March 2000 personalities:
Jennie Abramsky-BBC director of radio; Frank Ahrens -Washington Post media writer; John Aumonier - head UK Radio First; Helen Boaden -controller BBC Radio 4;George Buschmann -chief executive, 2GB, Sydney; Jimmy de Castro- former vice-Chairman of AMFM Inc: Barry Chapman - co-founder Iamnetwork , Australia;Steve Cochran- WGN,Chicago, midday host; Bob Collins -(2) former WGN,Chicago, Morning Host (deceased): Paul Corley- Chief Executive UK Border TV; Craig Curtis - vice president for programming at Minnesota Public Radio; John Dingell -Michigan Democrat Rep.; Paul Donovan- U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Alex Dreier - former US radio and T.V. reporter and host (deceased); Greg Dyke- BBC director-general; Mike Elder -operations chief, WLS-AM,Chicago; Chris Evans - UK DJ and radio magnate; Richard Findlay - Chief Executive Scottish Radio Group: Eddie Fritts - Chief Executive Officer, US National Association of Broadcasters; Vincent Gardino -director of corporate development WNYC, New York; Marc Germain - KABC Los Angeles host; Judd Gregg - Republican Senator, New Hampshire; Ray Hadley - commentator, 2UE , Sydney'; Terry Hardin -general manager,WLIT-FM,Chicago; Dale Hatfield -Chief of US FCC Office of Engineering and Technology; Chris Heim - music director, WBEZ-FM, Chicago; Ken Herrera- WGGN-AM,Chicago, morning host; Judy Jarvis- U.S. talk show host (deceased); Brian Johns- outgoing managing director Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Alan Jones -(3) - Sydney 2UE broadcaster; Mel Karmazin - CEO Infinity Broadcasting (US) ; Anne Karpf- U.K. Guardian columnist; Lionel Kelloway - British broadcaster; William E. 'Bill' Kennard -(2) - chairman US Federal Communications Commission ; Durward Kirby - former U.S. Broadcaster (deceased); Jim Kirk -(3) -Chicago Tribune media columnist; John Laws-(2) - Sydney 2UE broadcaster; David Lister media editor, UK Independent; Sue MacGregor- presenter BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme; Kelvin MacKenzie -(4) -head of U.K. TalkSport station ; Mike Malloy - fire former late host of WLS-AM Chicago; Jay Marvin - evening host WLS-AM,Chicago; Sig Mickelson-former CBS News President (deceased); Felicia Middlebrooks - WGGN-AM,Chicago, morning host; Stephanie Miller- former KABC, Los Angeles, host (departed): Steve Mills - fired former general manager of Roanoke public radio station WVTF; Erich "Mancow" Muller - U.S. '"shock-jock"; Spike O'Dell - WGN,Chicago, morning host;Mike Oxley -(3) - Ohio Republican Rep; . Robert Rabinovitch- president Canadian Broadcasting Corporation;Phil Rickman -former BBC Wales host; Mark Ruffin -former WBEZ-FM, Chicago, Jazz host; Noah Samara - head of digital radio provider World Space Corporation; Laura Schlessinger- U.S. talk show host; Jonathan Shier- incoming managing director Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Donnie Simpson-WPGC-FM,Washington, morning host; Monica Sims -BBC Radio 4 controller in late 1970's; Ian Skidmore - British broadcaster; Roy Stewart - chief of US FCC Mass Media Bureau; Gloria Tristiani - Commissioner, US FCC; Bernard Waterman - owner Waterman Brodcasting Corp (Texas); John Williams -WGN,Chicago, afternoon host;Joe Yerkes - chief executive of Midlands Radio 3, Ireland; Cindy Young - general manager, KPCC-FM,Pasadena;
Numbers in brackets indicatethe number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once
March 2000 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
March 24, 2000:The UK's radio spectrum is proving much more valuable than anticipated.
The auction of third-generation mobile phone licences which will allow Internet access (RNW Mar 7) now looks as if it will raise around £6 billion after a sudden bidding frenzy which pushed the total on offer to approaching £4 billion, already over the initial estimates of £3 billion.
No time limit has been set for the auction for the 20-year licences. The highest single bid so far is for new entrant's licence A for which nearly a billion pounds has been offered.
Entrants into a bidding round have to put in an offer of 5% above the highest bid in the previous round and sit out a round after they have won one.
Feb Comment -whose spectrum?
Previous UK mobile auction.
FCC guard band spectrum auction.
March 24, 2000: Jim Kirk in his Chicago Tribune media column in the has some words of praise for public station WBEZ-FM which is going wider than the normal reactive news output to work with the Chicago Reporter for a month of investigative reporting on youth drug arrests.
The output will be a 2-part report , to be aired in April looking at how black and white youths arrested on drugs charges move though the judicial system.
Kirk media column
March 24, 2000:The row over Sydney 2UE's "live" calls of weekend rugby games (RNW Mar 14) has expanded, reports the Sydney Morning Telegraph.
It says pay TV operator Foxtel has now joined 2GB, which owns the radio commentary rights, and has threatened to cut off 2UE's Foxtel access unless it gets assurances from 2UE that it will stop providing match reports based on the live TV cover of games.
2UE has had to rely on TV since the National Rugby League has revoked 2UE's media passes to grounds.
2GB itself has lodged an official complaint to the Australian Broadcasting Authority accusing 2UE of breaching industry fairness codes.
Sydney Morning Herald report.
Previous rights row story.
March 24, 2000:Subject to the approval of the judge who has been overseeing the case, the US Federal government has agreed a $508 million class settlement by 1100 women who were discriminated against by the Voice of America radio station (VOA) which broadcasts US news and views outside America.
The settlement, which with back pay,awards in cases already heard and lawyers fees will total some $550 million, will be the largest ever in a sex discrimination case and goes back to the filing of a suit in 1977.
The suit now runs from 1977-1984 and in 48 cases heard to date judgement has gone for the women.
At the time covered the government run Voice of America radio service came under the now defunct U.S. Information Agency; it now comes under the State Department.
In its own English language broadcast the service has reported the case straightforwardly, saying the case "disclosed that U.S.I.A. and V.O.A. regularly manipulated the hiring process to exclude women."
VOA home page
March 23, 2000:Writing in the UK Independent. Media Editor David Lister, says that Kelvin MacKenzie's ambitions for his TalkSport station are likely to turn to pipe dreams unless audience figures improve very soon.
The station lost a large segment of its audience, particularly its female audience, when it switched from its former Talk Radio format to all sport.
Lister says media analysts are rapidly losing confidence in MacKenzie.
Three problems are cited: the ratings, the limitations to its audience which were quoted by the cricket authorities for preferring to accept a lower rights bid for Test cricket from the BBC ( RNW Mar 9 ) and the former tabloid editor's promotional instincts which may have been a factor in a recent formal warning by the football authorities for passing of match reports as live commentary when rights had been bought by the BBC.
TalkSport themselves say their reach is now going up and they are attracting a new younger up-market audience.
UK Independent report
March 23, 2000: Latest figures released by Arbitron of its InfoStreamSM webcast ratings ( for December 1999) show cumulative audiences apparently dropping slightly despite a record number of channels being measured by the organisation.
The December ratings show approximately 850,000 unique listeners compared to around 900,000 for October 1999.
The top three outlets for total listeners were two adult alternative and one adult contemporary station led by Texas Rebel Radio with a monthly cumulative total of 57800 listeners.
Fourth was technology reporting outlet ZDTVradio with 44,900 listeners.
