Kathleen Abernathy - - Republican FCC Commissioner; Frank Ahrens -Washington Post media writer; Ralph Bernard - chief executive UK radio group GWR- to become executive chairman, July 2001; Mathew Bannister-(2)- former BBC Director of radio and BBC 1 controller, now Chief Executive and chairman of music talent agency "Trust The DJ"; Tom Birdsey - Massachusetts, DJ (now part of Storm and Birdsey duo on WFNX-FM, Boston); Paul Bolt - Director-designate UK Broadcasting Standards Commission(takes office July 2001): Peter Bromley - BBC radio horse racing commentator (retired June 2001 after more than 40 years commentating); David Brudnoy - Boston, US, radio host: Bubba the Love Sponge -(3) - (Todd Clem) - Host on Clear Channel's WXTB-FM, Tampa, station; Nik Carter - (2) - Boston(US), WBCN-FM, DJ; Roz Cheney -(2) - former Arts Editor, Australan Broadcasting Corporation radio (made redundant); Mark Collier -(2) - head of National Talk Radio ABC, Australia; Mike Copps - -Bush nominee as Democratic FCC commissioner; Sara Cox - BBC Radio 1 Breakfast DJ; Anthony Cumia -(4) - Anthony of US Opie and Anthony afternoon and syndicated show; Francis Currie - programme director-designate, Heart FM, London; Steve Dahl - Chicago WCKG-FM afternoon host Paul Donovan- (3) - U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Chris Evans -(4)- British broadcaster and radio mogul; David Field - President and COO, Entercom, US; Gary Fries - President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, US; Eddie Fritts - President and Chief Executive Officer, US National Association of Broadcasters; Joel Hollander - CEO, Westwood One, US; Richard Hooper-chairman UK Radio Authority; Gregg Hughes - (4) - Opie of US Opie and Anthony afternoon and syndicated show; Don Imus - US syndicated shock-jock; Dean Johnson -(2) - Boston Herald media writer; William E. Kennard - former Chairman US Federal Communications Commission (Resigned as of 2001-01-19); David Kennedy, President/COO, of Susquehanna Radio Corp. US; Keith Kramer - (3) - Kramer of "Kramer and Twitch" - fired by Clear Channel after Britney Spear's death hoax then hired by Infinity; Ron Liddle - editor of the BBC 'Today' programme; Alfred C. Liggins III - president and chief executive, Radio1 Inc (US); Tony Longo -(3) Twitch of Kramer and Twitch, fired by Clear Channel after Britney Spears' death hoax-now hired by Infinity: ; Kelvin MacKenzie -(3) -head of U.K. Wireless Group; Johnny Mars - former evening personality at WXRT-FM, Chicago (ousted June 2001); Kevin Martin - Bush nominee as Republican FCC Commissioner; Kevin Mayer -(2) -chief executive Clear Channel Interactive, US; Steve Morris - President and CEO, Arbitron (US); Sally Oldham - former strategy and development director,Capital Radio (UK); Richard Park - former programme director, UK Capital Radio (resigned March 2001); Steve Penk -(3) - former UK Capital Radio host-joined Virgin Radio 2001; Brian Phelps - Brian of Los Angeles based "Mark and Brian" show; Bob Phillis - chief executive, Guardian Media Group, UK; Michael K. Powell - (3) -Chairman, US Federal Communications Commission; Robert Rabinovitch - president Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Greg Smith - host of "On a Roll", syndicated US radio show for the disabled; Jeff Smulyan - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Emmis Communications, US; David H. Solomon- chief of US Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau; Howard Stern - (2) - US shock jock; Russell Stuart - Managing Director of UK GWR Digital Services(stepping down); Mark Thompson - Mark of Los Angeles-based "Mark and Brian" show; Stephen Whittle - Director of UK Broadcasting Standards Commission- to join BBC as Controller of Editorial Policy, 2001; Russ Williams - mid-morning presenter on Virgin Radio, UK; Storm Zbel -(2) -Boston radio host( now part of Storm and Birdsey on WFNX);
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once
June 2001 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
June 2001 Archive
Previous month -
Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the next relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
Quality or size? RNW June Comment looks at what we should be "rating" for radio..
RNW May Comment -- picks up on a speech at UK Radio Authority symposium to consider what makes "high quality radio."
RNW April Comment - - follows up on March comment by considering what is necessary for regulations to be effective.
2001-06-30: In another major radio deal in North America: Standard Broadcasting Corporation Ltd is to take over Telemedia Corporation's 60 remaining radio stations.
The private cash deal will make Standard the owner of 73 radio stations compared to 49 for second placed Corus Entertainment but Corus will still reach a larger audience.
No details of the transaction have been announced but in May Telemedia sold its 19 radio stations in Quebec and Eastern Canada to Astral Media Inc for Can$255 million in stock and shares.
Although most of the stations acquired are smaller ones, Standard will add two more Toronto stations -- AM sports outlet The FAN and FM rock outlet Ez Rock - to its existing stations CFRB-AM and FM station MIX. Standard also has nearly 30% of Flow-FM in Toronto.
Other larger market stations involved are in London(Ontario), Hamilton, and Edmonton.
To the south, US giant Clear Channel has been buying again this week; in the largest deal it's paying $3.9 million to Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation for five Kentucky stations.
They're WCND-AM and WTHQ-FM, licences to Shelbyville, and WFKY-AM, WKYW-FM and WKED-FM, licenced to Frankfort, Kentucky's capital.
Commonwealth Broadcasting currently retains three stations in the area, WKED-AM, Frankfort, and WKXF-AM & WXLM-FM Eminence.
Shelbyville is in the Louisville market where Clear Channel already has a significant cluster of stations.
In Texas, Clear Channel is paying $650,000 to Coastal Digital Broadcasting for KVLT-FM, Victoria, where it already owns KLUB-FM & KIXS-FM.
In California Carlos Duharte, who has been LMA-ing KZSF-AM in San Jose which was a spin-off from the merger of Z-Spanish Media into Entravision is buying the station from the trustee for $5M made up of $1M in cash and $4M in a note.
In Georgia, WPEZ-FM, which is being bought from US Broadcasting by Radio One Inc for $55 million, is to move from Macon to Hampton, around 30 miles (45km) south of Atlanta.
Until the deal is completed, Radio One will pay US Broadcasting $300,000 per month and assume control of the station via an LMA.
Radio One is to change the station format and WPEZ's AC format and call letters are likely to be moved to another US Broadcasting station in Macon.
Also on the geographical move is Horizon Broadcasting but this time it's just its headquarters that is re-locating to Boise, Idaho, from Seattle. Most of Horizon's 11 stations are in Idaho, five of them in a Boise cluster.
Gone completely as a separate entity is Citadel Broadcasting, which is now part of Forstmann Little.
Forstman is paying $26 per share for Citadel stock, just above the $25.95 at which Citadel's stock closed on the final day.
On the results front, Emmis has reported strong first quarter results with net revenue up 36.6% from 2000 to $137.7 million and broadcast cash flow up 24.8% to $48.3 million. After tax cash flow was down 22% to $17.1 million and ATCF per share was down to $0.356 from $0.46.
Radio did well for the company, particularly compared to TV whose revenues were $1.7 million below forecasts of $55.5 million at $53.8 million; radio revenues by comparison were up by around $ 2 million.
On a same-station basis, domestic radio revenue increased 26.7% for the quarter and broadcast cash flow increased 36.4%.
Emmis has now revised upwards its full year forecasts for radio revenues to $277.4 million from its previous forecast of $275.4 million. Emmis has also launched its LMiV (Local Media Internet Venture) site for Q101, Chicago.
Its news release is high on superlatives.
Rey Mena, Emmis Interactive VP, commented, "Radio station Websites have traditionally reflected the music and promotional needs of a station, but have fallen short on reflecting the bigger picture - the needs of the listener." "Radio isn't just about a particular body of music; it's reflective of a lifestyle. It's the one place the listener can go to get everything they need. We want to be the place they go to first, regardless of what they are looking for."
RNW note: Having dipped into it using a modem we're not quite so impressed- the home page is nearly 250Kb and it's satisfactory rather than startling, but maybe we're too old and impatient to be their target audience.
Finally a note that Yahoo will soon be in the radio syndication business thanks to its $12 million acquisition of Launch Media.
Launch's main operation is online music and music-related content delivery but it also has a syndication arm, Launch Radio Networks, which supplies music and entertainment news and show prep to affiliates.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Radio One Inc:
Emmis web site:
Q101 web site:...
2001-06-30: One might say "Surprise, Surprise!" but it presumably is no surprise that former UK Virgin Breakfast host (and former owner of the station) Chris Evans is now considering suing Virgin owners Scottish Media Group (SMG) over his dismissal.
SMG said that Evans was dismissed for "breach of contract" but that for legal reasons they could not be specific about details. On the Virgin web site, there is a straightforward announcement that Evans "is no longer a presenter at the station" and a brief statement about the "breach of contract." It adds that "Of course, we are all sad that it has ended this way, but Chris clearly has not been focused on his show" and goes on to say that the replacement Steve Penk Breakfast Show will now commence next Monday, July 2, rather than a week later as at first announced.
Evans' show was the highest rated show on Virgin Radio with a weekly audience of 1.7 million but SMG is taking the stance that it is the show's time slot that is most important for the ratings, not the host.
The company, which had been attacked by some commentators for overpaying when it bought Evans' Ginger Media for £225 million, also says that it was the national radio licence that was the prime attraction not Evans' presence.
SMG was valued at more than £1.1billion at its peak in August last year but is now valued at less than £600 million.
Under the terms of the sale to SMG, if he was still with the company, Evans was due to receive another 5 million shares in January, now worth around £8.6 million, althogh he has quoted a figure fo up to £15 million.
Virgin has changed the locks at the station to prevent Evans from gaining access.
Evans was reported to be furious over the statement that he was not "focussed" on his show and is likely to be further enraged by comments by his replacement, reported in the UK Sun tabloid (RNW note: A newspaper not always noted for accurate reporting - or to be more accurate -noted at times in the past for total invention).
The paper quotes Penk as saying, "Chris became lazy and tired. I think part of it was that he has got too much money and he's lost his inspiration…… He lost his touch - and that's quite sad."
"Chris always seemed to be drunk and his show was past its sell-by date. Can I get the ratings up from what Chris was getting? Of course - easy."
Sun web site:
Virgin web site:
2001-06-30: One of US public radio's most renowned makers of radio programmes is to close down at the end of September according to the Los Angeles Times.
It says that the media production unit of the Smithsonian institute, best known for award winning radio shows such as the "Jazz Singers" series and two Peabody Award winners -the 1996 series on African-American radio "Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was" and a survey of musical variation along the Mississippi, "The Mississippi: River of Song" --is to be closed because of budgetary problems.
The Smithsonian says that in the 2002 fiscal year budget, still waiting final approval from Congress, it was allocated a 2.4% rise for salaries and expenses which fell far short of a federally-mandated 3.7% pay increase for its employees.
As a result it is eliminating 180 posts including the nine staff of Smithsonian Productions.
The Production unit budget was fairly small - $735,000 in the 2001 budget, less than half of which came out of the Smithsonian's $386 million in federal appropriations earmarked for salaries and expenses.
Sarah Spitz, publicity director for KCRW-FM, Los Angeles, told the paper, "This is a sad moment in public radio history."
"They produced exemplary documentaries that fulfilled a key function of public radio: to entertain while teaching you something new that you might not have known before."
" They created very rich tapestries of sound and very important documentaries."
Melinda Ward, senior vice president of productions for US Public Radio International (PRI) commented, " "There are not many independent producers, or producers who work for daily network programs, who have the ability or the resources to really concentrate on a specific subject matter like 'Black Radio' or 'Mississippi."
"The Smithsonian is such a rich resource of material, and having the capability to turn that into radio material was great."
"These are fabulous programs, and there is so much rich potential at the Smithsonian. You want to see it grow, not diminish."
Los Angeles Times report:
2001-06-29: Radio Netherlands has jumped in where the BBC World Service is to take its transmitters down; it has announced that from Sunday July 1 it will "broadcast to North America on all the frequencies being relinquished on same day by the BBC World Service."
It says its announcement is tied to a short-wave publicity campaign to "to recognise and support the millions of short-wave radio owners in North America who still believe in direct contact with Europe from across the Atlantic."
Radio Netherlands' Director General Lodewijk Bouwens comments," Short-wave remains the only direct way to share a full range of important issues with a loyal audience in the USA and Canada."
"Holland was the first country to start direct broadcasts and programme exchanges with stations in North America back in 1928. We haven't looked back since."
"North American listeners have always been some of the most committed. We're guaranteed a full postbag or e-mail box when we explain attitudes that people in the Netherlands have to drug prevention or euthanasia."
"But it is much more than that. We see a growing appreciation of this country as an important cultural centre in Europe - a place that invites and stimulates constructive thinking."
Bouwens also comments on the nature of the service that can be provided via short wave in a paragraph that could almost have been written as a critique of the BBC World Service's stated reasons for abandoning short wave.
"With more than 600 stations in North America broadcasting a broad range of music and documentary features, certain Radio Netherlands' programmes are already reaching listeners on FM in the USA and Canada," he writes. "But short-wave offers us the opportunity to share a much wider range of news and features at a convenient listening time."
"We can offer more depth and context than is allowed on domestic media, knowing that the audience has made that extra effort to tune in."
Radio Netherlands also draws attention to the possibilities of digital short wave (using the DRM - Digital Radio Mondiale - system), which will significantly improve reception quality and describes webcasting as "complementary" to radio but not a replacement for it."
"Audio on the web is great at playing radio's memory, offering a second chance to listen to a programme transmitted earlier."
" But the current streaming technology is useless at coping with the peak demands of serious live broadcasting," says Radio Netherlands.
"For every 100,000 listeners over the air at any one moment, there are only a few thousand capable of hearing the broadcasts simultaneously on the web." "Webcasting is expensive, it is often congested during a crisis, there are copyright restrictions, it's simply not ready for prime time" adds Bouwens.
So far the Save the BBC coalition has not picked up on the Radio Netherlands moves but it does carry a new report, based on the Arbitron- Coleman Media broadband study (See RNW June 20) looking at Internet audio from a different angle to that highlighted by Arbitron.
In particular it picks up the gulf between Internet listening in the office and that at home which lags behind greatly, the fact that only a small fraction of broadband users had not listened to Internet audio in the previous week, that two-thirds of those who do listen to streaming audio listen to the radio as well and most of them prefer radio for many purposes.
Previous short wave report:
Arbitron web site (links to the Broadband study - 275 Kb PDF):
Radio Netherlands site:
Radio Netherlands news release:
Save the BBC web site:
Save the BBC "Broadband" news release:
2001-06-29: Sooner than anticipated, UK Virgin Radio has fired breakfast host Chris Evans who for nearly a week had called in "ill" but had been photographed drinking in public houses and buying alcohol in a supermarket during the period.
In a statement a spokesman for the station said the high-profile appearances of Evans in public while on sick leave were not the reason for the station's decision, although they "obviously brought it to a head".
Evans's show will be replaced by a programme hosted by DJ Steve Penk, who has been filling in for Evans during his absence. The new show will start on July 9.
Before he was fired, Evans made a phone call to The Daily Mirror, a British tabloid newspaper, saying that he had been banned from hosting Thursday's show and offered £3 million to leave the station.
He also said he had received a formal letter from Scottish Media Group, which now owns Virgin Radio, saying his recent behaviour had "embarrassed and humiliated" them.
He then said, "I've been ill and there is a doctor in my kitchen right now who will confirm that to anyone. I won't say what's been wrong with me but I've not been well enough to do my show and that's that. They say I have embarrassed them but I don't see how."
"I want to come back and do my show today but they have said I'm banned and if I try to turn up they will physically stop me broadcasting or even entering the building."
Regarding the money proffered to leave, Evans said, "They offered me a lump sum one off payment tonight of £3 million to quit now."
"This is supposed to cover the last tranche of five million shares they owe me for the deal when SMG bought my company."
"But the current share price is pounds 1.60 and it's been as high as pounds 3.75 so they know if I accept this offer they will be saving themselves up to £15million."
"The offer is supposed to mean that I don't talk to anyone or do any work until next March."
"But they can stuff that. I don't want their money. I want my freedom and I want to carry on doing the job that I love, presenting the best breakfast show on radio."
RNW note: Under the £225 million deal in which SMG took over Evan's Ginger Media Group which included Virgin Radio, Evans was paid partly in cash plus three tranches of shares (See RNW June 28).
The deal also included a clause that said," If Chris Evans leaves Ginger Media, or the enlarged group, prior to the full vesting of his share tranches, and without the express consent of SMG, he forfeits the right to receive any outstanding entitlement."
During his call, Evans anticipated his dismissal, saying," By doing this interview with you now I accept that there is a strong chance they will fire me today."
"They will say I have breached my contract and I guess I have."
He also attacked SMG for interfering with his show over day-to-day details, defended his show and its ratings, and commented concerning his reputation for being difficult to handle, that he was "only difficult when I have to work for managers who can't deal with creative people."
