March 2012 Archive
2012-03-27: The BBC has told its staff that around 140 journalists' posts are to be cut in the next year as part of its DQF (Delivering Quality First) cost savings: The cuts will affect both radio and TV with some BBC Radio 4 programmes being cut back or dropped entirely.
Staff were emailed about the plans by BBC News director Helen Boaden, Mary Hockaday, head of the BBC Multimedia Newsroom, and Francesca (Fran) Unsworth, Head of Newsgathering: Boaden's message begins, "Today we are announcing further details of the BBC News Group's Delivering Quality First proposals in Network News for Year 1, 2013/14, which regrettably will result in the closure of around 140 posts by April next year. We are currently working through our savings plan for future years and we will come back to you at a later date with more detail, along with our final proposals for Local Radio and Regional Current Affairs and the Asian Network, once the Trust has published its conclusions." [RNW Note:The BBC Trust had asked BBC management to reconsider its plans to drop The Asian Network and severely cut local radio and regional services]
She adds that the BBC has "put all the departmental documents outlining our proposals on the News Group intranet site and will "begin consulting with the Trade Unions next week."
"I don't pretend that these changes will be easy or painless for individuals or teams," commends Boaden. "As we have always done, we will work extremely hard to avoid any compulsory redundancies though as the BBC gets smaller, we cannot guarantee complete success in this area."
Hockaday adds more detail referring to a cut back in news channel discretionary spending and a decision to "focus the budget on covering the main stories of the day and on breaking news" and also the introduction of a single news desk at the heart of a combined UK and international newsroom.: As regards radio she writes, "For radio, our DQF target remains the same as announced last October (three or four posts) but we have been able to re-phase the savings so that we only need to close two posts by April 2013.
"We propose to do this by closing two SBJ [senior promotions producer] posts: the audio-to-web/audio slideshow post and one of the two planning posts. The remaining planning post will ensure planning continues but on a Monday-to-Friday basis.
The National Union of Journalists in a release headed, "The Thompson legacy starts now: 140 jobs to go in BBC news" said the announcement marked the "eighth consecutive year of cuts under the leadership of [Outgoing BBC Director General] Mark Thompson and will jeopardise the BBC's position as a premier broadcaster.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added, "Mark Thompson's shabby, behind-closed doors deal with the government is the direct cause of these job cuts. His decision to agree to freeze the licence fee until 2017 means that the corporation faces these cuts as well as taking on an extra £340 million in new financial responsibilities, such as the World Service and the roll out of fast broadband. The top quality journalism we expect from the BBC is under severe threat. There will be fewer original news packages and more repeats.
"The NUJ is calling on Thompson's successor to revisit this deal. Why should the BBC be making cuts to its vital news service to fund GBP 150 million (USD 240 million) a year for broadband roll out and a further GBP 25 million (USD 40 million) investment in a new local TV service that nobody wants? Licence payers are now also expected to fund the World Service, Welsh service S4C and BBC Monitoring. When times are tough, the money should be used to protect creative content and quality news journalism."
It then goes on to give more details of the planned job cuts, saying the plans include:
*Three Newsnight reporters, three Radio 4 news reporters and 17 posts across Radio 1 and 1Xtra news services are to go.
*28 posts go in the Newsroom, including nine studio staff. The News Channel will lose a presenter, the Radio Newsroom two Senior Broadcast Journalists, with six posts to go in online areas.
*Editions are being cut from Radio 4's Law in Action, and The Report, while Beyond Westminster and Taking a Stand will come to an end.
*The axing of 31 posts in national TV current affairs has already been announced and as a result there will be no current affairs programmes on BBC 4. There will be a cut of about nine hours per year of ad hoc current affairs series on BBC2. Despite promises of new money for Panorama in the future, there is no guarantee that it will be inflation-proofed.
*The BBC plans to halve its spending on party conferences and dramatically reduce programme presentation from them. Six jobs will go at Millbank, including four posts in Live Political Programmes.
*The Asian Network which is under threat will learn its fate at a later date.
*International news coverage will be affected with a number of sponsored reporter posts around the world to be closed. Some will be replaced with locally recruited staff on local terms and conditions - much worse than existing overseas terms. A number of bureaus face closure.
NUJ broadcasting organiser Sue Harris said, "This is the first announcement of more cuts to come. This will have a serious impact on the quality of the service and will leave those left to struggle to fill in for lost posts. In his leaving letter, Mark Thompson had the nerve to say that 'the BBC I will be leaving is so much stronger than the BBC I inherited back in 2004'. I beg to differ and we will be hoping to re-open talks with his successor to save the corporation from his potentially devastating legacy."
2012-03-27: Sirius XM Radio has filed an anti-trust lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against SoundExchange, Inc. - the non-profit performance rights organization, originally founded by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that collects statutory royalties on behalf of the recording companies and other recording copyright holders - and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM_, which represents the independent music community, claiming that they are unlawfully interfering in its efforts to secure, through a competitive market, copyrights critical to its business. The complaint contends that the conduct violates federal antitrust, as well as New York state law.
The complaint contends that SoundExchange and other industry trade associations, in concert with numerous individual record labels, have eliminated price competition in, among others, the market for digital transmissions of sound recordings and that SoundExchange and A2IM along with major music industry organizations, have organized a boycott to prevent independent record companies from negotiating direct licenses with Sirius XM.
Legally says Sirius XM it has the right to negotiate with individual record companies but SoundExchange, in collaboration with other record industry organizations, has orchestrated an illegal boycott designed to choke off such competition and as a result it has been forced to deal exclusively with SoundExchange to acquire statutory licenses at higher prices than it otherwise would have obtained through direct licensing with individual record labels.
So far, says the company, it has signed nearly 80 direct licenses but without the conduct it complains of it would have signed far more
Sirius XM says the direct licenses, offered at rates between 5% and 7% of defined revenues, would be powerful evidence of prevailing market rates in the pending 2013-2017 CRB proceeding and stand in stark contrast to the much higher rates proposed by SoundExchange in that proceeding.
In the filing Sirius XM says it paid nearly USD 200 million in statutory royalties to the recording industry last year making it by far the largest "payor". It is seeking a judgement that amongst other things includes a ruling SoundExchange and A2IM have violated the Sherman Act; that copyrights licensed by SoundExchange should be declared unenforceable until Such time as adequate relief is entered to remedy the violations alleged, and the effects of the violations are dissipated; that the defendants and their successors be permanently enjoined and restrained from. directly or indirectly continuing to impose unlawful price-fixing agreements and other unlawful conduct detailed; that damages should be paid amounting to three times the amount of damage that the Court decides was caused by their violations; and that "The Court order SoundExchange to be dissolved and unwound on an orderly basis or, alternatively, order that an independent monitor to be appointed to oversee SoundExchange's compliance with the antitrust laws, at SoundExchange's expense, for a period of ten years or other amount of time to be determined by the Court."
RNW Comment: This seems to us to be a case of Mel Karmazin (The Sirius XM CEO who has form in opposing SoundExchange) calculating that as a big player he can play divide and rule with the smaller recording companies and then drive down his costs from all.
As to benefits to other players we doubt they feature much in his calculations despite comments in the suit that the direct agreements with Sirius XM permit "faster and more transparent royalty reporting and payment, avoidance of SoundExchange administrative costs, and the ability to grant broader rights to Sirius XM than SoundExchange legally is able to, thereby affording the record company's artists and recordings both wider exposure and access to new media and promotions run by Sirius XM." Indeed postings on a number of music websites indicate that SoundExchange's distribution of royalties directly to featured artists (those for non-featured artists go to AFTRA and AFM's (The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and American Federation of Musicians) Intellectual Property Rights Fund) is significantly valued by them and that they fear they would lose out should Sirius XM do direct deals.
As regards the suit itself we suspect the arguments will hinge around which laws take precedence - the suit quotes the 1976 Copyright Act, the 1890 Sherman and 1914 Clayton anti-trust Acts but in searching through the entire 26-page document we found no mention of the 1995 Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings and 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Acts that created performance rights for recordings in the US - not for terrestrial raio, which almost uniquely in the world pays no performance royalties - and we doubt if this was an omission in error.
Sirius XM probably has the edge in legal terms if it can show details of an orchestrated response to stop direct deals - the suit cites phrases in refusals such as "A2IM is opposed to it", that membership in A21M and another industry trade association "prevent a direct license" and that the RIAA (Recording Industries Association of America) had "asked everyone to hold off' but lacks significant details - but will await the ruling on that.
We do feel however that as regards benefitting the original creators - the artists - this suit will not further their cause nor will there be an ultimate consumer benefit if the big players can do direct deals and leave the smaller ones at a disadvantage. That could stifle future innovation and new entrants and we feel as we have suggested in the past that a better approach would be royalty rates set in tiers -allowing artists who want exposure to decide that for a period (say to be set annually) that their music can be royalty free, a lower level, or the standard rate.
The power of course in such an arrangement tilts towards the artists not those riding on their backs.
RNW Note: As a sidebar to the main story we note a very different version of the success of Sirius XM in the current filing as compared to the upbeat comments in the company's quarterly reports.
They present a rosy picture of profit ahead whereas this filing after noting losses of billions of dollars by Sirius and XM prior to their merger and then continues, "However r Sirius XM is far from recovering the enormous capital investment and is just at the point where it is beginning to earn a small profit on its investment. The company also faces competition from traditional radio (which pays no sound recording royalties) and new services such as Internet-delivered content using the latest wireless transmission systems."
Previous Sirius XM:
2012-03-27: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has said it intends to impose new licence conditions on Southern Cross Austereo's Sydney 2DAY FM following comments by breakfast show host Kyle Sandilands about a female journalist that it said were "deeply derogatory and offensive, and amounted to a breach of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice 2011."
In his comments and reacting to report by news.com Australia's Alison Stephenson of a poor response his TV show Sandilands called her a "fat bitter thing", a "fat slag" and a "little troll" amongst other things: The response led to suspension of the show and also withdrawal of support by advertisers after more than 30,000 signatures on a petition calling on advertisers to pull out and parent company Southern Cross Austereo to fire Sandilands (See RNW Jan 16, 2012).
In its ruling on the comments the ACMA, which had received a complaint describing the comments as "foul, sexist and threatening", noted that the licensee said that although it did not condone the comments it took the view that listeners would "be likely to dismiss the comments as a hot-headed rant, as well as typical Sandilands banter."
It added that there was "no direct hatred stimulated or urged" by Sandilands and his comments "did not encourage listeners to take action demonstrating negative attitudes towards women"; that the "tone of the Broadcast was humorous and for the primary purpose of amusement"; and that "The ordinary reasonable listener would have understood the Broadcast to have conveyed Mr Sandilands' frustration with the review and is similar to his previous reactions to other criticisms directed towards him While it would be clear to an ordinary listener that Mr Sandilands was expressing his frustration with the journalist, in response to the journalist's negative review ... it would also be clear that his response was not because of her gender but as a direct result of [the journalist's] negative review."
The ACMA found no breach of codes in relation to the comments being sexist or inciting serious contempt or severe ridicule on the grounds of gender and that it was not likely to incite, encourage or present for its own sake violence or brutality but said they amounted to a breach of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice 2011 and has begun formal steps to impose a second licence condition on broadcaster 2DAY FM Sydney which would prohibit the radio station from broadcasting indecent content and content that demeans women or girls.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented, "The Authority found the comments by Mr Sandilands deeply derogatory and offensive and, in all the circumstances, a licence condition is the appropriate response.
2DAY it noted has already indicated that it has introduced several safeguards, including instructing Sandilands and his management of the sort of remarks that are unacceptable and must not be repeated; extending the broadcast delay for the program from 10 seconds to 30 seconds; and installing a warning light system in the Sydney (and Los Angeles) studios to allow production staff and content advisers to notify announcers when content may be of concern
The CMA said of these actions, "While these initiatives are commendable, the ACMA is of the view that the imposition of a licence condition is appropriate in the circumstances, to ensure the ACMA's concerns regarding compliance with the relevant provision are addressed" and noted that the station will have the opportunity to make representations to the ACMA on the proposed licence condition before a final decision is made.
It also noted that in 2010 it had found breaches of codes by the same programme had had imposed a licence condition to provide increased protection for children participating in live hosted entertainment programs broadcast by 2DAY-FM. [RNW note: This was a case in which a 14-years old girl said on air during a lie-detector stunt that she had been raped when aged 12 - See RNW Jul 30 2009]
Should the station not comply with any additional licence conditions the ACMA, which at the current stage of things has no powers to impose a financial penalty or take action against any of the station's talent, will have various options including imposing further conditions, accepting an enforceable undertaking and suspending or cancelling its licence.
Previous Southern Cross Austereo:
2012-03-26: Arbitron has announced the finalization of a settlement with the Attorney General of the State of California and the City Attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco of cases brought relating to the marketing and commercialization of the Arbitron Portable People Meter radio ratings service in Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, California.
The suit was filed on March 21, 2012 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco and related to "allegations that the method it used to collect ratings information discriminated against radio stations with predominantly African-American and Latino audiences."
In a news release California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, claimed that Arbitron's implementation of its PPM ratings violated the state's Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law and Unruh Civil Rights Act by dramatically undercounting minority audiences, causing sharp declines in advertising rates and revenue for many broadcasters.
They noted that when Arbitron switched to PPM ratings radio stations serving primarily African American and Latino audiences were disproportionately affected by the sample audience recruitment methods and of the 18 stations serving minority audiences in Los Angeles, 16 experienced ratings decreases in excess of 30 percent under the initial PPM system with three showing falls of over 70 percent and one Los Angeles radio station whose audience is mostly African-American, was rated 0.0 for a significant portion of the day immediately after implementation of the new PPM ratings whilst a Spanish- language radio station that had previously enjoyed a number one ranking in the Los Angeles market saw its ratings plummet by more than 50 percent.
The complaints said that in deploying the new system Arbitron's listener recruitment methodology failed to reflect the diversity of broadcast audiences in California markets, and the attorneys noted that the settlement "mandates that Arbitron meet concrete metrics in its efforts to ensure that its audience sampling methods are fair and representative of California's diverse media markets."