Arbitron report ;
Texas Rebel Radio;
March 23, 2000: Steve Mills has been fired as general manager of public radio station WVTF in Roanoke, Va., after a row following his cancellation of Metropolitan Opera live broadcasts and a letter of objection when the station licencee reinstated them after protests from opera lovers. Mills, who had been with the station for 25 years, dropped the broadcasts citing as his reasons falling ratings and funds cutbacks. Licencee Virginia Tech forced him to put them back on air.
Current Org report
March 23, 2000:Music Choice, the joint venture involving EMI, General Instrument, Sony and Warner Music, has struck a distribution deal with Spike Networks.
Under it, Music Choice will distribute a 20-minute twice daily show produced by Spike's Los Angeles Internet radio station to the US and Europe.
March 22, 2000:William E. Kennard, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has told a U.S. Senate sub-committee that communications technology is the engine of the future and the FCC wants to be remembered for giving the next generation an edge in that future.
He also released a "Report Card" in implementation of the FCC's draft plan, "A new FCC for the 21st Century."
Noting that revenues in communications services phones, radio, television and so on --telecommunications grew by 17 per cent between 1996 and 1998, he said that this had created 230,000 new jobs and $57 billion more in revenues not including equipment sales which had grown by $26 billion.
He also spoke of the FCC's role in developing spectrum to ensure that "the next generation will have the proper tools to grow up in the Broadband Internet Age."
FCC news release:
Kennard's statement (Adobe PDF file)
March 22, 2000:London Mayoral politics have impinged on the U.K. radio industry where Virgin Radio is to be investigated by the Radio Authority for possible breaches of political impartiality.
This follows an on-air announcement by D.J. Chris Evans that he was going to double - up to £200,000 --his funding of candidate Ken Livingstone.
Livingstone, a former member of the ruling Labour Party is standing against official party candidate Frank Dobson.
Evans made his increased funds announcement in reaction to a joke by Dobson referring to the D.J's red/ginger hair.
If the radio authority finds against Virgin, it can fine the station or amend its licence.
March 22, 2000: Jazz host Mark Ruffin has left WBEZ-FM,Chicago, after a row with the station's management according to Jim Kirk's media column in the Chicago Tribune.
WBEZ music director Chris Heim is to fill in until a replacement is found.
Kirk media column
March 22, 2000:The Australian reports today on the launch, 25 years after station 2JJ (later JJJ) went to air, of a commercial Internet station featuring many of its former announcers.
The paper says Iamnetwork will Webcast from next month from studios now being built above a take-away food shop in the Sydney suburb of Balmain.
Itt quotes co-founder Barry Chapman as saying he will be competing with FM stations and sees the main market for his station as being workplace listeners.
It names talent for the new station as including former JJJ producer-presenters Andy Glitre, Helen Razer, Angela Catterns, Ian Rogerson, Debbie Spillane and Michael Tunn.
The Australian report
March 21, 2000: Camarillo-based Salem Communications, the Christian-oriented media company, has now agreed a $19 million cash deal to purchase eight radio stations from Clear Channel Communications.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval and completion of the Clear Channel-AMFM takeover to gain approval of which Clear has to sell a large number of stations (RNW Mar 6).
The eight stations involved in this deal are in Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Previous Clear Channel
March 21, 2000:U.S. Public radio is becoming a favourite medium for dot.com companies seeking to establish a desirable public profile according to a report in Internet News.
The move seems beneficial to both sides, giving the dot.coms access to an affluent well-educated audience and significant income to the stations.
The article quotes Vincent Gardino, director of corporate development for New York Public Radio station WNYC as saying that dot.com sponsorships have become the number-one category for them, representing nearly half of the stations underwriting revenue. Less than a year ago it was only ten per cent.
"It's an advertising category that didn't exist a year ago. It was like the atomic bomb going of," he adds. Similar stories exist in other areas with San Francisco public station WQED-FM, which broadcasts to Silicon Valley, topping those figures with nearly two thirds of its underwriting revenue. Internet News report
March 20, 2000:The Australian Broadcasting Authority has invited bids for two new commercial radio licences in the Sydney area, one to serve Sydney itself and the other for the Campbelltown area.
Reserve prices have been set of Australian $500,000 for the Sydney licence and of $100,000 for the Campbelltown licence; conditions will apply to the latter to ensure that it remains a local coverage service for the area.
ABA news release
March 20, 2000: Although not exclusively about radio, human voices are central to much broadcasting and an article in the UK Guardian by Anita Chaudhury, brings up some interesting points about the way they are perceived.
Apparently in the U.K.. women's voices are judged differently from men's and this is said to be a factor in speculation about a replacement for Radio 4 Today programme presenter Sue MacGregor (RNW Mar 6).
Tipped candidates are seasoned Radio 4 broadcaster Winifred Robinson, whose accent still betrays a Mersey childhood, and Sarah Montague, who works for Sky, has clipped southern vowels and only recently had a Today programme debut.
Apparently the way their voices are judged will not be the same as they would for male candidates according to linguistics professor Deborah Cameron who is quoted as saying, "Australian research has shown that a woman with an accent will be judged in terms of her sexual availability and relative femininity. A man with a rough accent will merely be perceived as being lower class; a woman with the same accent will be regarded as being of a lower sexual class. This was found to be particularly true of women with strong cockney (London) and scouse (Liverpool)accents who were judged to have 'rough mouths' and be sexually available."
Lucy Rouse, editor of Broadcast magazine says that in broadcasting in particular, "the voice is about establishing authority. That's going to be harder for a woman to begin with and that's really why they are judged so harshly."
Philippa Davies who runs voice training consultancy VoiceWorks, adds, "Research from one Australian university women with lower pitch are taken far more seriously in public life.....A low pitch suggests confidence and authority, probably because that's how men sound."
RNW note: So how important is low pitch? Can any of you come up with examples of successful male or female broadcasters with high-pitched squeaky voices???
March 20, 2000:Further to our Saturday (RNW Mar 18)mentioning the potential implications of Internet radio on mobile devices, it seems timely to report that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is to start investigating the possibilities of software-defined radio.
This would mean, as with players and so on currently downloaded from the Internet onto computers, that upgrades to systems and services could potentially be downloaded into the mobile device including a phone or car radio without the hardware needing any upgrade.
The F.C.C. feels the changes could enable more efficient use of limited spectrum (RNW Mar 13) by seeking out segments not in use in a locality and moving services to them but it will need to be compatible with existing systems and not cause interference for existing services.
March 19, 2000:In his radio column in the U.K. Sunday Times, Paul Donovan gives us at Radionewsweb some food for thought ,and maybe more hope, with an article about the strength of older people in broadcasting.
His prime example is 86-years-old Winifred Conyers, a former cook and hairdresser, who has been hired by Radio 5 Live as its first Internet critic.
Winifred, who has three children, nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, will be on the Radio 5 "Sunday Service" show from 1100-noon local each week.
Her debut assessed two websites on pets and Donovan comments that until the show she had never used the Internet but ," like most people of her age, irrespective of their class, she has been taught how to string sentences together."
He adds that she knew her subject and spoke, " plainly, modestly and with simple authority."
Donovan also notes how few older women are heard on the U.K. airwaves compared the male variety (where Radionewsweb would like to give its plug for 91-years-old Alastair Cooke whose "Letter from America" still ploughs on weekly on BBC Radio Four and the BBC World Service).
