December 2011 Archive
2011-12-31: BBC 6 Music will tomorrow take a step back in time with all music aired coming off vinyl recordings: Most BBC stations phased out vinyl for CDs in the 1990s and have since switched to digital versions but the station has opted to make News Years Day an "All Vinyl" day to round off a month-long celebration of vinyl.
Paul Rodgers, Editor, 6 Music, said: "In a world dominated by digital music, vinyl is a format still close to the hearts of many music lovers and increased sales demonstrate its enduring appeal."
As well as airing music from turntables the days output will include singer-songwriter Richard Hawley hosting a show in which he will talk to acts such as Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead about the pluses - and pitfalls - of vinyl.
The station website notes that lunchtime host Huey Morgan will feature as a guest Huey's guest is Paul Mawhinney who ran the Record Rama store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and through keeping back one copy of every record in his archive, amassed the world's biggest record collection: The store was closed in 2008 but Mawhinney still maintains the archive, which he is trying to sell after a number of bids that fell through.
BBC 6 Music - Huey Morgan page:
2011-12-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its last Daily Digest of the year has proposed penalties of USD 22,000 on to radio companies for breaching its equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules. The FCC has also issued reporting conditions on the licensee and any successor licensee of any of the stations, as well as on the licensee of any stations that become a part of the above Stations' employment unit during the reporting conditions periods
Clear Channel /Capstar is issued with a USD 14,000 NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture) relating to stations in the Carolinas - Capstar's WSSL-FM, Gray Court and WGVL-AM, Greenville, in North Carolina plus WMYI-FM, Hendersonville, in South Carolina and Clear Channel's WESC-FM and WLFJ-AM, Greenville and WROO-FM, Mauldin, all in South Carolina.
In this case during the reporting periods for EEO public file reports that acc9ompanied licence renewal applications, a total of 13 full time vacancies were filled and that the licensee failed to properly recruit for eight of them, instead relying solely on Internet websites and word-of-mouth referrals.
The agency proposed penalties totalling USD 14,000 made up of USD 12,000 for failure to use recruitment sources that efficiently widely disseminate information concerning the vacancy and USD 2,000 for failing to analyze its recruitment programme to ensure that it did.
In the second case it issued a USD 8,000 NAL to MHR License LLC for failing to comply with the agency's recruitment and self-assessment requirements at its Virginia cluster of WGH-AM and FM, Newport News; WVBW-FM and WVHT-FM, Norfolk; and WVSP-FM, Yorktown.
The FCC says that from EEO public file reports that accompanied licence renewal applications for the stations it found that over two years the licensee filled 14 full-time posts and failed to properly recruit for five of them, "instead relying solely on Internet web sites to fill two vacancies, and web sites, word-of-mouth referrals, and vacancy postings on its employee board to fill three vacancies."
It proposes a penalty of USD 14,000 made up of USD 6,000 for failure to use recruitment sources that efficiently widely disseminate information concerning the vacancy and USD 2,000 for failing to analyze its recruitment programme "on an ongoing basis to ensure that the program is effective in achieving broad outreach to potential applicants, and to address any problems found as a result of its analysis."
2011-12-29: A former employee of CBS Radio's KYW-AM, Philadelphia, has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the station in which amongst other things, according to Philly.com, Shelley Kanther refers to comments such as "You think redheads are 'fiery' in bed? That doesn't give you the right to slap one on the butt and ask if red's her "natural" hair colour "and "'You 'got a blowjob' on a trip out West? Congratulations. Close the office door before telling your buddy all about it."
Kanther, a former director of marketing communications for KYW Newsradio 1060, also refers to guessing the bra-sized of co-workers and grabbing women's hair in the office and calling them "baby."
She alleges that she was subjected to "severe and pervasive" sexual harassment and discrimination, and then firing her for speaking up. The paper says the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages describes a "toxic" work environment where male employees told her to wear skirts more often, swatted at her butt and considered offering her money to make out with another worker.
It adds that the suit names Marc Rayfield, CBS Radio Philadelphia's senior vice president and market manager, "one of the worst offenders" and says he eventually fired her for her complaints about the harassment.
It alleges that during a sales retreat in Atlantic City last year Rayfield talked about wanting to kiss Kanther;, sang "Stay with Me Tonight" during a karaoke session while "suggestively dancing in front of her, uncomfortably close " and also let a few nearby employees know that he "got a blowjob" by discussing his travelling sexcapades in a loud voice with his office door open.
Also singled out in the suit is the station's vice president and general sales manager David Yadgaroff for failing to take about complaints.
CBS Radio has declined comment on the matter.
** We have subsequently been contacted on behalf of Mr Rayfield with information that the case against him and CBS was dismissed: We noted in checking that other reports of the case are still online but wish on this site to make it clear that the case wa dismissed and thet Mr Rayfield remained with CBS for whom he now works in New York.
2011-12-29: Another US talk host has ended up in hot water over comments critical of a woman on his show but this time the comments were made by a woman guest and the criticism according to the Frederick News-Post is in part about the dual role of the host who is also the president of the Board of the Frederick County Commissioners in Maryland.
During an appearance before Christmas on "The Blaine Young Show" on WEMD-AM, Frederick, former county commissioner and Maryland delegate Anita Stup, who had been commenting on the future of the planning commission, called Frederick County Planning Commission member Catherine Forrence a "bitch."
Blaine apologized for the comments in his next show (RNW Comment: A bit late for most regulators when adjudicating on complaints but the paper says that a recording of the show showed that immediately after the "bitch" comment Young told program manager Frank Mitchell "Hold on. All right, I hit it, Frank", comments that Mitchell said meant Young thought he had used the station's seven-second delay to edit out the words) but Forrence raised concerns about conflict between the host's two roles, telling the News-Post," I'm tired of Blaine Young being a bully and picking on people Blaine Young likes to stir the pot and add fuel to the fire, and I'm pretty confident that he did that on this occasion."
Forrence added that she was not listening to the show at the time and had been unable to obtain a recording from the station but has filed an online complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and was also the FCC a letter objecting to "profanity and on-air attack."
WEMD program manager Frank Mitchell said of calls to ban Stup from the station - she had also apologized after the event - "She's been talked t. She'll understand that that's not tolerated" but added that the word wasn't banned by the FCC although airing it wasn't acceptable in this case.
Frederick News-Post report:
2011-12-28: Hawaii KUMU-FM host Frank B Shaner has been dropped from his morning show by Ohana Broadcast Company after some seven years with the station, which he joined in 2005 after being dropped by Cox Media's KINE-FM in January 2004 as a result of what it termed a "restructuring" of its morning show.
Hawaiinewsnow.com quoted the host as saying of his departure from the station, "It's pau (Done, to finish or be finished in Hawaiian)," and adding"I just want to say 'aloha' to a lot of the people who tuned into the morning show and to say I miss you guys and maybe next time around we'll gather again by the microphone if I resurface in the near future."
"After seven years it took, them about five minutes to say aloha," said Shaner.. "But that's just the nature of the beast when you work around radio don't you know. The people over there I worked for are terrific people. At this particular point in my life, we'll see what happens."
Shaner, who on his Facebook entry lists painting as an activity and oil paintings as an interest - and displays examples of his work on his website, said he will focus on his art for a while and continue his comedy and MC Work
Ohana said it told the host last week that his contract was not being renewed but its Director of Programming Rick Thomas indicated that they had not fallen out, commenting, "Frank will always be a dear friend and we wish him lots of aloha and certainly would bend over backwards to help him in his future. He's a great guy and a great talent."
HawaiiNews now report:
Shaner website - paintings:
2011-12-27: Clear Channel WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, host Mark Madden has landed himself in hot water with a twitter response to a woman who had crossed swords with him and after calling him amateurish became more abusive calling him amongst other things a "fat fuck" and saying "ur life is one big pathetic excuse."
Madden responded to the woman ZbynekGirl, "Look, ur a girl, so ... u know nothing & ur opinion is useless. Get in the kitchen, have a kid, dance 'round a pole, something" although he deleted his tweet very shortly afterwards.
By then it had already started getting wider circulation and Madden continued responding to her, writing, "A) all I did was return like 4 like. U were very abusive. B) It's in keeping w/my character. C) U don't matter. #getinthekitchen"
Jezebel.com in its report comments that Madden's tweets "seem to reveal some pretty deep-seated misogyny, something that should definitely bother The X if it cares about female listeners. If The X does take action, it wouldn't be the first time Madden's gotten in trouble for offensive comments. He was fired from ESPN after saying he hoped Ted Kennedy 'would live long enough to be assassinated.' Apparently he hasn't learned his lesson."
Later Madden responded to Jezebel with an apology to women in general albeit not to the woman in question - writing, "I owe women in general an apology. Maybe not that one. Her language and attitude toward me has always been abusive. But I got a bit carried away playing my radio character, which is a TV wrestling bad guy. I used to be one of those, w/WCW as a color commentator "
Previous Clear Channel:
2011-12-26: The Indian Parliament had been told that INR 80.24 million (USD 1,5 million) was owed to All India Radio as of the end of November (the figures were for the year to the end of March 2011 after taking into account amounts paid up to Nov 30) with more than half of this owed by The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), a unit of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
DAVP owed INR 41.13 million (USD 776,000) and was amongst 38 agencies owing more than INR 100,000 (USD ,900) each to the broadcaster and as of August last year owed it INR 66.71 million (USD 1.26 million) according to Radioandmusic.com, which notes that state TV Doordarshan was owed a total of INR 709.10 million (USD 13.4 million including interest) as of the end of October this year, apart from old or dead dues amounting to INR 481.13 million (USD 9.1 million - inclusive of interest) says the money was owed by 154 agencies.
It adds that in addition to the above outstanding dues from Government agencies totalled INR 402.85 million (USD 7.6 million -including interest), with the DAVP owing INR 2.10 million (USD 39,600). The largest defaulters among government agencies are the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games with a debt of INR 205.8 million (USD 3.89 million) and the BSNL with INR 12.47 million ( USD 235,000 - both with no interest liability), and the National Film Development Corporation owing as much as INR 18.68 million ( USD 356,000).
On the other side of the coin, Prasar Bharati (India's Broadcasting Corporation, which oversees the state broadcasters) owed more than INR 13.05 billion ( USD 24.6 million) for space segment and spectrum charges at the end of March although it has called for these charges to be waived . Of this All India Radio owed INR 2.11 billion (USD 3.98 million).
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2011-12-25: Former WABC radio host Lynn Samuels, who described herself as progressive but was a long-standing critic of President Obama and also spoke out about illegal immigration, has been found dead at her home after failing to turn up for her Saturday show on Sirius XM.
The company asked police to check and they found her body at her home in Queens: Police said there was no sign of foul play and her death is said to have resulted from a heart attack.
Samuels, who was 69, began her radio career at WBAI-FM in 1979 and later had three spells at WABC - from 1987 to 1992 when she was fired; from 1995 to 1997 when she was again fired and finally from 1997 to 2002.
After her final dismissal from the station she had problems getting work and was amongst other things a call screener for Matt Drudge and working in a laundromat although she kept working in radio after being hired by Sirius in 2003, hosting the Lynn Samuels Show. This initially aired from 10:00 to 1300 on Saturdays and later from 1300 to 1500. Early this year, after Sirius Left was folded into Sirius XM Left, she started to host a weekend talk show from 10:00 to 13:00 on both Saturday and Sunday on Sirius XM Stars.
The New York Times in its report says her dismissals from WABC were because of comments "considered subversive and bordering on the incitement of proletarian revolution" although there are also suggestions that her final dismissal was in part due to budget cuts.
The paper quotes John Mainelli, who as program director at WABC, hired her, as saying, "She could be very hard to deal with; she wouldn't listen to reason. But she did her homework, she was funny, compulsively candid, and you just couldn't help listening to her."
When at WABC, as well as being one of the few female talk hosts in the US, Samuels was mainly working with right wing males including Rush Limbaugh and another fellow host Bob Grant - who she considered in this group - commented, "What I admired about her was, she wasn't afraid. With all these right-wingers around she just said what she had to."
New York Times report:
2011-12-25: The main regulatory news last week came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed an easing of media ownership restrictions that has aroused opposition from various public interest groups and is not enough to satisfy current large media owners: Elsewhere UK regulator Ofcom made more radio-related posting that its counterparts.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has registered new Radio Open Narrowcast Codes which include further requirements relating to complaint handling, privacy and consistency with advertising codes.
The ACMA also posted a notice seeking comments - with a January 27 deadline - on its plans to separate the current Darwin Area licence plan into radio and TV sections and found that ABC 891 (Call sign 5AN), Adelaide, breakfast hosts Matthew Abraham and David Bevan breached the broadcaster's Code of Practice relating to bias in an interview with former South Australian treasurer and deputy premier Kevin Foley about an assault on him in a tapas bar. (See RNW Dec 20).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has posted public notices seeking comment on a number of matters including its Canadian Content Development (CCD) initiatives and on matters related to the filing of the CCD portions of annual returns for which responses have to be in by February 21 next year.
It notes delays in auditing annual returns to assess compliance with CCD requirements and among other things asks for suggestions concerning administrative changes that would reduce or eliminate the difficulties in relation to the filing of CCD returns.
The CRTC also posted an information bulletin relating to the filing of annual returns by radio stations.
The agency is also asking for comment by February 16 on the National Campus and Community Radio Association's (NCRA's) proposed Codes of Conduct and proposed guidelines and best practices. The Codes address, among other things, clauses relating to programming, the handling of complaints, sponsorship and advertising, and employees and volunteers, as well as the application and administration of the Codes. The Guidelines are intended, among other things, to provide additional context for the interpretation of the Codes. If approved by the Commission, NCRA members would abide by the Codes instead of the CAB Code of Ethics.
In licensing decisions the agency posted a list of licences administratively renewed from 1 January 2012 to 31 August 2012, noting that the renewals do not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist with respect to the renewal of these licences.
Licences involved are those of the following groups of stations:
Nova Scotia: HFX Broadcasting Inc.'s CKHZ-FM, Halifax and Rogers Broadcasting Limited's CJNI-FM, Halifax.
Ontario: Ottawa Media Inc.'s CJWL-FM, Ottawa, and Rogers Broadcasting Limited's CKBY-FM, Smiths Falls.
Quebec: Astral Media Radio Inc.'s CFIX-FM, Chicoutimi, and CIMF-FM, Gatineau, plus its transmitter CIMF-FM-1, Hawkesbury, Ontario.
