October 2002 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
September 2002 - November 2002
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.
RNW October comment looks at the responsibilites of democratic societies and their broadcasters in ensuring adequate and fair news and information broadcasts.
RNW September comment looks at the Opie and Anthony "Sex for Sam" stunt row and concludes that it should stimulate discussion on what regulations the Federal Communications Commission should apply in future but that there should be no sudden severe penalty imposed in this case.
RNW August comment considers RDS -Radio Data Services- and where they are a benefit and where they could be a fatal negative.
2002-10-31: More strong results have come from the latest batch of third quarter results in the US, although Beasley Broadcasting was an exception in revenues, which rose only 0.35% to USD28.8 million from USD28.7 million.
However its net income went into the black at USD1.5 million (6 cents a share) compared to a loss of USD 1,5 million (48 cents a share) in the third quarter of last year. For the final quarter, Beasley says it expects revenues of around USD31 million with same-station revenues forecast to grow 3%.
Cox Radio beat analysts expectations with revenues for the quarter up 13.4% over 2001 Q3 from USD99.2 million to USD 112.5 million with net income more than quadrupling from USD3.6 million (4 cents a share) to USD17.8 million (18 cents a share): Cox notes that had accounting standard SFAS No. 142 been in operation for the whole of 2001, its net income for the third quarter would have been USD12.8 million (13 cents a share). Broadcast cash flow was up 18.5% to USD45.4 million from USD38.3 million and free cash flow was up just over 75% to USD 25.6 million.
Within the figures, national revenues rose 17.5% to USD 23.8 million and local revenues rose 12.1% to USD82.4 million.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil commented, "We are pleased to report third quarter financial results which exceeded our guidance on all measures."
"Revenue growth this quarter was substantial, up 13%, while our broadcast cash flow margin was up 170 basis points over last year. Perhaps most importantly, we delivered free cash flow of almost $26 million this quarter, an increase of 75% over last year's third quarter." "These record results were driven by company-wide strong performance with exceptional results from our Houston, Tampa, Long Island and Louisville clusters."
"Finally, we are pleased to report that the advertising environment remains strong, and while economic and political uncertainty surround us, we are on track to post record results for the full year 2002."
For the fourth quarter of 2002, Cox Radio says it expects net revenues of approximately $108 million; broadcast cash flow of approximately $42 million; and earnings per share of 15 cents.
Radio One Inc. reported net broadcast revenues up 22% on 2001 at USD 80.5 million and same station revenues up 13%; Broadcast Cash Flow was up 25% overall at USD43.1 million and same station BCF was up 20% and net income went into the black at USD12.8 million (12 cents a share) compared to a loss of USD10.1 million (11 cents a share) for Q3, 2001.
EBITDA was up 24% to USD 39.9 million; after tax cash flow at USD 21.6 million (21 cents a share) was up 77% and free cash flow at USD 19,1 million (18 cents a share) was up 87%,
CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III, commented, "This was another great quarter for us as we continued to deliver some of the highest growth rates and margins in the industry."
"We have weathered an uncertain economic environment and competitive entry in several of our markets and are well positioned to continue our industry outperformance in the upcoming quarters, which is remarkable given the tough comps that we are up against relative to most other industry participants."
"We are cautiously optimistic that the strength we have seen in radio advertising over the past several months will continue well into next year."
Executive Vice President and CFO Scott R. Royster added, "In addition to our strong operating performance, our balance sheet continues to improve markedly. Our leverage has fallen below five times EBITDA, and we are pleased to announce that we recently took advantage of historically low interest rates and, effective early December, 2002, fixed rates on $200 million of our bank term debt at swap rates ranging from 2.55% to 3.39 down from an average fixed swap rate of 6.41% we have been paying for the last two years. This action should benefit net income and free cash flow and enhance our financial flexibility in 2003 and beyond."
For the fourth quarter of 2002, Radio One says it expects net broadcast revenue of approximately $76.9 million, BCF of approximately $37.4 million, EBITDA of approximately $34.2 million, ATCF per share of approximately $0.16 and net income per share (before preferred dividends of $0.05 per share and one time and/or extraordinary items, if any) of approximately $0.09-0.10. This would represent double-digit growth in same station net revenue for the quarter.
Saga Communications net revenues for the quarter were up 13.5% over 2001 at USD29.8 million; Broadcast cash flow was up 19.6% to USD 11.9 million and After tax cash flow was up 27.7% at Usd6.9 million (33 cents a share). Saga's net income was up 62% to USD4.4 million (21 cents a share).
Same station net revenues within this were up 9.5% to USD28.7 million with same station BCF up 17% to USD11.7 million.
Saga's radio revenues were up 12.5 % at USD 23.7 million with radio BCF up 16.8% at USD11.1 million and radio operating profit up 30.7% at USD 9.8 million.
For the fourth quarter, Saga expects net revenues of $29.2 million; broadcast cash flow of $10.9 million and after tax cash flow of $6.1 million (29 cents a share).
Previous Radio One Inc:
Previous Saga Communications:
2002-10-31: Latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey show Macquarie's Sydney 2GB further increasing to its lead over Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE in the talk stakes; although its share fell from 10.0 to 9.6, it kept the second spot whilst 2UE, which lost share from 8.8 to 8.0 plunged to seventh rank. Austereo's 2-Day kept the top spot, with its share up from 10.5 to 11.7. ABC 702 went the other way, taking its share up from 7.9 to 9.4 and moving into third rank from eighth. DMG 's Nova fell from fifth to sixth..
In the breakfast competition, Alan Jones retained the top spot for 2GB but his share slipped again, this time from 13.6 to 13.4 but in the mornings, John Laws lost his top spot for rival 2UE to 2-Day as the latter's share increased from 9.6 to 10.9 and his fell from 11.3 to 10.1, equal with Ray Hadley at 2GB who saw his share drift slightly down from 10.3. City by city, the top three were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM with 24.7 (27.3); 5AA with 17.9 (17.1); MIX with 12.0 (11.6) was up from fourth - 5MMM with 11.5 as in the previous survey fell to fourth:
*Brisbane - B105FM with 17.2 (19.8); Triple M 14.3 (14.3); NEW97.3 FM 12.2 (12.9). No change in rankings but B105 and NEW97.3 FM continued to fall back while Triple M held steady.
*Melbourne - Fox FM 13.6 (13.9) losing a little share but moving into top spot: ABC774 12.7 (12.1)- gaining share and moving from third into second spot; 3AW 12.0 (14.0) - losing share again and falling from top to third: Nova moved up from fifth spot last time when it had an 7.8 share to fourth with a 9.4 share.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 22.6 (22.9); All New 92.9 with 17.0 (16.5); 96FM with 13.6 (13.2) - no change in rankings:
*Sydney, 2-Day with 11.7 (10.5); 2GB 9.6 (10.1); ABC702 9.4 (7.9) - up from eighth: Triple M with 8.9 (8.7) fell from third to fourth and 2UE with 8.0 (8.8) - plunged from second to seventh whilst Nova with 8.2 (8.2) fell from fifth to sixth.
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2002-10-31: The BBC has hauled Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles over the coals for threatening to "tear the head" off a rival DJ, according to the UK Guardian. The action was taken following a complaint about comments made by Moyles on his show in response to comments in a tabloid newspaper by rival DJ, Neil "Dr" Fox, from Capital FM.
Fox has said he'd like to get in the ring with Moyles for an edition of a TV series and Moyles in his show said, "I'm going to rip that guy a brand new hole. I'm gonna tear his head off and poo down his neck."
The BBC programme complaints unit commented that the "remarks had been prompted by personal comments from the rival DJ. However, what began as a humorous response became too forceful and prolonged."
UK Guardian report:
2002-10-31: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that comments made that "some women need a slap in the face" (translation) on the radio program Champagne pour tout le monde broadcast on CKRS-AM, Chicoutimi, Quebec, promoted violence against women and breached its codes.
It has also ruled that an ethnic joke broadcast on the Scruff Connors and John Derringer Morning Show on CFYI-AM, Toronto, as tasteless but did not breach its codes.
The Quebec decision related to conversation between Louis Champagne and his co-host Brigitte Simard who had reported during the entertainment news segment of the show that singer Whitney Houston had separated from her husband after a history of physical abuse. Champagne responded that Houston "liked to be beaten" and, when Simard attempted to change the subject, Champagne repeatedly insisted, "some women need a slap in the face."
The broadcaster has suggested in a letter that Champagne was using sarcasm to denounce the cycle of violence that becomes common-place in some women's lives and that he in no way intended to encourage or endorse violence against women.
The Quebec Panel rejected this proffered justification and found the broadcaster in breach of both the CAB Code of Ethics and the CAB Violence Code:
In the Toronto case, the hosts had poked fun at Chinese food, adopting a mock Chinese accent, and also Swedish, German and French accents.
The exchange led to a complaint from the Chinese Canadian National Council, which stated that the "sarcastically stereotypical content" was derogatory and disrespectful towards Chinese Canadians.
The panel, although commenting on the poor taste and puerile nature of those who find foreign accents, particularly when coupled with halting English, to be funny, said that the comments had not breached its codes.
It added that it considered them "unpleasant, desensitizing and unreflective of the public responsibility that those seated at the microphone ought to carry but not so hateful, demeaning or degrading as to be considered to be abusive or unduly discriminatory."
CBSC web site:
2002-10-31: New York disc jockey Irving Bynum, known as DJ Biz at Albany urban contemporary station WAJZ-FM, is in a stable condition in hospital after being slashed in the face and shot four times when he was attacked as he got into his car in the station's parking lot according to an AP report.
The AP says he was able to give police a description of his attacked and quotes Albany Broadcasting Company's general manager Paul Vandenburgh as saying he didn't know of any possible motive for the attack.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2002-10-30: US radio giant Clear Channel's third quarter results show its revenues up 1.7% on 2001 at USD 2.34 billion and radio revenues up 11.3% to USD 964,123; Overall free cash flow (EBITDA less interest expenses, taxes and non-revenue producing capital expenditures) was up 108% to USD419 million (USD0.66 per share), compared to USD201 million or USD0.33 per share for the same period in 2001.
On a pro forma basis, overall revenues were down 2.9% to USD 2.31 billion but pro forma radio revenues at the same USD 964,123 total were up 9.4%.
Net earnings were USD213 million, or USD0.34 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2002 compared to a net loss of USD232 million or a net loss of USD 0.39 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2001 although Clear Channel notes that had FAS (Financial Accounting Standard) 142 been in force throughout 2002, net earnings for the third quarter of that year would have been USD119 million or USD0.20 per diluted share.
Adjusted EBITDA (operating cash flow less corporate expenses) was up 11% to USD616 million for the quarter and EBITDA was USD418 million, an increase of 18% over the same period in 2001; On a pro-forma basis overall EBITDA was up 8% to USD 612 million, and radio EBITDA was up 17% to USD 419 million.
Commenting on the overall figures, chairman and CEO Lowry Mays said, "I am proud that Clear Channel is on a strong and steady course to compete fairly in our industries, grow our business honestly and manage our business with integrity. The fundamentals of our business are sound, and I am very proud of the results we are seeing as our people continue to focus on serving our customers and communities."
On the radio figures, Radio CEO John Hogan said, "The third quarter, my first as Radio CEO, saw a number of positive moves."
"Our markets continued gaining traction through strong revenue growth. Our structure and initiatives continued supporting the decentralized responsibility and accountability of our managers, while providing unparalleled resources to help them run their clusters."
Looking ahead, Clear Channel is forecasting fourth quarter EBITDA in the range USD 525-550 million, which would be an increase of 48% to 50% on the same quarter of 2001; based on this estimate it says it expects to generate a total of some USD1.2 billion in free cash flow for the full year around 50% more than in 2001.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Clear Channel web site (Results are 33kb PDF)
2002-10-30: The UK commercial radio lobby looks as if it may have pushed the British government into a re-think of its "three plus the BBC" proposals in its draft Communications Bill that would have insisted that for a local market there should be a minimum of three owners of commercial radio stations as well as the BBC.
The broadcasters under the aegis of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) had argued that this would mean that radio was over-regulated compared to the BBC and wanted the rules changed to a minimum of two commercial owners.
Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield had been particularly outspoken in attacks on the proposals (See RNW Oct 21)
The government has now indicated it may accept the radio companies' arguments and change the rules to "two plus the BBC"
2002-10-30: In its latest Programming and Advertising Review, published along with its quarterly Complaints Bulletin to the end of September, the UK Radio Authority again headlines the issue of local "news hubs" that would allow a group of stations to centralise production of bulletins, an idea that it rejected last month (See RNW Sept 12).
Its main feature deals with its approach to the idea and it also has a second feature on its AM strategy published earlier this month (See RNW Oct 6).
In its complaints bulletin, the Authority says it considered 46 programming-related complains, down from 64 in the third quarter of last year and 50 relating to advertising, up from 41 in the third quarter of last year (See RNW Oct 25, 2001).
The Complaints Bulletin shows a breakdown (Q3, 2001 figures in brackets) of programming complaints as follows:
* Accuracy - One (Five) of which None (Three) were upheld;
*Balance/Bias and Fairness - Six (Three), of which None (None) were upheld;
*Taste and decency - 26 (38) of which five (nine) were upheld;
*Promise of performance or format - Eight (Eight) of which None (None) were upheld and
* Other Five (10) of which Three (One) were upheld. These total 46 complaints (64) of which eight (13) were upheld.
The advertising complaints breakdown (again with 2001 figures in brackets) was:
* Harmful - Three (One), of which None (None) was upheld;
* Misleading 21 (32) of which Four (Six) were upheld;
* Offensive 20 (Six) of which Three (One) were upheld and
* Other - Six (Two), of which Two (None) were upheld. These total 50 complaints (41) of which Nine (Seven) were upheld.
The taste and decency programming offences which were upheld included:
*A complaint against a Sunday morning programme on Key 103, Manchester, which included banter about premature ejaculation and that was held to be unsuitable for broadcast at a time when research showed the station had a significant child audience.
*A complaint against Kiss FM, London, over the lyrics of the Ja Rule and Ashanti song Always on Time. The station had played the song as part of a 20-minute mix and said the producer had not checked the mix thoroughly; The Programme Director said when the lyrics were heard on air, he immediately instructed the DJ to talk over the mix and end playing the song as soon as possible. In ruling the Authority noted the station's speedy action.
*A complaint against Xfm, London, that the complainant thought was offensive to a member of Professor Stephen Hawking's staff and that, through a computer-simulated voice ridiculed his disability that meant he speaks through a speech synthesizer.
The Authority rejected this part of the complaint but held that the call should not have been broadcast without gaining permission of the member of staff.
* A complaint against Virgin over a promotion for a late-night phone in that the complainant felt contained references to a 'hard on' and 'shagging her brains out' that were inappropriate for an early evening broadcast.
Two other complaints were considered resolved. One was against Wave Fm, Solent, and concerned what a complainant thought was an unnecessarily explicit news report about an assault in which the victim's eye was dislodged. The item had only been broadcast once from copy from a local news agency.
The second, against Spectrum Radio, London, concerned the use of the phrase "'taking the piss" during a morning broadcast during school holidays. The station had taken action against the presenter and apologized.
The "Other" category complaint upheld involved a call by Wave FM to the breakfast crew concerning RAJAR audience figures that was later broadcast as "live" although the complainant station said its crew had not been made aware that the call was being recorded. In addition, they said, it had been edited to give the impression that the crew agreed with the Wave presenter.
Wave's Programme Controller had said he was "shocked" to hear the piece and had reprimanded the presenter.
Authority Members felt was no excuse for either the surreptitious recording or misleading editing and said they were also very disappointed that boundaries were breached within such a poor piece of radio. However, they added, having regard to Wave's reaction and its previous good record, they decided that a stern warning to the station regarding future compliance would suffice, rather than a fine on this occasion.
Also upheld was a complaint against RAM FM, Derby, over a phone call to a school, which had been broadcast without gaining permission
(RNW note: By our calculations this meant two upheld complaints in the "Other category", despite only one being listed in the Authority's summary, which, we also noted, only listed four taste and decency cases upheld, not the five in their summary.)
Advertising complaints upheld included the following:
*A complaint against Invicta FM concerning a phone-in to a premium rate number that the complainant said had led early callers to remain on the line although they had no chance of winning.
*An advertisement by Teeside Health Authority concerning the MMR (Measles, mumps, rubella) inoculation that termed it the "safest" way to protect a child. The complainant said that the matter of the "safest" way to protect a child was the subject of controversy and the Authority held, that although this was the British government's position, rules had been breached by not putting the advert through RACC clearance.
*A Volkswagen advert that implied, according to the complainant, that one of its features meant the car could not "slide sideways on a frictionless surface"; an unsubstantiated claim that the complainant said was "a very dangerous untruth."
*A complaint against a Glasgow company that advertised it would "halve any competitor's quote" without exception but then refused to do so on the basis that the advert covered only a particular laminate in one colour.
* A complaint against a kitchen and bathroom company that claimed that its products were made in its own factory when they were not.
*A complaint about an advert referring to sexual ability, penile size problems, premature ejaculation and circumcision that was broadcast in the morning despite approval on the basis that it should not be scheduled when children might be listening.
* An advert that described getting products elsewhere as " a waste of space", thus breaching rules on discrediting other products or services.
The Authority also upheld complaints against a number of stations involved in its Access Radio Scheme.
*A complaint against Switch FM, Belfast, whose presenters the complainant said had promoted loyalist paramilitary organizations and was not impartial and was offensive. The station denied the allegations but could not provide a recording, so the complaint was upheld under the authority's policy on this.
*A complaint against Birmingham station Kerrang Radio over its airing of an Eminem track that contained obscene lyrics.
* A complaint against Hull University station Jam 1575 that had disparaged callers: The authority said it found it did not think the audience in this case would have found the comments offensive but they themselves considered them unprofessional and inappropriate.
Three complaints were also upheld against satellite service licensee Panjab Radio.
One involved complaints from members of the Hindu Community regarding a broadcast made from a Sikh perspective that was held not to have been balanced or allowed the expression of views from another perspective; another on a similar basis that the Authority's expert said included comments from the presenter that appeared to be " inaccurate and therefore likely to be offensive to Hindu beliefs"; and a homeopathic clinic advert that had not been given RACC clearance.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous Authority Bulletin/ Programming and Advertising Review:
UK Radio Authority web site (Links to Bulletin - 487Kb PDF - and Review 273kb PDF):
2002-10-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed two fines totalling USD 13,000 against Mount Rushmore Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of Station KAWK-FM, Custer, South Dakota, and KZMX-FM, Hot Springs, South Dakota
One was of USD10, 000 regarding KAWK's for operation of an "unlicensed aural broadcast auxiliary station" and the other was of USD 3000 concerning KZMX's the failure to establish monitoring procedures and schedules to determine compliance with operating power and modulation levels, and Mount Rushmore's failure to have positive on/ off control of the transmitter.
Notices of Apparent Liability were issued in May but there had been no response filed.
2002-10-30: Although many US public stations have been hit by a downturn in sponsors, public support for the fall pledge-drives of two of the largest stations have both produced strong results.
In New York City, WNYC-FM raised just over USD1.24 million from a record 12,391 listeners, a sum only exceeded by last year's record USD3, 1 million raised after the station's transmitters were destroyed in the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Commenting on the results, WNYC President and CEO Laura Walker commented, " We are deeply gratified by this enormous outpouring of public support. In the current economic climate, as people narrow their choices of which non-profit organizations to support, we are also grateful that WNYC Radio remains at the top of people's lists. We feel privileged that our listeners, in such overwhelming numbers, continue to support the programming they rely upon."
In Chicago, WBEZ-FM raised a record USD1, 5 million from more than 11,00 listeners. Its president and general manager Torey Malatia said in the current economic climate the sum raised was a "monumental goal" and added, "The success of this drive clearly states that Chicago Public Radio is a vital resource in the community."
2002-10-29: Radio led the US advertising recovery at the start of this year with TV following in the second quarter and the communications industry did better than the US economy as a whole according to the latest issue of Veronis Suhler Stevenson's Annual Communications Industry Report just released.
VSS says that a recovery that was beginning in August last year until it was hit by September 11 began to re-emerge this year, led by radio, which posted an upswing in the first quarter.
For 2001 overall it says adjusted total revenues for publicly reporting communications companies inched up 2.5 percent to $261.7 billion in 2001, and adjusted total operating cash flow edged up 1.7 percent to $54.8 billion in 2001. Operating cash flow return on assets dropped to 7.6 percent, down 5.6 % since 1998, mainly because of write-downs at companies with Internet-related assets.
James Rutherfurd, executive vice president and head of investment banking at Veronis Suhler Stevenson, commented, "The communications industry was hardly immune from the economic downturn, but when compared to the economy as a whole and to other industries, it didn't do badly."
" .We believe some signs are now pointing toward a stabilized recovery of the industry."
"What the CIR shows is the background to today's environment: A technology meltdown and an economic recession that worsened following the September 11 terrorist attacks caused the first communications spending decline in decades. This combination of negative trends took a massive toll on the advertising industry, which trickled down into just about every communications sector. However, in the first half of 2002 we have seen some signs of a turnaround."
The report also notes the scale of media consolidation in the US with a total of 560 publicly reporting companies in 1999 dropping to 440 in 2000 and then to 353 in 2001.
In radio, the report says that over the past five years , the 25 publicly reporting radio station networks and station broadcasters' in the US had adjusted total revenues down 1.6 % to $6.8 billion, with 21.7 percent CAGR growth.
Total operating income was down 30.1 percent to $698.8 million, but over the past five years, operating cash flow margins increased at a compound annual rate of 24.0 percent.
Consolidation in the segment helped the value of assets increase 10.9% to $50.8 billion, while total operating cash flow increased 18.3 percent to $2.5 billion.
The operating cash flow margin was 36.6 percent, higher than 2000 levels and slightly off 1999.
Operating cash flow return on assets was 5.1 percent, a slight decline of 3.8 percentage points since 1998.
The top three companies in the segment were Viacom, Clear Channel Communications and Westwood One.
Veronis Suhler Stevenson web site:
2002-10-29: The BBC's Asian Network has now been re-launched as a national radio station, the latest to go on air of the BBC's five new national digital channels approved by the British government in September last year (See RNW Sep15, 2001) to go on air.
The channel was previous available only in the Midlands; it is now available not only nationally on digital channels but also via the Internet and in some areas on AM frequencies either full-time as in the Midlands or in the evenings as in parts of Lancashire, southern England and Yorkshire.
BBC director of Radio Jenny Abramsky said the Corporation had failed the country's Asian population and noted that when she launched Radio 5 Live it had an Asian and Afro-Caribbean programme, adding that the problem had been not having enough spectrum, something that digital radio had enabled them to address.
The station has had a re-vamp to coincide with the launch and now includes a new daily-phone in, presented from London by Sonia Deol, formerly with BBC London, following its breakfast show, which is still broadcast from Leicester and is hosted by Gagan Grewal.
After Deol's show the afternoon show is broadcast from London followed by a drive time show from Birmingham. It is keeping its devotional music hour from 5-6 am, serving Asian Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs
In all the station has a staff of around 70 full-time and 30 part-time and a budget of GBP3 million (USD 4.7 million) a year; its mix is mainly Indian music plus news and talk programming.
The BBC is also investing around GBP1 million (USD 1.55 million) in creating a radio soap opera for the network, which it hopes will help develop Asian talent and that is expected to be on air by 2004.
BBC Asian Service web site:
2002-10-29: Toronto-headquartered Canadian Broadcaster CHUM has reported full year profits to the end of August of CAD 14.1 million (USD 9 million), down nearly a fifth from CAD 17.5 million (USD 11,2 million) in 2001.
It had a final quarter loss of CAD 4 million (USD 2.55 million) or CAD 0.35 a share because of higher operating costs and interest expenses related to acquisitions; this compared to a 2001 final quarter profit of CAD 1.6 million (USD 1million) or 0.14 CAD per share.
Revenues for the final quarter were up to CAD 116.87 million (USD 74.4 million_ from CAD103.8 million (USD 66.2 million) but operating expenses were up by more, to CAD111.3 million (USD 71 million) from CAD 95 million (USD 60.6 million); for the full year revenues were up 16.2% to CAD480 million (USD 306 million) from CAD413 million (USD263 million).
In August, CHUM, which owns 28 radio stations, pulled the plug on its TEAM sports network, which had failed to pull in listeners (See RNW Aug 29)
2002-10-29: Two of Britain's troubled commercial radio companies, Capital Radio and Virgin, which both did badly in the latest ratings, suffered again on Monday, one from the weather, the other from the loss of two more hosts.
Storms in Britain and the English Channel hit Virgin Radio, which has organised a weekend trip to Amsterdam for some 65 of its 80 staff. The gale force winds led to the cancellation of all flights to Heathrow on Sunday and Virgin was unable to get them back for its Monday morning programmes.
Thos on the trip included breakfast host Darryl Denham, whose show was hosted by Russ Williams.
The defections were from Capital Radio, which has now lost Cat Deeley and Edith Bowman, who said they had dropped their Sunday afternoon show because of TV commitments.