In its news columns the paper has another item we find potentially more disturbing. This report by Nicholas Hellen says that the Corporation has bowed to pressure from the music industry to give plugs to the first sponsor of the Top 40 pop charts on Radio 1 and BBC1. The sponsor will receive two plugs on each episode of Radio 1's Top 40 show and one on each edition of Top of the Pops which could embarrass Mark Goodier, the disc jockey and presenter of Radio 1's The Official UK Top 40, because he has a financial stake in one potential sponsor of the chart. The deal will be worth around £1 million per annum for four years and will save the corporation from significant fees for the chart.
March 18, 2000: Ruminating on digital radio in her column in the U.K. Guardian, Anne Karpf comments on the emphasis usually bestowed by advocates on the quantitative (more stations) and technical aspects (theoretically higher quality audio - but see RNW Feb 14) with little attention to any potential for innovative programming.
She then reports that Somethin' Else, an independent radio company has produced a multi-media pilot CD-ROM under commission from BBC digital radio to demonstrate how the technology could enhance what we hear.
In this case Somethin' Else, which makes BBC Radio 3's "Jazz on 3" features a 20-minute improvisation session by the Evan Parker Quartet supplemented by animation based on footage of the quartet playing.
The animation she says works with the music as does the text and there are also drawings of the musicians, an interview with Parker and biographies and discographies of the musicians. Watch out for the presentation on the BBC's website around the end of March.
Which of course leads to the point, obvious to us (RNW January Comment ), about the future when WAP-enabled mobile phones enable us to listen to radio from the Internet. If the companies don't try to overload the charges the mobile phone may well have some massive advantages over normal receivers in future.
UK Guardian report
March 17, 2000:The restructuring of the BBC by new director-general Greg Dyke seems likely to mean hundreds of management jobs being axed. Dyke's plans are yet to be finalised but it's expected that he will remove much of the management structure set into place by Sir John Birt ( Lord ) his predecessor .
Dyke has set a target of increasing the amount of the BBC's licence fee which goes to programming from its current 75% to 85%
Senior executives do not know what their future will be but Dyke is said to think highly of the director of radio,Jennie Abramsky.
March 17, 2000: Durward Kirby, the veteran broadcaster and actor, has died aged 88.
Although best remembered for his TV work, his broadcasting career began in radio after a chance visit to the campus radio station at Purdue University where he was an aeronautical engineering student.
After college he auditioned at an Indianapolis radio station only to be told he lacked talent but he landed a job in Cincinnati and then moved to Chicago working in news and as an announcer. After serving in the Navy during the second World War, he returned to broadcasting, moving to television with stints on the "The Garry Moore Show" in the 50's and "candid Camera" in the 60's
March 16, 2000:Former Chicago Bear Keith Van Home has agreed a $1.6 million settlement of his defamation suit against shock jock Erich "Mancow" Muller, his former radio station WRCX-FM (now |WUBT) and its former owner Evergreen Media Corporation (taken over by AMFM which is itself being taken over by Clear Channel ). The case stemmed from comments made on air by Muller in November 1994 after a confrontation between the two men. The Chicago Tribune quoted van Horne as saying that he felt vindicated by the damages awarded and adding ," He was a guy saying mean, vindictive lies, things that were not true. He defamed me, and I needed to defend my name." Muller, now the morning personality at WKQX-FM, in turn defended his statements to the Tribune, saying ,"I am not contributing a penny to this settlement, and will issue no apology or retraction." No liability was assigned to Muller in the settlement and the tab is being picked up by the station's insurance.
Chicago Tribune report
March 16, 2000: The cash-strapped Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is to put $10 million Canadian a year extra into its radio services according to an announcement by CBC president Robert Rabinovitch.
Around $6 million will go to English language services and a little over $4 million to French language radio. The money comes from monies set aside earlier for the planned Radio 3 network for younger listeners which has been put on hold .
March 16, 2000:Today sees the departure of Brian Johns as managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; his successor Jonathan Shier (RNW Nov 10, 1999) takes over on Friday (March 17) although there've been no apparent signs of a formal handover.
Johns' five years in his post have seen him push strongly and successfully for a prominent ABC Internet presence but he is leaving a broadcaster whose budget has been drastically trimmed -- by some $65 million Australian.:
March 15, 2000: Scottish Radio Holdings has ended speculation about its acquisition intentions (RNW Mar 12) by making a £116 million offer for Border Television.
There is still speculation that Border Television itself may be hived off.
This would add three more regional commercial radio stations to Scottish Radio's stable.
March 15, 2000:The Los Angeles Times reports on the transformation of KGIL-AM which has got rid of its seven DJs as it moves to an all-Jazz format and renames itself KJAZ-AM.
The station is owned by Mt Wilson F.M. which also operates stations in San Diego and San Francisco. In recent years KGIL has tried a variety of formats in search of ratings and advertisers but without great success.
Los Angeles Times report
March 15, 2000: Alex Dreier, who was the last foreign reporter to leave Berlin when the Nazis expelled foreign reporters and who became the voice of NBC's "News of the World" from London mid-way through the second World War, has died aged 83.
After his spell in London, he worked in Chicago and the Rocky Mountain states for NBC and later ABC and hosted the long-running show "Man on the Go"
Dreier won seven Emmy's in his long journalistic career in print, radio and television, where he also made guest appearances as an actor in television dramas.
He started in journalism as a Universal Press International (UPI) reporter after he had graduated from Stanford.
Chicago Tribune obituary.
Los Angeles Times obituary;
March 14, 2000: 2UE in Sydney, which lost rights to Australian rugby league commentary to rival station 2GB last year (RNW Nov 24, 1999), has challenged the rights holders by "calling" the Newcastle v Canberra game from Pay TV.
And, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, some people in the industry in Australia are suggesting that this could start a wider war in which they call from TV events such as the Olympics to which 2UE has rights.
The paper quotes Ray Hadley, who lead the 2UE team, as saying that they did not really call the game but used pay TV to update listeners and form the basis of a discussion between the team " in the same manner as blokes at a pub discuss it."
Hadley said they would continue the practice next week.
2GB chief executive George Buschmann said that it was up to the Rugby authorities to protect their rights.
Sydney Morning Herald report.
March 13, 2000:In reaction to the growing pressure for spectrum in congested airwaves (RNW Feb 18), the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is drawing up rules which would allow development of a commodity market in a new type of licence in the 700 MHz band.
Under the "guard band manager" licence, spectrum in the licence can be sold-on to other companies.
Current U.S. licences regulate the frequencies and signal power which can be used by the licencees but do not allow unregulated re-selling.
But as pressure has built up from new markets such as mobile phones spectrum is becoming scarce and their expansion could be severely affected.
F.C.C. chairman William E. Kennard has been pushing for examination of changes which could permit licencees to sell-off parts of the spectrum surplus to their needs.
Already the F.C.C. has released rules which would permit this for a spring 2000 auction of part of the spectrum used by organisations such as the police and hospitals.
The rules allow for some of the frequencies to be auctioned to managing organisations which will be able to lease and trade the frequencies they win at the auction.
Similar rules are expected for parts of the spectrum to be vacated as broadcasters move to digital radio and television.
*The Chicago Tribune today has a New York Times article regarding managing of the spectrum which may be of interest.
Chicago Tribune link.
FCC press release re auction
March 13, 2000: Britain's Premier league soccer clubs have started a move into launching their own digital radio stations to broadcast round the clock coverage of interest to fans as well as commentary on their own games.
Three clubs, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Southampton have signed joint-venture deals with Radio First which is headed by John Aumonier, the co-founder of U.K. Talk Radio (now TalkSport headed by Kelvin MacKenzie).
Four more clubs are said to be negotiated similar contracts for the stations.