Community radio stations:
British Columbia: Creston Community Radio Society's CIDO-FM, Creston; Société radio communautaire Victoria's CILS-FM, Victoria; and MacKenzie and Area Community Radio Society (MARS)'s CHMM-FM, MacKenzie.
New Brunswick: Radio Beauséjour inc.'s CFBO-FM, Moncton; Coopérative Radio Restigouche ltée's CIMS-FM, Balmoral, and its transmitter CIMS-FM-1, Dalhousie; La Coopérative Radiophonique - La Brise de la Baie ltée's CHQC-FM, Saint John.; and Radio Beauséjour inc.'s CJSE-FM, Shediac, and its transmitters CJSE-FM-1, Memramcook, and CJSE-FM-2, Baie Ste-Anne.
Newfoundland: Burnt Islands Economic Development Board Inc.'s CHBI-FM, Burnt Islands.
Ontario: La Coopérative Radiophonique de Toronto inc.'s CHOQ-FM, Toronto; Haliburton County Community Radio Association's CKHA-FM, Haliburton; Bluewater Community Radio's CFBW-FM, Hanover; Manitoulin Radio Communication Inc.'as CFRM-FM, Little Current; San Lorenzo Latin American Community Centre's CHHA-AM, Toronto; Valley Heritage Radio's CJHR-FM, Renfrew; and Fondation radio enfant (du Canada)'s CJEU-AM, Ottawa/Gatineau;
Quebec: Radio communautaire Tête-à-la-Baleine's CJTB-FM, Tête-à-la-Baleine; Radio communautaire de Radisson's CIAU-FM, Radisson; Radio communautaire Missisquoi's CIDI-FM, Lac Brome; Coop de solidarité radio communautaire MRC de Maskinongé's CHHO-FM, Louiseville, and its transmitter CHHO-FM-1, Saint-Alexis-des-Monts; Coopérative de solidarité radio communautaire Nicolet-Yamaska/Bécancour's CKBN-FM, Bécancour; Diffusion communautaire Baie-des-Chaleurs inc.'s CIEU-FM,Carleton, and its transmitter CIEU-FM-1 Paspébiac; Radio Bellechasse's CFIN-FM, Lac Etchemin, and its transmitters CFIN-FM-1, Armagh, CFIN-FM-2, Saint Malachie, CFIN-FM-3 ,Saint Anselme and CFIN-FM-4, Saint-Jean-de-l'Ile-d'Orléans; Radio Centre-Ville Saint-Louis's CINQ-FM, Montréal; Radio communautaire de la Rive-Sud inc.'s CHAA-FM, Longueuil; Radio communautaire francophone de Montréal inc.'s CIBL-FM, Montréal; and Radio Acton inc.'s CFID-FM, Acton Vale
Saskatchewan: Association communautaire fransaskoise de Gravelbourg Inc.'s CFRG-FM, Gravelbourg.
Campus radio stations:
Alberta: CKXU Radio Society's CKXU-FM, Lethbridge.
British Columbia: The Kamloops Campus/Community Radio Society's CFBX-FM, Kamloops.
Manitoba: Assiniboine Campus-Community Radio Society Inc's CJJJ-FM, Brandon; and CreComm Radio Inc.'s CKIC-FM, Winnipeg.
Newfoundland: Troubador Radio Society Inc.'s CHUG-AM. Stephenville.
Ontario: Student Media, University of Windsor's CJAM-FM, Windsor; University of Guelph Radio-Radio Gryphon's CFRU-FM, Guelph; University of Toronto Community Radio Inc.'s CIUT-FM, Toronto; LU Campus Radio Inc.'s CILU-FM, Thunder Bay; and The Mohawk College Radio Corporation's CIOI-FM, Hamilton.
Quebec: Groupe des médias étudiants de l'Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières's CFOU-FM, Trois-Rivières; and Comité de la Radio Étudiante Universitaire de Sherbrooke's CFAK-FM, Sherbrooke.
In addition in Quebec the agency has, at the request of licensee Radio Sherbrooke Inc., revoked the licence of the French-language commercial station CJTS-FM, Sherbrooke
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has updated its guidance to radio stations concerning the broadcast of offensive language and also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld no radio complaints (See RNW Dec 21).
Earlier the agency had announced that it had fined two community broadcasters GBP 500 (USD 775) each for breached of their licence conditions (See RNW Dec 19).
Ofcom also noted the non-payment so far of its annual licence fee by Ambur Community Radio Ltd (Amber Valley, Derbyshire)and says it is putting this licensee on notice that its present contravention of its licence is being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction, including licence revocation.
In addition it noted that North West Media Ltd. licensee of Unity Radio (Manchester), failed to pay on time but has now put in place a payment plan and it therefore considered the matter resolved.
In the US as already noted the main news from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) came with proposals to ease media ownership restrictions (See RNW Dec 23 ).
On other fronts the agency announced the appointment of Henning
Schulzrinne, the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Mathematical Methods and Computer Science and Professor of Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering at Columbia University, as Chief Technology Officer. He has been an Engineering Fellow at the FCC since 2010.
It also announced the appointment of Sean Lev, who was previously Acting General Counsel and the Deputy General Counsel for Environment and Nuclear Programs at the Department of Energy, as Deputy General Counsel. Lev will also serve as Special Advisor to the Chairman on matters concerning the policy implications of the transition to Internet Protocol (IP) networks.
In terms of radio postings, the FCC announced that it has extended to January 3 the deadline for filing comment on its request for FM asymmetric sideband operation and associated technical studies with the comment deadline extended to Jan 24.
It also made various announcements related to a number of contested licence applications.
In Alabama it issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) relating to a petition filed by Alatron Corporation, Inc., proposing the allotment of Channel 228A at Pike Road, Alabama.
It adds that the proposal warrants consideration because it could provide a second local service to the community of Pike Road and is seeking comment, with a deadline of Feb 20 (and a March 6 deadline for reply comments) on the plan.
In Arizona, the agency is seeking comment with the same deadlines on proposals made in relation to a proposal to allot FM Channel 287B1 at Needles, California, in response to which Rocket Radio (requesting the allotment of FM Channel 287C2 at Williams, Arizona, and changes to two vacant allotments to facilitate this: One would have required Univision to change the licence for its KHOV-FM, Wickenberg and the other that Grenax Broadcasting II, LLC change the channel for KBTK-FM, Kachina Village, Arizona). Univision filed counterproposals.
FCC staff had dismissed the Needles proposal because no party had filed a continuing expression of interest but the agency also found that the other two submissions should not have been accepted as counter proposals because they were not mutually exclusive with the Needles proposal.
It is now seeking comment on Rocket Radio's proposal and a proposal from Univision to upgrade KHOV to accommodate which KHBTX would also have to change channels.
This made the two applications mutually exclusive and the FCC says it believes the public interest would be serviced by allotting channel 287C2 at Williams as it would provide a second local service for the community and also a new FM service to 8,405 persons.
It also finds a public interest in considering Univision's application and accordingly is asking both parties to submit information to demonstrate why their proposals better serve the public interest under the FM allotment priorities.
The agency has also issued show cause notices to Univision concerning modification of the channel for KHOV-FM and Grenax concerning modification of the channel for KFLX-FM.
Previous Licence News:
2011-12-24: French media group Lagardère SCA has announced that it has completed the sale of its Russian radio business Europe Media Group, which operates Retro FM, Europa Plus (the first commercial radio station in Russia) and Radio 7, to several private Russian investors for Euros 123 million (USD 162 million).
The sale follows Russian legislation that went into effect in November requiring foreign investors to sell majority stakes in companies controlling national radio stations and at the time French newspapers had said that Paris-based Lagardère hoped to receive around 150 million Euros (USD 210 million) from the sale although.
Earlier this month Lagardère sold most of its magazine business - excluding a joint venture with Marie Claire - in China to Hearst Corporation as part of its disposal of its international magazine business for which it expects to receive around Euros 659 million ( USD 860 million) including other sales in the UK and the disposal of the joint venture.
2011-12-24: Detroit radio veteran Jim Harper has signed off on Greater Media's WMGC-FM (Magic 105.1) after more than four decades on the Detroit airwaves: The station will end its Christmas Music and flip at midnight tomorrow to rock as The New Soft Rock 105.1 with more music and less talk under the slogan, "Soft Rock With Dramatically Less Talk. Soft Rock 105.1" (The Magic website re-directs to this).
Harper, who was born in Hamtrack, Michigan, started his on-air career aged 13 in 1967 on a show about teen issues on WYNZ-AM in Ypsilanti, Michigan and has since worked on many stations, mainly in Detroit - including WCAR-AM, WDRQ-FM and Clear Channel's WNIC-FM, from where he moved to WMGC after it had clipped from its previous incarnation as WGRV-FM (The Groove) at the end of June 2001 - but also at other Michigan stations including WAAM, Ann Arbor; WHMI-AM Howell; and WIID-AM, Garden City and also at KXYZ-AM, Houston.
The Detroit Free Press reported that for his final show yesterday he was joined by his current "Jim Harper in the Morning" co-hosts Cyndy Canty and Mike Bradley plus former producer Fay Samona, who left WMGC to join WSAQ-FM, Port Huron, earlier this year. In addition audio messages were aired from others in the broadcast that featured "Christmas tunes, sentimental stories and fond memories." The show concluded with Vince Guaraldi's version of "Hark! The Angels Sing".
Harper it reported said he has enjoyed being a part of other people's everyday lives for most of his life and that he wouldn't change anything -- bad times included -- for "all the gold in the world ", adding "Thanks to the most important people in world of radio -- you, the friends and listeners of 105.1. I hope you believe me that we've all had our lives changed because of you."
Previous Greater Media:
Detroit Free Press report:
Soft Rock 105.1 website:
2011-12-23: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formally proposed an easing of cross ownership restrictions, a move that it says is justified by technological change that has "had a dramatic impact on the media marketplace" with people increasingly using mobile and online to access content thus challenging the established broadcast and newspaper industries' business models.
"Broadcast and newspaper consumption in traditional forms is in decline, and advertising revenues have been shrinking in recent years," comments the FCC in a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in which it seeks comment on its proposals.
It goes on, "Some broadcast and newspaper outlets have contracted the size of news staffs in response. These economic realities have sounded an alarm for some who are concerned that non-traditional media sources are not adequate substitutes for the provision of local news and information by broadcasters subject to public interest obligations."
The FCC notes that many American are not served by the new technologies - broadband adoption it says is still below 70% - and it adds according to one report an estimated 14 million Americans do not have access to broadband infrastructure that can support current applications.
In specific terms the FCC proposes to retain the current local television ownership rule - including a bar on mergers amongst the top four rated stations, the eight-voices test, and existing numerical limit - with minor modifications: It asks for comment on a possible waiver standard for smaller markets and whether multicasting should be a factor in determining the television ownership limits.
It takes a similar stance regarding local radio ownership but seeks comment on how the rule should account for other audio platforms, the impact of digital radio and whether to adopt a waiver standard.
When it comes to the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule the agency says that although some current restrictions remain necessary to protect viewpoint diversity but as regards radio-TV cross ownership it proposes to "to eliminate the radio/television cross-ownership rule in favour of reliance on the local radio rule and local television rule."
The FCC also proposes to retain the dual network rule and finally it invites comment on how its rules can promote "greater minority and women ownership of broadcast stations."
In terms of internal reactions the strongest doubts were voiced by outgoing Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps with his colleague Mignon L. Clyburn expressing concern about a "bleak picture" for "Women, minorities and those who reside in rural areas."
These groups she says "feel disconnected from the public airwaves, and their outlets rarely speak to the needs of their communities" and she continues "They echo the argument that more relaxed media ownership rules would negatively impact diversity of ownership, but without the proper data, our agency cannot concur or refute that troubling conclusion. "
Clyburn then calls for the agency to gather information on who owns the media, what impact ownership has on journalism, and the critical information needs of all our communities.
Republic Commissioner Robert M McDowell is more positive about the proposals, noting the effect of other information sources and commenting, "Maintaining decades-old industrial policy in this age of competition, mobility and new media is not in the public interest, and it certainly is not what Congress intended when it directed the Commission to repeal or modify unnecessary regulation."
Regarding cross ownership he would have gone further, commenting, "While I applaud the proposal to eliminate the radio-television cross-ownership rule, I am disappointed that we tentatively conclude to retain most of the existing media ownership rules, including the dual network, local television and local radio ownership rules. Moreover, while the Commission does propose an anaemic relaxation of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule for the largest markets and seeks comment on eliminating restrictions on newspaper/radio combinations, the proposals do not go nearly far enough. We should seek comment on a much more dramatic modernization, if not complete elimination, of the 36-year-old newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule."
Copps expresses considerable doubt saying in a statement, "As I cast perhaps my last major vote as a Member of the Federal Communications Commission, it will come as a surprise to very few that I cannot approve of the Quadrennial Review in all of its aspects."
"In the vast majority of cases," he says "I do not believe that newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership advances the public interest. It means fewer voices in the community, less localism in the industry, and steep transactional costs that all too often lead to down-sized or shuttered newsrooms and fired journalists. Our media, and our public policy, need to head in a different direction. A media that more effectively nourishes genuine civic dialogue is necessary to successful self-government.
His ideal NPRM, says Copps "would flash an orange caution light that change was in the works, setting the stage for a Report and Order that would turn on a red light to many consolidation transactions, while still allowing for exceptions in the few cases that would warrant them" and later adds "With the perils of consolidation on clear display in market after market, it would seem to me that we should be closing loopholes instead of providing openings for them."
Outside the FCC, opponents of easing restrictions were quickly off the mark with comments including a statement from Washington State Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell who noted that the FCC had last tried to ease media ownership restrictions in 2007 under the chairmanship of Republican Kevin J. Martin (currently a partner with the Public Policy and Lobbying law firm Patton Boggs LLP.) at which time 27 US senators including Cantwell and then Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, co-sponsored Senator Byron Dorgan's 'Resolution of Disapproval' of those rules (Dorgan was then Democrat Senator for North Dakota)
The changes were remanded back to the Commission by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and Cantwell commented, "I am extremely disappointed by the FCC's actions today in once again reviving Martin's rules" and added "Chairman Martin's rules were merely a bailout for big media companies that incurred debt from poor investment decisions. Resurrecting these rules will have far-reaching impact. While increased media consolidation may be good for Wall Street, it is bad for Main Street. This decision will determine whether Americans have access to independently gathered news from diverse voices in their local communities. The American people deserve better than this proposal."