Their slot will now be taken over by Big Brother TV show winner Kate Lawler and former children's TV host, Andi Peters, now head of children's TV at Channel 4.
Previous SMG (Virgin owners):
2002-10-29: Long-time Toronto radio host, Earl Warren Segal, known just as Earl Warren, has died aged 69. His 52-year broadcasting career included 22 years as host of the House of Warren on CFRB-AM.
He joined the station in 1961 and hosted his midday mix of music and chat until 1983 when the station shifted to a news-talk format.
Warren was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and worked as an announcer on a number of stations in western Canada before joining CFRB. After he left them, he moved to FM 108 in Burlington, Ontario and then joined CHWO in neighbouring Oakville where he hosted a Saturday show aimed at seniors. When the station switched frequencies to AM 740, Saturday Seniors became The Earl Warren Show, broadcast on Sunday mornings.
Toronto Globe and Mail obituary:
2002-10-28: Possibly because there seems to be broader cover of radio, as opposed to simple reviews, in British newspapers than in American ones, this week's look at print comment on the medium is mainly made up from British sources.
In one area, however, the US press often seems to outperform its British counterparts: that of consideration of technology.
Last week was certainly an example of this with an article, "Thinking of Radio as Smart Enough to Live Without Rules" by Peter Rojas in the New York Times.
It's a bit futuristic, and maybe optimistic, but the thought is a fascinating one, namely that advances in "cognitive radio" could make it possible to consider spectrum as limitless and in effect create what might be thought of as Internet radio over the air.
The basic idea behind it all is to create "smart radios" that are linked in a web in which the signal is sent in packets on constantly changing frequencies much as files are sent from origin to destination on the Internet.
Current policies regarding spectrum says the report "are to a large extent based on technology of 70 years ago, when radios were not able to differentiate well between different types of signals."
"But," it adds, "the problem of signal interference - the bane of broadcasters and the rationale behind licensing - is not some immutable law of physics.
Former Lotus Development Corporation vice president David P. Reed, who was an early designer of Internet protocols and is now an independent consultant in wireless networking, commented, "Radio waves are like light waves - and light doesn't mess up other light."
Edmond J. Thomas, chief of the US Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology, added, "Cognitive radio gives us the opportunity to utilize the spectrum in a way that was totally impractical before."
"A cognitive radio will be able to sense its surroundings and the presence of other signals and then adapt - changing its modulation language and output energy - in cooperation with the other cognitive radios around it."
Under such a system, every wireless device, including cell phones, and car radios, would send and receive signals and could pass along traffic for everyone else; the devices would encode their signals and broadcast them across a wide set of frequencies rather than just one specific frequency, enabling them to broadcast without interfering with others nearby.
When receiving, they would use their processors to sort out the encoded signals. They could also make more efficient use of licensed portions of the broadcast spectrum without causing any interference by "interweaving," or automatically shifting frequencies when the license holder needs that portion of the spectrum.
Some parts of the technology have already been developed for use in areas such as wireless Internet but, as the article points out, there are obstacles in the way of development not merely because of technological problems but also because of the influence of vested interests such as existing licensed holders of spectrum including cell phone operators and broadcasters.
However, as the report also points out, the Federal Communications Commission has already helped promote technologies, such as Wi-Fi, that use unlicensed spectrum it had opened up and it has already approved changes to allow the development of high-speed communications using Ultra Wideband technology, which broadcasts at very low power across a wide slice of the spectrum.
Until developments of such technology, however, there will remain pressures on sparse licenses spectrum and, in the US at least, almost anything seems to go if a lawyer reckons a rule can be exploited.
A particular area of concern, raised last month in a New York Times report on the success of right-wing evangelical Christian broadcasters in pushing US National Public Radio off the air in parts of Louisiana, Indiana and Oregon, was picked up in the Toronto Globe and Mail in comment by VisionTV president Bill Roberts.
Picking up on the report, Roberts says of the Christian broadcasters' moves, "There is nothing illegal about it. These partisan religious stations are simply exploiting existing provisions in federal law to silence NPR, which they deem to be unacceptably liberal and secular in its outlook."
The result, he says, is that "A broadcast service that stands for pluralism, tolerance and the free-ranging exploration of ideas is giving way to others that promote a socially reactive agenda."
Roberts then continues, "This may seem a matter of negligible interest to Canadians. But such a development is troubling, for a couple of reasons."
"First of all, it facilitates the encroachment of extremist religious views on the mainstream media. The dangers inherent in this should be obvious: Just witness the violent outrage that flared recently, after the conservative preacher Rev. Jerry Falwell told 60 Minutes that the Prophet Mohammed was a terrorist.'"
"Second, the end run on NPR attests to the vulnerability of public and public-service broadcasters throughout North America."
Roberts then says that he does not see a similar situation arising in Canada
(RNW Comment: Nor would we hope elsewhere: We've seen enough of Taliban-type controls of broadcasters and some of the US religious right are just as nasty, restrictive and bigoted.
Fortunately they lack the power to enforce death sentences for adultery or anything else, even if they are in favour of Israel to bring on a second coming in which Jews who do not convert to Christianity will all be destroyed).
He does pick up however, on the threat to broadcasters with a public-service mandate and comments on the threat to them from various groups including commercial broadcasters and also from the effects of technological change.
In Canada, he singles out the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and also such television organisations as provincial educational networks, as well as specialty channels with a "public-service" mandate, like VisionTV and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
RNW comment: The same is true in the UK where Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and others with vested interests are again attacking the BBC.
In particular one of the journalists employed by Murdoch is arguing that the licence fee may breach Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, which guarantees the freedom of expression because insistence that a fee has to be paid is constraining his freedom to receive broadcast information.
For a report on this in the UK Daily Telegraph follow the link below.
Our view, when the verbiage is stripped away, is that the objective is not freedom but elimination of the BBC as a major force, to the commercial advantage of those, such as Murdoch who, for example, dropped the BBC from his satellite channel to China, and who we believe have a very limited concept of and commitment to the idea of "freedom".
Roberts then argues that many Canadians do not fully realise what they would lose, commenting that, "Viewers who crave something more substantial generally tune in to public-service channels. Because they do not concern themselves with serving a corporate agenda, these networks are able to devote airtime to content that profit-driven broadcasters deem to be "uncommercial." They investigate complex moral, ethical, political and spiritual questions, entertain alternative views on issues such as Sept. 11 and the war on terrorism, and give voice to marginalized communities, including aboriginal Canadians."
"The genius of Western democracies." Says Roberts, "has been to find unity in diversity. We have built societies in which people of different faiths and cultures manage to live together -- not perfectly, by any means, but without the violent upheavals still common in many parts of the world. And public-service broadcasters play their modest part in maintaining this delicate social balance."
Still with Murdoch but in this case a radio review in the UK Times that has a dig at the British versions of the US shock-jocks. In it Vanora Bennett starts with a dig at Jon Gaunt's show on BBC London adding some balance with another at James Whale on TalkSport.
On the former she starts with an e-mail read out on Gaunt's show, "OBVIOUS, ISN'T IT? We need eight-lane motorways. Two lanes for HGVs, one for women, and the rest for the real drivers" and then later comments, "If you've ever wondered where London cabbies get their knee-jerk hang 'em, flog 'em ideas from, the answer is right here. Gaunt and other hard-right "shock jocks" are surely the whispering voices on the taxi radio that's always on the other side of the glass partition."
A later comment puts the show into perspective: "Think of it as an exercise in anthropology and it's fascinating stuff, even if you aren't the white, middle-aged, male driver it's supposed to appeal to."
Bennett then notes a factor about the shows that seems common on both sides of the Atlantic when it comes to shock-jocks. " they don't tolerate dissent. Gaunt does read out the occasional howl of protest from a listener, but only to knock it down. "
And later of Whale: " .there is no such genteel discussion with callers who dare to disagree with Whale's thesis that not just Islam, but all religion, is evil and should be banned. They get cut off. And they get laid into on air once they've gone."
In marked contrast to the shock-jocks output is the idea of civilised dialogue that her Sunday Times colleague Gerry McCarthy refers to in his radio column. "Fights, as long as they are not too unruly or savage, are widely held to make good radio," writes McCarthy, then adds, "What this overlooks is the power of civilised dialogue - Andy O'Mahony's performances on RTE have long been the gold standard for this type of broadcasting. It also overlooks the power of a single voice."
McCarthy then gives various examples, all as it happens from the output of the state broadcaster, RTÉ.
Finally another contrast, this time a UK Guardian review by Elisabeth Mahoney of Capital Disney, the new digital station dedicated to children and a channel that on the surface one would have expected the paper to regard as a "good thing." Well not quite so, in Mahoney's view.
The station, she writes, " .is struggling to claim shiny, happy novelty." "'When you hear Kylie and Shaggy and Gareth,' a jingle purrs, 'you've found Capital Disney.'"
"Or any other chart-based music station, adds Mahoney. "It's early days yet, but too much of the station's output (also available on its website at www.capitaldisney.co.uk is replicated elsewhere, and with considerably more oomph."
"What struck me most in the first week's broadcasting was how little it felt geared specifically towards children other than in some rather puerile chat between tracks. Just as Radio 2 or Virgin should feel alien to youngsters, so I had expected to feel excluded from a station articulating the passions, concerns, tastes and humour of a young audience. Only the jokes succeeded in doing that."
"Instead, it felt drearily, limply familiar, from the putrid playlist (The Ketchup Song, Gareth, Will, S Club Juniors, and Declan Galbraith) to the inane, undemanding banter. Nigel Mitchell, presenting the breakfast show, explained on Wednesday that it was a "very special day in the history of the world" because if "2002 was 4004BC, the world would begin in about 40 minutes", according to some new calculations. Mitchell didn't let the fact that 2002 isn't 4004BC stop him from "celebrating" with a track from P Diddy."
The review has more of the same, with a little bit more "style" in the positive sense of the word: on the station itself, after a brief check, we'd go along with Mahoney's comment, "But with nothing to distinguish the daytime show from playing CDs in your bedroom, there's precious little to keep new listeners switched on. "
New York Times - Rojas:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Roberts:
UK Guardian: Mahoney:
UK Telegraph on BBC Licence fee:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
UK Times - Bennett:
2002-10-28: US National Public Radio (NPR) has set November 2 for the grand opening of NPR West, its new USD13 million west coast multimedia production centre in Culver City, California.
The centre, which will eventually accommodate up to 90 employees, is to house NPR's Los Angeles news bureau and the staff of the Tavis Smiley Show and other programmes. It is NPR's largest facility outside Washington, DC.
2002-10-27: Last week was mainly a matter of routine work for the radio regulators with no major issues to the fore.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has issued its annual report as well as dealing with a few licence matters and also clearing Sydney 2GB and Alan Jones of any impropriety concerning Telstra's sponsorship of Jones' breakfast show (See RNW Oct 20).
The Annual report, as well as summarising complaints dealt with during the year (See RNW Oct 25). also noted that the ABA had dealt with changes of control notifications relating to 104 commercial radio licences, a 67.7% increase on the previous year.
It also noted that its income from commercial broadcasting licence fees, which are based on broadcasters' revenues, increased by 3.4% on the previous year to AUD 218.6 million ( USD121 million); of this most came from TV licences with the country's 245 commercial radio licences producing income of AUD 15,6 million (USD8.7 million), up 7.6%.
On the licence front, the ABA has changed the category of a planned community service at Robinvale, Victoria, to an open narrowcasting service.
The frequency concerned was originally allocated to the Association of the Blind Ltd (now called Vision Australia Foundation) in 1996 for a community service in Mildura/Robinvale with transmitters planned at Mildura and Robinvale. The Association subsequently said it could not set up the Robinvale transmitter for five years and the frequency was allocated as an open narrowcasting licence for five years to Tatley Pty Ltd. The Association now says it will not be able to establish a Robinvale transmitter and Tatley has now had its licence renewed for a further five years.
The ABA has also extended for 12 months until October 23 next year, the deadline for Perth Community Services 6AR and 6NR to convert their existing AM services to FM.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved a number of new licences and power amendments. These included:
* A power reduction from 50,000 watts to 42,000 watts by CJOJ-FM Belleville. This is to be accompanied by a transmitter location, for which approval is not required.
*Approval of a new 5.4 watts developmental community English and French language FM in Zenon Park:
*A power increase from Radio CJVR Ltd., to increase the power of its transmitter, CJVR-FM-2 Waskesiu Lake, from 7,100 watts to 11,000 watts. This transmitter carried the programming of CJVR-FM Melfort, and the application was made to maintain the coverage area from its transmitter that would have been provided by its originally proposed site, to which there had been objections.
The power increase was objected to by Central Broadcasting Company Ltd., licensee of AM and FM stations in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, which said its stations have been serving the Waskesiu Lake for over forty years and alleged that the true purpose of the proposed power increase is to extend CJVR-FM's signal into Prince Albert, not to serve Waskesiu Lake.
In Quebec, the Commission approved the transfer of effective control of Radio Beauce, licensee of radio programming undertakings CHJM-FM Saint-Georges and CKRB-FM Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Quebec, to Guy Simard, who after the transfer of the company's common voting shares held by Mrs. Marie Jalbert would control 70% of the voting interests in the licensee.
The shares in the stations, which have been unprofitable over the past three years, are being sold for CAD 432,000 (USD 275,000).
Ireland was quiet apart from the release of latest radio ratings (See RNW Oct 24) and in the UK the Radio Authority dealt with only one licence matter. This was the new Gairloch and Loch Ewe licence in Scotland for which it has received only one application, from Two Lochs Radio (Wester Ross Radio Ltd.), which is proposing a community-based service in English and Gaelic with a wide range of music plus a significant speech-based output.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has issued two "show cause" notices concerning stations operatng below the minimum requirements of their licences.
In North Carolina, the "show cause" order related to a request filed by Piedmont Communications, Inc. and Old Belt Broadcasting Corporation asking for changes in the license for WJMH-FM, Reidsville, North Carolina, and WJMA- FM, Orange, Virginia.
The petitioners wish to change WJMA's community o f licence to Midlothian, Virginia, to provide that community's first local service associated with the request is another for a channel change for
for its broadcasts at South Hill, Virginia, and reclassification of and a channel change for Entercom's WJMH to allow the other moves.
WJMH currently operates from an antenna below the minimum Class C height, making it subject to a to reclassification as a Class C0 and the Commission says that Piedmont's request for reclassification therefore has sufficient public interest benefits and justifies the issuance to Entercom of an order to show cause why WJMH should not be reclassified and moved to another channel.
Entercom now has until November 25 to show why the changes should not be made or, if it wants to seek a construction permit to increase its antenna height to class C standard, file such an application within 180 days of reponding to the show cause decision.
In a similar case in Tennessee, Ronald C Meredith seeks the allotment of a channel at Lake City, Tennessee as that community's
first local FM service to accommodate which WDOD- FM, Chattanooga will have to move channels. Again WDOD-FM is operating below minimum class C standards because of its antenna height and is subject to reclassification as a Class CO.
WDOD of Chattanooga, Inc. has, like Entercom, until November 25 to reply with arguments against the classification or to apply for a construction permit to take its antenna up to class C standards.
The FCC also fined Florida pirate Richard Muñoz USD10,000 for unauthorised operation of a station (See RNW Oct 25) and allowed Backyard Broadcasting's purchase of Sabre Communications (See RNW Oct 24).
The Commission has also accepted for filing New Radio's application to purchase 22 Marathon's stations in Illinois and Wisconsin (See RNW Oct 3)
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-10-27: UBC subsidiary Unique Interactive has added SMG Radio to the users of its proprietary ManDLS web-based software, which allows monitoring and updating of text messages on its British national Virgin Radio and Liquid London DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) services from anywhere in the world.
The service is already being used by Chrysalis Radio and Classic Gold Digital to provide dynamic content such as song and artist information, news headlines and promotions, on their text services. In all there are now 28 DAB services in Britain using the system.
2002-10-26: DMG Radio Australia has announced a deal involving a station swap with RG Capital and the purchase by the latter of a half-share in DMG's new Gosford licence for AUD6.75 million ( circa USD 3.75 million).
The station swap involves DMG's two stations in Bendigo, Victoria, 3BOFM and Star FM , being "exchanged" for RG Capital's Sea FM in Gosford, New South Wales.
DMG Radio Australia Pty Ltd, bid AUD13.5 million (circa USD 9.85 million) for the Gosford licence at an Australian Broadcasting Authority auction in April (See Licence News April 21). The new Gosford station is expected to launch next year and the two companies plan to house it, Sea FM, and RG Capital's other Gosford station (2GO) in the same premises.
Previous RG Capital:
2002-10-26: BBC Radio 1 has announced that it is to give a major boost to six new artists in January as part of a "OneMusic Unsigned Week" that will run from January 10.
The acts will be selected from demos sent to the station and will then be added to the station's specially created "unsigned list" and will each be played around six times during the week. The station currently runs an A, B, and C list of songs played regularly during the daytime.
Alex Jones-Donelly, Editor Radio 1 Music Policy said he had always wanted to do more following the channel's OneMusic day in May this year that also aired music from new artists and added, "We're looking to do this several times a year so if your music doesn't get played now we want you to carry on sending it in"
2002-10-26: Internet webcaster Live365, whose appeal to the US Copyright Office to allow it to hold off paying webcast royalties until its appeal against the rates has gone through the courts was rejected earlier this week (See RNW Oct 22) has now taken its case to the Washington, DC, Circuit Court of Appeals.
Live 365 is making the appeal on the same basis as that rejected, saying the rates are arbitrary and violate the US Constitution's First Amendment because they make webcasting prohibitively expensive.
The company streamed more than 9 million hours in August according to the latest Arbitron webcast ratings.
2002-10-26: Latest Internet ratings from MeasureCast show listening down 1% and Internet-only stations taking nearly two-thirds of the top 25 places with five entries in the rankings from MUSICMATCH.
For the week to October 13, MeasureCast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 288,417 (197,002); CP 106,763 (68,655). Up from fourth with much higher listening and reach, but TTSL was still higher two weeks ago, when the station was second.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 274,690 (311,541); CP 64,830 (69,264). Down from first with fall in listening and reach.
3: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 231,069 (234,493); CP 48,432 (51,150). Same position with lower listening and reach.
4: Contemporary Christian Music K-Love - TTSL 215,388 (235,097); CP 26,862 (29,564). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 208,184 (175,528); CP 64,470 (59,821): Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
*Classical format WQXR-FM fell to sixth place with TTSL down from 195,573 to 195,224.
The top five networks for the week to October 6 (Previous week in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,336,472 (1,240,705); CP 298,867 (291,805) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,169,097 (774,004); CP 359,614 (223,943). Up from fourth with much higher listening and reach.
3: StreamAudio TTSL 934,322 (1,035,037) ; CP 138,140 (150,430). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: Radio Free Virgin TTSL875,025 (1,016,360): CP 166,889 (183,298) - Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: WARP Radio TTSL 648,803 (664,962) hours: CP 107,043 (107,891) - Same position with slightly lower listening and lower reach.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-10-25: Viacom Inc. has reported record third quarter earnings with revenues and operating income up in every part of its business; overall its revenues were up 10% at USD6.3 Billion, helped by a 14% jump in advertising revenues.
Reported Operating Income jumped to USD1.3 Billion from USD194 Million whilst Reported Diluted Earnings Per Share were36 cents compared to a loss of 11cents per share in the third quarter of 2001;
Viacom says that had accounting standard SFAS142 been in operation last year, its operating income would have been USD1.1 billion, and diluted earnings per share would have been 31 cents, making the increases 18% and 17% respectively.
Within the divisions, cable and TV performed strongly with revenues up 13% and 14%; Infinity Broadcasting, which includes outdoor advertising was helped by a 10% growth in radio revenues to a 6% increase to quarterly revenues of USD 968.2 million.
Overall Total EBITDA was up 56% to USD1.526 billion and that for Infinity was up 2% to USD 380.6 million. Infinity's operating income was up to $322 million from $61 million but had SFAS 142 been applied in 20001, the increase would only have been 2%.
Viacom chairman and chief executive Sumner M. Redstone commented, "Viacom's record third quarter performance was outstanding, with revenues and operating income up across every one of our segments."
"We are confident in our ability to deliver on our full-year financial targets for 2002, and we see the growth of our businesses becoming even more robust as we move into 2003."
President and Chief Operating Officer Mel Karmazin said, "Our record third quarter results demonstrate the underlying vibrancy of our core businesses, the continued strengthening of ad sales, and the strategic validity and superior execution of the Viacom/CBS merger. Viacom turned in the best third quarter in its history, and the pacings in our advertising-supported businesses continue to be strong in the fourth quarter. Indications for the first quarter (of 2003) are unbelievably strong, and we are strategically positioned in the strongest categories of advertising by design."
In Canada, Montreal-headquartered Astral Media has also reported stronger results in all its divisions compared to a year ago; For its final quarter to the end of August, its revenues were up 16% to CAD 102.3 million (circa USD 255,000) and profits, excluding non-recurring items, were up 52% to CAD16.1 million or CAD 0.21 cents a share (USD10.3 million or 13 cents a share).
Astral's net results include a CAD5.6 million (USD3.6 million) charge linked to the write-down linked to the sale of seven stations that Astral has to dispose of to gain regulatory approval of its CAD255 million (USD164 million) purchase of 18 Telemedia stations.
The deal was finally approved last month by Canada's Competition Bureau (See RNW Sept 4)
Within its divisions, Astral's radio stations showed revenues up 3% to CAD13 million (USD 8.3 million) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) up 38% to CAD3.6 million (USD2.3 million).
In other North American radio business, Disney's ABC Radio has agreed a USD650, 000 purchase of KALY-AM. Albuquerque, New Mexico from Septien and Associates and Convergent Broadcasting LLC has agreed a USD1 million purchase of WVOD-FM, Manteo, North Carolina, from Orbit Communications LLC for USD 1 million.
Astral web site (Flash site - results are in PDF format):
Viacom web site (Rresults are in PDF format):
2002-10-25:The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has upheld a fine of USD10, 000 on a Florida pirate, Richard Muñoz for unauthorised operation of a station in Naples, Florida.
The case involved operation of a station from the Tree of Life Church that, when checked by agents, was shown to be putting out a signal around 90,000 times the strength permitted for an unlicensed low-power station.
Muñoz, the pastor of a Spanish-language ministry called Mission Possible Ministries, told the agents at the time of their visit in April this year that a friend had submitted an application to operate the station to the FCC and had advised him that he could operate the station while the paperwork was being processed.
He was told this was not the case and that he had to shut down the station but, following another complaint, agents again found the station operating in May.
A warning letter was sent to the church's head pastor who responded by saying that Muñoz leased space for the radio station from the Tree of Life Church, and that the Tree of Life Church had no control over its operations; he added that Muñoz had told him after the April inspection that the matter was one of a misunderstanding or misplaced paperwork but had closed down the station after he spoke to him about the letter.
Muñoz claimed that the station was using the time between the FCC's first and second visit to notify listeners that the station had to go off the air and that neither he, nor the church, had the funds to pay the fine, but, said the FCC, he knew he was operating illegally and had provided no documentation to substantiate his appeal against the fine on financial grounds. It therefore upheld the penalty.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), although continuing to insist that it received no evidence of breaches of its commercial radio standards in regards to the Telstra sponsorship of the Alan Jones Breakfast Programme on Sydney 2GB (See RNW Oct 20) has now said that it obtained further details from the station.
It was assured that Jones received no contractual benefit from the arrangement between 2GB and Telstra and that Jones contract with 2GB was not affected by the deal. It says that, after examining the 2GB-Telstra agreement in confidence, it is satisfied that there was no breach of the codes.
The ABA has also released its annual report for 2001-2002, which shows a reduction of more than a third in breaches of its codes over the total for the previous year. In all the Authority found there were breached of codes in 91 cases compared to 143 the previous year; of these 71 related to codes of practice and 18 relating to licence conditions.
The main reduction in breaches was in commercial radio, where there were only five breaches of codes, compared to 36 in 2000-2001, but of these 29 related to findings in the "cash-for-comment" enquiry.
Of the 18 license-related cases, 16 related to community radio; 12 of these were linked to conditions prohibiting the broadcasting of advertisements, a doubling of the number of this type of case compared to the previous year.
There were also two breaches of Australia's Broadcasting Services Act, one related to a community broadcaster continuing operations beyond the period of its licence and other of a community service being broadcast without a licence.
ABA web site (annual report is 99Kb PDF):
FCC web site :
2002-10-25: Latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show UK radio continuing to reach 90% of the potential 15-plus audience in the country with weekly reach up 27,000 a week to 44.097 million in the quarter to September 15.
Within the figures, the BBC lost some 44,000 listeners a week and had the same 52.6% share of listening and commercial radio increased its audience by 203,000 listeners a week, although national commercial networks lost audience and in all it only had a 45.3% share of listening, down from 45.5% in the previous quarter.
The big gainers in the quarter nationally were:
BBC Radio 1, which increased its weekly audience by 353,000,helped greatly by Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley (Mark and Lard) whose afternoon show gained some 750,000 listeners a week whilst most other shows, including the Sara Cox breakfast show had fairly stable figures;
BBC Radio 4, which increased its weekly audience by 156,000 listeners; and
BBC Radio 3, which increased its audience by some 144,000 listeners a week.