"Specifically," they continued "Arbitron will improve its sample-audience recruitment by increasing address-based outreach to 65 percent of its total recruitment activity by December 31, 2012. Previously, recruitment was conducted primarily via land-line telephone, a survey method that failed to adequately include minority households. Arbitron will also take all reasonable steps to increase minority participation in their sample audience panels in five California major media markets. Additionally, Arbitron will begin incorporating country of origin as a standard demographic characteristic collected from participating Hispanic households-an additional benefit to Spanish-language media outlets."
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich commented, "Through this settlement, Arbitron has agreed to take important steps to ensure that minority radio stations are reasonably treated in order that they may fairly compete in the California marketplace. In a city as diverse as Los Angeles, it is important that all of our residents and our businesses be equally represented and able to compete in our field of commerce. Only then will all Californians have a voice."
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera added, "Assuring the integrity of broadcast rating methodologies is essential to protect media outlets that serve California's diverse communities. These measures set all-important ad rates and revenue, and largely determine the success or failure of media outlets in a competitive industry. I'm grateful for the hard work and expertise of my co-counsel in this case, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. I am also appreciative to Arbitron and its legal team for their cooperative approach and willingness to negotiate with us in good faith."
In addition to the measures to change its systems Arbitron is to pay a total of USD 400,000 to the plaintiffs - USD 150,000 each to the State of California and City of Los Angeles and USD 100,000 to the City and County of San Francisco.
Arbitron in its release skirts round many of the details and puts a thick coating of gloss on its actions saying of the changes to be made, "Arbitron has agreed to continue a number of measures already an integral part of the company's current PPM methodology and of its continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings services in all markets."
It notes that the commitments it has made "are generally consistent with the company's agreements with other states and are in force through December 31, 2014, or until MRC accreditation is granted, whichever comes first "and says the "agreement is not an admission of fault or concession of liability or wrongdoing by Arbitron regarding any allegations of law or fact alleged in the Complaint, and Arbitron denies such allegations."
Arbitron settled previous cases concerning the PPM with New York and New Jersey in 2009 (See RNW Jan 7, 2009).
2012-03-26: Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Pearce is to host a weekly Saturday night show "Dave Pearce: Dance Years" on BBC Radio 2 starting on April 14. Pearce left Radio 1 in 2008 after hosting his Dance Anthems Show there for 11 years - he then took it to BBC 6 Music until April last year - and after he left 6 Music hosted a 13-week dance music series focussing on the evolution of dance on Radio 2
The new show will air from 2200 to midnight and will feature tracks from his personal record collection alongside latest tracks currently on the UK's dance floor covering the period from the 70s to the present.
Commenting in his new show in a BBC news release, Pearce commented, "I'm delighted to be joining Radio 2 and look forward to sharing my passion for dance music with the Radio 2 audience. The show will be like one big house party with me rummaging through my record crates. There are plenty of memorable tracks from my Radio 1 Dance Anthems days alongside some hidden gems from the 70's and 80's.It's a chance to relive and share some great memories from the dance floor. This should be a lot of fun!"
The station's Head of Music Jeff Smith added, "A large portion of the Radio 2 audience have grown up with disco, soul and house music and Dave's wealth of knowledge and heritage in this genre place him perfectly to provide a new dance show for Radio 2."
The Saturday time slot that Pearce is taking currently features an hour of "6 on 2: The Best of Adam and Joe" from 6 Music followed by the comedy sketch show "Two episodes of Mash" then Steve Lamacq's "Saturday Night In" with a selection of new music from 23:00 to midnight and Lamacq's show is to move to the same time slot on Thursday nights. Lamacq will also continue to host his 1600-1900 weekday show on 6 Music
2012-03-26: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced that production has commenced on seven projects to which it is providing funding through its Sound & Vision II funding scheme.
The scheme is itself funded through a percentage levy - recently increased to 7% on the country's television licence fee - and amongst the projects on which work has started are three radio series.
One is a 21-part radio series "'Once Upon a Time in a Kingdom", which received a grant of Euros 19,700 (USD 26,200) to be broadcast on Radio Kerry, looking back over the station's 21 years on air a period in which events included US President Bill Clinton's visit to Ballybunion and Kerry's numerous All Ireland wins
The second is a ten part series "Full Circle - The Irish Songwriter" that will be produced by KCLR, the local radio station for Carlow and Kilkenny, and will focus on the lives and work of a number of Irish singers and songwriters. This received Euros 17,000 (USD 22,600).
The third grant - of Euros 20,000 (USD 26,600) went to Rockfinch Limited towards a six-part documentary series "Women of Note" that throws the spotlight on forgotten and neglected Irish women composers from the 19th and 20th centuries with a range of music genres from trad to classical.
The series is to air on state broadcaster RTÉ's Lyric FM starting in September this year and much of this often unheard music will be performed by pianists David Brophy and Anthony Byrne, and metro sopranos Elizabeth Pink and Collette Mc Gahon.
In addition West Dublin Access Radio received funding of Euros 6,500 (USD 8,600) to make 'Ballyfermot Rocks'- to come from the West Dublin Community Family Festival being held in August with the programme featuring a live concert starring local, unsigned bands.
RNW Note: Although now back in action it will take us a while to go through the backlog of reports for the past week. We will file these as we can whilst trying to keep abreast of newer reports.
2012-03-20: UTV in its preliminary results for the year to the end of 2011 says that its group revenues rose 2% to GBP 121.6 million (USD 192.4 million) and operating profit was up 3% to GBP 26.8 million (USD 42.4 million) with pre-tax operating profits up 10% to a record GBP 23.3 million (USD 36.9 million).
Overall UTV's loss was up from GBP 8.34 million (USD 13.19 million) to GBP 25.47 million (USD 40.31 million) including the effects of a GBP 45 million (USD 71.2 million) impairment charge on its assets in the Republic of Ireland of which GBP 19.0 million (USD 30.1 million) was due to higher Republic of Ireland sovereign debt risk: In 2010 the company listed GBP 35.0 million (currently USD 55.4 million) in exceptional items related to its GB radio division.
In addition to the above if showed a loss of GBP 2.24 million (USD 3.54 million) in exchange difference on translation of foreign operations - down 20.60% on the 2010 figure; an actuarial los son its pension scheme of GBP 3.28 million ( USD 5.19 million) - up 10.6% on 2010 and other items that took its comprehensive loss for the year, net of tax for the year up from GBP 464,000 to GBP 4.72 million (From USD 734,000 to USD 7.48 million), making a total loss up from GBP 8.8 million in 2010 to GBP 30.20 million in 2011 (From USD 13.9 million to USD 47.78 million) .
The company also noted that it has reduced debt by GBP 42.9 million (49% - USD 67.9 million) over the past three year and that its net finance costs were reduced by 26% to GBP 3.5 million (USD 5.5 million).
UTV noted continuing strong audience delivery across both radio and television with TV revenues up 1% in line with the TV network and GB radio revenues up 6% but Irish radio revenues fell by 4% although it noted this represents significant market outperformance.
The rise in operating profit was driven by TV - up 18% to GBP 6.5 million (USD 10.3 million) whilst radio division operating profit was up marginally from GBP 18.7 million to GBP 18.9 million (USD 29.6 million to USD 29.9 million).
GB Radio performed well with operating profit up 6% to GBP 12.4 million (USD 19.6 million) despite the absence of the 2010 Football World Cup but in Ireland economic conditions had a negative effect and operating profit was down 8% to GBP 6.4 million (USD 10.1 million) , although this was better than the Irish radio market overall.
Regarding New Media, which provided 6% of its operating profit, UTV did not give the other details but said its operating profit was hit by increased investment and was down to GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.4 million).
Group Chief Executive John McCann, commented in a release, "I'm very pleased with the company's performance against what has remained a testing economic background. The strength of these numbers firmly reflects UTV's commitment to deliver innovative programming across platforms, driving audience share while at the same time effectively managing costs within the business and paying down our debt facilities. We remain committed to our strategy of delivering value through the development of a diversified portfolio of leading media assets. I am confident this foundation will see the business continue to perform into 2012."
Interim chairman Helen Kirkpatrick added," I am pleased to report that the UTV Group again achieved record pre-tax profits, pre exceptional items, despite the difficult macro-economic environment. Strong cash flows continued to drive down net debt which has been reduced by almost 50% over the last three years. Good progress has been made toward the appointment of a new Chairman who is expected to provide independent and expert leadership of the Group, thus ensuring its continued commercial success. "
Looking ahead the group said 2012 had begun well and Kirkpatrick commented, "Overall, we expect revenues in the first four months of 2012 to be in line with budget. It is expected that the major sporting events during the summer of 2012, the UEFA Euro championships and the London Olympics, will have a positive impact in attracting a large volume of both listeners and viewers to our radio and television output, generating an attractive prospect for advertisers."
2012-03-20: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds no radio complaints although it lists details of two radio Fairness and Privacy complaints not upheld: These were both against the same BBC Radio Scotland programme - The Investigation: Donations, Dinners and Deals - that looked at Scotland's local authority planning processes and included a report on an allegation that Michael McCann MP had failed to declare his relationship with a local property developer and Labour Party donor, James Kean, when McCann sat as a councillor on the Planning Committee of South Lanarkshire Council. Both McCann and Kean had complained about the programme and also about two BBC Scotland TV programmes that also looked at the issue.
In addition to the above Ofcom upheld Standards complaints against five TV broadcasters; upheld in part Fairness and Privacy Complaints against two TV broadcasters; and also listed a further TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint not upheld.
It also listed one TV Advertising Minutage breach and another TV Advertising Minutage complaint considered resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and listed without detail four radio and three TV complaints it did not uphold.
The numbers compare with no radio complaints upheld in its previous bulletin in which it also upheld Standards complaints against two TV programmes; considered another TV Standards complaint resolved through action taken by the broadcaster; upheld four TV fairness and privacy complaints - two of them involving the same programme; and detailed three more TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints not upheld.
Ofcom also listed 825 (502 against one programme) complaints against 208 TV items and 14 complaints against 14 radio items that it assessed but did not investigate: This compares with 447 complaints against 270 TV items and 25 complaints against 25 radio items that were assessed but not further investigated in the previous bulletin.
It also listed seven radio and 11 TV complaints concerning which it began investigations between March 1 and 14.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin
2012-03-19: BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, whose departure from the Corporation has been widely rumoured this year (See RNW Jan 26) has now confirmed in an e-mail to staff that he is to step down in the autumn (fall) after the London 2012 Olympics have ended.
In an e-mail to staff he noted the speculation and his promise to advise staff and the BBC Trust first about the timetable and then continued, "This morning I told [BBC Trust chairman] Lord Patten that I believe that an appropriate time for me to hand over to a successor and to step down as Director-General of the BBC would be the autumn of this year, once the Olympics and the rest of the amazing summer of 2012 are over."
Thompson says that he had told Patten last year that he thought there was a strong case for handing over sooner than later and that from the BBC's viewpoint his successor should have time to get their [RNW comment - a typical avoidance of his or her irrespective of the damage to the English language] feet under the table before the next Charter Review process got going."
Commenting on his period in office - he is "already the longest-serving Director-General since the 1970s" - Thompson said that over the period "we've weathered a series of lively storms and been through some trying as well as some very successful times together. What has made my job not just bearable, but immensely enjoyable and rewarding, is all of you: your talent and energy, your unshakeable belief in the BBC and everything it stands for."
He concludes "It's because of your efforts that the BBC I will be leaving is so much stronger than the BBC I inherited back in 2004. Trust and approval are at record highs, our services are in brilliant creative form and we've demonstrated beyond contradiction that the BBC can be just as much of a leader and innovator in the digital age as we once were in the analogue one. Now more than ever, to audiences at home and abroad the BBC is the best broadcaster in the world. It's been a great privilege helping you to keep the BBC in that top spot over the past eight years."
In a statement, Patten said Thompson had been an "outstanding" leader and added, "He took over during a traumatic period in the corporation's history and subsequently enhanced its reputation for creativity and quality, while setting the course for the BBC's digital future.
"I will miss him on both a personal and professional level and I wish him the very best of luck for the future."
Thompson took over the post as a result of one of the "storms" he referred to - the Hutton Report on the death of the government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly that led to the resignation of the previous director general, Greg Dyke and chairman, Gavyn Davies - and during his tenure the Corporation saw the resignation of BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas following a row over crude comments aired on the Russell Brand Show (See RNW Oct 30, 2008). The row also led to the resignation of Brand and the suspension of Jonathon Ross who also subsequently opted not to remain with the BBC.
It also saw the resignation of then BBC1 TV Controller Peter Fincham in October 2007 following a row over the handling of the "A Year with the Queen" controversy after Fincham told journalists - erroneously - that the documentary included the Queen storming out of a photo shoot with Annie Liebovitz after being asked to remove her crown.
The exact date of Thompson's departure was not given - he says he will be "guided by the wishes of the trust and of my successor, whoever that may be" but speculation on his successor has suggested that top internal contenders are likely to be the Corporation's Head of News Helen Boaden and Chief Operating Officer Caroline Thomson. Amongst outside names that Fincham, now ITV's current director of television, and Channel 4 chief executive, David Abraham have been mooted.
The remuneration for Thompson's replacement is expected to be considerably less than his GBP 671,000 (USD 1.07 million) leading to some comments that this may make it difficult to attract outside candidates of high calibre.
2012-03-19: Radio One Inc.'s President of Radio Barry Mayo has resigned to pursue other opportunities although these are not specified.
In a news release Radio One CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III commented, "Barry has been an integral member of Radio One's executive management team for nearly five years, and he has served the Company with passion and distinction. I am grateful for Barry's contributions to the success of the Company's initiatives, particularly given the challenging economic environment. I understand, however, that there comes a time for change in a person's career, and I fully respect Barry's decision to undertake new challenges. I truly wish him well."
Mayo responded, "Partnering with Alfred and helping to execute his vision has been a rewarding experience, and I am proud of what we have accomplished. I am grateful for the support shown me during my tenure. While I will miss the relationships forged, I am truly looking forward to the next phase of my career."