Amongst those commenting on the saga, the most interesting was former BBC Radio One controller, Matthew Bannister whose article in the UK Times was written before the firing so contains a line commenting on the time Evans was fired from Radio One and saying," We called his bluff. Will Virgin Radio's owners do the same?"
They did but the tenor of the article is unaffected by subsequent decisions as it puts forward theories as to what Evans was doing. Bannister says he has three overlapping theories, overlapping because "nothing is ever what it seems in Chris's crazy tabloid world, but there's always just enough reality in the stories to keep you guessing."
One is that Evans is actually cracking up, facing a situation like that at Radio 1 when he was fired -- a falling audience, high pressure of work - but this time with so much wealth he can afford to disregard anybody's attempt to tell him what to do.
The second is that it's all another publicity game with the tabloids, generating publicity that massive amounts of spending couldn't buy.
Bannister comments, "Call me suspicious, but how come photographers are on hand in various parts of the globe whenever Chris is up to something private?"
The third is that, "He Wants To Quit - But Can Never Leave Like An Ordinary Person."
Here Bannister notes that Evans' previous successes were with shows which broke rules and shot up the ratings and were then ended before they ran out of steam whereas with others, including the Virgin Breakfast show, "he lost interest but had to stay on for pretty hefty contractual reasons, resulting in lacklustre programmes for declining numbers of viewers and listeners."
Take your pick!
UK Daily Mirror site:
UK Times article:
2001-06-28: More host moves in the US.
Kramer and Twitch (Keith Kramer and Tony Longo), the duo fired from Clear Channel's KEGL-FM, Dallas, last week after their latest "prank" - a fake report of the death of Britney Spears (See RNW June 20) - have now been hired by Infinity's WKRK-FM, Detroit.
They'll be slotted into the noon to 3PM slot replacing Fisher Entertainment's syndicated Ed Tyll show from July 9.
Infinity is also slotting the newly syndicated Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) show into two new Ohio markets in early July.
They will debut on Cleveland WZJM-FM Xtreme Radio and WAZU-FM, Columbus, from Monday.
And in Chicago it's been another on-off rant from afternoon host Steve Dahl at Infinity's WCKG-FM according to Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder.
He reports that Dahl followed Monday "this might be my last week" on-air comments with a Tuesday on-air to say he had agreed a renewal of his contract, which ends early July.
Feder also reports that Harvey Wells, vice president and general manager of WCKG, said he was surprised by Dahl's on-air announcement Tuesday.
''I have a total amount of respect for Steve,'' Wells said. ''But I don't want to negotiate in public.''
Also in Chicago, Feder reports that Johnny Mars, evening personality at WXRT-FM has been forced out after 21 years.
He quoted Mars as saying his only regret was not saying goodbye to listeners on May 31, which turned out to be his last broadcast.
Feder also reports that cost cutting has cost three jobs at Infinity's Oldies station WJMK-FM where the overnight personalities are being replaced with unmanned, automated music shifts.
And in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports that KLOS-FM is trying to get a five-year deal with Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps of the top rated "Mark and Brian Show."
Station owner, Walt Disney Company, paid more than $3 million to resolve racial discrimination lawsuits after a 1998 promotion the "Black Hoe" (See RNW Oct 7, 2000); now its expected to spend an estimated $15 million retaining the duo.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Kramer and Twitch:
Previous Mark and Brian:
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Chicago Sun-Times Feder:
Los Angeles Times report:
2001-06-28: Speculation is mounting in the UK that Chris Evans, who yet again did not turn up for his breakfast show on Virgin Radio on Wednesday, is going to quit the station.
If he does go the departure would carry echoes of 1997 when Evans was sacked by then BBC Radio One controller Matthew Bannister after failing to turn up for work.
Evans' place was taken on Wednesday as on the other mornings by Russ Williams who usually presents the mid-morning show but the speculation is that Steve Penk, who was brought in from Capital FM for Virgin's afternoon show by its new programming head, Paul Jackson, will take his place.
Evans' agent Michael Foster met Virgin bosses for urgent talks on Tuesday and the official line from Virgin Radio is still that it accepts his explanation that he was "unwell and unfit to do the breakfast show."
British newspapers have been listing his drinking exploits since he called in ill and the leading tabloid, The Sun, on Wednesday carried a front page report listing the alcohol he bought from a local supermarket the day before. The London Evening Standard quotes a Virgin Radio source as saying that Evans is "fed up with the breakfast slot and presenting on radio at that time in the morning." "All his old team have gone and he is finding the new team hard work." "Having a new programme director is not helping as they do not see eye-to-eye……… It is unlikely he will return, whatever."
"He has other priorities in his life now and he has felt for some weeks that he needs to look into new projects."
Evans position is weakened by the lead that Sara Cox's BBC Radio One breakfast show has over his offering -some 7 million listeners a week compared to around 1.75 million.
Should he leave he forfeits the final instalment of Scottish Media Group (SMG) shares due to him from his sale of his Ginger Media Group to SMG.
The group bought Virgin Radio in 1997 for £85 million; it was sold last year to SMG for £225 million (See RNW Jan 13, 2000).
Evans himself was paid around £34 million in cash plus £38.4 million in SMG shares to be paid in three instalments.
He has received the first two of them but could forfeit the final instalment, worth around £13 million if he leaves Virgin before January next year.
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous Virgin Radio:
London Evening Standard site (search for Chris Evans):
2001-06-28: More moves on the US satellite radio front. First an announcement from Agere Systems that it has shipped engineering samples of its chip set to seven manufacturers who are developing receivers for Sirius Satellite Radio.
Agere says it expects to ship production chip sets in the early fall to the seven -- Alpine, Clarion, Delphi Delco, Jensen, Kenwood, Panasonic and Visteon.
Sirius had seemed ahead of rival XM, which had launch problems, until it suffered from a chip fault, which caused fading.
Curing these delayed its plans and meant sample chips were only shipped in April (See RNW April 4)
At XM, whose production chip sets were shipped by ST Microelectronics in March to Sony, Pioneer, Alpine and Delphi-Delco for final testing, the move ahead is again in programming.
It has announced agreement with Viacom's MTV Networks to create two 24-hour XM channels under the MTV and VH1 brand names.
The channels will feature music, news and entertainment reports, artist interviews and features based on some of their programs.
The deal also includes MTV providing promotional opportunities for XM on its networks.
XM has also revamped its web site which now has streaming audio of a number of its channels as well as an audio introduction to their service.
Agere web site:
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
RNW note: Streaming audio sample on Sirius site uses Real Audio, that on XM uses Windows Media Player:
2001-06-28: There may yet be some hope for BBC World Service short-wave broadcasts to North America, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific according to the UK Daily Telegraph.
The transmissions are due to stop at the end of this month (See RNW June 23) but the paper reports that the Foreign Office has said that it would be concerned if the moves jeopardise the World Service role of boosting Britain's reputation.
The Office funds the service and has confirmed that the matter will be brought up at the next quarterly meeting with the BBC in August.
A Foreign Office spokesman told the paper it had been warned of the BBC's plan in advance but stressed that the corporation could use its budget however it liked "as long as it meets our shared objectives".
He added: "The World Service remains a vital tool in contributing to the respect of Britain abroad and we'd want to see it continuing in that objective."
"If there was anything to suggest they were not fulfilling that objective it would be a matter to discuss."
Previous short-wave report:
UK Telegraph article:
Save the BBC web site:
2001-06-27: The US Federal Communications Commission, which had already issued fines of $11,000 against "pirate" radio operator Leslie D Brewer, has now revoked his licences for what it terms willful and repeated breaches of the 1934 US Communications Act.
The action to revoke the licences was commenced in March this year (See RNW March 11).
Brewer, who owns an electronics shop in Tampa, Florida, selling two-way radios, held licences to operate an amateur radio station and also as licensee of a General Mobile Radio Service station.
He was said to have operated pirate broadcast facilities and an unlicensed studio to transmitter link.
Brewer was warned in 1996 about operating an unlicensed FM station from his home in Tampa in 1996 and, when he repeated the offence, was fined $1000.
Further monitoring the next year showed that he had continued operations and the FCC received a complaint of interference to WHPT-FM in Sarasota; the Commission in 1997 refused as unacceptable his application for a new non-commercial educational broadcast station but he continued to operate his station and in November of that year his transmission equipment was confiscated.
In 1998 Brewer applied to operate an experimental station but this was rejected as being filed on an incorrect form and in 1999, after another request to operate a station was still pending, Brewer resumed his broadcasts, this time from a warehouse in Tampa.
In December, the FCC found that he was using an unlicensed studio to transmitter link between his home and the warehouse and in March 2000 the FCC linked signals from Brewer's home to transmissions from the warehouse.
The FCC also found that Brewer had been marketing unauthorised FM broadcasting equipment, having purchased such equipment from him under cover in 1998.
2001-06-27: The UK Wireless Group (TWG), which owns national commercial station TalkSport, has complained to Britain's Office of Fair Trading about what it calls BBC abuse of its dominant position for overpaying for the broadcast rights to sporting events.
In its lengthy complaint, the group says the BBC paid more than double the market value with its £42 million 3-year winning bid for UK Premier League soccer rights in November last year (See RNW Nov 29, 2000).
The bid included an increase in cover from 120 to 180 games a season and the amount paid was nearly triple the amount the BBC had paid for its previous 3-year deal.
The Wireless Group complaint says, "The use of taxpayers' money to distort the market for sports broadcasting rights and, potentially, to price new commercial entrants out of the market is ....a clear abuse."
"Commercially successful executives are now running BBC Radio and exulting in their power and finance to disadvantage their commercial competitors."
TWG chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie criticised the lack of regulation covering the BBC's activities and said he wanted the corporation to be fined for anti-competitive behaviour.
RNW comment: Although the UK Guardian in a comment has expressed sympathy for the Wireless Group, saying that perhaps this complaint should be treated differently to previous grumbling by MacKenzie, it suggests that his complaint will have little chance of success, noting that a previous complaint over Test Cricket rights got nowhere.
On that occasion MacKenzie had made a blind bid of half as much again as the BBC offered but was rejected on the basis of the breadth of the BBC cover together with its pledges to support the sport.
In the previous month TalkSport had won the rights to the 2002-2003 winter English cricket tour of Australia with a bid of around 25 times the amount the BBC had paid for the last "Ashes" series in Australia.
Our feeling is that MacKenzie understands self-interest very well but would be accusing others of hypocrisy if they reacted as he has
. We have seen no signs of his criticising others such as BSkyB for massively outbidding the BBC for sports rights (Rupert Murdoch's News International is the major shareholder in BSkyB and Murdoch is MacKenzie's former employer and a current backer).
And somehow, were the boot on the other foot, we can't see MacKenzie practising restraint in rights bids to be fair to a weaker or smaller competitor.
We will of course be delighted should we be proven wrong in the future!
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian comment:
2001-06-27: Internet listening to an all-time high in the week to June 24th according to streaming audience measurement company Measurecast.
Its Internet Radio Index, which for the previous week fell back by 5%, rose by 7% to 184 compared to a base of 100 at the stat of the year.
17 of the top 25 stations ranked by total time spent listening (TTSL) were Internet-only stations; newcomers to the top 25 were Howard University's WHUR-FM, an adult rhythm and blues station which came in at 24 and urban rhythm and blues station WBLS-FM, New York at 25.
At the top, there was again jostling for position with audience increases for the top two and falls for the next two but no change in the stations included.
The top 5 ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) were (with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 176,756 (170,060); CP 45,684 (43,544) - Position unchanged.
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 81,979 (59,258); CP 14,084 (10,815) - Previously 5th.
3): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 78,500 (90,798); CP 12,580 (17,124) - Previously 2nd.
4): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 63,927 (79,133); CP 23,983 (27,153) - Previously 3rd
5): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 63,490 (63,292) CP 24,607 (24,403) - Previously 4th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-06-27: The Virgin Group has unveiled plans to take the Virgin radio brand to Asia in partnership with Hong Kong-based venture capital group ChinaVest.
It says talks are already under way to take shareholdings in and management control of radio stations in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Thailand and India with the intention of re-branding them under the Virgin name and creating what it calls a "network across territories."
Virgin will take at least three-quarters of the joint venture.
In 1997 Virgin sold its UK radio interests to Chris Evan's Ginger Media Group that in turn was taken over by Scottish Media Group(SMG) in January of last year (See RNW Jan 13, 2000) but it still has a station in Paris, France.
And at Virgin radio in the UK, there is considerable newspaper speculation that Chris Evans is to leave the station.
For the fourth time since calling in sick on Thursday of last week, he failed to show up for his breakfast show on Tuesday and British newspapers have reported that on Friday of last week he followed an all-night binge with an all-day drinking session.
Evan's Virgin breakfast show on Tuesday was presented by mid-morning host Russ Williams who did not mention Evans but joked about getting listeners to give up alcohol in favour of mineral water.
Evans, who personally received around £75 million from the £225 million SMG paid for Ginger Media, still has 18 months of his contract to run and stands to lose around £13 million in SMG shares if he leaves.
Previous Virgin Radio (UK):
2001-06-26: US radio ratings service Arbitron, which has announced that from September it is to provide a Mexico City radio ratings service.
This will be the first Arbitron ratings service outside the US.
Arbitron says that long-term commitments to the service have been made by Grupo ACIR, Imagen Telecomunicaciones, MVS Radio, Nucleo Radio Mil, and Organizacion Radio Formula who together operate 23 stations in Mexico City and the Valley of Mexico.
Arbitron has already conducted tests in the area and is to use a Spanish-language version of its standard seven-day radio diary to survey the radio listening behaviour and key socio-economic characteristics of approximately 4,800 Mexico City residents, age 12 and older.
Unlike the US where diary keepers are recruited by phone and diaries themselves mailed back to Arbitron, the Mexico diary system will use interviewers to place the diaries at the households selected to participate in the survey and later retrieve them at the end of the survey week.
The diaries will then be shipped to Arbitron's Columbia Research and Technology Centre for processing and tabulation using the company's existing processing infrastructure.
Arbitron web site: (links to news release):
2001-06-26: It's not just the BBC World Service that seems to think the Internet is a place to offload some of its broadcasts (See RNW June 23) nor is the World Service the only International service cutting back on short wave or on output.
As we have already noted the Voice of America has cut back on its short wave transmissions (See RNW April 2) and Radio Canada International (RCI), the Montreal-based service run by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has also had to cut back its output for budget reasons.
As noted on the action site set up to protest against the cuts, RCI has already cancelled weekend newscasts by RCI staff including those in Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish; it is maintaining broadcasts from CBS and Radio Canada in English and French only and other programmes at the weekend are pre-recorded.
RCI has also dropped morning shows to Africa, Europe and Middle East, eliminated its India evening show and trimmed back live programming.
The Action Committee's letter to Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps says they are "appalled" by planned cuts in programming services starting in June.
It adds, "We know your ministry signed an accord at the end of March with CBC to maintain our service at its present level for the next year. Yet we are being told by RCI/CBC management that we must cut programming to save money because of a possible lack of money next year."
So far the group's lobbying appears to have had no results and there may be further changes in the pipeline as an April e-mail from CBC President Robert Rabinovitch to staff said, "Over the next year, we will undertake a fundamental re-evaluation of our international service and its mandate in the new multi-media environment."
"In cooperation with the government, we will determine the needs of and our obligations as Canada's public broadcaster with respect to our audiences abroad." At the heart of the issue, as it was ten years ago when RCI's staff was halved and programming slashed back, is finance; Heritage Minister Sheila Copps promised stable funding of Can$15.52 million per annum to RCI but made no allowance for inflation.
Nor did it allow for any possible knock-on effects of the BBC World Service changes in terms of shared transmitter facilities in Canada and Britain.
As in Britain where the Foreign Office funds the BBC World Service but does not run it, RCI is run by the CBC with the government remaining at arms length.
Should the Minister decide the changes were unwelcome she would therefore have to go for influencing decisions rather than ordering changes.
Whilst on the subject of moving to the Internet, the American University station WAMU-FM on Monday moved its weekday afternoon music broadcasts from the airwaves to the Internet in favour of news and current affairs.
The station says it lost nine-tenths of its audience when the music shows came on air in the 1500-1800 time slot.
They featured classic country host Jerry Gray on Monday and Wednesday and bluegrass host Ray Davis on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and are now on the Internet only.
They're at the site www.countrybluegrass.org funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The site will broadcast the station's country and bluegrass music exclusively, around the clock and started by broadcasting tapes of Davis's and Gray's shows.
Gray will continue to tape shows for the Web site. Davis has not decided if he will do so.
In the show's place on the airwaves is international news show "The World" from 1500-1600 and additional hours of "All things Considered" from 1600-1800.
WAMU will continue to broadcast bluegrass and classic country at the weekends.
Former WAMU general manager F. Kim Hodgson told the Washington Post he was "very sad" about the decision.
He had trimmed back bluegrass from six to three hours daily but resisted killing it during the week.
"[WAMU] was generally raking in $300,000 to $700,000 a year more than I could spend, anyway," he said.