Massachusetts Democrat Congressman Edward J. Markey also opposed any loosening of ownership regulations, saying in a statement, "Loosening ownership rules could enable the type of media consolidation that would make Citizen Kane look like an underachiever. This cannot be allowed to happen.
"Our democracy relies upon an informed citizenry. There are few issues that the FCC will address that will have a more profound impact on our civic institutions than media ownership rules. The FCC must give careful review and consideration to any revisions to the rules governing media cross-ownership and include ample opportunity for public review and comment."
The Free Press public interest group said the changes were "strikingly similar to one adopted in 2007 under former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin" and its President and CEO Craig Aaron added, "This action not only flies in the face of promises made by the president on the campaign trail but will also make it much harder for local and diverse owners to secure a piece of the public airwaves. Instead, the already dwindling number of smaller and independent media owners will be swallowed up by the same media giants that have crushed local journalism, killed local radio and left us with the same cookie-cutter content from coast to coast."
"Especially appalling," he continued "is the FCC's failure - once again - to meaningfully address the issue of ownership diversity. A federal court has twice rebuked the FCC for failing to consider rules that would increase ownership opportunities for women and people of colour, yet today's item punts on the issue yet again. The evidence shows that media consolidation hinders opportunities for women and people of colour to create and sustain broadcast businesses. If the FCC is serious about addressing the diversity problem, it needs to tighten its rules, not relax them."
On the other side of the argument, John Lavine, dean of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, told Bloomberg in an interview that technological change had made the current rules obsolete adding that small and minority-owned media are at a disadvantage now because they can't own other media outlets in the same market. "The bottom line is it is absolutely essential that the ownership rules be changed," said Lavine.
The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Gordon Smith also said the current rules were obsolete, commenting in a statement, "NAB supports elimination of the broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership rules because we believe journalism jobs could be saved under that scenario. We also support relief from TV duopoly rules to help sustain news and public affairs programming at struggling TV stations. Given the explosion of media outlets, we believe nearly 40-year-old ownership rules that restrict free and local broadcasting ought to be reformed to reflect today's hyper-competitive marketplace."
The 2007 rules had been challenged by CBS Corp., Clear Channel Communications Inc., Gannett, Media General Inc. and Cox Enterprises Inc. for failing to relax the rules further but so far we have seen no formal responses from any of these organizations.
2011-12-22: Plans by the BBC to end AM (medium wave) services in areas where there is FM coverage have run into opposition from the Local Government Association (LGA), which says that the plans could threaten messages that are broadcast to warn of emergencies such as floods, heavy snowfall and major traffic accidents.
The LGA is the latest organization to voice concerns at BBC plans to cut local radio services as part of its overall budget cuts that are currently the subject of a consultation by the BBC Trust and under which the Corporation wants to share programming and switch of AM transmitters in areas where FM is available but the LGA says that in some cases the FM frequency often broadcast "cracking static" rather than clear sound.
LGA culture board chairman Chris White said the organization was concerned that the BBC was "underestimating the serious implications and risks to people's safety".
"Local radio," he said "plays a key role in how councils manage an emergency and the BBC regularly sits on resilience planning panels along with police and fire authorities.
"Time and time again these arrangements have proven invaluable to local communities, from updates about school closures, heavy snowfall, road accidents and flooding, to bulletins about more unforeseen emergencies such as train crashes or dangerous criminals on the loose.
"People rely on councils for the latest information in many circumstances, and in turn we rely on local radio."
The BBC's proposed contingency pans even on paper added White sound "barely adequate" and "the reality of an emergency could well be found wanting. Residents may end up with confused broadcasts from inexperienced journalists reporting on places they know nothing about, while others with no medium wave service could be left entirely in the dark. Both are unacceptable."
The BBC said local radio will "continue to be local in times of crisis or emergency -that will not change."
Regarding AM a spokeswoman added, "The proposal is to end medium wave transmissions, except for stations where listeners depend on medium wave as an alternative to FM. We will consider carefully submissions from those areas that can show they would be disadvantaged by the withdrawal of medium wave."
"The BBC Trust," she noted "is consulting on these proposals and no decision has as yet been made."
2011-12-22: Dial Global, which yesterday announced the successful completion of its takeover (merger?) of Westwood One, has filed details with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of new employment agreements with its three Co-Chief Executive Officers Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams - who were Dial Global Managing Partners -and also an S8 Registration Form - used to register securities that will be offered to its employees via benefit or incentive plans.
Each of the three gets the same deal except for Williams who is an employee in California and thus is excluded from a non-competition provision with a basic salary of USD 600,000 plus a bonus of USD 250,000 for the 2011 financial year and annual discretionary; various benefits including a car and parking benefits of USD 1,250 per month and a country club allowance of USD 15,000 per year.
The agreement runs for an initial period of four years and starts as of October 21, the date at which Triton Media Group, LLC, Dial Global's parent, acquired voting control.
Should any of the employments be terminated without "cause" or the employee resigns for good reason or the company decided not to renew the contract the employee will be entitled to continued payment of base salary and participation in benefit programs (other than bonus and incentive compensation plans) for twenty-four months;, (accrued and unpaid base salary; unreimbursed business expenses; benefits payable to senior executives under the Company's employee benefit plans upon a termination of employment; fully earned but unpaid annual bonus in respect of any completed fiscal year which ended prior to the date of termination and a pro rata portion of the actual performance bonus that would have been paid to such Co- CEO (as determined by the Compensation Committee) for the fiscal year in which the termination occurs.
The first and last of these are dependant on the employee executing a fully effective waiver and general release.
Other filings show that each of the three gets an option to purchase 1,637,125 shares of Class A common stock of Dial Global, Inc. at USD 3.27 per share with 2.5% vesting immediately; 87.5% in monthly instalments up to Oct 2-014 and 10% and the remaining monthly instalments of 0.833% commencing on November 21, 2014 through and including October 21, 2015.
Other executives receiving options on the same basis include Board Members Triton Media Group President and CEO Neal Schore, who chairs the board (654,850); and independent directors Melvin H. Ming; Jules Haimovitz; and Peter Murphy (20,000 each).
The acquisition of Westwood One gave Oaktree Capital & Triton Radio Networks a position on the NASDAQ stock exchange with Westwood One major share and debt holder The Gores Group remaining a major stockholder with around 31% of the stock of the new company - symbol DIAL - whilst Oaktree Capital Funds have around 41%.
Previous Triton Media /Dial Global:
Previous Westwood One:
2011-12-21: UK media regulator Ofcom has updated its guidance to radio broadcasters on what it considers constitutes offensive language, although it has not changed the Broadcasting Codes themselves.
The nine-page update follows its upholding of a number of complaints about such broadcasts and Ofcom says the nine-page guidance is intended to "assist radio broadcasters in their compliance" with the Codes, in particular in relation to lyrics in music tracks; live music performances/interviews/studio conversation; and speech and comedy content.
It notes that it has conducted research on the matter since it was set up in 2003 and that this has shown "consistently audiences' concern about offensive language, above all when children are particularly likely to be listening."
Its latest research it says - the guidance includes links to this and the existing codes - show that "acceptability of offensive language was linked to the time of day it is broadcast and the target audience for the radio station" with many listeners considering the latter to be more important than the former.
The guidance suggests that in terms of children listening broadcasters should pay particular concern to material aired between 6:00 and 09:00 and 15:00 and 19:00 Monday to Friday during term time and between 06:00 and 19:00 at weekends all year around and on any day during school holidays.
It links as examples of offensive material to rulings on broadcasts by OnFM (Of a song containing the word "fuck" numerous times - See RNW Oct 24) and Brick FM (Similar breaches and the airing of "More Punany1" by Dr Evil - See RNW Sep 12).
As regards live broadcasts it says stations need to take steps beforehand to avoid the broadcast of strong language, air warnings, and take necessary action during a broadcast to mitigate any breaches ( In this case it links to a ruling on a BBC Radio 1 broadcast - Also RNW Sep 12).
It also warns against airing song lyrics "lyrics that clearly focus on the taking of drugs, sexual acts or behaviour, or convey a clearly sexualised theme, when children are particularly likely to be listening "(Links to the same Broadcast Bulletin rulings already listed) and also take care in relation to humorous comments about news events (See RNW Apr 12, 2010 re comments by Steve Penk and RNW Dec 12, 2008 re comments by Nemone).
Ofcom has also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upholds no complaints against radio but does uphold standards complaints concerning 14 broadcasts against eight TV broadcasters; noted three advertising scheduling breaches plus two cases in which advertising exceeded the allowed minutes and gave details of a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint not upheld.
This compares with no radio complaints upheld in the previous bulletin in which it considered three to have been resolved through action already taken but as regards TV imposed one fine of GBP 100,000 (USD 156,500) on Iranian-government -backed Press TV; upheld three TV standards complaints and considered another resolved and gave details of four TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
In addition to the above the bulletin lists without six TV standards complaints against six items and one radio standards complaint against one item that were not upheld: This compares with the listing of one radio complaint and four TV complaints not upheld.
Ofcom also listed a total of 552 complaints against 301 TV items and 44 complaints against 36 radio items that it assessed but did not investigate: This compares with 648 TV complaints against 312 items and 24 radio complaints against 24 items that were assessed but not further investigated in the previous bulletin.
In addition to the above Ofcom also listed ten TV cases where it has commenced investigations during the period from 1 and 14 December 2011
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
Ofcom Guidance Update (50 kb 9-page PDF):
2011-12-20: Former WBAL-FM host Ron Smith, known as the station's "Voice of Reason" has died from pancreatic cancer only weeks after announcing his retirement for health reasons. He had told his listeners in October that he had advanced pancreatic cancer (See RNW Oct 17) and at the end of last month announced that he was retiring for health reasons and had decided to end his chemotherapy treatment
Smith, who turned 70 on Dec 2, also wrote a weekly column for the Baltimore Sun and WBAL notes that in his final column he commented, "What is a mere individual to do? Live as sane and decent a life as you can, love your family and friends and understand that everybody is in this together. My work here is done."
It added that Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh called Ron on his birthday and called their 30-minute phone conversation with Ron, "one of the most encouraging and motivational conversations I've ever had with anyone in my life."
Smith went to Baltimore in 1973 as a reporter and anchor for WBAL-TV's "Action News" and after the station decided to "part ways" with him in 1980 became a stockbroker for a period: He was hired by WBAL radio in 1984 and remained on air at the station until last month.
He was involved in controversy in 2003 when he told his listeners that he opposed the Iraq war - comments that led to a loss of listeners and advertisers for his show - and he praised station management for standing by him.
He said his own politics were libertarian but earned the respect of politicians and Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski in a statement today described him as a "talented and well-informed broadcaster who became one of our most beloved radio icons" and added " Known for being a straight-shooter, he was honest and direct with his listeners. Ron truly loved his audience. And they loved him. We often disagreed, but I respected him for being knowledgeable and fair.
Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin in his statement said of Smith, "While Ron and I often disagreed, he was always fair, he was always insightful and he was always honest with his listeners. Today, I join the many, many fans of Ron Smith in mourning the passing of someone I had enormous respect for and who I counted as a true friend."
2011-12-20: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that ABC 891 (Call sign 5AN) , Adelaide, breakfast hosts Matthew Abraham and David Bevan breached the broadcaster's Code of Practice relating to bias in an interview with former South Australian treasurer and deputy premier Kevin Foley about an assault on him in a tapas bar. The ruling is the first finding of bias against the broadcaster since 2004.
The ACMA ruling "de-identifies" the broadcasters - a move they said they pointed out was impossible since there is only on ABC breakfast programme in the city and only one Kevin Foley - but the regulator went ahead and refers to the two only as Presenters A (Bevan) and B (Abraham) in its transcript of the interview published as part of the ruling.
The ACMA said it had received two complaints about the interview, one objecting to the "tone" of the interview and contending that Foley "had every right to feel unfairly persecuted during the interview" and the second that Foley was treated in a "derisory and contemptuous fashion" and also that the broadcast had conveyed prejudice against Mr Foley or against people as a group with the disability of clinical depression and discriminated against Mr Foley on the basis of his sex.
The ACMA said there had been no breach of codes relating to prejudice on grounds of sex and disability but that the hosts had shown bias, displayed fixed prejudgment on the topics discussed, asked loaded questions and used disparaging language.
The ABC argued that the subject matter of the interview was selected on news value - Foley had been attacked in public last year, an attack that earlier this month resulted in that attacked being given a suspended jail sentence - and that the interview was conducted in a "calm and measured tone" and that Foley was given ample opportunity to answer fully all the questions put to him.
The ACMA disagreed and in its finding commented that "the presenters conveyed prejudgments and used language that gave effect to a real or assumed enmity (in the form of derision) towards the interviewee. These features in conjunction meant that the broadcast as a whole was not impartial."
Particular reference was made to comments from Abraham during the interview in which he said "If this is how argumentative you are in an interview, is it little wonder you get into strife in a pub after everyone's had a few drinks?" and from Bevan suggesting that Foley was part to blame when he said "You know there are children today who are going to go to school who will avoid certain places, because they just know they'll get into trouble. A child will know that."
The ABC in a statement rejected the ruling and defended the interviewers saying that it continued to disagree with the ACMA's interpretation of its Code and the ACMA says it is "liaising" with the ABC over its response.
Foley told Adelaide Now that the ruling was a victory for public figures subjected to "unfair " interviews, adding, "No public figure should expect less than hard questioning but when an interview is humiliating and offensive, it makes you question why you want to be in public life."
He then said, "It was a pivotal moment in my thinking and had serious ramifications for my career aspirations and my desire to keep doing the job. I'll await the ABC's response and I'm also pursuing independent legal advice on matters of defamation."
Previous ABC, Australia:
ACMA ruling (including transcript - in a 29-page 832 kb Word document): Adelaide Now report:
2011-12-19: CBS Radio has announced that it is to move the AC format of its WLTE-FM (Lite FM), Minneapolis, to the HD2 channel of sister station KJZK-FM (Jack FM) and use the 102.9 frequency for its country format BUZ'N.
The flip will take place at 08:00 and the new station will also be available online at www.buzn1029.com - already live and proclaiming that it will "feature popular country music and artists including the newest releases and hits from Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Band Perry, and Lady Antebellum" - and through the Radio.com app on mobile devices.