In London, Chrysalis's Heart FM took is share of listening up from a 12.8% share in the previous quarter to 13.6% and its breakfast show, fronted by Jono Coleman and Emma Forbes, recorded a 26% increase and increased its reach by some 176,000 listeners to 862,000.
Big losers nationally were:
BBC Radio 5, which dropped 822,000 listeners a week;
BBC Radio 2, which dropped 557,000 listeners a week, although it kept its most listened to status;
and SMG's Virgin Radio, which had a dismal time and lost 105,000 listeners a week and now only has a 6% reach compared to 8% a year ago.
In London, the big loser was Capital Radio whose overall listening share was down from 10.3% in the previous quarter to 8.8%. Capital has lost 124,000 listeners over the past three months and its breakfast show, hosted by Chris Tarrant, lost 160,000 listeners to 1.6 million; Over the past year, the station has lost 267,000 listeners a week.
Capital, which said its figures showed a different picture, suggested that listeners might have tried other stations following Tarrant's public statement saying he was going to leave, a decision that he reversed at the last moment although he will now only host the show from 7:30 am instead of 6a.m. Capital's shares fell some 5.5% to 557.5p on the release of the figures.
Overall BBC network radio lost 19 000 listeners a week although its share of listening was up from 41.3% to 41.4%.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 gained 353000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10,879 million, a weekly reach of 22%, up from 21%, and a listening share of 8.8%, up from 8.3%.
*BBC Radio 2 lost 557000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 12,485 million, a weekly reach of 25%, down from 27%, and a listening share of 15.2%, down from 15.6%.
*BBC Radio 3 gained 144,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.165 million, a weekly reach of 4%, as before, and a listening share of 1.3%, up from 1.1%.
*BBC Radio 4 gained 156,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9,912 million, a weekly reach of 20%, as before, and a listening share of 11.8%, up from 11.3%.
*BBC Radio 5 Live lost 822,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5,837 million, a weekly reach of 12%, down from 14%, and a listening share of 4.3%, down from 4.9%.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM lost 4,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6,679 million, a weekly reach of 14%, as before, but a listening share of 4.5%, down from 4.9% as listening hours decreased from 51,313 hours to 47,353 hours a week.
*The Wireless Group's TalkSport lost 9,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2,392 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.7%.
*Virgin (Owned by SMG --total including all AM and FM) lost 105,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 3,001 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 6%, down from 7%, and a listening share of 1.6%, down from 1.7%.
Previous GWR (Classic FM owner):
Previous Wireless Group (TalkSport owner):
Previous UK audience figures:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2002-10-25: US late night host Art Bell, whose Coast-to Coast AM is syndicated by Premiere Networks, has announced for the third time that he is to retire.
Bell announced the retirement on his show, giving the reason as back problems. He says he will turn over the show to regular guest host George Noory at the start of next year: Until then the show will continue with its current schedule of three nights of Bell, three of Noory, and one of Barbara Simpson. He added that he would serve as an occasional guest host for Noory.
Bell first announced his retirement in 1998 following the kidnapping and raping of his son, an offence that a Nashville station accused bell of committing but for which a teacher was subsequently charged and convicted. He then again said in April 2000 that he was retiring but returned to the show in January 2001 (See RNW Jan 6, 2001).
2002-10-24: Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), used by record companies to track how often their songs are played on radio stations, is coming under increasing pressure from MediaBase, bought three years ago by radio giant Clear Channel, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It reports that Clear Channel's radio programmers are giving back-up to MediaBase's sales staff in what recording industry executives say is the latest example of the radio giant's attempts "to tap into the tens of millions of dollars spent on radio promotion by major record labels."
The paper says that Clear Channel denies that it requires its stations to use Mediabase data but that recently Cubby Bryant, music director at Clear Channel's Z-100 in New York, said in an e-mail to a label pitching a new record that the station only looks at Mediabase for song information.
"I thought I'd give you the scoop. We only care about Mediabase numbers," he said in the e-mail.
He told the paper the policy was not part of a mandate from Clear Channel management but added, "We knew the rest of the country wasn't quite on the Mediabase bandwagon yet after awhile we said we should start spreading the word."
The report says that recording executives say Z-100 isn't the only Clear Channel station with this policy and also says that Mediabase offers its service more cheaply than its rival in many cases because it is "effectively subsidized by its deals with stations."
The two services are compiled on a different basis. BDS puts inaudible "tags" in new songs then looks for the tags using computer-equipped radio tuners in more than 125 markets; the data is then forwarded to BDS, which collates it and compiles nationwide information for delivery to its customers.
Mediabase samples, broadcasts from radio stations, and sends audio feeds to 135 music experts scattered around the country whose task is to identify the clips; their information is entered into a log that is sent to a central database for collation and Mediabase says its system has the advantage in that it can identify a "leaked" song that would not be picked up by BDS.
The paper says that, as the major record labels try and cut costs, they are questioning whether they can support two services and notes that earlier this year Universal Music threatened to drop BDS; it adds that Mediabase's influence is growing and notes that its charts serve as the source for rankings in programmes such as "Rick Dees Weekly Top 40," which is syndicated by Clear Channel unit Premiere Radio Networks.
In all Mediabase has around 1,100 station clients, around a quarter of which are owned by Clear Channel, and BDS has around 350.
A Clear Channel told the paper she was not aware of any of its stations using BDS services but BDS said that wasn't because they weren't interested: Rob Sisco, executive vice president for Nielsen BDS said, "Many Clear Channel programmers have told us they would prefer to subscribe to BDS but are forbidden to by corporate edict."
RNW comment: We are not normally in favour of massive punitive damages but this seems to us a case where Nielsen should either shut up or have the courage to put some money where its mouth is and launch a suit against Clear Channel. If there is evidence, we would favour a massive punitive award, say something like a century's income for BDS!
Previous Clear Channel:
Los Angeles Times report:
2002-10-24: In Australia, DMG Radio, whose Nova network has bitten into Austereo audience, has now poached one of the latter's executives.
Cathy O'Connor is to leave Austereo, where she was Sydney general manager in charge of the 2Day FM and Triple M stations for nearly a decade. To become DMG's managing director, metropolitan stations, with responsibility for Nova stations in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne and also DMG's Adelaide and Brisbane stations.
O'Connor will be working to DMG chief executive Paul Thompson, who appointed her to her current post in 1993 when he was at Austereo.
2002-10-24: Irish ratings for the six months April to September from the JNLR/MRBI survey show Dublin's two new stations failing to make much headway; Newstalk and Spin, whose figures are only available for this period, gained reaches of 2% and 3% respectively.
Among the older-established stations in the city, FM104 maintained its listenership figure of 20%; 98FM saw a 2% increase in reach to 20%; Lite FM was down 1% to 12%; and Country FM's held on to its 2%.
Nationally RTÉ Radio One lost share and independent local stations gained it compared to the previous six months.
Independent local stations took a 54% share, up 1%; RTÉ Radio One was down 3% to 29%; 2 FM retained its 27% of listenership, Today FM was up 1% to 17% and Lyric FM held on to its 4% share.
Excluding Dublin and Cork, local radio stations in Connacht/Ulster had a 66% listenership for weekdays, up 4%; for Munster the figures was 60%, down 1%; and he rest of Leinster had a 49% Listenership, up 4%.
In Cork, new station Red FM recorded a reach of 20% and Cork 96FM/County Sound dropped 4% to 55%.
Previous Irish Ratings/RTÉ:
JNLR web site:
2002-10-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now given the go-ahead for Backyard Broadcasting's USD42 million purchase of Sabre Communications and its 20 stations in Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania (See RNW Aug 28).
Last month it had red-flagged the purchase of the six Pennsylvania stations in the deal because of concerns about revenue share and ownership concentration (See RNW Sept 11).
2002-10-23: Canadian teenagers listen to radio the least of main demographic groups in Canada according a survey conducted last autumn by Statistics Canada and released this week.
The survey showed that adult males and females of the same age group listened to radio for much the same time but teenagers listening was significantly less than other groups during weekday day-time.
Between 0800 and 1900, they listened on average only 4.7 hours a week compared to 16.1 hours for adults, a finding put down by the agency in part to the easier access adults generally had to radio during the day. At weekends and later in the evening, listening was much the same.
Women tended to listen to radio more as they got older according to the report but men's listening peaked in the 35-49 demographic and then started to decline.
Overall Canadians average just over 20-hours a week, with listening to state broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) rising with income; the survey showed that Canadians with a grade school education or less spent four per cent of their radio listening time tuned to the CBC while those with a university degree spent 18 per cent of their listening tuned to the CBC.
Overall, according to Statistics Canada, private radio stations in Canada employed just over 9,300 people in 2001, up from just over 8,550 in 1997: Operating revenues for the same years had increased to CAD1.05 billion (circa USD670 million) in 2001 from CAD870 million (circa USD555) in 1997 and profits before tax were up CAD99 million (USD 63million) from CAD68 million(circa USD43.4 million).
In format terms, the most popular stations were adult contemporary, which accounted for 23.1 per cent of total listening hours, down from 24.6% a year earlier.
Golden oldies were second with 18.2 per cent of listening hours, up from 14 per cent in the fall of 2000, followed by talk radio, with 13.3 per cent, up from 10.3 per cent, a rise in part attributed to the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.
Album-oriented rock format had the largest fall, from 7.8% to 3.1%.
Statistics Canada web site:
2002-10-23: Chicago WSCR-AM (The Score) afternoon host Mike North has signed a new deal, whose value is reported by Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times as USD7.5 million, to stay with the station for five years from July next year.
North, described by Feder as a "former hot dog stand owner", "self-styled Chicago street kid" and "Senn High School dropout" will more than double his current salary of USD700, 000 a year.
Neither North nor executives of Infinity radio, which owns the station, would confirm details of the agreement but North, who Feder says negotiated the deal without an agent, commented," "I'm happy that I'm going to be here for a long time."
"The Score has always been my passion. I've been here from Day One, and I've never wanted to work for anybody else. I love all the people at the Score. For a guy who came from where I was a little over 10 years ago, I can't believe the position I'm in now."
Feder comments that by renewing North more than nine months before his current contract expires, Infinity pre-empted what could have been an even costlier bidding war for his services. He notes that, although its revenues are more than $10 million greater than that of ABC's WMVP-AM, the Score is locked in a ratings death match with the ESPN Radio flagship, which beat the Score for the first time ever in Arbitron's spring survey.
Chicago Sun-Times report:
2002-10-23: Continuing its talent hunt ahead of its re-launch of its LBC talk station, UK Chrysalis has now hired Steve Kyte, the deputy controller of BBC Radio 5 Live, as its editorial director.
Kyte was praised in an e-mail sent by Radio 5 Live controller Bob Shennan to his staff, which said his efforts had "been crucial to the extraordinary success 5 Live has enjoyed over the years."
2002-10-22: Arbitron has announced details of the release of its Maximi$er Plus national regional radio audience information service that is designed to allow stations to view ratings information on clusters of stations in US markets.
The service will give access to a database of diary-level information from all of Arbitron's 286 Maximi$er local market services including such details as demographic and socioeconomic information including data such as income and education. It will also provide information on race and ethnicity in some 130 Black markets and 80 Hispanic markets.
Arbitron Radio's SVP and general manager Scott Musgrave said the service would allow stations to "compete with other media on a broader level and greatly expand their pool of potential advertisers."
2002-10-22: The US Register of Copyrights, Marybeth Peters, has denied an appeal by Internet-only channel Live 365 for a stay in royalty payments that became due on Sunday.
Live 365 had claimed that the rates decided by the Librarian of Congress were arbitrary and that they would violate the First Amendment by forcing webcasters out of business but the arguments were given short-shrift, as was the broadcasters' appeal for a stay in payments until their appeal was heard (See RNW Oct 15).
2002-10-22: GWR's Abracadabra children's radio station, which is currently only broadcast on a London digital multiplex has gained more backers in its bid to take over the London AM licence currently held by Liberty Radio.
Former BBC Radio 1 breakfast and current Xfm drive-time host Zoe Ball and her father Johnny Ball, a children's TV host of the 80's, have joined politicians including former culture secretary Chris Smith and Britain's Conservative opposition leader Ian Duncan Smith in expressing support for the bid.
The station broadcasts a mix of music from classical to pop plus songs of interest to children such as rhymes and novelty tunes as well as stories, news and educational programmes. The licence is expected to be awarded next month.
2002-10-22: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has elected David Kennedy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Susquehanna Radio Corp., as chairman of the RAB board of directors for a two-year term starting on January 1 next year.
He will take over from Clear Channel Radio SVP David Crowl, who will remain on the board and RAB executive committee when his chairman's term ends.
The RAB board also elected Infinity SVP David Pearlman as vice-Chairman and Buckley Broadcasting COO Joe Bilotta as chairman of its finance committee.
RAB web site:
2002-10-21: For our look at comment on radio over the past week, we lead today with the question of digital radio, but from a non-US perspective, since the US is out of step with the rest of the world.
In the Toronto Star, Melissa Leong, looks at the different routes to digital radio being taken by the US and the rest of the world in the wake of the US decision to authorise IbIquity's IBOC (in band, on-channel) system that crams the digital signal into the existing analogue frequency.
Canada, as has the rest of the world so far, had opted for DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) using separate spectrum and has so far has the same experience as most of the world in that only a few listeners have taken to the technology.
The debate at the root of the FCC decision is fairly succinctly summed up by comments in the article.
David Bray, chairman of the programming committee of DAB for Canada, made the technical and quality point when he commented of the US system," "It's a makeshift solution at best. The bandwidth isn't anywhere near Canada's. The fidelity is quite limited."
Countering that, the US response was in terms of practicality and the marketplace. Peter Doyle, chief of audio division in the media bureau of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission(FCC) , said of DAB, "It's been a worldwide failure as a technology based on consumer interest. There wasn't a big pull demand to adopt this technology."
The Bray comment on the market take-up was to accept the point but ask for time: "It's just in its infancy, said Bray of DAB. "Do you know how long it took for FM to catch on? Fifteen to 25 years."
In marked contrast to the FCC view of the success of digital radio, the UK experience as reported on by Vanora Bennett in her UK Times radio columnar seems to be that the demand is there but only if the price is right. The UK has encouraged broadcasters to move into digital by guaranteeing extensions of their analogue licence should they provide a service on the relevant digital service but receiver purchase has been very slow as they were priced in the hundreds of pounds.
Now receivers are being offered at GBP99 and Bennett writes, "Something very strange is happening in gadget shops up and down the land."
"After years of worry over whether any of Britain's Luddite radio listeners would ever want to replace their trusty trannies with expensive digital technology, suddenly everyone wants a digital radio at the same time. Certainly before Christmas."
"I have just been trying to buy one, and found the kind of shopping frenzy out there that you usually only associate with designer handbags. "
What has made the difference, she says is the receiver price but getting one for Christmas may prove a problem, she adds with one major chain reporting none left available and another listing a ten-week waiting list.
On to the Internet and whatever may happen now as far as royalties are concerned it is looking as if many more small streaming operations are going to close, particularly amongst college stations, which were the focus of an article in the New York Times by Jennifer Medina.
Some 70 college stations she says have pulled the plug on Internet streaming because of copyright fees and reporting requirements.
"It just wasn't worth it. Where are we supposed to get this money from?" said Dave Black, general manager of WSUM-FM, the student-run radio station at the University of Wisconsin.
Medina notes that Internet activities have been stopped or cut back at university and college stations in big cities like Los Angeles and New York as well as smaller centres such as Oregon State.
The college stations will have to pay a USD500 a year base fee retroactive to 1988 and 0.02 cents per song per listener and Will Robedee, vice president of Collegiate Broadcasters Inc. commented, "For a lot of these stations, it could be devastating. There are constantly calls from stations deciding whether or not to continue their Webcast."
Even without the fees, regulations also require stations to keep detailed records of playlists and to submit records electronically, a chore that seems daunting for many stations, particularly those specializing in obscure or decades-old music.
Unlike the industry giants, where playlists are often rigorously controlled, most student disc jockeys choose songs on a whim, jotting down the information as they go along, making the entering of the required information a major task.
And what of the DJs at commercial stations nowadays? Well not many of them get much say in what they play, according to Geoff Boucher in the Los Angeles Times.
He pegs his intro to Tom Petty's song, "The last DJ" and its lines,
"There goes the last DJ
Who plays what he wants to play
And says what he wants to say, hey hey hey
And there goes your freedom of choice
There goes the last human voice."
Petty, says Boucher, blames the conglomerates for endangering the "autonomous DJ" and quotes him as saying, "Radio was once regional, as different as every town...More and more, the whole country is listening to one station ... music is something that is magical, ultra-magical, and radio was an art form. Now it's something cold and different."
"In the 1960s," writes Boucher, " it was the DJ who most often determined what was played. Now it is market research and consultants. DJs often have their music programmed, making their shifts the steady work of an autopilot."
He then quotes Fred Jacobs, whose Detroit consulting firm he describes as one of the most powerful in rock radio as saying that the advent of programming software in the 1980s that marked the end of DJs picking the next song.
Jacobs says stations are now more in sync with listener taste than in the past when, as Boucher puts it, "fickle DJs could pull a station's playlist toward the obscure fringes."
The giant in the US radio business is, of course, Clear Channel and its spokeswoman Pam Taylor blamed much of the change on the spread of the "box stores" saying that the spread of Wal-Mart and mass retailers pushed out mom-and-pop businesses in small towns, thus taking away the bread-and -butter advertisers for independent radio stations and moving more emphasis onto national advertising.
"The box stores and the large retailers changed the landscape of small towns and that changed, eventually, radio," Taylor says. Federal deregulation of the industry in the 1980s was initiated to buoy its fortunes, and that led to the consolidation era. "Many people take a shot at radio today as if life began in the last 18 or 20 months."
Roy Laughlin, Clear Channel's regional vice president in Los Angeles, says the company's size does not mean it is any less vulnerable to the power of consumer choice.
"The only way you keep it a powerful and profitable venture is to keep it close to the people," he said.
"It's like being a politician and not doing what the people want and thinking you're going to get elected. It's insane. Every Arbitron rating, every station starts with a zero. You have to earn those shares of listeners every survey period, so you better be close to what everybody wants."
Laughlin also said that Clear Channel's clout brought big-time talent to a variety of markets -- even if listeners don't know that the voice they hear giving them entertainment, local news and even local traffic reports is imported from out-of-state.
And, if the DJs now don't have that much to do with the music that is played, what has that done for other station staff? Well, if Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times has its right, it's not the itinerant DJ who has to fear insecurity now so much as, to use his words "it's the program directors who are finding themselves more often on the other side of the firing line."
"With consolidation of ownership and heightened competition for ratings and revenue, " writes Feder, "the pressure has never been greater on radio programmers to do more with less. Some program bosses are now expected to oversee two or more stations--sometimes in different markets at the same time. Those who aren't fired often quit in frustration. A few lucky ones get promoted up and out."
He then goes on to detail some of the changes in Chicago, where "in the last six months or so, nine major stations have been rocked in one way or another by adjustments in top programming positions" and " More changes are expected before the end of the year."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Los Angeles Times - Boucher:
New York Times - Medina:
Toronto Star - Leong:
UK Times - Bennett:
2002-10-21: Bosses of Britain's largest commercial radio groups are to hold what the London Observer calls a "crisis meeting" with the country's Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell to argue that the liberalisation of British media regulations proposed under the government's draft Communications Bill.
At the heart of their concern is the "three plus the BBC" limitation proposed as the general rule for ownership of commercial radio groups in an area. The radio companies want a minimum of two and Lord John Eatwell, Chairman of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) told the paper, "'It is a deregulatory bill that everybody has welcomed, but it is not deregulatory for radio. We would be severely weakened by this - we only have 6 per cent of the total advertising spend."
David Mansfield, chief executive of Capital Radio, said, "It's completely crazy. You've a situation where you have draft legislation that says the London market - which makes up 30 per cent of the national market - needs only one commercial TV licence but must have at least three commercial radio stations."
The paper also says that the commercial groups have warned that their commitment to digital radio could be undermined if Jowell does not redraft the Bill and accused the BBC of lobbying against them.
RNW comment: Although we think the commercial companies and CRCA do have a case, we do not think it is being made particularly honestly or fairly here.
To us there is a very clear and obvious difference in spectrum requirements and cost terms between operating a radio station and a TV station that means it can be expected that there should be more of the former in a market than of the latter, a situation that is a combination of physical and economic practicalities.
The Mansfield statement, which we assume is accurately reported, should insult the intelligence of a reasonably bright and knowledgeable 10-year-old.
Equally many current analogue licence holders have gained automatic renewal of their analogue licences on the basis of providing a digital service for an area: The logical corollary therefore of any attempt to pull out of their digital commitments should be automatic and total revocation of all licences they hold on the basis that they are not fit to hold them.
Of course, were it made plain such action would follow, bleats plenty would arise but we doubt there would be a single actual withdrawal of support.
UK Observer report:
2002-10-21: Reporting on the first four months of Eva Georgia's tenure as general manager of Pacifica Network's KPFK-FM, (he said she faced an "uphill task" when she took over in June -See RNW June 10), Steve Carney in the Los Angeles Times says "staff unrest nearly percolated into mutiny when a large contingent of employees and volunteers at the community-supported station were calling for her removal, or at least criticizing her for running a non-democratic workplace."
Georgia herself, he says, commented that any organisation at the station might be interpreted as "authoritarianism" after the upheaval the station:
"Trying to put structure where you have chaos comes across as, my management style is, yeah, dictator or whatever," she said, adding, "This is a group of hard-working and committed people, but they worked in a structure where they pretty much managed themselves."
On the other side of the argument, Sonali Kolhatkar, host of the station's weekday "Morning Show," wrote an open letter accusing Georgia of intimidation and of firing staffers who oppose her and staff wrote, "It is a travesty that this progressive institution, which covers the labour struggles of countless workers all over the nation and the world, is functioning as a workplace where there is no job security, and frequently inadequate or nonexistent benefits."
The conflict, says Carney was part of the reason for the station staff and management to attend a retreat at the weekend, to polish their communication and conflict-resolution skills and also why officials from the Pacifica Foundation, is working with the station to establish a program council, a committee with a set of guidelines to democratically change programming at the station.
Behind the conflict is a history of management v staff struggles at Pacifica and Georgia's critics have alleged that she mismanaged the staff and budget of a community station she founded in South Africa, a matter Georgia says she's already cleared up for Pacifica executives; In this she was backed up by Pacifica executive director Dan Coughlin who said, the network hired an independent investigator to verify what Georgia had said and what had already been examined in the background check before she was hired. The inquiry, he said, "determined that the hiring of Eva should not be reversed and was sound."
The suspicions continue, however and Carney quotes Esther Manilla, the station's interim program director until she resigned a week ago and who was one of three staff members on the search committee that picked Georgia, as commenting, "They say I'm an obstructionist, but I think I did the right thing," said Manilla, who was one of three staff members on the search committee that picked Georgia. "I don't think we made a good decision. It was a rushed decision. She doesn't have the station's best interests in mind. It's all personal. Morale is just so low -- everybody there is looking to get out or waiting for a miracle."
Los Angeles Times report:
2002-10-20: The most important regulatory issue on the stocks at the moment remains the US approval of Ibiquity's digital radio system about which the Federal Communications Commission has now released further details; elsewhere matters were more routine.
In Australia, most activity by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has related to community licences but a reminder of the cash-for-comment scandal has come up in relation to Alan Jones breakfast show on 2GB, which had been the subject of comment about payment made to him, particularly by to payments by Australian telecommunications company Telstra.
In this case the Authority says it has "been actively monitoring the issue, to the extent that it may be relevant to the commercial radio standards relating to disclosure and advertising that were put in place as a result of the ABA's commercial radio inquiry" but goes on to add that it has "no information before it that would warrant the commencement of a formal investigation into whether there has been a breach of the standards."
On the community licence front the Authority has made a number of announcements.
In New South Wales, the Authority is not proceeding with the allocation of a community licence; Lord Howe Island Radio Station Association Incorporated, which has been broadcasting under a temporary licence since October of last year, said it would not be applying for a permanent licence and no other applications were received.
In South Australia, the Authority awarded two licences and extended the deadline for another to change its frequency.
In Mount Gambier, it allocated a new community licence to South East Christian Broadcasters Inc (Rhema FM), which is currently broadcasting under a temporary community licence. Rhema FM was the only applicant for the licence.
It has also announced that it is proposing to extend from December 18 this year until December 31, 2003, the deadline by which the Mt Gambier community radio service 5GTR has to change its frequency to free a frequency for an additional national radio service.
In the Yorke Peninsular area, the Authority has allocated a new community licence to Peninsula Community Broadcasters Inc., which is currently operating a general community service for the area as a temporary community broadcaster.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has extended deadlines for the start of operations of a number of licences:
British Columbia: A six-month extension until February 5 next year for the start of a new low-power English-language tourist information FM at Squamish.