"We were providing a unique public service not available anywhere else"
2001-06-26: As our instincts had it last week, the figures put forward by US Senators Byron Dorgan and Ernest F. Hollings in their Washington Post article about US radio consolidation (See RNW June 22) have speedily been challenged.
R&R reported Monday that Duncan's American Radio senior analyst Tony Sanders put the advertisement share of the top four billing US radio companies at around %7.2 billion in 2000, around 42% of a total $17.12 billion.
RBR has a similar report but its figures have the top four -- Clear Channel, Infinity, Cox Radio and ABC Radio - as Duncan's figures for the share at 37% and those of Broadcast Investment Analysts and the Radio Advertising Bureau putting the share at 34%.
2001-06-25: For our look at print media comments on radio this week, we take a look at values, in the industry and in general, starting with a Chicago Tribune commentary by Bob Greene.
Greene writes about what could turn out to be a new US payola scandal (see RNW May 30).
Even if the current "whispers" turn into shouts, he writes, "there will be no national outrage if the allegations are true."
"Because payola, in the 40 years since the first scandal, has become the American way of life. And it goes way beyond the music business." The original 1950's scandal, he notes, led to new laws and ruined careers because in those days "the supposition had been that the way records made it onto local radio stations was by their quality."
Nowadays he adds, the concept that was thought to be shocking, "…. the idea that a company would be expected to pay money to a purportedly neutral exhibitor so that the exhibitor would let the public know about the company's product …….is assumed to be the standard way of doing business in the United States."
Greene then details examples such as "product placements" in movie and TV and "slotting fees to get goods onto shelves.
He concludes," It will be difficult for any new radio payola scandal to stick, in our current world of commerce in which everyone has been conditioned to become a cynic, and where the constant supposition is: No one does anything without money changing hands."
The view is either realistic or cynical, depending upon your point of view but on the financial side of radio it would be rather surprising if those who were successful just because they can maximise the profits they can wring out of the system were all to have Damascene conversions.
The question does arise though, how far those on the programming side, in front of the microphone, or sitting in a regulator's chair can be held to have the same view.
Some would take a cynical line on the current US Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael K Powell but a Frank Ahrens feature in the Washington Post gives the lie to them and paints a picture of a man who does have his principles even though many of his critics think he errs to far on the side of a laissez-faire approach and allowing the market to drive change.
Powell's stance is, "I believe government has the role and duty of proving the merits of intervention rather than the other way around."
"If I can't demonstrate with rigor the necessity of intervention, then the obligation of the government is to stay out."
Powell also seems to favour a similar approach in general on the question of regulation on content, saying, "It's better to tolerate the abuses on the margins than to invite the government to interfere with the cherished First Amendment."
He also says he is on the side of the "consumer" and diversity of choice and he voted, when an FCC commissioner, for Low Power FM plans although he did express some caveats about the threat it could pose to small stations close to the margins of economic survival.
Powell has also supported the idea of equal opportunity rules to give more chances to women and minorities in broadcasting and it seems fair to say that his views are held for other than monetary or personal gain reasons.
Ironically one might say that Greg Smith, the host of "On a Roll", the only US live commercially syndicated radio talk how in the US for the disabled, has just as much of a personal stake in his show as a chief financial officer does in maximising returns.
In Smith's case, as noted in a St Petersburg Times feature by Babita Persaud, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when 3, but still managed to play in his high school band and get onto thee student council.
Smith's radio career was sparked by a desire to do play-by-play at the high school football games, which led him to a microphone and being hooked.
It wasn't easy to get hired when he had ended his studies and he was turned down by 30 stations before a strongly worded letter to the general manager of KTAR in Phoenix concerning a brush-off got him to an interview and a job.
His show "On a Roll" Has received a lot of help from sponsors, who the paper says, "saw an opportunity to reach a sizable market" and many of the advertisements on the show are for products for the disabled.
So are we back heading towards payola-type attitudes?
Not really, we would contend, but it is a plus to have a state broadcaster in the UK who can put out shows without the need for financial sponsorship from commercial companies.
And in the case of the BBC it does have a regular weekly programme for the blind or partially sighted which gives a cue for the opening paragraph of Paul Donovan's column in the UK Sunday Times.
"What," he writes," What do the following have in common - Americans, farming, food, films, books, gardening, the arts, the law and blindness?"
"And what do these have in common - Europe, keeping fit, computers, astronomy, hunting, fishing, sex and holidays?"
"Easy to answer," he continues, "if you listen to Radio 4."
"The first is a list of topics given at least one programme a week on the network."
"The second is a list of topics not given such a privilege: they are covered from time to time, but there is no regular slot for them."
The strangest anomaly he suggests is the absence of a regular programme concerning Europe but for that follow the links to the column.
But even where the outlets are pretty well dominated by the commercial and the ratings, other factors can come in; one of these is, of course, the reaction of an audience and, beyond the actual audience for a show, the reaction of a wider public to reports about any excesses.
This forms the theme of another St Petersburg Times feature, this time by Tom Zucco which looks at the case of Doug "the Greaseman" Tracht who in February 1999 made his now infamous remarks concerning the Texas murder by dragging behind a truck of James Byrd Jr.
Tracht has still only made a very limited comeback (see RNW March 7),
Fast forward to February this year and Tampa radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge (real name Todd Clem), whose "Road Kill Barbecue" show featured segment in which a wild boar was castrated and killed.
Again there was widespread protest, which in this case led to a 15-day suspension and a prosecution for animal cruelty which is still in train.
Both incidents, the paper notes, were about attracting listeners.
In Tracht's case in one sentence he "had overstepped an imaginary line, crossed over from crude to reprehensible."
"With one sentence, he had managed to infuriate just about everybody."
Tracht also managed to keep himself out of a job despite apologising and only recently has he managed to get back to air on a small Washington DC station plus some syndication (RNW March 26).
In Bubba's case he is still in a job and his show remains high in the ratings.
The host himself has apologised but says there is no comparison between the cases.
"I think what he (Tracht) did was just absolutely irresponsible as a broadcaster," he said. "And you will never hear me say that about another DJ."
"I mean, what in the hell is the upside of what he said? There is none. You can't put your management in the position to defend that."
"And you can't defend what he said. You can't. Fortunately, for what I'm accused of doing, we have a defence."
RNW note: Maybe so, maybe no but whatever else many of those who objected to the comments did it without any "money changing hands"; in some areas there may be payback but it's certainly not payola.
Chicago Tribune - Greene:
St Petersburg Times - Persaud:
St Petersburg Times-Zucco:
Sunday Times - Donovan: Washington Post - Ahrens:
2001-06-24: More community radio for Australia, a few power increases in Canada and a go ahead for a draft communications bill and digital development in the UK are the main features of the past week's licence news.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has proposed a new community radio service for Wagga Wagga, and another for Young, both in New South Wales under its draft radio licence area plans for the Murrumbidgee/ Riverina region.
It is also proposing to allow power increases for 2AAA, Wagga Wagga's existing community radio service, and the four ABC national radio services in Wagga Wagga town, and to allocate additional FM channels to Young's existing commercial FM Station, 2LLF, to provide better cover to the towns of Cootamundra and Cowra.
A power increase is also being proposed for community radio service 2MIA in Griffith.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has approved new transmitters for Radio du Golfe inc.'s CJMC-FM Saint-Anne-des-Monts at Cloridorme, Rivière-à-Claude, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts est and Murdochville, and change of frequency for its CJMC-FM-4 Grande-Vallée, all in Quebec.
Also in Quebec it has approved a small power increase, from 23,400 to 25,000 watts, and transmitter relocation to nearby Fleurimont for CBM-FM-1 in Sherbrooke.
In the Northwest Territories it has approved a change of the programming source of CBQO-FM Deline from CHAK Inuvik to CFYK Yellowknife.
Ireland was quiet on the radio front.
In the UK, the government has said it is to go ahead with a draft Communications bill in the current parliamentary session. Amongst other things this will see the folding of five current regulators into one super-regulator (See RNW June 21).
On the licence front the Radio Authority has been involved only in digital plans.
It has announced its assessment of the award of the third London digital multiplex licence to Digital Radio Group (London) Ltd. (See RNW June 8).
The Authority says that there was no concern about the ability to provide services from all the applicants whose rollout and coverage plans were similar but it had caveats about DRg's technical proposals.
These reduced the level of technical transmission in order to carry an extra programme.
Overall, however, it considered the applicant was "most likely to broaden the range of local digital programme services because many of its programme services targeted niche audiences."
"Specialist formats.|" it said, "such as those offered by Abracadabra, Purple Radio, TAP, Time Out and Passion for London would contribute greatly to the choice of digital radio services in London."
The Authority added that DRg was offering "a selection of adventurous services not only new to digital, but notably included some which were entirely new to radio and would effectively cater for communities within London whose tastes and interests were not currently being fully met."
The Authority has also announced that it has received two applications for the Dundee and Perth digital multiplex in Scotland. One is from Score Digital Ltd, a subsidiary of Scottish Radio Holdings, which is proposing a total of seven services as well as the two BBC stations that have to be carried.
The other is from Switchdigital (Scotland) Ltd, a consortium whose main shareholders are the Wireless Group and Clear Channel International; it is proposing a total of nine commercial services in addition to the BBC channels.
In the US, new members of the Federal Communications Commission have been appointing their staffs and otherwise main attention has been centred on comments by chairman Michael Powell on the approach he has to regulation (see RNW June 23); It is worth a note however that the FCC has "red-flagged" the proposed purchase by the Millennium Group of Press Communications' New Jersey stations WKXW, WBUD - both in Trenton, and WBSS/Vineland.(See RNW June 9)
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site: (links to Rich Text /PDF's of discussion paper and draft radio plans - totalling 23.6Mb/ 1.15Mb in all)
CRTC web site:
2001-06-23: With just a week left before the BBC World Service ends its short wave broadcasts to North America, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (See RNW May 23), the signs are that he BBC may be noting protests but hasn't taken up properly many of the points made in opposition to its action and isn't going to change its decision.
A representative of the Save the BBC World Service web site set up by a coalition of organisations opposed to the move has appeared on the World Service but there seems no sign that any decisions have been changed.
The organisation set up the site to lobby for action against the dropping of short wave on a variety of grounds including the advantages short wave has in terms of cost, availability and portability over the other options suggested by the BBC.
These are the Internet, satellite radio and re-broadcasts on local stations.
The BBC says its research shows listeners are moving away from short wave and says that in the US and Canada it has only 1.25 million listeners on short wave compared to 1.5 million on the Internet and 2.5 million to re-transmissions by local FM stations.
Jerry Timmins, head of the World Service's Americas region, says the World Service is expanding short wave transmissions in other areas where it is the primary method of delivery but ending it in other areas was a tough but necessary business decision.
The objectors however point out that with a small portable radio they can receive the world service on a beach or in a hotel where the Internet or local FM re-transmissions simply are not available or are only sporadically and partially available, and that, even when they are, they still do not match the pre-tuned short wave receiver in convenience.
They also suggest that in using the "cumulative" audience in its arguments, the BBC ignores the amount of time spent listening which they suggest is much greater on short-wave because people will leave their radio tuned in for long periods.
They also point out that "The World Service produces a huge range of programs covering arts, science, music, sports, business, entertainment, culture, and religion. None of these programs have an appreciable presence on local stations, and for all intents and purposes, will be unavailable once shortwave broadcasts to North America cease."
" In fact, the feed provided to US FM stations is the "24 hour news" feed, not the mainstream World Service feed, and does not include any music or arts programming. A significant portion of the possible BBC World Service output is simply not available via local placement."
RNW note: Having the convenience of the BBC World Service easily available off-air and having appreciated it on a small portable short-wave receiver in many parts of the world, we just don't think the BBC has sustained its case in any other terms than possibly savng around $1 million a year; We'd have thought this was a small price to pay for a dedicated audience in a major part of the English-speaking world.
Of the other options suggested:
*The Internet isn't as convenient, even when it is available without significant extra cost and when streaming audio is coming through well.
*As we know full well, neither Sirius nor XM is yet on air and when it is there will still be a subscription to pay and another fairly expensive receiver to purchase on top of which the main push for the stallite radio companies is for the in-car audience not those with portable radios.
*And finally the point made about the overall range of the World Service is an excellent one -anda strong reason we have preferred itin the past to listening to other options such as Voice of America or Moscow Radio's English service, even when these had much stronger signals.
Those of you who share our feelings should check the
Save the BBC web site:
2001-06-23: US Federal Communications Commission chairman, Michael K. Powell, has said he supports new rules to encourage broadcasters to recruit women and members of minority groups.
He was speaking following a refusal by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reconsider its January decision to strike down FCC rules that required broadcasters to make job listings readily available to all qualified applicants, including women and minority groups, using job fairs and other methods.
Powell told lobbyists and lawyers at a Federal Communications Bar Association lunch that he was "disappointed" at the decision.
"We may not always agree on methods, but the goals of providing a meaningful opportunity to participate in the communications industry through ownership and employment are important," he said.
"Without pre-judging our litigation options, I intend to recommend to my colleagues that we consider pursuing new rules that increase employment opportunity in a manner that complies with the judicial limitations of the Constitution, and that are not unduly burdensome on the industry."
"I also intend to continue to explore ways to improve the opportunity for ownership."
"I have been a strong supporter of the revised tax credit bill, sponsored by Senator McCain and supported by Congressman Rangel.
The main tenor of Powell's speech was in support of policy centred around market economics and he argued that, far from harming consumers their end product was in fact the opposite.
"Market systems, far from being the bane of consumers, have unquestionably produced more consumer welfare than any other economic model devised by mankind," he said.
"A well-structured market policy is one that creates the conditions that empower consumers," he continued, saying that it allowed consumers to choose the products and services they wanted, bred entrepreneurs, created a fertile environment for innovation and because market prices were related to supply and demand meant that consumers got the most cost-efficient prices.
He did give a nod to regulation in part but qualified this by saying," I am the first to admit that deregulation for its own sake is not responsible policy."
" What is good policy is to carefully examine rules to determine if they are actually achieving their stated purposes, or if, instead, they are, in fact, denying consumers value by impeding efficient market developments that these consumers would welcome."
"Regulations are not innocuous simply because they are promulgated in the name of consumers."
"No matter how worthy the purpose, rules that constrain markets can, in fact, deny or delay benefits to the consuming public."
"There are many examples of deregulations by the Commission that were met with fierce claims that consumers would suffer as a result. When the deed was done, however, we often witnessed instead, the flourishing of innovation and competition, from which consumers benefited magnificently."
2001-06-22: Signs of nervousness amongst US media giants have followed a Washington Post article by two Democratic Senators, Byron Dorgan from North Dakota and Ernest F. Hollings from South Carolina, who, now that the Democrats have a Senate majority, is also now chairman of the Commerce Committee and thus in a position to affect Federal Communications Commission activities.
In particular the big media groups were concerned that the Senate majority change would lead to stiffening of resistance to the lifting of cross-media regulation and a current 35% national TV ownership cap.
These are fears that the article, which argues in favour of ownership diversity and ownership restrictions, will exacerbate.
In the article, headed "Your Local Station, Signing Off", the two speak of a "frenzy of media mergers" over the five years following the passing of the 1996 US telecommunications Act.
Before that, they note, the top US radio group "owned 39 stations and generated annual revenues of $495 million" whereas now the top group"owns more than 1,100 stations and generates annual revenues of almost $3.2 billion" (RNW note - this is Clear Channel:The Senators also also cited a news report four groups controlled 90% of US radio advertising which we estimate is at least double the actual figure.
We expect corrections to come on this but to us the principle at issue is still worth considering.)
They continue, "Drive across the country and in big cities and small towns, your car radio too often plays only a handful of homogenized voices beamed by a few media conglomerates."
"For decades, our communications policy has imposed sensible restrictions on media ownership to promote and preserve multiple, independent voices."
"Unfortunately, the rules that protect this diversity are under assault: from regulators, judges and from the industry itself."
"This despite the fact that the rules in question have encouraged the growth of locally relevant, independent programmers and distributors of media content."
The Senators argue that the creation of new media outlets is not relevant to the debate because current ownership restrictions are not based not on competition grounds but "are grounded in principles -- the promotion of diversity and localism -- that must be considered distinctly from our nation's competition laws."
"Diversity in ownership," they argue, " creates opportunities for smaller companies and local business men and women to have a voice. Diversity in ownership provides outlets for creative programming, locally relevant news and information and controversial points of view."
"Deregulation without reasoned justification," they continue, "is nothing more than deregulation for its own sake."
"We have already been down that road and we have seen the troubling results in the radio marketplace."
They then develop the argument in terms of television and the decline of independent producers who, they argue, "helped build an entertainment industry that is envied around the world."
"Lifting the rules that protected its diversity may have been a harmful mistake, " they say, concluding, "By maintaining sensible restrictions on ownership of media properties, we can promote diversity in the marketplace and preserve the localism that every American has come to expect when he or she picks up the morning paper or turns on the local news."
"Let us not repeat the mistakes that led to the rapid consolidation in radio and in the marketplace for TV programming."