Mayo helped launch WRKS-FM, the first US radio station to air rap music regularly, in 1981 and subsequently became the first black general manage of owner RKO General. Later he was the first African-American GM for Emmis, taking over of Emmis Radio New York in 2003 in succession to Judy Ellis. He left Emmis in 2006 to resume a consulting career, working for Radio One in that role until he accepted the Radio One post in 2007.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2012-03-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which lists its latest Low Power FM proposals on the agenda for its Open Meeting on Wednesday, has posted two reports and orders that it adopted today and which it says "help promote community radio through the licensing of low power FM (LPFM) and FM translator stations, advancing the LCRA and Commission goal of fostering localism and diversity in the radio landscape."
It had released a third notice on LPFM in July last year seeking comment on the impact of the Local Community Radio Act (LCRA) on the procedures it had previously adopted to process the approximately 6,500 applications that remain pending from the 2003 FM translator window: Its Fourth Report and Order and Third Order on Reconsideration adopts the market-specific translator application processing approach proposed in the Third Further Notice with certain modifications that the agency says are beneficial to both LPFM and translator proponents.
It adds that the order sets out a revised spectrum availability analysis that better identifies and protects areas with significant populations where LPFM service is most practical and sustainable; Gives translator applicants proposing to serve spectrum-limited areas an ability to demonstrate that their applications, if granted, would not preclude certain identified LPFM opportunities; Adopts a national cap of 50 applications and a market-based cap of one application per applicant per market for the most spectrum-limited markets, minimizing the potential for speculative licensing conduct; and modifies the May 1, 2009, date restriction to allow pending FM translator applications that are subsequently granted to be used as cross-service translators.
Also posted is a Fifth Report and Order and Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Fourth Order On Reconsideration: As required by the LCRA, the Fifth Report and Order eliminates the third-adjacent channel spacing requirements applicable to LPFM stations and a Fourth Further Notice seeks comment on how to implement other provisions of the LCRA related to waivers of the second-adjacent channel spacing requirements, third-adjacent channel interference, and interference to the input signals for FM translators.
The Fourth Further Notice also recommends changes to the FCC's rules to help promote a more sustainable community radio service while preserving the technical integrity of all of the FM services. The Fourth Further Notice seeks comment on proposals to reduce the potential for licensing abuses and other proposals to promote a vigorous community radio service.
Proposals put forward include elimination of the LP10 class of service and an increase of the maximum LPFM facilities in certain areas; Revision of the cross-ownership rule to permit cross-ownership of an LPFM station and FM translator stations; and modifications to the way the FCC processes mutually exclusive applications including revision of the established community presence and local program origination criteria; Adoption of additional selection criteria; Adjustment of the air-time reapportionment policy applicable when a participant in a voluntary time-sharing arrangement does not construct or surrenders its license after commencing operations; removal of the Intermediate Frequency protection requirements for LPFM stations operating with less than 100 watts effective radiated power; and an extension of the mandatory time-sharing applicable to certain NCE FM stations to the LPFM service.
2012-03-18: Last week saw radio postings from all areas but only a few with North America the busiest region: In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that following a public consultation it is to the transmission of commercial radio broadcasting services 4BRZ, 4RBL and 8SAT in remote areas of central and north-east Australia.
4BRZ services will be extended in New South Wales at Barrington/Stratford and Tenterfield, and in Queensland at Alpha, Banana, Chinchilla, Collinsville, Dirranbandi, Goondiwindi, Julia Creek, Karumba, Miles, Monto, Normanton, Taroom, Theodore and Wandoan.
New 4RBL services will operate in New South Wales at Barrington/Stratford, Tenterfield and Wilcannia, and in Queensland at Alpha, Aurukun, Bamaga, Chinchilla, Goondiwindi, Julia Creek, Karumba, Gununa, Hope Vale, Kowanyama, Miles, Monto, Pormpuraaw, Taroom and Theodore.
8SAT services will become available in New South Wales at Lake Cargelligo, and in Southern Australia at Hawker and Minnipa.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) radio postings included:
*Approval of application by Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. to acquire from Rick Sargent the assets of the English-language commercial radio stations CJFB-FM, Bolton, and CFGM-FM, Caledon. The purchase price is CAD 200,000 (One CAD is 0.009 USD) plus consulting fees and the value of leases to make a total of CAD 284,855 thus making the value of the 6% tangible benefits package CAD 17,091.
The agency also noted that the previous licensee had failed to file annual returns - Haliburton said this was to inadequate funding and to a lack of staff qualified to fulfil this function properly and that it had a proven track record of filing its stations' annual returns on time - and also shortfalls in Canadian Content Development contributions relating to which it directed Haliburton to fulfil, by no later than 14 May 2012, any shortfalls relating to required CCD contributions that were incurred for these stations while they were under previous ownership.
*Approval of application from Astral Media Radio inc. to increase the power of its French-language station CJMV-FM, Val-d'Or, from 63,100 to 96,000 watts; relocate the transmitter and decrease its height of antenna above average terrain from 171.9 to 156.8 metres.
*Denial of application from 7590474 Canada Inc. - a corporation controlled by Radio Humsafar Inc - to amend the licence for its French-language commercial station CJLV-AM, Laval, in order to authorize it to devote, in each broadcast week, up to 40% of its programming to third-language programming.
The licensee said the station was experiencing significant financial losses. And approval of this application would enable it to serve certain underserved communities and increase station revenue, as well as to complement services currently available.
CPAM Radio Union.com Inc., licensee of French-language ethnic station CJWI-AM, Montréal; Méga Radio Inc. and Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio Limited, submitted that the applicant had not demonstrated that the proposed amendment was the only solution to the station's financial problems.
The CRTC in denying the application noted that the applicant had not demonstrated how the proposed amendment would allow it to make its station profitable and that it had recently denied applications to operate new AM commercial ethnic stations in Montréal. It said it considered the change could have a negative impact on the ethnic stations in Montréal, which already provide programming to the ethnic communities targeted by this application.
It also noted non-compliance with licence conditions relating to the filing of annual returns for the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 broadcast years and with its condition of licence relating to Canadian talent development contributions for the 2003-2004, 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 broadcast years.
There were no radio specific postings in Ireland but the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) announced that it will launch a public consultation at the end of March on rules governing how food and drink should be commercially promoted to children in the broadcast media. The rules will be included in the draft revised BAI Children's Commercial Communications Code.
The draft code is currently being prepared by the BAI and it will draw on the responses received as a result of a public consultation that was conducted in the autumn.
In the UK, Ofcom as part of a third round of community radio licensing has invited applications for community licences in Northern Ireland. Applications have to be submitted by 17:00 local time on June 7 and a non-refundable fee of GBP 600 (USD 950) will be payable for each application submitted and considered.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put the issue of low-power FM on the agenda for its March 21 open meeting when it will consider a Fourth Report and Order and Third Order on Reconsideration to implement a market-specific FM translator processing scheme, adopt application caps to prevent trafficking, and modify policies to expand opportunities to rebroadcast AM stations on FM translators.
It also released a list of 109 bidders found qualified to bit for its Auction 93 of 119 FM construction permits due to start on March 27: A further 36 applicants were ruled unqualified to bid.
Upfront payments made by qualified bidders range upwards from USD 750 to USD 350,000.
The FCC enforcement bureau was again fairly active on the radio front with penalties confirmed, levied or proposed including the following (In descending amount order):
*Issued USD 25,000 forfeiture to Gabriel A. Garcia of San Jose, California, for operation of an unlicensed FM on various frequencies. The agency had issued an NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture) to Garcia last year (See RNW May 5, 2011) but he did not respond so the penalty was confirmed.
*Adopted consent decree including payment of USD 9,000 with Uniradio Corporation in relation to its delivery of programming to Mexican station XERCN, Tijuana, without first gaining authorization. Uniradio is also to develop and implement a Compliance Plan to help ensure future compliance that will include designating a senior corporate manager with the requisite corporate and organizational authority to serve as Compliance Officer and be responsible for developing, implementing, and administering the Compliance Plan including a Compliance Training Programme for staff.
Uniradio is also required to file Compliance Reports with the Commission after ninety calendar days; twelve months; and twenty-four months.
*Denied petition for reconsideration and confirmed USD 8,000 penalty on Southern Adventist University, licensee of non-commercial educational station WSMC-FM, Collegedale, Tennessee, for public file breaches.
The agency had issued the university with a USD 10,000 NAL in May 2007 (See RNW Licence News May 6, 2007) to which the university responded requesting reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture because said it was not imposed within the required time limits.
The FCC rejected the argument but cut the penalty to USD 8,000 on the basis of a history of compliance to which the university responded with a Petition for Reconsideration. The agency noted that the petition largely re-iterated previous arguments and dismissed it, rejecting comparison that the petition made with another ruling.
*Issued USD 4,000 NAL to JHT Ventures, Inc., licensee of daytime-only KULF-AM, for operating outside the hours specified in its licence. It also required JHT to submit within 30 days a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that it is discontinuing operations at sunset.
Previous Licence News:
RNW Note: We intend to file reports for the end of the week and weekend but are giving priority to later reports before clearing the backlog.
2012-03-16: BCE Inc. (Bell, Canada) has announced that it has signed a deal to acquire Montréal-based Astral Media Inc. for around CAD 3.38 billion (A CAD is 1.008 USD) including net debt of CAD 380 million, and will be funded with a combination of cash (approximately 75% of the equity purchase price) and BCE common equity (approximately 25% or CAD 750 million), with Bell retaining the right to replace shares with cash, in whole or in part, at closing.
Bell will acquire all Class A Non-Voting Shares of Astral for CAD 50 per share, representing a premium of 39% based on Astral's volume-weighted average closing share price on the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)for the last five trading days, for a total consideration of approximately CAD 2.8 billion; all Class B Subordinate Voting Shares of which the Greenberg family has a majority holding for CAD 54.83 per share, for a total consideration of approximately CAD151 million; and all the Special Shares (These have extra votes and all 65,000 of them - making the per share price CAD 769.23- are owned by the Greenberg family) for a total consideration of CAD 50 million. Shareholders are to vote on the deal by May 25.
The agreement provides for a non-solicitation covenant on the part of Astral, subject to customary "fiduciary out" provisions, and a right in favour of Bell to match any superior proposal and if Bell does not exercise its right to match, Bell would receive a termination fee of CAD 100 million should Astral support any superior proposal.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval and if it does not close for regulatory reasons Bell will pay Astral CAD 150 million as a reverse break fee.
As part of the deal Astral President & CEO Ian Greenberg - the Greenberg family controls Astral through Abgreen Holdings which has 63.7% of the voting shares - will join the BCE Board of Directors and he commented of the agreement in a news release, "This transaction with Bell represents an exciting moment in the history of Astral, and an excellent opportunity for our company, our shareholders and our employees. We have come to know Bell very well as a long-time commercial partner and the fit between our two companies is a natural."
"On behalf of the Greenberg family and Astral's Board of Directors," he added "I would like to thank all of our employees across the different regions of Canada. Without their commitment and hard work, we could not have achieved this level of success."
Astral's Board acting on the unanimous recommendation of the Special Committee comprised solely of independent directors, has unanimously approved the transaction and recommends that Astral shareholders approve it.
Astral operates 22 television services and 84 radio stations in 50 markets and employs around 2,800 people.
Bell through its 2006 acquisition of CHUM became the owner of 33 radio stations, 12 local TV stations and 21 specialty channels (See RNW Jul 14, 2006 Chum1 ) in a CAD 1.4 billion (then USD 1.2 billion) deal that closed in June 2007 (See RNW Jun 23, 2007 Chum3)
News of the deal brought an expression of concern from the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting about market domination and other issues: In a news release it noted that BCE already owns the most popular pay and specialty services, but these are concentrated in English Canada and the addition of the Astral services will make them the dominant player in French Canada as well.
Friends spokesperson Ian Morrison asked of the acquisition plan, ""How much media concentration is too much? "and continued, "This is a serious concern and the CRTC (Canadian regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) will have to determine the answer to this question in the public interest."
He then noted the dominance in radio that Bell would gain in Canada, commenting, The present CRTC policy allows a single entity to own a maximum of 2 AM and 2 FM stations in the same language in a market with more than 8 stations or a maximum of 3 stations (maximum of 2 being FM) in a market with fewer than 8 stations. The combination of the former CHUM stations (now owned by Bell and the Standard stations (now owned by Astral) will require Bell to divest stations."
RNW comment: In regard to the financial side of this weal we expect some whinges about the amount being paid for the special shares, all owned by the Greenberg family, but doubt they will account to much in view of the size of the premium being paid. We'll also be interested to find out which Astral executives are dumped - and how large their payoffs are.
The above, of course, depends on the deal going through and we share some of the concerns expressed by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting but - like them - expect it to be consummated subject to various divestments.
2012-03-15: Radio One Inc's radio revenues in the final quarter of last year fell by 9.4% compared to a year earlier although overall revenues, including the effects of consolidating the company's TV One operations, were up 37.8% to USD 98.1 million.
Commenting on the radio performance, company CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III, said in a release, "Our fourth quarter radio revenue was impacted by a combination of tough political comps, non-recurring national accounts and certain format changes that we effected during the quarter. Normalizing for political and issue money, our underlying core radio revenue was down approximately 4.2%."
He then added a more bullish note, continuing, "While this is disappointing, I believe our radio group is poised to rebound strongly in 2012, with mid to high single digit revenue growth in both the first and second quarters" and then went on to praise the performance of TV One which he said, "its strong performance with fourth quarter revenue growth of 8.7% and EBITDA growth of approximately 102% compared to fourth quarter 2010."
Radio One's bottom line, however, was hit by non-cash impairment charge against its goodwill and other intangible assets of approximately USD 22.3 million, which led to a net operating loss of approximately USD 9.0 million.
Overall net loss was USD 19.1 million (38 cents a share), compared to a reported net loss of USD 27.2 million (52 cents a share) for the same period in 2010 when the figures included a USD 36.06 million impairment charge.
For the full year, net revenues were up 30.35% to USD 364.6 million; operating income was up from USD 15.27 million to USD 25.49 million; total operating expenses were up 28.2% to USD 339.1 million ; Interest expense was up 88.6% to USD 88.3 million- put down to higher interest rates associated with our new 2011 senior credit facility, our new senior subordinated note and notes issued by TV One.; a consolidated net loss of USD 26.63 million became income of USD 15.37 million and a loss attributable to common stockholders of USD 28.63 million became income of USD 5.36 million (From a loss of 56 cents to income of 11 cents per basic share).