An extension up to July 4 next year for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to start operating a new native FM station in Ottawa/Gatineau (formerly, Hull)
An extension up to April 4 next year for Radio 1540 Limited to start operating a new ethnic FM station in Ottawa/Gatineau (formerly, Hull)
Quebec: An extension of the time until January 25 next year for Radio du Golfe inc. to commence operation of the new transmitter of CJMC-FM Sainte-Anne-des-Monts at La Martre
The Commission has also approved an application by Yorkton Broadcasting Company Limited and Walsh Investments Inc., partners in a general partnership known as GX Radio Partnership Yorkton and Swan River, Manitoba to add a transmitter at Swan River for CFGW-FM Yorkton.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded commercial licences for Carlow Kilkenny and County Kildare in principle to new groups KCLR and Kfm respectively, causing controversy over the loss of licences by current holders Radio Kilkenny and CKR FM, who will go off the air from October of next year.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has received only one application for its re-advertised Additional Services Licence, which uses the RDS (Radio Data System) sub-carrier of the Independent National Radio (INR1) service broadcasting on the FM (VHF) waveband.
The bid is one of GBP 600,000 a year from Itis Holdings Plc; In addition to the cash bid, increased annually by the retail prices index, there is an additional payment of 4% of qualifying revenue for each accounting period and an annual licence fee of 10% of the winning bidder's qualifying revenue. The licence currently held by Virgin FM; the new licence will run for eight years from January 1, 2004.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published details of its reasons for approving the iBiquity IBOC digital radio system (see below); it also red-flagged a Cumulus Florida acquisition (See RNW Oct 17), cancelled one fine relating to Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment and upheld another.
The fortunate organisation was Faith Bible College Inc., licensee of Station WTGF- FM, Milton, Florida, which had been issued with a proposed USD8, 000 penalty issued to for failure to maintain operational EAS equipment.
The penalty was originally proposed after an inspection showed the EAS equipment turned off and the FCC was told that the EAS decoder had been out of operation for a week; it was also discovered that EAS logs had not been kept.
Faith Bible College had appealed against the penalty on grounds of inability to pay and because it had subsequently had the equipment repaired and instructed its chief engineer to keep logs. The FCC pointed out that remedial action did not remove liability but dropped the fine on grounds of Faith's inability to pay, settling for an admonishment.
Less fortunate was Radio One Inc., which had been issued in August 2001 (See RNW Aug 16, 2001) with a penalty of USD21, 500 regarding operation of WBOT-FM, Boston and which had already had one appeal rejected in February this year(See RNW Feb 3).
The initial notice related to failure to have operational EAS equipment; failure to establish a local or toll- free telephone number in the community of license; failure to establish monitoring procedures in relation to operating power; failure to maintain a station log; and failure to maintain a public inspection file.
The penalty was reduced, however, to a total of USD 9, 200 following the presentation of new information by Radio One, particularly to the effect that it had in fact maintained a public inspection file, although the file was not made available to the Commission agent who conducted the inspection and who requested the public file. Eliminating the penalty for this took the forfeiture down by USD10, 000 and in addition the commission commented that it found "some additional reduction would be appropriate in light of Radio One's history of overall compliance" and reduced the penalty by another USD1, 300
Previous Licence News:
Previous Radio One:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-10-20: In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its report on the adoption of iBiquity's IBOC (in-band on-channel) digital system carries some interesting background as well as giving the Commission's rationale for adopting the system and comments on it.
It notes that consideration of a digital system, both satellite and terrestrial began in 1990, at which time the Commission considered it premature to consider further terrestrial digital audio broadcasting (DAB); seven years later it reported that the Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association (CEMA) Digital Audio Radio Subcommittee final report had concluded that the IBOC FM system at the time had two major deficiencies- poor audio performance under impaired signal conditions, and incompatibility with analogue FM service but that, despite a good performance by the Eureka 147 system, many US broadcasters continue to support IBOC subject to further development.
Two years later, in 1999, when it started further proceedings, the Commission commented: "Many terrestrial radio broadcasters view DAB not only as a technical opportunity, but as a competitive necessity."
"The transition to DAB promises the benefits that have generally accompanied digitalisation- better audio fidelity, more robust transmission systems, and the possibility of new auxiliary services," it said.
In its consideration of options, the FRCS said that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) specifically noted that a workable IBOC system would be superior to a new spectrum option, particularly TV Channel 6 spectrum, on various grounds although several parties including National Public Radio (NPR) had filed comments advocating the use of TV Channel 6.
It also noted that it now appeared that TV Channel 6 would continue in use beyond the December 31, 2006, target date for the cessation of analogue broadcasts and that no viable alternative spectrum options had been found, thus making IBOC the only practicable near-term option.
Having effectively dismissed (out-of-band) DAB that required new spectrum,only IBOC was then under effective consideration.
Commenting on the IBOC system, the Commission says that National Radio Standards Committee (NRSC) tests showed that unimpaired IBOC FM quality was better than that of unimpaired analogue FM and noted that, whilst iniquity claimed that it would " exceed the quality of the best possible analogue and will deliver CD- quality sound", NPR claimed that the improvement over analogue FM was modest and speculated that new programme services would be needed to interest the public in buying digital receivers.
Concerns were also expressed by NPR and the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) expressed concern that reading services for the blind, now transmitted via analogue sub carrier on many FM stations, would suffer interference from IBOC and the commission says it will "seek specific comment on measures to protect established SCA services in a subsequent Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this docket", adding that "based on the likelihood that many instances of interference can be eliminated by replacing susceptible receivers with better models, and on the Commission's expertise in satisfactorily managing blanketing and other interference allegations, we believe we can develop procedures to resolve successfully interference complaints on a case- by- case basis."
On this matter, the NRSC also noted, after performing limited tests, that hybrid IBOC should not adversely affect the most common current provide digital Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) sub carrier services but that "some questions still remain as to the impact of IBOC on [analogue subsidiary communications authorization SCA] services."
In terms of AM transmissions, the FCC is more upbeat about IBOC, saying that the digital AM IBOC signal "offers a chance to revitalize AM broadcasting - offering near FM- quality stereo reception."
Comments from broadcasters, it added, "were almost universally enthusiastic about IBOC's potential for improving existing AM audio quality", adding that "Greater Media Inc. claims that "initiation of IBOC service during daytime hours presages the dramatic transformation of AM radio from its current status as a largely poor- quality/ voice- only medium to a digital service with audio quality on a par with today's analogue FM."
"Susquehanna Radio Corporation." It added, " predicts that "IBOC can bring back high quality music to the AM band." 32 We agree that the record in this proceeding presents compelling evidence that AM IBOC has the potential to significantly improve the audio quality of AM broadcasting.
It does note, however, that introduction of AM IBOC will have a knock-on effect on the analogue AM signal; that
because of the narrow bandwidth of the nominal AM channel, iBiquity found it necessary to reduce the audio bandwidth of the hybrid- mode analogue AM signal from 10 kHz to 5 kHz in order to accommodate the digital signal; and that this meant degradation of the analogue signal reception with more background noise; but that most broadcaster commentators felt that this would not be noticeable on most AM receivers and that, although "introduction of AM IBOC will, undoubtedly, result in some additional interference, both to the host station and to other stations." ."(we concluded) the potential benefits of digital AM IBOC far outweigh the small possible increase in interference. "
Overall, concludes the commission, " The record in this proceeding demonstrates that IBOC is the best way to advance the Commission's DAB policy goals. This technology enjoys strong support from the
broadcast industry and is the only approach that could be implemented in the near future."
"The iBiquity IBOC system is spectrum- efficient in that it can accommodate digital operations for all existing AM and FM radio stations with no additional allocation of spectrum. The NRSC tests show that both AM and FM IBOC systems offer enhanced audio fidelity and increased robustness to interference and other signal impairments. Coverage for both systems would be at least comparable to analogue coverage."
"Considering that iBiquity's IBOC systems achieve these objectives in the hybrid mode, in which the relatively low-powered digital signal must coexist with more powerful analogue signals, we expect that audio fidelity and robustness will improve greatly with all- digital operation. "
FCC web site :
FCC main news release on IBOC:
2002-10-20: Smaller US webcasters have been given a stay of execution by the recording industry, which has announced that they are extending until the US Congress can take action on the Small Webcaster Amendments Act of 2002 (H.R. 5469), the deadline for copyright royalty payments that were due today.
Webcasters who would have been covered by the Act, which was unanimously passed in the House but held up in the Senate (see RWN Oct 19), will now only have to pay up to USD2, 500 in fees by Monday; this is the annual USD500 fee element of what they would have owed under the rates ruling made by the US Librarian of Congress (For details of the charges proposed see RNW Oct 9).
A statement by Sound Exchange, the industry body tasked with collecting the fees, said, "In light of the Senate's failure to pass H.R. 5469 before October 20th and our expectation that the Senate will pass H.R. 5469 when it reconvenes after Election Day, SoundExchange announces the following temporary payment policy for small webcasters on behalf of its sound recording copyright members:
* Any webcaster that qualifies as an "eligible small webcaster" under H.R. 5469 will not be required to pay on October 20 the per performance (.0762 cents) royalties otherwise due under the Librarian of Congress' decision of July 8, 2002.
*Instead, by October 21st, these eligible small webcasters may instead pay only the $500 annual minimum fee set by the Librarian of Congress for each year or portion thereof they have been in operation since 1998 (a maximum of $2500) until this Congress has had the opportunity to act on the pending legislation.
Under the bill, royalties for those defined as small webcasters would still be due but would be on a basis of a percentage of revenues or expenses for the period from 1998, when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed, until the end of this year.
SoundExchange Executive Director John L. Simson said, "Given the unfortunate fact that a lone Senator apparently held up the small webcasters' bill, we felt it appropriate to offer this proposal. We hope that this unexpected development will be soon resolved by the Senate. From the beginning, we have wanted to work with webcasters, and this temporary payment policy is an another example of our commitment to the webcasting industry."
The extension does not affect calls from non-commercial college broadcasters and hobbyists for further relief since they say the requirements for royalties and record keeping are still beyond many of them nor do they affect action by terrestrial broadcasters, led by the National Association of Broadcasters, who would still have to pay the 0.07 cents per listener per song rate set down by the Librarian of Congress.
The bill itself was derailed by a last-minute objection raised by Sen. Jesse Helms according to backers of the move.
Helm's spokesman said he didn't went the Senate to rubber-stamp "a bill written by the recording industry in the dead of night" and also commented that the proposed royalties were exorbitant and that a number of religious broadcasters and other webcasters in the Senator's North Carolina constituency were unhappy that they had not been given a voice in the royalty-setting process.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the many thousands of dollars that some webcasters would have had to pay, and which would have put them out of business, this seems a reasonable response by the recording industry.
It does not clarify what will happen should the bill fail to pass into law but the logical fallback position for the copyright holders would be accept payments on the basis specified in the bill.
Another matter of significant concern not addressed is the record keeping requirements that are currently still to be expected and which may well prove just as onerous a burden for many small operators as the actual royalty fees.
Sound Exchange web site:
2002-10-20: Cox Radio has become the first large US broadcaster to decide to sever ties with independent record promoters and distance itself from payments made to them by record companies in connection with airplay.
"We felt uncomfortable with these relationships because the system does invite abuse," Robert Neil, Cox Radio's chief executive, told the Los Angeles Times, which has run a series of articles about the practice. "The record companies have been trying to get people to play records in different ways for a long time. The more we found out about this, the less comfortable we became."
The paper says Cox will not renew contracts with record promoters whose contracts have expired recently and will end its remaining promotional contracts as they expire during the next year. Independent promoters, including Jeff McClusky and Jerry Brenner, currently have deals with 14 of Cox's pop, rap and rock music stations and pay Cox an estimated $1 million a year in "promotional" fees.
"It's about time a major radio company took this step," Peter Hart, an analyst with watchdog organization Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, told the Times. "Cox is making a wise decision. But this is only the first step. This practice still demands a congressional investigation. Other companies won't take the same step without pressure."
The paper notes that the five major record conglomerates now spend about $100 million a year on independent promoters and says the attempt to sidestep the anti-payola law by paying radio stations annual fees - often exceeding $100,000 - that they say are not tied to airplay of specific songs. In return, stations give promoters advance copies of playlists. Promoters then bill record labels for each new song that gets played.
"They're paying you $100,000 a year just to know what your adds [newly added songs] are? Why is that of value to them? It makes no sense unless they feel they have some influence on their individual records," Neil said.
"If somebody put you in front of a congressional committee and asked you to explain this, would you want to do that?"
This year, record industry officials called for a federal investigation into the radio business, saying independent promoters often violated the law and stifled new music getting airtime.
Earlier this year, record industry officials called for a federal investigation into the radio business, saying independent promoters often violated the law and stifled new music getting airtime and Hilary Rosen, chief of the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA) , applauded Cox's move, saying, "I'm sure regulators will look favourably on this."
Particular criticism has been levelled at Clear Channel Communications, the nation's biggest radio broadcaster with 1,200 stations, and Radio One, the largest chain catering to African American audiences, for requiring record labels to pay designated promoters to pitch songs to their stations.
Los Angeles Times report:
2002-10-19: A last minute hold placed on the "Small Webcaster Amendments Act of 2002" (H.R. 5469), rumoured to have come from Republican Senator Jesse Helms (N. Carolina) acting in part on concerns expressed by terrestrial broadcasters, has put the bill on hold until the Senate reconvenes in December and could lead to the demise of many small webcasters.
The proposed deal, that would have allowed small webcasters to pay on the basis of a share of revenues or expenses royalty payments due from 1998 to the end of this year and then a lower rate than that set down by the Librarian of Congress (See RNW Oct 9) had been agreed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the small webcasters; it did not apply to larger commercial webcasters, non-commercial webcasters or non-members of the RIAA.
Should the Recording Industry go ahead and present the large bills due under the Librarian of Congress's royalty rates ruling, many smaller webcasters will be billed amounts considerably larger than their entire incomes and it would seem incontrovertible that they would not be able to pay this meaning that even an attempt to collect it would force them under.
Michael Roe, manager of RadioIO.com, and one of the leading figures in the group of Webcasters who had helped negotiate the bill, was reported in the New York Times as saying, "Jesse Helms killed Internet radio. Pending some private deal (between the RIAA and Webcasters) materializing between now and Sunday, RadioIO will go dark."
The RIAA said it was disappointed that the bill had not been taken up and hoped the Senate would work the matter out speedily, although it declined to comment on the matter of a private deal that would allow small webcasters to avoid the Oct 20 deadline in the absence of legislation.
RNW comment: Whether or not Helms was responsible and whether or not the action was at the bidding of the broadcasters' lobby, in practical terms, the future of webcasting in the immediate future would seem to be in the hands of the RIAA.
If its tears are not of the crocodile variety, there seems no insuperable obstacle to it coming speedily to some interim arrangement with the small webcasters that would keep them going, possibly with quid-pro-quos in terms of recording promotion by the sites involved.
That would still leave the issue of payments to non-RIAA members to be resolved , although they could sign up to the same deal and , should they not do so, it would seem obvious self-interest by the webcasters to stop playing any of their recordings.
Even if this is done, however, we suspect many webcasters will still be unhappy about the detail, particularly those in the hobbyist, college and non-commercial webcast category, all of whom seem to be left out in the cold.
New York Times/CNET report:
2002-10-19: Last week was again fairly quiet for US radio business, with the most significant news coming from Sirius which has arranged a USD1.2 billion refinancing deal (see below) but there were a few deals.
They included a USD 3.8 million California sale by the Harlan Family Trust of KUBA-AM & KXCL-FM/Yuba City to Midvalley Radio Partners, a partnership between the Harlan Trust and Lakeshore Media and a four-station purchase by Quorum Radio. Quorum is paying USD600, 000 to WKEY Inc for WKEY-AM & WIQQ-FM, Covington, Virginia, and USD650, 000 to Seneca Broadcasting for WCKJ-FM/Lewisburg and WSLW-AM, White Sulphur Springs, both in West Virginia.
Sirius was also not the only company not paying its bond interest, but for Big City Radio the failure may prove more serious. It was unable to pay the interest, due October 15 when the grace period ran out, on its 11.25% senior discount notes.
So far bondholders have called for immediate payment but have not declared a default and the company says it is still considering options including asset sales, restructuring or bankruptcy protection.
Previous Big City:
2002-10-19: Sirius Satellite Radio, which took advantage of a grace period to delay payment due at the end of last month on its 8.75% convertible subordinated notes, saying that it was in final discussions about a new financing arrangement, has now announced agreement with their holders to convert "substantially all" if its USD700 million debt and all of its USD525 million of preferred stock into common stock.
It is also to raise USD 200 million through the sale of newly-issued common stock.
Sirius says the recapitalization will "dramatically reduce the company's additional funding needs" and adds that the additional USD200 million together with around USD240 million in cash currently on hand will fund its operations into the second quarter of 2004 on its current business plan.
The new cash will come from Oppenheimer global funds ($150 million; affiliates of Apollo Management, L.P. ($25 million); and The Blackstone Group L.P. ($25 million). Upon completion of the transaction, affiliates of Apollo Management, L.P. and The Blackstone Group L.P. will exchange all of their existing convertible preferred stock for shares of common stock and warrants to purchase common stock.
When the transaction is completed, and assuming all debt and preferred stock is converted into equity, Sirius says its debt will be exchanged for 62% of the common stock, the existing preferred stock will be exchanged for 8% of the common stock, the providers of new funds will own 22% of the common stock, and the existing common stock will retain 8% of the recapitalized equity. Existing preferred stockholders will also receive warrants to purchase 9.1% of the common stock at an average strike price of just under $1.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton commented, "When completed, this transaction will give Sirius the strongest balance sheet in our industry and, more importantly, allow us to focus 100% of our energies on our business partners and acquiring subscribers for our premier entertainment service."
Speaking at a conference call Sirius CFO John Scelfo said that the company was confident the deal was "the best transaction available to the company and common shareholders" and said an independent auditor would issue a "fairness opinion" showing that the deal was fair to owners of the company's common stock. He added that the risk exposure to common shareholders had "dramatically declined."
Sirius has also lowered to 30,000-40,000 its subscriber forecast for this year from its previous 75,000 forecast; it says it currently has around 14,000 subscribers but is suffering from a soft retail environment and the current absence of a plug-end-play unit. Clayton says such a unit will be unveiled in the second quarter of next year after its second-generation chipset design is introduced and the company is to focus it efforts on this later period.
Sirius web site:
2002-10-19: Emmis has said, following an article in the Los Angeles Times about its links with rapper Shade Sheist , whose songs have been heavily played on its KPWR-FM (Power 106) station, that it plans to tell listeners about its business ties to the rapper.
"We're going to air disclosure, if it makes people feel better as they scrutinize,'' Rick Cummings, president of Emmis' radio division, told Reuters, although he insisted the company had not committed any illegal act.
Cummings admitted that the decision resulted from the Los Angeles Times article (See RNW Oct 18).
Los Angeles Times/Reuters report:
2002-10-18: US radio ratings and research company Arbitron has reported third quarter revenues of USD69.6 million, up 6%, and net income of USD15.4 million, up a fifth over the third quarter of last year.
Its earnings before interest and taxes were up to USD29 million from USD26.2 million and net income per share was 51 cents, nearly 19% up on the 43 cents of a year ago.
For the first nine months of the year, revenues were up 9% to USD192 million and net income per share was USD1.21, up from USD1.15 although Arbitron notes that had the discontinuation of amortization of goodwill been in effect in 2001, the 2001 figure would have been USD1.19
Commenting on the figures, president and CEO Stephen Morris said, "Our revenue, EBIT and net earnings in the third quarter have all benefited from the solid performance of our core ratings business. We are seeing signs that the advertising economy is slowly improving, which will help us maintain a stable and growing core business while we pursue opportunities in new markets such as outdoor and Latin America. For all these reasons, we remain on track to meet our previously provided guidance for 2002."
Morris also commented on the development of an outdoor ratings system and Arbitron's move into Mexican radio ratings.
Regarding the company's Portable People Meter (PPM) , whose commercial introduction in the US has now been set back until 2004, Morris noted its selection by BBC for Canadian TV audience measurement in Montreal and Quebec from next year (See RNW Sept 24).
"This is a significant step forward in our efforts to commercialize our new audience measurement technology around the world," said Mr. Morris. "We also entered into conversations with Nielsen Media Research to expand that company's ongoing participation in the current Portable People Meter market trial in Philadelphia. While we have delayed the commercialization timetable in response to the requests of both our customers and Nielsen, we are confident that the important issues have been identified and will be successfully addressed."
Arbitron web site:
2002-10-18: Lord Gordon of Strathblane, the chairman of Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) is to take over from John Whitney as chairman of the UK radio ratings company RAJAR in January.
His appointment comes as the company is mired in controversy over its diary-ratings system that Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie wants replaced by the Swiss radiocontrol audience measurement system (See RNW Sep 18).
RAJAR is in the third phase of its meter testing programme: It began a six-month trial of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system in September, using it with a panel of 300 London households to monitor 32 radio services from various platforms including analogue and digital terrestrial radio broadcasts, radio services on digital satellite TV, and Internet streams. It is to begin tests of the Radiocontrol meter soon.
2002-10-18: The Los Angeles Times has again raised the issue of airplay in an article concerning the launch and heavy playing by Emmis-owned KPWR-FM (Power 106)of three singles by little-known rapper Shade Sheist whose CD was recorded by Baby Ree Entertainment, an Emmis-financed company.
In addition the man credited with producing Sheist's "Informal Introduction" CD isDamion Young, a senior programming and artist relations executive at KPWR .
Sheist's music is distributed by MCA Record but says the paper, critics are questioning whether it is legal for Emmis to underwrite the recording and then promote his music on its stations without letting listeners know about its business links with the music.
Peter Hart, an analyst for the New York-based media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, told the paper, "This doesn't sound like radio programming. It sounds like a commercial for a company tied to the owners of the station. Listeners should know that the station has a financial stake in the programming. It calls for disclosure."
The Times points out that federal law prohibits radio stations from accepting money or anything of value for playing songs without disclosing that information to listeners but Rick Cummings, president of Emmis' radio division, denied any illegality.
"Before setting this record up, we cleared it with our legal counsel and [Federal Communications Commission] attorneys," he said. "They said, 'Look, make sure this thing passes the smell test. Remove Damion from the decision-making process on the [Sheist] record.' And that's exactly what we did."
Cummings said Young has been prohibited from discussing Sheist's music during KPWR's weekly programming meetings, adding that no Emmis employee asked its stations to air Sheist's music.
Young, says the paper, is considered one of the most influential radio executives in the country; he has remixed tracks for record labels ranging from Def Jam to Columbia, Atlantic and London-Sire before cutting his current distribution deal with MCA. MCA representatives say the label signed its deal with Young solely on the merits of Sheist's music.
KPWR program director Jimmy Steal said he only added Sheist to the station's weekly playlist was because it rated high in listener tests used to judge audience response to all new music and Cummings added that the songs tested well at two other stations in the radio chain, which also added the songs to their playlists.
The paper points out that, despite the promotion, the CD has flopped, and also notes that other entertainment conglomerates such as Walt Disney Co. and Viacom Inc. were allowed to acquire ABC and CBS respectively, and air their own movies, sitcoms and cartoons on these networks..
Los Angeles Times report:
2002-10-18: Latest Internet ratings from MeasureCast show a small fall in listening in the first week of October; in the rankings, Clear Channel was back in the top network spot and Virgin was back as top station; Jazz FM plunged from top to sixth place.
For the week to October 6, MeasureCast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 311,541 (281,310); CP 69,264 (62,045). Up from third with significant rise in listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian Music K-Love - TTSL 235,097 (235,190); CP 29,564 (29,009). Up from fourth despite small fall in listening but slight increase in reach.
3: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 234,493 (227,302); CP 51,150 (48,355). Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
4: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 197,002 (310,279); CP 68,655 (111,030). Down from second with much lower listening and reach.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM - TTSL 195,573 (194,774); CP 31,061 (31,541). Up from sixth with slightly higher listening and lower reach.
*Jazz FM, previously top with TTSL 352,026, plunged to sixth with TTSL less than half that at 175,528 whilst its cume fell less dramatically from 76,434 to 59,821
The top five networks for the week to October 6 (Previous week in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,240,705 (1,156,853); CP 291,805 (273,146) - Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: StreamAudio TTSL 1,035,037 (1,055,274) ; CP 150,430 (146,809). Up from third despite lower listening although reach was higher.
3: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 1,016,360 (997,943): CP183,298 (182,258) - Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 774,004 (1,196,413); CP 223,943 (358,824). Down from first with much lower listening and reach.
5: WARP Radio TTSL 664,962 (765,325) hours: CP 107,891 (109,442) - Same position with much lower listening and lower reach.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast weekly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-10-17: US radio advertising revenues were up 17% in September compared to a year ago, when the September 11 attacks caused a massive plunge in revenues, according to Gary Fries, President and CEO of the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Speaking to the RAB board meeting in Atlanta, he said that Washington had shown an even greater increase of 27%.
The meeting heard calls from major advertisers for less "bad-taste" programming and a reduction in spotload congestion. Some of the advertisers also voiced support for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) audience measurement system.
Previous RAB (US):
2002-10-17: There has been widespread approval in US broadcasting for a bill introduced by Senator John McCain (Republican, Arizona) designed to aid minorities and small businesses entry into US media, including broadcast, telecommunications and Internet businesses.