Mick Anselmo, CBS radio Minneapolis Senior Vice President/Market Manager commented in a news release that the new station "will offer Minneapolis area residents the best in new country music, culture, and community both on-air and through online outlets. Launching a brand in the digital age offers us a whole new array of multi-platform communication and connection with our audience" and added, "Country music is continuing to rise in popularity and its core artists have become recognizable to a broad audience of music fans. This immense interest in the format from a variety of different listening audiences and backgrounds makes it the perfect time to introduce Twins Cities listeners to this fresh new station "
The company's Vice President Country Programming Jeff Kapugi said CBS Radio was a "leader and visionary in the country music space and home to some of the top rated country stations in the nation. Country music is rapidly becoming a national pastime and now Minneapolis residents will have a great choice for the latest country music in BUZ'N. We cannot wait to hire and bring top-notch radio talent to the Twin Cities and connect with the community at local shows and events."
2011-12-19: UK media regulator Ofcom has fined two community broadcasters GBP 500 (USD 775) each for breached of their licence conditions, both for not broadcasting as required for periods.
West London station Westside Media serves the multicultural community living in Southall and following a complaint that it was not broadcasting licensee BBC Media Ltd. admitted that the radio service had not been compliant throughout much of February when a programme service had not been provided. Subsequently the licensee provided an automated "sustaining service? that did not meet the requirement to provide typically 12 hours per day of live output.
In Wales, Afan FM (now broadcasting as XS) was airing back-to-back music for a period in December last year and licensee Neath Port Talbot (NPT) Broadcasting C.I.C. admitted that the service did not comply with its licence requirements.
2011-12-18: Last week was again quiet from the regulators as regards radio postings with none from Australia or Ireland and only a few elsewhere:
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made the following radio related postings.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to operate a 9 watts low-power FM rebroadcasting transmitter at Field, British Columbia to replace its existing AM transmitter CBRD, which carries the signal of CBTK-FM, Kelowna.
*Approval of application by Native Communication Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the English- and Native-language Type B Native FM radio station CICY-FM, Selkirk, by increasing the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 106.4 to 144.8 metres and by relocating the transmitter.
*Notice of consultation, with a February 6 deadline for interventions or comments, regarding an application from Neeti P. Ray, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for changes to the licence of ethnic station CJNR-FM Windsor. The application is to change the frequency from 95.9 MHz to 102.3 MHz; relocate the transmitter; decrease the antenna height from 145 to 55.5 metres; and decrease the power from 2,900 to 1,900 watts.
The commission had approved an application for the licence in May 2008 but required Ray to submit an application for a different frequency than the 95.9 for which he had applied.
The CRTC noted that also in May 2008 it had approved an application from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add a nested FM rebroadcasting transmitter in Windsor on frequency 102.3 MHz for its CBE-AM, Windsor, but that a subsequent approval of a conversion of the station to FM meant that the CBS had not brought the nested FM into service, thus making the 102.3 MHz frequency available.
As already noted there were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has allowed a format change for Original FM Aberdeen Ltd., which is to be allowed to broaden the range of music it airs (See RNW Dec 12).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was far more concerned with TV than radio - particularly the loudness of advertisements and public file requirements for TV stations.
As regards non standard radio announcements the agency has issued a USD 1,500 forfeiture to an Ohio AM for late filing of renewal application. It had issued a NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture) for this amount in May 2007 to Taylor Broadcasting, licensee of WJTB-AM, North Ridgeville, but received no response and accordingly it confirmed the penalty.
The agency also bad farewell to Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps who has announced that he will stand down by the start of the New Year or sooner if his successor is approved (See RNW Dec 6): The US Senate Commerce Committee has already approved the nominations of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Ajit Pai as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners but Iowa Republican Senator Charles "Chuck" Grassley is still saying he will block approval by the full senate (See RNW Dec 8).
In his tribute to Copps, Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell described Copps as his "favourite principled liberal" and said that before he first met Copps -when he himself was in the private sector - "I was a bit intimidated" but continued "He quickly put me at ease, however, with his straightforward, thoughtful and genteel manner."
He said of their work at the FCC, "We worked together more than most FCC observers probably realize. Sometimes we took different philosophical paths but arrived at the same destination, such as with the contentious issue that faced me before I was even sworn in: multi-cast must-carry. We both declined to support it, but for different reasons" and noted that when Copps was standing in as Chairman "We voted together 100 percent of time."
Democrat Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn described her outgoing colleague as "part professor, part watchful critic, part sage, but is all friend, all mentor, and all public servant" who "consistently provides a voice to the voiceless."
Previous Licence News:
2011-12-17: While the major players seem to be moving more into news and talk from music, the same is apparently not necessarily true for smaller operators as evinced by a decision by Tennessee operator Brewer Media to drop news-talk from its WPLZ-FM (NewsTalk 95), Chattanooga, after three years.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the station will move to another as-yet non announced format in the new year and has laid off a half dozen employees, including news director Louis Lee, program director Gary Poole and talk show hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes.
It quotes company president Jim Brewer II as saying of the move, "I think we offered a good product and I will miss having NewsTalk in our building" and continuing, "Being a small, single market cluster," he said, "it's exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure."
Brewer operates three other stations but is competing in news-talk with top-rated Cumulus-owned WGOW-AM and FM.
The picture is not the same everywhere however with the Santa Cruz Sentinel reporting that Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO-AM, is hoping to capitalize on the changes Cumulus has made at KGO-AM, San Francisco (See RNW Dec 2).
Zwerling, it reports is aggressively courting the hosts who were fired and he is quoted as saying, "They blew out the heart and soul of that station. It's just impossible for me to fathom how they could take the goose who laid the golden egg and shoot it in the back of the head."
Zwerling has not hired any of those fired so far but has used former KGO personalities to fill in -- last week, long-time KGO host Bill Wattenberg sat in as a vacation replacement on KSCO's morning show "Good Morning, Monterey Bay" and the station has also brought in former KGO overnight host Ray Taliaferro, who was from the left of the spectrum on KGO, as a guest.
We're going to pick up every former KGO personality that we possibly can," said Zwerling, who emphasises local programming although the station airs Rush Limbaugh from 0900 to noon. Even there, however, he says that his ultimate aim is for an all-local line-up.
Chattanooga Times Free Press report:
Santa Cruz Sentinel report:
2011-12-16: Clear Channel may be holding back on its plans to drop progressive talk from KKGN-AM (Green960) at the start of next year according to Brad Friedman on his blog.
When Clear Channel made its move last month it said that it would launch "San Francisco's Talk 910 KKKSF" on January 3 on the 910 frequency currently used by KNEW-AM (Fox NewsRadio 910AM); move KNEW to the 960 AM frequency and shift KKGN to the HD2 Channel of oldies KKSF-FM (See RNW Nov 30).
Friedman notes that All Access reported that the plan may be on hold and says he has the same word from several insider sources. All Access in its report speculated that Clear Channel could have decided to modify its plans following the subsequent announcement by Cumulus that it was moving KGO-AM to a more news-oriented output and dropping a number of hosts in including Gene Burns, Gil Gross, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann (See RNW Dec 2).
Friedman says he has still to get firm confirmation that Clear Channel has changed its plans but "can confirm that some of the changes, previously in the works for the Jan 3 format change, are, for the moment, at least in a temporary holding pattern."
Cumulus's plans in the meantime have aroused opposition from various listeners who have mounted protests at the station and also launched an OccupyKGOAM810 Facebook protest.
Amongst suggestions made are that disgruntled fans could collectively buy the station from Cumulus and Rich Lieberman reported at the start of last week that long time KGO General Manager Mickey Luckoff is involved in talks about a deal that could put some of the hosts dropped by Cumulus back on the air.
Potential targets reports Lieberman include a CBS FM - "probably 'Live 105', which currently has an Alternative Rock format" or possibly ESPN Deportes affiliate KTRB-AM ("Xtra Sports 860"), which was taken over by the Comerica Bank in September 2010 from the receiver and is being operated under a Local Management Agreement by Deportes Media.
Previous Clear Channel:
All Access report:
2011-12-16: BBC Radio 4 has announced that it is to air a 30-part series Sport And The British starting on January 30 and running daily for six weeks that will examine how Britain has shaped sport and how sport has shaped the British.
The series was made in partnership with The International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, led by Prof Richard Holt and Prof Tony Collins and was produced in BBC Birmingham.
It will be fronted by Clare Balding who commented of it in a BBC news release, "For me sport has always been at the centre of my existence. Horse racing isn't just a hobby for my family; it's a way of life. And having embraced all games as a child and ridden as an amateur jockey, I have presented and commentated on sport for nearly all of my adult years."
She continued, "I'm intrigued and fascinated by how this great triviality is so central to our culture. With the help of the academic team at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, at De Montfort University, we are going to discover how and why Great Britain defined sport and sport defined Great Britain."
Themes explored in the series, says the station, will include: the origins of modern sport within the world of aristocracy; sport in the Victorian era; how sport spread throughout The Empire; the relationship between class, race and sport; the power of sport to unite a nation; the rise of women in the world of sport; how sport went global via television; and the future of sporting Britain.
Episodes will not be in chronological order however - the opening programme looks at the birth of the modern Olympics and what lessons can be drawn in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics from those staged since 1896 - the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin who had been inspired to revive the Olympic movement (the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD) by a visit to Rugby.
2011-12-15: Houston radio veteran and long time morning host on Clear Channel's country KVET-FM Bob Cole has left the station after some two decades. Its website currently carries a banner at the top of its home page linking to a "FAREWELL TO BOB COLE" that then carries a statement on the departure and comments from listeners.
The statement starts by saying (In capitals), "BOB COLE HAS MADE THE DECISION NOT TO RENEW HIS AGREEMENT WITH KVET FM AFTER MANY YEARS OF GREAT PARTNERSHIP."
It continues, "HIS YEARS OF SERVICE AND DEDICATIN TO THE RADIO STATION AND ITS LISTENERS WILL ALLWAYS BE RMEMEBERED AND APRPECIATED" and then goes on to note his work with Operation Blue Santa, the Dell Children's Hospital, and for military and other organisations and charities that it says "MAY NEVER BE EQUALLED."
It concludes, "BOB, YOU WILL BE MISSED AS WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST IN THE FUTURE."
Below this it had 105 comments listed when we last checked (2245 GMT Dec 16 - in Internet Explorer it shows only one and then asks people to log in via Facebook but Mozilla links to them all) with the overwhelming majority critical of the station and some somewhat sceptical about the reasons for Cole's departure.)
Cole himself told the American Statesman, "I revere the KVET call letters and the incredible people I've worked with over the years. There's no animosity. Everything's going to be OK" and went on to say it was too early to think of what comes next but added, "Watch out. It's going to be a lot more difficult to turn me off face to face."
The departure follows a number of changes at the station that reduced talk from hosts and moved to a more music-intensive format including the departure of a number of hosts, some of whom are mentioned in the comments including Sammy Allred (who co-hosted the morning show with Cole until fired in October 2007 - he was said to have called a listener an asshole).
Tom Allen, former host of the station's "Country Gold" programme told the paper, "The departure of Bob Cole brings to an end an era at KVET-FM. I enjoyed a nearly 25-year relationship working with Bob Cole, and I can honestly say I have never known a more professional radio personality in my nearly 50-year career. "When it came to knowing the community, Bob was the connected air personality in Austin. And, as a spokesman for a commercial client, Bob is unsurpassed in his ability to sell a product or service."
RNW comment: Dipping through the comments, we couldn't find one that was positive about changes made at the station and if the sentiments expressed are in any way representative of the station's actual audience it's going to lose a fair number and provide a great opportunity for a competitor dial to take much of the audience.
It will be interesting to see if Cole does turn up elsewhere on the dial and whether any competitor is smart enough to dent the market dominance of KVET and is sister country station KASE.
Previous Clear Channel:
American Statesman report:
KVET - Cole farewell page & comments:
2011-12-15: Merlin Media Chairman and CEO Randy Michaels (real name Benjamin Homel), who was slated to appear in court yesterday to face charges of operating a vehicle whilst impaired - an Ohio offence more generally termed driving under the influence elsewhere - and driving on a closed street, will now face the charges on Jan 13 after the hearing was postponed.
Michaels was arrested in October (See RNW Oct 14) after police saw his car stuck in mud on a construction site and smelled alcohol on his breath. He refused to take a breathalyzer test and was charged and was originally to appear in Middleton Municipal Court on Oct 21.Michaels lawyer has entered a not guilty plea to the charges.
*RNW note: For those who appreciate mug shots, Robert Feder's report in Time Out Chicago has shots of Michaels to accompany his report.
2011-12-14: Hubbard Broadcasting has announced that it has appointed Laurie Cantillo, a former Program Director for Oprah & Friends Radio, on Sirius/XM and of 77 WABC and WABCradio.com in New York, as Program Director of WTOP, the all-news digital news organization in Washington DC that includes WTOP-FM: The company acquired WTOP with 16 other former Bonneville radio stations in a USD 505 million deal announcrd in Jaznuary (See RNW Jan 19).
The appointment follows a contract extension for WTOP Vice President of News and Programming Jim Farley that runs to 2014 and Hubbard Senior Regional Vice President Joel Oxley said, "The addition of Laurie Cantillo to his team will help us grow the WTOP Brand across all our platforms: FM radio, streaming audio, wtop.com, Facebook, Twitter, our mobile platform and e-mail and text updates."
Cantillo will report to Farley and the appointment is part of an expansion of Hubbard's Washington newsroom that will see increased emphasis on digital output with both radio and digital staffed 24/7 working together to optimize reports for all outlets-radio, the internet, mobile devices and social media.
WTOP is one of the largest grossing stations in the US but it will be facing increased competition soon as CBS has announced plans to launch an all-news FM competitor in the DC area in January (See RNW Nov 16).
2011-12-14: BBC Radio 1, which earlier this month announced DJ changes from next year (See RNW Dec 7) has not announced the appointment of two executives with immediate effect.
Rhys Hughes has been appointed Head of Programmes for Radio 1 and 1Xtra: His role replaces that of current controller Ben Cooper's previous role as Deputy Controller at the station and Cooper commented, "Rhys is passionate about new music, and making great radio for young audiences. I believe his experience, energy and ideas will support me in driving both networks forward."
Hughes has been an Executive Producer at Radio 1 since 2000 and is currently responsible for The Chris Moyles Show, Fearne Cotton and Dev. He has worked across both mainstream and specialist output, overseeing shows including Scott Mills, Pete Tong, Trevor Nelson and Tim Westwood and since joining the station has picked up three Sony Awards and has been instrumental in Radio 1 and 1Xtra's link up with BFBS, broadcasting live from Camp Bastion in 2010 and again in 2011.
He commented of his appointment, "I'm delighted to be taking on the role of Head of Programmes for Radio 1 and 1Xtra and leading the editorial direction of both stations and I'm excited about the challenges that we face to move both youth networks forward in the digital world."