They will be produced locally but sell advertising as a group under the umbrella of the Fan Radio Network.
Licences have been granted but transmission agreements are yet to be agreed.
The first station is expected to air in Spring 2001.
March 13, 2000:Radio 1, the African-American oriented group based in Lanham, Maryland, has unveiled deals to buy 22 more radio stations under expansion plans foreshadowed earlier this year (RNW Jan 24).
The largest purchase is a $1.3 billion deal for 12 Clear Channel and AMF stations which Clear is selling (RNW Mar 6)as it needs regulatory approval for its takeover of AMFM.
The deal includes outlets in major market cities where there are large black audiences such as Cleveland (WZAK-FM and WJMO-FM), Dallas (KBFBN-FM), Houston (KMJQ-FM and KBXX-FM), Los Angeles (KKBT-FM), and Miami (WVCG-AM).
Radio One will also spend $40 million on three Indianapolis stations and another $24 million acquiring Davis Broadcasting Inc. which owns five stations in Georgia and another in North Carolina.
After the deals are completed, Radio 1 will employ some 1400 people, double its current payroll, and own 48 station..
March 12, 2000: Scottish Radio Holdings, which two months ago raised £75 million for expansion through a rights issue (RNW Jan 20) , has started to prepare a bid for Border TV, one of the two ITV companies in Britain which remains independent.
Two years ago the two did hold talks but they broke down over the then bid price of £4.
Border's share price rose by nearly a third to £10.50 last week on speculation of an imminent bid, valuing the company just above £110 million.
Scottish Radio have said this time they will not bid a significant premium over Border's present value
March 12, 2000:In his media column in the Chicago Tribune, Jim Kirk, puts the spotlight on the "The Sportswriters", a weekly print journalists talk programme that began on Tribune-owned WGN radio in 1975 on the night of the Muhammed Ali-Joe Frazier fight in Manila.
It made the move to TV ten years later but ratings have now meant that current cable outlet Fox Sports Net in Chicago decided last year to drop it unless it could get sponsorship. So it's back to radio and ESPN's WMVP-AM from 6-8p.m. on Sunday Evenings.
Chicago Tribune column
March 11, 2000:U.S. talk show host Laura Schlessinger, whose 'Dr Laura" show has been attacked (RNW Feb 19 ) because of her comments on homosexuality, has apologised for hurt she has caused to "some people."
Among her comments were ones describing homosexuality as "deviant" and a "biological error"
She said that comments made " in a clinical context have been perceived as judgement. They were not meant to characterize homosexual individuals or encourage others to disparage homosexuals.
Gay rights activists have started a campaign by against her planned television show, which is due to air from September.
Previous "Dr Laura"
March 11, 2000 :Ireland's Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) has begun the process of awarding new radio licences for the country.
They include two, one AM and one FM, for Dublin and one FM licence in Cork with the possibility of more in the rest of Ireland.
These follow the award of three Dublin area licences last year --to Lite FM, due on air in May, to News Talk FM which should air later this year and to SpinFM whose licence is currently under judicial review.
March 10, 2000: Australian dot.com advertising has helped boost earnings from Austereo, the radio business of Village Roadshow by more than a third in the last half on 1999 reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Austereo, which owns Fox-FM and MMMM-FM amounted for nearly half the company's total earnings.
Village Roadshow's overall interim net profit was up 12% to Aus$40.6 million.
Sydney Morning Herald report.
March 10, 2000: An Irish radio executive has warned that county-based radio stations in the country would not survive a complete switch to digital transmission, reports the Irish Times.
Joe Yerkes, the chief executive of Midlands Radio 3 told the paper before a meeting with local radio executives that unless more frequency spectrum was made available digital would lead to a service on a regional basis which would make current local services would not be financially viable.
The paper also reports that state broadcaster RTÉ has had to delay plans for its digital TV and radio services from the planned October start until at least next year.
Irish Times on digital radio;
Irish Times on RTÉ digital delay.
March 10, 2000: Clear Channel is planning to sell another 16 stations on top of the 72 it has already put on the block (RNW March 6 ) as it bids for regulatory approval for its 1999 takeover of AMFM in a $23 billion deal.
The 16 stations are in San Francisco, Des Moines and smaller markets and buyers are Barnstable Broadcasting Inc., Inner City Broadcasting Corp., Rodriguez Communications Inc. and Saga Communications Inc.
In addition Radio One Inc is rumoured to be involved in yet another deal to purchase more of Clear Channel's stations in a deal of around $1 billion. Lanham-based Radio One recently set out on an acquisition trail (RNW Jan 24)
March 9, 2000: The Los Angeles Times report on changes due at KPCC-FM, Pasadena, which moves to its new all-talk and news format on Saturday.
Under its new management by Minnesota Public Radio,the station will place strong emphasis on coverage of Pasadena, Los Angeles and Orange County. It is to become part of a new entity Southern California Public Radio. Last week the station's DJs were told (RNW March 4) that music programming was being eliminated from the station's schedules, although one prominent DJ, "Sancho" apparently missed out on advance warning and only learned of the changes after his final show on February 26.
Los Angeles Times Report
March 9, 2000:The BBC has beaten off a bid from rival TalkSport to retain the rights to broadcast English cricket with a deal worth around £5 million for the next five years.
TalkSport was reported to have made a blind bid of half as much again as whatever the BBC offered but the England and Wales Cricket Board said their decision was swung by the breadth of coverage of the BBC together with its pledges to promote the sport.
Kelvin MacKenzie,head of TalkSport, reacted by accusing the Board (ECB) of snobbery and demanded that the BBC be broken up.
Speaking on his station he said, " TalkSport made the highest bid for the cricket but the Establishment decided our money wasn't good enough."
Last month TalkSport outbid the BBC for rights to the 2002-2 English winter tour of Australia (RNW Feb 23)
March 9, 2000 :In his media column in the Chicago Tribune, Jim Kirk, reports on cost cutting changes at adult contemporary station WLIT-FM in Chicago.
The station has recently dropped to number 11 slot in the ratings after years in the top ten and new general manager Terry Hardin is trying to revamp and re-brand it.
Chicago Tribune report
March 9, 2000:An Irish local radio station has had to pay an ex-employee £10,000 (Irish) after she was forced to retire on her 60th birthday by her boss who told her "radio is for young people.".
An Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the woman who worked as a bookkeeper at Tipp FM was unfairly dismissed.
March 8, 2000: US talk show host Judy Jarvis, who has continued on air for 18 months whilst fighting lung cancer, has died aged 54.
The "Judy Jarvis show" was syndicated on some 50 stations. She is survived by her son Jarvis, who served as executive producer and filled in for her for a period after her left leg was amputated a year ago becoming co-host when she returned to the air.
March 8, 2000:ABC Radio is to stop syndication of "The Stephanie Miller" radio talk show , possible permanently. The shows current contract runs out at the beginning of July.
Reporting on the cancellation, the Los Angeles Times, says the decision was taken while ABC's legal department indicated whether comments she made on her website and in public comment breached her contract.
In the meantime re-runs of "best" old shows continue. The comments were made after KABC-AM last week (RNW March 3) dropped the show in Los Angeles.
On her web site Miller contended that the station dropped the show because of its racy content and attacked KABC's management style, saying they had abused her staff and been unreasonable about the show's content.
Los Angeles Times report;
Stephanie Miller on her firing.
March 8 2000: The British EMI group, which merging with Time-Warner's music division, has announced plans to move more of its music online in connection with Motorola-controlled Radiowave.com.