McCain's "Telecommunications Ownership Diversity Act of 2002" would allow for deferral of up to $250 million in capital gains over three years from any one transaction and $84 million in any one year.
Eligible purchasers would have to be new industry entrants, small businesses and other socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, as defined by the Treasury Department.
The US government would be able to claw back the benefit with a 20% penalty should a business be resold within three years to anyone but another eligible buyer.
McCain says the move would help such buyers because they usually have to pay cash for acquisitions whilst big media companies often prefer tax-free stock swaps and he singled out radio as a sector that had traditionally been an easier one to enter but had now been priced out of the range of most smaller operators and would-be entrants.
The move comes as increasing concern is being expressed about the likely impact of a new wave of media consolidation should the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as expected, relax media ownership regulations.
Amongst those expressing support for his move are FCC chairman Michael Powell, who has long said he favoured reviving a law that gave similar tax breaks until 1995 for broadcaster and cable businesses and helped minorities to buy 288 radio stations, 43 TV stations and 31 cable companies.
In a statement, Powell said, "I applaud and welcome Senator John McCain's on- going and consistent efforts to encourage and facilitate new entry, including women and minorities, into the telecommunications industry."
"Senator McCain has consistently shown great leadership in his commitment to creating an incentive structure to promote greater inclusiveness in our media and communications delivery sectors and I wholeheartedly support this effort."
"We must all look for new tools that will promote opportunity for new entry into telecommunications businesses. This tax- based incentive system, designed to provide such opportunity while avoiding some of the problems of past programs, would be a welcome addition to the toolbox."
The previous tax credit system was dropped because of claims of abuse but according to David Honig, executive director of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, it had been a factor in around two-thirds of minority-owned stations.
The move has also been backed by Clear Channel, which said it applauded McCain's efforts to "encourage and support diversity of ownership in the telecommunications marketplace" and by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), whose President and CEO commented, "It is our belief that ownership diversity is good for localism and good for the business of broadcasting."
RNW comment : While we also support the aims of McCain's move, we note that the bill will not be able to move forward in the current session and could well be subject to lobbying for changes by the big corporations before any move is made to re-introduce it in future.
In the meantime, it seems that the big companies, who are not noted for rushing to pay taxes, are welcoming a move that, by allowing tax breaks, shifts any costs to the general taxpayer and could boost the value of such properties.
In other words, for the big players, head we win, tails someone else pays. Not that it's a bad deal, for would-be newcomers but its hardly something to elicit from us any particular praise for the existing groups' support for the move.
2002-10-17: Capital Disney is to abandon the" no-advertising" pledge that governs its UK television channel for its new digital radio station, to be launched today, according to the UK Guardian.
The station will be transmitted on Capital's Cube digital radio stations in five areas including London, the west Midlands and the Northeast and will be the first UK radio station dedicated to children.
Its breakfast, post-school and evening shows will be hosted by TV presenters from the Disney TV Channel and Paul Robinson, managing director of Disney UK branded television, told the paper, "Capital's expertise and Disney's knowledge of UK children's tastes will help build a radio station that is completely different to the existing commercial and BBC services."
British children spend around GBP1 billion a year themselves and four times this is spent on them by parents for non-essential items including CDs, DVDs and toys.
The paper says that the station plans to advertise to under-16s through mobile phones and computers, with its website providing a key commercial feature that will showcase expensive toys and provide links to sites where they can be bought.
The station's output will be a mix of mix of chart music, competitions, games and speech-based programmes focusing on entertainment, news, sport and technology.
UK Guardian report:
2002-10-17: The latest Arbitron ratings, released Monday, have already been followed by a victim in Chicago according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
He reports that WNND-FM Programme Director Mark Hamlin was fired by owners Bonneville International Corporation after the figures showed the station trailing adult-contemporary rival Clear Channel-owned WLIT-FM.
In the ratings, WLIT tied for 14th place with WOJO-FM with a 2.8 share whilst WNND only just stayed in the top 20, sharing 19th place with WLUP-FM, both having a 2.1 share.
Feder says Bonneville denied the ratings had been related to the decision to dump Hamlin and quoted Drew Horowitz, president of Bonneville's Chicago Radio Group as saying, "The reality is that the person who was in place there has lost our confidence in his ability to get the job done. We need to step up and become more competitive in the marketplace."
More generally, the Chicago Arbitrons showed no change at the very top where Tribune's WGN-AM retained its number one ranking with a 6.0 share, down from 6.4 but Clear Channel 's WGCI-FM was second with a 5.2 share, up from 4.7, pushing out Disney-ABC's WLS-AM which dropped from a 5.0 share to a 3.7 and eighth place; and Infinity's WBBM-AM was third with 4.8, down from 4.9.
In the fight for Hispanic listeners, WLEY-FM was 12th with a 3.1 share, down from 3.6 and WOJO-FM rose to 14th with a 2.8 share, up from 2.1.
Erich "Mancow" Muller fared badly, dropping from fourth place to 14th in mornings as Emmis's WKQX-FM dropped to a 2.3 share from 3.1
2002-10-17: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has red flagged on ownership share and revenue-concentration grounds Cumulus's planned USD 30 million Florida acquisition of five stations in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, from East Mississippi Broadcasters Inc. (Holladay Broadcasting).
Cumulus has already started operating the stations under a local marketing agreement (See RNW Sept 20). The other big operator in the market is Clear Channel, which owns five stations there.
2002-10-16: This year's Annual Communications Industry Forecast just released by merchant bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson predicts a recovery in media and communications spending from the second half of this year with radio doing particularly well and some other sectors, particularly consumer magazines, with spending down 1%, and business-to-business media, with spending down 12%, continuing to struggle.
The report says that total US communications spending, which dropped back 0.3% in 2001, will increase by 4.8% this year to nearly USD610 billion.
For the five-tear period to 2006, it predicts a growth in total communications spending of 5.5% compounded annual rate to USD760 billion; for the five years to 2001, the growth rate was 6.55.
Within the 2001-2006 period, Veronis Suhler says consumer end-user spending will rise at around 6.5% annually, institutional end-user spending will grow at nearly 6% annually, and advertising will grow at around 4% annually.
Radio, it says, suffered an advertising revenue fall in 2001 of 6.2% to USD17.9 billion, following nine consecutive years of growth. Looking ahead it says that local advertising spending will be up 3% this year to USD14.6 billion, national ads will be up 4% to USD 3.2 billion and for the period from the end of this year through 2006 it expects total spending to grown 6.2% annually to a total of USD24.1 billion.
Veronis Suhler Stevenson web site:
2002-10-16: Arbitron's September webcast ratings show that two new Contemporary Christian channels to its ratings - K-LOVE and Air 1 Radio among its top 25 webcast channels and K-Love's parent, Educational Media Foundation, fifth in its network ratings. As in August, Live 365 leads its network ratings with Clear Channel second and Virgin Radio held on to the top channel spot but K-Love took the second spot, pushing Jazz FM down to third.
Arbitron's September top five channels, ranked by ATH (aggregate tuning hours) with previous month's figures in brackets were:
1:Adult contemporary Virgin FM with ATH 1,263,700. Same position in August when ATH was marginally lower at 1,263,000.
2: Contemporary Christian K-Love with ATH 1,004,700. New entrant to ratings.
3: Jazz FM with ATH 977,800. Second in August when ATH was higher at 11,110,600.
4: Classical WQXR-FM with ATH 784,700. Third in August when ATH was lower at 780,600.
5: Album Adult Alternative Radioio with ATH 738,900. Fourth in August when ATH was lower at 546,700.
* Classical King FM, fifth in August with ATH 569,700, fell to sixth with ATH down to 473,100.
Arbitron's September top five networks, ranked by ATH with previous month's figures in brackets where applicable were:
1:Live 365 with ATH 10,050,900. Position unchanged but up from August ATH 9,217,100.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide with ATH 5,815,600. Position unchanged but up from August ATH 5,469,400.
3: ChainCast Networks/StreamAudio with ATH 3,911,900. Position unchanged but up from August ATH 1,549,200.
4: SMG PLC (Virgin radio owners) with ATH 1,516,000. Position unchanged but down from August ATH 1,835,000.
5: Educational Media Foundation with ATH 1,302,500 (new entrant).
* Guardian Media Group, fifth in August with ATH1, 111,500, fell to sixth with ATH 979,300.
Previous Arbitron webcast ratings:
Arbitron web site:
2002-10-16: Andrew Jeffries, UK Chrysalis Group's programme director for its Galaxy stations in Manchester and Yorkshire is leaving the group to move to Perth in Australia; he is to be replaced by Mike Cass, who is currently programme director for Galaxy in Birmingham and South Wales.
In another related move, Vaughan Hobbs, Chrysalis Radio Group's head of music, will also take on the duties of programme director for Galaxy and move from London to Manchester.
2002-10-16: Internet porn entrepreneur Danni Ashe has removed from her office system a link that sent out the output of National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate KCRW-FM to callers to her Los Angeles office who had been put on hold.
According to Current magazine, Ashe is a fan of the station but after she mentioned the link in a Slate article, she received a letter from NPR General Counsel Neal Jackson threatening legal action if she didn't remove KCRW from the phone feed.
"Considering the general goal of any radio station is to reach as many people as possible and the extremely limited distribution offered by my telephone switchboard," Ashe said in a press release. "I'm amazed that anyone at NPR thinks I'm a threat to their network."
Ashe also, says the magazine, suggested that she was singled out because of her "profession" but this was denied by NPR, which pointed out that such use is not covered by its contracts with various content providers.
NPR however, as Current also mentions, has been rather pernickety about Internet links to its web site and in July amended the notice that prohibited "Linking to or framing of any material on this site without the prior written consent of NPR" after being widely held up to ridicule.
The policy was introduced when NPR's news division discovered websites mingling links to NPR content with advertisements and was, said NPR, also instituted to restrain link abuses by advocacy groups. NPR said it has found sites "that have positioned the audio link to an NPR story such that one cannot tell that NPR is not supporting their cause."
RNW note: NPR currently forbids "framing" and its notice concerning linking says, "NPR encourages and permits links to content on NPR Web sites. However, NPR is an organization committed to the highest journalistic ethics and standards and to independent, non-commercial journalism, both in fact and appearance."
"Therefore, the linking should not (a) suggest that NPR promotes or endorses any third party's causes, ideas, Web sites, products or services, or (b) use NPR content for inappropriate commercial purposes. We reserve the right to withdraw permission for any link."
There is doubt whether any restrictions on linking can be legally enforced, although framing, which includes copyright material on a site, has been ruled inadmissible without permission.
As regards the Ashe case, the issue of copyright would seem to put NPR on a firm legal footing.
Current Magazine report:
2002-10-15: The future for webcasting in the US remains troublesome for many companies with both terrestrial broadcasters and small commercial facing problems.
The US Copyright Office has denied the motion filed last month by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in conjunction with a number of radio companies calling for a stay in the payment of royalties for simulcasts of AM and FM stations output until their appeal against the royalty ruling is decided (See RNW Sept 14).
Making the ruling, Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters said the broadcasters have not made their case that they would be irreparably harmed if they had to pay royalties and then seek refunds nor had they shown sufficient likelihood of winning their case against the royalties ruling.
The broadcasters claim that the exemption they have from royalty payments for their terrestrial broadcastings also apply to streaming of their over-the-air signals.
In the case of the small webcasters, the "Small Webcaster Amendments Act of 2002" (H.R. 5469) that was passed unanimously by the US House of Representatives a week ago (See RNW Oct 9) still being held up in the Senate.
According to Radio and Internet Newsletter at the end of last week, the hold-up is on the Republican side and the Democratic Senators have all accepted the bill.
The hold up, according to RAIN, is because the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is trying to add additional words to the bill to prevent its provisions being cited as a precedent in future Copyright Arbitration Panel (CARP) arbitrations.
RAIN points out that were the wording of the bill changed, instead of being able to go directly on for Presidential signature after passage through the Senate it would have to go back to the House for re-approval and the House is currently only scheduled to meet today in the current session.
RAIN web site:
2002-10-15: UK Chrysalis Group has announced that news presenter Howard Hughes, currently working on Chris Tarrant's breakfast show on Capital FM, is to be the morning news presenter on its recently-acquired LBC station.
Chrysalis is to re-launch LBC at the start of next year and has said it will hire talent from other stations to make it the "most talked about" station in London.
2002-10-15: Sirius Satellite Radio's shares rebounded by nearly a fifth on Monday following a plunge of 23% on Friday after the company had failed to make a USD720, 000 payment on its 8.75% convertible subordinated notes due Sept. 30.
Sirius issued a statement saying that this was not because it did not have the money but because it elected to use a one-month grace period in order to make the payment without defaulting on the notes, which mature in 2009.
The company said that the background to the decision was its involvement over several days " in final discussions with major stakeholders regarding a substantial recapitalization of the company."
"While there is no assurance that a financing agreement will be achieved, the company is hopeful that an announcement regarding a transaction can be made shortly," it added.
Sirius said it currently has some USD250 million in cash on hand, enough for its operations into the second quarter of next year and that it now had around USD16 million in total of convertible notes outstanding, having retired most of its convertible notes in 2000 and 2001.
Sirius shares, which closed Friday at 69 cents ended Monday at 82 cents; this compares to a 52-week high of USD 13.05. Its rival XM ended up slightly at USD 3:29, having opened at USD 3:20; this compares to a 52-week high of USD20.68
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
2002-10-15: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded the Carlow Kilkenny and County Kildare licences in principle to KCLR and Kfm respectively.
Both awards are subject to successful contract negotiations, KCLR had been competing with two other short listed applicants and Kfm against four (See Licence News July 21)
BCI web site:
2002-10-15: In its September Internet ratings just released, MeasureCast lists Virgin Radio in the top spot with Jazz Fm second; it has not issued a table of its network ratings but lists the top four networks.
Clear Channel retained the top network spot with a Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) of 4,995,393 hours followed by MUSICMATCH (4,577,903 hours); StreamAudio (4,035,618 hours) and Radio Free Virgin (3,928,268 hours).
In terms of audience, measured by cumulative persons (CP), the top stations were MUSICMATCH (1,139,290 listeners; Internet Radio, Inc. (738,920 listeners);Clear Channel Worldwide (696,171); and Radio Free Virgin (525,185).
MeasureCast's top five channels for August ranked by TTSL - total time spent listening - (with June's TTSL and Cume -CP - Cumulative Audience- in brackets) were:
1): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 1,546,290 (1,439,973); CP 243,123 (264,788). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2): Jazz format Jazz FM TTSL 1,308,612 (1,445,730); CP (243,687) - Down from first with lower listening and reach.
3): MUSICMATCH Artist Match TTSL 1,232,715 (871,674) ; CP 365,783 (131,005) : Up from fourth with higher listening and reach
4): Contemporary Christian K-Love Radio TTSL 935,442 (930,387); CP 70,931 (64,901): Down from third despite higher listening and reach .
5): Adult Alternative Internet only RADIOIO TTSL 788,291 (727,840 ); CP 143,973 (137,245 )- Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
August number 5 Sports-talk ESPN fell to seventh with TTSL falling from 778,520 to 663,106.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
Previous MeasureCast monthly ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-10-14: Our first instinct this week was that the approval of Ibiquity's IBOC (In Band on-channel) system by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was the obvious topic on which to lead in our look at print comment on radio.
Unfortunately and rather to our surprise, beyond what boiled down to not much more than a re-hash of iBiquity's news release with a few quotes added, we didn't find a single article in the whole US mainstream and trade media that we looked at that took the matter further than what we included in our report on Oct 10.
So, most important development or not, we have to move on to lesser matters: Or should that be more important?
In a radio column headed "Portable Pleasure" in the UK Times, Chris Campling, delivers an encomium on radio, part of which is universal and expresses benefits of the medium that have little to do with any particular form of radio technology.
He comments, "I love it that people take radios with them to sporting and other events, so that they can be told what it is that they are looking at. I love it that they take radios with them to the seaside, to relieve the mind-numbing tedium of lying on the sand. "
"I love it that my daughter takes a radio to bed with her to listen to late-night Radio 1. I love it that schoolboys still sit in lessons with a radio in their blazer pocket and the earphone cord running up their sleeve to the hand cupped around their ear, listening to the Test match while pretending just to be bored I love it that you can do all these things with a radio - and none with a TV."
He then concludes, "Which presumably is why as much as 91 per cent of Britain listens to the radio these days. That is quite some freemasonry. With these figures we may change the world; do you hear me?"
(RNW note: We would point out that in the US, some 95% of the population aged 12 and over listen to the radio at least once a week, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)).
Radio also, because of cost factors and also because, like print you can conjure up images from the imagination, also ranges more widely than TV, a point effectively made in a UK Guardian review by Elisabeth Mahoney of various BBC programmes (RNW note-Some are still just available online thanks to the BBC putting more resources into its on-demand service which means that many programmes are available for up to a week after the broadcast.)
"It has been a weekend of extraordinary facts on the radio," she wrote. "As the superb adaptation of Watership Down (Radio 4) concluded, along came The Archive Hour: Rabbiting On (Radio 4), a history of the rabbit as cultural icon and its exploitation by "chefs, cartoonists, soft pornographers and Easter egg manufacturers, not to mention poets and novelists". Or Chas and Dave."
"This was brimful of conversation-stopping factual gems. Henry VIII liked to wear black underwear made from rabbit fur, and rabbits are unusual mammals in that ovulation in the female is induced by copulation. Multi-taskers through and through, does can lactate while pregnant. Samuel Pepys's cook had a tip for those seeking fresh, young rabbits at market that made Jamie Oliver sound positively wimpy: 'I always pinch the jawbones hard and if they break you know you've found a young 'un."'"
"But the best clip featured a Plymouth car showroom full of Minis dressed up as bunnies, plus the local mayor and a television presenter called Gus Honeybun (yes, really). To promote the cars, a British Leyland exec came up with the idea of some real rabbits frolicking in the showroom. Only they did a bit more than frolic: "the curtains pulled back and there was Gus Honeybun and the two minis poking out of the rabbit holes. But in front of them, performing the spring rituals, were the rabbits. It looked as if they were giving each other piggybacks."
Mahoney also reviewed two other programmes, one more serious (Gunrunners, a study of the global arms trade on BBC World Service) and the other a programme from the Radio 4 series Food Fit for Heroes" The episode she reviewed dealt with preparing an authentic 17th century meal that involved two cooks in, amongst other things, having to use dung to seal up the bread oven. More appetising, as it happened, was the following programme on preparing a Roman meal, which is worth a listen on the Internet.
Less appetising in our view is one of BBC Radio 2's hosts, Jonathon Ross, whose show was reviewed by Vanora Bennett in the UK Times.
"THE VERY FIRST WORDS, " (her capitalisation) wrote Bennett, " he spoke to his three million-plus Radio 2 listeners on Saturday revealed that Jonathan Ross, who is 42, was going to spend the next three hours obsessing about how old people were. "
"'Look, you just gave me an email saying a pensioner wants to sleep with me," he kicked off, gasping comically. "No wonder I'm distracted.'"
She then continues with a further look at the programme, which is operating in a time of demographic change that affects the US as much as the UK, by writing "Poking fun at the over-sixties makes a particular kind of sense in our youth-obsessed times, since they're the last age group left that will admit to being adult at all. Just about everyone under 60 is a child of the age of rock'n'roll, brought up to believe that it's cool to be young and subversive, and that grown-ups are wrong."
"But now a lot of people in that ever-expanding yoof demographic aren't quite young enough themselves any more to bare a belly button with confidence. They're having to settle for being young at heart - not much of a second best Of course they'd rather stay young for ever. And that's where Jonathan Ross and Radio 2 come in. His entire slot is a knowing, mocking riff about the fear of getting old."
"Ross is living proof ." says Bennett, "that you never need to grow up enough to get serious. His style is winsome Peter Pan naughtiness. Last week he apologised to listeners, sort of, after playing a record so full of swear words that he said his audience 'would have heart attacks all over the country'."
RNW comment: Another way of describing Ross's output far too frequently in our view is "puerile"; We don't particularly worry one way or another about the attitudes but the the intellectual level of much of the content seems to us most likely to attract those still in first childhood, advancing into dotage, or just pretty dumb and witless. He'll probably do well with the numbers.
UK Guardian- Mahoney:
UK Times - Bennett:
UK Times -Campling:
2002-10-14: In its first year the Radio Mirchi station in Indore, the first private FM launched by by ENIL (Entertainment Network (India) Limited), a subsidiary of the Times of India Group, has attracted 84% of listeners in the 15-35 age group according to the Times of India.
The paper says a survey of this age group conducted by the Indian Media Research Bureau showed it had built up its share to this level from 69% achieved within a month of its launch.
The survey also showed at amongst people who did not own FM radio receivers and listened at public places, friends and relatives' houses, some 62% opted for the station.
The survey also showed that radio was outperforming television with an average listening period of 124 minutes a day compared to 122 minutes spent watching TV.
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India report:
2002-10-13: The main story from the regulators this week has to be the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval of iBiquity's IBOC digital radio system (See RNW Oct 11); elsewhere activities were fairly routine.
Australia was fairly quiet with the only radio activities by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) being to extend by one year, until October 2003, the time for which Perth Community Services 6AR and 6NR must convert from AM to FM and to allocate a new non-broadcasting services bands commercial radio licence covering the whole of Australia to Heart N Soul Productions Pty Limited.
Such licences as issued in Australia give no rights to spectrum and are potentially unlimited in number and issued "over the counter."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a new policy on community-based media that it says "will help to ensure a greater diversity of voices for Canadians."
Much of the document relates to television but it also replaces the existing policy for low-power radio stations, which it says "can make an important contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system."
In particular the low power radio section of the report deals with changes made following complaints from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) that the Commission's earlier proposals defining areas where low power frequencies were scarce was imprecise and subject to differing interpretations.
The Commission had suggested three areas -Vancouver/Victoria and the lower mainland of B.C.; Southern Ontario including the Greater Toronto Area (GTA); and Greater Montréal and the surrounding area - plus other markets where no more than three low-power AM or FM frequencies are available for assignment
The CAB called for the adoption of a showing" requirement in place of a "zoning " system under which, for example, the "first-in" applicant would be expected to provide a satisfactory technical brief showing that at least two additional FM low-power frequencies can be assigned in the same area.
The CAB also argued that the inclusion of AM frequencies in the definition would mean that "virtually no radio market in Canada could be considered to have a scarcity of frequencies", on the grounds that the 1605-1705 kHz band remains unused almost everywhere.
In response the Commission accepted the point regarding AM but found difficulties with the "showing" system in that it would mean all applicants would have to present a technical brief, thus potentially discouraging less experienced applicants and would also be of limited use in many urban areas where "drop-in frequencies" must be engineered to meet specific circumstances.
It amended its final criterion to be "Other markets where no more than three low-power FM frequencies are available for assignment. "
In terms of prioritising applications, the commission noted the CAB proposal for a three-tier system of not-for-profit services; commercial services with evidence demonstrating a viable and diverse programming service; and rebroadcasters of local and/or distant signals but said that it felt its existing system, which has been operating since 1993, gave better guidance, and should be retained.
It also said that, because it wanted additional diversity from such services, the ownership of multiple licences and cross-ownership of low power radio and TV licences would be generally discourages; that low power stations should contribute appropriately to Canadian talent development when offering a music service, and that they would also be expected to adhere to industry codes of practice.
The Commission has also approved deadline extensions as below:
Ontario - the time for an as yet-to-be incorporated corporation to commence operating a New Christian music FM radio station in Sudbury.
- the time for Newcap Inc to decrease the power of CHNO-FM, Sudbury, from 100,000 watts to 11,000 watts.
Yukon Territory - the time for Bethany Pentecostal Tabernacle to commence operating a new Christian music FM radio station in Whitehorse.
In Quebec, it issued a public notice of an application by Fondation Radio Galilée to amend the licence of religious station CION-FM Québec, to add an 11,040 watts transmitter at Saguenay to extend the reach of the station; Interventions in respect to the application must be submitted by November 14.
Ireland was quiet on the radio front and it was also fairly quiet in the the UK where the Radio Authority has pre-advertised the local licences for Wrexham and Chester and Oban in Scotland.
In Chester, the AM FM licence is currently held by Classic Gold Marcher and the FM licence by Marcher Radio Group Ltd., owned by GWR Group plc, whilst the Oban licence is currently held by Oban FM Community Radio Ltd.
Should there be no opposing applications, the licence applications will be "fast-tracked" by the authority.
The Authority has also re-awarded the local licence for Tunbridge Wells/Sevenoaks in Kent to West Kent's KMFM, formerly Mercury FM, against competition from Go-FM (Absolute Radio West Kent Ltd.).
In the US, as well as approving ibiquity's digital radio system, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at its open meeting on Thursday also discussed the question of indecency complaints. Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps re-iterated his stance that stations should be supplying tapes or transcripts as opposed to the current situation where the onus is on the complainant.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell responded by stating the well known, that FCC rules do not require stations to provide tapes, but also pointed out that the FCC launched its investigation into the sex in St Patrick's cathedral incident in the absence of a tape or transcript. Copps responded by pointing out that there was still a widespread "perception" that complainants had to provide a tape or transcript and Powell said that the Commission would work on the perception.
