic FM and UTV's talkSPORT) in January (See RNW Jan 20).
Absolute, whose ultimate parent is Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd,, has until April 7 to accept the new terms - a nominal amount of GBP 10,000 (USD 15,000) a year with no charge for the Percentage of Qualifying Revenue amount that is required under the terms of the licence. Ofcom comments that it considers this reasonable as no new entrant would be prepared to make substantial payments for the licence, which is expected to run for around four-and-a-half years.
The February update listed one new licence - an RLCS (Radio Licensable Content Service) licence for Ministry of Sound Radio - and one RLCS licence that has ended - that of Gaydar's satellite service.
Declarations of intent were invited for four FM licences all by a March 30 deadline - those of Minster FM) / Minster Sound Radio in York; Argyll FM, Kintyre, Islay & Jura; 2BR FM, Burnley; and Spire FM, Salisbury
In addition in five other cases where only incumbents had declared intent to apply the current licensees have been invited to apply under Ofcom's Fast=Track procedure for the licences of Lincs. FM Group's Lincoln station; Bridge FM's Bridgend station; Radio Weave (Blackpool) Ltd.'s Blackpool station; West Berkshire Radio's Newbury station; and KFLM Ltd.'s King Lynn station.
Three further licences were re-awarded for seven-years under Ofcom's Fast-track procedures - to Bridlington Radio Ltd (Yorkshire Coast Radio) in Bridlington; South Hams Radio Ltd (Heart Devon), South Hams; and Ridings FM Ltd (Ridings FM), Wakefield.
A 12 years renewal was awarded to Choice FM North London Ltd / Choice (North London).
There were also format changes agreed for Heartland FM, Aberfeldy and Pitlochry, currently based in Pitlochry allowing it to co-locate and share programming with the Perth licence and Perth FM allowing it to co-locate with Heartland FM in Pitlochry and share programming with Heartland plus Nova Radio, Weston Super Mare, and Fire Radio, Bournemouth, allowing each to reduce from ten to seven hours a day its weekday daytime local programming and also change news broadcast requirements. A four hours daytime weekend requirement is unaltered.
Local multiplex changes recorded were of the addition of Jack FM to the Bristol and Bath multiplex and of Panjab Radio to the North East multiplex; the removal of Panjab Radio from the West Midlands multiplex; and a bit-rate reduction for Smooth, Rock Radio and Real on the North East multiplex. A further request to reduce the bit rate of Rock Radio on the South Wales and Severn Estuary and Yorkshire multiplexes was not agreed.
There were two reviews of licenses where there had been a change of control - of Radio Maldwyn in Montgomeryshire and of Dune FM in the Southport area: No format changes were proposed in either case and Ofcom made no changes to the licences.
In addition the transfers of two licences were agreed -of Oldham station Revolution FM from Oldham F.M. Ltd to Wind Up Media Ltd. and of Heartland FM (previously Perth FM) from Radio Perth Ltd to The Heartland Radio Foundation Ltd (See above re format change agreed to allow co-location).
Regarding community radio one new licence was granted in the period - to Inner London station Rinse FM- and five year extensions granted to 98.5 Garrison FM (Edinburgh); Angel Radio Isle of Wight; BFBS Lisburn FM; Gloucester FM; and Sunny Govan Community Radio.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made a number of radio-related postings including the confirmation of a USD 10,000 penalty on a New Jersey man for operating an unlicensed FM (See RNW Mar 18): It also announced that it has lifted restrictions that prohibit US non-commercial educational stations from engaging in fund-raising efforts to allow them to be involved in aid efforts for Japan following the earthquake and tsunami (See RNW Mar 17).
The agency also announced yet another extension - this time until July 5 - of the deadline for a group of media owners (Cox Enterprises, Inc.; Calvary, Inc.; Bonneville International Corp.; Scranton Times LP; and Morris Communications) to file amendments to pending waiver requests or renewal applications or to file requests for permanent waivers of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule. The deadline has been repeatedly extended by the FCC because of a pending legal challenge to its modified newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.
The FCC has also issued details of revisions to its Form 303S that have been made since the last renewal cycle - noting that the form currently available online through its CDBS does not include the latest revisions and adding that electronic access to the revised form through CDBS will be implemented by May 2.
The main changes relate to Non-Discriminatory Advertising Sales Agreements Certification (covering the period from, March 14, 2011, the effective date of the revised Form 303-S, to the date of the station's license renewal application filing); Minimum Operating Schedule Certification. - including a new certification that a station has not been silent (or operating for less than its prescribed minimum operating hours) for a period of 30 days or more during the last license term or an explanation of why it has not met these requirements; new certification related to RF Radiation; and a new certification that neither the applicant nor any party to the application has an attributable interest in a newspaper that is subject to the cross-ownership restrictions or an explanation of the reasons that there is such an interest, even if this is that there had been prior FCC approval of the interest.
The FCC notes that stations in the first licence renewal group - radio stations licensed to communities in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia - may be filed on or after May 2, and must be filed no later than June 1.
Each AM, FM, non-commercial educational (NCE) FM, FM translator, and Low Power FM (LPFM) station must electronically file Form 303-S (Application for Renewal of Broadcast Station License Renewal); Each AM, FM, and NCE FM station, regardless of how many full-time staff it employs, must file FCC Form 396 (Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report).; and NCE licensees also must file Form 323-E (Ownership Report for Non-commercial Broadcast Stations).
In licensing actions the FCC has approved an application from CAAM Partnership, LLC for a new AM station in Snohomish, Washington, rejecting objections from Citizens to Preserve the Upper Snohomish River Valley, Stewards of the Land and Community, Angela Day and Albert C. Highberger.
CAAM had filed the application for the station in the agency's Auction 84 and was given preference over mutually-exclusive competing applications and the FCC received objections based on concerns regarding the perceived adverse health effects of exposure of local residents to radiofrequency radiation and also from some of the objectors on the basis of the effect on wildlife, local property values, aesthetic concerns; inefficient use of Broadcast spectrum and possible interference to other devices including radios and TVs and garage door operators.
The FCC in rejecting the objections said the Environmental Assessment provided had been reviewed and it concluded that the proposed Station will have no significant impact on the quality of the human environment.
It also announced a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making NPRM) in the Matter of Policies to Promote Rural Radio Service and to Streamline Allotment and Assignment Procedures: The NPRM was posted on March 16 and comments have to be submitted by Friday April 15 with a Monday May 16 deadline for filing reply comments.
Previous Licence News:
2011-03-20: Emmis' WRXP-FM (ROCK 101.9 RXP ) in New York changes its weekday line-up tomorrow with Steve Craig moving from 10:00 to 15:00 middays to take over the 06:00 to 10:00 "The Rock Show" exchanging places with Matt Pinfield and Leslie Fram who move over to middays.
They will be followed by Brian Philips who remains in the 15:00 to 19:00 slot and after which Brian Drelio and Chris Nadler host 19:00 to midnights.
Pinfield is also to return as the host of 120 Minutes on MTV with an on-air monthly show kicking next month. He is already hosting the weekly online show, 120 Seconds, which started on Friday on MTV Hive.
Leslie Fram, who is also RXP Program Director, commented in an Emmis news release, Steve Craig is one of the strongest talents in the country. He had amazing ratings in mid-days in one of our strongest dayparts and truly deserves this move," adding, "Personally I'm excited not to hear the alarm clock at 4am."
He also commented of the MTV plans, "We are thrilled that Matt will be back on TV and we are working closely with MTV to hopefully produce a "radio version" of 120 Minutes for RXP."
2011-03-19: Picking up on the continuing fight to save the University of San Francisco's KUSF-FM as a broadcast station, the New York Times reports that the switch to making the station online seems to have failed.
When the sale in a deal with the non-profit the Classical Public Radio Network (largely owned by the University of Southern California) and Entercom was announced in January (See RNW Jan 18) the university promoted the move online as an opportunity, saying "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."
The Times quotes KUSF fund-raising and marketing coordinator Miranda Morris as estimating that the station used to reach around 30,000 weekly listeners at 90.3 FM, while around 20 people at a time currently listen online.
Backing up the contention that such a proposition was unrealistic, the paper also quoted Ken Freedman, station manager at WFMU-FM in New Jersey- the oldest free-form station in the US, as saying, "It's not realistic for a terrestrial station to move online and maintain the same audience."
Volunteers at Save KUSF, which was set up in an attempt to keep the station on the airwaves, claimed what they felt was a small victory last week when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected an application from the station to move its transmitter from the University campus to Mount Beacon in Marin County on the basis that it could lead to interference with the signal of KALX FM, which is operated by the University of California, Berkeley. San Francisco University said, however, that this decision did not affect the sale and the San Francisco Examiner quoted USF spokesman Gary McDonald as saying in a statement, "The decision about the transmitter has no impact whatsoever on the pending sale. These are separate applications to the FCC. And one does not affect the other in any way."
The KUSF 90.3 FM frequency is currently carrying classical music although Friends of KUSF has filed a separate petition to block the license transfer, "based in part on the station's irreplaceable local public value."
Friends of KUSF website:
New York Times report:
San Francisco Examiner report:
Save KUSF web site:
2011-03-18: BBC Radio 1 says its breakfast DJ Chris Moyles and sidekick 'Comedy' Dave Vitty have both raised nearly USD 2.41 million (USD 3.91 million) for the "Red Nose Day" charity event - being held today - and set a brand new Guinness World Record for broadcasting the longest music show by a radio team.
The team were on air for 52 hours to set a new Guinness World Record for "Radio DJ Endurance Marathon (Team)" , beating the previous record by two hours and also breaking by a large margin the previous record for Radio 1's longest show that was set 12 years ago by Simon Mayo, also in a broadcast for Comic Relief.
The event dates back to the launch on BBC1 TV Christmas Day in 1985 of Comic Relief as one of the responses to the famine then ravaging Ethiopia: Red Nose Day events followed and are now held in odd-numbered years, alternating with Sport Relief in even-numbered years- and have raised more than GBP 500 million (USD 812 million) for charity.
The show ended at 10:30 GMT this morning and for a while Radio 1's website was down because of the volume of traffic -possibly because of those wanting to view webcam cover of Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton making good on her promise to wear a swimsuit if the team raised more than GBP 2 million (USD 3.2 million).
Moyles commented in a BBC release, "We've been overwhelmed by the support we've received from our listeners. It's been a rollercoaster ride of fun, laughs, tears and downright silliness. Now I'm off for a massive sleep!"
Comedy Dave added: "We're both losing our voices and we've literally limped through the last few hours to the finish line but it's all been worth it when we saw that final figure! Our listeners are incredible."
Station Controller Andy Parfitt said he was "deeply proud" of what had been achieved - "the amazing total raised, brilliant, high quality radio broadcasting throughout and some of the funniest and most inventive TV (the event was also on digital TV) I've seen."
2011-03-18: Radio One Inc. has issued a positive update of its guidance for this year, saying second quarter core revenues are now "pacing up mid to high single digits compared to the same period in 2010."
CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, added, "Q2 is historically our biggest quarter for radio revenues, so it is encouraging that we are pacing strongly compared to prior year. May and June pacings have been strengthening over the past few weeks and both months are now pacing up double-digits. This data is helpful in the context of the full year guidance that we have previously provided, and which we continue to affirm."
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2011-03-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)has confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on Kacy R. Rankine of West Orange, New Jersey, for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter.
It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for this amount in November 2006 to which he failed to respond and the subsequently a forfeiture order was issued in January 27 to which Rankine did respond with a petition for reconsideration on the basis that he is financially unable to pay the penalty.
He provided no supporting documentation and accordingly the agency denied the petition and confirmed the penalty.
2011-03-17: The US House of Congress has voted on a partisan basis by 228-192 to end Federal funding to US NPR (National Public Radio) - all the Democrats opposed the cut along with seven Republicans who broke ranks.
The vote so far has no force and it seems unlikely to pass in the Senate in view of opposition from the Democrats and the White House.
Eleven Congressmen did not vote and one - Michigan Republican Justin Amish put himself down as present, explaining in a statement on his Facebook that he took the view that as the bill (HR1076) singled out NPR, which receives its funding indirectly through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), he could not support it. Amash added that he did vote in favour of the bill to defund the CPB but as regards specific defunding of NPR he took the view that the law should apply equally to all and that the Federal government "has no place in picking one viewpoint over another in the marketplace of ideas."
He notes that the bill "was written to target one, and only one, organization: NPR" and adds, "The bill's treatment of NPR is arguably unconstitutional and definitely violates the Rule of Law."
In an interview with CBS, Colorado Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn who introduced the bill, commented of the move, "NPR can survive on its own. It has quality programming... They could survive and even thrive. So let's let them loose from taxpayer subsidies."
He denied that the move was party political adding, "We can no longer afford to spend money on things that can survive on their own... So, we have to start somewhere I would be doing this if this was right-leaning or neutral because there's no need for government to be subsidizing media."
As already widely reported before the vote, the effects of the action will be most severe on smaller stations with large-market ones expected to weather the effect quite easily and NPR put the stress on the plight of smaller stations in a statement from interim CEO Joyce Slocum, who took over after Vivian Schiller was forced out earlier this month (See RNW Mar 9).
Slocum commented, “Many small-budget stations would be placed in a serious financial bind. They would no longer be allowed to purchase any programming with federal funds. The communities they serve would be unable to provide sufficient support to fill that gap, leaving these stations no options for maintaining service.”