Cooper has also appointed Nicola Di Tullio, who is currently Business Manager for Radio 1 and 1Xtra, to the post of Network Manager. Her appointment follows the news that the stations' current Managing Editor, Tarrant Steele, is to leave after 15 years at the end of December to take up the role of Operations Director at Participle.
Di Tullio has been Business Manager for the stations since 2003 prior to which she was a project manager working with Cooper's predecessor Andy Parfitt. Before she joined Radio 1 as a publicist, she had worked in the BBC Press Office.
2011-12-14: Australia's digital radio industry, which last month announced that Hino had become the first auto maker to include DAB+ digital radio as standard in its range of vehicles says that Toyota has now included DAB+ receivers in its Australian-built top-of-the range Camry Atara SL.
The vehicle, which is built in Melbourne, costs just under AUD 40,000 (USD 40,000) and it combines the DAB+ receiver with a7-inch touch screen display, a 10-speaker JBL sound system, a CD player, reversing camera, Bluetooth hands-free and music streaming, as well as auxiliary and USB ports.
Joan Warner, chief executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, commented, "Toyota is one of Australia's leading car manufacturers and the radio industry is delighted they have included digital radio in the Atara SL.
"Around 33% of radio listening in Australia is in the car and we are thrilled Toyota Camry Atara SL drivers will now be able to experience digital quality sound, scrolling text with song information and a range of new stations.
Amongst other automakers BMW and Audi have announced DAB+ digital radio as an option in a range of vehicles.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-12-13: Latest Australian radio ratings, the last of the year, show most of the leaders at the start of the year still where they were but in the yo-yo battle for individual top Sydney ratings Ray Hadley ended on a high note with his morning show on Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB with an unchanged 17.7% share ahead of Alan Jones breakfast show, which was down from 17.5% to 16.4%: At the start of the year Jones was just in the lead with an 18.8% share (up from 17.8% at the end of 2010) and Hadley had 18.6% (Up from 16.3% at the end of 2010).
2GB, of course, was in top rank throughout the year in Sydney and elsewhere Fairfax Media's Melbourne 3AW which began in top rank with a 15.0 share (14.4 at the end of 2010) remained top with a 13.6 share.
Nielsen had also been due to release first radio ratings for Hobart, Tasmania, for nine years - the last were conducted in 2002 - but has pulled the plug n them: The Australian quotes Peter Cornelius, Nielsen's head of media for Australia and New Zealand, as saying, "We decided to hold back doing a survey release because the sample wasn't sufficiently representative. We always over-sample, but we can't control what comes back. That's the nature of the random sample."
The paper says the sample over-represented older listeners and under-represented younger ones and Cornelius said he hoped the commercial networks and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation would commission further sampling in the future, but that it would be impractical to put the diaries back into the market before Christmas.
In other markets, Brisbane saw Australian Radio Network's (ARN) 97.3 FM end in top rank with 11.7- up from 11.4 (Flooding there meant no ratings were issued for the city at the start of this year -- See RNW Jan 17 - but 2010 ended with then Austereo-owned (it is now Southern Cross Austereo following a takeover) B105 in top spot with a 12.1 share and it was also in the lead in the second ratings with a. 11.8 share: In a tight race it and 97.3 FM swapped the top spot with DMG's Nova hard on their heels).
In Adelaide, ARN's Mix 102.3 ended top with a 15.7 share have started the year in top spot with 15.6 and ended last year in second rank with DMG/Illyra-owned (Lachlan Murdoch's Illyria bought 50% of DMG Radio Australia in 2009) 5AA in the lead.
In Perth the year began with Austereo's MIX 94.5 in the lead with a 15.2 share, a rank that it held at the end of 2010 with 16.3 and at the end of this year as a Southern Cross Australia station with a 15.1 share.
In the FM race, Southern Cross Austereo's 2-Day held on to the top spot in Sydney in all slots, leading at Breakfast, Morning, Afternoon, Drive, Evening and also at weekends.
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: Mix 102.3 with 15.7 (16.2) -Same rank; 5AA with 13.9 (13.5) - Same rank; ABC 891 with 10.9 (10.5) - same rank.
Nova than moved up a rank to fourth with 10.6 (9.8), swapping places with SAFM which was down to fifth with 10.4 (10.3) followed Cruise 1323, which remained sixth with an unchanged 9.0.
*Brisbane - 97.3 FM - with 11.7 (11.4) up from fourth; Nova 106.9 with 11.4 (11.8) - down from second; B105 with 11.3 (11.7) - down from second;
*4MMM with 11.1 (11.7) was then down a rank to fourth followed by ABC612, which remained fifth with 9.9 (10.5) after which 4KQ was up a rank to sixth with 7.9 (7.6); then 4JJ, which was up a rank to seventh with 7.4 (6.0) and 4BC was down to ranks to eighth with 6/8 (7.6).
*Melbourne - 3AW with 13.6 (16.4) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.9 (10.3) - up from third; Fox FM with 10.9 (10.5) - down from second;
*Gold was then up two ranks to fourth with 7.5 (6.9), followed by Nova, which was down a rank to fifth with 7.0 (8.)); after which Mix 101.1 was up two ranks to sixth with 6.7 (6.0); 3MM was then seventh, down from fifth with 6.6 (7.4) and Magic eighth with 6.1 (6.3) - down a rank.
DMG's Melbourne's 91.5, formerly Classic Rock and Vega was up a rank to tenth with 4.2 (3.2) but Melbourne Talk Radio fell a rank to 14th with 2.1 (1.9) and NewsRadio remained bottom with 1.2 (1.3).
Perth: Mix 94.5 with 15.1 (16.6) -same rank; 92.9 with 12.6 (11.2) - same rank;
6JJ with 10.3 (9.5) - up from seventh.
*ABC 720 was then down a rank to fourth with 9.9 (10.5) - down from second;
Nova 93.7 was down a rank to fifth with 9.7 (9.8) after which 96FM then remained sixth with 9.4 (9.6) and 6PR, which was third two ratings ago was down to seventh with 9.3 (9.7).
Sydney - 2GB 14.2 (14.4) - same rank; ABC 702 with 10.3 (9.9) - same rank; 2-DAY with 9.9 (9.5) - same rank;
*After this WSFM remained fourth with 7.7 (6.7), followed by Nova, which was up a rank to fifth with an unchanged 6.0. 2CH then jumped up from ninth to sixth with 5.5 (5.0) followed by Mix 106.5, which was up a rank to seventh with 5.5 (5.3) ahead of 2UE, which was down from fifth to eighth with 5.3 (6.1). 2MMM was then down two ranks to ninth with 5.0 (5.6).
DMG's Sydney's 95.3, the former Classic Rock and previously Vega, remained 11th with 3.2 (3.5).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian Radio Network (ARN):
Previous Australian Ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross Austereo:
2011-12-13: The BBC, which in 2007 was the first British broadcaster to launch podcasts, says it has now passed the billion-download mark from a total that has now reached some 320 titles - monthly, weekly, daily and ad-hoc.
The BBC says News programmes have been the most downloaded daily podcasts over the period - with Global News leading the way (89 million downloads since 2007) followed by NewsPod (45 million) and the Today Programme (41 million) - while The Archers has reached 35 million downloads; Radio 4's History Of The World In 100 Objects 25 million since 2010 and Radio 1's Scott Mills Daily 31 million.
Of the weekly downloads The Best Of Chris Moyles / Best Of Moyles Enhanced has been downloaded most (50 million combined), followed by Radio 4's Friday Night Comedy (47 million), Kermode & Mayo's Film Reviews (24 million) and Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time (20 million).
The Top 10 daily and weekly titles since the service began are as follows:
DAILY: Entire World Top (millions)
1 Global News (World Service) 89
2 Documentaries (World Service) 77
3 NewsPod (Radio) 45
4 Best Of Today (Radio 4) 41
5 The Archers (Radio 4) 35
6 Scott Mills Daily (Radio 1) 31
7 A History Of The World In 100 Objects (Radio 4) 25
8 5 live Football Daily (5 live) 16
9 Business Daily (World Service) 14
10 World Business Report (World Service) 11
WEEKLY: Entire World (millions)
1 Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 (Radio 4) 47
2 Best Of Chris Moyles (Radio 1) 29
3 Mark Kermode And Simon Mayo's Film Reviews (5 live) 24
4 Peter Day's World of Business (Radio) 23
5 Best Of Chris Moyles Enhanced (Radio 1) 21
6 In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg (Radio 4) 20
7 From Our Own Correspondent (Radio 4) 19
8 6 Minute English (World Service) 17
9 Chris Evans Breakfast - The Best Bits (Radio 2) 16
10 The English We Speak (World Service) 12
2011-12-12: Arbitron's latest RADAR network rating - RADAR 111, which covers the period from September 16, 2010 to September 14, 2011- show Triton Media's Dial Global networks holding onto the three top ranks for both the 18-49 and 25-54 demographics as in the previous RADAR 110 ratings - with its Dial Global Complete FM Network moving up to top rank for the 25-54 demographic, swapping places with its Dial Global Contemporary Network, now in second place, and with the Dial Global Adult Power Nnetwork holding on to third rank. Triton also took eighth rank with its Dial Global Female Perspective, which had been in the same spot in RADAR 110.
Of the other top ten rankings in the 25-54 demographic, Premiere Radio Networks had five spots, again as previously, and the remaining spot was held by United Stations, whose Impact Network retained seventh rank.
Cumulus's top ranking was 11th with its Media Family FM Network - (formerly Citadel Media Family FM Network but Cumulus has now killed the Citadel name after taking over Citadel), which was up from 14th - and Westwood One, which was in effect taken over by Dial Global in a "merger" announced in August (See RNW Aug 1) disappeared as a name. Its Adults Network had been eleventh in RADAR 110.
Amongst the 18-49 demographic Dial Global took the same four spots; Premiere five -with Premiere Modern Women Network retaining fourth rank; Premiere Today's Men Network remaining fifth; Premiere Young Influencers retaining seventh rank; Premiere Informed Network retaining ninth rank; and Premiere Daytime Youth Network retaining the tenth spot.
The Top ten networks amongst the 25-54 demographic (Arbitron as indicated above also posts details for the 18-49 demographic) were (with the RADAR 110 figures in brackets):
1 - Dial Global Complete FM Network with an average audience of 4.816 million and an average rating of 3.6 (In RADAR 110 the network was second with 4.260 million and an average rating of 3.4).
2 - Dial-Global Contemporary Network with an average audience of 4.418 million and an average rating of 3.3 (In RADAR 110 it was first with an average audience of 4.304 million and an average rating of 3.4).
3: Dial Global Adult Power Network with an average audience of 2.967 million and an average rating of 2.2 (In RADAR 110 the network was third with an average audience of 3.001 million and an average rating of 2.4).
4: Premiere Modern Women Network with an average audience of 2,658 million and an average rating of 2.0 (In RADAR 110 it was sixth with an average audience of 2,616 million and an average rating of 2.1).
5: Premiere Today's Men Network with an average audience of 2.645 million and an average rating of 2.0 (In RADAR 110 it was fourth with an average audience of 2.842 million and an average rating of 2.2).
6: United Stations Impact Network with an average audience of 2. 535 million and an average rating of 1.9 (In RADAR 110 it was seventh with an average audience of 2. 283 million and an average rating of 1.8).
7: Premiere Young Influencers: 15 Network with an average audience of 2.423 million and an average rating of 1.8 (In RADAR 110 it was ninth with an average audience of 2.120 million and an average rating of 1.7).
8: Dial Global Female Perspective Network with an average audience of 2.184 million and an average rating of 1.6 (In RADAR 110 it was eighth with an average audience of 2.164 million and an average rating of 1.7).
9: Premiere Informed Network with an average audience of 2.166 million and an average rating of 1.6 (In RADAR 110 it was fifth with an average audience of 2,796 million and an average rating of 2.2).
10: Premiere Daytime Youth Network with an average audience of 2.069 million and an average rating of 1.5 (In RADAR 110 it was 17th with an average audience of 1.819 million and an average rating of 1.4
Arbitron also noted in a release that RAJAR 111 showed network radio's "power in reaching a mass audience in all demographics on a year over year basis" and adds that commercials aired on the 55 radio networks measure reached:
72.8% of Persons aged 12+ (189,015,000 Persons)
73.2% of Persons aged 18+ (171,718,000 Persons)
72.5% of Persons aged 35+ (118,796,000 Persons)
75.7% of Persons aged 18-49 (102,140,000 Persons)
76.2% of Persons aged 25-54 (96,615,000 Persons)
In all, it said, network radio reaches more than 189 million persons 12 and older on a weekly basis'
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 110)
2011-12-12: Original FM Aberdeen Ltd. is to be allowed to change its music output following a request to and subsequent consultation (See RNW Licence News Oct 2) by UK media regulator Ofcom.
The station asked to replace its current Character of Service that requires it to be "album [track]-led" and instead proposed a format that read, "an adult alternative station playing adult-orientated album tracks, classic rock and predominantly non-contemporary pop/rock hits, with particular appeal for 35-59 year old male listeners, with 24-hour news."
Ofcom received five responses to the consultation of which three were confidential - of the non-confidential responses one in favour and the other from the local Member of Parliament expressing concern that Ofcom should fully consider the interests and output of the two smaller commercial stations in Aberdeenshire, NECR (North East Community Radio which operates from nearby Inverurie (less than 15 miles away) and Waves Radio (based in Peterhead and which also made representations to their own MP), whose coverage areas overlap with that of Original. The two stations had expressed concern about their ability to compete with the much more powerful signal of Original and noted that the licence was awarded in 2007 from a competitive field and on the basis that they proposed a distinct service from their local competitors.
Ofcom's radio licensing committee in approving the change said that it took the view that he new format's requirement to play particular genres of music (i.e. classic rock and predominantly non-contemporary pop/rock hits), the retention of the requirement to play some album tracks, and the new mandate to target specifically male listeners, should continue to ensure that Original sounds distinctive from other local stations in Aberdeenshire
It added that it noted the suggestion from one respondent that the Format for the sake of clarity should continue to provide a specific definition of what constitutes an album track and agreed that this should be made a condition of the approval of the format change.
2011-12-11: Last week saw a little more radio-related activity than of late from most of the regulators although yet again there were no radio postings from Ireland.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that a quiz on Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB following the December 2010 Christmas Island boat accident in which nearly 50 asylum seekers died breached industry codes of conduct (See RNW Dec 9).