"This is not just about competition between major media conglomerates. It's a question of whether we want all of the media outlets in this country to be controlled by a powerful few.
Washington Post article:
2001-06-22:The editor of New York Spanish language newspaper, El Diario La Prensa has accused the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) of dropping his weekday radio programme because he rejected requests to stop criticising three members of Congress according to a New York Times report.
Gerson Borrerro told the paper that HBC representatives told him that the licence for WADO-AM was at risk if he did not moderate harsh criticism of Representatives José E. Serrano (part of the Bronx), Robert Menendez (central New Jersey) and Nydia M. Velázquez (parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens).
In late May, Borrerro had said on the programme "Bajo Fuego," that on the next program he would tell "the story of the three congressmen."
He never did because the programme was dropped and Borrero said, "They fired me because my views upset these congressmen."
Borrero alleges that the pressure was put on HBC at a meeting between the Congress members and HBC vice-president David Light; the three representatives however have issued a statement denying this.
They say the meeting was at the request of WADO, which wanted support for community broadcasting.
"We made it very clear that we did not care for WADO's journalistic standards and would not support its community programming," the statement said.
"We support journalism that is free but responsible, meeting the highest journalistic standards. It should inform and educate our community, not divide it."
The Times says that WADO and Light did not return calls asking for comment.
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
New York Times report:
2001-06-21: The battle between US National Public Radio (NPR) and rival Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) is featured in a New York Times article, which looks in particular at the moves, by both organisations to boost their Los Angeles operations.
Last month MPR opened a new $3 million Los Angeles centre and the paper says that NPR is close to a deal to open a similar West Coast centre near Los Angeles.
The moves come against a background of a slow fall in commercial radio audiences whilst those for public radio have been growing along with their revenues, which reached more than $500 million for 1999.
Public radio has an audience that is generally highly educated and thus sought after and this, says the paper, and has led to competition.
NPR, whose "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" shows are touching 30, has grown but not as fast as MPR which as well as producing and distributing shows controls a network of stations.
The paper quotes Ruth Seymour, general manager of NPR station, KCRW-FM in Santa Monica, California, as saying that, although the organisations deny they are competing, this is "a lot of nonsense."
KCRW and Pasadena City College public radio station KPCC-FM, where MPR took over operations in January 2000 (See RNW Dec 10, 1999), both air "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered"
"To have two stations broadcasting the same program to the same audience at the same time, I don't think you have to be Einstein to figure out what's going to happen," said Seymour.
"It's a waste of resources."
Radio industry consultant Tom Thomas told the paper that the denials of competition could be because of a fear that calling public attention to it might lead legislators to question spending tax dollars on duplication.
New York Times report:
2001-06-21: The UK government has confirmed that it is to go ahead during the current Parliament with a full draft Communications Bill to set up a super-regulator (OFCOM)and reform the country's broadcasting and telecommunications regulations but the timetable for this has led to disappointment amongst a number of big media groups.
These include the Granada and Carlton TV companies whose planned £10 billion merger is now on hold. They had hoped the government would press ahead with getting the act passed rather than just going ahead with the draft bill.
The move was welcomed however by the GWR Group, whose Chief Executive Ralph Bernard said in a statement that the delay would, "allow a little more time to get the draft absolutely right" to achieve the objectives of "encouraging enterprise, strengthening competition laws and safeguarding consumers."
Taking up suggestions that the bill could have been introduced without including media ownership issues, he said," That would create a two-track media, with parts of the industry able to develop and others restricted."
"We need parity across the communications sector and an uninterrupted pace of development, so let's use the extra time we have to reach a definite conclusion on the ownership issues and produce a ready-to-go Bill which can be fast-tracked onto the statute books."
The current five regulators in the UK, whose separate organisations are to be subsumed into the new OFCOM super-regulator, have welcomed the announcement.
They have in turn announced that they have appointed management consulting firm Towers Perrin "to map the process for setting up the new regulator."
The consultants will report to a steering group whose members will include the Chief Executives of the current regulators, the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Independent Television Commission, Oftel, Radiocommunications Agency and the Radio Authority.
UK Radio Authority web site: (carries OFCOM consultants announcement as do the other regulators' sites).
2001-06-21: XM Satellite Radio is now forging ahead in advance of its planned launch in late summer with recent announcements of more staff and channels.
Its recent additions to its output include a tie-up with CNET Radio, which is currently available on the Internet and on AM in San Francisco, to provide technological news and another with CNBC for a live audio feed of its financial news.
On the staff side, it has announced a further 14 new staff to its programming team and more members of its artists family.
The new staff are seven programme directors and seven music directors.
New additions to XM's artists family include Junior Marvin, former lead guitarist for Bob Marley and The Wailers and The Insane Clown Posse who follow last month's new members,Quincy Jones and Wynton Marsalis.
Rival Sirius Satellite Radio has remained quiet about developments recently.
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
2001-06-20: The Dallas DJ's Kramer & Twitch whose false report of the death of singer Britney Spears and her boyfriend Justin Timberlake whizzed round the world earlier this month (RNW June 15), have been fired by their station, Clear Channel's KEGL-FM, "The Eagle".
The Dallas Morning News quotes Tom Schurr, vice president and market manager in Dallas for Clear Channel as saying the dismissal was not just as a result of the Britney Spears hoax but also related to incidents during the duo's recent five month spell at Clear Channel's KSJO-FM in San Jose, California.
The DJ's, Keith Kramer (Kramer) and Tony Longo (Twitch), moved from KEGL to KSJO in December 2000 but returned to KEGL in May.
They continued to be aired by the Dallas station whilst in San Jose, where they gained notoriety for one show in which they suggested that motorists run over bicyclists or hit them with their car doors.
Kramer told the Morning News that he and his partner were surprised by the decision since they had approached KEGL's programme director Duane Doherty before the hoax and received approval for it. ~
"We called Duane and said, 'Look, we have this outrageous idea. If you shoot it down, cool,'" said Kramer.
"We got permission to air the bit."
He added that, at first, they were going to report that Metallica singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield had been killed, but because KEGL is a rock station, they decided that would strike too close to home for their listeners so they chose Britney Spears because they doubted that any of her fans would listen to them.
Kramer said their aim was to cause a "little commotion." "The last thing we expected," he said, "was us, self-proclaimed morons, to create such a worldwide panic within one hour."
Asked about the DJ's version of events, Schurr said he didn't believe the call to Doherty was as described; he added that most of the calls to the station were in favour of the DJ's whereas they were against the station in another controversy it is involved in, the placing of billboards that depict Satan injecting Timothy McVeigh next to the words "Highway to Hell," the title of an AC/DC song.
In the case of another firing of a US radio host, Nate Livingston, who was dumped as 1500-1700 weekday talk host at Cincinnati WDBZ-AM, the station is denying allegations from the host that the station had agreed a deal with Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken that meant talk hosts would not criticize the mayor.
Livingston, an African-American activist, made his comments after he was fired.
He told the Cincinnati Enquirer that at a staff meeting in April, following the killing of Timothy Thomas by a police officer and subsequent rioting, WDBZ-AM owner Ross Love said that he was working on an agreement with Mr. Luken not to criticize the mayor, who is up for re-election.
Livingston said that talk hosts were also told not to criticize African-American members of Cincinnati City Council.
Livingston was fired three days after he wrote a memo to Mr. Love threatening to present the deal allegation to law enforcement.
He says he is putting information together for a lawsuit under the Ohio Whistle Blower's Act but also thinking about seeking re-instatement.
Steve Love, WDBZ-AM general manager and brother of owner Ross Love, told the Enquirer, "We had the opportunity to terminate his contract at any given time, and that's what we did Friday."
"I can't make any further comments."
Lincoln Ware, WDBZ-AM programme director and talk host, told the paper, "It didn't happen."
"I was at the same meeting that Nate was, and that was never said - that there's any type of a deal."
Cincinnati Enquirer report:
Dallas Morning News report:
2001-06-20: The UK Radiocommunications Agency has announced more details of an independent review of the country's radio spectrum which is expected to lead to a shake-up of how spectrum resources are allocated and which could be costly for broadcasters (See RNW June 11).
It has just published a consultation paper, "Radio Spectrum Management Review" as part of the independent review under Professor Martin Cave, professor of economics and Vice-Principal at Brunel University.
The review, says the agency will "develop principles that will underpin an economically efficient radio spectrum." "Benefits for the UK economy will cover both private and public sector, strengthening the quality and breadth of services to the public."
Amongst the areas up for debate are:
*the economic gains to be won from efficient use of spectrum;
*the best regulatory framework for spectrum management;
*spectrum use by a sectors including defence, broadcasting and emergency services; and
* pricing and auctions of spectrum.
Cave says his intention is not to raise a lot of money for the government although spectrum costs are almost certain to rise.
"The radio spectrum is a key UK asset and very important to the success of many industries which can contribute to the future prosperity and productivity of UK plc.," he writes.
"It is also vital to ensure that the spectrum is available for the delivery of essential public services such as defence, broadcasting, air safety and the emergency services."
"The key proposal is that all users should face an incentive to take into account the opportunity cost of the spectrum they are using."
"The review will explore ways in which this principle might be applied to both private and public sectors."
In the private sector, Professor Cave talks of a system of auctions and secondary trading to set prices, noting that the EU is likely to end its current prohibition of spectrum trading.
For the public sector, he says," ways must be found to give spectrum users an incentive to consider a range of possible technologies which may economise on valuable spectrum."
"This may involve, for example, trade-offs between spectrum use and the bringing forward of equipment renewal, or between spectrum use and 'wired' alternatives such as fibre-optic cable."
Previous UK Radiocommunications Agency:
Previous UK Spectrum:
UK Radiocommunications Agency site:
2001-06-20: Internet radio audiences which jumped by nearly a fifth last week have fallen back again by nearly five per cent according to Measurecast; its Internet Radio Index, based on a nominal 100 at the start of this year, dropped 4.8 percent in the week to June 17 from 180 to 172.
Measurecast also reported that Internet Radio Inc, formed from the merger of ChoiceRadio.com and alldanzradio.com. took four spots in its top 25 raked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL).
Internet Radio's New Age/Smooth Jazz, Urban, and Top 40 stations took the eighth, ninth, and tenth spots respectively and its country station was ranked 17th.
At the very top, there was some jostling for position but no change in the stations included.
The top 5 ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) were (with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 170,060 (170,490); CP 43,544 (44,094) - Position unchanged.
2): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 90,798 (76,475); CP 17,124 (15,618) - Previously 3rd.
3): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 79,133 (84,605); CP 27,153 (27,624) - Previously 2nd.
4): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 63,292 (66,167) CP 24,403 (23,905) - Position unchanged.
5): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 59,258 (42,767); CP 10,815 (8,027) - Position unchanged but listening up nearly 40%.
The pattern at the top of the Measurecast rankings is in line with conclusions of a new Internet audio study by Arbitron and the Coleman media research company.
This study, "Broadband Revolution 2: The Media World of Speedies" looked at the use of media by "Speedies" - people who have broadband Internet access.
It found at 59% of them kept tuning in to the same audio sources and only 24% looked for new sources when online.
It also found however, that when such people could not find the audio they had been used to, as has recently been the case in the US, where major broadcasters stopped streaming because of a dispute over Internet advertisement fees, they quickly found other sources of similar audio.
Commenting on this, Bill Rose, general manager and vice president, Arbitron Webcast Services, said "Traditional radio stations that have temporarily discontinued their rebroadcast on the Web risk losing their webcast audiences to Internet-only webcasters."
"Our research indicates that the rapidly growing number of those with super fast Internet access, whom we call "Speedies," will find alternative sources of audio if they can't find their favourite station online."
RNW Note: Yet again looking at the above figures in comparison with traditional radio broadcasts indicates just how low audiences really are; We'll be interested to see if BBC World Service, which is due to end short-wave broadcasts to North America, Australia and New Zealand at the end of the month, comes up with any realistic numbers to defend their decision to move to local affiliate re-transmissions and the Internet.
With protest groups estimating that more than 1.2 million people listen via short wave, we somehow don't see the move giving anything like the service, even if it does save money.
An update on the campaign later this week; In the meantime anyone interested can check at the Save the World Service site.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Arbitron web site:
Coleman web site:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-06-19: As hinted last week at the R&R conference (RNWJune 16), US giant radio operator Clear Channel is to recommence streaming operations shortly with Internet-only adverts in its radio station streams following a deal with Los Angeles-based advertisement insertion company Hi-Wire.
Hi-Wire says it has agreement to handle advert insertion for some 250 Clear Channel stations in the top 50 markets and it is to start tests on five stations with others then being brought on stream from next month.
Hi-Wire was competing with Coollink Broadcast Network and Real Broadcast Network for the deal and it says it expects to handle one billion ad impressions in the first year of operation.
By using Internet-only adverts, Clear Channel will not only avoid the extra fees charged when adverts made just for radio are also put on the Internet but will also increase its adverts inventory.
When the row over extra fees broke in April (See RNW April 11), Clear Channel had 318 stations streaming audio.
Kevin Mayer, chief executive Clear Channel Interactive, which is also Los Angeles-based, said, "Internet radio is catching on in a big way," adding, "Clear Channel has vowed to find a comprehensive approach to streaming that makes both legal and financial sense."
Mayer also said that the company was planning to stream music stations as well as its talks, sports and news stations which have already started going back online.
Streaming music is also a contentious issue because of a dispute with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which, under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is claiming an extra payment whenever a song is streamed.
Radio stations, which do not have to pay extra over and above an agreed annual fee, are contesting the claim. (See RNW April 25).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Real Networks:
2001-06-19: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) is to administer the new version of the Radio and Television News Directors of Canada (RTNDA) Code of (Journalistic) Ethics.
The Code has been a guide for radio and television news directors in Canada since its adoption in 1970.
The CBSC started to enforce a later amended version in 1993 since when it has been part of the Commission's self-regulatory code structure.
The Code was amended last year by the RTNDA whose members have been applying it since then; now a French version has been issued and the CBSC is to administer the code for all its members whether or not their news directors are members of RTNDA.
CBSC web site (links to text of code):
2001-06-19: After a break from radio working in digital TV and on cross-media projects, Francis Currie is to return to the medium as Programme Director of Heart FM, the Chrysalis flagship station.
He has previously held programming posts at Invicta FM in Kent and BRMB in Birmingham as well as helping to brand the former Melody Radio as Magic FM when it was bought by EMAP.
Currie takes up his new role next month.
On air at Heart, Chris Farrell is returning to his original 13:00 -16:00 slot.
Farrell, who is in his 12th year as a DJ, was one of Heart's original DJ's.
2001-06-19: The US Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) 2001 Edward R Murrow "Overall Excellence" awards have gone to CBS Radio News in the network radio category, WSYR Radio, Syracuse, NY, for small-market radio, and KIRO-AM, Seattle, for large-market radio.
The awards are amongst the 69 awards to be presented on September 12 this year at a ceremony at the RTNDA's annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
The awards are named after the legendary CBS newsman and for the first time this year they included awards to outstanding websites.
For radio, these went to wsjm.com, St. Joseph, Missouri, for small-market radio and ktrh.com, Houston, for large-market radio.
The radio awards this year were:
Network/Syndication Service/Program Services: Overall Excellence - CBS Radio News;
Newscast - CBS Radio News,
CBS World News Roundup:
Spot News Coverage - ABC News Radio, Violence in Israel:
Continuing Coverage - CBS Radio News, The Recount:
Feature Reporting - ABC News Radio, Non-Emergencies in the ER:
News Series - Youth Radio, Making the Grade:
News Documentary - CBS Radio News, Eye on the Dream
Use of Sound - ESPN Radio, A Day in the Life of the Subway Series:
Writing- CBS Radio News, Sidebar: Bill Whitney
Radio - Large Market
Overall Excellence - KIRO-AM Seattle:
Newscast - CFTR-AM Toronto, History on Hold: Spot News Coverage - KMOX-AM St. Louis, Governor's Plane Crash: Continuing Coverage - WTAM-AM Cleveland, Murder of a Mom-To-Be:
Investigative Reporting - WNYC-AM New York, NYPD Strip Searches: The Illegal Practice Continues:
Feature Reporting - KIRO-AM Seattle, Experience Music Project:
Sports Reporting - WBAL-AM Baltimore, Jockeying for Status:
News Series - KFBK-AM/FM Sacramento, CA, Sacramento Valley of Meth:
News Documentary - KCBS-AM San Francisco, Hired Hands:
Use of Sound - KYW-AM Philadelphia, NSYNC NSANITY:
Writing - KIRO-AM Seattle, Letter to Bill Gates:
Web Site - KTRH Newsradio Houston (www.ktrh.com) Radio - Small Market:
Overall Excellence - WSYR Radio Syracuse, New York:
Newscast - VOCM Radio St. Johns, Newfoundland, VOCM News:
Spot News Coverage - KFDI-AM/FM Wichita, Kansas, Bombadier Crash:
Continuing Coverage - WGY-AM Latham, New York, The Amadou Diallo Trial:
Investigative Reporting - WIVK Radio Knoxville, Tennessee, Oliver Springs Murders:
Feature Reporting - WATD-FM Marshfield, Massachusetts, The Possible Dreams Auction:
Sports Reporting - KVOR-AM Colorado Springs, Darkness, Silence and Football:
News Series - WOI-AM Ames, Iowa, Vietnam: A 25th Anniversary Anthology:
News Documentary - KCSD-FM Sioux Falls, South Dakota, German Prisoners of War in South Dakota:
Use of Sound - WMSI-FM Jackson, Mississippi, Neshoba County Fair: Writing - WBHM-FM Birmingham, Alabama, The Un-Rebels and Hands-On Experience:
Web Site - WSJM-AM St. Joseph, Michigan (www.wsjm.com).