Concerning the work of its Enforcement Bureau, the Commission released a report on highlights of its actions during the past year. Most concerned telecommunications, including the issue of junk faxes, and the Bureau reported that of the more than 28 million dollars in enforcement actions in fiscal 2002, there were $15 million in consumer protection enforcement actions; $10 million in local competition enforcement actions; and $3.5 million in public safety enforcement actions including EAS (Emergency Alert Systems) and tower lighting and safety issues.
The Commission says it is planning to increase enforcement of its radiation guidelines for towers; during the year it imposed fines totalling around USD1 million for 71 antenna violations, having inspected more than 3000 antennas; EAS violations totalled 30 with fines of more than USD300, 000 being imposed.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-10-13: Following its announcements of details of its new weekday chows that start on its Radio 1 channel tomorrow (Oct 14 - See RNW Oct 13), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has now named Peter Brown as the host of the channel's new Saturday Show.
That Saturday Show, which is to be launched by Brown from Vancouver on October 26, will replace Brent Bambury's Go series; it is to be a mix of arts, entertainment, and lifestyle programming. .
Brown worked on CBC's The Arts Tonight in Saskatchewan and then, from 1994, on Radio Active, which was based in Edmonton, Alberta.
2002-10-12: Last week was fairly quiet on the radio deals front in the US, with the main news being that Big City Radio has now joined the 90-per-cent club of companies whose stock is worth less than a tenth of its peak value.
Its stock plunged to 10 cents following an announcement that it had warned that it does not have enough cash to make the semi-annual interest payment on its 11.25% Senior Discount Notes that was due on September 15 and which have a 30-day grace period expiring on Tuesday (October 15).
The company says it is considering various options including the sale of assets and re-structuring the notes to avoid a default but it may have to consider a bankruptcy protection filing should other avenues become closed.
Big City was also hit by a US Federal Communications Commission refusal of its plan for a series of moves in California that would have denied an application for a class A signal at Murrieta in California and allowed various changes that would have allowed it to upgrade its KLYY, Arcadia-Los Angeles , from a Class A to a Class B1. The FCC approved the original application from Helen Jones for the Murietta Class A.
On the deals front things were also quiet with the main deals being Disney/ABC's announcement of agreement to acquire WBYU-AM in the New Orleans market from Beasley Broadcasting of Nevada and turn it into a Radio Disney outlet and Perry Broadcasting's agreement to buy the Oklahoma station assets of Friends Communications.
No price was given for the ABC deal but the Perry deal is one of USD1.175 million for five stations, KRPT-FM Andarko; KXCA-AM Lawton; KXCD-AM and KKEN-FM Duncan; and KDDQ-FM Comanche.
Previous Big City:
2002-10-12: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's new weekday show, hosted by Shelagh Rogers, will debut on Monday under the name "Sounds Like Canada".
The show is part of a re-vamp of CBC Radio One's morning schedules and will run from 10a.m. to noon; it will be made up of a mixture of studio and on-location production and will include new shows including "Out There", produced in British Columbia, and retain current programmes C'est La Vie, with Bernard St. Laurent; Outfront; and Workology, with Jane Farrow.
The new 90-minute morning show that precedes it is to be called The Current; it will be hosted by former CBC-TV journalist Anna Maria Tremonti and will feature reports from across Canada and around the world.
2002-10-12: Latest Internet ratings from MeasureCast show a 6% increase in listening in the final week of September; in the rankings, MUSICMATCH again took top network spot, ousting Clear Channel for the second time. MUSICMATCH's Artist Match also moved up to second place in the station rankings, pushing Virgin down to third.
For the week to September 29, MeasureCast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 352,026 (350,032); CP 76,434 (79,099): Same position with slightly higher listening but lower reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 310,279 (300,992); CP 111,030 (110,535). Up from third with higher listening but slightly lower reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 281,310 (320,027); CP 62,045 (66,477). Down from second with significant drop in listening and reach for second week running.
4: Contemporary Christian Music K-Love - TTSL 235,190 (225,247); CP 29,009 (28,892). Same position with higher listening and reach.
5: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 227,302 (206,798); CP 48,355 (45,852). Same position with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to September 29 (Previous week in brackets) were:
1: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,196,413 (1,109,642); CP 358,824 (349,197). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,156,853 (1,348,709); CP 273,146 (284,286) - Down from first with lower listening and reach.
3: StreamAudio TTSL 1,055,274 (995,599) ; CP 146,809 (139,324). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 997,943 (957,078): CP 182,258 (174,448) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
5: WARP Radio TTSL 765,325 (771,199) hours: CP 109,442 (113,576) - Same position with lower listening and reach.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-10-11: By a 4-0 vote, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given the go-ahead for iBiquity Digital's IBOC (In band on Channel) HD Radio digital technology.
The vote means that US stations could begin broadcasts using the technology immediately pending the establishment of final IBOC standards, although few if any broadcasters are not yet equipped to do so and receivers are not likely to be on the market until next year. They will cost around USD100 more than a conventional AM-FM receiver.
IBOC Digital FM has been approved for both daytime and night time broadcast, IBOC AM digital for daytime broadcast only so far; As well as improved audio, it will enable data services to be transmitted within the signal and some car radio will include small screens to display news or advertising.
All the Commissioners welcomed the move and Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy commented "We don't get many items where it's a win-win for everyone. There's no down side" although in a joint statement with fellow Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin, she contradicted herself slightly with the comment, "We do recognize that there may be some interference with existing services, but we believe that the impact will be minimal and is outweighed by the benefits of digital audio broadcasting."
"We are, however, particularly concerned about the potential for interference to some receivers used for radio reading services for the blind or visually impaired."
"We are pleased that the Commission will seek comment on measures to protect these established sub carrier services in its FNPRM. In the interim, we expect that broadcasters will work closely with the affected parties to resolve these issues without intervention from the Commission."
"We are optimistic that, in the short-term, interference issues can be resolved and, in the long-term, the quality and availability of radio reading services will benefit from the technological advancements of digital audio radio service."
In his statement, the sole Democrat on the Commission, Michael J Copps, welcomed the system as one he believed would ", enhance audio broadcasting measurably and in the process advance the public interest" but he also took up the issue of possible interference in his comment.
"A few questions remain to be settled," he wrote, "including how the IBOC system will function in the real world; what is the potential for and extent of interference that IBOC could cause to existing services; and the technical feasibility of night time AM IBOC transmissions."
(RNW comment: As we made clear in our August comment, bearing in mind the distractions they cause and the increased risk of accidents, we are not convinced of the wisdom of additional information on automobile radio screens or indeed any screen system that tempts or requires a driver to divert attention from the road ahead. We remain convinced that, should there prove to be a significant number of deaths caused by such systems the directors of companies providing such services, both manufacturers and broadcasters, should find themselves in jail as a result of the introduction of any such device in pursuit of profit).
Amongst the first broadcasters likely to start digital transmissions is Radio One Inc. which last month announced a deal for implementation of the system at its stations in Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Detroit and Atlanta (See RNW Sept 13).
Radio One's director of engineering John Mathews said the company planned to start digital broadcasts within three months, adding that the "quality improvement is just phenomenal. It's analogous to the transition between cassettes and CDs.''
Its President and CEO, Alfred C. Liggins III, said, "The promise of HD Radio is an exciting one that will not only enable us to deliver superior audio quality, but the integrated wireless data services offer us an additional opportunity to communicate more effectively with our audiences."
The decision was also welcomed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose President and CEO Edward O. Fritts commented, "With today's FCC action, local radio stations are poised to deliver one of the most sweeping advancements in broadcasting in nearly a century. "
"Community-focused programming has always made radio an indispensable part of the American fabric. We believe broadcasters will embrace this new technology because it will provide local listeners with unmatched audio quality and a host of new, innovative digitally-based services."
iBiquity president and CEO Robert Struble said, "The FCC, NRSC, NAB and CEA deserve the credit for making this historic day a reality. This ruling will offer true digital performance on AM/FM, allowing consumers to experience radio, as they never have before. Radio can now formally begin its long-awaited digital transformation."
Previous Radio 1:
FCC web site - links to Commissioner's statements and news release:
iBiquity web site:
2002-10-11: Mark Flanagan, the newly appointed managing director of Chrysalis Group's recently-acquired London station LBC (See RNW Oct 10), has told the UK Guardian that he intends to turn the station into "the most talked-about station in London" and "to confound the nay-sayers and doom-mongers."
Flanagan added that Chrysalis was doing a lot of research into the market and listeners and also searching for top radio talent.
"We are talking to a lot of talent - existing and new. We are looking for people who can be entertaining and knowledgeable," he said. "There will be some existing talent - you don't throw the baby out with the bath water - and some new talent and some big names because we intend to make it the most talked about station in London."
Commenting on the station's target audience, he said, "Our rivals will be roughly split between Radio's 2, 4 and 5 Live, although we will treat sport as news and won't go down the sports rights road. "
UK Guardian report:
2002-10-11: US National Public Radio has announced the appointment of Michele Norris from ABC News as its third co-host for its All Things Considered afternoon news magazine.
She will start her new duties on December 9 and joins long-time host Robert Siegel and NPR veteran Melissa Block whose appointment to the show was announced last month (See RNW Sept 18). The two new weekday hosts succeed Linda Wertheimer and Noah Adams, who left the program last winter.
NPR has also announced the appointment from November 1 of NPR News correspondent Steve Inskeep as the regular weekend host of All Things Considered.
All Things Considered, which went on air in 1971, attracts some 12 million listeners a week; its weekend edition attracts around 1.7 million listeners.
Norris commented that, after nine years at ABC news, she looked "forward to this new and extraordinary opportunity."
"As a devoted listener of All Things Considered, " she added, "I have long been impressed and inspired by the show's commitment to excellence and by its gifted stable of correspondents and commentators who guide listeners on an incredible journey to new destinations and discoveries each day. It will be a privilege and an honour to join Robert and Melissa in hosting that daily conversation with NPR's committed and intellectually curious audience."
Inskeep, who succeeds Lisa Simeone following her move to NPR's World of Opera (See RNW July 5), commented, "Every day will be an experiment for me, and for the staff who make this program work."
"We intend to take creative risks, have fun, travel far, and do a lot of original reporting. There's never been a more important time to be a journalist than right now."
NPR web site:
2002-10-11: The US is planning to target Iran next year with a new radio station featuring round-the -clock pop music and news and similar in style and approach to Radio Sawa, which in March began broadcasting to the Arab World with a mix of western and Arab pop stars. It replaced the former Voice of America Arabic programming.
Norman Pattiz, founder and chairman of Westwood One, and a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all U.S.-backed international broadcasts, told the AP that surveys of the success of Radio Sawa "inspired us to try the same idea in Iran."
The Voice of America has already begun satellite TV broadcasts to Iran and the USD8 million has been set aside for the radio to reach Iranian listeners through AM, FM, shortwave and the Internet.
Joan Mower, spokeswoman for the Broadcasting Board of Governors that overses U funded overseas broadcasting said the new station would share the airwaves with the Voice of America but the Farsi service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will be merged into the new venture.
It will have offices in Washington and in Prague, Czech Republic. It still doesn't have a name and its broadcasting plan -- including details like where its news and music will emanate from -- has not been completed.
According to the AP, a poll last month by an Iranian government-run research group found nearly 75 percent of respondents favoured improved ties with the United States and Pattiz said these were the target listeners.
"This is who we are after -- the people who are open-minded about America," he said. "We want them to learn about the America we know, not the America that is represented to them in the government-controlled media."
Previous Voice of America:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report
2002-10-10: Looking ahead to today's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) meeting, which is expected to give the go-ahead for iBiquity's IBOC (in-band on-channel) digital radio system, the Washington Post notes that, although other companies are offering new technologies, iBiquity is the single US "contender developing a nationwide system."
It quotes Peter Doyle, chief of the audio division of the FCC as saying that "At this point, it's a one-horse race" and adding that the lack of direct competitors will make setting the standard easier.
(RNW note: The Post in fact chauvinistically omits the "US" in the above, whereas, as we would point out that the US system is not the only route to digital radio and indeed, like the US NTSC television system may not be the best technical option.
The article totally ignores developments elsewhere in the world, much as US TV networks operate in general on the principal that the whole world will adapt to their system).
After mentioning other system including US satellite radio, which uses different frequencies, and the potential for software improvements to reception of existing analogue signals via chips such as Motorola's recently announced "Symphony" chips (See RNW Oct 3) the article then goes on to look further at iBiquity.
The iBiquity signal, which is carried in existing analogue signals, needs Federal Communications Commission approval for further development but, irrespective of this, points out the Post, all the new systems require listeners to buy new equipment.
The problems are simplest for other systems: apart from buyers for the new equipment, the chipmakers systems "improve" reception of current signals so only need receiver manufacturers to make the equipment and the satellite radio companies are operating with their own systems.
In the case of iBiquity, its problems are made more complex because it needs, as the paper puts it, "the cooperation of traditionally independent sectors: the manufacturers that create the radios, the broadcasters that deliver the signal and create the content, and car companies that install the new radios."
It then quotes iBiquity chief executive Robert J. Struble as saying that keeping investors happy has become a main part of the job.
"These guys don't agree on anything, ever," he said, listing his five constituencies as the broadcasters, the transmitter manufacturers, the receiver manufacturers, the chipmakers and the auto industry. "It's a little bit like the United Nations."
iBiquity has spent a total of about $20 million from 1991 to 1998, according to Struble and now, he said, the 120-person company burns through $24 million a year. IBiquity's current cash reserve will last through 2004, according to the company, and it will likely try to raise more funding.
It would make its money by charging broadcasting fees and by licensing its technology to manufacturers of radio receivers and transmitters. Struble figures the market will take 12 years to completely switch to digital.
IBiquity does have strength through some of its investors including Viacom Inc., Clear Channel Communications Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and ABC Inc. and it also has links with Ford Motors.
It is however up against possible consumer resistance to buying new radios just to improve the technical quality of the reception they receive from their current sets (RNW comment: For that, the software chip to improve reception would probably have the edge) and also from those who, having opted for satellite radio would not wish to spend more nor an incompatible system to receive terrestrial broadcasts.
XM Satellite Radio recently met its third quarter targets for subscribers and says it is on target to 350,000 subscribers by the end of the year (See RNW Oct 2); it is continuing to announce new deals with manufacturers and dealers, the latest being with Audiovox with whom it has just announced agreement to offer at around USD399 a dealer-installed XM system to independent auto dealers throughout the US.
Sirius, which launched later, and has said it aims to have some 75,000 subscribers by the end of this year, has been busy with content deals and also this week announced a long-term agreement with Ford.
Ford is to begin offering Sirius systems in Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover vehicles next year with Mazda and Aston Martin to announce their plans later.
Sirius also announced the issuance to Ford Motor Company of a warrant to purchase up to 4,000,000 shares of its common stock at an exercise price of $3.00; the warrant replaces a similar warrant with an exercise price of $30.00 and is tied to installation of Sirius radios by Ford.
iBiquity web site:
Sirius web site:
Washington Post report:
XM web site:
2002-10-10: UK Chrysalis Group has appointed Mark Flanagan as managing director of the LBC and News Direct radio stations that it acquired with its purchase of London News Radio (See RNW Sept 27).
Chrysalis is swapping the LBC AM and News Direct FM frequencies and changing LBC to a speech-based entertainment and lifestyle service; it is looking for editorial and marketing chiefs for LBC as well as hiring more journalists to boost the newsrooms a both stations.
Flanagan, who has been overseeing Chrysalis's Heart and Galaxy stations as operations director for two years, joined the company in 1998. He began his radio career as a journalist for Radio Aire in west Yorkshire and has worked at Ocean FM in Hampshire as news editor; at Southern FM in Brighton as programme controller and at Fox FM in Oxford as managing director.
He said he was relishing the challenge of the move and added that switching LBC to FM gave a "fantastic opportunity" to fill the gap in London for a "populist, accessible, talk station on FM."
2002-10-10: Chicago classical station WFMT-FM, owned by Windows To The World, is to stop streaming its signal on the Internet from Monday on because of the "high cost of royalties and uncertainty surrounding web streaming."
It says that the cost of maintaining a high quality site plus the risk of large royalty fees backdated to 1998 when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed mean that it cannot continue.
Its vice president for radio, Steve Robinson, in a statement on the station web site, said, "Terminating this service is something we tried hard to avoid, but given the reality of having to pay not only past royalties but future royalties at a rate that is still being determined makes continuing service at this point impossible. We feel very badly that we can no longer provide WMFT to listeners outside the Chicago market."
When the US government approves the payment structure for royalties, he added, WFMT would seek funds to cover past liabilities and examine the possibility of resuming its streaming.
2002-10-10: A consortium of four British commercial radio companies - Capital, Chrysalis, GWR, and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) - has announced a three-year deal for a successor to the Pepsi Chart Show, to be created by UBC Media's production division, Unique.
The new show will be competing with the BBC Top 40 show and also with EMAP's interactive singles chart show, which was announced in August shortly after Pepsi dropped its sponsorship of the network chart show, whose sales contract was held by Capital.
UBC had produced the Pepsi Show, which in the latest UK ratings has around a million more listeners than its BBC rival, for nine years.
It is to launch in January and will go to 94 stations according to UBC, whose Chief Executive Simon Cole commented: "We have produced the Pepsi Chart for 9 years during which time it has seen consistent audience success and become the UK's leading network radio programme."
"I am pleased that our track record has led to the award of this new extended contract and we are looking forward very much to working within the new consortium".
2002-10-09: The US House of Representatives has now approved the "Relief for Small-Business Webcasters" (HR5469) royalty-payment deal for small webcasters that may give many of them a stay of execution but the deal still has to go through the US Senate and already there are signs of dissent amongst other webcasters.
Passage of the bill, introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Senenbrenner (Republican - Wisconsin), had been held up because of a dispute over the method of payment to musicians. Under the deal between the webcasters and recording industry, details were not specified as to this.
The musicians wanted direct payment and Senenbrenner amended his bill to guarantee direct payment, thus avoiding opposition from Democrats who had supported the musicians' call.
The changed bill, however, did not gain universal approbation: In particular non-commercial webcasters are continuing their campaign over royalty fees for streaming music and large webcasters and terrestrial radio stations under the aegis of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) are also concerned that their own position should not be undermined.
The Save our Streams site, comments that the bill "diverted attention of the Congress from the real issue for non commercial stations AND (their capitalisation) has created new problems for these stations, despite surface level appearances of advancement on this issue."
In particular it draws attention to the reporting requirements of the bill, saying that "ALL non commercial stations are still subject to the recordkeeping rules. No station has reported that it can ACCURATELY comply with even the "simple" ATH method of reporting their audience. Still the Copyright Office wants per song listener data. This is simply not possible for these stations."
RNW note: The most relevant section of the bill on this matter, says," For either or both of calendar years 2003 and 2004, an eligible small webcaster that makes this election shall, for that year, keep records, and make available to copyright owners of sound recordings reports of use, covering the following on a channel by channel basis:
(2) song title,
(3) album title,
(5) ISRC code**,
(6) copyright owner information**,
(7) monthly ATH for each channel, and
(9) start date, and time of each transmission of each song."
Educational and community stations, it notes were not party to the negotiations and it terms the language concerning non commercial webcasters "seemingly designed to divide the group and create the impression that their concerns have been addressed."
Under the relevant clause of the bill, what is termed a "non-commercial, non-FCC webcaster" may elect to pay the royalty rates of 0.02 cents per song per performance with a minimum fee of USD500 per year.
The fees would become payable within 30 days of the passage of the Small Webcaster Amendments Act of 2002.
This clause extends to non-FCC licensed webcasters, the discounted rate that the Librarian of Congress set down for FCC licensed non-commercial stations.
The bill defines as small webcasters those stations that will have taken in less than USD1 million from 1998 until the end of this year and whose revenues do not exceed USD500,000 in 2003 or $1.25 million in 2004.
These webcasters will pay on the basis of which of two scales produces the larger amount in royalties: Some will pay 8% of revenues for songs streamed between 1998 and the end of this year, increasing to 10% by the end of 2002, 12% if a station's revenues exceed USD250,000 a year.
Others will pay 5 percent of their expenses for the 1998-2002 period and 7 percent over the next two years, should this amount be larger.
No comment on the bill had been posted by the NAB or the Digital Media Association (DIMA), which represents the larger webcasters, when we checked but a joint statement was posted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Voice of the Webcasters (VOW).
It said, "We are pleased with the unanimous vote in the House of Representatives in support of this legislation. We both want fans to have the best musical experience possible, and this legislation helps us move forward together toward that goal."
"We would like to thank Congressional leaders for their interest in this matter, and we look forward to working with the Senate to move this process along."
Ann Chaitovitz, national director of sound recordings for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) said their last-minute pressures concerning payment to musicians had paid off.
Despite the reduction in fees compared to those that of 0.07 cents per song per listener backdated to 1998 that were set down by the Librarian of Congress in June (See RNW June 21 ), some small webcasters decided they could still not continue.
Among them, reported the Los Angeles Times, was Internet Radio Hawai'i , which turned off its Hawaiian music webcasts, saying it couldn't afford to pay even the discounted royalties.
Others were more welcoming. Jim Atkinson, the co-owner and program director of 3wk.com, a small commercial webcaster, told the Washington Post, "We would have gone out of business. There's no way we could have paid [the 0.07 cents rate. If something hadn't been done there would be a whole lot of us going away."
Atkinson estimated that 3wk.com would owe eight to nine times less in royalties under the terms of the new deal than it would have owed under the Library of Congress rate structure.
Kevin Shively of Beethoven.com told the Los Angeles Times, "It's obviously very difficult to negotiate when the option is going out of business. The rates are considerably higher than we had hoped."
AFTRA web site:
DIMA web site:
Los Angeles Times report:
NAB web site:
RIAA web site:
Save our Streams web site:
"Thomas" web site - search for bill HR5469 for full text of bill: Washington Post report:
2002-10-09: The flak over the prank phone -call made last Thursday (Oct 3) to the widow of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile, asking her for a date when she was in Phoenix for the play-off against the Diamondbacks, has now led to the firing of Beau Duran, the DJ responsible.
Originally the Arizona Republic reported Chuck Artigue, media manager for KUPD's owners, the Sandusky Group, as saying that no disciplinary action was to be taken but later he announced that morning personality Beau Duran made the call, was being suspended for a week (See RNW Oct 6).
Duran and the station apologized and on Monday Duran issued a news release saying, "I am truly sorry for having offended Mrs. Kile and the Cardinals organization."
It wasn't enough and on Monday Artigue said that the DJ had been fired because of the call, which had led to advertising being pulled and a petition on the Cardinals' online message board in St Louis calling for Duran to be dismissed,
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who had strongly criticised the prank, told the paper, "I just wanted him to suffer some day at his darkest moment. I don't think this is it, but the thing about it is, he's one of a class of guys who really go over the edge. Maybe this will restrain a few guys like that."
Diamondbacks President Rich Dozer said. "I thought disciplinary action was in order but wasn't sure if a suspension or firing was the right thing. It's just unfortunate that this whole thing had to happen."
RNW comment: Going by the reports in the Arizona Republic, we rather suspect that Artigue just didn't cotton on at first to the offence caused and is now reacting to that, rather than exercising any ethical judgement of his own.
We don't defend the DJ, but think it unfair in this case that only Duran seems to be in the frame.
Justice would be better served if there were a way in which there could be second part of the disciplinary action ordering that Artigue and Duran's colleagues on the morning show pay a chunk of their pay packets to Duran for up to, say, two years or until Duran is back in work.
To take La Russa's comment further, it might make a few managers and producers more responsible as well as the on air talent!
We just don't think the talent operates in isolation from the rest of the team so they should take a share of the blame. Arizona Republic report:
Arizona Republic report:
2002-10-09: India's first community radio station has now gone on air at Orvakallu in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh; Mana Radio was launched by women members of the Mandal Ikya Sangham, who were backed by the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), which provided technical support and gave training to the women in running the station.
The station, which has a range of only a kilometre (around half a mile) at present, will broadcast 45 minutes on Mondays starting at 6p.m. local time and the Times of India says locally-generated programmes, including a play and a news bulletin, have received a good response from the villagers.
The station's power is to be increased to give it a five kilometre, (3 mile) range in a second phase of development.
Previous Indian radio:
Times of India report:
2002-10-09: FNX Radio Network president Bruce Mittman has resigned after two years at the helm of the five-station group of rock stations in New England.
He said in a statement that he had achieved what he came to do and was leaving the stations in great shape, adding that he "decided it was time to look into other business opportunities."
FNX Network general manager Andy Kingston said he was sorry about the move but added that he would take over additional duties and that Mittman's post would now go.
2002-10-08: The US music industry and small webcasters (those with revenues of the order of USD500, 000 a year or less) have agreed on a royalty payment plan but the deal could be threatened by a dispute between musicians and the recording companies.
Royalty payments for music streamed since 1998 are due on October 20 and last week a bill, HR 5469, to delay the deadline for six months was withdrawn in the US Congress after the parties said they could work out their own agreement, although non-commercial webcasters protested that they were being left out (See RNW Oct 3).