Previous Radio 1 Inc.:
2012-03-15: An on-air discussion on Quebec City station CHOI-FM in which the hosts discussed current terms in use to describe the status romantic relationships , suggested they were too limiting and suggested their own such as "a good lay" and "my one night stand" or "just a blowjob" - did not breach Canadian Codes according to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC)..
The exchange took place on the Dupont le midi talk show hosted by Stéphane Dupont on French language station CHOI-FM and after his initial comments Dupont went on to invent terms that might be on Facebook as a user's "relationship status". He suggested [All translations] "I'm horny", "I'm hot for you", "I just want sex" and then said that (a member of his regular team) Minie's status would be "just a blowjob" or "just fellatio". Dess (Another member of the team) responded that "Facebook doesn't provide every option" and that "just a blowjob" was not one of the options.
The comments resulted in a complaint (also in French) that Dupont made degrading remarks and is often "vulgar and uses absurd and immature language to the point of being off-colour".
The complainant had not been precise about the comments that we being objected to and CHOI in reply to the complaint focussed on an earlier segment leading the complainant to say that his complaint was about "words referring to obscene matters, i.e. sex" and that he did not understand why the station had not properly addressed his concerns.
In its decision, the CBSC Quebec Regional Panel assessed the complaint in relation to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Code on unduly sexually explicit and degrading material and ruled that the mere mention of sexual acts, either by using actual terms or synonymous popular expressions, without giving a detailed description of those acts does not constitute sexually explicit content, let alone "unduly sexually explicit" content, although one member of the panel expressed reservations and suggested that the CBSC should adopt a stricter definition of the concept of "unduly sexually explicit material".
The panel also concluded unanimously that the comments did not amount to negative generalizations of either sex.
2012-03-14: Emmis has called a special meeting at a date so far unspecified to get stockholders to take away (amongst other things) the right to millions of dollars in dividends from holders of its 6.25% Series A Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock and also to authorize a reverse split- between one for three and one for eight - of its common stock to push its price above the minimum USD 1 required for a continued NASDAQ listening. Emmis advised earlier this month that it had received a delisting notice (See RNW Mar 3) and also.
The common stock has not been above USD 1 since July last year and closed at 73 cents on Tuesday night: In part the price is held down by the liabilities it incurred in issuing USD 140 million of the preferred stock 13 years ago although the company suspended payments of the 6.25% dividends in October 2008 and has since then incurred USD 27.6 million of liabilities for unpaid dividends.
In November last year it announced the launch of a modified "Dutch" auction tender offer to purchase up to USD 6 million's worth of the shares (See RNW Nov 30, 2011) having agreed earlier that month to obtain USD 35 million of financing to purchase the stock in a deal with the Zell Credit Opportunities Master Fund L.P. (See RNW Nov 16, 2011). Also in November it announced that it had settled a dispute with the Alden Distressed Opportunities Master Fund L.P. with an agreement to buy from Alden approximately USD 16.3 million's worth (1,035,925 shares at USD 15.75 per share) of the Preferred Stock - a deal that gave the company voting rights in around 56.8% of the outstanding preferred stock.
In an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the end of January Emmis said its purchases meant it controlled 61.3% of the Preferred Stock and that in addition it had the right to issue shares of Preferred Stock to a third party or third parties who may agree to vote their shares in accordance with the prior written instructions of Emmis. If Emmis issued 390,604 of the 452,680 authorized but unissued shares of Preferred Stock under such voting arrangements, it said it would have the ability to direct the vote of more than 66 2/3% of its issued and outstanding shares of Preferred Stock - the two=thirds required for the plan to gain approval..
Such a vote Emmis said at the time would enable it to vote to amend various provisions relating to the stock including the stockholders ability to require Emmis to repurchase all or any portion of such holders' Preferred Stock upon a change of control or certain going-private transactions; to pay dividends in respect of their Preferred Stock that are currently accrued and unpaid; to change the designation of the Preferred Stock from "Cumulative" to "Non-Cumulative" such that dividends or distributions on the Preferred Stock shall cease to accrue; to eliminate the rights of the holders of Preferred Stock to nominate directors to Emmis' Board of Directors as a result of arrearages in dividends, and to eliminate the restrictions on Emmis' ability to pay dividends or make distributions on its common stock prior to paying accrued and unpaid dividends or distributions on Preferred Stock.
These changes are listed in its Pre-14a Filing to the SEC in connection with the special meeting - and Emmis says that its board with the exception of David Gale, who was appointed as a director by the holders of the Preferred Stock, "believes the Proposed Amendments will have a positive effect on the overall capital structure of Emmis, which will have a beneficial impact on holders of the Common Stock."
It adds, "Accordingly, the board of directors, with the exception of Mr. Gale, believes that the Proposed Amendments are in the best interests of Emmis and the holders of the Common Stock and recommends that holders of the Common Stock vote FOR the Proposed Amendments. Mr. Gale voted not to approve the Proposed Amendments because he believes there is no economic reason for the Proposed Amendments, other than to transfer wealth from the holders of Preferred Stock to the holders of Common Stock, and the Proposed Amendments use corporate resources to subvert the rights of holders of Preferred Stock and are not in the best interests of Emmis. The Emmis board of directors is not making any recommendation as to whether holders of Preferred Stock (other than shares of Preferred Stock over which Emmis has the right to direct the vote) should vote for the Proposed Amendments and believes that each holder of Preferred Stock should make its own independent analysis and determination."
Regarding the proposed reverse split it says the board unanimously supported this proposal.
RNW comment: We tend to agree with David Gale on this one: The proposal regarding the Preferred Stock will indeed if passed transfer wealth from the holders of the Preferred Stock to the holders of the Common Stock and we would also agree that the proposal involves the use of Corporate Resources to subvert the rights of the holders of the Preferred Stock.
In shorter terms the plan is a fairly clever attempt at legalised theft and we wish any legal action against it all the best despite our general dislike for benefitting lawyers' pockets. In ethical terms rather than legal ones we don't think it going to far to liken (Emmis founder, Chairman, President and CEO Jeffrey H.), Smulyan and the board to a band of thieves who should not be allowed to hold office in any public company and we think jail - with them paying all the costs of their upkeep from their personal wealth - would be a fitting end for them. We would certainly never buy any stock in any company involving Smulyan.
*Emmis also filed details of an amended contract of employment for Richard F. Cummings, President of Emmis Radio Programming, from March1 under which Cummings base salary - which was USD 330,327 in 2010 - goes up to USD 464,100 - plus an annual incentive compensation target of 60% of this (USD 278,460: His bonus in 2010 was USD 274,277) that may be paid in cash or shares of its Common Stock.
On top of other benefits such as an automobile allowance and up to USD 5,000 a year for insurance premiums, Cummings will be entitled to USD 470,000 in severance pay if he is not offered substantially similar employment upon the expiration of the term and his employment terminates: In addition if he is entitled to severance, Mr. Cummings will be offered a four year part-time programming role with total payments over the four years of USD 530,000.
The new deal also includes a new Change in Control Severance Agreement that provides, should his employment be terminated within two years of a change of control (or, in certain instances, in anticipation of a change in control), other than for cause, or is terminated by the executive for good reason, Cummings is entitled to a payment equal to the his base salary through the termination date, plus a pro-rata portion of the executive's target bonus for the year and accrued vacation pay; a severance payment equal to three times his highest annual base salary and highest annual incentive bonus during the preceding three years; and various other insurance benefits.
2012-03-14: Saga Communications has reported final quarter 2011 revenues down 3.6% on a year earlier at USD 32.9 million and virtually flat for the year -down marginally from USD 127.817 million to USD 127.295 million with net income down 10.12% to USD 4.105 million (from USD 1.08 to USD 0.97 per basic and diluted share) for the quarter and down 16.55% to USD 12.631 million (from USD 3.58 top USD 2.98 per basic and diluted share) for the full year - Saga notes that the 2010 figure included a USD 3.6 million "gain due to a one-time payment for a frequency coordination of one of our FM stations."
Station operating expenses were essentially flat for both periods at USD 23.45 million and USD 93.62 million) but interest expenses were reduced from USD 1.26 million to USD 583,000 for the quarter and from USD 5.62 million to USD 3.42 million for the year and the company reduced its long-term debt at the end of the year from USD 96.1 million to USD 69.1 million.
2012-03-13: Arbitron in a preliminary release of details of its RADAR 112 national radio listening report says that US radio's weekly audience had remained steady with some 241.2 million tuning into radio on a weekly basis - around 93% of US 12 and older population the country's population up from just below 312 million in March 2011
It adds that the medium has also held onto its audience amongst those 12-17 which remained flat compared to a year earlier at 22.7 million a week and nearly unchanged amongst those 18-34 at 66.4 million.
For those 18-49 Arbitron says the weekly audience is 126.2 million and for those 25-54 119.4 million.
In ethnic terms, Arbitron says there were increases in listeners amongst Blacks (non Hispanic) and Hispanics aged 12 and over with the Hispanic audience up by nearly 2 million and reaching 95% of this demographic - the same as a year earlier: The greatest increase it adds was amongst Hispanic adults 18-49 with the weekly audience for this demographic up by nearly a million.
The increase amongst blacks was smaller - up 391,000 a week for those 12 and older.
As a year ago Arbitron also says the medium attracts affluent, educated consumers with more than 71 million adults aged 18 to 49 with a household income of USD 75,000 and, 26 million adults aged 25 to 54 with a household income of USD 75,000 and a college education tuning into radio weekly.
[RNW note: Checking our figures for RADAR 108 -See RNW Mar 16, 2011 - we note that the percentage of the 12 and over US population was then 93.1% and the total 241.6 million. In addition the online US population clocks showed a total of just below 311 million in March 2011 and just above 313.2 million this March, an increase of 2.2 million or 0.71% whilst the weekly audience fell by 400,000 or 0.17%.
The picture therefore seems to be one of a small decline overall and a more significant one amongst all but the Hispanic audience: Hispanics are, of course, thought to be the fastest growing demographic in the US.
Arbitron does note that "Some fluctuation in the March 2012 RADAR data is due to the inclusion of 2010 Census population estimates projected to 2012" but this would affect only the percentages not the totals and unfortunately it is not consistent in which data it puts into the releases - in other words they're as much propaganda as factual enlightenment.]
Previous RADAR [Radar 111]:
2012-03-12: Cumulus pro-forma revenues for the final quarter of last year were down 5.6% to USD 290.2 million and down 3.3% for the full year to USD 1.142 billion: Excluding the impact of its acquisition of the 75% Cumulus Media Partners (CMP) that had been owned by three private equity companies (Bain Capital Partners LLC, The Blackstone Group L.P. and Thomas H. Lee Partners) and Citadel (in a transaction valued at some USD 2.3 billion) fell by 4% in the final quarter to USD 67.0 million.
Cumulus put the fall down primarily to reduced political advertising in the quarter compared to a year earlier when it benefited from mi-term election spending and also the reduction in management fees it had received from CMP and also noted that excluding the impact of these acquisitions direct operating expenses for the quarter were down 5.4% to USD 36.9 million put down primarily to in fixed sales expenses and other operating costs.
Pro-forma adjusted EBITDA was down 0.4% for the quarter to USD 96.46 million and down 9.6% for the full year to USD 376.6 million and pro-forma free cash flow was down 16.8% to USD 38.9 million and 22.6% to USD 168.85 million respectively.
Reported figures, which include the acquisition show final quarter revenues up from USD 69.78 million to USD 290.2 million and from USD 263.3 million to USD 549.5 million with adjusted EBITDA up from USD 27.54 million to USD 86.20 million and USD 87.46 million to USD 131.2 million and net income of USD 7.51 million turning to a los of USD 13.14 million (From 18 cents per basic share and 17 cents per diluted share to a loss of 14 cents per basic and diluted share) for the final quarter and increasing from USD 29.40 million to USD 63.86 million (Down from 70 cents per basic and 69 cents per diluted share to 48 cents per basic and 46 cents per diluted share).
Commenting on the figures, chairman and CEO Lew Dickey said in a release, "The integration of Citadel into Cumulus is ahead of schedule as we have achieved 100% of our stated run-rate synergies in the first 100 days. With this large and transformative acquisition, we have built a true platform company with multiple organic growth drivers, including compelling new content that will enable us to generate significant free cash to rapidly de-lever our balance sheet."
RNW comment: The synergies of course are mainly firing people and we wonder what the state of the compelling new content will prove to be in a year's time- and how much of it is local programming.
We also noted in the company's 10K filing an interesting sideline in its comments on the industry - our emphasis in bold - "Our stations compete for advertising revenue with other broadcast radio stations in the market (including low power FM ("LPFM") radio stations that are required to operate on a non-commercial basis) as well as other media, including newspapers, broadcast television, cable television, magazines, direct mail, coupons and outdoor advertising. In addition, the radio broadcasting industry is subject to competition from services that use new media technologies that are being developed or have already been introduced, such as the Internet and satellite-based digital radio services.
So much it would seem for FCC localism in the eyes of the major broadcast companies - the little and local stations barred from advertising are in competition for theirs; when push comes to bottom line, the priority is on the latter and concern for local content is only expressed when politically convenient or it seems to serve commercial interests in providing a justification for the broadcasters' priorities over others when it comes to spectrum; and consolidation - necessary to keep stations going according to some protagonists has in effect handed many broadcasters over to private equity groups whose interest in serving communities when it clashes with their final benefit seems to be nil.
Maybe the US needs a real debate about how far people really want localism with an agenda of setting clearly defined FCC minimum local content requirements - as in some other countries - together in the US case since money seems to have bought too many of the regulators and the politicians aut0matic revocation of the licences of any station that has not met the requirements over the whole of its eight-year licence period when renewal is due. Obviously if local communities are happy with the current state of regulations there would be no call for change but the very debate would be valuable and if caused a bit more concern about local output from commercial broadcasters and rather more spectrum went to LPFMs and other uses as a result there could be a significant benefit.