On a more general basis she said,” NPR expressed grave concern about the impact of the approval of H.R. 1076 on the entire public radio system – hundreds of stations, dozens of program producers and the communities that rely on them every week,” adding “The bill is a direct effort to weaken public radio that would ultimately choke local stations’ ability to serve their audiences."
“At a time when other news organizations are cutting back and the voices of pundits are drowning out fact-based reporting and thoughtful analysis, NPR and public radio stations are delivering in-depth news and information respectfully and with civility. It would be a tragedy for America to lose this national treasure.”
RNW Note: This report has been updated but may be updated again with further comments about the Bill.
Amash -Facebook comments re not supporting bill.
CBS report (has inbuilt video of Lamborn interview):
Congress- roll call on vote:
Congress - Text of Bill:
NPR blog re vote:
2011-03-17: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it has lifted restrictions that prohibit US non-commercial educational stations from engaging in fund-raising efforts to allow them to be involved in aid efforts for Japan following the earthquake and tsunami.
The agency has lifted these restrictions in the past for what they term "disasters of particular uniqueness or magnitude, such as Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the January 2005 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. "
Stations that wish to become involved in fund-raising for Japan can now file a request for a waiver of the prohibition giving details of the nature of the fundraising effort; the proposed duration of the fundraising effort; the organization(s) to which funds will be donated; and whether the fundraiser will be part of the licensee's regularly scheduled pledge drive or fundraising effort.
2011-03-16:Long-term US public radio host Garrison Keillor is planning to retire in 2013 from "A Prairie Home Companion", which he created in Minnesota in 1974 and which is now syndicated by American Public Media to nearly six hundred public radio stations and has a weekly audience of around four million. It is also aired on Sirius XM.
He revealed his plans in an interview with the AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) Bulletin for its online book column in which he discussed his latest project, a poem anthology.
Keillor is 68 but said he had to find a replacement before he left the show. Asked about the legacy he would like to lead, he said, "I just want people in St. Paul and Minneapolis to feel that I was some sort of community asset and not a big embarrassment. It may be a close call."
Keillor has already closed down the programme one - in June 87.Keillor married and spent some time abroad for two years but he then returned to radio in 1989 with New York- based The American Radio Company of the Air, which was renamed Garrison Keillor's American Radio Company in its second season.
He returned to St Paul in 1992, still with the American Radio Company, but the show then reverted to its original title in 1993. It is usually broadcast from St. Paul but travels to other cities and has aired from outside the US.
AARC report (Links to full interview):
2011-03-16:Arbitron in a preliminary report before Monday's release of its RADAR 108 National Radio Listening Report says that listening numbers continue to increase in the US, totalling an estimated 241.6 million Americans 12 and older listening to the medium each week.
This is up 2.1 million on a year ago and represents 93.1% of the demographic. Arbitron says that there was an increase all major demographics, with Adults aged 18 to 34 showing the biggest gains, - up nearly 508,000 and representing 93.7 percent of all people in this demographic group. The number of Teens aged 12 to 17 listening to radio, it adds, also increased, rising 203,000 and with some 92% of this demographic.
For adults 18-49 and 25-54 and the percentage was 95%, the same as that for Hispanics 12 and older, whilst for black (non-Hispanics) 12 and older the figure was above 93% and for Hispanics 18-34 it was 96%
As with previous surveys, Arbitron ways that listening was higher in more prosperous and educated households - 96% of those 25 to 54 with a household income of USD 75,000 or more and a college education and approximately 95 percent of adults aged 18 to 49 with a household income of USD 75,000 or more
Previous RADAR (RADAR 107):
2011-03-16: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has gone into attack mode over White House support for a performance fee for music aired on terrestrial radio and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in relation to a comment from Chairman Julius Genachowski that the agency has completed a basic inventory of spectrum use.
In relation to performance fees the NAB was reacting to a statement from the U.S Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) endorsing the idea and the NAB reacted with a statement from its EVP Dennis Wharton in which he said, "This is hardly a new policy position from the White House" and then continued "NAB remains unalterably opposed to legislation creating an onerous, jobs-killing fee on America's hometown radio stations without offsetting provisions and benefits that recognize the unparalleled promotional value of radio airplay. NAB offered a legislative package to resolve this issue last year, which was summarily rejected by the musicFirst Coalition. Our offer still stands."
The NAB then went on to add a list of comments from recording company executives and artists about the value of promotional value of radio airplay dating from 2008 to September last year.
Regarding spectrum Genachowski has been pushing for legislative action to give some commercial users an incentive to release spectrum for mobile wireless broadband but Maine Republican Senator had responded by saying the agency first needed to complete the inventory.
Genachowski said the FCC had completed "one of the most substantial and comprehensive evaluations of spectrum in the Commission's history and identified what bands of spectrum are used for, who holds the licenses, where the licenses are and other information.
The inventory, he added, had confirmed there no hidden "hidden vacant lots of commercial airwaves" and that the FCC knew more than enough to move forward on new market-based options.
Genachowski said that the just because spectrum had not been put into service did not mean its holders were hoarding as it took time to build facilities.
The NAB, which has asked for investigation of "spectrum hoarding" allegations then issued a put-down from Wharton in which he said the "FCC statement is a disappointing response to Congress, which is seeking a thorough spectrum inventory" and went on to say the question was not one of the FCC identifying details of spectrum allocation but the issue of "whether specific companies that bought or were given spectrum worth billions have actually deployed it.".
RNW comment: Again the NAB doesn't seem to be particularly efficacious in its activities. In its actions so far it has already conceded the principle of performance fees - paid almost everywhere else in the world - and as regards spectrum its bark might have bite if it could provide a sound case of violation of spectrum licence terms. So far we've seen no evidence that it can.
2011-03-16: The BBC has announced that with the re-launch of its BBC7 digital station as Radio 4 Extra it is to launch an "Ambridge Extra" series, building on the Radio 4 Archers, the world's longest-running soap.
So far it has commissioned two series of the new programme, which will be set in Ambridge but also follow characters when they are not in the area: The publicity for the programme lists as examples finding out how "Alice is doing at university; they can hear from Rhys, The Bull's barman, a character who has yet to speak in The Archers; and find out more about what Jamie is getting up to behind his mother's back."
Each episode will run for 15 minutes and the first series will run for 13 weeks from Tuesday April 5 with a second series to be aired in the autumn (fall).
Vanessa Whitburn, Editor of The Archers and Ambridge Extra, said in a BBC news release, "Ambridge Extra is an added bonus for listeners who want to spend more time immersed in Ambridge life. BBC Radio 4 Extra gives us the space to explore the lives of Archers' characters in more detail. And it is a lovely way to mark the 60th anniversary year."
Writing on the programme's blog, Keri Davies, one of two scriptwriters for the new programme, adds, "The idea is that you'll be able to hear more stories from in and around Ambridge, and also we'll be able to go further afield with Archers-related characters.
"You can enjoy the new series without listening to the main Archers programme. And you can continue to listen to The Archers without missing out on anything essential. But if you follow both programmes, then you'll get a deeper insight into what's going on in our characters' lives. You'll also hear from new characters in Ambridge Extra who don't appear in The Archers, or who are only minor characters there."
She says of the new programme, "The episodes have a different feel to the main Archers programme. Unlike The Archers, where the events of one day are covered in one episode, Ambridge Extra episodes often cover the key events of two or three days in their 15 minute duration. So it zips along quite fast, although we are covering fewer stories, so we hope it should be a lively listen."
Ambridge Extra will air on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 UK time, with repeats on the same days at 14:15, following The Archers 14:00 broadcast on BBC Radio 4. There will also be an omnibus programme on Fridays at 10.30, repeated on Sundays at 11.15am and 7.15pm, again following on directly from The Archers' Sunday editions.
BBC Archers' blog:
2011-03-15: Owner Alpha Broadcasting has dumped rock, which had been airing for 21 years on its KUFO-FM, Portland, Oregon, in favour of a simulcast of sister talk station KXL-AM and renamed it KXL-FM.
KUFO dated back to 1958 when it was launched as KOIN-FM with a classical music format, switching to KYTE-FM and top 40 in 1977 then two years later to country as KKLB for a short period before going to top 40 rock as KB-101 in September 1979. It then had eleven months as KKCY and a contemporary jazz format before making the move to the active rock format on December 28, 1989.
The call signs were changed to KUFO in January 1990 and then to KUFO-FM at the start of August 2001 launching two decades of ratings success as 101 KUFO but the introduction of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in the market in 2009 caused a drastic fall - it was 14th in the rankings in the most recent ratings - and the station was amongst those sold-off by CBS, with current owners Alpha buying its Portland cluster in August 2009.
Following the takeover many on-air staff were fired by Alpha and it was re-launched in October with a new line-up that included Marconi on its morning Kidd Chris Show. He was fired in February, for what ALpha said were budgetary reasons.
The KUFO web site currently brings up a message saying "R.I.P 101 KUFO, 12/29/89 - 3/15/11" and continuing "We just wanted to take a moment to thank you, our devoted KUFO listeners, for 21 rockin' years."
It then re-directs to the kxl website.
2011-03-15: Saga Communications has now issued its results for 2010, having delayed them because of "health related issues of a family member of one of the key members of its accounting department" although it issued a preliminary report (See RNW Mar 5).
The figures were in line with the preliminary resullts - it reported operating revenues for 2010 up 5.8% to USD 127.82 million and up 7.4% for the final quarter to USD 34.13 million and operating expenses down slightly - by 2.0% to USD 92.7 million and by 1.9% to USD 23.41 million respectively.
Operating income leapt for the year from USD 1.42 million to USD 27.79 million whilst for the quarter it was moved from a loss of USD 10.68 million - after USD 17.29 million in impairment charges - to income of USD 8.97 million.
Overall the company went from a USD 2.58 million loss in 2009 to income of USD 15.14 million (From a loss of 61 cents to income of USD 3.58 per basic and diluted share) whilst for the quarter a loss of USD 7.36 million
2011-03-15: The Pew Research Center's latest look at the state of US news media comments on comparative stability for radio over the past decade tied in with a warning that change may be just ahead.
After two dreadful years, it says, most sectors of the industry saw revenue begin to recover, albeit not for newspapers, and with some notable exceptions, cutbacks in newsrooms eased.
In terms of technology change it notes that mobiles have become an important factor with nearly half of Americans getting some form of local news on a mobile device and it comments that "the findings suggest, the blogosphere partly resembles an online version of cable or radio talk shows" but that this is not so of Twitter.
Despite the rise for electronic media, the report comments on a fairly stable audience for over-the-air radio but warns that the biggest change may be just ahead.
It notes that latest data from Arbitron shows 93% of Americans listened to AM/FM radio at some point during the week in 2010, a fall from 96% over the past decade and says that While audiences for terrestrial radio have remained mostly stable for the past 10 years, it is clear that new technologies, over time, do have an effect on traditional radio listening. The effect is most pronounced among younger people, which could mean accelerated change and a new landscape of audio habits.
In its survey 92% of respondents said they used or owned an AM/FM radio, second only to TV with 98%, ahead of the 85% with a cell phone, and well ahead of the 64% with broadband and 52% using online radio.
It also noted that they took radio for granted with most Americans in surveys saying that technologies with which they spent less time had more "impact" on their lives - only 22% said AM/FM radio had a "big impact" compared to 54% citing cell phones, 44% iPhones, 45% BlackBerries and adds, "On the web, for instance, Americans for the first time report listening more to online-only outlets like Pandora or Slacker Radio than they do to streams from AM/FM stations. (The figures showed a fall in those listening online to radio station streams from 48% in 2006 to 40% last year whilst 55% said they listened to online-only radio). Perhaps even more ominously for traditional radio, online listening has even seeped into what the industry has seen as perhaps its safest (and most captive) audience - those listening in their cars."
"Perhaps even more ominously for traditional radio," it continues "online listening has even seeped into what the industry has seen as perhaps its safest (and most captive) audience - those listening in their cars."
"In the last two years, " it says, "those interested in listening to online radio in the car (as opposed to the broadcast stations) has more than doubled. More than a quarter of Americans (27%) said they were "very interested" in listening to internet radio in the car in 2010, up from 10% in 2009, and 6% said they were already using their cell phones to listen to internet radio in their cars If this expressed interest translates to usage, this could mark an enormous shift. Throughout all the technological changes over the last decade, the car had continued to serve as a bulwark for traditional radio."
In contrast it says HD radio has failed to take off with numbers listening to HD remaining flat in 2010 and "Perhaps more tellingly, fewer stations are investing in making the transition." The figures it gives are that as of October last year only 2,086 out of the 14,608 commercial radio stations in the country (14%) were broadcasting in HD radio And, more telling, in 2010 only 21 stations converted to the new technology."
As regards the current players the report notes a 6% revenue rise for traditional radio in 2010, albeit warning that most of its revenue "remains tied to traditional streams, mainly on-air advertising, which would be threatened if audiences continue to move online and to other audio sources."
Satellite it notes increased both audience and revenues and it also adds that NPR (National Public Radio) has continued to grow its audience - up 3% to 27.2 million a week in 2010 - although putting some of this down to commercial stations cutting news. NPR has also, it notes, moved into other means of distribution including mobile and apps that took the audience up with some 15.7 million unique visitors per month.
NPR also reported 23.3 million downloads of its podcasts in December, up by nearly 60% over a year earlier.