"The act," said a note posted on the RIAA web site, "embodies compromises for everyone involved. We appreciate the assistance of Congressional leaders in helping move this process along. We look forward to building business partnerships that create the best possible music experience for fans."
The latest dispute over the agreement, which applies only to small broadcasters not the giants such as Clear Channel, is over the details of payment to musicians.
Under a previous agreement, royalty money due after lawyers' fees and other expenses were taken out would go directly to musicians, rather than going through record companies, but the new agreement does not specify this.
Ann Chaitovitz, national director of sound recordings for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) said the agreement said that legal fees would be taken out before royalties were paid but made no guarantee that the musicians would be paid directly.
Under the deal, according to a Reuters report, smaller Webcasters would pay between 8 percent and 12 percent of their revenues or expenses whichever was larger.
RIAA web site:
San Jose Mercury/Reuters report:
2002-10-08: Reporting on the scramble for the breakfast audience in the UK, the UK Guardian in a report from Maggie Brown and Matt Wells starts off by noting that in the UK "radio still has a hold over the morning audience" and adds "If Rod Liddle was editor of GMTV, he would only have hit the headlines had he been caught behind the sofa with Fiona Phillips. (RNW note: Liddle is the former editor of the BBC Radio 4 Today breakfast programme; Fiona Phillips a host on the breakfast TV show, GMTV).
The paper says that it was Today's enduring political influence that made his column on the Countryside Alliance "so tricky" but then goes on to say the 20-year-tussle (since the BBC began breakfast TV) "is far from over."
The competition for the audience is being spurred by changes in both radio and TV. On the TV side the BBC has re-launched its breakfast show and in radio, as well as the Today show search for a new editor, Radio Five Live has moved Nicky Campbell to host its breakfast show, SMG's Virgin is looking for a female co-presenter to team up with Darryl Denham on its breakfast show (See RNW Oct 4 ), and in London the Chrysalis takeover of LBC (subject to a public interest test- see Licence News Oct 6) may add to the three-way fight between commercial rivals Capital FM, for whom Chris Tarrant is now to continue in a truncated breakfast show (See RNW Sept 27), Kiss and Xfm.
The decision to move Campbell, says the Guardian signalled the channel's "determination to raise its profile and boost the ratings" although, it adds, it denies that it is taking on the Today programme. Bob Shennan, Radio Five Live controller, said of the Campbell move, "We want more people to talk about us, to notice us."
In the national breakfast ratings, Five Live is fifth, with some 2.8 million listeners a week, compared to some 3.7 million for Henry Kelly's fourth-placed breakfast show on Classic FM, 5.64 million for Sarah Cox on BBC Radio 1 6.45 million for Today, and 7.4 million for Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. In comparison GMTV has 11 million viewers and BBC1 TV 9.8 million.
Shennan says he wants Radio Five Live to break the 3 million barrier regularly.
At Radio 4, says the paper, staff fear that the Corporation is looking for a "non-person" to keep things calm after Liddle's five years but this is denied by the BBC's head of Radio News, Steve Mitchell.
He told the paper, "We will look for someone who is not going to be a complacent safe pair of hands. The editor needs drive, an original distinctive agenda I don't know what the next editor will bring but the basic purpose of Today is the big interview, and to be ahead of the day's news so the audience leaves it fully briefed."
The Guardian notes that the first job the new editor will face is sorting out the presenter line-up, although it says Sarah Montague is to continue to permanently fill the third rung left by Sue MacGregor's departure; John Humphrys, one of the main presenters, has already cut back on his number of shifts and the paper says "there is no sign of a succession strategy. "
Mitchell, it says, is "conducting an across-the-board review of BBC news at breakfast."
"It's not driven by a problem," he says. "All our audiences are up. We want that to continue." But it is a question of focus: "There is no question of 5 Live taking on the Today programme. BBC services are meant to be complementary."
Unlike the US, Britain has remained with radio at breakfast time and it says Mitchell remains confident that this will continue.
"I've watched our colleagues launch TV breakfast news, thinking they would blow a hole in us, but it's not happened," he said. "Radio is more accessible. And to be honest, it drives the news agenda."
UK Guardian report:
2002-10-08: A new 24-hour BBC station, BBC 104FM, was launched in Jamaica on Monday with output made up of regional programming from the BBC Caribbean Service plus BBC World Service programmes.
Launching the station, Mark Byford, Director of BBC World Service, used the occasion to pay tribute to the late Hugh Crosskill, former Head of Section of the BBC's Caribbean Service, who was shot dead in the Jamaican capital, Kingston, in June (See RNW June 19).
"Hugh played an important part in shaping the way the BBC broadcasts in the Caribbean," he said.
"He understood the region, the importance of independent journalism and the contribution the BBC could make. He inspired us to continue his work."
Orin Gordon, the Acting Head of the BBC World Service Caribbean Service, said, "BBC 104FM will complement our existing staples on Jamaican radio - Caribbean Report, Newshour and Sports Roundup. In news terms, it will also forge a synthesis between the comprehensive coverage of local news provided by the local FM partner stations and Caribbean and world news from the BBC."
The BBC, with the support of some 40 FM partners in the region, has a weekly audience of around a million in the Caribbean. The new service relies on five new transmitters that have been built in Jamaica.
2002-10-07: With the question of the US transition to digital radio now on the Federal Communication Commission's agenda (See RNW Oct 7) and the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau pushing receivers for this Christmas (See RNW Oct 5), it seemed to us a reasonable idea to start this week's look at print comment on media on this subject, albeit not just as a boost to digital.
First in the US, where the attention of Barnaby J. Feder in the New York Times was directed to the alternative, improving current analogue signal reception.
"Sensing an opportunity in the radio industry's slowness to adopt digital broadcasting," he wrote, "a number of chip makers and radio manufacturers have introduced products that use software in receivers to sharply improve the quality and reach of broadcasts transmitted in the analogue format."
The article then reported on Motorola's latest chip that converts analogue signals into a digital format (See RNW Oct 3), noting the capability of software to clean up and manipulate the signals once they are in digital form. In particular he noted the feature in Motorola's design that can combine signals from more than one antenna so as to improve reception.
Feder also noted the involvement of other chipmakers, including Philips Semiconductors, Texas Instruments and ST Microelectronics, in this market and German radio maker Blaupunkt's announcement on the availability of Digiceiver, an analogue-to-digital conversion product that is based on another Motorola chip and offers some of the same benefits to listeners. He also dealt briefly with the other benefits from a full digital signal, including the ability to deliver text but concluded with the comments of Ryan Jones, an analyst at the Yankee Group.
"Motorola could be suppressing the demand for true digital radio," said Jones. "The real key is how much they confuse the market and dilute the definition of digital radio."
(RNW comment - as per our August comment we are somewhat sceptical of the real benefit of these "extras" and would note that the existing signal can easily be made to carry a limited amount of textual information)
While on the subject of using part of a signal for other purposes, we noted an article by Raoul V. Mowatt in the Chicago Tribune concerning its use not to deliver merely a little extra text but also a full-blown signal. In this case the article related to a complaint from a listener to Chicago classical station WFMT-FM, about interference. This was attributed to the effects of bleed-through from a secondary sub-carrier signal within the main signal.
The station began carrying the extra signal, from RBC Radio, a New York-based broadcaster of Indian programming, in May and its introduction was made over the objections of station chief engineer, Gordon Carter, who feared that a few listeners could experience lowered sound quality.
So far, reports Mowatt, the station says it has only had one complaint and he notes that, among other stations in Chicago who allow other uses of their two sub-carrier signals, are WBEZ-FM, which donates one of its sub carriers to a service that reads newspapers and magazines for blind listeners, and WBBM-FM, which hosts signals from a paging company and a firm that plays Korean programming.
Both of them said they knew of no complaints about the secondary signals interfering with their main ones, and were sceptical that such a situation would prove a problem with WFMT.
Carter told the paper that, after trials of the RBC programme began, most listeners didn't "even know it was there" but added that tests a couple of years ago ran through a range of no perceivable interference on inexpensive receivers to some interference on higher-end ones.
"You could take five different receivers of the same model and get five different results," he said, adding that the fact that as a classical broadcaster WFMT went through the entire range of volume was also a factor.
"Let's face it. It's hard to hear a subtle noise in the middle of rock music," Carter said. "It's really easy in classical music, which gets really quiet and suddenly everything is there."
(RNW comment : A similar point could easily be made about the likely interference from Low Power FM community stations but we rather doubt that any of the commercial stations objecting to their introduction would have been honest enough to withdraw their objections on this ground. Nor indeed do we think they'd be likely to refrain from leasing sub-carrier space at around USD150,000 a year, on the basis there might be some slight interference for their listeners.).
In the UK, the issue of digital radio concerning Chris Campling in the Times was the loss of coverage,, previously on analogue radio, to digital.
The cover in this case was of cricket, where ball-by-ball cover of the ICC Champions Trophy series in Sri Lanka was only on the BBC Radio Five Live Extra digital channel .
Writing of the move, Campling says, "Oh, they were cunning all right. First they started broadcasting match reports in parallel with regular games. One had the choice of one footie match or another. Rugby league fans were able to listen to extra matches. "
"Then things changed - motor racing fans, for example, could only hear full details of grand prix qualifying if they were digitalised. But analogue still carried regular updates and the last few minutes of qualifying, which are the only bits that usually matter anyway. "
"But now Five Live Extra stands naked and, apparently, unashamed. For the first time listeners are being segregated into the haves and have-nots."
Back across the ocean, our final two reports come from the West Coast of America. Both involve radio giant Clear, Channel, one concerning action that the Los Angeles Times headlined "Skirts Radio Caps in San Diego" and the other from the San Francisco Chronicle on the campaign that led to the ouster of DJ Mike Esparza.
In the Los Angeles Times, Jeff Leeds, says that in San Diego, Clear Channel has figured a way round the limitations of Federal Regulations and "left its smaller competitors fuming.."
The action? "By cutting deals to take over programming of five Mexican stations, including two in May, " writes Leeds, "Clear Channel has grabbed nearly 50% of the San Diego market's radio advertising dollars, according to estimates from research firm BIA Financial."
"Altogether, the exemption and other loopholes have allowed Clear Channel to take control of 13 stations beaming signals into San Diego. The San Antonio-based company--the nation's biggest radio broadcaster--has more market share here than in any other top-20 market, according to BIA."
"With antennas within sight of the U.S.-Mexico border and signals directed north, Clear Channel's so-called X stations (the Mexican outlets' names start with X) have become the key to a power struggle in San Diego radio."
"Jefferson-Pilot Communications, a small broadcaster that owns four San Diego radio stations, " Leeds adds, "said in a complaint filed with the FCC in March that the exemption Clear Channel is exploiting "has resulted in a serious competitive imbalance" in San Diego and permitted 'the very market dominance Congress sought to preclude' by establishing station-ownership caps."
Jefferson-Pilot has asked the FCC to revise its rules and count any station that places a signal into a U.S. radio market and directs significant programming and sales efforts there.
And the difference between the Mexican and US stations? Says the Times, "For the most part, the only clue that radio here is different comes just once an hour, during government-mandated station identification breaks."
" .In addition, the Mexican licensed stations must air speeches by Mexican President Vicente Fox and must devote time each week to Mexican public affairs programming. "
And finally the tale of the ousting of Mikey Esparza from KSJO-FM, San Jose, as told by Don Fost in the San Francisco Chronicle, who says his fate "may presage tough times for other shock jocks in the stable of radio giant Clear Channel Communications. "
After commenting on a likely change in attitudes at Clear Channel that may follow the move of Randy Michaels out of the company's radio division, Fost runs through examples of other shock jocks and notes that Clear Channel president Mark Mays declined to comment whether Michael's move would mean a crack-down on the shock jocks.
He then goes on to what led to Esparza downfall in San Jose (he remains on air in San Diego and his home base, Dallas), was not the big guns of the FCC but of the campaign of "a couple of young, liberal tie-dyers from Monterey."
The couple, India Weeks and her husband, Jim Burns, who have four daughters, were displeased when, they said, on the Fourth of July a contingent from KSJO marched through downtown Monterey with Confederate flags and started taping the station's output. Esparza's show, said Weeks "was the only one consistently sexualizing children."
Later that month Esparza responded to a news item about a kidnapped Philadelphia girl who freed herself by chewing through duct tape with the comment, "That's why I don't use duct tape. That's why I use nylon rope."
His comment was followed by an advert foe Orchard Supply Hardware and Esparza cracked that the rope and other supplies could be bought at the store.
An ad for Orchard Supply Hardware followed, and Esparza cracked that the rope and other abduction supplies could be bought at the store.
Weeks then called Orchard Supply and played the tape into the phone; they pulled their adverts as did other advertisers to whom the tape was played.
Esparza was then suspended for a week (See RNW July 30) and apologised when he returned to the airwaves.
Burns and Weeks, however, kept recording and on September 4, heard a replay of Esparza mocking singer R. Kelly, who was arrested in June on child pornography charges and singing, "I like the statutory rape."
Again the tape was played to advertisers and again Esparza was out from KSJO, although Clear Channel said the move was just a matter of "programming changes". (See RNW Sept 25),
That is not how Burns and Weeks see it, according to the Chronicle report.
"All these shock jocks would be off the air if people would tape them and play it for the sponsors," Burns told the paper, asserting that many sponsors don't realize how controversial the programming they're supporting is. "Sponsors can make a free-market decision without any interference (from) the government."
Chicago Tribune - Mowatt:
Los Angeles Times - Leeds:
New York Times - Feder:
San Francisco Chronicle -Fost:
UK Times - Campling:
2002-10-07: Richard Desmond, owner of Express Newspapers, OK! and a string of adult magazine titles, is considering a bid to buy Virgin Radio from SMG, the former Scottish Media Group according to the UK Observer..
The paper says that a plan to buy the station is said to have been discussed at board level by Desmond's company Northern & Shell and he is thought to sought advice on the move from former Capital Radio programme director Richard Park, a business associate who recently launched his own record company and is keen to move back into radio.
It adds that Desmond has secured letters of credit from Commerzbank and the Bank of Scotland, although it is unclear how much they are willing to lend and notes that a GBP97.5m loan from Commerzbank, which enabled Desmond to buy Express Newspapers, was repaid 12 months ahead of schedule.
SMG, which recently put its print interests for sale in an attempt to trim its GBP400 million debt, says Virgin, which is valued at around GBP150 million, is not up for sale but, says the paper, analysts believe a full scale break up of the group, which also includes the Scottish and Grampian ITV stations and cinema advertising chain Pearl & Dean, could still be on the cards.
UK Observer report:
2002-10-07: Radio Liberty's ability to continue operations in Russia may be threatened by the revocation of a decade-old decree that guaranteed the US-funded station the right to operate in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It says that the unexpected action by Russian President Vladimir Putin came after months of complaints about its cover of the war in the separatist republic of Chechnya and recent launch of a Chechen-language service.
The paper says it is not yet clear what the move will mean in practice and the Kremlin said it was only aimed at putting Radio Liberty on the same legal footing as other foreign news operations in Russia.
Andrei Shary, editor in chief of Radio Liberty's Moscow bureau, said, "We find it hard to understand what implications President Putin's decree will have for the station's work in Russia."
Los Angeles Times report:
2002-10-07: The Indian government is to consider a proposal to allow non-commercial low power community FM stations to be set up without any licence fee according to the Times of India.
It says the government will limit them to educational institutions to start with, although it had considered the idea of allowing some non-governmental organisations to run stations.
Overall some 5,000 stations would be possible in India with an estimated cost to set up a station of 5-10 million rupees (10-20,000 USD)
The first stations are expected to go on air early next year.
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India report:
2002-10-06: Last week was fairly busy for the radio regulators, especially in the UK and US, where the FCC was involved in issuing or confirming a number of penalties as well as flagging deals on concentration grounds.
In Australia, the only radio activity by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was the renewal of radio and television community licences throughout Australia that expired on October 3 and 4.
In all the Authority has issued 399 licences with services commencing in 377 cases. The number of community radio licences issued since 1992 is 82
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued public notices inviting comment on a number of radio applications. They are:
British Columbia -- an application by Burns Lake & District Rebroadcasting Society to add a 110-watt transmitter at Burns Lake to carry the signal of CHFI-FM, Toronto, Ontario and an 82 watts transmitter at Ootsa Lake (Tatalrose), to distribute the signal of CJFW-FM Terrace, British Columbia.
Manitoba -- an application by Native Communication Inc, to add a 28.6 watt transmitters at Camperville Dauphin River, Ilford; and a 38.8 watt transmitter at Lynn Lake to broadcast the programming of CINC-FM Thompson.
New Brunswick - an application by Tom Gamblin (OBCI_ for a 49.6-watt low-power commercial English language specialty FM offering a comedy service in Saint John
Newfoundland -- an application from a application by Andrew Newman And Andrew Bell (OBCI) for a licence for a 100,000 watt adult contemporary music format FM in St John's; another from Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Limited for a new 100,000 watt an easy-listening adult contemporary music format with a focus on contemporary Newfoundland music in St. John's.
- an application by CHUM Limited to add a 500 watt FM transmitter at Peterborough to rebroadcast the programming of Christian music station CJLF-FM, Barrie, Ontario; and to increase the power of CKLY-FM Lindsay, from 14,000 to 29,300 watts and to relocate its transmitter to increase the signal for residents of the city of Kawartha Lakes.
- an application by United Christian Broadcasters Canada for a 45,000 watts Christian music commercial FM in Belleville.
An application by Tri-Tel Communications Inc for a 50-watt English-language commercial hits music commercial FM in Cochrane.
- application by Joco Communications Inc. for a primarily English language 50-watt contemporary hits commercial FM in Sturgeon Falls.
Quebec -- an application by Comité De La Radio Étudiante Universitaire De Sherbrooke (CREUS) for a 490-watt French-language FM community-based campus radio station in Sherbrooke.
Saskatchewan --an application by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. for an English-language news and information network originating from *CKRM Regina.
*an application by Robert Wayne Fennig for an 0.75-watt low power station providing background music and announcements for the Western Development Museum in North Battleford.
Yukon Territory -- an application by Utilities Consumers' Group Society to operate a 5-watt English-language FM developmental community radio station in Whitehorse.
Ireland was again quiet but in the UK, the Radio Authority as well as dealing with licences has issued details of its AM strategy.
On the licence front, the Authority has re-awarded the AM and FM local licences for Ipswich/Bury St. Edmunds to the existing stations, Classic Gold Amber (Suffolk) and SGR FM and in Scotland it has re-awarded the Glasgow AM and FM licences to Radio Clyde's stations Clyde 1 (FM) and Clyde 2 (AM)
Also in Scotland, the Authority has advertised a new FM licence for West Lothian; applications have to be submitted by January 28 and a licence award is expected in the spring.
Concerning AM, the Authority's Director of Programming and Advertising, Martin Campbell, commented, "We have had a very encouraging response to this consultation and the Authority has noted a strong interest in the use of the AM waveband. Such enthusiasm has helped."
They key points of the strategy for frequencies that are already licensed include broadening listener choice with particular reference to format changes for niche services where areas are well provided with a basic service on FM stations; retention of the requirement for four hours a day of locally produced programmes for networked AM stations; possible use of AM for UK Access radio stations. Of the current experimental stations three are on AM.
For the future, the Authority says current FM licensing pressures mean it does not have the resources to offer new AM-only services before it is subsumed into the new OFCOM super-regulator.
It suggests that consideration be given to the use of AM frequencies for some local community stations to ease the pressure on FM frequencies it also notes that a new national commercial network could be set up on AM if a suitable range of frequencies could be assembled, possibly in part through existing holders giving up their AM licences, but recommends to OFCOM that future use of AM could be directed to a limited combination of Access Radio services and some commercial stations in major conurbations.
The report also takes up the idea of digital broadcasts on AM, with specific reference to the Digital Radio Mondiale system (DRM) but concludes that it would be premature at the moment to establish any firm policy regarding the introduction of DRM.
The Authority has also announced a public interest test concerning the Chrysalis Radio purchase of London News Radio, licencee of News Direct FM and LBC on the AM band ( See RNW Oct 4)
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been active in releasing 12 studies concerning the effects of de-regulation to date ( See RNW Oct 2) and has also put the topic of concerning US radio to digital on the agenda for its open meeting next Thursday (October 10).
It has also issued red-flags on four of the stations in the bankrupt Brill Media empire, due to be bought by Regent (See RNW Oct 4); assessed a USD46, 830 default payment from Delta Radio concerning its winning bid for an AM CP in Greenville, Mississippi, and subsequent default on the final payment (See RNW Oct 3); and issued or confirmed a number of other penalties.
They included an order for Family Broadcasting Inc to show cause why its licences for WSTX-AM and FM, Christiansted, US Virgin Islands, should not be revoked (also RNW Oct 3) and a USD 15, 000 penalty on Concilio Mision Cristiana Fuente de Aqua Viva, licensee of Concilio Mision Cristiana Fuente de Aqua Viva-AM, San Juan, Puerto Rico, for various offences concerning a tower.
They included failure to light it properly, post a registration number on it, and notify the commission when it sold it.
Concilio Mision had argued for cancellation because the former owner had told them the tower height was 153 feet (some 50 metres), below the height for which lighting was mandatory.
The FCC pointed out that the station licence gave a height of 222.5 feet and it was actually 230 feet high.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2002-10-06: The last few days have not been good ones for tasteless DJs in the US.
In Phoenix, Arizona, the Arizona Republic, has reported that Beau Duran, a member of the John Holmberg's Morning Sickness team on KUPD-FM, has been suspended for at least a week by the station, which is owned by the Sandusky Group,
Duran made a call to Flynn Kile , widow of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile, who had died because of a blocked artery in June, told he he'd seen her on TV and she was very "attractive" and then, when she had said she was going to the Cardinals-Diamondbacks game, , asked her, "Do you have a date?"
The company's market manager apologised , saying that the call was "in terribly bad taste" but at first, said the paper, indicated that no action was to be taken against Duran.
The Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa told the paper that "whoever is responsible should suffer serious and dire consequences" and added, "It was so brutal that something should happen to them. I hope whoever is responsible gets nailed."
On Friday, the station web site said Duran had been suspended and also carried an apology
headlined "In Response to Our Misjudgment'' and said the call "was not intended to be hurtful or malicious in any way.''
``We are truly amazed on (sic) how this turned into a media circus and we regret the turmoil that it caused people all over the country,'' it added.
The other case involved KPWR-FM, Los Angeles, and a stunt during which, in an effort to win tickets to a concert, a 17-years-old youth walked naked around a Los Angeles intersection.
The youth was arrested and the station may be charged with soliciting a person to engage in a lewd act in public.
Police say that Joe Grande, a "street reporter" for morning man Big Boy, announced on air that he wanted someone to walk naked to all four corners of the intersection. The youth, who told the station he was 18, took up the challenge.
Arizona Republic web site:
2002-10-06: Interep and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) say their "Power of Hispanic Radio" event held in New York attracted more than 250 advertisers, marketers and ad agency executives.
In her keynote address to the event, Isabel Valdés, author of the book "Marketing to American Latinos: A Guide to the In-Culture Approach", stressed that marketing to the US Latino community was "no longer a public relations gesture for corporations, but rather the key to their future market growth."
She also spoke on the diversity within the community and the need to understand cultural nuances.
Raul Alarcon, President and CEO of Spanish Broadcasting System said co-sponsoring the event was part of his company's "ongoing efforts to showcase Hispanic Radio's unsurpassed ability to influence the lucrative, $580 billion U.S. Hispanic market."
He added, "I can not think of a better way to share and celebrate the culture, music and growing marketing power of the nation's 35 million-plus Hispanic consumers with the ad community."
Interep web site:
2002-10-06: Chicago radio veteran Libby Collins will make her debut as the new morning show host for NextMedia Group's talk station WAIT-AM, on Monday (Oct 8) as the station struggles to gain audience following its switch from an adult standards format (See RNW Sept 21). Collins, who teamed up on air for a quarter of a century with her late husband Warren Freiberg, has been morning host on two Indiana stations. She replaces Glynis Walker.
2002-10-05: US Radio revenues rose 7% in August compared to a year ago, the sixth consecutive month for which overall revenues have been up, according to latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Local revenues were up 4% for the month; national revenues were up 9%; RAB's Sales Index, which sets 1998 - before the dot.com boom - as a base year of 100, was 129.4 in August; the local index for the month was 129.4; whilst the national index was 121.5.
RAB President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Fries, commented, "Radio is showing signs of accelerated growth."
"All indicators point to continued momentum with double-digit increases for 4th Quarter. Radio is well-positioned to kick off 2003 from a strong and stable vantage point."
RAB web site:
2002-10-05: The UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) has hired PR agency Nelson Bostock Communications to conduct a campaign to boost UK digital radio sales in the run up to Christmas.
The campaign will use magazines and newspapers to draw attention to the availability of digital radios at around GBP100 with the hope of getting them on to Christmas gift lists.
DRDB web site:
2002-10-05: In Canada, Corus Entertainment has launched Deep Sky, a new company that is to carry out market research which it will use to create and sell radio commercials to advertisers.