EMI says it plans to work with radiowave.com to deveop audio channels providing music and biographies of its artists and also launch a number of theme sites including ones devotd to popp, jazz, hard rock and Christian music.
March 7, 2000: Chicago veteran Felicia Middlebrooks who had been off air from Infinity-owned WGGM-AM since her contract expired last week has now agreed new terms with the all-news station. She and partner Ken Herrera were second in the most recent ratings which were dominated by the late Bob Collins at WGN (RNW Feb 10). Collins had nearly double their audience.
March 7, 2000:In his media column Frank Ahrens of the Washington Post reports on a conflict between lack-hits station WPGC-FM and its morning host Donnie Simpson which apparently was partly-based on misinformation.
Simpson took issue on-air with the station over a promo for its "Stop the Violence" campaign" which grouped together the shooting of six-years-old Kayla Rolland by a Michagan schoolmate and that of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo who was gunned down by four white New York police officers.
He said the grouping was wrong and an example of the station playing down the Diallo case, a major topic of conversation for the station's audience which is nearly two thirds black.
He also commented that they had refused to break into programming on Feb 25th to give the Diallo verdict but was misinformed on this as the station had in fact interrupted programming to give the verdict.
Washington Post column
March 7, 2000:TV ratings aren't really our patch but we couldn't resist noting the official ratings doe a BBC Wales flagship programme on politics. The official BARB viewing figure for "The Point" broadcast on February 17th at 11.20 p.m. was zero.
The BBC says their figures showed around 2000 viewers with around 18000 fora repeat showing during the day on the following Sunday.
March 7, 2000: 13 companies have placed bids in the first round of bidding for the latest British UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephony Service) mobile phone licences which will offer wider services than existing mobile phones including the ability to receive video and high speed connection to the Internet.
Canadian operator TIW has made the largest bid of £170million for franchise A reserved for new entrants.
Next biggest bids were of the reserve price of just over £107million from British Telecom and Vodaphone for licence B, the largest for which existing companies can bid.
The bidding was not so keen for the three remaining licences and no bids at all were made for licence C which offers the same spectrum as licences D and E.
March 6, 2000: Clear Channel Communications is to sell 72 stations if it gets regulatory approval and its takeover of AMFM goes ahead.
Clear has not given details but CBS subsidiary Infinity Broadcasting is expected to purchase 18 stations for around $1.4 billion
Three FM stations in Houston and three FM stations and one AM in Richmond will go to Atlanta-based Cox Broadcasting for $380 million, and three Spanish-language stations in Denver, Phoenix and Austin will go to Dallas-based Hispanic Broadcasting for around $125 million.
March 6, 2000:The UK Telegraph reports today that BBC Radio 4's longest serving presenter, Sue MacGregor is to retire next year after 16 years with the programme. Before moving to the Today programme, MacGregor presented Woman's Hour on Radio 4 for 15 years.
March 6, 2000: The Irish Times has two articles today on the implications, particularly regarding the future for public service broadcasters, of senior management changes at state broadcaster RTÉ where Joe Mulholland is to be replaced as managing editor of television by (Irish language TV channel ) TG4 's chief executive, Cathal Goan.
The career of Belfast-born Goan includes a period with RTÉ Radio 1 as producer of its Today at Five programme
Irish Times on RTÉ changes:
Cathal Goan's career
March 5, 2000:The Chicago Tribune reports upon the impact of lifting U.S. radio ownership restrictions.
This has seen a once multiply owned industry become dominated by the two giants, Clear Channel and CBS subsidiary Infinity Broadcasting.
In Chicago this has meant the departure from the scene of Evergreen, Gannett, Viacom, Century, Pyramid, Tichenor and Diamond .
Now Infinity has eight stations in the city and Clear has six, which between them pull in nearly two thirds of the total advertising revenue.
Nationwide the picture is similar with the two big players dominating the market in cities such as New York, Philadelphia Detroit and St Louis.
Even in smaller markets there has been massive consolidation and nearly 8000 stations have changed hands at a cost of around $80 billion since Congress passed the Telecommunications Reform Act in 1966.
The new giants, says the paper, are rapidly reaching saturation point in radio and are moving to other fields such as entertainment and the Internet.
It gives a good rundown of many of the takeovers of the past four years as well as the implications of takeovers spilling into other fields such as the takeover by Clear Channel of SFX Entertainment (RNW Feb 29).
Perhaps the most telling comment is that from former AMFM chief Jimmy de Castro:" Radio is now in a financial performance format rather than what we used to know as the radio business."
Chicago Tribune report
RNW comment: We would welcome feedback on your experiences of the effects of the consolidation of radio and media in general. In particular,has the financier's gain been radio's?.
March 5, 2000:The U.K. radio battle for soccer sports rights seems to be hotting up.
According to a report in the UK Independent, Radio First , the digital radio group founded by former Virgin executive John Aumonier, is close to signing exclusive live commentary deals for the games of six top Premier League clubs.
Radio First, in which cable group NTL has a substantial stake, is expected to be floated on the AIM (Alternative Investments Market ) with its value touted as around £1000 million.
The UK radio sports rights market has recently seen significant tussles between BBC Radio Five and TalkSport (RNW Feb 23).
UK Independent report
March 4, 2000: KPCC-FM in Pasadena has dropped some 20 weekend and night-time programmes as it drops music shows and is transformed into a news and talk channel under changes being implemented by Minnesota Public Radio which has taken over its management (RNW Dec 10, 1999 ).
Craig Curtis, vice president for programming at Minnesota Public Radio, told the Los Angeles Times that all of the stations current music programming is to end although the full tietable of changes is still not clear.
KPCC general manager Cindy Young said they wished well to the programme hosts and were not claiming any intellectual rights in their shows for several of which Curtis said they were trying to find new outlets.
Los Angeles Times report
March 4, 2000:Triad Broadcasting of Monterey, California, is to pay $12 million to buy five Nebraskan radio stations from JC Acquisition, the Wyoming holding company which bought them in December from Warner Enterprises and Community Media Inc.
The stations involved are KEZG-FM, KFGE-FM, KKUL-FM and KLIN-AM in Lincoln plus KWBE-AM in Beatrice.
March 3, 2000: The Los Angeles Times reports that comic radio host Stephanie Miller is leaving KABC-AM after more than 2 years hosting "The Stephanie Miller Show" in the 1900-2100 slot.
Replacement wil be Marc Germain, "Mr KABC" whose talk show had filled the following hour.
Miller told the newspaper that the issue leading to the show's cancellation was on of creative differences not audience figures.
Latest ratings showed Miller had a 2.1 share, 40% up on the summer but a third down from the figures for the last quarter of 1998.
Los Angeles Times report
March 3, 2000: The driver has taken the blame after an incident during an interview by Sydney 2UE broadcaster John Laws when a minister appeared to swear.
Laws had suggested to John Aquilina that the government could have done more to avert a showdown with teachers in a row over skills test when the minister appeared to say, "It's not my fucking fault."
He then ended the interview, being done on a mobile phone, saying the line was dropping out.
Later his chauffeur Tom McIntosh said he'd used the expletive when the phone went dead after he'd been asked not to drive out of range.
Australian Daily Telegraph report
March 3, 2000: WGN-AM, Chicago, has chosen Spike O'Dell as successor to its popular morning host Bob Collins who was killed after a collision between two light planes (RNW Feb 9).
O'Dell has been afternoon host on the station for 13 years and had been filling in for Collins.
His slot will be filled by midday host John Williams. Chicago radio veteran Steve Cochran, who had been filling in on WGN at weekends after recently leaving WKQI-Detroit, takes over from Williams.