Previous (2000) Murrow Awards:
RTNDA site (links to award details):
2001-06-18: To start our look at print cover of radio last week, a change to new of hosts who may air "hoaxes" about deaths, be they of pop stars or mayors, and who certainly in the case of Howard Stern, and Opie and Anthony don't get their syndication deals on the basis of erudition.
And it makes a welcome change to mark the 25th anniversary of a US talk show host who does have a reputation for erudition.
Marking David Brudnoy's 25th anniversary, a feature in the Boston Globe by Jeff Jacoby, speaks of his "nightly conversation" as "intelligent, informed, articulate, good-natured."
Somehow Brudnoy also manages to top ratings with a show which Jacoby says is," erudite but accessible - 'smart talk for everyone,' the Globe once called it."
"He lets his callers have their say and often gives them the last word. He really reads the books of the authors he interviews (and he interviews an awful lot of authors). He is polite, even courtly, to his guests."
"He absolutely refuses to play to the groundlings: there are no sex jokes, no doubles-entendres, no phoney bombast, no psychics, no vulgar sound effects, no webcam."
Jacoby continues, "If you've got half a brain and a dab of curiosity, how could you not like the Brudnoy show?"
"Yet Brudnoy's formula is just the one most talk shows avoid. Ask 100 talkmasters, and 99 will tell you that cerebral, talky, courteous, ideas-heavy radio programming is sure death in the ratings book."
"Their market research doubtless proves that listeners have no interest in the kind of show Brudnoy does. Except that, manifestly, they do. And have, for 25 years. "
Which makes Brudnoy's presence a welcome addition to diversity on the airwaves and provides a cue for his own words concerning the topic.
Delivering the commencement address at Salem State College last month, Brudnoy said, "'One diversity stands above all else,' he told the graduates. 'Diversity of the brain.'"
" It's not how we look or what our last name is or what our grandparents' linguistic group is or what our sexual orientation is, but what and how we think that matters.... Ideas are the product of individuals, and it is individual diversity, which flows from the mind, that matters."
"But how often do we hear people talk ... about diversity of ideas? Never.''
Certainly not to a great extent on the output of most of the major commercial networks, RNW would suggest, which is one of the reasons we have supported the idea of Low Power FM in the US as likely to add to the diversity of voices and indeed why we have a degree of sympathy with "pirates." These latter have been barred from LPFM in the US under current legislation, although this ban is still being challenged on constitutional grounds (See RNW June 14) and in the UK a recent court decision looks like making things harder for them.
Paul Donovan makes pirates the topic of his radio column in the UK Sunday Times wherein he notes the influence on British radio of the pirate radio ships, first of which was Radio Caroline, which went on air in 1964.
"The pirate ships," writes Donovan, "became part of the fabric of the 1960s, changed expectations of British radio for ever, and launched the careers of (among others) John Peel, Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett and Roger Gale, the Conservative MP for Thanet North."
This group of "pirates" was followed by another group who also became legitimate, described by Donovan as "ethnic rather than offshore." They included what are now successful London stations such as Kiss FM, London Greek Radio and Asian station Sunrise Radio.
The current group of pirates specialises in reggae, ragga, jungle and dance music and have thrived because they are cheap to set up but Donovan points out that they are not harmless.
He writes, "Their transmissions can, and do, interfere with air traffic control, hospitals and the emergency services, and thus put lives in danger."
"They also disrupt legal services: two of the London pirates, for example, broadcast reggae and Jamaican patois on 91.75 MHz and 91.95 MHz, right on Radio 3's frequency, and frequently mask it in a mishmash of crackle. "
Until recently, he goes on, they seemed out of control partly because the fines were so small they could in effect thumb a nose at the authorities (RNW note: Do we hear a faint echo of this in the attitudes of some of the legitimate US giants when they are fined by the Federal Communications Commission?).
However a recent court case may have changed things.
Paul Hutchings, proprietor of pirate station Magic FM in Walsall in the West Midlands, had twice before been fined but this time the UK Commercial Radio Companies Association was granted a permanent injunction against the station which means that, were he to defy the injunction, Hutchings could be jailed for contempt of court.
Donovan concludes, "None of which means there is no place for experiment, only that it should not be at the expense of public safety and the enjoyment of listeners trying to pick up legitimate stations."
"Unlicensed iconoclasm is for the Internet. The association's move is to be applauded."
RNW note: Our view is a little more doubtful in that we feel the main questions are those of options and proportionality.
We agree that activities which endanger others or significantly affect legitimate radio stations and other users of spectrum should be severely curbed but at the same time feel the quid-pro-quo for this has to be provision of a reasonable amount of spectrum for non-commercial and community use.
This was the original intent of US low power FM plans aimed to give a voice to minorities and local communities.
We do not see the Internet as a reasonable option for many groups and the provision of spectrum for minority voices iin the UK we feel is currently inadequate although current Radio Authority Access Radio pilot scheme may yet remedy this.
Previous UK Commercial Radio Companies Association:
Boston Globe - Jacoby:
Sunday Times - Donovan:
2001-06-17: Licence news this week is more a matter of regulatory action than licence issuing, although in Canada a large number of Community licences have been renewed. In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has changed the restrictions it put on the licence of Sydney talk station 2UE to clarify details and bring them in line with general commercial radio licence conditions (See RNW June 15).
In Canada, as noted, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has renewed a large number of community licences and has also given notice of an application from the Campbellford Area Radio Association in Campbellford, Ontario, to amend the licence of CKOL-FM to change frequency and increase power from 50 watts to 500 watts
The community licences renewed or issued include type B native radio licences as below:
Alberta - Type B English- and Native-language FM radio station at Siksika,:
New Brunswick -Type B English- and Native-language FM radio station to serve Fredericton Centre, Devon and Nashwasis:
Ontario - Type B English- and Native-language FM radio station at Georgina Island:
Quebec - New Native FM radio station at Dolbeau-Mistassini,.
British Columbia - CILZ-FM Greenville and CFNR-FM Terrace:
Manitoba -CINC-FM Thompson New Brunswick -CFTI-FM Big Cove:
North Western Territories - CKLB-FM Yellowknife:
Nova Scotia -CICU-FM Eskasoni Indian Reserve:
Ontario - CKRZ-FM Ohsweken.
*CHUT-FM Lac-Simon and its transmitter at Val d'Or:
*CHME-FM Les Escoumins (and transmitters CHME-FM-1 Tadoussac and CHME-FM-2 Sacré-Coeur):
*CKAU-FM Maliotenam and its transmitter CKAU-FM-1 Sept-Îles:
*CKWE-FM Maniwaki (River Desert Reserve):
*CHRG-FM Maria (Reserve):
*CIHW-FM Wendake (Village-des-Hurons):
Saskatchewan - CJLR-FM La Ronge and its transmitters CJLR-FM-1, VF2260, VF2298, VF2299, VF2300, VF2301, VF2331, VF2332 and VF2355:
Yukon Territory - CHON-FM Whitehorse.
Other renewals included those of:
*Edmonton, Alberta - the Native and English-language radio network operated by Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta.
*Mistissini, Quebec - the Cree-language radio network operated by James Bay Cree Communications Society.
*Wendake, Quebec - the Montagnais- and Attikamek-language FM radio network operated by the Société de Communication Attikamekw-Montagnais Inc.
Ireland was quiet and the UK was fairly quiet apart from a £10000 fine on London Asian station Sunrise Radio (See RNW June 13).
The UK Radio Authority has also pre-advertised the Luton/Bedford AM licence, currently held by Classic Gold Digital Ltd; the FM licence for the area is not being advertised as the current licence holder, Chiltern Radio, is eligible for automatic renewal in return for the provision, by the owner of that licence, GWR Group plc, of a digital sound programme service on the third Greater London digital multiplex.
In the Northampton area, the Authority is re-advertising both the AM and FM licences as competing applications were received when the two licences were pre-advertised.
Current licence holders are Northamptonshire Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (GWR Group plc), broadcasting as Northants 96 on the FM band and Classic Gold Digital Ltd., broadcasting as Classic Gold 1557 on the AM band.
The Authority has also announced that it has received three applications for the re-advertised FM licence for Stockport in Cheshire.
They are from:
*existing licence holder Imagine FM Ltd, which carries pop plus local news and sport:
*Raka Asian Radio Ltd, which proposes information, education and entertainment for Asian communities around Stockport:
*and Stock FM Ltd. which is proposing a mix of music plus news, entertainment and sport.
In addition the authority has issued a preliminary public interest determination that would allow Guardian Media Group to purchase Scot FM (RNW June 12); the deal has to pass a public interest test since the purchaser owns a national newspaper.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission "admonished" non-commercial educational station WHPR-FM, Highland Park, Michigan, for overstepping the mark in terms of broadcasting advertisements. Licensee R.J.'s Late Night Entertainment Corp., was involved in publicising discounts and extolling a sponsor's products; it co-operated with the FCC investigation and revised its underwriting guidelines on the basis of the FCC objections.
The Commission's enforcement bureau said no "monetary sanction" was warranted but felt an "admonishment" was necessary.
The FCC has also rejected on procedural grounds the appeal by Family Broadcasting Inc., which is the licensee of WSTX AM and FM. Christiansted, U. S. Virgin Islands, concerning hearings about the revocation of the licences for a number of breaches of licence conditions and technical regulations (See RNW March 24).
Majority shareholder Gerard Luz A. James and his wife are proposing to transfer all shares to their children, who they say were not involved in or aware of any wrongdoings.
The FCC notes that, "Family, in other words, effectively seeks to avoid a monetary forfeiture of up to $275,000 as well as an evidentiary hearing that could result in the revocation of its licenses."
The FCC says the Family application is procedurally inadmissible and also that precedents cited by Family are not applicable in this case.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC re Family Broadcasting:
FCC re Michigan case(.doc):
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-06-16: Clear Channel's Interactive President Kevin Mayer has told a panel at the Radio & Records Convention in Los Angeles that the company may soon begin streaming stations on the Internet again and will test ad-insertion technology.
Clear Channel cut all its streams following the dispute with AFTRA (the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists), which had negotiated extra payments when advertisements made for radio were also used on the Internet (See RNW April 11).
Mayer told the session that not having the streams available had a "negative" impact but at the same time is on record as saying that streaming had to be made to pay.
Clear Channel has trimmed staff at various Internet outlets this month including those of WorldClassicRock, KNAC.com and Grooveradio.com.
Previous Clear Channel:
2001-06-16: More format changes in the US, allied with recent syndication and hosts' deals.
In Sacramento, Infinity's classic rock KXOA-FM is to change to talk on Monday; the station will carry Howard Stern in the mornings and Opie and Anthony, who recently concluded a syndication deal with Infinity and its syndication arm, Westwood One (See RNW June 7), in the evenings.
In the short term, the station will continue with rock between the talk.
Opie and Anthony, who have already had their Philadelphia debut, are also to start on Infinity's WCKG-FM in Chicago from Monday but will be from tape and airing at night from 9 pm local following local programming, which is preceded by Steve Dahl's afternoon show.
The duo will also be airing at night from 10 pm local Monday on Infinity's KYNGFM, Dallas.
In Boston there's speculation that Opie and Anthony, who were fired by WAAF-Fm over a "Mayor Menino is dead" hoax, may return to the city's airwaves.
Boston Herald columnist Dean Johnson says that details are being hammered out over a deal with WBCN-FM.
Previous Opie and Anthony: Previous Stern:
2001-06-16: US commercial broadcasters trade body, the National Association of Broadcasters, has re-elected Eddie Fritts as President and CEO and Kenneth Almgren as Secretary/Treasurer for a one-year term.
The organisation has also elected David Kennedy, President/COO of Susquehanna Radio Corp., as NAB Joint Board Chairman.
Federated Media President John Dille succeeded Kennedy as Radio Board Chairman.
The organisation has near-record radio membership but has suffered financially from the withdrawal of Viacom's Infinity radio subsidiary; the withdrawal was not as a result of a radio dispute but because of NAB's continuing support of the US 35-percent national TV ownership cap.
2001-06-15: Apologies from the two giants of US radio this week; they concerned incorrect reports of the death of Britney Spears and serious injuries to her boyfriend Justin Timberlake by a Dallas station and a repeated apology in Chicago for remarks made last month which upset the city's Mexican community.
The Britney Spears report by DJ's (Keith) Kramer & Twitch (Tony Longo)came on their show being broadcast Wednesday evening on Clear Channel's KEGL-FM in Dallas.
The "news" quickly went round the world and sparked off to hundreds of calls to California authorities including the Los Angeles police and fire departments, the California Highway Patrol and local hospitals.
They came from fans and news media trying to check out the report which had also caused a stir on Internet sites linked to the singer.
On Thursday the station put out a recorded message apologising for " any confusion this erroneous report may have caused."
It is not clear if the report was a genuine error or a hoax by the two DJs, whose past controversial activities led to fine $14,000 (£10,000) for making sexually offensive remarks and a suspension in February after they "joked" that motorists should run over cyclists or bump them with their open car doors.
The BBC also became involved in the story after a page carrying an offensive version of the story was posted on the Internet and made to look as if it was a BBC report.
The Chicago apology came from midday hosts Buzz Kilman and Wendy Snyder at Infinity's WCKG-FM.
They were a second apology for the same incident on May 4 involving ethnic jokes which were seen by many Mexican-Americans as perpetuating stereotypes. (See RNW May 17).
The first apology was delivered by Snyder alone as Kilman was absent for the birth of his first child and had not totally mollified protesters; this time the apology went further and was delivered by Kilman.
He said, "''We have both had the chance to reflect on what was said during that segment, and clearly there's no reason to play on stereotypes that only serve to divide us."
"We sincerely hope that the Mexican-American community in Chicago will accept this apology, and we thank them for making us aware of all of the positive contributions that the Mexican culture offers us all.''
Snyder agreed and also said "sorry."
Previous Clear Channel:
2001-06-15: UK Capital Radio has lost another executive, strategy and development director Sally Oldham.
She was managing director of group radio at Capital when she moved into the post in June last year and was responsible for developing new business and looking after Capital's moves into digital radio.
In March, Capital's programme director Richard Park resigned from the board although he continues to work for Capital as a consultant (See RNW March 15 ).
As with Park, she is not being replaced.
Also in the UK, Russell Stuart is to step down as Managing Director of GWR Digital Services at the end of the month, although he will continue to work with GWR on a number of projects.
Russell has been in the UK commercial radio for 25 years and as Chief Executive of Anglian Radio negotiated the group's sale to GWR in 1996.
He became Regional Director of GWR with responsibility for nine stations in Eastern England moving over to digital development in 1999 when he launched the group's Core and Planet Rock channels on the UK Digital One national multiplex.
He led the teams that won four local multiplexes for GWR, those in Bristol, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Southend.
And at UK watchdog, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC), Paul Bolt has been appointed director to succeed Stephen Whittle who is joining the BBC as Controller of Editorial Policy.
Bolt will join the Commission in mid July; since 1998 he has been a member of the Department for Culture Media and Sports' Management Board, in charge of the Department's strategy and communications.
Before that headed he the team preparing what became the 1996 Broadcasting Act, moving over in 1996 to head the Department's Broadcasting Policy Division.
2001-06-15: The Australian Broadcasting Authority has changed two conditions it had imposed on the licence of top-rated Sydney talk station 2UE in the wake of the country's cash-for comment enquiry (See RNW Feb 8, 2000) to clarify them and bring them in line with obligations subsequently imposed upon all commercial stations in Australia (See RNW Aug 3, 2000).
In a statement ABA says the changes remove ambiguities in definitions of important terms such as "advertisement" and "consideration" and also rectify discrepancies between conditions relating to on-air disclosure announcements, register requirements and compliance programmes.
They also match the conditions imposed on all commercial radio stations, some of which were tougher than the 2UE conditions, but retain special conditions imposed to deal with the situation at 2UE.
2001-06-14: A challenge to the restrictions placed on Low Power FM in the US has been made Hartford, Connecticut " radio pirates" Mark Blake and Loretta Spivey, who operate "Prayze FM".
They, have been given leave by U.S. District Court Judge Warren Eginton to challenge the constitutionality of the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000 (See RNW Dec 19, 2000).
