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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.:
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.
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