New WGN line-up
Collins remembered -WGN site
March 3, 2000: A Sydney jury has held that 2UE broadcaster Alan Jones defamed chief racing steward Raymond Murrihy (RNW Mar 2) . They agreed his remarks suggested Murrihy suspended a woman trainer because he was sexist and to gratify his ego.
They did not agree that the comments suggested Murrihy was an egomaniac.
March 2, 2000: The BBC has appointed Helen Boaden as controller of its talk and drama channel, Radio 4.
Her background is mainly in news and current affairs; she joined the corporation as a news producer at local radio station Radio Leeds in 1983. Amongst posts she has held have been editor of the weekly File-on-Four, winning a Sony award whilst there and producer and presenter posts of Woman's Hour.
She beat off a strong field of internal candidates (RNW Jan 23 )and is the first woman to head the channel since Monica Sims became controller in 1978. Speaking on Radio 4's World at One programme, Boaden described the channel as her lifeblood and added that it stood for " quality, a state of mind.....It's intelligent, open-minded, witty and funny."
BBC announcement of appintment
March 2, 2000:In its Science and technology section, the UK Telegraph has a letter regarding early experiments to produce stereo broadcasts via mono broadcasts on two separate wavelengths.
The tests were done on Dutch stations Hilversum 402 and 208 and required two radios set apart in a room.
The BBC also carried out similar broadcasts using a radio and TV channel.
The letter is in response to a February article regarding US stereo broadcasts on AM in the 1970s, one system from Kahn communications using upper and lower sidebands of the AM signal while the other from Motorola sent stereo though phase modulation.
The transmission weakened the mono signal and, although tried out in various countries, was never successful.
UK Telegraph letter:
UK Telegraph article on stereo AM
March 2, 2000:Whilst most of the news about switches to Spanish broadcast recently has been of the big players( RNW Jan 31), the Los Angeles Times today reports on a smaller one.
KWKW-AM is owned by a Jewish-American family yet retains massive loyalty amongst Los Angeles area Spanish speakers, particularly wealthier ones.
The station was given its original licence in 1941 during the second World War to "broadcast and inform the Latino community in Los Angeles regarding the war."
It was bought by Howard Kalmenson and his wife in 1962 and is now part of Lotus Communications which has 16 English-language stations, seven Spanish-language stations and one Persian-language station in L.A. General manager is Howard's son Jim, and the station has an enviable record of loyalty amongst staff as well as listeners with most employees having been with the company a decade or more.
As well as US news, sports and talk, the station has regular spots for news from Mexico and central America.
Los Angeles Times report
March 2, 2000: Sydney 2UE broadcaster Alan Jones, who yesterday (RNW Mar 1)was held by a jury to have been defamed by a Sydney newspaper, is now involved in another court case in which he is accused of defaming Australian racing steward Ray Murrihy.
Murrihy is suing 2UE for comments he made in October which the court was told insinuated Murrihy was a sexist egomaniac.
Jones had concluded some critical comments on a race involving a 330-1 horse trained by Mrs Gai Waterhouse by saying ," in Murrihy, the chief steward, the industry has some bloke blindly driven by ego. And, of course, what better way to polish up your ego than to knock off the leading trainer, and a woman to boot."
At the time, Murrihy was investigating whether Mrs Waterhouse had given instructions to the jockey of Gossips that would have prevented the horse running on its merits.
He suspended Mrs Waterhouse but she later won an appeal.
Jones is currently facing a number of defamation actions in the NSW Supreme Court from amongst others a Rugby League referee and staff from an accountancy firm.
Recently an action by Rugby Union chief Mr John O'Neil was settled for a sum reported to be around Aus$50,000.
Australian Daily Telegraph report;
March 1, 2000: Sirius Satellite Radio and ATX Technologies have announced an alliance that would allow consumers to not only listen to broadcasts in their cars but also purchase goods and services at the touch of a button.
Under the deal Sirius receivers will be linked to ATX's mobile phone equipment in automobiles ( RNW Feb 2 regarding Sirius deals with automakers.
March 1, 2000:Most major US newspapers carry reports concerning the takeover of SFX Entertainment by Clear Channels (RNW Feb 29): Sources for those interested include the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and the Washington Post.
March 1, 2000: The Church of England synod, which has recently criticised the BBC over its religious output (RNW Feb 15), has decided to set up a watchdog in conjunction with other organisations to monitor religious broadcasts.
The watchdog will be independent of the existing Central Religious Advisory Committee which reports annually to the BBC and Britain's Independent Television Commission. Details are unclear but it may, like the existing body, have multi faith representation not just Christian organisations and will monitor not only religious broadcasts but the presentation of religious topics in News and current affairs programmes.
Although Britain does have blasphemy laws, these have effectively been in cold storage, and there has been concern about pressures from other faiths not only to extend the laws to cover them but also to make them active.
UK Guardian synodreport;
Guardian comparison of past and current religious schedules;
"Why God isn't primetime" - UK Guardian Feb 24th
UK Telegraph synod report
March 1, 2000: Sydney 2UE broadcaster Alan Jones was defamed by the Sydney Morning Herald in an article last July, an Australian jury has decided.
Jones' lawyers had argued that that an article was harmful to the broadcaster and the jury took only 30 minutes to agree that it carried an imputation that he had made a secret agreement not to criticise AMP in return for substantial benefits to the South Sydney Rugby Leagues Club of which he was then director of football.
The newspaper argued that the article was about the power and influence of the media and carried no suggestion of dishonesty.
Sydney Morning Herald report
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March 31. 2000:The US National Association of Broadcasters has launched a lawsuit to prevent the recording industry from levying additional royalties on stations which stream their signals on the Internet.
The suit against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) asks for a ruling that sending over-the-air signals to the Internet as well is not a violation of digital performance rights under 1998 US copyright law.
NAB says that Congress, when it passed the law, had no intention that broadcasters should be subjected to expensive new copyright charges for such streaming activities of their normal signal.
It does not contend that Internet-only stations should be exempt from the digital copyright laws.
March 31, 2000:US Low Power FM (LPFM) plans have been trimmed back rather than killed off by US lawmakers.
The House Commerce Committee has voted to allow the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to proceed with its initiative but prohibited plans to loosen interference standards, thus significantly lowering the number of stations which can be allowed.
Mike Oxley (Rep. Ohio) whose original bill would have killed the service said that what they wanted to to protect existing broadcasters in a way that preserved the best aspects of LPFM.
In an article favouring the stations, the Washington Post says that LPFM should be given space to grow.
It comments that, given a signal strength only a small fraction of that used by commercial broadcasters, it doesn't seem much of a threat despite the immense lobbying effort against the idea.
Washington Post article.
March 31, 2000: Bids for the UK's latest mobile phone licences, which would offer high speed Internet access, have jumped by around a half over three days.
They have now reached nearly £7.5 billion with top bids of £1.66 billion from Vodaphone for licence"B" and £1.52 billion from Worldcom for the new entrant's licence.
Previous UK mobile bids
March 30, 2000:US Federal Communications Commission Chairman Bill Kennard has been lobbying for Low Power FM radio (LPFM) which is under severe attack from the broadcasting lobby (RNW Mar 28 ); He told Jesse Jackson's Minority Media Advocacy Conference that FCC engineers studies were correct and forecast an eventual outpouring of support for LPFM. In addition the FCC has rebuffed its Low Power FM critics with a "fact sheet", " Low Power FM Radio Service: Allegations and Facts" which deals item by item will allegations made against it. In particular it says it has not rushed to judgement but has spent two years in consultations, reiterates its criticisms of National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) interference claims and says its own tests have been conducted on a wide range of radio receivers, and says it is taking National Public Radio (NPR) concerns about any impact on FM translator (low power repeater stations, widely used by public broadcasters to reach rural audiences) and booster stations. It also says the stations will not impede digital radio development. NPR, unlike NAB which wants to stamp out the new stations entirely, has only asked for delay and reconsideration of some aspects of LPFM, in particular greater protections for translators, radio reading services, full-power stations on third adjacent channels from LPFM stations, and potential digital radio technology.