The two argue that the Act violates both the First and 14th Amendments to the US constitution because the requirements for third-adjacent channel protection, which drastically cut the number of Low Power FM which could be licensed, were "not narrowly tailored to serve the substantial government interest" and also because of the clause which bars anyone previously involved in a pirate broadcast from holding an LPFM licence.
This latter clause has also been challenged by another pirate broadcaster, Gregg Ruggiero (See RNW Jan 14).
2001-06-14: In the first of what is expected to be a number of moved by mobile phone operators to cut the costs of building third-generation networks, British Telecom and Deutsche Telekom have agreed to collaborate on building their 3G networks in Germany and the UK.
BT, operator of Cellnet in the UK and Viag Interkom in Germany, estimates that it will save some £1.2 billion over the next decade, almost a third of its original estimate for building the network.
Deutsche Telekom, operator of the One2One network in the UK and T-Mobile in Germany, expects similar savings.
Amongst other operators involved in talks with rivals are Vodafone, which is already collaborating with Orange and Hutchison Whampoa over its 3G network in Sweden.
In Germany Orange is exploring a similar network-sharing deal in Germany with Mobilcom and E-plus following a decision earlier this month by the German government to allow 3G licence owners to share the costs of building networks (See RNW June 11).
The deals are expected to come under keen scrutiny from the European Commission which is concerned about reducing competition.
2001-06-14: A story in the Washington Post concerning Maryland-headquartered Radio One Inc has led to speculation that the group could end up being a prime target for other groups trying to grow; various groups including Entercom, Emmis and Citadel have said that they may push for the number three slot in US radio and acquisitions would be essential to reach the target.
In the Washington Post article, which followed Radio One Inc.'s annual meeting last week, CEO Alfred C. Liggins III talked about the company taking a "breather" from acquisitions and concentrating on improvements at stations it has purchased.
But he did not rule out the possibility of selling, and told the paper, "This is America -- everything's for sale. At some point in time, yeah, of course 'Radio One might be acquired.'"
"We don't have that as an end goal. We're interested in growing cash flow 20 percent. If at such time we find ourselves not to be able to do that, then we will evaluate all alternatives."
Lanham-based Radio One now has 63 stations and annual revenues of $155 million but still has no sign outside its building nor a web site, although it is finally building one.
At the annual meeting, Liggins gave a presentation categorising station by maturity; defining this as a station that had increased ratings, revenue share and cost control.
Liggins said only 11 stations met all the requirements; 30 he said had met two requirements, terming them "developed with upside."
Another 13 were said to be "underdeveloped", having met only one requirement.
The remaining nine he termed in the "stick" category -so termed because "because it's just an antenna stuck to the top of the tower."
Liggins also said.buying stations was the easy part, achieving profitability the hard part.
The the advertising slowdown has made this harder with the company recently reporting revenues lower than predicted for the first quarter although it is performing better than many radio groups (See RNW May 4 ) and is well rated by industry analysts.
Radio One has in the main concentrated on its core radio business, making only fairly small investments in new media operations.
These include Internet portal NetNoir and cable TV start-up New Urban Entertainment Television, both of which target African Americans and both of which are struggling.
Its exposure is however so far only around $6 million, which can easily be written off.
Previous Radio 1 Inc:
Washington Post report:
2001-06-13: Staff of the radio arts department of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation walked out at lunchtime on Tuesday in protest at the dismissal of Arts Editor Roz Cheney as part of a restructuring.
Later their action was joined by other ABC staff who decided to stage a 24-hour strike in protest.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Cheney, who had been with the ABC for 30 years, was told her services would not be needed after Friday and asked to leave immediately.
She protested and was then given 30 minutes to say good byes before leaving the building.
The paper says that ABC Head of National Talk Radio Mark Collier said that he wanted to tell staff details of the changes and " just felt it was more appropriate that when I addressed the staff that Roz's presence wasn't there."
He added, "What we did was I spoke to her this morning, I said 'look would you mind leaving at 10.30 today, I want to have an address to the radio arts staff to talk about what we're doing and why we're doing it'."
"She's back here tomorrow until the end of the week ... she wasn't escorted from the building."
Collier said no further staff cuts were planned nor would there be programme cuts.
Under the changes announced, the ABC says it is integrating " the departments of Radio Talks and Radio Arts into Radio National while preserving the integrity of the individual program making units within each."
In all it says, some third of Radio National's output has been from the Arts unit and "the diversity and volume of this programming will be increased in 2001/2002 with the introduction of new Arts programming to the network."
Planned programmes include a new 90-minute Sunday night programme to go on air in January 2002.
Under the working title of "Open House", it says this programme will be aimed at a younger audience comprising an " eclectic mix of music, talk and performance" including in house material and programmes commissioned from Australian and overseas independent producers
. Another planned project, with the working title "Earclips" it says has the aim of introducing "a national audience to some of the most creative young talents in Australia." The project will involve Radio National in commissioning " ten features containing sound works from emerging sound artists and composers."
A third project is the commissioning of half-hour plays, written and performed by indigenous Australians.
The ABC has also announced that Professor Margaret Seares, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, has been appointed as Chair of the ABC Arts Advisory Group, which it says has "been set up to draw ideas, inspiration and expertise from the broader arts community to assist the ABC in developing programs that will satisfy audience needs and the needs of the arts community."
ABC, new programmes announcement:
ABC Seares appointment:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2001-06-13:The UK Radio Authority has fined London Asian news and entertainment station, Sunrise Radio, £10,000 over an interview given by the owner of the station, Dr Avtar Lit, in advance of his proposed candidacy in the British General Election.
The Authority decided that the extracts of the interview broadcast by Sunrise had breached Britain's Broadcasting Act, and in addition to the fine has asked the station for assurances that action will be taken to ensure future compliance with the Act.
Richard Hooper, Chair of the Authority, said, "Those who hold radio licences should be in no doubt that they may not use that privileged position to publicise their own views on political matters. "
"The Broadcasting Act and our Codes make it clear that this applies at all times, not just during elections."
The broadcast extracts concerned Dr Lit's views about dissatisfaction of people living in a West London suburb and also outlined his policy proposals for the Parliamentary constituency involved.
RNW note: Lit stood as an independent in Ealing Southall, where his radio station is based; He came third with 5764 votes, not far behind the second placed Conservative candidate who had 8556 votes in a seat retained by the government Labour party with 22239
Previous Sunrise Radio:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Radio Authority statement
2001-06-13: Florida host, Bubba the Love Sponge, real name Todd Clem, is now waiting to hear whether a video made by his production company of the now infamous castration and killing of a wild boar in February in the car park of WXTB-FM will be made available to media organisations.
This is the usual procedure under Florida's laws concerning evidence.
The tape is now in the hands of the authorities who intend to use it as evidence against the shock jock, WXTB producer Brent Hatley, listener Paul Lauterberg who took the boar to the station and another listener, Daniel Brooks who helped hold it.
Bubba was in court to hear attorney J. Kevin Hayslett say the tape, shot by Love Sponge Productions on February 27, showed the castration and killing, people eating parts of the boar, people drinking a "shake" made up of dead rats and also nude women.
Defence attorneys asked the judge to keep the record closed because if the public saw the video it would be nearly impossible to find a fair and unbiased jury to hear the case.
A lawyer for the St Petersburg Times, which along with local news organisations, has asked to see the video and other evidence, told the court that the records could only be sealed if the defendants showed that their release would threaten the administration of justice.
She added that pictures of the killing had already been posted on the Internet and suggesting that in a city as big as Tampa many potential jurors would not see the video and even those who had could be screened out by lawyers should they be offended.
The judge said he would view the video before ruling but ordered the other evidence released.
However the State Attorney's office has said it would not release the material until the lawyers had decided whether to appeal against the ruling.
St Petersburg Times report:
2001-06-13: A dramatic increase in Internet listening last week has been recorded by Measurecast whose Internet Radio Index for the week to June 10 increased by 18.6%, from 152 to 180, for the week ending June 10.
The index is based on Total Time Spent Listening(TTSL) with a base of a nominal 100 for the start of this year.
A high proportion of the top stations --16 of the top 25 -- were Internet-only stations.
This is in line with the continuing situation which has led many broadcasters to end streaming their broadcast signal since the start of a dispute over extra payments for advertisements made for broadcast radio but then used on the Internet.
There were two stations in Measurecast's top 25 from a newcomer BeOnAir.com whose rock station was ranked ninth in TTSL with their alternative station one place behind at tenth.
At the very top, all but one of the top five stations had an increase in listening.
The main ranking change was a move up to second place by Cablemusic's Hot 100; 3WKUnderground radio was pushed down from second to fourth.
The top 5 ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) were (with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 170,490 (133,261); CP 44,094 (44,637) - Position unchanged but listening was considerably higher.
2): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 84,605 (42,209); CP 27,624 (18,635) - Previously 5th.
3): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 76,475 (49,878); CP 15,618 (13,917) - Position unchanged.
4): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 66,167 (59,738) CP 23,905 (24,027) - Previously 2nd but listening still up.
5): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 42,767 (46,333); CP 8,027 (8,733 ) - Previously 4th and listening down.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-06-12: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is to axe the position of arts editor as part of a re-structuring according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper says that Roz Cheney, the arts editor since April 1996, received a warning call to tell her that her job was being made redundant when she returned from a month's break overseas but has not been told anything officially.
Cheney has been with the ABC for more than 30 years and has been responsible for programmes on Radio FM and Radio National such as The Listening Room, Radio Eye and Arts Today.
An announcement is due to be made today by Mark Collier, head of Radio National, concerning changes to arts broadcasting:
Previous ABC, Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2001-06-12: The UK Wireless Group has sold Scot FM, which covers central Scotland from Glasgow to Edinburgh, to Guardian Media Group (GMG) for £25.5 million.
The Wireless Group acquired the station when it took over the Independent Radio Group in December 1999.
At that time Scot FM was valued at £10 million and the Wireless Group's Chief Executive Kelvin MacKenzie commented, "If companies want to pay these kind of valuations for our assets then can they please form an orderly queue at the door because we will redeploy the capital elsewhere to deliver shareholder value."
GMG Chief Executive Bob Phillis said in a statement, "Scot FM is a important acquisition for us and fully underlines GMG's commitment to establishing a major presence in UK commercial radio."
The UK Guardian newspaper says that both Chrysalis and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) were prepared to pay more for the station but Chrysalis needed time to raise the £27.5 million it was prepared to offer and SRH's offer of £29 million would have been held up by a regulatory enquiry.
The Wireless Group has been strapped for cash of late (See RNW May 29) following losses totalling £34 million in the last financial year (See RNW April 30); Scot FM itself was said to have lost around £900,000 in the year.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2001-06-12: Millennium Broadcasting is expanding again: it is to buy Nassau Broadcasting's Shore Cluster stations for more than $90 million, subject to regulatory approval.
Nassau Broadcasting, announcing the sale, which included WJLK-FM, WADB-AM, WOBM-FM, WOBM-AM and WBBO-FM, Monmouth-Ocean, spoke of handing over "superb radio stations."
It added, "This divestiture allows Nassau to continue expanding our focus on our core properties in Central New Jersey and our five northern cluster stations in Pennsylvania."
" Our goal and focus will be to establish the new Nassau as the leading suburban group serving the greater Philadelphia market."
Millennium Radio Group said the stations would be an "be an excellent fit" with other pending acquisitions in New Jersey (See RNW June 9).
Nassau web site:
2001-06-11: To start off our look at radio items in print over the past week, Paul Donovan of the UK Sunday Times takes up the question of what a radio critic is for.
He pegs his column on a BBC Radio 4 celebration of the late Joyce Grenfell, who amongst other things was the first female voice hear on what we then the BBC Third programme:
She also was the first radio critic on a British Sunday newspaper, the UK Observer, from 1937 to 1939.
Donovan writes that she "landed the post because, like so many listeners before and since, she was so transfixed by a programme that she was quite unable to switch it off."
In her case she was late for a lunch party at Cliveden (a country estate near London then owned by the Astor family, which also owned the Observer for many years) because of listening to Bach's Italian Concerto and ended up sitting next to the paper's editor.
He said he didn't think anyone listened to the "wireless" but she persuaded him to the contrary and was hired to write a weekly radio review.
Donovan leads on to consider the function of a radio or television critic who, as he points out, "merely reflects on something that has been and gone" whereas "a film, theatre or book critic can at least influence how people spend their money."
One answer Donovan gives is that "people seem to enjoy reading the opinions of others, whether for entertainment value or to buttress their own prejudices."
But the main one, he says, is that "radio columnists can do more than simply discuss a shared experience, praise rising talent or expose the meretricious."
"They can become a rallying point for curious or disaffected listeners, and for the occasional whistle-blower."
In the latter context he writes that in the past few months he has, "received anguished letters and e-mails from France and Germany, asking why Radio 3 and Radio 4 are no longer being carried on crystal-clear Astra satellite to homes in mainland Europe, telling me that the World Service is quietly ceasing short wave transmissions to the US, Australia and the Pacific, or kindly tipping me off about this and that."
No tip off though was needed about the basics of the latest Boston radio row - or stunt - or both, depending upon your point of view.
This is the baiting of WCBN-FM afternoon disc jockey Nik Carter by the afternoon team of Storm (Zbel) and (Tom) Birdsey at WFNX-FM.
Picking up on the subject, Dean Johnson in the Boston Herald writes of WFNX owner Stephen Mindich going on air and "in a startling slice of dinnertime radio" carving up Carter.
"Mindich," writes Johnson, "told his 'FNX afternoon duo, Storm and Birdsey, that Carter `(bleeps) as a DJ."
"He's incompetent. He's terrible. He doesn't belong on the air.'''
" Mindich also railed about Carter's `pomposity' and `disrespect for people.''' "Then Mindich announced his station was going to take `the high road' in its ongoing spitting match with the WBCN DJ. That's the high road? "
Johnson then comments about the placing of a mock obituary for Carter in local papers, the audio tape which supposedly contains Carter indulging in phone sex and that Mindich has stopped the duo airing (Johnson wrtes that Mindich's main concern was the legality of airing it), and the eventual "suspension" (wink! wink!) of Storm and Birdsey.
"This latest salvo of stunts, " writes Johnson, " begs the question: At what point did local rock radio become a blood sport?"
Johnson then cites various comments on the stunt, which one consultant points out are nothing new in US radio.
"It is," writes Johnson, "new for the Hub, and especially FNX, even if last week's stunts have the faintly familiar stink of pranks Opie and Anthony and then Rocko with Birdsey once pulled at WAAF when Bruce Mittman ran the station. Mittman is now the president of WFNX."
Johnson ends by quoting consultant Holland Cooke who says, "The most conspicuous casualty in all this rivalry stuff are the people in their cars pushing the buttons.''
"The real issue with DJs constantly trying to embarrass each other is that they have totally left the listener out of the equation."
Still in Boston, and a column in the Boston Globe by Alex Beam starts of by asking," Who is the greatest fraud on Boston radio?"
The field is crowded writes Beame with "the Deerfield Academy-educated Howie Carr posing as the tribune of the Common Man on WRKO, to the coven of hacks masquerading as sports journalists on WEEI."
"But, " he argues, "The undisputed winner would have to be right-wing hatemeister Jay Severin."
He continues, "Severin has attracted plenty of attention in his first year on the air, partly by saying outlandish things. He calls Al Gore ''Al Whore,'' Hillary Clinton ''a lying bitch,'' and so on."
"He also has a genuine radio talent. He speaks slowly, in an unusual cadence that is friendly to the ear. He is delightful to listen to, until you hear what he's saying."
"The cornerstone of Severin's elaborate pose - stolen in its entirety from the late Lee Atwater - is that he is a swinging, ''rock 'n' roll Republican,'' a libertine who brags about bedding more than one woman at a time."
"So it is little wonder that Severin chooses not to disclose that he is married, with a wife and child living in New York"
"In fact, this featured player in WTKK-FM's (96.9) heavily promoted ''live and local'' talk format lives in New York, too."
"A high-bandwidth phone line in his home allows him to sound as if he is in Boston when he is 200-odd miles south of here. "
"This is most amusing around 2:50 p.m. each weekday, when Severin engages in ''cross talk'' banter with the previous WTKK host, left-wing madman Jim Braude. (Mr. Guevara, meet Mr. Mussolini.)"
"The listener thinks the two men are chatting in the studio. As often as not, Severin is present only in Braude's headphones. "
To the station, as Beame points out, the thing that really matters is not whether anyone is being misled but how the "ratings" are going.
As to his column? Does it best fit Donovan's category of providing entertainment or buttressing prejudices? Or is it more? Over to you!
Previous Storm and Birdsey:
Boston Globe - Beam:
Boston Herald -Johnson:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan: .
2001-06-11: A scenario we have long been concerned about (See our February 2000 Comment) may well turn become reality if a report in the UK Observer has any firm grounding.
It says that the British government is looking at radical plans to raise billions of pounds from the part-privatisation of the airwaves.
If enacted, the moves will revolutionise the allocation of radio spectrum to the telecommunications, media, and public sectors.