In terms of news Pew suggests a mixed picture, noting a rise - from a total of only 27 to 30 in the number of commercial all-news stations - compared to a rise from 2,634 in 2009 to 3,446 "news/talk/information" in 2010, although it notes that this means heavily talk.
In political terms commercial talk skews heavily to the right with Talkers Magazine saying they account for eight of the top ten led by Rush Limbaugh with an estimated 15 million listeners a week and Sean Hannity with 14 million.
In contrast the top "liberal" talk hosts - Alan Colmes, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz - have audiences only of around 2.75 million.
Pew also notes a narrow perspective from talk radio with an "almost singular focus on domestic politics to the virtual exclusion of events overseas and even within domestic politics, the way a handful of stories dominated the airtime."
Even when the US was involved directly as with troops overseas, it says events outside the country received "minimal" attention.
The audience success of talk, however limited in scope of topics covered, faltered however, when it came to the younger demographic radio and figures show radio may be losing the audience of the future - the percentage of those 18-24 listening to news on radio was down from 25% in 2008 to 22% last year whilst their online news consumption was up from 30% to 32% over the same period.:
2011-03-15: The BBC has added two more DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) transmitters to its national network, increasing the potential audience by around 34,000 and improving coverage to some 32,000.
The transmitters are at Stanton Moor in Derbyshire -adding 30,000 more potential listeners and improving reception for 15,000 - and Penmaen Rhos, in Wales, adding around 4,000 new potential listeners and improving reception for 17,000 in the Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay area.
Two more transmitters are to be added in Derbyshire - at Quarndon to serve the south of the county and in Derby itself - in the summer.
So far the BBC transmitter network can reach around 88% of the UK population and it is scheduled to increase this to 92% by the end of the year.
2011-03-15: Minnesota radio veteran Arthur Hoehn, who was the first professional announcer on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), has died aged 72: He had been suffering from lung cancer.
Hoehn began his radio career at KJSU-FM, the student station for St. John's University, Minnesota and then worked in commercial classical radio for a few years.
His entry on the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame site lists him as working for cpmmercial classical KWFM in south Minneapolis and then from 1963 to 1966 at KFAM FM in St. Cloud, KUXL-AM in Golden Valley, and then WAYL-FM and WLOL-FM in Minneapolis.
In 1966, he moved to work at 250kw "border blaster station" XERB-AM in Mexico, as sidekick to Bob Smith, (Wolfman Jack), who had also been at KUXL, and then returned to Minnesota to work at KJSR-FM, the flagship station of what would become Minnesota Public Radio.
He worked at MPR for four decades and retired in 2002 and was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame last year.
MPR in its report says he was best known as the host for 12 years of its nationally-syndicated "Music through the Night. "
It quotes Michael Barone, an original employee of KSJR alongside Hoehn and a former MPR music director as saying of Hoehn's voice, "It was relaxed. It was comforting. The tone of his voice was agreeable. He was the perfect radio host."
Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame - Hoehn page:
2011-03-14: Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey at the company’s 2010 full year and final quarter conference call presented an optimistic view of the company’s business and the “transformative effect” that would result from its takeover of Citadel Broadcasting.
In terms of revenues he singled out for mention political advertising, which he said had become a “significant and rapidly-growing bi-annual revenue stream” and also automobile advertising, which he said was up 16% year-on-year in the final quarter with a higher increase of 26% for Cumulus Media Partners (CMP), which represents the company’s large markets (Cumulus announced at the end of January that it is taking over CMP completely: Dickey also said that revenues this year were performing well but April and May looked very strong, although it was too early to be firm.
Regarding the Citadel takeover, Cumulus has posted a presentation (a 1.02 Mb 13-page PDF) on its website expanding on the benefits that include an estimated USD 50 million plus in “synergies” through the combination of Cumulus, CMP and Citadel in a “Dynamic Platform for Value Creation”. Dickey said that these would be realized through Corporate, operations, proprietary technology and the network plus some revenue “synergy potential.”
Dickey also referred to benefits from the combination with Citadel in terms of syndication and commercialization of its technology platform and development of its social commerce initiatives and also of the larger pool of talent it could draw upon.
The size of the new company said Dickey would put it in a strong position to make acquisitions and optimize capital structure. In response to questions about the deal and synergies, he said that, based on the company’s experience with CMP, some two-thirds of the initial USD 50 million would come within the first six months and 75-80% in the first year with the rest in the following six months.
Cumulus 2010 reported broadcast revenues were up 2.8% on a year earlier at USD 259.2 million but final quarter revenues, reflecting a 45.6%/ USD 3.6 million decrease in non-cash trade revenue, or were up only 0.1% at USD 68.66 million: Net revenues were up 2.8% to USD 263.3 million and 0.3% to USD 69.78 million respectively but station operating expenses were cut by 3.5% to USD 159.8 million and down 11.4% to USD 38.98 million.
Station operating income was up 14.6% to USD 103.5 million and 20.2% to USD 30.80 million respectively with adjusted EBITDA up 20.5% to USD 72.55 million and USD 28.2% to USD 27.54 million and net income moved from a 2009 loss of USD 126.7 million – after USD 175 million in impairment charges – to net income of -after USD 1.86 million in impairment charges (from a loss of USD 3.13 per basic and diluted share to income of 69 cents per diluted share and 70 cents per basic share) whilst for the quarter net income of USD 6.51 million was up to USD 7.51 million (from 16 cents per basic and diluted share to 17 cents per diluted share and 18 cents per basic share).
2011-03-14: Univision has announced that its President and CEO Joe Uva is to leave the company after four years in the post when his current contract ends on April 2. In a statement it said that Uva had informed its board that "he has chosen not to renew his employment agreement in order to be able to seek other opportunities."
Uva in a Univision news release said, "My four years as President and CEO of Univision have been extremely exciting and rewarding. I believe our team can be proud of the accomplishments that we achieved during my tenure. Although I will miss working with the many talented professionals at Univision, the team is strong and I have decided the time is right for me to capitalize on other opportunities. I know that Univision will continue its great success as the premier Spanish-language media company in the U.S."
Paying tribute to him Univision Executive Chairman Haim Saban added, "On behalf of the Univision Board of Directors, we would like to commend Joe for his tremendous contributions over the past four years. Univision is a better company today due to Joe's efforts in building a strong leadership team and positioning Univision for long-term success."
The company is to start its search for a new CEO immediately and says that to ensure a smooth transition Saban will assume additional responsibilities in his role as Executive Chairman until a new CEO is appointed.
2011-03-14: The BBC Asian Network, which along with BBC 6 Music, were lined up to be closed by BBC management a year ago (See RNW Mar 2, 2010), now appears to have been saved although it is facing a large budget cut.
As with 6 Music, which was saved after protests and regarding which the BBC Trust rejected the closure although it did not reprieve the Asian Network (See RNW Jul 5, 2010), there was also protest about the planned closure of the Birmingham-based Asian Network.
No official statement has been made yet but Controller Andy Parfitt told staff of the reprieve today in a conference call to staff. Its future will now be considered as part of the "Delivering Quality First" review of the corporation's entire output and services.
The station is expensive to run compared to other BBC networks - when it was set up in 2002 it had an initial budget of GBP 3 million (Currently USD 4.85 million) a year and the May 2010 Service Licence - the most recent Trust on the BBC Trust website - lists its annual budget of GBP 9.2 million ( USD 14.88 million).
The most recent ratings - for the final quarter of last year - showed a weekly audience of 477,000, some 20p per listener per year or 8.5 pence per listener hour compared to 6.3p for BBC Radio 3, the next most expensive BBC radio station and had a weekly reach of 2.22 million and 0.5p for BBC Radio 2, which as well as having the largest radio audience in the UK - 13.94 million - was the least expensive.
The news of the change of stance was broken according to the Birmingham-based Sunday Mercury (in a report today) by presenters Dee and Rav (of The Panjabi Hit Squad) in their twitter account. The message read, "Important: The BBC have agreed on a final proposal to keep the Asian Network a national station but needs to serve it's audience better. This will now be taken to the BBC Trust for approval. It is good news that the station is recognised as being vital to the BBC but it's not out of the woods yet."
Panjabi Squad twitter message:
Sunday Mercury report:
2011-03-14: Australian commercial radio revenues continued their grown in February with an overall rise of 5.79% increase in the five major metropolitan radio markets to AUD 51.16 million ( USD 50.90 million) according to latest figures released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
According to the 2011 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue, as sourced by Deloitte, advertising revenue grew in all five metropolitan markets in February with the strongest growth recorded in Melbourne where revenues, which were up 1.29% in February - the lowest rise then - were up 8.06% to AUD 15.35 million (USD 15.28 million).
Other rises were of 6.98% in Perth, which had the largest increase of to AUD 7.07 million ( USD 7.04 million) then Sydney - up 4.77% to AUD 15.90 million (USD 15.83 million); Brisbane, which had the largest increase in January (of 4.29%) and grew 4.35% to AUD 8.06 million and Adelaide -up 2.85% to AUD 4.76 million (USD 4.74 million).
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said this was a good result, and augured well for the rest of the year, adding that it "highlights the resilience of the medium in providing a cost effective and targeted form of advertising."
She also noted that for the first eight months of the 2010-2011 financial year the figures showed growth of 7.64% to AUD 449.72 million (USD 447.76 million) for these markets.
Previous Australian Radio revenue figures:
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-03-13: Last week was again fairly quiet for the regulators as regards radio although apart from Ireland there were postings albeit only one from Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) - a finding that New South Wales community station 2GLF has breached the country's codes by broadcasting adverts and also with its complaints handling procedures (See RNW Mar 9).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has posted notices of consultation regarding amends to its regulations for campus and community radio stations.
It had already announced the proposals, which are scheduled to take effect at the start of September this year and are intended to simplify the approach to licensing campus and community stations, including eliminating the distinction between Type A and Type B community stations. The deadline for comment is April 20.
They would also incorporate new programming requirements, including revisions to content categories and subcategories and changes to Canadian content requirements, and amendments to implement Canada's new approach to funding campus and community radio.
The CRTC says that the programming criteria on which the distinction between Type A and Type B community stations was based no longer appear to be relevant and as regards programming would require campus and community radio stations would be required to devote at least 40% of their musical selections from content category 2 (Popular music) and at least 15% of their musical selections from content category 3 (Special interest music) to Canadian selections broadcast in their entirety. It is inviting comment as to whether these levels are sufficient.
With respect to ethnic programming, the amendments establish that campus and community stations in markets served by one or more ethnic stations would be permitted to devote up to 15% of the broadcast week to third-language programs, whereas those in markets not served by an ethnic station would have the flexibility to devote up to 40% of the broadcast week to third-language programs.
Also being proposed are changes to the formula for allocation of Canadian Content Contributions I the country - these apply, with a specific exception of ethnic and spoken word stations, to all commercial stations with revenues greater than CAD 1.25 million a year and the CRTC is proposing that they should be distributed on the basis of 45% to FACTOR or MUSICACTION; 15% to the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC); and 40% to discretionary initiatives.
Ethnic stations and spoken word stations would be required to allocate their CCD contributions on the basis of 85% to discretionary initiatives; and 15% to the CRFC.
In licensing actions it has administratively renewed from 1 April 2011 to 31 August 2011 the licences of Norwesto Communications Ltd.'s CKQV-FM, Vermilion Bay and its transmitters CKQV-FM-1, Dryden; CKQV-FM-2, Kenora; and CKQV-FM-3, Sioux Lookout.
As already noted there were no radio postings from Ireland and there was only one from the UK where Ofcom posted its latest bulletin in which it upheld a radio standards complaint against a hospital radio service and also ruled that a Somerset commercial FM had exceeded its licensed power by more than it had found in any other case it had dealt with (See RNW Mar 8).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has again been involved in a number of enforcement actions, proposing the largest radio-related penalty - of USD 25,000 - this week to a persistent operator of unlicensed FMs in San Diego (See RNW Mar 12).
Earlier in the week it had proposed a USD 20,000 penalty on a Florida man for operation of an unlicensed FM (See RNW Mar 7) and confirmed USD 7,000 penalties on a North Dakota AM and a South Dakota AM - both controlled by the same man - for late filing of licence renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation (See RNW Mar 10).**Edit the Mar 10 story
In another action a California man was issued with a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for refusing to allow inspection of his Citizen's Band (CB) station.
This penalty followed a complaint about interference to the Merced County Fire Department communications system that was traced to a CB station operated by Ira Jones of Merced. Jones had refused to allow FCC agents in March last year to inspect his equipment despite warnings that to do so breached FCC rules and insisted the agents had to have a search warrant. The agents issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NOUO). Subsequently the interference then ceased although the station was being operated.
In August last year following a further complaint the interference was again traced to Jones' residence and agents - accompanied by two Merced City police officers- were again refused permission to inspect the station despite being warned that a USD 7,000 penalty could result. In September the Fire Department reported that transmissions had resumed, again causing interference.
The FCC accordingly issued the USD 7,000 NAL - the base amount - and has also warned Jones that the interference appeared to be a result of operating his equipment at more than the authorized power. It warned Jones that he had to operate within the FCC rules or further sanctions and financial penalties could follow.
The FCC has also issued a notice concerning 161 applications made for its Auction 91 of 144 FM Construction Permits that is scheduled to start on April 27. Of 161 applications it received it says 120 were complete, 36 incomplete and five were rejected.