The ACMA is also seeking comments - with a January 20 deadline - on proposals to make available FM frequencies for fill-in transmitters in Oberon, New South Wales, and Ravenshoe, Queensland.
In Oberon it proposes to make 101.5 MHz available with a maximum power level of 100 watts for an in-fill transmitter for the 2BS commercial service and in Ravenshoe it plans to make 91.3 MHz available with a maximum ERP of 250 watts for an in-fill transmitter for the 4AM commercial radio service.
Canada was a little busier with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) making a number of radio postings including:
*Approval of application from Touch Canada Broadcasting Limited Partnership to increase from 9,000 to 18,400 watts the power of its English-language commercial station CKRD-FM, Red Deer.
*Approval of application from Russell Randall Julian, in his capacity as General Manager of the radio station to be known as Shubie FM Radio, for a broadcasting licence to operate an English- and Mikmaw-language, 50 watts low-power Type B Native FM radio programming undertaking in Micmac,
The station would broadcast 126 hours of programming per broadcast week, with a minimum of 20 hours of station-produced programming, and would include a minimum of 30 hours of programming in the Mikmaw language.
*Approval of application from Eternacom Inc. to add an FM transmitter at Mattawa to carry the programming of its English-language commercial station CJTK-FM-1, North Bay.
*Approval of application from Subanasiri Vaithilingam, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (OBCI), for a broadcasting licence to operate a of 45 watts commercial ethnic FM radio programming undertaking in Scarborough, Ontario.
Up to 90% of its programming to programming will be directed to the South Asian community, including programming primarily targeted to the Tamil community (60%), as well as programming targeted to the Punjabi (20%) and Filipino (10%) communities.
The application was opposed by 3885275 Canada Inc., licensee of CJSA-FM, Toronto, and Bhupinder Bola with both saying the Tamil community was already well-served in the area and the first expressing concern about the effect on CJSA-FM and saying that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was already served by nine ethnic stations and submitted that the market could not support the entry of a new ethnic radio station.
The applicant responded by saying that its new low-power FM station would have very little impact on other stations in the market and that both CJSA-FM and its proposed FM station could serve the Tamil community in the market and the CRTC in granting the application noted that what was being proposed was a low-power ethnic station with coverage primarily limited to Scarborough and that the growth within the GTA's Tamil population and business community will help offset the potential impact on CJSA-FM..
The CRTC also noted that Bhupinder Bola indicated that it intended to apply for a new service to serve an area similar to the one proposed at the same frequency and said that since the current application is for a low-power frequency, the Commission will proceed with this application regardless of the possibility of future applications for that same frequency.
The CRTC also posted details of a number of decisions that did not require a public process and that it processed during the period of 1 July 2011 to 31 August 2011 pursuant to its streamlined procedures.
These included the one radio posting, an extension to 1 August 2012 of the time limit to bring into operation a new English-language, low-power commercial FM CJBT-FM, Beeton-Tottenham, Ontario. It noted that this would be the last extension it would grant
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has awarded four new community radio licences (See RNW Dec 8) and also posted its November Radio Update (See RNW Dec 6) and upheld no radio complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW Dec 5).
Ofcom also posted its draft annual plan (in which broadcast radio gets hardly a mention) regarding which it is asking for comment by February 17 next year and an update of its Memorandum of Understanding between Ofcom and the BBC Trust regarding significance tests under which Ofcom's input will form part of the Trust's overall significance test that determine in relation to BBC Executive proposals when a Public Value Test (PVT) must be applied.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was involved in a number of enforcement actions, handing out or proposing penalties of USD 46,000 on pirate operators and radio stations (See RNW Dec 7).
The agency also, nearly a decade after legal action was taken against it over not having in place procedures required by various laws concerning effect of communications towers on migratory birds, has now come forward with proposals following a 2008 Curt decision against it (See RNW Dec 10).
The FCC is also seeking comment in relation to its proposals in a Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules posted on November 7 concerning what additional steps should the Commission take to identify rules that should be changed, streamlined, consolidated, or removed?; How can the Commission further reduce burdens on industry and consumers while fostering competition, diversity and innovation?; Are there Commission rules or reporting requirements that are duplicative or that have conflicting requirements among its bureaus and offices or with other agencies?; and Are there Commission rules or reporting requirements that could be modified to better accomplish their regulatory objectives?
In non-routine radio licensing decisions the FCC has granted a request from Canyon Media Group, LLC to upgrade and change the community of license for KCLS-FM from Channel 269C2, Pioche, Nevada, to Channel 268C1, Leeds, Utah.
Canyon and Lincoln County School District (LCSD) had initiated a "hybrid" application/rule making proceeding under which LCSD proposed to upgrade and change the community of license of its non-commercial educational Station
KLYX-FM from Channel 209C3, Panaca, Nevada, to Channel 209C2, Pioche, Nevada but the two applications became separated and the KLYX-FM application had already been granted.
The FCC concluded that the KCLS-FM application, which could not have been processed under amended rules it brought in under its Second Report and Order in its Rural Radio proceeding, was entitled a waiver and processing under the previous rules, said it would treat the amended KCLS application as a proposal to provide a first local service to Leeds, and granted the application.
Previous Licence News:
2011-12-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which for years has been under attack from bird lovers concerning the effect of communications towers on migratory birds has posted an "Order on Remand" concerning its planned measures to ensure that these effects are in future fully considered prior to construction.
They include a "a pre-application notification process so that members of the public will have a meaningful opportunity to comment on the environmental effects of proposed antenna structures" and "as an interim measure" before completing its analysis and a subsequent rulemaking proceeding a requirement that "an Environmental Assessment (EA) be prepared for any proposed tower over 450 feet in height."
We first reported that the bird lovers were taking the agency to court over the issue nearly a decade ago charging that the agency had "unreasonably delayed" action in complying with mandatory duties imposed by various statutes (See RNW Feb 24, 2003) and the agency says that it is responding to the 2008 decision of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in American Bird Conservancy v. FCC (RNW Note: In 2005, the FCC issued an order denying in part, dismissing in part, and deferring in part American Bird's claims and in February 2008 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the FCC's order - See American Bird Conservancy, Inc. v. FCC, 516 F.3d 1027).
The court, notes the FCC "held that our current antenna structure registration (ASR) procedures impermissibly fails to offer members of the public a meaningful opportunity to request an EA for proposed towers that the Commission considers categorically excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act."
It also noted that to address another part of the court decision requiring it to "perform a programmatic analysis of the impact on migratory birds of registered antenna structures in the Gulf of Mexico region" it is conducting a nationwide environmental assessment of the ASR program. The Commission has also asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to perform a conservation review of the ASR program under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Commenting on the move, Democrat Commissioner Michael J, Copps, who has announced his impending resignation (See RNW Dec 6), said in a statement, "Today, at long last, the Commission has responded to the DC Circuit's rebuke to our previous rules that fell short of meeting our responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
2011-12-09: Australia's media regulator has ruled that a quiz on Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB following the December 2010 Christmas Island boat accident in which nearly 50 asylum seekers died breached industry codes of conduct.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ruled that the quiz contest on The Chris Smith Afternoon Show on 14 February 2011 when the presenter held a quiz competition in which listeners were asked to guess the number of asylum-seekers being buried in Sydney, breached the Commercial Radio Code of Practice and Guidelines 2010 requirement that material broadcast must not offend generally accepted standards of decency.
The ACMA rejected complaints that comments made breached codes relating to inciting hatred against, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of a group of persons or regarding complaints handling and noted that 2GB was responsive to listener concerns over the incident and admitted its breach.
In its report the ACMA comments that the quiz conveyed a degree of ridicule and contempt due to the:
*apparent mocking of the incident and disrespect for the deceased and their families by presenting their deaths in a quiz competition;
*promotion of prizes awarded to the caller that guessed the correct number of deceased asylum-seekers to be buried in Sydney; and
*audible laughter and cheering when Caller 6 stated the correct number of deceased asylum-seekers to be buried in Sydney.
It did not accept, however that this went so far as to "'incite serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of." a specific group but it did rule - and 2GB had said that it considered - that the broadcast breached the proscription against offensive material.
2GB acknowledged that the quiz competition was 'offensive, in very bad taste, and that it should not have been broadcast and had aired two apologies. It also launched its own investigation into the broadcast (See RNW Feb 22) and ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said that in the circumstances the regulator "does not propose to take further formal action."
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2011-12-08: The US Senate Commerce Committee today approved the nominations of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Ajit Pai as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners but Iowa Republican Senator Charles "Chuck" Grassley is still saying he will block approval by the full senate.
Grassley had said almost as soon as the two had been nominated that he would place a hold on the nominations because he alleges that the FCC is refusing to disclose information related to LightSquared whose planned national wireless network will according to opponents interfere with GPS (Global Positioning System) devices (See RNW Nov 4).
2011-12-08: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of four more community radio licences for stations in Dorset and Gloucestershire.
Each runs for five years and they go to:
*Blandford Garrison FM, Blandford Forum, Dorset, for a service to soldiers, their families and MoD civilians living and working within the Army community of Blandford Camp and Blandford Forum.
*Radio Sherborne, Sherborne, Dorset, for a service to Sherborne and its surrounding parishes with a focus on underserved community members such as young people, home workers, carers and migrant workers.
*Bradley Stoke Radio, Bradley Stoke, South Gloucestershire, for a service to focused on serving the tastes and interests of people who live and work in Bradley Stoke, and organisations and businesses that operate in Bradley Stoke.
*Radio Winchcombe, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, to provide a local community service for the people of the Cotswold town of Winchcombe and the surrounding villages.
2011-12-08: Australian Metropolitan Radio Revenues, which grew by 2.3% over a year earlier in October (See RNW Nov 8) after an 0.51% increase in Septembers (See RNW Oct 10) but had fallen in August (See RNW Sep 9) and July (See RNW Aug 6), fell by 3.46% in November to a total of AUD 62.16 million (USD 63.72 million) across five metropolitan markets, according to figures released by industry body, Commercial Radio Australia.
The only city to buck the trend was Adelaide where revenues were up 1.08% at AUD 5.86 million (USD 6.01): Falls were of 0.43% in Perth to AUD 8.54 million (USD 8.75 million); of 2.66% in Brisbane to AUD 20.25 million (USD 10.1 million); 3.06% in Melbourne to AUD 18.39 million (USD 18.85 million) and 6.79% in Sydney to AUD 19.11 million (USD 19.59 million).
The latest figures mean that during the first five months of the financial year overall revenues were down 0.48% to AUD 299.14 million (USD 306.62 million).
Previous Australian Radio Revenues (October):
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-12-07: The anticipated cull of BBC Radio 1's older DJs as new controller Ben Cooper, who succeeded Andy Parfitt in October (See RNW Oct 28) puts his mark on the station has now started with the announcement the five hosts will be leaving the station next year and that the station has signed what it terms "five new exciting specialist music DJs."
On the way out are Judge Jules, Gilles Peterson, Kissy Sell Out, and Fabio & Grooverider and moving in with their own shows from April next year are Skream & Benga (who get the 2300 Fridays to 0100 Saturdays slot following Annie Mack and Pete Tong who retain their current 1900-2100 and 2100 slots); Toddla T (Fridays from 0200 to 0400); Charlie Sloth (0200-0400 on Tuesdays - he currently hosts a hip-hop show on digital sister station BBC 1 Xtra) and drum & bass DJ Friction (0200-0400 Mondays - not to be confused with BBC Asian network DJ Bobby Friction).
Making the announcement Cooper commented in a release, "It's important that Radio 1 continues to develop new talent and the station keeps evolving for our young listeners. These changes to our evening schedule will strengthen the range and depth of the specialist music offering on the network."
He then thanked those who are being ousted, commenting, "We'd like to thank Jules, Gilles and Fabio & Grooverider for over a decade of hard work and commitment to music at Radio 1, and also to Kissy Sell Out his contribution over the last three years. All are incredibly talented and we wish them the very best for the future.''
Judge Jules (Julius O'Riordan), who studied law at the London School of Economics and took the nickname because of his past, commented of his departure, "I've had an incredible time over the last 14 years at Radio 1. I'm going to continue DJ'ing and I'm having a bit of a career change - I'm off to become an Entertainment Lawyer at Sheridans [a London media law firm]" whilst Giles Peterson, who is talking to Radio 6 Music about future projects added, "I've had an amazing 13 years at Radio 1 - to be able to get away with the radical music that I've pushed out has always surprised me and I thank Radio 1 for giving me the freedom to do that. I'm looking forward to continuing my work in the BBC family some time in the future."
Radio 1 is also to launch a new show - BBC Radio 1 Residency, which will air from Thursday midnights to 0200 on Fridays and will be presented by a roster of DJs on a weekly rotation.
Amongst other schedule changes The Essential Mix will move from Saturdays (3.00am-5.00am) to Saturday (1.00am-3.00am); Annie Nightingale moves from Fridays (2.00am-4.00am) to Saturdays (3.00-5.00am); The Punk Show with Mike Davies will move from Tuesdays (2am-4am) to Wednesdays (12midnight-2am); and Nihal moves from Wednesdays (12midnight-2am) to Wednesdays (2.00am-4.00am).
The station also says that In New DJs We Trust, the station's showcase for new DJ talent and new dance music will continue on Thursday evening s (2100-2200) and "early next year a brand new line-up of four cutting edge DJs will be revealed."
2011-12-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a run of enforcement actions has handed out USD 15,000 and USD 10,000 to two Florida pirate operators and of USD 13,000 to a Louisiana AM for late filing of licence renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation: It also proposed a USD 8,000 penalty on a New Mexico AM for Emergency Alert System breaches.
The USD 15,000 penalty was issued to John E. Criteser, Jr. of Lake Park who had been issued with an NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture) in October this year (See RNW Oct 21) after a signal was traced to his residence. Criteser did not respond to the NAL and the amount was accordingly confirmed.
The USD 10,000 penalty went to Neal Davis of Fort Lauderdale who was issued with an NAL for this amount in October (See RNW Oct 18) and who had also not responded.
The USD 13,000 forfeiture order was issued to R&M Broadcasting Company, licensee of KJCB-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana, which was issued with an NAL for the amount in July (See RNW Jul 22). It responded by saying it had been misinformed by the station engineer about the appropriate process for seeking a renewal and that station's financial difficulties warrant a cancellation or reduction of the assessed forfeiture.
The FCC rejected the first argument and noted that the licensee had provided no documentation sufficient to justify consideration of a reduction on financial hardship grounds. It confirmed the full penalty.