All broadcasters could potentially be affected but the consequences of the plan are most significant for television since it uses more spectrum; the planned switch-off of analogue television should free up double the amount of spectrum sold in the 3G mobile phone auction, which raised £22.5 billion for the British government (See RNW April 28, 2000)
The Observer report is based on a review of UK spectrum management by Professor Martin Cave of Brunel University; it was announced by Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister), during March's Budget.
The review was to have been published in May but was held up by the UK general election.
The paper says that because of European Union law, the focus of the report is not so much raising money as " on creating and then liberalising the spectrum market."
It adds that "parts of the Ministry of Defence already face financial incentives to rationalise greatly upon its use of spectrum" and says this approach could be extended to state broadcaster the BBC and Channel 4.
Unlike other UK terrestrial channels they did not have to bid for their licences at auctions.
The move is in line with a similar move in the US (See RNW Sept 23, 2000 re "Guard Band" auction).
Ironically, the review will be published just as European mobile phone companies are becoming increasingly under pressure over the costs for third generation services.
In an attempt to reduce the costs of building their networks, they have been moving to share mobile phone sites, moves which could run foul of European competition regulations.
In Britain the regulator last month relaxed rules, partly because of protests over the erection of new masts, and the German government last week also relaxed its rules over co-operation between operators.
The rollout of new services could be disrupted if the European Commission rules that collaboration between companies restricts competition.
UK Observer article:
2001-06-10: A whole run of decisions from Canada and a few from the UK but nothing from Australia or Ireland this week.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has now issued its decisions regarding the radio plans for Vancouver in British Colombia, which were the subject of a public hearing in Burnaby in November of last year.
The Commission was considering applications for a new FM station on the 94.5 MHz frequency and 90.9 MHz frequency.
In all eleven applications were made for the former, ten of them for new commercial stations and one from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to broadcast the programming of its French-language network service La Chaîne culturelle.
The decision taken, by a majority vote, was to approve an urban music format station, the Beat, proposed by Focus Entertainment Group Inc and to also approve the CBC proposal subject to the CBC suggesting a suitable alternative frequency.
The applications rejected were from six applicants for variations of the New Adult Contemporary/Smooth Jazz format, a competing urban format application, a classical music and an ethnic format application.
The 90.9MHz frequency was the subject of competing applications by not-for-profit corporations the Simon Fraser Campus Radio Society and Aboriginal Voices Radio, AVR, which would initially mainly relay the output of AVR's Toronto operation.
The decision here was not to allocate the 90.9 MHz frequency, for which the commission felt better uses could be found, but to approve both applications if they can propose a suitable alternative frequency.
Commissioner Jean-Marc Demers issued a dissenting note to both decisions.
He argued that the Commission should have supported CBC plans to extend its La Chaîne culturelle Francophone service, noting that the area concerned only had one Francophone service and nearly 20 English language ones.
He also objected to the principle of separating the approval of a licence from the approval of a frequency. Also in British Columbia, the Commission has approved a new low-power English-language FM radio tourist information station at Surrey and a new low power weather information station at Chilliwack.
Elsewhere in Canada, the CRTC has approved power increases for CJBC-FM Toronto from 3,500 watts to 5,730 watts and for CBLA-FM Toronto from 48,000 watts to 55,100 watts.
It denied an application to drop the request by cable companies to drop the requirement to distribute local radio station CIME-FM Saint-Jérôme, Québec.
The CRTC has also given notice of various applications to amend current services. These include:
* Mulgrave, Nova Scotia- New FM transmitter at Mulgrave to offer the programming of CBH-FM Halifax's Radio Two service.
* Drummondville and Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec - transfer of shares in CHRD-FM Drummondville and CFEI-FM Saint-Hyacinthe to Astral Radio Group Inc., which already owns 12 radio stations in Québec and is a half-shareholder in two more.
* Saint-Jérôme, Québec - increase in power from 630 to 11,700 watts for Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc.'s CIME-FM.
*Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - frequency change for tourist information radio programming to eliminate co-channel interference with a Michigan station broadcasting.
*Killaloe, Ontario - additional transmitter at Wilno for Homegrown Community Radio to broadcast programming of CHCR-FM Killaloe.
* Swift Current, Saskatchewan - increase in power of CHSK-FM from 440 to 4,710 watts and short distance re-location of transmitter.
* Campbell River, British Columbia - decrease in power of CFIY-FM from 50 to 27 watts and short distance re-location of transmitter.
In the UK, the main licence news has been the award of the third London digital licence to the Digital Radio Group ( See RNW June 8).
The Radio Authority has also announced that next week it is to advertise the Peterborough Digital Multiplex.
On the analogue front, it has re-awarded the Kettering, Corby & Wellingborough local licence to Connect FM, the existing licence holder.
The US has been fairly quiet but the Federal Communications Commission has levied a $15,000 fine on KDAP-AM, Phoenix, Arizona, for technical violations including failure to have proper monitoring equipment, conduct annual equipment performance measurements and maintain a public inspection file.
The station did not deny the offences nor that its carrier frequency measurement exceeded the required frequency tolerance but asked for a rescinding of or reduction in the fine because of its financial state.
The FCC notes that information was provided regarding KDAP-AM but not of its licensee KASA Radio Hogar, Inc., which meant that it could not assess the organisation's ability to pay and thus had to deny the request.
The FCC also fined Citadel-owned KKMG-FM in Pueblo, Colorado, $7000 for airing an edited version of the Eminem rap song "The Real Slim Shady"(See RNW June 5): Citadel is appealing against the fine.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC fine release:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-06-10: The prime voice of racing on BBC radio, Peter Bromley, commentated on his final Derby horse race - won by Galileo - on Saturday; In all he's called more than 40,000 races during his 40-year career.
Bromley, now 72, entered racing commentary because of an accident.
He had left the army, where he was a cavalry officer, and become an assistant trainer and amateur rider, but was banned from riding following an accident involving his horse and a lorry (truck) that left him in hospital with a fractured skull and blood clot.
He then became a racecourse commentator, working almost every track in England, for five years before the BBC hired him in 1958 as the third of a television trio of himself, Peter O'Sullevan and Clive Graham.
Three years later, when Raymond Glendenning retired in 1961, he moved to radio.
2001-06-09: A look at the business side of radio again to end the week, starting with a sudden rise in the price of Salem stock; It ended the week at $23.95 having hit a peak of nearly $27 on Thursday.
This compares with a 52-week low of $7.63 and followed comments about the company's "recession-resistant" radio business model at the Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown Media Conference which ended in New York earlier in the week.
There has also been one fairly large takeover in the US, the $110 million purchase of three New Jersey stations from Press Communications by the Millennium Radio Group, a partnership formed by UBS Capital Americas and Mercury Capital Partners.
Subject to FCC approval, it's acquiring Trenton stations, WKXW-FM and WBUD-AM and WBSS-FM in Corbin City.
In March, Millennium announced a $19 million agreement with Citadel Broadcasting Company, which is now being taken over by Forstman Little (See RNW Jan 17) to purchase three radio stations and the rights to operate another in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Involved were , WFPG-FM and AM, and WPUR-FM, plus a time brokerage agreement for WKOE-FM.
And in the UK some signs of confidence that radio shares have bottomed out have come via insider purchases of stock in Capital Radio and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH).
Yvette Davies, the wife of operations director Paul Davies, spent £75,000 to buy nearly 10,000 Capital shares at 770 pence per share, taking the Davies' holding to 30,000 shares.
Capital shares were at a peak of 1262.5 pence in early January.
Another buy was that of some £44,000 worth of Scottish Radio Holdings shares at £11.05 by non-executive director Andy Irvine.
SRH stock has also fallen heavily from the peak of £17.35 at the beginning of the year.
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous DB Conference:
2001-06-09: US shock jock Don Imus, who had said that he was firing sportscaster Sid Rosenberg over comments made about the tennis-playing Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, has now said he's reconsidered and will give Rosenberg a second chance.
Rosenberg, who joined Imus's WFAN morning show only recently after leaving the WNEW "Sports Guys" morning show, had said the sisters were too "masculine" and would be "more likely to appear in National Geographic than in Playboy magazine."
New York Daily News on firing:
2001-06-08: London's third digital radio licence has gone to the bid from the Digital Radio Group (DRG); it was competing against bids from London Digital Radio Ltd (LDR) and MXR (See RNW March 14).
DRG, whose two largest shareholders are the Wireless Group and GWR, which each hold 20%, is proposing eleven services.
Alll but one, Passion for London which would start within a year of the others commencing to broadcast, are to commence in December of this year.
*Children- Abracadabra (provider: Soundstart Radio Networks Ltd.)
*Soft rock - The Arrow (provider: Chrysalis Group plc)(to be confirmed)
*Urban Choice (provider: Soul Media Ltd.))(To be confirmed)
*Current chart - Liquid (provider: Virgin Radio Ltd.)
*Adult contemporary and speech - Passion for London (provider: Passion for the Planet Ltd.)
*Gay - Purple Radio (provider: Clubmend Ltd.)
*Country and Irish - Ritz (provider: RMG plc)
*Student - SBN London (provider: Channelfly plc)
*Rock and pop rock - Storm (provider: GWR Digital Ltd.)
*Young Asian - TAP (provider: Asian Sound Ltd.)
*Entertainment - Time Out Live (provider: Time Out Group Ltd.)
The award makes the Wireless Group the largest digital radio operator in the London area; it already owned Switch Digital, which won the second London digital licence in April last year (See RNW April 8, 2000).
Kelvin MacKenzie, the Wireless Group chief executive, said the licence put the company at the forefront of developments in digital radio.
Previous Switch Digital:
Previous Wireless Group:
2001-06-08: Maryland Public Radio, a community group led by WJHU-FM talk show host Marc Steiner, now seems the most likely organisation to take over the John Hopkins University radio station.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the other two finalists named by the university in the bidding for the station (See RNW May 16 ), WAMU-FM, which is owned by the American University in Washington, and WBUR-FM, owned by Boston University, have both now withdrawn from the bidding.
The paper says that WAMU gave as its reason for withdrawal the costs of creating new shows for WJHU; a consultants report had said these would cost more than they could generate in revenue.
WBUR said it needed more time to decide whether to bid although it did not totally rule itself out.
The University had set Monday of next week as the day for their announcement of the new owner, having originally set June 1 as a firm deadline but that deadline slipped as WAMU and WBUR expressed uncertainty.
The Maryland Public Radio bidders, who are expected to have to raise more than $5 million, say one anonymous donor has already promised the bulk of the finances and they have other significant contributors lined up.
Baltimore Sun report:
2001-06-07: New York WNEW-FM afternoon duo, Opie (Gregg Hughes) and Anthony (Cumia), have now agreed a three-year deal with the Infinity-owned station which adds a syndication deal in some 22 Infinity stations in the top 50 US markets.
In addition Infinity syndication company Westwood One will syndicate the show to non-Infinity stations later in the year.
There had been much speculation in New York that the duo, who significantly increased the afternoon audience for WNEW, would be tempted away by other offers, especially one from Clear Channel. The deal with Infinity also lifts a gag order that muzzled the pair from talking about Infinity morning star Howard Stern on air and in some cities will see them competing with Stern although in New York they will stay in the afternoon spot on WNEW with a simulcast on Infinity's WYSP-FM in Philadelphia starting today.
In an interview with Friday Morning Quarterback (FMQB), Anthony Cumia said, "It was a very hard decision either way."
"After everything was considered, we could do what we do best with Infinity in afternoons. They have the markets we want to be in and a good timeline on it."
Gregg Hughes (Opie) told FMQB, "We were definitely interested in doing mornings…but we weren't as obsessed with mornings as people thought… No one has been really successful in this format in afternoon drive yet, on the FMs."
"It's an untapped situation and we're going to make the best of it. Maybe we'll set a precedent. We're hoping that this turns some heads."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Previous Westwood One:
FMQB web site (links to Real Audio interview with Opie and Anthony).
WNEW web site:
2001-06-07: Embarrassment for the BBC when a Radio 4 Today Programme reporter took scheduled programming off the air in much of Yorkshire for 25 minutes on Monday night and replaced it with an expletives undeleted exchange with London editors.
The incident happened when reporter Michael Buchanan arrived unannounced at the BBC's Leeds studios to file an election report to London but couldn't find an engineer.
In his attempts to get through he pressed an override button and instead of the regular Andy Peebles show, listeners to BBC Radio North heard the the reporter's exchange with London.
It included Buchanan telling London to "fuck-off", "give me a fucking break" and also reacting to a phone call by saying," Shit, my mobile phone's ringing."
The exchange provoked more than 110 complaints from listeners, although according to the UK Guardian one listener congratulated Radio Leeds on "the coalescence of the stream-of-consciousness" dialogue.
The listener also commented that the electronic ambient music was "thought-provoking, original and I must say a brave departure for this station".
Following the incident BBC Today programme editor Ron Liddle said: "We apologise unreservedly to all listeners who had their enjoyment interrupted."
"We're very embarrassed and sorry, especially Michael."
"He's a great reporter but let's hope he never gets a job in a nuclear power station."
In Leeds, Ian Cundall, deputy head of regional programming BBC North, responded with an e-mail to staff.
It said," Most of you will now have heard about the Today reporter who took Andy Peebles off air for 25 minutes last night."
"The circumstances were bizarre - and it's perhaps unlikely to happen again. No one within this region can be blamed in any way."
"However, it's important to remember that it only requires a little brute force and a modicum of ignorance to land yourself in a very embarrassing jam."
"Pse Do: Check visitors have ID and - usually - have booked. Point them in the direction of the NCA rather than a studio. Give them an extn to call if they have difficulties with the kit "
"Pse Don't: Use language you wouldn't share with the vicar - even if you think the mic is closed."
UK Guardian report:
2001-06-07: Boston WFNX-FM afternoon hosts Storm (Zbel) and (Tom) Birdsey have been suspended for a week following their attacks on Nik Carter of WBCN-FM.
The earlier attack concerned a tape which allegedly had Carter leaving messages on the answer machine of a former girl friend and the later on the placing of an "In Memoriam" advert suggesting that Carter had died. (See RNW June 4).
The duo had threatened to air the tape, which WBCN insists is of an impersonator, unless Carter went on their show to say he'd switched to Storm and Birdsey.
WBCN also says that the suspension is phoney, part of a publicity stunt.
Previous Storm and Birdsey:
2001-06-06:The main radio business stories this week are coming from the 9th annual Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown Media Conference in New York, attended by all the giants -and judging by comments form a number of players, some would-be giants.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, whose company has just filed a $500M shelf registration with the SEC that will allow Emmis to quickly sell common and preferred shares, depositary shares, debt and warrants whenever it wants to raise more cash, has said that his company is in the market to expand when conditions are right.
He says his company wants five FM's in every market where Emmis operates but he won't pay over the odds. Clear Channel and Viacom subsidiary Infinity seem to have the top two slots reserved but Smulyan's aim is to make Emmis the number three radio player in the world.
This aim is likely to face competition from Entercom and current number three Disney's ABC subsidiary, which has also recently encouraged talk of radio expansion.
Entercom President and COO David Field, who has been upbeat about July prospects, has also thrown his hat into the ring with talk of hitting the number three spot.
At the very top, Clear Channel, which is at or close to the current legal limits in most markets, has also said it remains in acquisitive mode wherever suitable opportunities arise.
However according to R&R, it has forecast a $20 million loss, mainly because of its interactive initiatives.
Number two player, Infinity, whose owner Viacom filed a $5 billion shelf registration the day before Emmis's $500 million filing, is also not out of acquisition mode.
There are also suggestions that syndication company Westwood One, which is managed by Infinity, could yet buy some stations.
Its CEO Joel Hollander acknowledged that the company explored the possibility of buying a group concentrated on markets 50 and smaller last year.
Westwood did own stations in the 80's but sold them when the recession hit and Infinity's 60% holding in the company means any deals are likely to be subject to anti-trust review.
Previous ABC, US:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Westwood One:
R&R Web site:
2001-06-06: Measurecast has reported another increase in Internet listening, of 2.4% over the previous week, for the week to June 3.
This takes its Internet Radio Index, which has a base 100 for the start of this year, to 152.
Measurecast has also reported its figures for May, which show an increase of 14.8 percent in hours streamed by Internet-only stations over April but of only 4.8% for terrestrial broadcasters.
At the top of its rankings there was very little change although lower down the situation was more fluid with only 17 stations in the organisation's top 50 for both April and May, 11 of them Internet-only operations.
In the past week there was no change in rankings for the top 5 ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL).
They were (with previous week's TTSL and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 133,261 (165,842); CP 44,637 (43,119) - Position unchanged but listening was higher the last week which in turn was lower than three weeks ago.
2): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 59,738 (54,962) CP 24,027 (22,133) - Position unchanged.
3): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 49,878 (48,125); CP 13,917 (9,924) - Position unchanged.
4): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 46,333 (45,629); CP 8,733 (6,882) - Position unchanged.
5): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 42,209 (40,730); CP 18,635 (14,955) - Position unchanged.
For May, the top five had one newcomer, Internet-only CableMusic Hot 100, which pushed ESPN Sports radio down to 6th place.