Upfront payments for the completed applications have to be made by March 21 and the applicants who submitted incomplete applications will be advised of action they have to take to complete their submissions.
The five rejected applications involved cases where the applicants had checked "yes" to the Non-commercial Educational election question on the FCC Form 175 and these are ruled out where they are mutually exclusive with a commercial station application.
Previous Licence News:
2011-03-12: Veteran New York radio host Danny Styles, whose career as a DJ spanned more than six decades, has died aged 87.
He was born in Newark and his first radio job was at WHBI-AM in the city in 1947: He subsequently worked for WHOL-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania then back in Newark on WNJR-AM, where he was known as the "Kat Man" and after various other stations in in New York city at public broadcaster WNYC-FM and Multicultural Radio Broadcasting's WJDM-AM, WNSW-AM and WPAT-AM, as well as streaming a show on the Internet until shortly before his death.
Stiles termed himself the "Vicar of Vintage Vinyl" and had a collection of some 200,000 records.
The New York Times in its report on his death quotes Gene Heinemeyer, a public affairs programming official for Multicultural, as saying the death was due to a respiratory ailment.
The paper also says that Stiles had told it of his record collection, "I started collecting records when I was 13, and even then I was nostalgic. I went for Jean Goldkette and Isham Jones, and even then they were out of style."
It says that he added of his choice of records, "I pick the songs that hit me in the heart; I pick by feeling. I concentrate on the record itself, not the songwriter, not the musician, but the whole thing. I concentrate on the song as I first heard it, what my listeners remember."
The Times also lists other names Stiles chose for himself including "The Dean of Déjà Vu" and the "King of Nostalgia"
RNW note: We tried to check Stiles web site but it appears that following his death we were not along as it currently brings up a message saying it has exceeded its bandwidth. When we had last checked prior to that it listed his current shows as airing on WNYC-FM from 20:00 to 22:00 on Saturdays; WNSW- AM from 22:00 to midnight weekdays; WJDM-AM on Monday through Thursday from 18:00 till Sundown and the rest of the week from 16:00 till sundown; and WPAT-AM weekday mornings, usually from 0300 to 05:00.
New York Times report:
2011-03-12: A California man is facing a USD 25,000 penalty from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for operating an unlicensed broadcast station on various FM broadcast band frequencies in San Jose.
Following a complaint from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about interference to the Aviation Services band from an unlicensed station identifying itself as radio station "KNRG" operating on the frequency 92.9 MHz, FCC agents in March last year traced the signal to an antenna on the roof of a San Jose residence and during this inspection the landlord identified Gabriel A. Garcia as operator of the station. Operation of the station subsequently ceased.
Following this Garcia was issued in April with a Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NOUO) saying that the transmissions violated the law and setting out penalties for continued operation.
In May last year there were further complaints from the FCC about KRNG and transmissions were traced to the same address and agents recognized Garcia as the station operator. A second NOUO was issued to him in May last year.
Yet again in June last year in response to a further complaint from the FCC, FCC agents undertook yet another inspection and again traced the signal to Garcia's residence: A third NOUO was issued to Garcia by the agents before they left the site and again the operation ceased.
In July last year the FCC received a complaint about an unauthorized station, this time operating on 104.3 MHz: It was traced to a San Jose residence and while agents were there they saw a man leave the residence and then return, identifying him as Garcia. A fourth NOUO was issued to him in August last year.
The FCC in assessing the penalty for the breaches, for which the base forfeiture is USD 10,000, noted a "deliberate disregard" of its rules and opted for a USD 25,000 penalty and has issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount.
2011-03-11: Within hours of the announcement that Cumulus is taking over Citadel (See RNW Mar 10), the lawyers were trolling for business - or publicity - with at least four law firms announcing that they are investigating "potential legal claims" against Citadel's board.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP, Harwood Feffer LLP, based in New York, Robbins Umeda LLP, based in San Diego, and the Briscoe Law Firm have each said they are investigating whether Citadel's board has conducted a fair process for all shareholders.
Harwood Feffer says its "investigation concerns whether the board of directors is undertaking a fair process to obtain fair consideration for all shareholders of Citadel" and gives a number to call and Dallas-based Briscoe also talks of "possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law by the Board of Directors of Citadel Broadcasting for approving this transaction, and whether Citadel Broadcasting's Board of Directors acted in the shareholders' best interests."
2011-03-11: Emmis has revealed in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has entered into a new one-year employment deal with Richard F. (Rick) Cummings, President of Emmis Radio Programming. The new deal includes a base salary of USD 455,000 and incentive target bonus of an additional 60% of the base - to be paid in cash or shares at its discretion should targets be met.
Cummings also gets an automobile allowance, up to USD 5,000 a year in insurance premiums and should he not be offered similar employment at the end of the term will receive USD 470,000 in severance benefits. IN such a case he is to be offered a four year part-time programming role with total payments over the four years of USD 530,000.
2011-03-11: Salem Communications has reported final quarter 2010 revenues up 6.4% to USD 54.1 million with full year revenues up 3.9% to USD 206.9 million with the rises driven mainly by non-broadcast revenues: Broadcast revenues were up 2.8% for the quarter and 1.67% for the year to USD 43.35 and UD 174.9 million respectively whilst corresponding non-broadcast increases were 27.3% to USD 9.54 million and 17.8% to USD 31.99 million.
Corresponding broadcasting operating expenses rises were 4.77% to USD 27.50 million and 2.1% to USD 174.9 million with non-broadcast rises of 28.4% to USD 7.90 million and 20.7% to USD 28.42 million.
Operating income was down 3.7% to USD 10.20 million for the quarter - including USD 187,000 in impairment charges - and from USD 36.56 million to USD 7.60 million for the year - including USD 28 million in impairment charges.
Overall net income moved from a loss of USD 687,000 for the final quarter of 2009 to income of USD 1.58 million (from three cents loss to seven cents income per diluted share) whilst for the full year a net loss of USD 8.35 million became net income of USD 1.93 million (from a loss of 35 cents to income of eight cents per diluted share).
2011-03-10: Cumulus Media has announced that it has now agreed a takeover of Citadel Broadcasting Corporation (RNW comment: It calls it a merger but that is the usual abuse of language!) in a deal in which it will acquire all of the outstanding common stock and warrants of Citadel at around USD 37.00 per share, a deal that values Citadel at around USD 2.4 billion (See details from Citadel later in report).
Citadel owns and operates 225 radio stations in over 50 markets and also operates the Citadel Media business, and if the deal gains regulatory and shareholder approval would give Cumulus 572 stations in some 120 markets.
Cumulus said it intends to discuss the deal in its earnings call next Monday - put back because of the impending deal (See RNW Feb 24):
In advance of this Cumulus Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey said the deal "provides us with a unique opportunity to leverage our proprietary operating systems and technology platform across a vastly expanded national footprint. We'll have the national scope and financial strength necessary to make critical investments in content and technology necessary to compete in today's rapidly evolving media landscape. I look forward to working together with our 4,000 new team members to build Cumulus into a dynamic and nationwide local media company."
Cumulus says that the larger company will provide the benefits of a "true national platform with approximately 120 markets, including 8 of the top 10; critical mass necessary to effectively compete and invest in the local digital media marketplace."
Other benefits it claims are a network distribution for the syndication of content and technology assets; estimated synergies of at least USD 50 million with a capitalized value of approximately USD 1.50 to USD 2.00 per share; an optimal platform for further consolidation and increased vertical integration; lower overall leverage and a simplified capital structure; and significantly enhanced equity market capitalization for Cumulus, which would provide greater trading liquidity and strategic flexibility."
Regarding financing Cumulus says it expects to complete a refinancing of all of the outstanding debt of Cumulus, Citadel and CMP in conjunction with the proposed merger adding that it has obtained commitments for up to USD 500 million in equity financing from private equity firm Crestview Partners and Macquarie Capital, and commitments from a group of banks for up to USD 2.525 billion in senior secured credit facilities and USD 500 million in senior note bridge financing, the proceeds of which will be used to pay the cash portion of the merger consideration, and effect the re-financings.
Jeffrey Marcus, a Partner at Crestview Partners and former CEO of AMFM, Inc. -taken over by Clear Channel in 1999 - said in a Cumulus news release, "We are pleased to be partnering with Lew Dickey, who we know and respect, as well as his team of talented managers, to create this remarkable national radio platform which we believe will have the scale to effectively compete and, importantly, to invest in the local digital media marketplace."
Citadel in its announcement said that the deal, which was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, involved around USD 1.4 billion in cash being paid for some 151 million shares and noted that its stockholders instead of cash could opt for 8.525 shares of Cumulus Class A Common Stock for each share of Citadel Common Stock and added that holders of warrants to purchase Citadel Class B Common Stock will have the right to elect to have their warrants adjusted to cover the same cash and stock consideration, subject to proration: It put the value of Citadel at around USD 2.5 billion
It also noted that if the cash part of the deal was over-subscribed there would be adjustments: If everyone opted for cash then the consideration to be received for each Citadel share would be prorated to USD 30.00 in cash and 1.613 shares of Cumulus Class A Common Stock, for a total implied value of USD 38.23, based on the closing price of Cumulus Class A Common Stock on March 9, 2011 whilst if everyone went for stock the consideration to be received for each Citadel share would be prorated to USD 23.00 in cash and 3.226 shares of Cumulus Class A Common Stock, for a total implied value of USD 39.45, based on the closing price of Cumulus Class A Common Stock on March 9, 2011.
Citadel President and CEO Farid Suleman said of the deal, "Citadel's Board of Directors has been focused on maximizing stockholder value. We believe this transaction appropriately reflects the value of the Company's assets and is in the best interests of Citadel stockholders - who can benefit from a substantial cash payment as well as stock in the combined company, which provides the opportunity to participate in the upside of the combination. I am particularly grateful to Citadel's dedicated employees who have been instrumental in creating substantial value since the Company's reorganization in June 2010."
The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.
RNW comment: The word "synergies" is largely one for job cuts and Citadel's senior management can probably expect to be amongst those losing posts but in their case we expect that this will be tempered by large pay-offs unlike the situation for many lower-level employees. We will be interested to see how much Suleman, whose skill in attaching loot to himself is as great as his talent for losing stockholder value in our view, does out of this and indeed how good a deal the company's latest senior hire - Hilary E. Glassman -who joined Citadel as the Company's Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the start of last month - struck for herself.
2011-03-10: Melbourne 3AW talk host Derryn Hinch has lost his appeal to the Australian High Court in Canberra in a case where he challenged the law regarding the release of the names of sex offenders.
Three years ago, Hinch was arrested after he revealed the names of two sex offenders while speaking at a rally for the victims of violent crime. In his appeal he , claimed it was unconstitutional to protect the names of convicted sex offenders..
On the Fairfax Media station's web site, he posted a report saying that he lost, continuing "The High Court has just handed down its decision over a case that started with my Name them and Shame Them campaign and the news was as bad as it gets. The Full Bench decided seven-nil that the laws covering suppression orders of serial rapists and paedophiles are valid. Are constitutional."
Hinch has liver cancer and in November last year told his audience that he may only have a year to live unless he receives a liver transplant. (See RNW Nov 4, 2010) : His case now goes back to a Magistrates Court where he will be sentenced on "five charges which carry a maximum penalty of five years jail and/or AUD 60,000 (USD 60,000) in fines", leading him to add, "More than some real crims get."
In relation to this Hinch gives some details of the original rally and adds, "On that day I named two notorious sex offenders who had had their names suppressed. Men who had committed such awful crimes I can hardly describe them. Thousands of you shouted the names out too but the DPP chose to prosecute only one. Me."
Of the actual judgment he comments, "In the High Court judgement today Chief Justice French described some of my arguments, and passionate editorials, as 'febrile rhetoric'. Well, I'm not ashamed of any of that, if that's what it takes. To draw attention to a law which I believe will be changed, if not in my life time."
He then comments on Australian laws concerning monitoring of sex offenders and adds of the law concerned, "Nobody mentioned to us that, in return, some of the worst rapists and paedophiles in this country could have their names and addresses and photos suppressed by law. That they could return to the community incognito and melt back into the community without the public knowing who they are or where they are."
Hinch says he intends to represent himself at the magistrates hearing and adds, "If I am jailed I will only ask, because of my health, that it is at a prison close to Melbourne because I am on transplant alert. That is why I was not in Canberra for the High Court decision today."
RNW comment: There are arguments on either side of this issue but the judge is quite correct to refer to some of Hinch's comments as febrile (fevered) rhetoric. As for the comments about "real crims", whether he likes it or not, he did break the law: he is entitled to oppose it and to campaign against it but not to expect to be allowed to break it with impunity. We doubt, of course, that there is any real likelihood of a jail sentence.
Previous Fairfax Media:
3AW report (includes embedded video of Hinch):
2011-03-10: Some interesting variations in responses have emerged to the publicity surrounding the Premiere Radio Networks On Call service that hired actors to call into shows according to a report in the Huffington Post.
Of the big name hosts syndicated by the company Rush Limbaugh, as we have already reported, insisted that his show would never air such calls and criticized Premier whilst Sean Hannity, says the report, also denied planting calls but did not make any point-by-point rebuttal.
Glen Back, on the other hand, it says defended the service, on the basis that real people are too dull and too inhibited. It also notes that through Beck's blog The Blaze, author and blogger Mike Opelka says that Tablet Magazine, which broke the news, neglected to exercise the most basic journalistic common courtesy - asking the accused for a response. Instead of seeking real answers, they printed what they wanted to believe." In fact the Tablet report included a comment from Premiere (See RNW Mar 4).