The USD 8,000 NAL - the base amount for the offence - was issued to Media Mining Group, LLC., licensee of KRDD-AM, Roswell, New Mexico, for failure to ensure operational readiness of the station's Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment.
The breach came to light during an inspection of the station's main studio in June this year at which time the agent observed that it EAS equipment was not operational. Station personnel were unable to provide any documentation to show that required EAS tests had been sent or received and personnel told the agent that the equipment had not been operational since December last year when the station was vandalized.
2011-12-07: Merlin Media, which launched with Chicago and New York stations acquired from Emmis, is adding a third market and fourth station with a USD 22.5 million purchase of WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey, from Family Radio.
Family Radio last month sold Annapolis station WSFI-FM to CBS Radio for USD 8.5 million in cash allowing CBS to launch an all-news station on its 99.1 frequency and move Spanish-hits WLZL-FM to WSFI's 107.9 frequency and the latest sale is expected to also result in another news outlet. CBS, which owns KYW-AM News Radio in the market, had been seen as a likely bidder for WKDN as a rival news station on FM could potentially hit KYW's ratings.
2011-12-06: Democrat Michael J. Copps has announced that he will resign from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 1 or sooner should the US Senate confirm his successor or adjourn before then.
Copps, whose seccond term has expired [ Commissioners traditionally serve until their successor is in place or a congressional session ends], is seen as the agency's greatest critic of media consolidation and his former aide Jessica Rosenworcel has been nominated as a Commissioner along with Republican Ajit Pai: The confirmation vote is due on December 8 although Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley has said he plans to block the nominees in relation to a dispute over allegations that the FCC gave favoured treatment to Philip Falcone's LightSquared wireless broadband and satellite plans (See RNW Nov 4).
Copps, who is 71, joined the FCC in May 2001 and was sworn in for his second term in December 2005. He was acting chairman from January 2009 until current chairman Julius Genachoswki was confirmed by the US Senate and sworn-in at the end of June that year.
In a statement Copps said it had been a "privilege and honour to serve for more than ten years as a Commissioner" and continued, "The FCC is an agency of true excellence and its decisions are integral to our country's future. Ubiquitous, opportunity-creating broadband and a resource-rich media capable of informing our civic dialogue are critically-important components of our future success as a people, and I intend to keep speaking about these challenges as a private citizen in the years ahead."
2011-12-06: UK media regulator Ofcom has posted its November Radio Update in which it notes the demise of two community stations and transfer of control of two commercial ones.
The commercial stations involved are Western-super-Mare station Nova Radio which moves from Westcom Media Ltd to Triple West Radio Invest Ltd and North London station London Turkish Radio which moves from Turkish Radio (UK) Ltd to Kirmizi Beyaz Kibris Ltd.
Ofcom also announced that it had received two applications for the Bridgwater & West Somerset licence currently held by Celador's The Breeze (See RNW Dec 4) and invited declarations of intent to apply for another licence, the Hertford "Jack FM" licence, currently held by Shadow Radio Holdings Ltd. The new licence would run to March 2020 and declarations have to be submitted by December 22 accompanied by a non-refundable GBP 5,000 (USD 8,000) application fee and a GBP 20,000 (USD 31,000) deposit, which will be refundable upon receipt by Ofcom of a valid application in response to the subsequent re-advertisement of this licence.
Should only the incumbent apply it will be invited to apply under Ofcom's fast-track procedure but if there are no applications the licence will not be re-advertised.
In the case of Morecambe Bay station The Bay only the current licensee Bay Radio Ltd applied by the deadline and it is now being invited to apply under the fast-track procedure.
In addition two renewals were granted during the period, each for licences running to 2025: one went to Marcher Radio Group Ltd's Heart North Wales Coast and the other to Harlow FM Ltd's Heart Essex.
Still with commercial changes, format changes were allowed for two Global Radio stations - Capital FM Scotland and Capital FM Birmingham (See RNW Nov 17).
As regards community stations Ofcom noted the ending of two services, each following dissolution of their operators - those of Boundary Sound, Newark, Nottinghamshire and Radio Sandwell in the West Midlands
Two new licences were issued - to 1 Ummah FM, Reading, Berkshire; and , Bangor Community Radio, Bangor, Northern Ireland; with five-year licence extensions all running to dates in 2017 going to Cross Rhythms Plymouth; Hope FM, Bournemouth; Radio Teesdale; and WCR FM, Wolverhampton.
In addition transfers of licences were approved for two community stations - of 104.7 Rossendale Radio, Rossendale, Lancashire, to Agapao International and of BLAST 106, Belfast, to BLAST 106 Limited.
"Key commitments " changes were also approved in two cases - one of West Hertfordshire (St Albans) area station Radio Verulam, which is to be allowed amongst other changes to loosen the wording of some commitments as by example changing a commitment to "Maintain its good relations with more than 600 local organisations (charity, volunteering bodies etc) and endeavour to expand their services by working with over 100 local businesses by the end of the first year of broadcasting" to one to "Maintain good relations with a range of local organisations (charity, voluntary bodies etc) and local businesses."
In the other case WCR FM will be allowed to change a commitment for broadcasts to be "usually live between 7am and midnight" to "typically be for 8 hours per day" and also make the wording of some other commitments less specific and to remove completely commitments that read "Targeted training to the Priority Neighbourhood areas focusing on specific issues agreed with local partners to be developed and tracked during the first year of broadcasting " and for WCR FM?s user group to "also provide feedback to assist the station in strengthening links with the community and voluntary groups."
In Scotland the agency is inviting applications for a third round of new licences with a deadline for entries of February 14 next year.
Ofcom also noted publication of its 2010-11 Community Radio Annual Report (See RNW Nov 25,).
2011-12-06: Australia's commercial radio industry under the aegis of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, which in the past has concentrated on radio campaigns to promote digital radio, has extended its Christmas marketing campaign this year to outdoor, print and outdoor transit advertising on 800 taxi panels, over three weeks in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth but not Melbourne where they do not carry adverts plus Roaming Digital Radio Brand Ambassadors.
The ambassadors will visit six shopping centres in five states and will be dressed in digital radio plus t-shirts, explaining digital radio's features and benefits as well as offering coupons offering 10% off receivers at participating retailers.
Around AUD 3 million is being budgeted for the campaign that launched this week and will include four new radio adverts including a 50% off for a second receiver from one story.
The taxi panels feature the line "1 million people agree it's a million times better" to highlight an estimated weekly DAB+ audience of approaching a million in the country: Total receiver sales, following a Father's Day campaign that boosted quarterly sales to nearly 100,000, have topped 600,000 according to the GfK Marketscope report.
DAB+ still has a way to go in the automobile industry however with only Hino offering DAB+ receivers as standard on its whole range: All Hino 300, 500, and 700 Series trucks manufactured from September 2011 onwards will feature a new Australian-designed, multimedia unit which includes DAB+ as factory fitted standard equipment. Amongst other manufacturers BMW and Audi offer DAB+ as an option in many of their vehicles.
The Australian radio industry has promoted DAB+ with different campaigns for each Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day since the launch of the Digital Radio Plus brand in late 2008.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2011-12-05: Clear Channel Radio and Cumulus Media have announced a deal under which the latter will use Clear Channel's iHeartRadio streaming brand and Clear Channel in turn will advertise daily deals from Cumulus Media's SweetJack deals platform. In an announcement the two companies say the agreement will "extend both companies' digital reach and benefit consumers by offering them more choice, more value and a more comprehensive experience both digitally and locally."
No financial terms were announced for the deal, which adds 570 Cumulus stations in 120 markets to the iHeartRadio platform, which is available on the internet and mobile devices and will take the total of stations offered to approaching 1,400: Clear Channel already has agreements with Univision and WNYC-FM, New York. Cumulus will still stream its stations on their own websites and mobile applications but will use iHeartRadio as its "sole digital aggregator for Cumulus stations, which will all advertise iHeartRadio on-air and feature a link to iHeartRadio on all their websites."
The announcement goes on to add, "Clear Channel Radio will also advertise daily deals from Cumulus Media's SweetJack, the rapidly growing deals platform that provides local merchants - including the best restaurants, spas, salons, stores and venues -- the promotional power of radio."
Regarding SweetJack, of which Cumulus chairman, President and CEO Lew Dickey made significant play at the company's third quarter earnings call last month when he said it was operating in 15 markets with a goal to go nationwide within 12 months (See RNW Nov 14), the announcement notes that this has grown its user base to more than one million members in sixteen markets since its launch in April.
"Significant national expansion," the announcement continues, "will continue in 2012, offering consumers savings of up to 85% through the web, email links or smartphones. This agreement means that SweetJack's national radio daily deals platform will be powered by advertising on almost 1,400 radio stations and station websites across the country."
Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman said the agreement underscored "how quickly the New iHeartRadio has become the digital destination of choice to give listeners the best and most complete online radio experience."
"Radio," he added "connects local businesses to consumers like no other medium can, and we're looking forward to helping our listeners find even more great deals right in their own backyards with SweetJack."
Pittman had earlier told the New York Times that the deal represents "one more data point that proves radio is not a laggard, that we do see the future, and that we're moving toward it in a smart and fast way."
For Cumulus. Dickey commented, "SweetJack is our exciting new social commerce platform. It's a break-through brand in a sea of sameness that's fuelled by the power of radio to connect local merchants with consumers. This agreement with Clear Channel enables us to scale SweetJack into a true nationwide platform which we believe is essential to competing successfully in this rapidly growing space."
He told the Times that SweetJack will have its own sales forces in local markets, and the companies plan to share profits from the service and added that the wide reach of radio could give an advantage to SweetJack that no other company had.
The agreement said Dickey meant that SweetJack could reach as much as 90% of the US market and added of competitor services, "What has happened in the daily deal space is that heavy users tend to have multiple sites they will look at on a daily basis. We found this an excellent opportunity for radio to enter that space and compete for the long tail of advertising."
RNW comment: The New York Times report expresses scepticism as to how far SweetJack would succeed in a crowded market that includes not only Groupon but also other broadcasters such as Cox Radio fighting for a share of a market that BIA/Kelsey estimates as worth USD 1.97 billion a year in sales. It also noted that the deal would help iHeartRadio, which offers a similar personalized music service (whose app has been downloaded 44 million times according to Clear Channel), compete with Pandora
Nowhere in any of this or most other recent announcements have we seen much about programming innovation - unless you include firing people in local markets to introduce syndicated and voice-tracked output.
Instead two of the biggest radio companies into the US push into daily deals - coupons to offer stuff most don't need to many who can't afford it just because it's a "bargain" - and online offerings mainly of music created by somebody else plus talk with a smattering of news. Really inspiring!
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2011-12-05: ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and the RMLC (The Radio Music License Committee that represents most US radio stations) have announced agreement in principle of a deal on fees running from 2010 to 2016.
The settlement if finalized will end current Federal Rate Court litigation and will say the parties provide for "a return to a revenue-based fee structure as well as expanded coverage to accommodate the radio industry's newer distribution platforms for reaching listeners by means such as Internet websites, smart phones and other wireless devices."
They add that it also "greatly simplifies the reporting process and administrative burden through electronic filing."
Commenting on the deal RMLC chairman Ed Christian, who is also CEO of Saga Communications, said, "This is a gratifying result for the radio industry, which reflects the current realities of our industry and puts the industry back on sound footing insofar as its licensing relationships with ASCAP are concerned. We appreciate the good will which ASCAP has demonstrated in working with our industry to get this resolution."
John LoFrumento, ASCAP Chief Executive Officer responded, "The process of building this agreement was based on mutual trust and appreciation, and reflected both sides' clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities we each see for the future. I want to thank the Radio Music License Committee for its creative approach in respecting the value provided by music creators in our negotiations."
RNW note: For non-US readers, this deal relates to copyright in the material not copyright fees for actual performances, which stations in almost all the world pay but that in America over-the-air stations do not, an issue currently at the centre of an intense lobbying battle between the recording and radio companies.
2011-12-05: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds no radio complaints although it considers three to have been resolved through action already taken but as regards TV imposes one fine of GBP 100,000 (USD 156,500) on Iranian-government -backed Press TV; upholds three TV standards complaints and considers another resolved and gives details of four TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
In addition it also lists without details a radio complaint and four TV complaints not upheld.
The radio cases considered resolved involved Global Radio-owned Capital FM and two community stations.
The figures compare with no radio complaints upheld in the previous bulletin in which Ofcom it lists sanctions of GBP 60,000 (USD 94,000) against Playboy TV UK and GBP 50,000 (USD 78,000) against Just4Us Limited over "adult chat? advertisements; upheld a standards complaint related to a sponsored TV programme; gave details of three TV Fairness and Privacy complaints not upheld; lasted one radio and two TV complaints assessed but where no breach was found and posted its latest table of TV Advertising Minutage and Scheduling Findings
In Capital FM's case the station aired at around 11:00 the track "Loca People" by the Spanish DJ and music producer Sak Noel that included the words "all day, all night, what the fuck."
There had been a long pause before the song, which was immediately stopped after the expletive was aired followed by almost 30 seconds of silence then normal programming with an apology broadcast around 14 minutes later.
Global Radio said the incident followed a crash of its playout system leading the DJ to put on air what he thought was an emergency CD kept in all studios for use in such events. On this occasion the CD had been replaced with a CD containing the explicit version of the track because to prevent any risk of it being aired in error on the playout system the overnight host had been provided with a CD.
Ofcom took the view that the matter was considers resolved because of the circumstances and in view of a subsequent briefing of station staff about the importance of the emergency procedures and requirement to check what is in the CD deck before airing material.
The two community radio cases involved Ikhlas Radio, which serves the Asian community in the Normanton area of Derby, and Dunoon Community Radio which serves Dunoon in Argyll, Scotland.
In the Ikhlas case a listeners alerted Ofcom to a news bulletin that contained reports on a shortage of midwives that gave only the view of The Royal College of Midwives and another report concerning a Palestinian Authority allegation that the Israeli regime has been stealing Palestinian oil and gas from a field near the West Bank City of Ramallah.
The station explained that the licensee had only started to air its own news bulletins that week and in this case a volunteer had been instructed "to summarise news stories on reputable websites, such as the BBC, Yahoo and This is Derbyshire (local news).
Her role it said was to select 5 stories and to record them for broadcasting" and the news stories in question were then to be checked by the station manager but on this occasion the station manager was not available and the bulletin was checked by another volunteer.
The station said, "Unfortunately, the employee thought that, summarising news stories by just including the heading and first paragraph was enough, as it was from a reputable website. The employee did not realise the news stories were not impartial."