2012-03-11: Last week was yet another quiet one as regards radio postings - with none from Ireland and only a few elsewhere: In Australia the only radio posting from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) related to further action against unlicensed stations and the penalties that may be imposed - up to two years in jail and a fine of up to USD 176,000 (See RNW Mar 5).
Canada was also fairly quiet with radio-related postings from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) including the following:
*Revoked at the request of the CKMO Radio Society the licence of its CKMO-AM, Victoria
*Denial of application from Glen Ferguson, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a 50 watts English-language, low-power community FM radio programming undertaking in Bathurst
The CRTC noted the receipt of comments from Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc. , licensee of CKBC-FM Bathurst and Armand Roussy, on behalf of CKLE-FM & CJVA-AM, Caraquet, in which argued that the applicant failed to identify the French-language radio station CKLE-FM Bathurst/Caraquet in its description of the market and that the applicant's assumptions about the population growth in Bathurst are inaccurate and pointed out that, contrary to the applicant's assessment, the population of Bathurst has been declining over the last five years. They also said the applicant's plans for volunteer participation and training were vague and although neither specifically opposed the application, they did argue that approval of the application could have a negative impact on the profitability and viability of incumbent stations in the market.
The applicant noted that it may have overstated the future population growth of the Bathurst region but maintained that it did not overstate Bathurst's current population and with respect to volunteer participation and training, the applicant indicated that a number of individuals and organizations have provided their names as potential station volunteers and that all volunteers would be trained by the applicant. It also dismissed Astral's claim that approval of its application would result in an undue negative impact on Astral's station, CKBC-FM Bathurst.
The CRTC in denying the application noted the apparent commercial programming orientation of the classic rock format service proposed; noted lack of detail in planned spoken word programming plans and also what it considered inadequacies in respect to the plans for use and training of volunteers.
*Approved application by Northern Native Broadcasting, Yukon, to add a 45.44 watts low-power FM transmitter at Johnson's Crossing, Yukon Territory, to the licence of CHON-FM, Whitehorse.
As already noted there were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld no complaints against radio but did not that it had started an investigation into the airing by Jazz FM of what sounded like a gay porn movie sound track (See RNW Mar 6).
Ofcom also posted its February Radio Broadcast Update which amongst other things notes the ending of two services - Cambridge City Radio Ltd's Affinity Radio on the Cambridge DAB multiplex and Ary Digital UK Ltd's digital satellite service ARY Radio- an entertainment service, primarily in Urdu, for the Pakistani community.
In analogue licensing activity it noted the invitation to declare intent to apply for the Slough, Maidenhead and Windsor FM licence that expires in May next year: Declarations have to be submitted by March 29.
It also noted that it had invited the current licensee - Carlisle Radio Ltd (broadcasting as CFM) - to apply under its fast-track procedure for the licences for Carlisle and West Cumbria where nobody else had declared an intent to apply and has re-awarded to the current licensees the licences for Hertford held by Shadow Radio Holdings Ltd. (broadcasting as Jack FM) and Morecambe Bay held by Bay Radio Ltd (broadcasting as The Bay)
12-year Local radio multiplex renewals were granted to
Bauer Digital Radio Ltd - South Yorkshire Multiplex (To 30 October 2024).
Now Digital (Southern) - Cardiff and Newport Multiplex (To 30 October 2024).
Bauer Digital Radio Ltd - Edinburgh Multiplex (To 30 October 2024).
Bauer Digital Radio Ltd - Tyne and Wear Multiplex (To 29 November 2024).
Now Digital Ltd - Wolverhampton Multiplex *To 30 January 2025).
Now Digital Ltd - Bristol and Bath Multiplex (To 30 January 2025).
Now Digital Ltd - Coventry Multiplex (To 30 January 2025).
Bauer Digital Radio Ltd - Liverpool Multiplex (To 27 February 2025).
Format changes were listed for 11 stations, seven of them KNFM stations in Kent. These are in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone, Maidstone, Medway, Thanet, and West Kent and will be able to share all programming, which will be produced from Medway. They can already share all but weekday breakfast programming.
The others were:
*Eagle Radio Ltd's County Sound Radio 1566MW serving Surrey and North East Hampshire area with a Gold/Easy Listening Music and Information format, which is to be changed to a "local music and information station for adults. Daytime music will feature melodic hits from the last five decades. Community programming will feature in the evenings and weekends. Evenings and weekends may also include specialist music shows."
*MNA Broadcasting Limited's The Severn in Telford and Shrewsbury, and The Wyre in Kidderminster. The two Severn licences are already allowed to share all programming and all the stations will now be able to share between themselves and the Wolverhampton licences subject to satisfying the character of service requirements.
One change of control review was listed for Fresh Radio, the local commercial licence for the Yorkshire Dales & Skipton, whose license held by Utopia Broadcasting Ltd., was transferred to Stray FM Ltd. in January. The new owner re-launched the station as Stray FM and Ofcom says the new station is meeting its requirements.
There were also two local licence transfers - of the Shaftesbury (Midwest Radio) licence from Vale FM Ltd to Midwest Radio Limited and the Tendring (Dream 100) licence from Audio Management Ltd to Mellow 1557 Ltd
As regards Community Radio, Ofcom noted that applications, which have to be submitted by 1700 on June 7, for new licences for locations in Northern Ireland are being invited from 14 March 2012.
It has also posted a of community radio licence applicants from Scotland; noted the grant of two new Community licences - to OX4 Community Interest Company's Oxford service OX105fm and Fantasy Radio Limited's Fantasy Radio, serving Devizes, Wiltshire, and that one licence was surrendered, that of Cheshire FM Limited's Cheshire FM serving Northwich whilst two licences were extended for five years - those of BRfm Ltd's BRfm, Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent and Radio Scilly Limited's Radio Scilly serving the Scilly Isles.
Ne change to key commitments was recorded - that of Brick FM, which broadcasts to two small villages Newton St Boswells and St Boswells serving a total population, according to census estimates, of 2,700.
It is to be allowed to reduce a typical live output of at least ten hours a day to a minimum of typically 20 hours per week of new, originally produced material which will be broadcast alongside other programmes.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was involved in a number of enforcement actions in which it issued or proposed penalties totalling almost USD 50,000 (See RNW Mar 8) and later added a further USD 25,000 (See RNW Mar 9).
The FCC also dismissed an application from Midnation Media, LLC., licensee of KNDH-FM, Hettinger, North Dakota, to change its community of licence to New
Salem, North Dakota, a community with a population of 938 persons.
Midnation said KNDC-AM would remain licensed to Hettinger and noted that KNDH-FM, at its current community, serves 3,205 persons in an area of 4,084 square kilometres; the change of community to New Salem would enable KNDH-FM to serve 93,535 persons in an area of 9,025 square kilometres.
The FCC noted that the change would mean the station would provide service to all of the Bismarck Urbanized Area whereas currently it serves no urbanized area and thus its usual practice is to treat such applications as proposals to serve the urbanized area.
The agency also noted that the change would create a "white" loss area containing 1,586 people and a gain area serving 1,267- a net loss of 319 and also a "gray" loss area in which service to 3,381 people would be reduced from two fulltime reception services to one. Accordingly it did not consider that approval would be in the public interest and denied the application.
Previous Licence News:
2012-03-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD 25,000 NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture) to a South Carolina AM for failing to maintain an effective locked fence around the base of an antenna tower; install operational Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment; and maintain and make available a complete public inspection file.
Agents had inspected the antenna tower at the transmitter site of WNFO-AM, Sun City Hilton Head, in July last year following a complaint and found that a portion of the fence surrounding the base of the antenna tower was collapsed, allowing ready access to the base of the tower and that there was no perimeter fence around the property.
The agents later continued the inspection at the station's main studio, finding that there were no representatives of the station or licensee Walter M. Czura present - only representatives of another entity, who operated the station pursuant to a local marketing agreement.
They noted that there was no Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment at the station nor logs of EAS activity and the LMA operator, identified by Czura as being most familiar with the station's operations, was unfamiliar with EAS requirements and said that she had never observed EAS activity during her five years at the station.
In addition the public file produced was missing all issues/programs lists, ownership reports, the most recent Public and Broadcasting, and a copy of the LMA: The LMA operator was unfamiliar with the public inspection file and said that she had never filed anything in the file and that, to her knowledge, the licensee had never been to the main studio to place anything in the file
Agents then contacted Czura who said he was unfamiliar with the public inspection file and suggested that the LMA operator would have the required documents or that the documents might be located in the transmitter building at the transmitter site. He added that the EAS equipment was located in the transmitter building, but he was unable to provide any further details regarding EAS logs or EAS operations and claimed to be unaware that a section of the fence surrounding the base of the AM antenna tower had collapsed, but said he would get the fence repaired.
The agents then revisited the transmitter site where they found an EAS encoder/decoder (ENDEC) in the transmitter building plugged into a power source, but it was not connected to any receivers or to the transmitter and there were no current EAS logs at the transmitter site and the ENDEC internal memory showed no EAS activity.
The FCC has proposed a total penalty of USD 25,000 made up base penalties of USD 7,000 for the fencing breaches; USD 8,000 for the EAS breaches; and USD 10,000 for the public file breaches.
2012-03-08: In a run of enforcement actions, mainly over operation of unlicensed transmitters, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued or proposed penalties totalling USD 49,500.
In reducing amount order the penalties were:
*USD 25,000 Forfeiture to Gabriel A. Garcia of San Jose, California, for operation of an unlicensed FM on various frequencies: The FCC had issued Garcia with a NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture) for this amount in March last year after receiving complaints about interference to the Aviation Services Band (See RNW Mar 12, 2011) but Garcia did not respond and the penalty was confirmed.
*USD 15,000 NAL to Jeffrey Darius of Miami, Florida, for operation of an unlicensed FM. The FCC received a complaint of interference by AT&T Mobility and on September 29 traced the signal to a rooftop and the building owner said that the rooftop suite was rented to Darius although the tenant listed in the lease was an entity called "Blaze," for whom Darius signed the lease as guarantor.
A Notice of Unlicensed Operation was left with the building owner who said he would deliver it to Darius and later that day an FCC agent heard transmissions in which the station identified itself as "88.7 Da Blaze FM" and whose station phone number announced on the air matched the phone number for Mr. Darius provided by the building owner.
On November 3, December 1, and December 7, 2011, agents again traced a signal to the same rooftop and on December 9 the building owner moved the transmission equipment to a storage room and agents interviewed Darius who admitted that the equipment was hit, that he operated the station with a partner was a DJ for the station.
The agency opted to increase the proposed penalty from the base level of USD 10,000 to USD 15,000 because Darius had repeatedly operated the station knowing that it was unlawful and after received a Notice of Unlicensed Operation.
*USD 8,000 NAL to Hoosier Public Radio Corporation, licensee of non-commercial educational (NCE) station WRFM-FM, Wilkinson, Indiana, for failing to operate the station in accordance with the terms of its authorization.
The station was licensed to operate from a transmitter in Brown Township, Hancock County, Indiana, but following a complaint an agent in September 2010 found no transmission facilities in the authorized location. On
A subsequent inspection found that the station was operating from an antenna mounted on a farm silo in Jackson Township, Hancock County, Indiana. The agency was told a letter had been sent to it advising that the station had moved from its licensed facilities and requesting authorization to locate its facilities temporarily at a nearby site but Hoosier could not prove that the letter had been sent and the agency had no record of it and had not granted permission for such a move.
In February last year in response to a complaint from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerning harmful interference in Wilkinson, Indiana, an agent found the station still operating from the farm silo without authorization, and subsequently Hoosier filed a request for Special Temporary Authority to operate from a nearby church, which was granted.
In this case the agency opted to double the penalty from the base of USD 4,000 to USD 8,000, and also to provide a written statement on the status of the station's operations.
*USD 1,500 Forfeiture to Eleuterio Lebron of Guayama, Puerto Rico, for operating an unlicensed FM. The agency had issued an NAL for USD 15,000 in September last year (See RNW Sep 21, 2011) to which Lebron responded requesting cancellation or reduction because he had not interned to break the law, ad believed he could use his transmitter legally without a licence, and could not afford to pay.
The agency dismissed the first two arguments, noting that he had been warned that operating the transmitter was illegal but it reduced the penalty to USD 1,500 on the basis of ability to pay.
*USD 450 forfeiture to Michael W. Perry of Cross City, Florida, for operating a CB radio transmitter without the requisite authorization and failure to operate a Citizens Band station in conformity with the Rules.
Perry was issued with a USD 10,000 NAL in November last year (See RNW Licence News Nov 6, 2011). Perry responded denying that he operated the non-certified CB transmitter and amplifiers, and requesting cancellation or reduction of the forfeiture based on his inability to pay. The FCC dismissed the other arguments but reduced the penalty to UD 450 on the basis of inability to pay.
2012-03-08: The Rush Limbaugh controversy moved into new territory today when the host responded to Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri's blog on the loss of advertisers by his show with a report on his website headed, "Washington Post Runs Out-and-Out Lie."
Before his attack Limbaugh said that the show has nor "not lost whatever the number is today, 45 or 43 advertisers" with referred to a previous explanation on his site about not losing 28 sponsors but having "three brand-new sponsors that will be starting in the next two weeks" and pleas from two who had cancelled to return: In this Limbaugh noted that sponsors are both local and national and the show dealt with the national ones whilst the 600 plus stations who air the show also sell their own commercials in deals that do not involve the show and of which they have no knowledge.
Some advertisers said Limbaugh have for decades said they don't want their adverts airing during particular shows but as regards national sponsors his show has not lost 28 and he continued, "If we added up all of our affiliates (let's choose the number 600) and we assumed that each of those affiliates had 30 such sponsors in the course of our three-hour program, there might be -- all across this country -- as many as 18,000 different sponsors of this program. Let me put it another way: There might be 18,000 different people buying advertising within this program alone ABC News, who understands how this works and are purposely misrepresenting it, is out there ballyhooing that we have lost 28 sponsors. Twenty-eight sponsors out of 18,000! That's like losing a couple of French fries in the container when it's delivered to you at the drive-thru. You don't even notice it. If we lose 28 of those sponsors, the majority of them being in one city or another out of 18 thousand, it's a sad occurrence."