The report also notes that bloggers on the left and the right made comments confirming prejudices rather than taking any care over facts with many on the left inaccurately tweeting headlines like "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity Caught Hiring Actors in Radio Fraud" - there is no evidence of this and a flat denial from the hosts - whilst those on the right followed the Beck line and also attacked The Tablet.
Some however cited past examples of shows that seemed suspicious in view of the service such as a time when how a "random" dittohead called Limbaugh to complain about actor Andy Griffith doing pro-Medicare ads and Limbaugh started playing a prepared audio parody of Griffith making hilarious zingers about government health care programs. (RNW comment: This blogger speculated as to whether the call was set up for the parody rather than vice-versa but so far we have seen no examples that offer any firm evidence that a call was set-up as opposed to a show preparing on the basis of likely calls in view of topics to be discussed).
Liel Liebovitz, an assistant professor of communications at NYU (New York University) who broke the story, commented, "I listen to a lot of radio, and since I learned this, I wonder, each time a caller calls in, whether this is a real person or an actor. Premiere refused to answer to me and the Columbia Journalism review The question is who used this, how prevalent is this Is it a few radio shows using this once a month or every fourth caller."
2011-03-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 7,000 penalty to a North Dakota AM for late filing of licence renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation and the same penalty to a sister station in South Dakota..
Schweitzer Media, Inc., licensee of KNDC-AM, Hettinger, should have filed the renewal by December 1, 2004, but was not filed until July 2006 when it also sought special temporary authorization for continuing operations and applied to renew the licence.
The FCC issued a USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in January 2007 and also renewed the licence.
Schweitzer had argued for cancellation because the NAL was issued too late and also for a reduction on the basis of a history of compliance but the FCC rejected the first argument and in relation to the second noted that Michael J. Schweitzer, the sole shareholder of Schweitzer Media, is also the majority shareholder of Media Associates, Inc., licensee of KBJM-AM, Lemmon, South Dakota, which had been issued with an NAL for the same violations at the same time as KNDC.
It confirmed the penalty and in a similar ruling also confirmed a USD 7,000 penalty in relation to KBJM-AM's similar breaches.
2011-03-09: US NPR (National Public Radio President and CEO Vivian Schiller has become the latest head to roll in the wake of the row over comments made about the Republicans and Tea Party by NPR's former SVP of Development and former President of the NPR Foundation Ron Schiller - no relation - who resigned yesterday (See RNW Mar 8).
Ron Schiller had already handed in his notice to take a post at the Aspen Institute but in an announcement today it said that he had told it that "in light of the controversy surrounding his recent statements, he does not feel that it's in the best interests of the Aspen Institute for him to come to work here.
A brief statement from NPR said its board had accepted Vivian Schiller's resignation, effective immediately, although NPR in its news report indicated that she had been forced out and added a comment from Board Chairman Dave Edwards saying, "The Board accepted Vivian's resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years."
NPR said that according to a CEO succession plan adopted by the Board in 2009, Joyce Slocum, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, will be appointed to the position of Interim CEO.
NPR's report of the departure noted that it followed the row over the firing of former analyst Juan Williams and against a background of a Republican push to cut all funding to public broadcasting in the US.
NPR correspondent David Folkenflik said on its Morning Edition programme, "The fear is that up to 100 stations could go dark without it. That's the real backdrop here. There were renewed calls yesterday on Capitol Hill, intensified calls to take that money away, and I think the board ... a majority of which is controlled by station officials themselves, our clients but also our corporate board members, felt that this was one misstep, one major black eye too many."
The New York Times quoted Edwards as saying that the "became such a distraction to the organization it hindered Vivian Schiller's ability to lead the organization going forward " and added that she offered to resign "if that was the board's will, and the board decided that it was."
Schiller told the paper she had "no prior knowledge" of the executive's comments, "and nothing to do with them, and disavowed them as soon as I learned of them all. But I'm the C.E.O., and the buck stops here."
She added, "I'm hopeful that my departure from NPR will have the intended effect of easing the defunding pressure on public broadcasting."
The departure, however, did nothing to stem the calls for defunding from some quarters. Activist Brent Bozell, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president and founder issued a news release including part of a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate committees with oversight of NPR in which he said, "The resignation of Vivian Schiller doesn't change a thing about NPR. They are still a radical left-wing toy for the likes of George Soros and they still don't deserve a dime of taxpayer funding. A government that is broke should not be in the business of funding a left-wing playground."
Republican majority leader Eric Cantor (Virginia), also kept up the pressure, saying according to a CBS News report, of Ron Schiller's comments about defunding being in the best long-term interests of NPR, "Perhaps the truth finally came out, and we're going to proceed along those lines,"
He added, "Our concern is not about any one person at NPR, rather it's about millions of taxpayers. NPR has admitted that they don't need taxpayer subsidies to thrive, and at a time when the government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, we certainly agree with them."
CBS also quoted South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who has introduced a de-funding bill in conjunction with Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn as saying that Ron Schiller's comments showed NPR "would be fine without taxpayer subsidies" and adding "Forcing taxpayers to give public broadcasting hundreds of millions of dollars makes little sense when we're facing a USD 14 trillion debt and there are already thousands of educational and entertainment choices in the media."
The White House so far is continuing to support public broadcasting and press secretary Jay Carney commented, "We think they are a worthwhile and important priority, as our budget makes clear."
Previous Vivian Schiller:
CBS News report:
New York Times report:
2011-03-09: Arbitron has announced that it is to redefine its metro survey areas in line with changes in radio broadcasting that it says have prompted it to re-evaluate its current system that has been in force for 13 years.
Under the changes, a new 70- point listening/commuting criterion is to replace the 55-15 listening/commuting criteria that determines if a county qualifies to become a metro: It is to come into effect in time for Fall 2011.
The company says that under the new criterion , a county would qualify for inclusion in a Metro when the sum of the percentage of listening and the percentage of commuting is 70 percent or more, provided that a minimum of 55 percent of the listening quarter-hours in the county are credited to stations that are home to the existing metro. Counties with less than 55 percent listening to metro stations, regardless of commuting percentage, are not eligible for the metro.
Under the former criteria, at least 55 percent of the listening quarter-hours in the county had to be credited to stations that are home to the existing Metro and at least 15 percent of the commuting in the county must have been into the existing Metro.
Arbitron's Executive Vice President, U.S. Media Services Sean Creamer said of the changes in a news release, "The radio broadcasting landscape has changed significantly over the past thirteen years and we felt it was in the best interest of our clients to evaluate the existing metro redefinition policies. We greatly appreciate the time and careful consideration our advisory council members put into developing their recommendations for the updated metro redefinition policies."
2011-03-09: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that New South Wales community station 2GLF has breached the country's codes by broadcasting adverts and also with its complaints handling procedures.
The agency had received a complaint alleging that licensee Liverpool-Fairfield Community Radio Co-Operative Ltd. had broadcast adverts during its Croatian National Radio programme on September 5 last year and had also alleged that the licensee had not handled his complaint in accordance with the codes.
Following enquiries from the agency the licensee provided a recording of the broadcast and said it had conducted an internal investigation during which it found that sponsorships had not been tagged, adding that the presenters claimed to have forgotten (or) pulled the faders on the panel too soon, thus cutting off sponsorship tags and also that some sponsorships were community service announcements when they clearly were not.
Following this the licensee's board had terminated the programme's airtime to take effect on October 10 but they said that the programme had been aired again on October 17, ignoring the letter of termination.
The complainant also said that he had sent a letter of complaint to 2GLF on September 13 last year but as of November 21 has still not received a response.
In relation to this 2GLF provided a copy of an e-mail sent to the complainant on October 6.
The ACMA in ruling breaches of both the advertising and complaints codes said it accepted that the licensee had conscientiously considered the complaint and responded within 60 days but that the response did not qualify as a substantive response, thus breaching the code.
The station said it had subsequently amended its complaints handling procedures and the ACMA added that in view of the actions taken it would take no further action for now but would continue to monitor the licensee's compliance.
2011-03-09: Fisher Communications has announced its slate of directors for election at the 2011 Annual Meeting of Shareholders naming four qualified nominees who are likely to be opposed by nominees put forward by shareholder FrontFour Capital, which in 2008 was involved in an effort to get the company to sell itself.
FrontFour announced in January 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 (See RNW Jan 28)
The four names put forward by Fisher are Roger L. Ogden, who has more than 35 years of broadcasting experience and who currently serves on the Board of Directors of E.W. Scripps Company and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chyron Corporation plus three of Fisher's current directors.
The latter are Michael D. Wortsman, Richard L. Hawley, and Anthony B. Cassara, who has been on the board since February this year and who was previously on the board of Univision.
Fisher also announced that William W. Warren, Jr. has decided to retire from the Board and not stand for re-election when his term expires at the 2011 Annual Meeting. It had already announced that George F. Warren, Jr. will also retire from the Board is to retire from the board as of the AGM and will not be replaced, this reducing the number of directors from ten to nine.
2011-03-08: US NPR (National Public Radio) Senior Vice President for Fundraising Ron Schiller, who was captured on tape repeatedly criticizing Republicans and Tea Party supporters, has now issued an apology and said that his already-announced resignation will take effect immediately, instead of in May as planned.
NPR had already formally announced that had prior to the meeting at which he was recorded Schiller had said he was resigning to take a new post.He has been a part-time and then full-time resident of Aspen since 2006, and is to become the new director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program and Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence Program: The non-profit Aspen Institute was founded by Chicago businessman Walter Paepcke and describes its mission as to "foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues."
The tape was recorded for Republican James O'Keefe's "Project Veritas" - it says "investigative reporters, Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posed as members of the Muslim Action Education Center, a non-existent group with a goal to "spread the acceptance of Sharia across the world" talked to Schiller and Betsey Liley, NPR Senior Director International Giving.
The report, running just under 12 minutes, shows the fake representatives saying they had set aside USD 5 million and then goes on to show conversations with Schiller about the organization and comparing the lack of Moslem voices in the US to the past absence of women's voices and going on to say says the "current Republican, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives" and describes it as "weirdly evangelical"- and says it has been hijacked by this group that is "not just Islamaphobic but really xenophobic" and describes the as "seriously, racist, racist, people."
Later Schiller says he is to "talk personally as opposed to wearing my NPR hat" and comments about an anti-intellectual move "on the part of a significant part of the Republican Party."
He goes on to say that they are playing on the notion that most of NPR's funding comes from the government when in fact "very little" does - about 10% of the total station economy.
His interlocutors then try to lead him on by saying there must be an awful temptation to get rid of it to which he says,"Well frankly it is very clear that we would be better off in the long run without Federal funding. The challenge right now is that if we lost it all together we would have a lot of stations go dark."
In a second statement NPR SVP of Marketing, Communications & External Relations Dana Davis Rehm says about the views on the Republicans and Tea Party, "The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to everything we stand for, and we completely disavow the views expressed. NPR is fair and open-minded about the people we cover. Our reporting reflects those values every single day - in the civility of our programming, the range of opinions we reflect and the diversity of stories we tell."
Rehm added in relations to the comments that Schiller made saying that in the long run NPR would be "better off" without Federal funding: "The assertion that NPR and public radio stations would be better off without Federal funding does not reflect reality. The elimination of federal funding would significantly damage public broadcasting as a whole."
The video's release comes as Republicans in Congress are trying to cut Federal funding for public broadcasting, a move that the broadcasters are fighting (See RNW Jan 12).
The paper reported that the people he is heard talking to on the videotape are posing as members of the Muslim Education Action Center Trust, a fictional group that falsely claims that they want to donate up to USD 5 million to public media.
In relation to this claim in an earlier statement Rehm commented, "The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a USD 5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept" and added, "We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for."
Project Veritas report (including embedded video):
2011-03-08: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin has revoked one TV licence because its new owners have failed to provide required information as to its directors and ownership structure and also in a breach of licence condition ruling said a UK commercial FM had replaced its transmitter with a new one that exceeded its allowed power by more than in any other case the regulator had dealt with.
It also upheld standards cases against four TV broadcasters and a standards case against hospital radio service Apple AM that broadcasts in the Taunton area of Devon under a long term restricted service licence,
In the Apple AM case a listener complained that presenter's comments about the Government and a UK VAT (Value Added Tax) increase to 20% were politically biased. Ofcom had asked the station for recordings but the station was unable to provide them, saying leaking water from a faulty air conditioning unit at its premises over the Christmas period had resulted in the logger failing. It added that when the problem was identified on 8 January 2011, alternate recording arrangements were immediately put in place to avoid similar recurrence.
Ofcom acknowledged that the incident took place because of an unforeseen event but said that nevertheless the failure was a breach of its licence conditions.
The excess power ruling involved Bridgwater, Somerset, station Total Star: Ofcom had received a number of complaints between the start of October and December 2, 2010, that its 102.4 MHz Minehead transmitter at North Hill was radiating an excessively high-powered signal, and - as a result - delivering a powerful signal into geographical areas for which the radio station is not licensed.
An engineering inspection on December 2 showed that the transmitter, whose licence is for a total ERP of 4kW (a maximum of 2kW vertical polarisation and 2kW horizontal polarisation), was transmitting an ERP of 30kW, vertically polarised, and was also deviating in excess of 110 kHz compared to a maximum permitted deviation of 75kHz.