The May top 5 were:
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 715,614; CP 142,328 - Position unchanged.
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 254,204; CP 25,694 - - Position unchanged.
3): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 246,746; CP 63,785 - Previously 4th.
4): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 229,794; CP 25,416 Previously 3rd.
5): Internet only CableMusic Hot 100 TTSL 192,308; CP 52,321 - Previously 20th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-06-05: Arbitron and its future, specifically the development of its Personal People Meter, is the subject of a Washington Post article by Jerry Knight, who notes that the spin-off by Ceridian of Arbitron has proved highly beneficial to the shareholders of the original combined company.
Before the split the combined organisation was valued at around $3 billion; now Ceridian alone is worth around $2.8 billion and Arbitron, whose first figures as an independent company were fairly strong (See RNW April 28), was valued at around $750 million.
This is despite the continuing negotiations with Clear Channel which accounts for around a fifth of Arbitron's business and has threatened to drop ratings.
Clear Channel's current contract for most of its stations runs out before the next set of Arbitron ratings are due in July.
If no deal is signed, Clear Channel will have to convince advertisers of the value of its broadcasts without the audience size and demographic date that determines where advertisers spend their money and how much they pay a station for spots.
Arbitron currently has a monopoly of US radio ratings through its "Diary" system but is also trying to develop Internet business through its Webcast ratings (RNW note: These are issued monthly -latest figures are for February -see RNW May 24 whereas rival Measurecast offers weekly ones - see RNW May 31 ) and also move up the technology ladder for radio and TV ratings with its Portable People Meter.
This also has a rival from the Swiss Broadcasting Company (see RNW May 29).
The Personal People Meter is a pager-sized device, which logs a coded signal that is broadcast by each station.
Data is then transmitted to Arbitron when the listener connects it to a combined charger and data retrieval station.
The personal people meters were first tested in England and now are being tried out in the Philadelphia and Wilmington markets.
Steve Morris, Arbitron's president and chief executive officer, says, "By July or August, we'll know how it works."
After the tests Arbitron will have to reconcile the results of the old and new methodologies and explaining the data to station owners and advertisers.
It will have to do so against a background of the experience of the Nielsen TV rating service, which found significant differences when it began supplementing its viewer diaries with set-top boxes more than a decade ago.
Nielsen is also taking part in the tests since the meters can log TV as well and it has an option to invest in the venture.
Its Australian arm, which rates radio there, is currently evaluating the Swiss metering system (see RNW May 29).
Morris told the paper he was confident that media meters are the future of ratings. "It's just a fundamentally better way to measure audiences," he said.
Previous Clear Channel:
Washington Post report:
2001-06-05: The US Federal Communications Commission has fined Citadel-owned KKMG-FM in Pueblo, Colorado, $7000 for airing a bowdlerised version of the Eminem rap song "The Real Slim Shady".
The action follows a fine of the same amount levied on Clear Channel-owned WZEE-FM in Madison, Wisconsin, for airing an unedited version of the song which is liberally sprinkled with obscenities (See RNW Jan 20).
Clear Channel had defended itself by saying that it played the unedited version of the song - from a CD supplied by Interscope Records which also contained several edited versions --in error; Citadel played an edited version and submitted the lyrics to the FCC, arguing that they were not indecent.
The FCC did not accept this. FCC enforcement chief David Solomon said, "The edited version of the song contains unmistakable offensive sexual references."
"Portions of the lyrics contain sexual references in conjunction with sexual expletives that appear intended to pander and shock."
Under FCC indecency guidelines issued in April (see RNW April 7) the Commission wrote, "The more explicit or graphic the description or depiction, the greater the likelihood that the material will be considered patently offensive."
It went on to say that editing would not preclude an indecency ruling if that left sexual or excretory meanings remained clear:
"Merely because the material consists of double entendre or innuendo, however, does not preclude an indecency finding if the sexual or excretory import is unmistakable," it wrote.
Citadel has until the beginning of July to appeal.
Previous Clear Channel:
FCC Daily Digest containing ruling:
FCC Indecency Guidelines (84 kb pdf):
2001-06-04: A question from a BBC Radio 5 Live presenter starts this week's look at newspaper items of the past week.
Writing in the UK Guardian, Fi Glover asks," Does it add anything to Sunday Service on 5 Live to know what I look like?"
"Does it help understand the nuances of Charlie Whelan's political thought process to be able to see what shade of blond he has taken on for summer?"
"Does it add anything to see Andrew Pierce making faces at the sports bloke? Invariably it doesn't."
The comment is of course about web cams and earlier she had commented of a correspondent who sends her e-mails about postures, "I can't help wondering whether he is listening to me for the right reasons. The key word in that sentence is 'listening'."
"Since the advent of the web cam in the studio, he - and millions of other listeners - can now see us as well as hear us. "
"One of my many reasons for coming into radio was the opportunity to slouch and use offensive hand signals, and I feel I should now be able to sue someone for taking away those pleasures."
"However, these developments are born of clever people doing clever things with technology and I don't want to ruin their little triumphs - but just because you can do something doesn't mean you should." There is more but the point is well made about technology for the sake of it, not for a clearly thought out purpose.
RNW comment: And we'd also note that it puts yet another premium on the visual compared to the aural. We are old fashioned enough to prefer a good voice for a narrator or singer to a fancily cavorting face and figure!
Which takes us to the US and an AP report courtesy of the New York Times and other papers on Internet-only Radio Margaritaville.
The station is owned by singer Jimmy Buffet who comments," There are no restrictions. No FCC."
"It's like the old pirate radio stations that sat offshore and played what they want.''
Programme director Steve Huntington comments -with not a web cam in mind, "We hope we can take folks away. ``It's really a theatre of the mind. You supply your own pictures. "
"Your imagination doesn't work the same way watching TV.''
The idea for the Maragitaville had its roots in a Buffet tour of Australia two decades ago and radio programming he heard there.
In 1998 he heard similar programming on two US stations and then got into a conversation about the Internet.
Buffett looked up his old radio friend Huntington. In 1998, Huntington agreed to leave his long career in ``regular'' radio, saying he was tired of consultant-driven, homogenized programming.
"When we first started talking about this, we didn't know the Internet would be the route,'' Huntington says.
"We figured it would be done in syndication or something. But we started doing some shows on the main Margaritaville site in 1998 and the response was very good.''
Buffet adds," The Web is the radio of the future. It'll open up with increasing wireless Internet access. Look what happened to TV with the cable and satellite. It's a whole new world out there."
Buffet, somewhat contradicting Huntington, also mentions the video possibilities.
In another area, that of digital radio, the add-ons are also mentioned but the main interest to us was a prediction of costs.
It's in another AP item, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, on digital radio. Pegged to the Las Vegas National Association of Broadcasters' meeting (see RNW April 24), it looks at iBiquity's digital technology.
This allows simulcast broadcasts in digital and analogue using existing frequencies.
And the forecast on the likely cost of digital equipment?
Manufacturers, says the article, are likely to have a range of digital clock radios and home audio systems by 2003 at a cost of 10 to 20% more than analogue receivers in the short term.
RNW note: We assume this means that in the longer term the differential will be reduced and noting current prices, several hundred dollars for a digital receiver compared to around $20 for quite a reasonable quality FM radio, there's a long way to go.
UK Guardian - Glover:
Chicago Tribune/AP - Digital radio:
New York Times/AP - Margaritaville:
2001-06-04: The past week seems to have been fairly busy for radio stunts in the US.
In Florida it encompassed defacing a billboard, in Boston a fake obituary for a DJ at a rival station.
The Boston stunt involved a newspaper advertisement placed by WFNX-FM implying that WCBN-FM DJ Nik Carter had died.
The advert, trimmed in black, carried a picture of Carter and headline "In Memory …Nikolas Carter" followed by text "One last clap and you were gone, but you will always be our number two…….Love, Stormie and the Bird.''
WBCN hit back with a comment by Creative Services Director Chachi LoPrete who said," Nik has now joined the ranks of Mayor Menino.( a reference to a "Mayor Menino is dead" hoax for which Opie((Gregg Hughes)) and Anthony(Anthony Cumia) were fired by WAAF-FM: The duo are now at WNEW-Fm in New York ).
Tom Birdsey, now at WFNX as part of the Storm (Zbel) and Birdsey afternoon team, staged an anti-Carter crusade when he was at WAAF-FM.
In Florida, the stunt involved spray painting a goatee beard and creating a large gap in the teeth of WQYK-FM's Skip Mahaffey by staff of the A.W. Pantoja Morning Show on WRBQ-FM.
It was said to have taken the management of the Tampa Bay stations, both Infinity-owned, by surprise.
A.W. Pantoja is to pay $1000 to replace the billboard.
Still in Tampa, and sharp reaction by WFLZ-FM morning show host MJ Kelli got widespread publicity for the station. After Lissette Stanley was removed as Blake High School senior class president for placing condoms into prom gift bags, Kelli invited her onto the station to read on air the speech she had intended to give.
Boston Herald report;
St Petersburg Times report:
2001-06-03: A busy week in Australia last week but fairly quiet elsewhere for the regulators.
The main news from the Australian Broadcasting Authority was the Aus$67 million auction of the new Brisbane FM licence that went to a consortium of DMG Radio Australia and the Australian Radio Network (RNW May 31).
The ABA has also released a discussion paper and draft variation to its Melbourne radio licence plan which would allow the commercial AM radio service 3AK to change frequency from 1503 kHz to 1116 kHz and to make the 1503 kHz channel available for a new community broadcasting service in the city.
Also on the community licence front, the ABA has awarded a new community radio licence for Penrith, New South Wales, to Way Out West Fine Music Inc. (WOW FM); there had been two applications for the licence, the second being from the Nepean Christian Community Radio Association.
In Canada, theCanadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) listed only minor radio decisions and all was also quiet in Ireland.
In the UK, theRadio Authority has published its assessment of the award of the Southend and Chelmsford digital multiplex licence to the sole applicant, Now Digital Ltd (See Licence News May 13 ).
The Authority has also pre-advertised a new FM licence for Reading in Berkshire and invited interested parties to apply to take part in an Access Radio pilot scheme, which will run from 1 January 2002.
The project is designed as a test bed to see if Access Radio is a viable concept and to give guidance, if it is to be introduced, as to how it should best be licensed, regulated, funded, promoted and organised.
The Authority says it hopes to licence up to a dozen pilot services, which would be carefully evaluated.
In the US, two new Commissioners have now been sworn in at the Federal Communications Commission (See RNWJune 1). and the term as chairman of William Powell extended.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-06-03: Three new Webcast networks - RadioWave, BigRadio.com, and The New York Times Electronic Media Company -joined the Arbitron Webcast Ratings network in February.
In its February network ratings, Arbitron ranked RadioWave fifth with 975,00 ATH; BigRadio.com 12th with 284,900; and The New York Times EMC 24th with 115,700.
For the seventh month running NetRadio maintained its number one spot with more than three million ATH. (RNW note - this equates to around 1190 on an AQH -average quarter hour - basis).
There were two new entrants into the Top 10 in February - Clear Channel Internet Group, which ranked seventh with 561,800 ATH, and Public Interactive, which came in at number eight with 539,800 ATH.
The top five networks, ranked by ATH (aggregate tuning hours) were:
1: NetRadio.com ATH 3,191,200
2: Live365 ATH 2,706,500
3: ABC Radio Networks ATH 1,858,800
4:Stream Audio ATH 1,497,500
5: RadioWave ATH 975,100.
Beethoven.com, whose ATH of 741,500 gave it first rank in Arbitron's channel ratings for February (See RNW May 24), was sixth in network ratings terms.
Arbitron has also issued a correction to the February channel webcast ratings; it had previously omitted MediaAmazing, which ranked sixth as a channel with an ATH of 222,800: this made it 15th as a network.
Previous Arbitron webcast ratings:
Arbitron web site:
2001-06-02: Entries have now closed in the contest whose first prize is KAWL-AM, in York, Nebraska.
Prairie States Broadcasting had touted the contest, which required a $1000 entry fee on the basis of needing a minimum 1000 entries.
This would have given it $1 million for the station and the winner the station for $1000 subject to Federal Communications Commission approval.
KAWL had set a test on radio terms that had to be completed and returned with the entry fee but when the May 31 deadline passed only some 500 entries had been received and of these only two had answered all the test questions correctly.
The station has made no announcement on its site about extending the deadline and is expected to return all fees paid to the entrants.
RNW Comment: At least they got free advertising that the station could be up for sale!
Previous KAWL :
KAWL-AM web site:
2001-06-02: Napster, which is currently operating under a court injunction which orders it to block songs controlled by the world's largest record labels, has now been hit by a lawsuit over the swapping of old-time radio shows.
The suit has been filed in San Francisco by MediaBay Inc of New Jersey which claims that "substantial numbers" of radio shows sold by its subsidiary Radio Spirits Inc are being traded illegally online by Napster users.
MediaBay has asked Napster to block the shows from being traded and its President and CEO Michael Herrick said in a statement that they believed, "Napster should take a proactive approach toward preventing piracy instead of waiting for companies like MediaBay to enforce their legal rights."
Radio Spirits had already started to take action against web sites that provided recordings of old-time radio shows (See RNW Feb 17).
Previous Radio Spirits:
2001-06-02: Unlike last month when radio escaped scot-free (See RNW May 27), radio features in a half of the complaints upheld by UK watchdog, the Broadcasting Standards Commission.
The majority of complaints concerned standards of such areas portrayal of violence, sexual conduct and matters of taste and decency with the commission receiving in all some 90 complaints of this kind, some 70 of which concerned TV.
Seven "standards" complaints were upheld:. There were only six complaints in all concerning fairness, four of which were upheld.
Of the 7 "standards" complaints that were upheld, four involved radio.
*a Century FM broadcast of a series of offensive prank phone calls even though these had been broadcast with the consent of the recipients;
* sexual references on the Sara Cox BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show " inappropriate for the time of transmission";
*a similar offence on the Chris Evans show on Virgin FM which stemmed from an article in a "lads" magazine;
*and swearing on Virgin's Drivetime show.
Four complaints against radio were not upheld, compared to 13 not upheld against TV.
They included one about a BBC Radio Five Live programme in which a presenter "got the giggles" whilst reading an item which concerned the death of a man in Egypt who had kept sheep on his roof; one of them butted him over the edge and he fell to his death three storeys below.
There were a further 10 complaints against radio and 51 against TV which were rejected without the broadcaster being asked to provide a statement and a further 9 against radio and three against TV which were resolved, generally because of action the broadcaster had already taken.
In the fairness section, TV fared worst with five of the six complaints relating to TV, three being upheld.
The other complaint upheld was against Whitchurch FM, a restricted service licence holder.
It concerned a complaint by a local councillor whom the Commission said should have been given a proper opportunity to respond to allegations against him.
BSC web site(Note:This is a Flash 5 site:It links to the report in PDF format-123 kb).
2001-06-01: Florida host Bubba the Love Sponge, real name Todd Clem, now has to appear in court on June 11 to face animal cruelty charges following the castration and killing of a wild boar in the car park of Clear Channel's WXTB-FM.
At a pre-trial hearing this week, his attorney appeared in court for him.
The host, station producer Brent, the hunter who took the animal to the station and a man who held it while it was killed are all facing third-degree felony animal cruelty charges which could be punished with fines up to $10,000 and five years in jail.
They have all entered not guilty pleas.
Previous Clear Channel:
2001-06-01: Two of the three new Commissioners at the US Federal Communications Commission have now been sworn in.
They are the Republican Kathleen Abernathy and Democrat Mike Copps.
The third Commissioner, Republican Kevin Martin who is filling the spot vacated by former chairman William Kennard, is due to start his five-year term on July 1.
The Senate Commerce Committee did not nominate Martin to finish the remainder of Kennard's term, which ran to June 30.
FCC web site: (Links to statements by Abernathy and Copps):
2001-06-01: XM Satellite Radio's second satellite, XM Roll, has now gone into geosynchronous orbit and is being manoeuvred towards its final position at 85 degrees W.
It has also deployed its solar arrays and communication antennas and is due to begin test transmissions early this month and to begin full time broadcasting in late June.
XM web site:
2001-06-01: April figures just released by the US Radio Audience Bureau, show that radio advertising revenues fell by 9% in April this year compared to 2000, which was boosted by dot com revenues and showed local advertising up 19% and national advertising up 32% compared to 1999.
The fall in national revenues for April this year was 22%, that for local sales was 5%.
On the RAB Sales Index, which takes 1998 as a base of 100, the April figures were an index of 131.3 for local sales and 117.6 for national sales. The combined index was 128.
For the year to date the indices were local sales 132.6, national sales 124.1 and combined sales 130.7; compared to last year, the year to date figures show a fall of 7% in combined revenues, a fall of 3% in local revenues and a 20% fall in national revenues.
RAB President & CEO Gary Fries commented, "We are nearing the end of the tremendous comparisons from 2000. While we still have May ahead of us with the biggest and toughest comparison, we are seeing a resurgence in specific categories and the outlook for the second half of 2001 remains positive."
Previous RAB, US:
RAB web site:
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