After this reference Limbaugh then read the Post headline "Rush Limbaugh's Show Targets Jerks, Judging From the Latest Ads" before going on to say that Petri was incorrect when she wrote, "So far, he's picked up AshleyMadison.com, the site where you go to cheat on your wife, and another Web site that is explicitly for sugar-daddy matchmaking."
Limbaugh then goes on to say that "people that run Ashley Madison are out saying they're willing to advertise on our program" but he has in fact not accepted them " Ms. Petri, I don't know who feeds you your information -- I have a pretty good guess -- but you might want to double-check here because you've written something that's patently false, it's an out-and-out lie complete with your b-i-itchy opinion in it, and it is untrue. We are not running commercials. We wouldn't accept commercials. We have rejected their offers from outfits that do this kind of thing, provide a way for you to cheat on your spouse. We have never knowingly had this company in our program We have never run ads from either of these two companies (The other one named is SeekingArrangement.com), we never will, and again, for the last time, when we find out that they are running on local stations during this program, we ask the stations to move the commercials. Just that simple. Alexandra Petri, Washington Post, has got the snarky, lying, full-of-holes so-called report today, and I guarantee you, she'll run another story tomorrow saying I made this all up, and I'm trying to cover my rear end but, folks, it isn't true.
Petri - whose original column is her - later responded by accepting that Limbaugh had said he would not take business from the companies but then - in much the same way that Limbaugh apologized with caveats rather than simply apologizing, goes on to comment, "Still, the whole point of the piece was that the people most eager to be associated with Rush Limbaugh's show are - well, advertisers seeking jerks. This has not changed."
Further on she comments, "Speaking of jerks. Limbaugh listeners, I am sorry for calling you jerks yesterday. Yesterday I had no proof. I should have waited until today, when your phone calls and tweets ("Ivy league preppy elitist no talent hack") gave me ample evidence. "
RNW comment: Petri it would appear accepts that she posted incorrect information but nothing in what we have seen suggests that she or the Washington Post deliberately put out incorrect information with the INTENT TO DECEIVE (the crucial difference between a lie and being inaccurate according the US dictionaries we have checked. Indeed Petri also comments that she is "a humour blogger, unaccustomed to being denounced on the radio" and "in the same piece that Rush denounced as an out-and-out lie, I also suggested that people might have been mistaking him for "Rush Limbaaa: a fusion of sheep and a Canadian band." This is the worst pun I have ever made, and I am justly punished for it now."
Limbaugh, who makes many claims to excellence, in our view digs the hole a little deeper with the vitriol in his attack: Yes Petri was careless and did not check facts. And no she can't show that because AshleyMadison.com and SeekingArrangement.com said they wanted to advertise on his show this means that his show appeals to the kind of people they are appealing to -it's not impossible that they saw the chance for a burst of free publicity!
That said Limbaugh certainly cannot show that Petri was deliberately presenting false information as true and we do not accept that the Washington Post is in the business of so doing.
Limbaugh is accurate in saying that Petri and the Post published incorrect information but if Limbaugh checked his dictionary and then went ahead with his comments that they deliberately "lied" and has no way to stand up his accusations then he is deliberately presenting a false impression as true: The definition as we've already noted, of a lie.
Limbaugh re not losing advertisers:
Limbaugh on Petri/Washington Post:
Washington Post - Petri blog re Limbaugh advertisers:
Washington Post - Petri response to Limbaugh:
2012-03-08: Journal Broadcast Group is to pay USD 11.8 million for two Tulsa, Oklahoma, stations it is purchasing from Renda Broadcasting Corporation according to details of the contract fled with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Journal Broadcast, owned by Journal Communications, announced that it was to purchase Contemporary Hits KHTT FM and Adult Contemporary Variety BOB FM to add to the three station cluster it already owns in Tulsa - Country Variety KVOO FM; Country Classic KXBL FM; and Talk KFAQ FM.
In a release announcing the purchase, but not the price, Journal Communications Chairman and CEO Steven Smith commented, "We have high regard for Renda Broadcasting and their talented team and are very pleased to add these exceptional radio stations to our Tulsa cluster. The combination of these high quality stations will create a strong group that will continue to serve our listeners, customers and the entire Tulsa community. This transaction is consistent with our strategic goal of creating additional scale in existing Journal Broadcast markets."
Renda Broadcasting funder and President Anthony F. Renda responded, "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Journal for our two Tulsa stations. This transaction will benefit both parties."
Journal is to operate the stations under a Local Marketing Agreement until the deal closes.
2012-03-07: Entravision has reported final quarter 2011 revenues down 1% on a year earlier at USD 49.97 million with full year revenues down 3% to USD 194.40 million with operating expenses up 4% and 2% respectively to USD 32.06 million and USD 125.10 million and corporate expenses down 42% to USD 4.27 million and 15% down to USD 15.67 million.
In divisional terms, radio revenues for the final quarter were down 6% to USD 16.87 million and TV was down 1% to USD 50.65 million.
Consolidated adjusted EBITDA was down 14% to USD 14.34 million and down 13% to USD 55.48 million; Free cash flow went from a positive USD 6.22 million to a negative USD 1.82 million and fell 69% to UISD 6.86 million respectively; but the net loss applicable to common stockholders was down from USD 29.27 million to USD 2.03 million for the quarter (From 35 cents to two cents per basic and diluted share) and from USD 18.09 million to USD 8.20 million for the full year (From 21 cents to ten cents per basic and diluted share).
The net income figures were boosted because the 2010 figures included a USD 36.11 million impairment charge - the final quarter income before taxes moved from a loss of USD 37.56 million to a loss of USD 563,000 when this charge was taken into account with net income moving from a loss of USD 29.27 million to USD 2.03 million.
Commenting on the performance, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Walter F. Ulloa, said, "During 2011, we faced challenging comparisons to 2010, when we benefited from World Cup and political advertising revenue. We also continued to face a challenging advertising environment generally, as our advertising customers continue to make difficult choices in the current uncertain economic environment."
"Nonetheless," he added "core advertising showed modest improvement during 2011. Our audience shares remain strong in the nation's most densely populated Hispanic markets, and we believe we are well positioned to benefit as the U.S. Hispanic market continues to expand and advertisers increasingly recognize the importance of reaching our target audience."
Entravision also noted that during the final quarter the company repurchased USD 16.2 million in aggregate principal amount of its 8.750% senior secured first lien notes due 2017 in open market transactions: It also declared and paid a special cash dividend of six cents per share (USD 5.1 million in total) to shareholders of the Company's Class A, Class B and Class U common stock during the fourth quarter
2012-03-07: UTV's talkSPORT, which was originally Talk Radio and after its re-branding in 1999 by then owners The Wireless Group continued to air non-sporting talk shows, has opted to end all its non-sport programming from April 2 in a move that will allow it to promote itself as the only all-sport station in the UK. Its main rival is BBC Radio 5 Live which carries both sport and talk.
In all it will drop 39 hours a week of non-sports programming including the weekly Friday night (2200-0100) three-hour show hosted by Scottish politician and former MP George Galloway (as of Friday this week The Sports Bar will be extended to run five days and will take over the slot) and the overnight Weekend and Monday midnight-0600 Steve Berry show. It is also to refocus the weeknight overnight show to deal exclusively with sport and drop other content.
The changes will see the station cover more US sports overnight including NBA Basketball; NFL American football and MLS (Major League Soccer).
The station's programme director Moz Dee said the move is "an exciting yet natural next step for us. We want to change expectations of overnight radio, focussing on up to the minute sports news and information from around the globe."
Dee added that the move gave the station "a great opportunity to work with an international network of sports reporters covering everything from American sports to British teams and athletes competing on the other side of the world, and makes us the only UK station focussed on sport all the time."
2012-03-06: As well as advertisers and a few stations, associating with conservative US host Rush Limbaugh has apparently also now become a no-go area for the Canadian rock band "Rush" whose music the host has been using for years.
According to a posting on the bobcesca site, which notes that when the host launched his attack on Sandra Fluke that led to widespread criticism and the withdrawal of some advertisers he was playing the band's "The Spirit of Radio" under his comments, the band has sent a letter demanding that the show stop using its music.
In an "official cease and desist" letter posted on the site, Bob Farmer, the head legal affairs for S.R.O. Management Inc., Core Music Publishing and The Anthem Entertainment Group Inc., says that the use of the band's music - reported in various media - is "an infringement of Rush's copyrights and trademarks.".
Farmer continues, "The public performance of Rush's music is not licensed for political purposes and any such use is in breach of public performance licenses and constitutes copyright infringement. There are civil and criminal remedies for copyright infringement, including statutory damages and fines In addition, the use of Rush's music in this manner implies an endorsement of the views expressed and products advertised on the show, and is in breach of not only copyright and trademark rights, but also, of section 51 of the New York Civil Rights Law. Accordingly, we hereby demand that you immediately stop all use of Rush's music and confirm that you will do so."
Bobcesca.com posting - including link to letter:
2012-03-06: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds no radio complaints but does uphold Standards complaints against two TV programmes; considers another TV Standards complaint resolved through action taken by the broadcaster; upholds four TV fairness and privacy complaints - two of them involving the same programme; and details three more TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints not upheld.
The numbers compare with three radio complaints upheld in its previous bulletin in which it also notes a GBP 25,000 ( USD 39,000) fine against a TV service and upheld standards complaints involving five TV broadcasters; considered another TV Standards case resolved through action - including the broadcast of apologies - taken by the broadcaster; upheld two TV Fairness and Privacy complaints and gave details of two further TV Fairness and Privacy complaints not upheld and listed with no details five TV complaints and one radio complaint not upheld.
Ofcom also listed 447 complaints against 270 TV items and 25 complaints against 25 radio items that it assessed but did not investigate: This compares with 297 complaints against 170 TV items and 12 complaints against 12 radio items that were assessed but not further investigated in the previous bulletin.
In addition to these Ofcom listed 19 TV and two radio complaints concerning which it started investigations between Feb 16 and 29, one of them concerning digital station Jazz FM's broadcast of what appeared to be a soundtrack to a gay porn film.
The broadcast on Saturday Feb 18 was on the pre-recorded "Funky Sensation with Mike Vitti" programme - Vitti is he station's head of programming - and the track was aired for several minutes. The station apologized online in a statement the following Monday from Vitti saying, "Please accept our profound and sincere apologies for any offence we may have caused. Unfortunately we had an unauthorised access to the live feed on Jazz FM on Saturday 18 February at 7:15pm which resulted in a highly regrettable incident. Rest assured we have taken steps to ensure that there will be no repeat."
Vitti on Twitter had already commented of the incident, "I'm truly sorry but we have had a major hack into the feed @jazzfm - engineers looking into it now, once again profound apologies" and later said regarding an on-air apology, "Sadly I cannot tonight as the programme is on tape - I will apologise next week, I am truly sorry."
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
Twitter - Vitti -Appology was on Feb 18:
2012-03-05: As more advertisers dumped his show and criticism continued, US host Rush Limbaugh brought up the subject both of his comments calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute" (See RNW Mar 2) and the departure of advertisers.
Regarding the latter in a comment headlined "Don't Worry, Folks: Advertisers Who Don't Want Your Business Will Be Replaced" on his website the host used his usual tactic of going on the attack and portraying himself in a favourable light sating of them "These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well due to their access to you, my audience, from this program. To offer their products and services to you through this venue is the best opportunity that they have ever had to advertise their wares. Now they've chosen to deny themselves that access, and that's a business decision, and it's theirs alone to make" and then adding, "They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."
The host then goes on to say the focus of the show has always been on the audience and that he rejects "millions of dollars of advertising a year, much to the chagrin of my hardworking sales staff. Millions, folks, including, I might add, General Motors. What would you have thought, if, after the government took over General Motors, I started advertising General Motors? I made the decision not to accept that because you, the audience, come first. Because no successful program puts the audience second or third."
RNW comment: The comment about General Motors may be true - the comment we got from their spokesman was that "General Motors has not had any discussions about placing advertising with this show in almost three years" and as the first bailout came under President George Bush in 2008.
Following further comments about the advertisers who had dropped the show in relation to which Limbaugh says, "So what we're gonna do is replace those that leave, those that no longer want access to you, those advertisers who no longer want your business, fine. We'll replace them. It's simple, really." He goes on to say, "Advertising's a business decision. It's not a social one. Only the leftists try to use extortion, pressure, threats to silence opposing voices. We don't do that. Never, ever, do any of us on our side of the aisle try to suppress the speech or the voices of those with whom we disagree, and we never will."
RNW comment: Think about that and do a quick online check and it is fairly obvious that both sides of the political aisle and many pressure groups of multifarious beliefs do use extortion, pressure, or threats to silence opposing voices, so Limbaugh again is spouting nonsense and must know it.
As regards the business decision, that's also quite simple. Limbaugh gives advertisers an opportunity to ply their wares to some 20 million listeners a week (being very generous to the host - some estimates place his actual audience of value to advertisers as around a tenth of this) out of a US population of 155.6 million females and 151.4 million according to the 2009 US Census. Assuming Limbaugh's comments annoyed half of the women and a quarter of the men - never mind members of various minority groups - that means being associated with him is likely to annoy at least five times- probably20 times plus - as many people as he attracts. It really is simple Rush - unless the products are only for Dittoheads any sensible company is going to drop the show at the moment, so you should expect to have problems getting quality replacements.
Limbaugh then goes on to comment about his apology in terms of not using the language he did -" It was wrong and, despite all the theories, my apology to her was for simply using inappropriate words" before going on to say the left are far worse offenders.
In another comment, entitled "Why I Apologized to Sandra Fluke the host again uses well-worn (by him anyway) tactics starting with a comment that he called himself to cancel the advertising for his "To If by Tea" - but "got a busy signal so I couldn't cancel my own company's advertising. So Two If By Tea remains a sponsor of the Rush Limbaugh program and the Excellence in Broadcasting Network."
Limbaugh then again goes on the attack on the left and continues, "Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke."
RNW comment: We have put the link below but thinking for a nanosecond this comment by Limbaugh pretty clearly indicates that someone else or some other force pushed him into making the comments against all his own instincts.
Maybe a case for treatment but certainly not a host with whom to associate your products.