After being contacted by Ofcom it added it suspended bulletins until the volunteer and staff member had received training concerning impartiality and Ofcom took the view that the actions taken resolved the matter.
In the Dunoon case, a listener complained that the station was not broadcasting on its FM frequency although it was on the Internet and the station when contacted explained that problems with its broadband had meant it was unable to send the output the FM transmitter for periods during the afternoon and evening of two days.
The station apologized for not informing Ofcom of the break and said it had introduced additional monitoring to ensure that any further losses of service are flagged to station representatives at the earliest opportunity.
Ofcom accepted the explanation and considered the matter resolved.
In addition to the above Ofcom listed a further 648 TV complaints against 312 items and 24 radio complaints against 24 items that were assessed but not further investigated - this compares with 406 TV complaints against 262 items and 22 radio complaints against 22 items that were assessed but not further investigated in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2011-12-05: According to Arbitron in a preliminary report of highlights of its December 2011 RADAR 111 National Radio Listening Report that is to be released on Monday, says that since December last year US radio adds 1.4 million listeners a week.
The survey covers the period from Sept 16, 2010-Sept 14, 2011 and Arbitron says US radio now reaches an estimated 241.3 million Americans 12 and older each week, 93 percent of the demographic.
It also says that listening amongst various key demographics has held steady -22.8 million (92%) of those 12-17; and 66.3 million (93.4% and a slight increase) of those 18-24.
Audiences adds Arbitron have increased amongst Hispanic and Black (non-Hispanic) listeners with a weekly increase of almost 300,000 amongst Hispanic adults 18-34 with the medium reaching nearly a million more of Hispanics aged 12 and over (95%).
Amongst Black (non-Hispanic) listeners it reports an increase of almost 240,000 listeners a week (93.2%).
The report also continues to show the medium's reach with the educated and affluent with radio reaching more than 132 million weekly radio listeners aged 12 and older with a household income of USD 75,000 or more; 40.8 million college graduates aged 18 to 49; and 26 million of graduates aged 25-54 with a household income of more than USD 75,000.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 110):
2011-12-04: Yet again last week was rather quiet as regards radio in all areas with no radio postings at all from Ireland: In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation breached its code of contract regarding response to complaints but did not uphold the complaints themselves over a climate change report (See RNW Nov 28).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was a little busier with radio-related postings including the publication of aggregate financial information on ethnic radio stations in Toronto, released following two separate requests for financial information relating specifically to this sector after it called for applications for new licences for the market.
Previously, it notes, it had included this information with that for English-language stations but in this case it acceded to the request: The figures published show a 1.2% compounded annual growth rate for revenues in the five years from 2006 - starting at CAD 20.33 million but then falling back in 2007 to CAD 19.76 million; growing again to CAD 20.28 million in 2008 then falling back again to CAD 19.61 million in 2009 before growing again to CAD 32.35 million last year.
Expenses followed a similar pattern of increases and falls but pre-tax profit after a steep fall in 2007 - down from CAD 2.52 million in 2006 to CAD 1.25 million then recovered and rose to CAD 1.38 million in 2008 before jumping to CAD 2.01 million in 2009 and CAD 2.30 million last year. [RNW note: The Canadian dollar has varied widely in relation to the US dollar over the period - a USD is currently 1.01 CAD].
The CRTC also renewed for five years to the end of August 2013 the licence of Corus Premium Television Ltd.'s English-language commercial station CJGV-FM, Winnipeg, and approved a request to delete conditions of licence that had required a minimum of 70% of all musical selections broadcast during each broadcast week be devoted to Jazz and blues and that minimum of 35% of all category 3 musical selections broadcast during each broadcast week shall be Canadian selections.
The licensee argued that while it has operated the station as a Smooth Jazz specialty station over the licence term, it has suffered significant financial losses. The licensee contends that the Smooth Jazz format is no longer viable in Winnipeg and proposed to provide a Mix Adult Contemporary format instead. The new format would feature a wide variety of today's pop and rock hits, mixed with songs from the 80s and 90s but it committed itself to maintaining some level of Smooth Jazz.
The application to change the format was opposed by Dufferin Communications Inc., which argued that new mainstream station in the Winnipeg market would negatively impact its new station CFJL-FM, Winnipeg.
The CRTC noted that the Winnipeg radio market grew at a compounded annual rate of 2.3% from 2006 to 2010 and felt that the market could support the change and that CJGV's long-term viability would be "challenged under its current Smooth Jazz specialty format."
Accordingly it allowed the change but also issued only a short-term renewal because of a shortfall in relation to its CTD (Canadian Talent Development) and CCD (Canadian Content Development) contributions although it noted that Corus had said that the shortfall was because of a misunderstanding of the transition rules applicable to CCD contributions and had promptly made the payment when notified of its non-compliance.
Yet again there were no radio announcement from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has announced the receipt of two applications for the re-advertised FM local commercial radio licence for Bridgwater & West Somerset, currently held by Celador Radio (South West) Ltd (broadcasting as The Breeze).
One is from the incumbent and then second from Midwest Radio, which is offering a "locally oriented" service "playing a broad range of popular music with a strong commitment to local news and information " as opposed The Breeze, which describes itself as a "locally-oriented, broad music and information station."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was again involved more in other areas than radio but it did issue call for comments - with a deadline of December 19 and then a January 3 deadline for reply comments - on a request by iBiquity Digital Corporation and National Public Radio that the Commission authorize voluntary asymmetric digital sideband power for FM stations.
The two organizations met FCC staff in October concerning the possibility of allowing FM stations to operate with unequal digital sideband power levels and iBiquity subsequently filed a technical report on the issue and NPR one on the results of field tests of testing using the sidebands in conjunction with the testing of new technology to permit reduction of the peak-to-average power ratio for digital transmitters.
On the enforcement front the agency issued or proposed a number of penalties on radio broadcasters including the following:
*Issued USD 10,000 NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture) to Hope Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WFGN-AM, Gaffney, South Carolina, for late filing of renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation. The station should have filed the renewal application by August 1, 2003, but did not do so and the licence expired in December that year. In May this year the FCC was informed that the licence had expired, that its call letters had been deleted from the Commission's database and that operations should be ended.
The licensee then tendered a license renewal application and subsequently filed a request for Special Temporary Authority, which was granted funning to December 9, to continue Station operations pending consideration of the license renewal application. The licensee said that the failure to file the renewal application was an oversight as it did not realize that the licence had expired.
*Issued USD 250 NAL to Lincoln University licensee of Class D Station WWLU-FM, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, for late filing of licence renewal application. The licence was renewed.
In Arizona, the Commission denied an objection filed by Entravision and granted an application by Able Radio Corporation for a new FM station at Aguila, Arizona: Able won a construction permit for a station in Aguila, Arizona, in the FCC's Auction 70 but subsequently amended its application to allow it to instead serve Tonapah.
Entravision objected saying that the proposed new transmitter site is in the Harquahala Mountains Wilderness ; that the tract of land is administered by the Bureau of Land Management of the Department of Interior; and that federal law forecloses the use of the land as a site for communications facilities. It also argued that Able could not have had "reasonable assurance" for the specified site as required by Commission rules.
Able responded that it did have reasonable assurance for the site and submitted unsworn declarations from its employees detailing the events leading up to the specification of the site, including a fact-finding visit to the site as well as conversations with an unspecified BLM representative in the Hassayampa Field Office but subsequently filed a further amendment to specify a new transmitter site and change the community of license from Tonopah back to Aguila.
Entravision then filed a further opposition arguing that Able could not have ad reasonable assurances of the availability of the amended site and thus could not amend its application.
The FCC said Entravision had misapplied the precedents it cited, which related to originally-proposed sites, and also rejected Entravision's other arguments. It granted Able's application.
In Florida, the FCC denied a petition from Martin Bayou Management Corporation (MBMC) to reconsider its grant of the licence for a new non-commercial educational (NCE) FM at Port St. Joe to Help Save the Apalachicola River Group, Inc. (HSARG).
MMC had submitted a mutually exclusive application for a new NCE FM at Mexico Beach, Florida, in October 2007 (along with eight other applications) and after proceeding to tie-breakers the FCC had declared both HSARG and MBMC to be the tentative selectees on a time-sharing basis.
MBMC then filed its petition to deny, arguing that HSARG had more applications for new NCE FM stations than were considered by the Commission when conducting the second tie-breaker and that it should have thus prevailed in the point determination
HSARG then filed an Opposition to the Petition to Deny on the basis that its later-filed applications were not "pending" at the time it filed the HSARG Application
The FCC dismissed MBMC's arguments and denied its petition.
Previous Licence News:
2011-12-03: Cumulus Media in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given details of new employment agreements entered into by its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Lewis W. Dickey, Jr.; Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, Joseph P. Hannan; Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, John G. Pinch ; Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer John W. Dickey; and Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel Richard S. Denning.
The agreements initially run to the end of November 2014 with base salaries, effective from Sep 16 - the date when the company's takeover of Citadel Media was completed - of USD 1,450,000 for Lew Dickey; USD 875,000 for his brother John; USD 775,000 for John G. Pinch; USD 550,000 for Joseph P. Hannan; and USD 500,000 for Richard S. Denning.
All agreements include a provision for automatic one-year extensions following the initial period and may be increased by the Cumulus Board: In addition each will be eligible for annual cash bonus based upon achievement of annual performance goals of up to 150% for Lew Dickey (Target 100%); 100% for Pinch (Target 75%); 75% each for John Dickey and Hannan (Target 50% each); and 60% for Denning (Target 40%).
Should the employment be terminated without cause or if the executive terminates his employment for "good reason" as defined in the agreements a pay-off will apply of twice the sum of the base salary and bonus target in force at the time for Lew Dickey and the sum of the two for the others plus a lump sum equal to the pro-rata amount of the annual bonus the executive would have received if he had remained employed by the Company through the last day of the calendar year, based on actual performance through the applicable performance period; and the immediate vesting of 50% of any unvested equity awards, with the remaining 50% of such awards being forfeited, unless the termination occurs during the six-month period immediately preceding a change in control in which case the whole of any unvested equity awards will become fully vested on the consummation of the change in control;
In addition Lew Dickey will be entitled to medical, dental, vision and hospitalization cover for 18 months with the others entitled to this for 12 months.
Previous John Dickey:
Previous Lew Dickey:
2011-12-02: Tribune Co.'s WGN-AM has announced that Jonathan Brandmeier is to take over the morning drive slot starting next Friday.
The station is currently running news of the move prominently on its website under the heading "Chicago radio legend Jonathon Brandmeier named morning drive host" and takes over from Greg Jarrett, who was hired by former program director Kevin Metheny in June 2009, moving to the role from KGO-AM in San Francisco where he had been host of the afternoon drive show (See RNW Jun 16, 2009).
WGN says that Jarrett, who had less than a year left of his contract, has been "released from the station" and WGN Radio s vice president & general manager Tom Langmyer added, "We're thankful for the contributions Greg has made to the station for the past two and a half years and we wish him nothing but the best."
The WGN report goes on to quote Langmyer as saying, "Jonathon Brandmeier is a Chicago superstar and we're thrilled to have him on the air, at the station where he belongs. Johnny's high energy, humour and unique Chicago experience make him an exceptional fit as 'The Voice of Chicago' evolves with another generation of listeners."
The morning drive slot will run half an hour longer than at present - from 0530 to 0900 - with Mike McConnell's following show shortened to run from 0900 to noon rather than 0830-1230 after which John Williams, who was moved from mornings to afternoon drive when Jarrett arrived and then to his current 1230-1500 slot, will gain an extra half four and start at noon. Garry Meier then remains in afternoon drive to 1900.
Bill Leff, who has been a stand-in covering various slots -he took the McConnell slot today and will host the morning slot from Monday until Brandmeier starts on Friday - will host a new morning drive lead-in show from 0500 to 0530.
In addition news anchor Steve Bertrand will move to mornings with Brandmeier and Jim Gudas will shift to middays/afternoons.
Brandmeier was with Emmis's WLUP-FM from 1983 to 1997 but was then dropped following management changes and after a brief spell hosting middays on CBS Radio's WCKG-FM had spells at the company's then KLSX-FM (now KAMP-FM) and KCBS-FM in Los Angeles before a return to WLUP in mornings in October 2005 (See RNW Oct 26, 2005) only to be dropped again with three of the show's four staff at the end of November 2009, a decision put down at the time to a combination of poor ratings and cost cutting (See RNW Dec 1, 2009 & Nov 30, 2009). He had agreed a new contract with Emmis in March that year despite an approach from WGN (See RNW Mar 17, 2009).
Previous Tribune Co.:
WGN on Brandmeier hiring and changes:
2011-12-02: In more changes to talk radio in California where Clear Channel announced changes in San Francisco and Sacreamento (See RNW Nov 30), Cumulus, which recently dumped some eight people including VP Jack Swanson, is getting rid of more veterans and switching liberal (mmm?) news talk San Francisco station KGO-AM to a new format that will be mainly news.
The station along with Conservative talk KFSO-AM was acquired when Cumulus took over Citadel which in turn had acquired from Disney-ABC for whom KGO had been the flagship West Coast station.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that starting from Monday the station will have a news format from 1400 to midnight and quoted KGO news and program director Paul Horsley as saying, "What we are doing is adding a tremendous amount of news content to KGO."
Amongst those being ousted according to the papers are talk-show veterans Gene Burns, Gil Gross, Ray Taliaferro and John Rothmann although Ronn Owens will keep his 0900 to noon show and Brian Copeland will still have his weekend show.
The papers adds that the current "Newstalk 810" branding is to be replaced by "KGO-810 - the Bay Area news and information station." It says that staff were told of the changes on Thursday and quoted an unnamed insider as saying the station had simply lost its way and hopes to reinvigorate itself with a news-driven format. [RNW note: In keeping with common US radio practice the KGO website when we last checked made no mention of the changes or impending departures although the staff list on the site no longer included the hosts who are out).
KGO staff directory:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2011-12-01: Twin Cities radio veteran Marc Kalman is to retire on December 16 aged 67 after more than four decades in the business according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Kalman, currently general manager and president of Cumulus-owned classic rock KQRS-FM, rock KXXR-FM and Love 105, was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2002.
He has previously served been VP/GM at Hubbard Broadcasting's KSTP-FM and in similar roles at Clear Channel's KDWB-FM, KTCZ-FM and WLOL-FM
He had been Citadel's market manager at the stations it acquired from ABC Radio before Cumulus took over Citadel and told the paper, "It's time for me to go on other things. Whatever it is, I hope it'll involve having a golf club in my hand."
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