Its radio president John Hayes said in a statement, "Corus Radio's advertisers and their advertising agencies have told us repeatedly that they need bigger reach, customized programming, world-class radio creative and guaranteed national radio inventory."
2002-10-04: Emmis has reported second quarter results ahead of its estimates and Wall Street expectations; Revenues were USD143.2 million compared to a forecast of USD138.8 million whilst BCF was USD57.3 million compared to a forecast of USD54.5 million. ; It also cut its net loss applicable to common shareholders from USD8.4 million (20 cents a share) in the second quarter of 2001 to USD 6.8 million (13 cents a share).
On a pro-forma basis, taking into account the sale of its Denver stations, Emmis says it net revenues were up 1.3% and BCF was up 2.6%.
Commenting on the results, Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said, "We had a tremendous quarter - and our next quarter looks much stronger."
"We exceeded the guidance we set forth in July and have continued to consistently reduce our leverage. Most importantly, our television division has made remarkable gains in audience and revenue, and our radio group has had significant gains in audience and revenue in all of our markets."
"Even in New York City, where we have faced considerable competition, the last ratings and revenue pacings indicate we are meeting the challenge. In an uncertain economy, our people have performed extremely well.
For the third quarter, Emmis is predicting domestic radio up 3.5% and total net revenues up 7.8% compared to last year.
Less fortunate is Regent Communications, whose USD62 million purchase of 12 stations from the bankrupt Brill's Media (See RNW Aug 24), has now been held up by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) red flags on four of the stations. They are KBMX-FM, KLDJ-FM & KKCB-FM and WEBC-AM, in the combined Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin, market. The reason is ownership and revenue concentration concerns. Regent already owns two AMs and four FMs in St Cloud, Minnesota.
On a more positive not, Regent has announced the closure of its USD1.3 million purchase of WLSP-AM and WRXF-FM in LaPeer, Michegan, from Covenant Communications Corp.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has announced a public interest test for the Chrysalis Radio purchase of London News Radio, which holds the licences of ITN News Direct (FM) and LBC (AM)( See RNW Sept 27)
The test is mandated because Chrysalis already holds the licence for Heart FM in London. Comments are sought on the effect the deal might have in terms of plurality of ownership, diversity in sources of information and opinion and on the range of programmes available.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2002-10-04: BBC executives, who are in the process of looking for a replacement for Rod Liddle as editor of Radio 4's flagship Today programme, have barred BBC journalists from talking about the affair with the head of radio news, Steve Mitchell, warning Today journalists they could lost their jobs if they talked to outsiders.
Discussions have already been held between Richard Sambrook, BBC director of news, his deputy, Mark Damazer, and Mitchell concerning the post and they are understood to be likely to play things safe. They are said to want a speedy appointment, which would handicap outsiders
Changes are also likely on another national UK breakfast show, that of SMG-owned Virgin, according to the UK Guardian. It reports that Virgin is looking for a female presenter to co-host the show with Daryl Denham, who currently works with two male sidekicks.
The paper says that Virgin executives say they want to attract female listeners but also says that the search has "already fuelled fears that Virgin is going down an increasingly macho route - the five women who have been given trials on the show have been labelled on the station's website as 'top totty'. "
They are Nancy Sorrell, a former lap dancer and the fiancée of comedian Vic Reeves, Page 3 girls Ebony and Nicola McLean, and models Dawn Harlow and Catherine McLean.
UK Guardian report re Virgin:
2002-10-04: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell has defended the 1996 Telecommunications Act and lauded market principles in a speech to this year's Goldman Sachs Cornucopia Conference.
Although he larded his comments with warnings about the need to "ruthlessly root out corporate fraud", adding that the "deplorable and despicable actions by those select few in the industry must be uncovered and the perpetrators punished", most of Powell's speech, which concentrated on telecommunications, was pro-market forces rather than regulation.
Government policy, said Powell, needed to follow the rules of capital and investment and must approach "the review of its regulatory structure with these lessons understood and digested."
"It can advance and implement a regulatory structure that more faithfully answers more to capital investment, rather than airy political imperatives," he added.
2002-10-04: MeasureCast, which has been rather lax in posting its information and now appears to have dropped its Internet only and simulcast rankings, has now come up with Internet ratings for the weeks to September 15 and September 22, showing a 10% rise in listening in the first of the two weeks and another 2% in the latter week.
This brings listening back nearly to the position at the end of August: for the first week in September, listening was down 13%.
For the week to September 15, MeasureCast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 401,958 (340,310); CP: 79,948 (75,455). Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 349,362 (194,659); CP 81,707 (66,418): Up from third with much higher listening and reach.
3: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 297,094 (254,253); CP 107,928 (102,053). Down from second despite higher listening and reach.
4: Contemporary Christian Music K-Love - TTSL 236,190 (186,935); CP 29,628 (26,238). Same position with higher listening and reach.
5: Classical format WXQR-FM - TTSL 188,211 (160,819); CP 29,598 (27,448) Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
*Sports format ESPN fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL down from 168,175 to 140,466
For the week to September 22, MeasureCast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 350,032 (349,362); CP 79,099 (81,707): Up from second with slightly higher listening but lower reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 320,027 (401,958); CP 66,477 (79,948). Down from first with large drop in listening and reach.
3: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 300,992 (297,094); CP 110,535 (107,928). Down from second despite higher listening and reach.
4: Contemporary Christian Music K-Love - TTSL 225,247 (236,190); CP 28,892 (29,628 ). Same position with lower listening and reach.
5: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 206,798 (185,356); CP 45,852 (46,339). Up from sixth with higher listening and lower reach.
*Classical format WXQR-FM fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL down from 188,211 to 187,465
The top five networks for the week to September 15 (Previous week in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,144,366 (1,067,586); CP 266,666 (251,122) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,076,381 (925,859); CP 338,108 (326,799). Same position with higher listening and reach.
3: StreamAudio TTSL 963,846 (800,842) ; CP 136,971 (119,319). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 937,193 (812,248): CP 170,632 (162,188) - Down from third despite higher listening and reach.
5: WARP Radio TTSL 785,551 (702,015) hours: CP 120,829 (113,216) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to September 22 (Previous week in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,348,709 (1,144,366); CP 284,286 (266,666) - Same position with higher listening but lower reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,109,642 (1,076,381); CP 349,197 (338,108). Same position with higher listening and reach.
3: Radio Free Virgin TTSL 957,078 (937,193): CP 174,448 (170,632) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
4: StreamAudio TTSL 995,599 (963,846) ; CP 139,324 (136,971). Down from third with higher listening and reach. Rank according to MeasureCast table. Their figures would indicate they were actually third!
5: WARP Radio TTSL 771,199 (785,551) hours: CP 113,576 (120,829) - Same position with higher listening and lower reach.
The top five simulcast stations for the week to September 15 (Previous week in brackets) were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 401,958 (340,310); CP: 79,948 (75,455). Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 349,362 (194,659); CP 81,707 (66,418): Up from third with much higher listening and reach.
3: Contemporary Christian Music K-Love - TTSL 236,190 (186,935); CP29,628 (26,238). Same position with higher listening and reach.
4: Classical music format WQXR-FM 188,211 (160,819); CP 29,598 (27,448). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
5: Sports talk format ESPN - TTSL 140,466 (168,175); CP 34,149 (37,206) Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
The top five Internet-only stations for the week to September 15 (Previous week in brackets), were:
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 297,094 (254,253); 107,928 (102,053) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio - TTSL 185,356 (122,686); CP 46,339 (33,411) - Same position with higher listening and reach.
3: Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville -TTSL 77,491 (74,926); CP 12,665 (13,587) - Same position with higher listening but lower reach.
4: Alternative rock 3WK Underground Radio - TTSL 75,763 (62,059); CP 22,536 (19,350): Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
5: MUSICMATCH Soft hits - TTSL 75,551 (61,743); CP 21,438 (20,814). Up from eighth with higher listening and reach.
*Previous week's numbers four and five, Country format Bluegrass Country and Pure Rock KNAC.com dropped to ninth and sixth respectively, with TTSL down from 72,834 to 66,250 for Bluegrass but up from 70,404 to 73,102 for KNAC.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2002-10-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has assessed a default payment of USD46, 830 from Delta Radio, which had placed the winning bid for a construction permit for a new AM in Greenville, Mississippi, for which it but had then defaulted on its final payment.
The permit was subsequently offered to the under bidder, Mondy-Burke Broadcasting (See Licence News Sept 1).
The default payment will be taken from Delta's down payment of USD79, 400.
In the US Virgin Islands, the Commission has issued an order for Family Broadcasting Inc to show cause why its licences for stations WSTX-AM and WSTX-FM in Christiansted, should not be revoked.
The issue concerned incorrect information given to the FCC about the locations of the stations' transmitter and a subsequent request, which was denied, by G.Luz and Asta James asking for permission to transfer their 93% of licensee Family Broadcasting Inc to their four adult children (See RNW Mar 24, 2001).
Family's latest appeal included a call, which was rejected, for the disqualification of the Presiding Judge on grounds of bias.
It had also included a waiver on the normal maximum length of 5 double- spaced typewritten pages to support the claim of bias; Family Broadcasting has submitted a 13-page appeal, and the Commission decided that this was acceptable.
In Missouri, it admonished Calvary Bible College, licensee of non-commercial educational station KLJC-FM, Kansas City, for broadcasting advertisements and conducting impermissible fundraising.
The action followed the receipt of evidence of four sponsored announcements that the Commission held to be in breach of its regulations.
2002-10-03: The US House of Representatives has cancelled a vote on bill HR5469 ( See RNW Sept 30) that could have delayed payment of royalty fees for Internet streaming that is due to come into effect on October 20.
The move was made after parties on both sides of the issue said they could settle the matter themselves and asked that the bill be withdrawn.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who introduced the bill agreed to withdraw it when told that broadcasters and webcasters expected to agree a workable deal with the recording companies and artists groups by the end of this week.
The agreement may not, however, cover non-commercial webcasters and hobbyists.
On the Save our Streams website run by Wil Robedee, vice chair of Collegiate Broadcasters, Inc., the appeal for lobbying over the bill was amended to say, under a heading "Educational and Community stations left out"
"The bill that was to be voted on today, which would have given ALL webcasters a 6 month delay on paying royalties, while court actions could be heard, would have also allowed stations to negotiate with the copyright owners, has been pulled from the agenda!
According to sources, this bill was pulled so that webcasters could continue negotiations that have been ongoing for the last 24 hours. Non-commercial broadcasters have NOT been a party to those negotiations. It has been reported that webcasters and the RIAA have until Friday to come to a negotiated settlement. Educational and Community stations seem to have been left out.
"We must send a message, loud and clear, that Educational and Community stations must be included in any negotiated settlement that will become law."
Save our Streams web site:
2002-10-03: NewRadio Group, a newly formed company, to be headquartered in Wisconsin and Iowa, has announced agreement to buy 22 stations in Illinois and Wisconsin from Marathon Media Group for USD19 million.
Fifteen of the stations are in Wisconsin and seven in Illinois Radio station and the deal also includes the Goetz Networks.
The group is headed by the management team that ran the Central Star Communications division of Capstar and AMFM.
Its CEO Mary Quass will be marking a significant return to terrestrial radio for its CEOs after a spell involved in Internet radio.
Quass was the President and CEO of AMFM's Central Star Communications, with responsibility for some 70 stations in 14 markets, from 1998 to 2000; she was President and CEO of Quass Broadcasting Company until its acquisition by Capstar Broadcasting in 1998. CFO will be Tami Gillmore, and COO will be Lindsay Wood Davis
The stations involved in the deal are:
WIXN-FM/FM and WSEY-FM Dixon; WCMY-AM and WRKX-FM Ottawa; WJBD-AM/FM Salem;
WACD-FM, WATK-AM and WRLO-FM Antigo; WDLB-AM and WLJY-FM Marshfield; WLKD-AM and WMQA-FM Minocqua; WRBD-AM, WBDL-FM, WNFM-FM Reedsburg; WOBT-AM, WHDG-FM, WRHN-FM Rhinelander; WOSQ-FM Spencer; WKCH-FM, Whitewater; WYTE-FM Whiting;
2002-10-03: UK Chrysalis Group, which last week over took over London News Radio (See RNW Sept 27) has lost no time in starting a search for an editorial director for its re-launch of LBC, the AM station that it bought together with the News Direct FM station,
Chrysalis plans to move LBC to the FM frequency and introduce a format of speech-based entertainment and lifestyle stories.
2002-10-03: Motorola has announced the development of new digital radio technology that is says enhances sound quality and improves signal reception for existing AM and FM analogue broadcasts meaning that listeners, to use its words, "need not pay for satellite digital radio or wait for the introduction of land-based digital radio broadcasts."
The move, just as iBiquity's In-Band, On-Channel (IBOC) HD Radio system had started gathering momentum, could be bad news for both iBiquity and the satellite radio companies,
Motorola says its Symphony Digital Radio Chipset, which operates on existing analogue transmissions, uses software algorithms to tune, filter and improve the signal.
It says the benefits to listeners include less static, fading, pops and hisses; automatic tuning, so that adjacent stations won't interfere with each other; extended listening range from existing signals; and overall improved audio clarity and volume. It also offers the benefit that future improvements can be delivered by software downloads.
Semiconductor industry analyst Jim Turley commented that the system "takes familiar, age-old analogue car radio and catapults it into a new age."
"Now humble car radios," he adds, "will compare favourably with satellite radio, delivering more stations, better sound, and less interference -- at almost no cost."
Motorola says its Chip Set is available now in sample quantities at a suggested retail sample price of USD 29.95 per three-part chip set with volume production planned for 2003.
RNW comment: Just as video recording was set back initially by competing incompatible systems and current DVD recording systems are going the same way, this innovation seems to us a mixed blessing but one that on balance we wholeheartedly welcome. We have already commented on the benefits of AM in range and both FM and AM in terms of their universality as opposed to the competing incompatible digital systems now being introduced round the world.
Motorola isn't claiming that their system is the equivalent of Digital Audio Broadcasts (DAB) but there should be significant interest in the prospect of improving the reception quality of current analogue signals, in particular the ability to stay in tune and pick up weaker signals from a greater distance with clear reception. At around a quarter of the cost for the receiver and no extra cost for the broadcaster, we can see the attractions for both audiences and broadcasters everywhere, although we'd like to listen to some real demonstrations.
Even if the extras in DAB are of attraction, the cost of the receivers, might still make this idea, if receivers become widely accepted, of significant value for second, third or fourth receivers in a household, providing a significant quality gain on existing radios at an affordable cost. If nothing else it has the potential to put significant pressure on DAB receiver manufacturers to get their costs down.
Motorola news release:
2002-10-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Media Bureau has released 12 studies of the current state of the US media marketplace as part of what FCC chairman William Powell termed " the most comprehensive look at media ownership regulation ever undertaken by the FCC."
He added, " As the courts have made clear, it is critical that the FCC has a solid factual base to support its media ownership rules. Collectively, these studies represent an unprecedented data gathering effort to better understand market and consumer issues so that we may develop sound public policy."
The FCC wants comment on the studies as part of its third Biennial Regulatory Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules the deadlines are December 2 for comments and January 2, 2003, for reply comments.
Some of the documents concern television exclusively but amongst those in which radio features are:
Radio Industry Review 2002: Trends in Ownership, Format, and Finance: This looks at ownership changes between 1996 and 2002, noting that the average number of radio station owners in each market fell from 13.5 to 9.9, although the average number of formats was virtually unchanged. In terms of advertising revenue, the average share of revenues taken by the largest owner in each market has risen from 35.6% to 46.8%.
Radio Market Structure and Music Diversity. This looks at playlists as a means to examine changes in diversity following the passing of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. It uses details of songs played, rather than just of formats.
Because the researchers could not examine actual playlists they used lists from R& R magazine of The top songs played by a large sample of radio stations in March 1996 and March 2001, linked with BIA data on station- level market share and market- level concentration.
This information comes predominantly from larger markets. Overall, they say they found that song diversity, whether measured as the number of unique songs or the difference between top ten playlists has remained stable and while playlists for stations within the same format have grown slightly more uniform across local markets, playlists for same format stations competing in the same local market have diverged, so that listeners in local radio markets may have experienced increasing song diversity even absent an increase in R& R radio formats."
Consolidation and Advertising Prices in Local Radio Markets: This says that Increased ownership concentration in local radio markets explains 3-4 percent out of the 68 percent increase in real advertising rates during this period but national concentration does not appear to drive the increase in advertising prices and advertising rates tend to fall for national and regional adverts where there are more large national owners in a local market.
Consumer Substitution Among Media: This says the clearest evidence is of people using the Internet in place of broadcast TV and evidence of "substitution between cable and daily newspapers, both overall and for news consumption."
It adds, "There is little or no evidence of substitution between weekly newspapers and broadcast TV, or between radio and either Internet or cable."
There is good new for radio in the details on the make-up of the audience for various media. "The use of TV, overall and for news, rises with age and declines with education although the decline with education is slight for news," says the study, whilst " Use of the radio overall declines with age and rises in education, while the use of radio for news in particular rises with both age and education. All measures of Internet use fall with age and rise in education.
FCC web site - Daily Digest (Oct 1 digest links to the studies):
2002-10-02: XM Satellite Radio has announced that it had 201.500 subscribers at the end of the third quarter, hitting its projections, just ahead of its projected 200,000, despite what it termed "an unusually soft consumer electronics market" in the quarter.
It also announced it had started its factory-installed rollout in 25 General Motors 2003 models and unveiled its second generations receiver, the USD199 Delphi XM SKYFi.
Delphi expects to produce between 120,000 and 150,000 SKYFi units by the end of this year.
Commenting on the results, President and CEO Hugh Panero said, "We have achieved our subscriber guidance for the fourth straight quarter despite a soft consumer electronics market and are on track to hit our year-end guidance of 350,000 subscribers."
"We're bolstered by what is truly the second launch of XM in new vehicles from General Motors and other automakers like Nissan and Honda."
Investors were not impressed and XM shares ended the day down just over 3% at USD3.78: rival Sirius Satellite Radio, which launched later and has far fewer subscribers to date was hit harder and end up 10% down at 90 cents.
2002-10-02: Two more station deals have now closed in the US.
In Ohio, Susquehanna Radio has completed its USD45 million cash purchase of Cincinnati country station WYGY-FM from Salem Communications.
Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said the sale had strengthened its balance sheet, adding, "This station was strong in ratings and had growing revenues, however for Salem it was in a non-strategic format and was not operated as part of a cluster, so the best means to maximize return on investment for our shareholders was to sell the station."
In Oklahoma, Forstmann Little-controlled Citadel Communications has announced the closing of its USD3.1 million purchase of KLGH-FM, Kingfisher/Oklahoma City, from Kingfisher County Broadcasting Inc.
Previous Forstmann Little/Citadel:
2002-10-02: Looking at last week's dealing by Chrysalis, GWR, and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), involving station purchases and joint ventures (See RNW Sept 27), the UK Guardian calls the deals "the first in the long-expected reshuffling of the ownership of small radio stations ahead of government legislation permitting big commercial radio holding companies to merge for the first time."
It says that for GWR, the deal "significantly upped its firepower to clinch more deals in the future "and of the joint venture with SRH, it says, "The link-up is being seen by some analysts as the first steps to broader co-operation or possibly even an eventual merger."
It then adds, "In the coming months many similar deals are likely as companies tidy up their portfolios of stations to ensure they have broad coverage across the country and focus on particular audience categories or broadcasting genres."
The paper quotes SRH chief executive Richard Findlay as saying that a poker game between the major players is about to develop and that "It's going to be fun to play. We all know each other very well in this industry and want to strengthen what we've got."
Chrysalis chief executive Richard Huntingford is cited by the paper as among executives who believe that consolidation can improve radio's comparative position as an advertising medium.
"Radio is now far better positioned in the minds of media buyers and planners," he said. "The number of radio stations in the UK has expanded hugely over the past six years. In London there is now a station for pretty much every taste, which is great news for advertisers seeking to target particular audiences. "
"The production values of radio are also much cheaper than television. You can have an ad on air 24 hours after calling a radio station but in television it could be weeks before you've booked your exotic location in the Maldives and found the cameraman and assembled expensive actors to take on the shoot."
Concerning the takeover of London News Radio and its two stations, he characterized this as a "chance to create another radio station attractive to advertisers looking for Londoners."
He believes, said the paper, that that by flipping LBC from an AM frequency to FM and investing in shows with more of a lifestyle feel the talk station can lift its listeners from 740,000 towards the 2.4m that tuned in each day in 1986. "We're very confident we can double the size of the station in three years," he says.
The paper also gives a useful "Who's who" summary of the main UK radio players.
UK Guardian report:
2002-10-02: The New York Times in a profile of Michael J Copps, currently the only Democrat on the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headlines the article by Stephen Labaton "In a steel band, Michael J. Copps would play the violin" and goes on to say that "His views, attuned to what for decades was the mainstream approach to regulation of the nation's broadcasters and telephone companies, are now seen by his colleagues as out of step with the new economy."
Whilst his colleagues push for further deregulation, Copps has, says the paper, "been the only member of the commission to urge caution and voice appreciation for the existing rules. Alone among the commissioners, he has promoted those rules as vital for encouraging diversity of voices, local programming and consumer choice."
It notes that he is a historian by training, specializing in the Progressive and New Deal eras when he was a history professor at Loyola University and also that he has am important patron in Senator Ernest F. Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina, for whom he once worked and who now heads the relevant committees that oversee the F.C.C. and set its budget.
It adds that, should the Democrats take control of the full Congress, he may gain considerable influence in slowing down FCC chairman Michael Powell's push for deregulation.
Hollings is also quoted by the Times, saying of one Powell statement about the public interest, "This fellow said it was a nebulous standard and you cannot categorize it. He is gung ho on market forces. He is a guy who believes there should be no regulation. That's how he approaches regulation."
Although Copps is isolated in the FCC, the paper comments on his support from what it terms "a motley group of consumer organizations, labour unions, small broadcasters and conservative groups who see him as their only ally at the F.C.C., some because of his view on sex and violence on the US airwaves, others because of his position to yet more media consolidation.
New York Times article:
2002-10-01: The BBC has announced that Rod Liddle, editor of the BBC Radio 4 flagship "Today" programme, is to move off the programme to work on a pilot for a new TV programme about politics. Liddle was involved in a row over a column he wrote for the UK Guardian (See RNW Sept 28) and was told he had to choose between the column and his radio job. He edits his last edition of the show today.
In a statement, Richard Sambrook, BBC Director of News, said: "I have been talking to Rod for several weeks about a new role in BBC News. We both agreed this is a good time for him to move on from Today."
"Rod is one of our strongest editors and I have great admiration for what he has achieved on the programme over the last five years," added Sambrook. " Under his editorship, Today has been extraordinarily successful."
The BBC is to advertise for a new editor in the next fortnight and those tipped for the post are mainly insiders.
They include Ceri Thomas, the head of news at BBC Radio 5 Live and a former assistant editor of Today; Chris Rybczynski, editor of the BBC TV's One O' Clock News and a former deputy editor of Today; Mike MacFarlane, currently weekend editor of BBC TV news, and a former editor of Radio 5's afternoon show; Kevin Marsh, editor of Radio 4's The World at One; and Mark Sandell producer on Nicky Campbell's Radio 5 Live morning phone-in show.
2002-10-01: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has its headquarters in Prague, last night closed down its Czech service after 52 years of broadcasts.
The station began broadcasting into the then-communist Czechoslovakia from then Western Germany in 1951 during a Cold War period when the US poured funds into broadcasts to the Russian-dominated "eastern bloc".
Following the 1989 anti-communist revolution in Czechoslovakia, Radio Free Europe continued to broadcast in cooperation with Czech state radio.
RFE had already ended broadcasts in Hungarian nine years ago and in Polish five years ago and its spokeswoman said the decision had to be seen in the light of "the fight against terrorism" and higher priorities for other countries, particularly the expansion of broadcasts in the Middle East and Central Asia, including some 12-hours a day to Afghanistan.
RFE will continue broadcasts to Slovakia, which split away from the Czech Republic on January 1, 1993, and to middle European and south Slavic countries.
2002-10-01: Complaints from broadcasters about a clause in the draft communications bill that hit them more than other media companies are reported to have led the British government to amend the bill whose final version is to be published soon.
Under the bill a new super-regulator OFCOM would be able to enforce regulations but as originally drafted the bill did not allow media companies the right to appeal against its decisions, unlike companies in other media sectors.
The new draft is reported to have removed the anomaly, which was highlighted in essays published by the Westminster Media Forum.
Various media organisations complained about aspects of the bill that affected them and GWR chairman Ralph Bernard said the bill meant a future "just as restrictive as the antiquated system we have now."
2002-10-01: Three Delhi universities have expressed interest in the idea of their own radio stations along the lines of Western community stations. India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that the government was considering introducing radio stations for Indian educational institutes and a note is being prepared to go before the country's cabinet. (See RNW Aug 31).
Jawaharlal Nehru University has already sought permission for a station and Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University have also said they would move on forward with plans once the government gives it the go ahead.
Previous Indian radio:
Times of India report:
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September 2002 - November 2002
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