The transmitter and antenna said Ofcom had been replaced without consultation with Ofcom and the new transmitter could be adjusted from the front panel, despite Technical Code requirements for physical protection of adjustments.
Licensee One Gold Radio Ltd was asked about the breaches and accepted that its engineer was "clearly not fully aware" of Ofcom's requirements but also added that "when Ofcom attended the site our engineer was still there and in the process of installing the equipment, so it seems rather unfair to consider the equipment had settings at the correct levels immediately."
Ofcom in its ruling commented that the licensee was in breach of its licence between the start of October 2010 and 2 December 2010, noted that it was the most serious case of its kind that it had dealt with, and gave the licensee notice that it is considering a statutory sanction.
In addition to the above findings Ofcom also listed without details 359 complaints against 187 TV items and 33 radio complaints against 26 items that it did not uphold: This compared to 278 complaints against 160 TV items and 13 radio complaints against 12 items that were similarly listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Bulletin:
2011-03-07: The publicity for Premiere Radio Networks '"On Call" service that hired actors to call in to radio stations (See RNW Mar 4) seems to have stung Rush Limbaugh and/or Premiere , which syndicates his show, somewhere with the hosts spending much of the first half-hour of his programme on Monday on comments about the service.
In a transcript posted on his website (The Huffington Post has posted some of the audio in its report here courtesy of Media Matters) Limbaugh refers to "this story that's now attaching itself in depth to the blogosphere that Premiere Radio Networks hires actors to call radio talk shows essentially defrauding you, the unsuspecting duped audience."
He then goes on to say, "I read this over the weekend and said, 'What the heck is this now?" We don't have actors on this program. We don't take enough calls on this program, and certainly are not gonna pay anybody to call this program. You talk about economics, we're certainly not gonna do that.'
He then goes on comment, "This actually exists because of people like me. Back in the old days when you could do funny phone pranks, you could call out, you could be doing your radio show (morning radio show is when this happened) and you could call out and you could put somebody on the air or tape recorder without their permission."
In his on-air comments Limbaugh says the rule requiring permission killed "one of the great comedic arts of radio" and then goes on to say "people still wanted to do the bits that led the hiring actors to portray the dupes"
He then goes on to note that the story came out in February -citing the Columbia Journalism Review report that was based on The Tablet report - and did but then came alive again with "the implication that this programme is hiring the actors to portray callers."
He then goes on - supposedly in a conversation with himself as to whether "Snerdley "- the programme's interlocutor, call screener and "official program observer" -knew of this, wondered if Snerdley had become involved, saying that if someone had told him about it he would have "put the kybosh" on it, adding "there is no way we're going to pay people to pretend to be callers here. Nothing on this programme is scripted."
Limbaugh goes on to say he didn't in the end email about the matter but did wonder why Premiere didn't deny the allegations and say the calls were for morning shows and so on but not for talk radio and insists "nothing is staged" on his programme and that with the best bunch of potential callers, the largest audience in the country, there is no need to pay for calls.
Limbaugh then goes on the attack: His transcript reads, "People have come to me over the years with ideas. Everybody wants to get in the act, and I have routinely shot it down. It just doesn't happen. No way. Plus, pay for it? We've got the best universe of potential callers in the country here, the largest audience ever. I mean to pay for this? By the way, I don't care, some of the best calls we ever had, these wacko, looped-out liberals, I don't care how good an actor, I don't think we could duplicate this if we script it. Some of this is beyond being scripted."
He comments that the story originally appeared in "something called the Tablet magazine which calls itself 'a new read on Jewish life' "and adds, "Tablet magazine is a radical left wing operation."(RNW note: A quick glance at it online indicates otherwise but why should facts get in the way of a Rush diatribe - unless, of course, he regards Hitler as left wing because he led the National Socialist Party in Germany or The Parti National Social Chrétien as similarly left-wing because of its name: Both, of course, were anti-Semitic and anything but left-wing. ).
Later the transcript reads, "Here's another thing about this folks. You know, actors are uniformly leftists (we all know this) if they want to work. Now, imagine if there actually was a leftist actor out there that we had hired. This guy would have already come forward with details, tapes, examples, proof that he had been hired. "Here's my pay stub! Here's what they withheld! Here's what I said. This was the bit. Limbaugh was in on it." Any actor who could prove that he had called into this show for payment could rat me out, never have to worry ever again about working for the rest of his life. In fact they might even create a special Academy Award for his courage. But such actor does not exist."
Huffington Post report (with embedded Limbaugh audio):
Limbaugh site - transcript of comments:
The Tablet report:
2011-03-07: LBI Media, which released preliminary results for 2010 last month (See RNW Feb 11) has now released its full results and also announced an offering of up to USD 240 million of Senior Secured Notes due 2019 in a private offering to institutional buyers.
It says it intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to repay all amounts outstanding under its existing senior secured credit facilities and also intends to loan or otherwise distribute a portion of the net proceeds of the offering to LBI Media Holdings to redeem in full all of LBI Media Holdings' 11% senior discount notes due 2013. Concurrently with the closing of the offering, LBI Media also intends to enter into a new revolving credit facility of up to USD 50 million.
As regards the results revenues were as previously announced 19% year-on-year increase in revenues to USD 30.7 million for the final quarter of 2010 with full year revenues up 13% to USD 115.7 million.
Adjusted EBITDA was up 45%, to USD 9.2 million for the quarter and up 3% to USD 35.7 million for the year - it had estimated a rise of between 37 and 45% for the quarter and between 2% and 3% for the full year.
Commenting on the company's earnings results, President and CEO Lenard Liberman said, "We are pleased to confirm our fourth quarter and full year 2010 results, as we previously announced last month. Our results for the fourth quarter of 2010 represent our fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth. This growth was led by incremental revenues from our national broadcast television network, Estrella TV, and improved performance from our owned and operated radio and television stations.
In is preliminary results LBI did not detail divisional earnings - it now says that in the final quarter TV revenues were up 32%, to USD 15.4 million with radio up 8% to USD 15.3 million whilst for the full year TV revenues rose 27% to USD 55.79 million and radio was up 1% to USD 59.95 million. Operating expenses for the year were down 53% to USD 97.9 million -primarily because impairment charges were reduced by USD 119.3 million but for the final quarter they were up 8% to USD 24.6 million.
LBI made a loss from continuing operations of USD 491,000 in the quarter, up from a 2009 loss of USD 472,000 whilst for the full year the loss was down from USD 108.7 million - including USD 126.5 million in impairment charges - to USD 9.5 million - including USD 7.22 million in impairment charges.
Overall it recorded a net loss in the final quarter of USD 491,000 compared to net income a year earlier of USD 218,000 (after USD 690,000 of income from discontinued operations) whilst for the full year the net loss was cut from USD 107.3 million to USD 9.52 million.
2011-03-07: The BBC World Service has done a partial U-turn over its plans to close shortwave transmissions of its Hindi language service as part of spending cuts required to save around a fifth of its annual budget - GBP 237 million (USD 376 million) in 2010/11 budget (See RNW Jan 16).
Following approaches concerning commercial funding for the service it says it is now to retain an evening news and current affairs radio broadcast (1 hour) in Hindi for our Indian audiences for an interim period but warns that if it cannot find "sustainable commercial funding" for the services during the 2011/12 financial year the service will close by March 2012.
Amongst those campaigning against the closure has been veteran journalist and former BBC Delhi correspondent Sir Mark Tully who had objected to the planned closure in an open letter last month that was also signed by a number of authors, broadcasters, journalists and others including authors Arundhati Roy and Vikram Seth.
In that letter they said, "For nearly seven decades BBC Hindi radio has been a credible source of unbiased and accurate information, especially in times of crisis: the 1971 war, the emergency in 1975, the communal riots after the demolition of the Ayodhya mosque in 1992."
They went on to say that the country was still facing serious problems and that "Ten million listeners in India - most of them in rural and often very poor areas - need BBC Hindi radio and the accurate, impartial and independent news it provides" and adding "BBC Hindi transmissions are accessible in rural and remote areas and, as short-wave receivers can be battery-operated, they are available in places without electricity or during power cuts; they are an essential source of learning for schoolchildren and college students in rural India preparing for competitive exams; and they cannot be silenced in times when democracy is under threat."
Open letter opposing closure (In UK Guardian Feb 19):
2011-03-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a USD 20,000 penalty on a Florida man for operation of an unlicensed FM transmitter at his commercial property in Fort Lauderdale.
The agency in responding to complaints about unlicensed transmissions had traced them in March last year to a building owned by Whisler Fleurinor and on August 24 inspected the station. Fleurinor showed the agents his antenna and transmitter, admitted that the equipment was his, and then turned off the transmitter: He was issued with a Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NOUO) by the agents before they left.
A week later on August 31 agents again traced a signal to the property. The agency noted that on a previous occasion in January 2008 Fleurinor had been issued with an NOUO to which his attorney responded by saying, "Mr. Fleurinor had no intention of violating any federal or state laws with respect to any radio transmissions from his business. He has advised that he will have the equipment checked to insure that it complies with the FCC levels and does not violate any laws or regulations."
In view of this violation and the further violations it doubled the base penalty and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 20,000.
2011-03-07: The Japanese government is to relax is regulations that currently prohibit the owner of one radio station in a market from owning more than a 10% stake of another station and more than a 20% stake in two nations nationwide according to a Kyodo News report in Japan Today.
The report says that the easing would be designed to help stations, which are in financial difficulties, because of the effect of the Internet on their advertising revenues, and that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plans to allow a nationwide ownership of up to four stations, AM or FM, and also to allow radio stations to merge. It adds that the amendment is to be examined by an advisory panel to the communications minister and is then expected to go into effect in late June.
Japan Today/Kyodo report:
2011-03-06: Yet again last week was fairly quiet as regards radio for the regulators with no announcements from Australia, Ireland or the UK and only a few from North America.CRTC website:
There the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has posted the following radio decisions (in order of province):
*Approved application by Newcap Inc. to change the frequency of its English-language commercial station CKKY-AM, Wainwright, from 830 kHz to 1080 kHz and to increase the night-time power from 3,500 to 9,000 watts.
*Renewed licence of Rogers Broadcasting Limited's English-language commercial radio stations CHDI-FM Edmonton and CJOK-FM Fort McMurray and its transmitter CJOK-FM-1 Tar Island from 1 April 2011 to 31 August 2017. The agency noted that the short-term renewal follows apparent failure to make its Canadian content development (CCD) contributions for CHDI-FM and CJOK-FM in the 2008-2009 broadcast year.
It also noted apparent non-compliance with CHDI-FM's condition of licence concerning CTD for the broadcast years 2005-2006 to 2007-2008 was related to interpretation of the licence condition: Rogers wrote to the commission and the CRTC confirms that the amounts have been paid in full.
*Approved application by Radio Saguenay inc. to acquire, as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of the French-language commercial radio programming undertaking CKRS-FM Chicoutimi/Saguenay from 7545398 Canada Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Radio Saguenay.
*Approved application by Radio Gaspésie inc. to add three 250 watts FM rebroadcasting transmitters at Grande-Vallée, Petite-Vallée and Cloridorme, to carry the programming of its French-language community radio station CJRG-FM, Gaspé. The licensee says these are necessary because mountainous topography prevents these municipalities from receiving the signal of CJRG-FM.
The CRTC also posted notice of a consultation regarding a request from C.J.S.D. Inc., Atikokan, Ontario, to add a 180 watts FM transmitter at Atikokan to broadcast the programming of its English-language commercial station CKPR-FM, Thunder Bay.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a number of penalties on Christian broadcasters for late filing of renewal applications and for a public file breach.
The last involved Eastern Illinois Christian Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WEIC-AM, Charleston, Illinois, which had initially been issued a USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in May 2007 after it disclose the breach in a licence renewal application.
It had responded asking for cancellation on the basis of inability to pay, submitting federal tax returns for the years 2004, 2005, and 2006 to substantiate its argument.
The FCC after considering the returns, which showed gross revenues between USD 21,600 and USD 32,800, reduced the penalty to USD 1,300 - approximately 5% of the average gross revenues of the station in the period since the NAL was issued.
The other cases involved Bible Broadcasting Network inc., which had been issued with penalties of USD 500 in relation to FM Translator Stations W209AX, Fairmont, West Virginia and W244BB, Princeton, West Virginia; of USD 250 related to FM Translator Station W201BW, Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and of UD 250 in relation to FM Translator Station K217EY, Laramie, Wyoming.
In the first case the agency issued a USD 1,500 NAL in August 2004 to which the licensee responded by arguing for reduction on the basis amongst other things that the failure was not wilful and that the Commission had improperly imposed the forfeitures. The agency dismissed the arguments but reduced the penalty to a total of USD 500 - USD 250 for each station.
In the other two cases NALs of USD 1,500 in the case of the Wyoming translator and USD 250 in Kentucky to which similar arguments were put forward in response and were again rejected although the Wyoming penalty was cut to USD 250 by the agency.
Bible Broadcasting Network responded with a petition for Reconsideration of the Forfeitures but the FCC said no arguments had been brought forward to justify further reduction, denied the petition, and confirmed the forfeitures.