If you want more of his commentary - using the incident to attack President Obama's policy; putting his own spin on the background and misrepresenting the situation follow the link. At least you'll find that the Limbaugh theory is that the whole matter was Obama playing politics to gain the female vote - so maybe Obama is the someone else controlling Rush's choice of words.
In fairness, he has a point in that Georgetown University is known to be a Catholic Institution, but again he over-eggs his argument and then goes on to attack Fluke's character again but this time indirectly by portraying her as a tool of the Democrats and defending his own comments by putting the blame elsewhere -" The story at the Cybercast News Service characterized a portion of her testimony as sounding like (based on her own financial figures) she was engaging in sexual activity so often she couldn't afford it. I focused on that because it was simple trying to persuade people, change people's minds."
This of course from the host whose next sentence starts "I am huge on personal responsibility and accountability "
Limbaugh: Don't Worry, Folks: Advertisers Who Don't Want Your Business Will Be Replaced.
Limbaugh - Why I Apologized to Sandra Fluke:
2012-03-05: The Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) is claiming more successes in action against unlicensed radio stations and has noted the closing of three such stations: It also posted a reminder that licences are mandatory and that the penalty for unlicensed operation can be severe.
"Unlicensed stations can cause harmful interference to other licensed services," said the ACMA in a posting. "Operating or possessing unlicensed transmitters are offences under the Radiocommunications Act 1992. Penalties for these offences can result in fines of up to AUD 165,000 (USD 176,000) or two years imprisonment.
2012-03-04: Last week saw no radio postings from the regulators in Australia or Ireland but a busier period in North America: In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as well as radio licensing decisions also posted its Financial Report for the quarter ended December 31, 2011 and a notice on Broadcasting Licence Fees - Part I.
For the 2012-2013 fiscal year it says the estimated total broadcasting regulatory costs of the Commission are CAD 29.890 million (One CAD is 0.998 USD): After adjustments for the 2010-2011 fiscal year the total rises to CAD for the 2011-2012 fiscal year..
Amongst licence decisions was one to award a licence for a new FM to serve Shelburne, Ontario, to Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation and also to award a licence for a new FM to serve Collingwood to MZ Media providing it can find a suitable frequency instead of the 104.9 MHz in its application.
The agency rejected two other applications - from Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 15,600 watts Adult Contemporary station in Shelburne (mutually exclusive with the Bayshore application- Torres, Bayshore and MZ Media all proposed the use of the frequency 104.9 MHz) and Evanov Communications Inc. for a 1,000 watts New Easy Listening music format English-language commercial Specialty FM in Collingwood
Bayshore's bid for a 12,500 watts Contemporary Country format English-language commercial FM, noted the agency, committed Bayshore to more than twice the amount of pure news programming per broadcast week than did Torres' bid and also with its higher level of local expression through local news programming and its greater emphasis on live-to-air programming, would have greater local relevance to the Shelburne radio market. In addition, Bayshore committed to devote, over and above the basic annual Canadian content development (CCD) contribution, an amount that is more than double that proposed by Torres.
In the case of Collingwood, the agency noted that the existing stations in the Collingwood and Wasaga Beach radio markets had profitability well below the national average and it was concerned that they could be adversely affected by a new competitor but this effect could be mitigated should any new station operate under a sufficiently niche specialty format.
In this light it considered that Evanov's proposed station could cause harm to the existing stations whereas the MZ Media bid of a Classical and Fine Arts format - the music programming would originate from MZ's CFMZ-FM in Toronto, Canada's only English-language classical music format commercial station - would not do so and would contribute to the musical diversity and diversity of ownership in the market. It granted MZ's request to be allowed to solicit local advertising, which is not normally allowed if less than a third of programming originates locally.
Other licensing decisions posted by the CRTC were (In order of province):
*Approved application by Instant Information Services Incorporated, licensee of English-language low-power tourist information station CIIG-FM, Gravenhurst, to relocate the transmitter, increase its average effective radiated power from 25 to 32 watts (directional antenna), and decrease the effective height of the antenna above average terrain from 55 to 30 metres.
*Approved application by Neeti P. Ray, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, to operate a new ethnic FM radio programming undertaking in Windsor, Ontario at 102.3 MHz with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 1,900 watts and with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 55.5 metres.
The licence was granted in 2008 subject to a suitable frequency being found and the 102.3 frequency became available in September last year when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation failed to bring into operation a nested FM transmitter in Windsor as part of the conversion of CBE-AM, Windsor, to FM.
*Approved application by Le5 Communications Inc. to change relocate its transmitter CHYK-FM-3, Hearst, which carries the programming CHYK-FM, Timmins, by changing the antenna radiation pattern from directional to non-directional, increase its power from 140 to 172 watts and decrease the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 56.6 to 43 metres.
The applicant indicated that these changes were necessary to find a permanent site for the antenna of the transmitter.
The CRTC also posted a consultation notice with an April 2 deadline for the submission of interventions or answers in connection with a public hearing to be held on May 7 in Ontario that will consider various applications including the following radio ones:
*Application by Smithers Community Radio Society for a watts English-language low-power community FM radio programming undertaking in Smithers: The applicant currently operates a developmental community radio station in Smithers and filed the present application to continue the operation of the station.
*Application by Voice of the Shuswap Broadcast Society for a 15 watts hybrid country, pop, concert music format English- and third-language low-power type B community FM radio programming undertaking in Salmon Arm.
*Application by My Broadcasting Corporation for a 1,986 watts gold-based Adult Contemporary music English-language commercial FM.
*Application by 8041393 Canada Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a 500 watts commercial ethnic AM that would broadcast ethnic programming that is directed to a minimum of 22 cultural groups in a minimum of 15 different languages each broadcast week.
: The applicant has been operating the service as a subsidiary communications multiplex operation (SCMO) for the past 12 years
*Application by Bhupinder Bola, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a 618 watts English-language Adult Album Alternative and Adult Contemporary music format commercial FM.
Application by My Broadcasting Corporation for a 338 watts gold-based Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
Toronto market - all mutually exclusive all using the 88.1 MHz frequency:
*Application by Dufferin Communications Inc. to change the frequency of its English language commercial station CIRR-FM from 103.9 MHz to 88.1 MHz, relocate the transmitter and increase the power from 128 to 477 watts - changing from A1 to A - and increase the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 156 to 272 metres
*Application by not-for-profit Trust Communications Ministries for a licence for 477 watts contemporary Christian music format English-language specialty FM.
*Application by MZ Media Inc. add a 250 watts nested FM transmitter in Toronto to broadcast the programming of CFZM-AM, which is says is suffering from severe reception problems.
*Application by Newcap Inc. for a licence for a 1,800 watts Modern Adult music format English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Tosan Lee, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence for a 477 watts English-language commercial specialty FM. At least 40% of its musical programming would be World beat and international.
*Application by 7954689 Canada Inc. for a licence for a 1,530 watts spoken word talk and information English-language commercial specialty FM.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for a 98 watts nested FM transmitter in Toronto to broadcast the programming of CJBC-AM.
*Application by Larche Communications Inc. for a licence for a 477 watts Adult Album Alternative English-language commercial FM.
*Application by 2308739 Ontario Inc. for a licence for a 501 watts business news and information format English-language commercial specialty FM: The applicant also provided parameters for a 216 watts service.
*Application by Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence for a 2,000 watts English-language commercial FM: At least 20% of the musical programming broadcast each week would be jazz and blues.
*Application by Michael Wekerle, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for 1,530 watts Adult Album Alternative English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc. to change the frequency of its English-language CKFG-FM from 98.7 MHz to 88.1 MHz and increase its power from 446 to 1,530 watts.
*Application by Durham Radio Inc. for a licence for 477 watts new easy listening music English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Family FM Inc. for a licence for a 1,530 watts ''family-friendly'' format English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Radio Ryerson Inc. for a 1,530 watts English-language FM community-based campus FM.
*Application by Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd. for a 532 watts English-language Indie music commercial FM.
*Application by Radio 1540 Limited for a broadcasting licence to operate a 1,530 watts 1,530 watts ethnic commercial FM whose programming would directed to a minimum of 17 cultural groups in a minimum of 9 different languages each broadcast week.
*Application by MTSD Broadcast Inc. for 477 watts commercial ethnic FM whose programming would be directed to a minimum of 8 cultural groups in a minimum of 10 different languages each broadcast week.
*Application by La Coopérative Radiophonique de Toronto inc. to change the frequency of its community station CHOQ-FM from 105.1 MHz to 88.1MHz; relocate its transmitter, decrease its power from 570 to 477 watts and increase the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 103 to 272 metres.
*Application by Stanislaus Antony, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a 225 watts emerging genres music format English-language commercial ethnic FM.
*Application by S. Sivakkumaran, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a 477 watts commercial ethnic FM
*Application by World Band Media, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a 1530 watts news/talk format specialty FM.
As already noted there were no radio announcements from Ireland and in the UK there were no radio specific postings by Ofcom although it has posted its latest Code on the Prevention of Undue Discrimination between Broadcast Advertisers and a Draft Revised Equality Scheme for Northern Ireland that apply to both radio and TV broadcasters.
In respect of the former Ofcom notes that Any consideration of whether or not a broadcaster that is licensed by Ofcom has engaged in undue discrimination will be a two-stage process- Firstly, Ofcom will assess whether or not the licensee has discriminated between advertisers and if it has, Ofcom will go on to consider whether such discrimination was undue. It also notes that the Code does not cover commercial relationships between media buyers and advertisers.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC0 also had a fairly quiet time as regards radio although it does have the issue of Low Power FM on the agenda for its March Open Meeting -scheduled for March 21 - including a Report and Order to "implement a market-specific FM translator processing scheme, adopt application caps to prevent trafficking, and modify policies to expand opportunities to rebroadcast AM stations on FM translators."
It is also to consider a "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding proposals to implement the Local Community Radio Act and to strengthen the LPFM service, including second adjacent channel waiver procedures, interference remediation requirements, and modification of eligibility, ownership, and selection standards."
In enforcement actions radio got off quite lightly last week although it did issue two NALs (Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture).
One for USD 4,500 went to a Puerto Rico operator (See RNW Feb 27) and the other, for USD 4,000 to Super W Media Group, Inc., licensee of WIPC-AM, Lake Wales, Florida, for failing to operate its station in accordance with the terms of its station authorization.
The station is authorized to operate at 1000 during the day with a non-directional antenna and 540 watts using a directional antenna at night but in June, following a complaint, agents measured its signal and observed no noticeable change in field strength at night on May 21 and Jun 15.
The FCC noted that the station's owner/president admitted that the station's equipment, which automatically reduces power and changes the antenna's directional pattern at night, malfunctioned about one or two weeks before. He stated that he had been manually reducing power at night, but claimed he forgot to do so the evening of June 15, 2011. He did not say anything regarding changing the antenna's directional pattern at night.
The agency has proposed the base forfeiture of USD 4,000 and also required the station to detail measures it has now taken to ensure full compliance with its rules.
In radio licensing decisions the FCC has denied a petition filed on behalf of Navajo Technical College, permittee of a new non-commercial educational FM at Crownpoint, New Mexico, to allow further time for it to construct the station and also modify its initially authorized facility to downgrade service to the area for which the licence was granted.
The original application was mutually exclusive with three others and gained preference on the basis of it serving the largest potential audience - a new first or second NCE service to 16,898 people (4,880 first service plus 12,018 second service) whereas the next best applicant proposed aggregated new NCE service to 4,823 people (4,693 first service plus 130 second service).
In August last year Navajo disclosed that it was unable to construct at its authorized transmitter site because of insufficient solar power there and in October it said the only viable replacement site is located on Navajo's campus but that it could not, from that site, replicate the coverage on which its fair distribution preference was based: It calculated that it would be able to provide a new first plus second NCE service to 13,577 people (2,036 first service and 11,541 second service), a net loss of 3,321 people from its original proposal (2,844 net loss of first service and 477 net loss of second service).
The FCC noted that to obtain a waiver Navajo had to show that the site loss was entirely beyond its control and not reasonably foreseeable; that the permittee conducted a thorough search for replacement sites and chose a location that would maintain service to as much of the original unserved/underserved areas as possible; and that countervailing public interest benefits support a waiver.
It considered that Navajo had not provided sufficient evidence to justify the waiver and refused it permission to downgrade, thus making the additional time petition moot.
In Mississippi the FCC is seeking comment - by April 23 with a May 8 deadline for reply comments - on a Petition for Rule Making filed by Delta Radio Network, LLC, licensee of WIBT-FM, Indianola, to upgrade the station to operate on FM Channel 289C2 rather than FM Channel 288A and in a linked change substitute Channel 224A for vacant Channel 289A at Dermott, Arkansas, and substituting Channel 226C2 for vacant Channel 225C2 at Cleveland, Mississippi.
In New York it is seeking comment - with the same deadlines - on a petition from Connoisseur Media of Erie, LLC, proposing the allotment of Channel 265A at Westfield, New York, as its first local service
In Texas, the FCC has ordered KLBJ-FM at Austin - licensed to Emmis Austin Radio Broadcasting Company, L.P. - to show cause why it should not be reclassified as a Class CO facility since it is currently operating below minimum Class C standards. The reclassification would allow the allotment of Channel 232C3 at Moulton, Texas, as its first local service.
Previous Licence News:
2012-03-03: Emmis, which last year received a delisting warning from the NASDAQ stock market because its stock had been below the required USD 1.00 minimum (See RNW Sep 1, 2011) has now revealed in an 8K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it did not regain compliance as required by February 27.
As a result the NASDAQ on Feb 28 issued it a written notification to say its Class A Common Stock will be delisted unless it requested a hearing before a NASDAQ Hearings Panel (the "Panel") on or before March 6, 2012.
Emmis says it has requested such a hearing at which it intends to present a plan to regain compliance with the Rule and request that the Panel allow the Company additional time within which to regain compliance although it warns that it can give no assurances that it will be allowed to maintain its listing.
The notification, it adds, does not directly affect the listing of the Company's 6.25% Series A Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock (the "Preferred Stock"), which will continue to trade on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "EMMSP" but because this listing is dependent upon the continued listing of the Class A Common Stock on The NASDAQ Global Select Market, it expects that the Preferred Stock will also be delisted if the Class A stock is delisted.