FCC Fact Sheet ;
NPR Technical objections;
NPR request for LPFM delay & rethink;
Fears for translator stations
March 30, 2000: CBS-owned Infinity Broadcasting Corporation is to acquire San Antonio stations KTFT-FM and KTSA-AM for around $90 million of class A Infinity stock in a deal with local owners Waterman Broadcasting Corporation.
KTSA-AM was San Antonio's first station, gaining its licence in 1922.
It was taken over by Bernard Waterman 35 years ago.
KTFT-FM has long been at or near the top in ratings in its market.
Announcing the acquisition, Mel Karmazin, Infinity's Chairman, President and CEO, said the deal would mean that Infinity will extend its Texas operations so as to " now operate radio stations in the four largest markets -- covering 80% of the state's population."
If the regulators approve the acquisition, Infinity will own 8 radio stations in Dallas, four in Austin and four in Houston.
Bernard Waterman has agreed a consultancy and non-competition package as part of the deal and will retain ownership of the parent Waterman Broadcasting Corporation and its Virginia and Florida subsidiaries which operate television stations in the two states.
March 29, 2000: The Sydney Morning Herald reports widely today on the reactions to the (ABA) Australian Broadcasting Authority's imposition of new conditions on Sydney 2UE's licence (RNW Mar 28) and the state of the station.
One article draws attentions to the ratings -- up and retaining second place behind Austereo's 2Day FM, which also improved in all timeslots.
This, it says. Shows that 2UE listeners don't " don't give a damn about the cash-for-comment inquiry, Stan Zemanek jumping ship or the rugby league rights going to 2GB as long as they have Jonesy and Lawsy." (Alan Jones and John Laws, the two hosts at the centre of the cash for comment affair).
Neither, it says in another article, has Alan Jones showed any remorse; rather he's continued to declare his innocence and attack the ABA on air with venom. The paper says that Jones is using all his great skills in attacking the ABA but cites examples to show that this is misleading, as for example saying they never questioned his staff but neglecting to say that they quizzed Jones himself for two days with a barrister present. Additionally it suggests that to ask the public to work out for themselves from a list of sponsors what links there are to issues and reports is asking a lot and casts doubt on the efficacy of the current rules to ensure discipline. The alternative, it suggests, is legislation that governs the presenters as well as the stations. His fellow presenter John Laws, who has been ringing cowbells and blowing raspberries when he is obliged to mention a sponsor, gets a lighter ride in a feature," The Golden Tonsils deliver a lesson in English diction " which assesses his diction and presentation positively. It doesn't however comment upon his ethics.
Sydney Morning Herald:
*2UE ratings up;
* Jones doesn't give a damn; *Laws' golden tonsils;
Previous Jones ;
March 29, 2000:WLS-AM in Chicago now seems likely to want to remain without a politicised host in its evening slot following the firing of Mike Malloy.
Much of his slot is currently being filled by 7-10 p.m. host Jay Marvin whose slot has been extended to midnight. Malloy's severance deal prohibits him from comment on his firing.
In the Chicago Tribune Jim Kirk says WLS-AM operations chief Mike Elder denied there was a depoliticisation movement going on at the station but hinted that there may be less appetite for politics in future.
Kirk Chicago Tribune report
March 28, 2000:In a busy day for the UK radio business, Kelvin MacKenzie has announced details of his plans to float the Wireless Group (RNW Mar 26) and Scottish Radio Holdings has launched its offer document for Border Television (RNW Mar 15).
MacKenzie said he plans to float a quarter of his group to grow existing franchises including flagship station TalkSport and for acquisitions in radio and new media.
Scottish Radio Holdings in their document has attacked Border's handling of its radio franchises in the north of England.
Scottish Radio's Chief Executive Richard Findlay said there had been a drop of 15% in the number of hours listeners spent tuned in to these stations.
Border is fighting the takeover and its chief executive Paul Corley said that listening hours were always volatile and that a better benchmark was reach (the percentage of people in an area tuning in) which was growing.
Scottish Radio's shares have fallen reducing the value of the bid to around £114 million and there is speculation that a bidding war could develop for Border with other groups including the Wireless Group , Capital Radio and Scottish Media Group which recently took over Chris Evans' Ginger Media Group (RNW Jan 13 )
Previous Wireless Group;
Previous Scottish Radio bid
March 28, 2000:Bids for the UK Government's auction of spectrum for third generation Internet-capable mobile phone licences have now topped £5 billion. Highest current bids are now around £1.3 billion from News Corporation-backed One.Tel for the new operators "A" licence and a similar amount from Vodaphone for licence"B".
Previous UK mobile bids
March 28, 2000:The Australian Broadcasting Authority has now finalised two new conditions it is imposing upon the licence of 2UE Sydney in the wake of the Australian cash-for-comment affair on talk radio. This follows submissions received over the past month and will take effect on April 3 for the next three years. The first condition defines details of the disclosure required of commercial agreements between 2UE presenters and sponsors and also requires the station's staff and presenters to undertake training concerning the obligations imposed upon 2UE by Australia's Broadcasting laws, its licence and the Commercial Radio codes of practice in Australia. It sets requirements for a register of sponsorship divided into four bands -- up to Australian $10,000 per annum, between $10,000 and $100,000 per annum, between $100,000 and $500,000 per annum and above $500,000 per annum. The condition also requires that presenters read out a full list of their sponsors each day and requires that presenters disclose the existence of sponsorship whenever they mention the sponsor or its services, interview a member of its staff, or use its news releases or publicity material. However they will not have to mention the sponsorship when discussing issues which might have an effect on or involve the sponsor. The second condition requires that "advertisements broadcast by 2UE must be presented in such a manner that the reasonable listener is able to distinguish them from other program material" but excludes community service announcements for which no charge is levies and reviews of products or services.
ABA News release (has links on to documents in Adobe PDF and Rich Text File format).
March 28, 2000: As US politicians approach a vote on bills which could kill Low Power FM (LPFM) stations in the US, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) are becoming embroiled in an increasing war of words over LPFM radio.
In January (RNW Jan 24) the FCC approved plans, which would create up to 1000 new small stations.
NAB is lobbying hard against them and the plans e would be killed under a bill being pushed in Congress by Rep Mike Oxley (Republican -Ohio)(RNW March 25).
Each side is accusing the other of misleading statements.
The FCC, which on Monday held a lottery to determine the order in which to accept licence applications ( link to FCC news release), says the stations will offer airwave access to local community groups, and in the words of Commissioner Gloria Tristiani " give a voice to the voiceless." In addition, Dale Hatfield, Chief of its Office of Engineering and Technology and Roy Stewart, chief of its Mass Media Bureau, have issued a statement (link to statement) which alleges amongst other things that NAB has tried to mislead Congress over the issue of interference with existing stations.
In particular it says a CD being distributed by NAB purporting to demonstrate the interference that NAB claims will occur from LPFM stations is " is misleading and is simply wrong."
It says the NAB CD
*does not show actual interference but was produced by artificially mixing two previously recorded signals
* that NAB's crosstalk interference demonstration does not represent actual performance where any interference would show itself as hissing not crosstalk
* that NAB deliberately misrepresented the FCC arguments on an "acceptable level " of distortion by giving the level as 3% not 1%.
NAB in turn says the FCC has released misleading engineering information and tries to boost its case by citing opposition to low power FM from other groups. In engineering terms its response is that
the FCC statements about crosstalk are false and so proven by the technical record in the FCC's LPFM proceedings.
Its website (link to FCC response page) includes links to MP3 audio recordings from the FCC proceedings (made by experts hired by the Consumer Electronics Association, National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting).
The recordings are of classical music being received on a number of different FM radios and of signal tests NAB says it carried out for real of interference with signals from Washington station WRQX (107.3Mhz) by another Washington station WJFK-FM (106.7Mhz). Both stations received licences many years ago before FM interference was considered an issue.
NAB says that the FCC decision in effect understated the importance of interference and thus "totally wrote off hundreds of millions of less expensive radios."
RNW Note : For a look at how political donations by NAB may have affected the vote of Senator Judd Gregg (Rep New Hampshire), who is introducing the anti-LFPM bill in the Senate follow this link to an article in the Los Angeles Times
March 27, 2000:Doctor Who, the time-travel lord whose adventures ran for more than a quarter of a century before being axed on British TV in 1989 may make a return, courtesy of BBC Radio 4. The channel has commissioned a pilot episode and if this is successful may be followed by a series. At its peak the TV version commanded UK audiences of 18 million, gaining worldwide fans from sales and allied merchandising.
March 27, 2000:An official complaint has been lodged with Britain's Commission for Racial Equality alleging that BBC Radio Wales is discriminating against broadcasters with an English accent.
Amongst the broadcasters who have complained, according to the Sunday Independent, are Lionel Kelloway who has won two Sony awards and whose prize-winning programme Landmark has been axed and Ian Skidmore who won the "Golden microphone award for Wales" in 1999 during a 20-year spell with the BBC.
Skidmore claims he fell victim of the Welsh nationalist lobby and says the only presenters the channel will have soon are ," are historians on the make and people so insecure they adopt phoney Welsh accents."
Another former BBC Wales host Phil Rickman told the paper there was momentum to remove broadcasters who lacked a Welsh accent and " talk in Cardiff of 'ethnic cleansing' of voices that don't fit." BBC Wales denies the allegations.
Sunday Independent report
March 26, 2000:The Wireless Group, the UK radio operator, is preparing for a flotation which the UK Sunday Telegraph estimates will value it at £150 million.
On this basis the deal would net its head Kelvin MacKenzie some 10 million.
The flagship of the group is UK TalkSport, formerly Talk Radio, acquired for around 25 million in 1998.
Since then the group has taken over the RadioPartnerership , Scotland's Independent Radio Group, and Morecambe music station The Bay.
Ratings at TalkSport have led to adverse speculation recently (RNW Mar 23 ) but with digital radio fast coming over the horizon, the stockmarket is currently keen on radio both because of the prospects of an increased number of channels and also because of Internet-related allied applications.
UK Sunday Telegraph story Previous MacKenzie
March 26, 2000:US radio and television veteran Sig Mickelson, who became the first President of CBS News, has died aged 86.
Mickelson began working for CBS radio during the second world war and founded the US Radio and Television News Directors Association of which he was President from 19489.
He moved over to television where in 1951 when he was put in charge of news and public affairs for CBS TV, launching Walter Cronkite's career a year later when he assigned him to anchor the 1952 US party conventions, the first sponsored TV broadcast of a political event.
He became the first president of CBS TV's news division in 1959.
After leaving CBS his activities included a spell as president of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty.
March 26, 2000: The Australian Sunday Herald Sun reports today on the plans of Ethiopian-American Noah Samara head of the WorldSpace Corporation for whom European space agency Arianespace last week (March 21) launched AsiaStar, the second of three global satellites designed to take digital radio to the third world.
AsiaStar, which will be monitored from Melbourne.
The company's AfriStar satellite was launched in October and transmits 30 channels of digital radio to Africa.
A third satellite AmeriStar, covering Latin America and the Caribbean is to be launched next year.
WorldSpace has developed digital radios with a unique address so that private networks can be created and e-mail sent to individual sets.
It intends to finance its $1.6 billion investment by leasing channels, advertising and subscription cable radio services, initially aiming at prosperous listeners or corporate customers who can afford $300 for a receiver. It hopes to bring the price down to a third of this eventually and is developing solar-powered models for use where there is no mains electricity.
News Corp Australia (links to paper).
March 26, 2000:The Times of India has recently been carrying items concerning the value of radio in today's India with a current privatisation of stations and growth of FM being seen positively.
Currently many think that despite the strength it gains from its broad reach radio is moribund because of the output of All India Radio (AIR) the national broadcaster.
AIR is criticised in one report for developing a bureaucracy in which seniority strangles merit.There's also criticism of the restrictions placed on AIR which have included not only political restrains but a ban on airing film music, giving impetus to the birth of Radio Ceylon as a major competitor.
Even after this when changes were made in the early 80's they were strangled in part because of hiking of advertising rates following the introduction of sponsored programmes.. There's praise for private stations which were allowed a brief flourish before the rug was pulled from under them. And on a more hopeful note the growth in privatisation and FM licencing is seen as likely to give the medium a massive boost.
In all more than 100 radio frequencies in 40 big and small cities across India are being auctioned with eleven Delhi, ten in Mumbai and six in Pune having already gone on the block.
The Indian government however is not totally loosening its grip as the licences are for entertainment with news and current affairs excluded.
Times of India items.
Does radio still have a role?
Pune FM Plans.
March 25, 2000:It's not only traditional broadcasters who are growing concerned as the battle hots up over who gets increasingly valuable spectrum (bids for latest UK licences - have now topped £4.6 billion with some bidders offering a billion pounds for a licence).
The International Air Travel Association (IATA) has expressed increasing concern that frequencies allocated to civil aviation could be reallocated for mobile communications at the World Radio Conference (WRC) meeting in Istanbul in May. IATA Director General Pierre J. Jeanniot.says that the battle must be won before the meeting and that aviation needs interference-free radio spectrum, particularly for Global Navigation Satellite Systems.
IATA home page.
Previous UK Mobile auction:
Previous spectrum report
March 25, 2000: US Federal Communications Commission plans which would have allowed around 1000 new community and local stations in the U.S. (RNW Jan 24 ) may be killed off under a measure passed by a Congress sub-committee.
The House Telecommunications sub-committee decided to send Ohio Republican Mike Oxley's anti low power stations "Radio Preservation Act" to the full house.
More than 150 co-sponsors have signed on to the bill. An amendment by Michigan Democrat John Dingell, that would have allowed a six month trial in ten cities, was withdrawn after it failed to gather enough support.
The FCC was to begin Low Power FM (LPFM) license auctioning on Monday and the sub committee chairman Billy Tauzin commented that it was important to move Oxley's bill speedily to let the FCC know they were moving " much too expeditiously."
The commercial broadcasters lobby, the National Association of Broadcasters, has strongly opposed the licences (RNW Jan 20) which they say would cause interference with existing stations.
In an interview in Radio Ink, NAB's Chief Executive Officer Eddie Fritts said there was concern both about interference and the way the FCC was moving; he thought there was beginning to be an understanding that low power FM was "a bad thing." He accused the FCC of trying to allow "acceptable" interference as opposed to "no interference" for the purpose of " social engineering."
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