The agency also posted two licensing decisions relating to FMs in Texas: In Lake Brownwood it dismissed a petition from Katherine Pyeatt requesting the allocation of the allotment of Channel 294C2 as a first local service and approved a counter-petition from Munbilla Broadcasting Properties, Ltd to allot Channel 294A as a first local service at Early, Texas.
At Hebbronville the agency has asked for comments regarding a petition from Charles Crawford proposing the substitution of Channel 282A for vacant Channel 232A at Hebbronville so as to accommodate Crawford's hybrid application, proposing the substitution of Channel 232A for Channel 282A at Benavides, Texas.
The commission commented that that its independent engineering analysis indicates that Channel 282A can be allotted to Hebbronville consistent with the minimum distance separation requirements of the Rules with a site restriction 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) northwest of the community and accordingly that the proposal warrants consideration. Comments have to be submitted on or before April 21, 2011, and reply comments on or before May 6.
Previous Licence News:
2011-03-06: US talk radio pioneer Joel A. Spivak, son of the American trumpeter and bandleader Charlie Spivak, has died aged 75 at his Virginia home.
Spivak hosted "This is Joel A. Spivak Speaking" on WRC-AM from 1980 to 1984 having previously worked in radio (on WCAU-AM, which after various changes of calls and ownership is now CBS Radio's WPHT-AM) and TV in Philadelphia.
He left WRC and moved to NBC's KNBR-AM in San Francisco after it was sold by then owners NBC and flipped by its new owners from talk to music as WWRC-AM. He moved back to DC in 1987 when WRC flipped back to talk and also has a spell on WRC-TV.
Tributes to him are on Legacy.com and Tributes.com and funeral services are to be held on Friday.
Legacy.com & Tributes.com - Spivak tributes:
2011-03-05: Saga Communications has announced preliminary results including a 7.4% rise in final quarter 2010 revenues to USD 34.1 million and for the full year of 5.8% to USD 127.8 million but is to delay the full release of its final quarter and full year 2010 earnings and conference call from March 8 to March 15 because of "health related issues of a family member of one of the key members of its accounting department that resulted in delays in the finalization of certain of the Company's year-end analysis."
Free cash flow was up 8.7% to USD 7.2 million and up 10% to USD 2.11 million respectively with operating income up 35.7% to USD 9.0 million and up 48.6% to USD 27.7 million respectively, both excluding impairment charges: The company notes that it has not finalized its annual non-cash impairment test and its tax provision.
2011-03-05: Former member of Congress and "Love Boat" actor Fred Grandy has resigned as host of The Grandy Group on Citadel's WMAL-AM, Washington, DC, because he says, of pressure from station management to stop talking so much about radical Islam according to Fox News.
Fox says that his wife Catherine Mann-Grandy said that the couple's critical commentary on radical Islam was the driving factor behind Grandy's resignation and adds that during her regular segment "domestic terrorism 101" on the show, she had quoted a rabbi who compared radical Muslims to Nazis, complained that President Obama was not doing enough to help Israel, warned that "Shariah-compliant" individuals work in the government and discussed several other Islam-related topics.
She added that he husband had then been told by station management that she could no longer appear on the show and was also told to "really tone it down on the Islam stuff" and that he resigned in response to this.
Mann-Grandy also suggested that the Muslim advocacy group the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) had been involved saying that was her "gut instinct" although she had no evidence to substantiate this.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said it had not made any complaints to the station about Grandy, whose ratings, according to the Washington Post had been trailing those of other right-leaning hosts.
The station also disputed the account from the host and his wife: Its president and general manager Jeff Boden told Fox in a statement, "To be clear, at no time has WMAL told Fred that he was not allowed to discuss his views on Islam over the air. In fact, he has done so on numerous occasions. Further, WMAL has not been contacted by any organization seeking to restrict his broadcasts."
"WMAL remains committed to its goal of providing a forum for discussing a broad spectrum of issues while delivering compelling programming including Chris Plante, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin."
RNW comment: We'd have more respect for Boden had he actually told the hosts to ease off allegations unless they have some evidence to back them up. CAIR has not been slow in the past about coming forward when it has received criticism of radio hosts so on balance we tend to believe them and assume that they had not complained.
We have less faith in any statement from any member of Citadel's management or ex-hosts so reserve judgement as regards their comments albeit we're happy to offer Catherine Mann-Grandy a chance to define what she means by "Shariah-compliant" individuals and suggest that a rabbi comparing radical Muslims to Nazis might care on due thought to consider that comparison carefully.
Fox News report:
2011-03-04: Fisher Communications, which is embroiled in fighting off a takeover bid from a Canadian-group that is thought to be interested in its real estate rather then its broadcasting activities (See RNW Jan 28 and Jan 4) has reported fourth quarter 2010 revenues, driven by TV, up 49% on a year earlier at USD 57.6 million and up 32% for the full year at USD 175.9 million.
It noted that in the final quarter the results "included strong political revenue and solid core advertising growth, with net TV advertising revenue increasing by 61%."
Direct operating costs in the quarter were up 10% to USD 18.9 million primarily due to an increase in variable compensation costs and costs related to a format change at KVI radio; total operating expenses were up 23% to USD 41.9 million; and EBITDA jumped from USD 4.1 million to USD 19.4 million.
For the full year direct operating costs were up 9% to USD 70.9 million; total operating expenses were up 7% to USD 150.5 million; and EBITDA was up from USD 6.9 million to USD 34.6 million.
Overall Fisher had net income of USD 8.28 million for the quarter, up from USD 1.08 million a year earlier (From 12 cents per basic and diluted share to USD 94 cents per basic share and 93 cents per share assuming dilution) whilst for the full year a loss of USD 9.3 million became income of USD 9.8 million (From a loss of USD 1.06 per basic and diluted share to income of USD 1.11 per basic share and USD 1.10 per share assuming dilution).
Within the figures radio revenue for the quarter was up 16.8% to USD 7.1 million whilst that of TV was up 60.8% to USD 46.8 million and of Fisher Plaza rose 6.6% to USD 3.74 million.
For the full year radio was up 10.7% to USD 25.3 million with TV up 40.3% to USD 136.4 million and Fisher Plaza up 4.8% to USD 14/4 million: Radio income from operations was up 16.1% to USD 845,000 and up 35.8% to USD 3.23 million respectively whist TV was up three-and-a-half fold from USD 3.789 million to USD 17.10 million for the quarter and for the year went from a loss of USD 1.34 million to income of USD 26.58 million; and Fisher Plaza income from operations fell 44.8% in the final quarter to USD 2.92 million but for the full year was up 143.7% to USD 9.67 million.
Commenting on the figures, President and Chief Executive Officer Colleen B. Brown said, "We are very pleased with our fourth quarter results, which reflect Fisher's highest quarterly revenue during the past ten years. Our five year track record of ratings and core advertising market share growth confirms that our strategic plan to drive EBITDA growth is working."
"The continued improvements within our traditional broadcast business and digital portfolio," she added "contributed to a very strong year in terms of operational performance, profitability and cash flow. We plan to leverage these strengths as we continue to transform Fisher into a more highly diversified local media company. In 2011, we are focused on using our multi-platform offering to aggressively strengthen our position and pursue a larger share of audience and local advertising in the markets we serve."
Fisher shares closed at USD 27.70 on Thursday - a figure that compares with a total when the bid was rejected for the company of approaching USD 24 per share and that they have exceeded since the news broke of the rejection, suggesting that investors either believe in the company or that a higher offer may be made.
2011-03-04: According to The Tablet, Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks is offering a service using actors to make calls to talk shows, hiring them through its Premiere On Call service, which is still listed on the Premiere website but now gives no details of its activities.
The On Call page lists no links other than one to an Audition Request form, no downloads, and some contact details and the Tablet report cites an example of a call from a young man who made a call to a station after which he received an e-mail from the service that read "Thank you for auditioning for Premiere On Call. Your audition was great! We'd like to invite you to join our official roster of 'ready-to-work' actors."
The Tablet says pay is USD 40 an hour with one hour guaranteed per day and adds that those who passed the audition are invited periodically to call in to various talk shows and recite various scenarios that made for interesting radio: They are never, it says, identified as actors nor are the scenarios be identified as "as fabricated-which they always were"
The report says that when it prepared its report the website said, "Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service. We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we'll get your the right person fast. Unless you request it, you won't hear that same voice again for at least two months, ensuring the authenticity of your programming for avid listeners."
The report provides a link to cached version of the site but this now has the site without any details: It quoted Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers Magazine, as saying he was unaware of the service but was not surprised to hear of it and spoke of a "tradition of "creating fake phone calls for the sake of entertainment on some of the funny shows, shock jocks shows "
For Premiere, spokeswoman Rachel Nelson said that responsibility for the way the service was used rested on those who used it, commenting in an e-mail, "Premiere provides a wide variety of audio services for radio stations across the country, one of which is connecting local stations in major markets with great voice talent to supplement their programming needs. Voice actors know this service as Premiere On Call. Premiere, like many other content providers, facilitates casting-while character and script development, and how the talent's contribution is integrated into programs, are handled by the varied stations."
The report goes on to consider the way in which media has changed - "Far from harbingers of truth, our media are now increasingly used to shake the foundations of the real."
RNW comment: Like Harrison, we were unsurprised to find out about this service. Our standing rule is to be sceptical about anything said by almost any American Company (and indeed those in other countries) as at best - with a very few exceptions that prove the rule - it is likely to be propaganda and at worst downright misinformation. As for most of the popular US talk shows there would seem to be ample evidence that they fit the same bill fromsome of the adverts to the content in many cases.
The Tablet report:
2011-03-03: Radio One Inc. has reported final quarter 2010 revenues up 5.8% on a year earlier at USD 71.2 million whilst for the full year they rose 2.9% to USD 279.9 million but operating expenses were up in the final quarter by 26.6% to just under USD 91 million including impairment charges of USD 36.1 million compared to year-earlier impairment charges of USD 17 million whilst for the full year they fell by 4.9% to USD 264.8 million, in this case after the same 2010 impairment charges but 2009 full-year charges of USD 65.9 million.
Overall the company reported a loss for the year from continuing operations of USD26.42 million, down from USD 46.7 million and for the quarter of USD 26.6 million, up from USD 13.2 million with consolidated net loss for the year down from USD 48.6 million to USD 26.6 million and for the quarter up from USD 14.2 million to USD 26.6 million: The net loss attributable to common stockholders went down from USD 52.9 million in 2009 to USD 26.6 million (from 89 cents to 56 cents per diluted share) and for the final quarter was up from USD 14.9 million to USD 27.2 million (From 28 cents to 52 cents per diluted share).
Commenting on the results, President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, highlighted the performance of the company's core radio business and noted, "Overall core radio revenues were up 8.1% in the fourth quarter compared to last year led by national business, which was up 19.3%, and radio segment internet revenue, which was up 179.1%."
Om contrast, he said internet business revenues were down 8% in the final quarter, albeit up 14.1% for the year but the company's "investment in TV One continues to perform strongly."
This year, he added, "has started sluggishly, with radio station revenue currently pacing flat to up low single-digits on a combined basis. Normalizing for a timing difference for Reach Media's cruise, consolidated net revenue and EBITDA are expected to be approximately flat year over year."
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2011-03-03: Kevin Marsh, currently editor of the BBC College of Journalism has taken voluntary redundancy and is to leave the corporation at the end of this month.. He moved to his current post from being Editor of the Radio 4 flagship Today breakfast programme in 2006 in the wake of the row over a report saying the government had "sexed up" its Iraq dossier (See RNW Feb 24, 2006).
The source of the May 2003 report by Andrew Gilligan - who is currently London Editor of the Telegraph newspapers and who had earlier broken a number of stories about shortcomings in the British military - was subsequently revealed to be biological weapons expert Dr David Kelly, who was found dead shortly in July that year, shortly after he was publicly identified.
The row that followed the broadcast led to the Hutton Inquiry, conducted by Lord Hutton, which found that doubts had been raised about the dossier but that they had not reached the Prime Minister's office. Following the report's release in January 2004 Gilligan and the then BBC chairman Gavyn Davies and Director-General Grey Dyke all resigned.
Marsh joined the BBC as a new trainee in 1978 after gaining an MA at Oxford and worked in various provincial offices before joining the Radio 4 World at One programme: He left the BBC in 1986 to join ITN (Independent Television News) but returned in early 1988 as Deputy Editor of the World at One after which he moved to PM as Editor in 1989, then back to the World at One in 1992.
In 1996 he became joint editor of both programmes and in 2002 became editor of the Today Programme.
The Hutton report, which had taken no evidence from Marsh, criticized editing procedures on the programme and in April 2006 he moved to his current post at the College, which had been set up in 2005.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the time and resources Hutton had to conduct his inquiry compared to the pressures of daily news reporting, it seems kind to describe him as a lacking common sense, whatever his judicial qualities. Marsh and those who resigned from the BBC in our view ended up taking an unfair fall for a report that contained just a short phrase (in only one broadcast by Gilligan on the story) that upset the government of then PM Tony Blair. We doubt that all the comments made by Blair's Press Secretary Alastair Campbell could stand up to the same scrutiny.
2011-03-03: Although Cumulus Media has delayed releasing its 2010 results in view of its bid for Citadel (See RNW Feb 24), there's been no delay in paying its top executives with an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealing that CEO Lew Dickey has received a bonus of almost USD 1 million with his brother, EVP and Co-COO John W. Dickey, receiving the next largest amount of USD 290,000 in awards totalling some USD 1.75 million on top of which all get stock in the future..