Emmis Class A stock closed at 69 cents on Friday and the highest closing price it has reached this year was 83 cents: For most of the year it has been in the low 70s.
2012-03-02: Clear Channel's KFI-AM, Los Angeles, whose management together with John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, hosts of the "John and Ken Show," had met a coalition of Black business and media professionals following the duo's suspension after a reference to the late Whitney Houston as a "crack ho" (See RNW Feb 16) has responded with a statement about its responses but is not taking action to satisfy the coalition.
The coalition s now launching a campaign to put pressure on Clear Channel's advertisers to push it into changes and also says it will make a formal complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)..
In a letter, "We Are Listening", KFI said, "Over the course of the last several months, we've heard your voice. We appreciate all of the comments, criticism and suggestions that have been provided to us.
The individual conversations and community meetings we've had served as a productive beginning and formed the basis for many of the initiatives detailed below.
We have already improved our policies and further, we are making additional programming and operating changes that will be long lasting and fruitful for the entire community.
Here are the steps we are taking or plan to take:
1. John and Ken have apologized sincerely, on the air, for the insensitive comments made during their show last month. This apology was again echoed when John and Ken returned to the airwaves.
2. A representative from our meeting was invited onto the John and Ken show that day to discuss why the comments were particularly offensive to the African-American community.
3. KFI will work with members of the community to update guidelines for our on-air hosts in a way that is helpful in a live unscripted environment. We have already started this process and will share the policy with community leaders when it is complete.
4. John and Ken, along with key staff and management, will participate in cultural sensitivity training furthering their awareness of the cultural melting pot that is Southern
5. On significant issues, KFI will capitalize on its web presence to share important links to other community websites making a variety of viewpoints available to our listeners.
6. KFI will expand on its successful internship program to target minority students
Representatives of the Los Angeles Urban League and other activists had asked KFI in a meeting at the station on Monday to increase diversity in its staff by hiring more women and African-Americans, and the coalition in a statement was anything but satisfied with the response.
In a statement it commented, "KFI's memorandum entitled "We Are Listening" was meant to address four very specific areas of concerns. We feel it was a slap in the face and did not demonstrate a good faith willingness to find common ground. In fact, it only served to energize our collective outrage. Consequently, we plan on filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that will include audio and video evidence substantiating our claims that these licensing violations are pervasive and systemic. We are confident President Barack Obama, several local officials as well as members of Congress, and the FCC will agree with our stance that the way Clear Channel is addressing the issue of diversity is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at its worse. Specifically as to the four areas we delineated:
1. The hiring of more Blacks as on-air talent - Full time, weekends, fill-in hosts.
When asked why John and Ken were taken off the air and suspended without pay for ten days, programming director Robin Bertolucci replied, "Because they crossed the line." When asked what that line was, Ms. Bertolucci's response was, "it's very difficult to define but you know it when you hear it."
48 hours later, Rush Limbaugh is unapologetically referring to a woman as "a slut" on KFI's airwaves without any statement from KFI management or repercussions like those sustained by John and Ken. Obviously Clear Channel just doesn't get it.
We are not interested in KFI "finding a platform." We are aware of several talented African-American hosts right now who would be compatible with KFI's current programming format.
2. Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air from different perspectives.
We are insisting that KFI hire more African-American commentators, similar to Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN, who can provide insightful expertise on a host of issues relevant to the KFI listening audience.
3. Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of colour. This is not limited to KFI.
A successful college internship suggests that KFI has been successful at hiring Blacks in producer, engineering, sales, and marketing positions and yet to date, there's a puzzling absence of African-Americans who are currently working in these coveted positions.
4. KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs.
We do not feel that simply "sharing links" constitutes a meaningful relationship between KFI and Black owned news, information, and entertainment websites that have developed a strong following of readers. Greg Ashlock, KFI's Market Manager, acknowledged in the February 27 meeting that KFI had not identified nor made sufficient strides toward addressing issues and causes that were important to African-Americans. To not have even mentioned this in their unfortunate response further demonstrates an unwillingness to truly serve a diverse Southern California community.
To state that John and Ken will have to undergo sensitivity training is an affront to the real problem that Clear Channel wants to pretend doesn't exist. These Clear Channel employees have already gone through diversity and sensitivity training. While on KFI's cross-town competitor KABC, Kobylt and Chiampou engaged in various stunts, one of which got them in trouble and forced them into attending diversity training. They would later boast about how much they resented taking the courses, and disliked how Disney management made them tone down their "banter."
What must be reiterated is that Clear Channel's corporate policy is being completely ignored and lip service can no longer suffice. In the next (7) seven days, an all-out campaign will be launched employing the same tools Clear Channel radio personalities utilize to drive home the point that issues of importance will no longer be placated. Whether it's imploring John and Ken's Heads on a Stick campaign, to launching Political Human Sacrifice 2012, all remedies, legal and otherwise, will be exhausted.
Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims, and women's groups will now be actively encouraged to join our efforts to put pressure on Clear Channel's local and national advertisers. Traditional and new media will also be given regular updates on the status of our efforts. Our goal is to put an end, once and for all, to the racist and sexist diatribes poisoning the public airwaves on Clear Channel stations across the country.
We are calling on local, state and federal officials to ask for public comment and hearings to bring these discriminatory practices to light."
The campaign includes pages on Facebook and Twitter and already seems to be bearing some fruit (See report re Limbaugh below).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous John and Ken:
Facebook page re call for Clear Channel and KFI to diversify:
Twitter page re call for Clear Channel and KFI to diversify:
2012-03-02: Comments made by syndicated US host Rush Limbaugh about a Georgetown student who was not allowed to speak at a Congressional hearing about birth control and later remarks about NASCAR driver Danica Patrick (See the New York Daily News report here) in relation to the Obama administration's policy on health and birth control, have led to a campaign to get advertisers to pull out from his show that has led mattress store Sleep Train and bed company Select Comfort, which makes the Sleep Number brand bed, to say they no longer advertise on his show and others to consider similar action
Limbaugh called student Sandra Fluke a "prostitute"and "slut" on his show on Wednesday - comments for which he later apologized -- sort of (It's a Limbaugh self-preening not really an apology that is here) - and the following day added, "So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch."
Fluke appearing on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" [hosted by Ed Schultz] commented of Limbaugh's remarks, "I'm not the first woman to be treated this way by numerous conservative media outlets, and hopefully I'll be the last. This is really inappropriate. This is outside the bounds of civil discourse."
"My reaction," she continued "is what the reaction that a lot of women have when they've been called these names. Initially you're stunned, but then very quickly you're outraged. Because this is historically the kind of language that is used to silence women especially when women stand up and say that these are their reproductive health care needs and this is what they need."
MSNBC in its report noted Sleep Train's announcement on Twitter - "We are pulling our ads with Rush Limbaugh and appreciate the community's feedback" and quoted Select Comfort spokeswoman Gabby Nelson as saying "Due to recent commentary by Rush Limbaugh that does not align with our values, we've made the decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program."
It also noted that other companies had distanced themselves from Limbaugh including dating site eHarmony which on Twitter said, "We've never paid for ads on Limbaugh show"; AutoZone, whose spokesman also said they had never advertised on the show; Life Quotes, which said it had not advertised on the show for more than five years; and Lending Tree which also said it was not an advertiser on the show and had no plans to advertise on it in future.
Others it said distanced themselves but did not make a decision to withdraw advertising including Quicken Loans, whose spokeswoman said "While we do not condone or agree with Limbaugh's statements regarding Sandra Fluke, we respect his right to express his views, as well as those who disagree with him" and ProFlowers', which did not make any commitment but in a Facebook posting said, "We would like to assure you that we do not endorse the views expressed by Rush Limbaugh. We understand your concerns and value your feedback."
Limbaugh, adds MSNBC, did not respond to a request for his comment.
Limbaugh on his website today headlined comments from his show under the headlines "I'm a Danger to the Women of America?" and "The Democrats are Desperate: Obama Calls Sandra Fluke, the 30-Year-Old Victim" with links to transcripts in which he ridicules the views of those who criticized him.
RNW comment: Limbaugh also misrepresents his opponents - and indeed displays his ignorance of the contraception pill (Rush-if you check you'll find that its effects in preventing contraception are related to the period after a pill is taken not the frequency of intercourse) as in comments in the first case saying, "She has it reported about her that she's having so much sex, she can't afford her birth control pills anymore. Out of nowhere, this woman surfaces! Actually, not out of nowhere. She surfaced after Obama mandated that the Catholic Church and its schools give away contraception free of charge" (Fact: Obama did not mandate that The Catholic Church as such give away contraceptives free of charge as opposed to a policy on their provision as part of health insurance).
In the second case, he pokes fun at those who want contraception by referring to a tongue-in-cheek Bill on vasectomies introduced in Missouri as a response to a vote on objecting to the Obama administration's mandate that health insurance policies include birth control coverage [See the Kansas City Star report on this here]
Again Limbaugh misrepresents his opponents- "The Missouri House last week approved a resolution objecting to the federal health care law and a requirement that most employers or insurers cover contraceptives. Newman, who's from St. Louis County, says that such issues affect women the most." Really? Affect women the most?
"She says men also must make family planning decisions." So here you have it, folks. Now we're going to restrict vasectomies. A legislator, state representative in Missouri wants to regulate and restrict vasectomies. Can I do this? Do I have this power? I do not. And yet it is happening."
He also again attacks Sandra Fluke, commenting, "Thirty years old, a student at Georgetown Law, who admits to having so much sex that she can't afford it anymore" before going on to comment on a matter on which -were his comments based on fact- there might be a reason to debate the issue "And thus, a new welfare entitlement must be created so that society will pay for it."
He then over-eggs things again, commenting, "It's no different than if somebody that I don't know knocked on my door and said, "You know what? I'm outta money. I can't afford birth control pills and I'm supposed to have sex with three guys tonight."
"Well, why are you coming to me?"
"Well, because you've got the money."
"Well, have you ever thought maybe you shouldn't? If you can't afford it, you can't do it."
And later again commenting on Fluke and contraception provision "I wouldn't deny her her birth control pills. That's not what this is about. This isn't about birth control pills, anyway, folks. This isn't about contraception anyway. This is about expanding the reach and power of government into your womb, if you're a woman."
Looking at the transcripts of his comments one thinks Limbaugh could have taught Dr Goebbels quite a lot about effective propaganda even if he doesn't have a PhD (Goebbels' was on 19th century romantic drama, as it happens and we use the comparison because of Limbaugh's use of the term "Feminazis") but also that were there any requirement to correct factual inaccuracies at the same length and with the same prominence as the inaccurate statements there wouldn't be much of a show for Limbaugh.
Yes in one sense it would "chill" free speech but if we are talking about distinguishing statements of the false as fact as opposed to comment - however bigoted - maybe this wouldn't be too onerous a price to pay.
As for putting pressure on advertisers we tend towards the same distinction - if the protest is because a vociferous group object to something being said that they do not agree with, then advertisers should resist boycott calls but if it is about misrepresentation then it would be quite reasonable to withdraw until factual clarification has been aired sufficiently frequently by the offender to ensure that the initial falsity has been corrected. Oh dear. Again Bye, Bye, Rush - and many more hosts of whatever political or other persuasion who disregard fact to gain an audience, publicity or whatever.
Limbaugh - I'm a Danger to the Women of America?
Limbaugh - The Democrats are Desperate: Obama Calls Sandra Fluke, the 30-Year-Old Victim.
2012-03-01: Triton Media's Dial Global (in which Oaktree Capital Management owns the majority stake and which through its takeover of Westwood One already has the distribution rights for the CBS Radio Network) has announced a partnership with NBC News to syndicate a new, 24-hour, radio news network - NBC News Radio.
Dial Global will syndicate the service to US radio stations and will the two companies say give the stations "access to the global resources of NBC News including: live simulcasts of breaking news from NBC and MSNBC, and reports from top NBC News correspondents."
NBC News President Steve Capus commented in a news release, "This alliance presents NBC News an opportunity to deliver our high-quality journalism to even more news consumers across the country through the expansive Dial Global network. NBC News is already America's number-one news network - now, through this new 24-hour radio news channel we can further expand our unparalleled reach and audience."
For Dial Global Co-President/CEO Spencer Brown responded, "Through our new partnership with NBC News, we are proud to continue in the tradition of defining great moments for radio listeners across our country."
Previous Triton Media (Dial Global parent):
2012-03-01: BBC Radio 4 has announced that its Saturday Live magazine show is to been extended to an hour an a half from May and the current weekly travel programme Excess Baggage, which airs from 10:00 to 10:30, will be dropped with its last edition to air on April 28.
Excess Baggage presenters John McCarthy and Sandi Toksvig will then have a regular fortnightly travel spot in the extended 0900-1030 Saturday Live programme, which will add Sian Williams as a co-host with current host the Reverend Richard Coles.
Williams, who began her career with the BBC in 1985 worked in local radio in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester, then became a producer and reporter in Liverpool before moving to Radio 4 as a producer on The World at One and PM programmes.
She also worked on BBC Radio 5 Live before joining the digital TV news channel BBC News 24 as an output editor, moving into a presenting role when during screen tests for potential presenters one applicant became unwell and she was asked to audition. After various other TV roles she became a relief host for the BBC Breakfast TV programme and from 2005 its main female presenter.
She will end her spell on BBC Breakfast on March 15, although she will remain a member of the main BBC One newsreading team and also present the Olympics for BBC Breakfast and will work on various BBC television projects.
Commenting n the move, she said in a BBC release, "I'm thrilled to be coming home to Radio 4. I spent many happy years as a producer here and have enjoyed presenting programmes on the network too. The opportunity to host Saturday Live with Reverend Richard Coles is too good to miss. It's a warm and witty way to start the weekend and I can't wait to be a part of the new team."
BBC Radio 4 Controller Gwyneth Williams commented, "I am delighted to have Sian back on Radio 4 and I can't wait to hear her hosting the programme with Richard. She brings her own unique brand of charm and experience, formidable interviewing skills and we are lucky to have her. Extending Saturday Live is an idea I have had brewing for quite some time and Sian has been part of my thinking from the start. She is someone I know the Radio 4 audience will take to their hearts."
Previous Gwyneth Williams:
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