In Lew Dickey's case the total was USD 939,960, of which USD 733,200 was based on performance criteria established by the Compensation Committee at the beginning of 2010, and USD 206,760 was a discretionary award based upon an assessment of his individual and relative performance during 2010. USD 469,980 was paid in cash with the rest made up of 96,506 shares of Class A Common Stock based on the closing price of the stock on February 24, the date when the awards were made.
He was also awarded 320,000 shares of restricted common stock, pursuant to the Company's 2008 Equity Incentive Plan, with half of them time-vested shares (vesting at a rate of 80,000 shares on the second anniversary of the date of grant, and 40,000 shares on each of the third and fourth anniversary of the date of grant) and 160,000 performance-based shares, all of which to vest on February 24, 2014.
As with his awards, the other awards were also split half-and-half into cash and stock with payments of USD 290,000 to John W. Dickey; USD 240,000 to Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer Jon G. Pinch (No comment as to why a Dickey brother was worth more than his fellow Co-COO); USD 100,000 to Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Joseph .P. Hannan; and USD 75,000 to Richard S. Denning, Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel.
In addition John Dickey gets 80,000 time-vested shares; Pinch, 50,000 time-vested shares; Hannan, 15,000 time-vested shares, and Denning, 25,000 time-vested shares.
Previous John Dickey:
Previous Lew Dickey:
2011-03-02: Arbitron has appointed Richard J. Surratt to the position of Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer to succeed Sean R. Creamer.Previous Creamer:
Creamer was promoted in June last year to the post of Executive Vice President, U.S. Media Services, responsible for the Company's radio and cross-platform services and operations..
The company had announced Surrat's hiring as Executive Vice President, Finance last month (See RNW Feb 9), saying at the time that it intended to appoint him as CFO.
2011-03-02: Entravision has reported final quarter revenues up 5% to USD 50.65 million with full year 2010 revenues up 6% to USD 200.48 million but kept the expenses rise below this - operating expenses were up 2% in the quarter to USD 30.70 million but corporate operating expenses were up 71% to USD 7.37million with corresponding full year increases of 1% to USD 122.85 million and 23% to USD 18.42 million respectively.
Consolidated adjusted EBITDA was up 11% for the quarter to USD 16.70 million and up 15% to USD 63.64 million respectively with net losses applicable to common shareholders falling 15% for the quarter to a loss of USD 29.27 million and cut by more than half for the full year from USD 50.07 million to USD 18.10 million (from 41 cents to 35 cents and from 60cents to 21 cents per basic and diluted share). The figures include a 2010 USD 36 million impairment charge.
Within the figures radio revenues for the quarter were up 8% to USD 16.87 million and TV was up 4% to USD 33.78 million with radio expenses down marginally from USD 12.51 million to USD 14.47 million and TV up 3% to USD 18.23 million.
Commenting on the results Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa said, "During 2010, we saw growth in our revenues, which were positively affected by increased advertising primarily relating to the World Cup and political activity. In addition, we continue to achieve increased retransmission consent revenue. Our audience shares remain strong in the nation's most densely populated Hispanic markets, and we believe we remain well positioned to benefit as the U.S. Hispanic market continues to expand and advertisers increasingly recognize the importance of reaching our target audience. We remain focused on improving our operating performance by capitalizing on the recovering advertising market, while continuing to carefully manage our costs."
2011-03-02: The announcement by Clear Channel that it has bought the music download business of Thumbplay Inc. - it is not purchasing Thumpplay's ringtone download business, whish is said to up for sale separately - has led to speculation as to how far Bob Pittman, who joined the company last year as Chairman of its Media and Entertainment Platforms" at which time the company said he would spear an "integrated digital strategy" (See RNW Nov 18, 2010) will be changing the emphasis of the company and also how important applications ("apps") that deliver music to portable devises will become.
Pittman had both broadcasting an online experience - the latter including spells as COO of America Online and AOL Time Warner and CEO of AOL Networks - and Clear Channel has only a fairly small presence online although its iHeartRadio website allows people to listen to most of Clear Channel's stations online.
Thumbplay allows people to buy songs to listen to when they choose unlike sites such as Pandora, that create a playlist based on a listener's favourites and it streams millions of songs from major record labels.
The music industry is currently backing services providing "apps" to allow music to be moved to a variety of mobile devices. Of these Thumbplay according to All Things Digital has signed up only around 20,000 customers for its USD 10 a month service since it launched early last year: Another player Didion, whose service that lets people stream their collections to remote devices, was launched in 2008, and has also sold out, in its case to Exclaim Mobility, which is to add features to the existing service.
No price was announced for the sale of Thumbplay's music service but the All Things Digital report quotes a "source familiar with the company " as saying its investors, who put some USD 41 million into the company "don't expect to get all their money. Three percent of all radio listened to is digital, and it is early still. We need to get ahead of the curve and not behind it."
Pittman added that for now Clear Channel will not pursue new subscriptions although it will continue services for existing subscribers although it will "eventually" move into the subscription business.
The publication c0mments of the deal, after noting the difficulties in making subscription music services pay, "So you can see why Pittman and company would be targeting free Web radio before trying out subscriptions themselves. That business has big music fees, too, but they're more manageable, and with enough scale it might be possible to turn a profit."
It goes on to note that Pandora lost USD 330,000 on revenues of USD 90 million in the first 9 months of last year and quotes Pittman as saying, "We already have 25 million monthly uniques and we think we can use those to compete with Pandora. Pandora is a great feature rather than a business. And we want to have all these features and add to the service continually."
Previous Clear Channel:
All Things Digital report:
2011-03-02: According to the Palm Beach Post local station WRMF-FM has been sold for USD 16.5 million to a partnership led by former Paxson Communications executive Dean Goodman, a resident of West Palm Beach's Trump Plaza: The paper adds that the deal was to have included Carl Hirsch, who died hours before the completion at a dinner at the while at dinner at Palm Beach's Cafe Boulud (See report below).
The purchasers were competing with other offers including one involving former U. S. Rep. Mark Foley but the paper says "he couldn't gather enough capital down the stretch."
It adds that the purchase price barely covers a note on the property held by Boston-based Great Hill Partners, which bought it in 2002 from Jim Hilliard for USD 70 million.
It also speculates that the new owners could change current management.
Palm Beach Post report:
2011-03-02: Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy has officially switched on a system for the broadcast of DAB+ digital radio in Parliament House at a function hosted by the board of industry body Commercial Radio Australia and commercial radio CEO's and owners.
Before the switch-on Melbourne 3AW host Neil Mitchell introduced Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner, who spoke briefly and thanked the government for its support for DAB+ so far and reinforced the industry's wishes for a rollout through Australia before handing over to Conroy.
The Minister commented on the success of digital radio so far in Australia's metropolitan capital cities and continued, "Consideration of the complex policy and planning issues associated with the rollout of digital radio to regional areas is underway and the Government looks forward to working collaboratively with the radio industry to achieve the best outcome for regional radio audiences."
A trial of digital radio was started in Canberra in July last year but the signal required boosting to allow reception within the Parliament House.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-03-01: Former Cleveland radio executive Carl Hirsch has died aged 64 of a heart attack in a restaurant in Florida where he had been living and where he was involved in a deal to purchase WRMF-FM, Palm Beach.
Hirsch was president and C0O of WMMS-FM's parent Malrite , from 1974-1985 - Malrite bought WMMS from MetroMedia (the call signs had been changed from WHK and stand for MetroMedia Stereo) in 1972 and he later became President and CEO of Legacy Broadcasting from 1986-1990, remaining as President and CEO of what became OmniAmerica after a re-naming in 1994. In 1999 he founded NextMedia where he was Executive Chairman until 2007.
John Gorman, who was station director of WMMS during its "glory years" - he joined as its music director in 1973 and became programme director after two months then remained with the station for 13 years - told the Cleveland Scene, "There wouldn't have been a WMMS without him,. The only thing he demanded of you was that you be as creative and innovative as possible. He didn't ask a whole lot of questions. He just said, 'Go out and do something that hasn't been done before' Carl was a big reason why that staff not only stuck together 12-13 years. It wasn't like coming to work. It was like walking into a dot.com start-up. People were coming up with crazy, creative ideas nonstop."
Denny Sanders, who joined WMMS as Program Director in 1971 and was Gorman's creative services director, added, "He was the right man at the right time to take over the upper management of the radio station. He was young; he understood what we were doing in programming and marketing more than the ownership itself. He possessed a certain dynamism that was infectious."
Cleveland Scene report:
2011-03-01: A host on Moscow talk station Vesti FM has been fired for comparing St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler: 46-years old Dmitry Gubin had previously been warned over "cursing" the governor by station management who asked him to "use constructive criticism."
The Moscow Times reports that Gubin, who hosted a three-hour morning show on the state-owned station, made his comments after a visit to St Petersburg: He also accused the governor of failing to maintain the city "in decent condition" and said she was "continuing Hitler's business because she is destroying the city."
The paper says that he was fired two after his show ended: On his blog the host wrote that St. Petersburg is "dirt," has "no sidewalks" and is covered in the "[expletive] of road works" and added in a message to Matviyenko, who has been governor of St Petersburg since her election in 2003, "Housewifely governor-woman, wipe up your household,"."
He asked, "Is it possible to constructively criticize Adolf?" and said he had received more than 1,000 comments in response to his postings, most of them sympathetic.
The paper says Vesti FM's general producer Anatoly Kuzichev said Gubin was dismissed for "impermissible on-air style" and added that other Vesti journalists were critical but more polite.
He singled out as comments that were impermissible a description of St. Petersburg as "the hole of a rural loo instead of the window to Europe" and the host's remark, "Sieg Heil, dear Valentina Ivanovna [Matviyenko]."
Moscow Times report:
2011-03-01: To coincide with the re-launch of current digital radio station BBC7 as BBC Radio 4 Extra in April, the BBC is to make more than 500 episodes of Radio4's Desert Island Discs programme available for download together with a database listing the choices of every "castaway".
Copyright to the format - which posits that the guest has been stranded on a desert island and is to be allowed eight pieces of music and a book (in addition to the Bible or religious or philosophical book and the works of Shakespeare which are automatically added) - and since 1951 to a luxury item - is owned by the family of the late Roy Plomley, who launched it as a freelance in January 1942 and hosted it until his death in 1985. For many years the family prevented the programme being made available online until a settlement to allow it to be heard on the Listen-Again service for up to a week after the first airing was reached in September 2009 with his widow Diana Wong and the couple's daughter Almond under which the corporation paid an annual fee (GBP 5,000 - around USD 7,500 - then but no figures have been released about current payments).
That agreement did not allow the programme - a podcast was added in November 2009 - to be heard for more than a week and Tim Davie, BBC Director of Audio and Music, commented in a news release, "I'm delighted to announce the launch of BBC Radio 4 Extra and hope that fans of Desert Island Discs will indulge themselves in the previously buried treasures of vintage episodes."
In addition to the downloads, Radio 4 Extra will air classic editions of the programme for which Kirsty Young, the current presenter of the programme, will record updates and provide a context and also special, hour-long versions of episodes from the past year with previously edited material.
Young commented of the new agreement, "Desert Island Discs occupies a special place in many listeners' hearts - its enduring popularity throughout the decades testifies to that. I'm really delighted that BBC Radio 4 Extra will give people the chance to hear even more of the show and the launch of the new website means everyone has the chance get their hands on the Desert Island Discs archive and hear the music, book, luxury and lives of hundreds of castaways from programmes gone by. A real treat".
Davie made the announcement as he outlined details of the corporation's plans for digital radio in which he said current digital-only stations are to be aligned more closely with their analogue "sister" stations apart from BBC 6 Music, which BBC management had planned to close but which was saved after a public outcry and will remain a stand-alone station (See RNW Jul 5, 2010).
Amongst other programming announced by Davie for Radio 4 Extra are The Now Show Extra and The News Quiz Extra - extended, hour-long versions of the shows that currently air on Radio 4 and featuring behind-the-scenes interviews with the show's writers, producers and guests; a "Family Hour" (working title) programme featuring quizzes, stories, comedies and interviews; Comedy First - part of the comedy club, which is to premiere new comedy to be broadcast first on Radio 4 Extra before transferring to Radio 4; and new dramas for all ages to include The Silver Sword and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Regarding other digital stations, BBC 6 Music is to regain the "Adam and Joe" (Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish) Saturday morning show. The duo took an extended sabbatical (See RNW Dec 24, 2009) during which Cornish has directed the film "Attack the Block", due for release shortly, and Buxton hosted his Adam's Big Mixtape for 6 Music as well as continuing his live comedy performances
Initially the duo will host a 12-week series starting in early April and Buxton commented, "I can't wait to get back to our show on Saturdays, I've really missed doing it" adding after giving details of activities during the break including creating new filing systems for my CDs and DVDs, successfully reunited over 20 odd socks with their partners "It's been fun but I'm looking forward to talking rubbish and playing brilliant music with Joe again."
Bob Shennan, Controller Radio 2 & 6 Music, who when the break was announced had said he looked "forward to welcoming Adam & Joe back to 6 Music early next year" added of the return, "I know listeners have been missing Adam and Joe's warm and witty banter from their Saturday mornings so I'm enormously pleased to welcome back their Sony Award-winning show to the network."
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 :
- February 2011- - April 2011 -
Radionewsweb.com, 38 Creswick Road, Acton, London W3 9HF, UK: