April 2003 Archive
March 2003 -May 2003
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 April comment - War, business, freedoms and responsibilities.
RNW March comment - is equipment design promoting form over function and making it too difficult to operate essential controls?
RNW February comment considers what we think copyright should be in the future.
2003-04-30: US first quarter figures from Jefferson-Pilot, Saga Communications and Westwood One show a mixed picture with results in general meeting predictions.
Jefferson Pilot, whose holdings include 17 radio stations, has announced revenues up 4% but first quarter earnings of USD 7.1 million, up 8% on a year ago to for its Communications division. Broadcast cash flow was up 5% to USD 15.7 million and Jefferson comments that notable trends for the quarter included good growth in television profits offset by lower than expected results from sports operations.
Jefferson-Pilot as whole reported profits down 28.4% to USD109 million (USD 0.76 per share after taking into account USD 0.09 per share of realized investment losses).
Saga Communications reported net revenues up 9.3% for the quarter to USD 26.1 million but same station revenue was down 0.2% to USD 24.3 million. Overall station operating income was up 0.5% to USD 7.3million but on a same station basis there was a similar fall to USD 7.2 million.
Net income was down 5.6% to USD1.7 million (USD 0.08 per share compared to USD 0.09 per share).
Looking ahead, Saga is predicting second quarter revenues of USD 31 million- USD 32 million and for the year it ways it expects revenues to increase between 3% and 5%.
Westwood One reported first quarter revenues down USD 501, 000 to USD 125.8 million but notes that a year ago it had non-recurring revenues of around USD 6 million relating to the Winter Olympics; excluding this, revenues would have increased by around 5%.
EBITDA was down by USD 59,000 to USD 32.099 million and net income was down 3% to USD 16.194 million. Net income per share, because of a stock repurchase programme, was unaltered at USD 0.16 despite the fall.
Looking ahead, Westwood One says it expects low to mid single digit revenue growth and high single digit growth in EBITDA for the full year.
President and CEO Joel Hollander commented that the company "was able to achieve these financial results in spite of the effects that the war with Iraq had on our business."
"We continued to deliver on our share repurchase program, buying back nearly 2.3 million shares for approximately $77 million since the beginning of the year," he added. "Additionally, we continue to invest in new program offerings that are well received by both affiliates and advertisers."
Previous Westwood One:
2003-04-30: Arbitron has reported a further decline in response rated, down 2.3% to 33.9% for Winter 2003 across its 97 continuously measured markets. The average metro consent rate was down 3.3% to 59.8% indicating increasing reluctance to participate in surveys and Arbitron has responded by announcing a May 1 meeting at which it is to unveil a "comprehensive plan" to enhance its diary surveys in a number of areas including response rates (the product of consent rate- the percent of eligible sample who live in households that said "yes" to keeping an Arbitron diary and return rate --those sent a diary that actually returned it).
Arbitron's President of U.S. Media Services Owen Charlebois said, "Our plan is a serious, multiyear commitment designed to address the issue of sample quality over the short and long term."
He noted that the decline in response rates was one affecting the entire research industry.
2003-04-30: Latest Irish radio ratings released by the JNLR/MRBI survey covering the six months from October 2003 to March 2003 show listenership in the country at 86% of the population with independent local stations recording a figures of 55%, up 2% on the period a year earlier.
State broadcaster channels RTÉ Radio One down 4% to 28%, 2FM down 1% to 26%, and Lyric FM down 1% to 3%. National commercial channel Today FM lost 1% to 15%.
In area terms the figures for those listening to any local station on weekdays were 68% in Connaught/Ulster (Up 6%), 58% in Munster (Down 3%), and 48% in the rest of Leinster (Up 3%).
Among local stations Galway Bay FM increased its figures by 18% to 61% and in Cork, Cork 96FM/County Sound lost 8% to end up with a listened yesterday figure of 51% while Red 104-106FM recorded a reach of 18%.
In the capital, 98FM and FM104 each reached 22% of Dublin listeners with increases of 4% and 2% respectively and Country 106.8FM and Newstalk 106 FM each recorded a listenership of 2%.
Previous Irish Ratings:
JNLR web site:
2003-04-30: Denver-based NextMedia Group has announced USD8.25 million and USD 4.25 million sale and purchase deals. Both deals are all cash.
Being sold is WAIT 850-AM, Crystal Lake, Chicago, which is to go to Newsweb Corporation, whose other stations include other stations include WCSN-AM, WSBC-AM, and WCFJ-AM. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and Newsweb is considering format options for the station.
Commenting on the sale, Samuel "Skip" Weller, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of NextMedia's Radio Division, said, "We acquired WAIT-AM in a group acquisition as part of our Chicago Suburban Radio strategy. While we remain committed to the Chicago market through our 11-station cluster, WAIT-AM's metro Chicago coverage will be more effectively utilized by Newsweb Corporation."
The purchase is of Citadel's KNHK-FM in Reno, Nevada, and will take NextMedia's holding in the market up to four FMs. Well commented, "With its healthy economic environment and young, growing population, Reno represents one of NextMedia's largest and fastest growing markets. And, with a cluster of four stations in the market, we are able to leverage sales and programming resources to drive significant ratings, revenues and cash flows. We look forward to integrating KNHK-FM into our station portfolio."
Previous Forstmann-Little (Citadel owner):
2003-04-30: The vexed question of UK music charts is brought up in a UK Guardian article that look at the four charts that will soon exist and the competing claims they have to be accurate records of British musical tastes - and the competition between their various promoters.
At the BBC, the Radio 1 chart is based on Top 40 single sales, once pre-eminent but a measure that commercial groups say is outdated as shown by the drop of around a third in sales over the past five years. The BBC show, now hosted by Wes Butters, had seen an audience decline under its former host, Mark Goodier, now hosting the rival Emap Smash Hits Chart show (below).
The commercial groups say that airplay and Internet listening should now be taken into account, arguing that on music piracy is widespread and that as a result teenagers are often bred with a single by the time it in the shops.
Among the commercial radio chart shows, the former Pepsi Chart show, now re-branded the Hit 40 UK show, hosted by Neil Fox, and owned by Capital Radio,Chrysalis, GWR and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), uses a mix of singles sales and radio airplay data to rank songs.
Emap's rival, the Smash Hits Chart that was launched in January, goes wider and used s mixture of singles sales, airplay and information on video requests by viewers of its Smash Hits and Box TV channels.
The Official Chart Company, owned by the British Phonographic Industry and the British Association of Record Dealers, that compiles the lists for the BBC show recognises one deficiency in its approach, the absence of Internet sales that are becoming of increasing importance.
It has signed up OD2 to produce a standalone Internet sales chart for launch towards the end of this year.
Neale Tidd, director of music promoter Tonic Concerts, told the paper of the move that the internet is now an important part of how bands market themselves, adding, "If the digital data proves robust and the chart takes off, it will influence the way bigger, more established bands are promoted by their labels."
Tim Schoonmaker, chief executive of Emap Performance, argues record sales no longer reflect the most popular tracks and says that because its Smash Hits Chart is influenced by requests for videos before a record goes in sale, it is "wonderful predictor" of single sales success.
"Ironically, the Smash Hits chart is changing into a tool for the record industry to market their records," he says. "The labels can use it to convince retailers that a track will be a hit."
He is backed up by Rob Cornett, Hit 40 UK 's new managing director who argues, "Singles volumes are in decline and those numbers need to be boosted by combining them with another methodology. Radio airplay is based on the expertise of radio programmers. Combining that with sales data gives a more robust chart."
At the BBC, however, Ben Cooper, Radio 1's acting head of mainstream programming, maintains that singles sales are the best indicator of popularity.
"Getting the audience to buy the product is the best way to put a chart together," he says. "It is crystal clear. The other charts are a little muddied - they are put together by radio programmers," he says. "The commercial charts are not as clear and definite to the public and they can be altered to suit commercial interests. And they are running the risk of cannibalising their own audience. They've got a bit of a turf war on their hands about which chart to have on their stations."
UK Guardian report:
2003-04-29: Infinity Broadcasting President and COO John Fulham has stepped down amid speculation about re-structuring of the Viacom division that was singled out for criticism last week when Viacom's results were announced. Infinity revenues were down 2% compared to a 7% increase for the company as a whole and Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin, formerly a long-time Infinity chief, had said he was going to focus his attention on Infinity
Initial speculation had suggested that Infinity CEO John Sykes could be ousted.
Fullam, who joined Infinity in August last year in succession to Dan Mason (See RNW Aug 21, 2002) had formerly been a Clear Channel Senior Regional Vice President.
He was the highest level appointment to be made by Sykes, who had been moved into his Infinity role in March 2002 from his then post of president of Viacom's VH1 cable music TV network (See RNW March 18. 2002) after Fared Suleman left to become CEO of Citadel Communications and a special partner of its parent, Forstmann Little and Co.
Sykes had no previous radio experience and was said to be closer to Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone than to Karmazin.
2003-04-29: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has told the Newspaper Association of America Convention in Seattle that scrapping rules that prohibit newspapers from owning broadcasting stations could mean more and better news programming.
Speaking as a guest of the Associated Press at the convention, Powell said it was difficult to retain current regulations and that cross-ownership could allow more efficiency ain news production that could in turn lead to extended programming that would "benefit both newspapers and the public."
NAA chairman Dean Singleton, who is vice chairman and chief executive officer for MediaNews Group, welcomed the prospect, saying, "When the ban on cross ownership falls, what will rise is the opportunity to combine the immediacy of television and radio with the depths of newspapers, along with the interactivity and continued updates of the Web."
Much further down the West Coast the latest field hearing on US media regulations was being held at the University of Southern California (USC) Davidson Conference Center. The meeting was originally scheduled for February but was postponed because of a severe snowstorm on the US East Coast.
It was attended by Democrat commissioner Michael J Copps, whose push for a series of field meetings on the issue was rejected by Powell, and by various media academics and media executives; Copps fellow Democrat commissioner Jonathan Adelstein took part via a teleconference link.
Copps told the session that with a little over a month to go before new rules were issued even the FCC leaders didn't have a rough idea or details of the planned new system, yet the "FCC will have voted on this, changed the rules, reconfigured the media landscape, and told the world that, 'Sorry, there's no opportunity for or time for public comments on what has been decided.'"
Copps, who stresses that the issue was one of public airwaves and how they should be used to the public benefit also said that releasing new rules for discussion before they came final could aid their chances of holding up to court scrutiny.
2003-04-29: It's not so just what is said but how it is said that has led to some criticism of the BBC's daily religious "Thought for the Day" slot on Radio 4 and not the Corporation is to expand a programme of private sessions to help contributors improve their delivery according to a report in the UK Sunday Telegraph.
The paper quotes an unnamed senior BBC executive as saying, "These courses are trying to get across to people that this is a lively radio programme and not a pulpit. Making an interesting broadcast is very different from sermonising to a captive audience."
The BBC has also confirmed that a number of contributors, whom it will not name, have been given voice coaching, and some of the programme's regular contributors have welcomed the idea.
Rabbi Lionel Blue, who has contributed to the slot for more than 25 years, said, "I try to give my own students advice on how to handle themselves on God slots."
"I tell them it can be like listening to an announcement on the Underground. The message may be important but, because of the way it's delivered, it may sound like gibberish."
Another contributor, Christina Rees, a religious broadcaster and member of the Church of England Synod said: "I think some of the presenters need voice training. I tend not to agree with all her thoughts, but Anne Atkins [another regular contributor] is a trained actress and she delivers her thought - whether or not you like it - more animatedly and arrestingly than other people.
UK Telegraph report:
2003-04-29: XM satellite radio has announced a kit to enable its service to be listened to using a personal computer. The XM PC Receiver kit includes a receiver, antenna, PC software CD-ROM, an audio cable and a USB cable that both provides power to the receiver and serves as the data connection to the PC and is being retailed at just under USD70.
Unlike streaming audio, that uses Internet bandwidth, the new kit receives its signal directly from XM's satellites and does not need an Internet connection or place the same demands on resources that streaming audio does.
The receiver is connected to the computer via the USB input and as well as being said to give significantly better audio quality also provides extra screen display information on what is playing on al XM channels and features allowing song titles or artists to be saved onto an "alert list" that will trigger a pop-up message when they are played on a channel that is not being listened to at the time.
XM web site (orders link):
2003-04-29: Yahoo's Launch music network has now subscribed to Arbitron-MeasureCast's Internet ratings and will be included in the results release on May 1 for the week to April 20.
For the week to April 13 Launchcast recorded a TTSL of 3,194,628 and Cumulative listeners (Cume Persons -CP) 678,693, numbers that would have put it at the head of Arbitron-MeasureCast network rankings, well ahead of the leader Live365.com, which recorded TTSL 2,260,465 and CP 450,419 (See RNW April 25).
Arbitron has also announced the appointment of Sam Millstone to the new position of vice president, Finance.
Millstone, who was senior vice president, Lodging Finance and Business Development at Marriott International, will report to Arbitron chief financial officer William Walsh and will oversee financial forecasting and analysis for the company.
2003-04-28: Since so much of the world seems to value only those things to which it can attach a number, we start this week's look at print comment on radio with two columns that are pegged to numbers.
One was Chris Campling's radio column in the UK Times that celebrated a BBC Radio 4 series - in his words, "...join me in welcoming back Simon Singh's Another Five Numbers, which returned last Tuesday to Radio 4 (08:30 GMT)"
Campling led into the comment through reminiscences about his schooldays and concluded, "Maths is also something that radio does particularly well, since its power lies not in the listener's ability to understand the concepts being described but in the presenter's ability to convey the enthusiasm with which those who do understand it pursue it. "
Of the concepts being discussed, he wrote, "The first digit he concerned himself with was four. With ever-mounting excitement, Singh discussed whether it is possible to colour any map, however complex, using only four colours."
"Apparently it is, but it took 124 years, ten million man hours put in by some of the brightest mathematical minds of those 124 years and, in the end, a computer, to prove that it is. One after the other, blokes with brains the size of a planet trotted up and confessed to having spent valuable synapses on trying to work out something that, let's face it, didn't matter."
"And that is what I love about this programme, and others like it - so much of what they do is so much Pi, spread across so many skies. And we get to lie on our backs, and look up, and gaze (uncomprehendingly) with them into infinity."
Next up his Sunday Times colleague Paul Donovan, whose weekly RadioWaves column was pegged to numbers more generally associated with radio -those of ratings.
The peg was the fact that the next UK radio ratings, due out in May, will for the first time include figures for digital radio listeners and also for listeners to BBC World Service in the UK.
The service, originally the Empire Service, began in 1932 and until recently it was available in the UK only in the south east via medium wave transmissions and, fairly recently, overnight on the BBC Radio 4 FM frequency.
Now it can be head via digital audio broadcasts, on digital TV services -cable, satellite and terrestrial, and the Internet leading Donovan to comment that of the figures, "If the total is much less than the 1.2m the BBC claims - an estimate based on inexact research - then it will embarrass it. If it is more, then it should be celebrated, because the World Service is one of the best things we have."
"It is a curious phenomenon, the output of Bush House. We pay for it [via taxation and Foreign Office funding not the BBC licence fee], yet it is not intended for us at all."
"The English- language service is aimed at those whose first language is not English, even though that is the tongue they most want to speak. And it reaches 45m of them, across the planet, on wind-up clockwork sets in wattle huts, on transistors in the desert, on ghetto blasters on pick-up trucks, on local FM stations everywhere. Then there are another 100m people listening to another 42 languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese."(RNW note, Regretfully there are no World Service broadcasts in Zenaga!)
And as Donovan concludes, "So, in 11 days' time, we will at last find out for sure how many UK listeners tune into Outlook, Everywoman, Charlie Gillett, The World Today and all the rest. I hope the figures are healthy. It may not be intended for us, but we too can share it."
Enough of numbers though, what about qualities behind the numbers? Well sometimes they too relate to numbers as noted in the Irish RadioWaves column in the Sunday Times, this time by Michael Ross.
The first numbers in his column are those of property prices, the "new pornography" that he says has become "a linchpin" in David McWilliams' breakfast show on Dublin talk station Newstalk.
"At its most coolly cynical," comments Ross, "it's a good schtick, particularly for Newstalk, which in its first year on air has made a virtue of its shoestring resources by adapting the Last Word model of opinionated, discursive broadcasting to mount a credible challenge to RTE in two key slots, at breakfast and lunch times."
And of the station's lunchtime show,"Damien Kiberd has made an outstanding and idiosyncratic success of his lunchtime news programme, bringing to it a kind of hippy republican monetarism unique in Irish broadcasting."
And then the sting in the tail: "The trouble is, it's a routine of endless tumescence not unlike the property journalism that McWilliams regards with disdain. It gets wearying after a while, as the lack of programme resources gleams through the stridency.
On the other side of the Atlantic, a comment on the virtues - or otherwise - of print compared to broadcast from the Baltimore Sun in a column by Michael Olesker commenting on Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s decision to eschew print - specifically the Sun and Washington Post - in favour of broadcasting media.
Olesker starts his column: "NOTE TO TV news reporters and radio talk show hosts: Don't look now, but I think the governor of Maryland, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., just called you a bunch of patsies and hoped you didn't notice."
The action was taken, says Olesker, because the Governor thinks the papers are not being nice to him and Olesker goes on, "The governor will embrace TV and radio people because he thinks they are nice to him. He seems not to understand this, but he has just indicted them for not doing their jobs. A slight lesson in civics: It is not reporters' business to be nice to public officials; it is our job to look at their work, and analyse it as best we can, and to report what we find as fairly as we can."
Not long though before the numbers are back: After comments on newspaper cover of politics in the area, Olesker writes, "This is a governor who took office with one plan to balance the budget: Bring in slots. But he had no backup plan. In a late-night revision of his first slots package, he changed the numbers to give more money to track owners and less to schools and dissembled when everybody caught the quarterback sneak he'd attempted."
Olesker then goes on to note the limitations of TV cover because of the short durations allocated to items and then goes on to comment of radio, "As for talk radio, the governor declares, "There is no filter. It's direct and there is no middle entity either friend or foe."
On which, Olesker concludes, "Those of us who live in a community where Rush Limbaugh and squadrons of Limbaugh wannabes dominate the airwaves will keep such a remark in perspective.
Further north, Clea Simon in her column in the Boston Globe looks at talk radio from a different perspective.
"What do women want? Could it be more of our own radio shows?" she asks before answering in terms of a new show ''ChickChat." Currently being aired on WBPS-AM, although there are aims for national syndication for the show hosted by DC-based Heidi Hanzel and Jacy Cowgill and New York-based Lara Dyan.
''We're the radio equivalent of `Sex and the City' and Cosmo'' magazine," Dyan told the paper of the show's mix of "gossip, information, and camaraderie." Simon adds that since it began in February the show has "explored everything from sexual etiquette and dating to the boycott of the US Open golf tournament The only topic the three have avoided has been the war."
The rationale for that omission? Says Cowgill, ''We're radio as entertainment.''
And from Hanzel, comparing the show with most talk radio: "''All you hear are men talking about extremely boring things like politics. That's not my everyday life.''
Maybe not, but as Olesker's column had noted of Maryland's Governor, he " changed the numbers to give more money to track owners and less to schools." And that is politics - but the schools affect life!
Finally since earlier this month, we carried a report of a Chicago Tribune column by its rock critic Greg Kot expressing scepticism of Clear Channel's decision to end deals with independent record promoters (See RNW April 14 ) a response in the same paper that came in a letter from Clear Channel's Senior vice president for public policy, Andrew W. Levin.
Levin takes issue with Kot, saying "It is unfair to first criticize Clear Channel's business arrangements with independent promoters and then renew criticism when the company discontinues the practice."
He then says Clear Channel is ending the deals because they gave an "appearance of impropriety", argues that the article perpetuates a myth of "narrow play lists" and adds, "Radio also remains the dominant source for diverse, new music. Last year alone, radio debuted 3,000 new songs and 550 new artists on more than 250 formats.
Baltimore Sun - Olesker:
Boston Globe- Simon:
Chicago Tribune - Levin letter:
UK Sunday Times- Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - Ross:
UK Times - Campling:
2003-04-28: Last week's Arbitron figures show that, although war on Iraq did not begin until March 19th, anticipation of the event was to the significant advantage of news and talk broadcast stations in some markets but considerably less so in others.
Among the talk stations heading the rankings were WBZ-am in Boston, which was already top-ranked but took its share up from 7.3 to 8.5; WGN-AM in Chicago, which jumped from a third-ranked 4.9 share to 6.1; WWJ-AM in Detroit, which took its share up from 5.3 to 5.9 and KYW-AM, Philadelphia, which took its share up from 7.0 to 8.2.
In other areas, where other formats retained their leads, many news and talk stations still increased their audiences but the picture was patchy.
In New York, where WLTW-FM (Lite-FM) was top with a 6.8 share, News-Talk WABC-AM took its share up from 3.2 to 3.7 but other news and talk stations did not see much movement and in Washington, where urban WMMJ-FM (Magic 102.3) boosted its lead, all-news WTOP -AM seemed to gain slightly although still down from the fall ratings when it was boosted by the sniper story.
Conservative talk hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity also seemed to benefit with increases in ratings for their syndicated daily shows on WMAL-AM.
In Los Angeles, where hip-hop KPWR-FM (Power 106) lost share but kept top ranking, news-related movement was much lower. The main change was in the morning slot where KROQ-FM's "Kevin & Bean" show moved from fourth to first place, following the decision by long-time morning leader Renán Almendárez Coello to move his show on Spanish-language KSCA-FM afternoons.
Coello's morning replacement Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, took second place in that slot whilst Coello himself took many of his listeners with him, lifting KCSA's afternoon show from a 24th place in the fall ratings to second.
2003-04-28: Clear Channel's Urban AC WVAZ-FM and smooth jazz WNUA-FM have become the first Chicago stations to commence digital broadcasts using iBiquity's HD In-Band On-Channel technology that uses part of the station's existing frequency.
Most of the rest of the world has opted for a system using different frequencies for its digital audio broadcasts using the Eureka 147 system.
Clear Channel has spent some USD 7 million on digital studios for all six of its Chicago stations in its combined headquarters but it will be some while before it gets any benefit at all.
On current schedules digital receivers for the system will not be available in the US until July.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-04-27: Last week was again fairly quiet for the regulators although in the US the issue of media regulation is still bubbling away.
There was nothing from Australia or Ireland and only minor radio-related activity in Canada.
There, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved only three radio decisions, which were (by province):
*Renewal only for four years rather than seven of the licence of CHHK-FM, Taber. The shorter term followed an analysis of the broadcasts of the station for a week at the beginning of October, 2001, when it was found that just under 30% of the category 2 musical selection it broadcast were Canadian as opposed to the required 35%.
*Approval of a 1-watt transmitter in Faro for CHON-FM, Whitehorse.
*Approval of an application by Durham Radio Inc. to acquire for CAD 3.9 million the assets of AC format CKGE-FM and oldies format CKDO-AM, Oshawa, from a subsidiary of Corus Entertainment. Durham already controls CJKX-FM in the market.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has published its first quarterly complaints bulletin of the year (See RNW April 24) and its quarterly Programming and Advertising Review (See RNW April 24).
It also published its assessment of the award of the Kent digital multiplex to the sole applicant, Capital Radio Digital Ltd. (See Licence News April 13).
Capital is proposing a bouquet of 8 channels in addition to carrying BBC Radio Kent (See Licence News, February 16).
Commenting on the proposed service, Authority members said they considered that "overall, the programming bouquet covered a wide range, offering music for listeners in the different age groups."
They took up the issue of overlap by the three London multiplexes but noted, "For listeners in the eastern half of the county, the choice of services available will be very considerably increased."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still involved in the issue of rewriting media regulation rules with chairman Michael Powell receiving backing from the Bush administration for sticking to his June 2 deadline (See RNW April 26) and Democrat Commissioners going along with those who want less of a rush (See below).
In other actions the FCC has confirmed fines totalling USD 39,000 for technical offences on a Kansas FM (see RNW April 24) and has also now lifted a red flag, instituted on market concentration grounds, that had held up a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, purchase by Radio South (See RNW April 25).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-04-27:The University of Southern California forum on US media regulation, postponed in February after a major Washington snowstorm is now to be held on Monday; It was preceded by an informal hearing on media ownership rules held in San Francisco on Saturday and attended by Democrat Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.
In advance of the meetings, Adelstein in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle wrote of attending meetings to find out public views, adding, "it's almost too late now."
Noting that FCC chairman Michael Powell had rejected a request "to hold off on any changes until the FCC discloses its plans publicly so that Congress and the public can respond", Adelstein commented, "The FCC must proceed with enormous caution. Caution and speed don't mix well when safeguards of our democracy are at stake. We cannot allow too much consolidation to tune out voices heard across this country and in each of our communities."
Adelstein them noted the effect of consolidation on radio so far, writing, "The relaxation of similar rules for radio shows how quickly rule changes can alter an industry's structure."
"In 1996, Congress relaxed radio ownership rules, prompting an unprecedented wave of consolidation. Radio conglomerates now centralize broadcasting from remote headquarters and pump homogenized playlists to stations across the country."
"Minot, a small town in North Dakota, felt the effects recently. When a train carrying ammonia derailed and released chemicals -- sending 300 people to the hospital -- police called the local radio stations, all six of which are owned by Clear Channel Communications, to alert the community. But Clear Channel had pared down its local operations and no one answered the phone for more than an hour. Given that TV and newspapers are even more crucial sources than radio for local information, the pending changes could have an even more dramatic impact."
RNW comment: As we've already noted, the Minot case appears less clear cut than stated by Adelstein -See RNW April 1 - but if indeed delays were the result an unmanned station because of staff cuts, then we stick to our position that Clear Channel should be held unfit to hold licences.
If Clear Channel's case is true, then it would appear to us that some of the money spent on their DC lobbying could be better diverted to funding an independent investigation to clear its name.
Equally, much as we agree with the tenor of Adelstein's comments that a matter as critical to democracy as this issue should not be rushed, the facts remain that the US passed a law requiring the FCC to justify its rules every two years or see them fall.
The FCC has subsequently seen courts overturn regulations and is stuck with the requirement, so is between a rock and a hard place. We therefore reluctantly conclude that the important battle has long been lost and probably the war as well: what is needed is not a delay now but a rethink about the two-year re-evaluation requirement and the whole issue of the nature of media best suited to preserve diversity and democracy.
Indeed a thorough debate about the nature of US democracy and freedomwould be even more valuable but we don't see many signs of that either.
San Francisco Chronicle - Adelstein op-ed:
2003-04-27: Philadelphia Classic Rock station WMGK-FM is today staging a 1000-dog walk, which its publicity in somewhat hyperbolic wording, links with the 1995 Million Man March, called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakahn and the 2000 Million Mom March calling for gun control laws.
The event itself seems an odd fit for a rocker, although maybe it sits more with classic rock listener, since it is a dog appreciation day and fair where dog owners can learn about things such as animal health issues and microchip identification as well as watching training demonstrations.
It's also being held with due deference to responsible behaviour such as keeping animals on a short lead and insistence that all dogs have all their shots and vaccinations.
WMGK web site:
2003-04-26: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has been openly backed by the administration in his push to keep to a June 2 deadline for issuing new US media regulations in a letter from US Commerce Secretary Donald Evans that urged the FCC to stick to the self-imposed June 2 deadline.
In a letter he wrote, "This proceeding presents an important opportunity for the commission to update its media rules to reflect the realities"; he also praised Powell for ``recognizing the need to resolve the uncertainty surrounding potential rule changes.''
Under the 1996 Communications Act, the FCC has to justify its regulations every two years and courts have already overturned a number of them because the FCC could not provide justification.
Last week Powell said in a letter in response to various lawmakers who had written to him that the Commission needed to finish the current review on schedule so that it could have time to meet the next deadline, adding, "Further and more specific notice is unwarranted in light of the full record before us, and weighed against the pitfalls of further delay." (See RNW April 17).
New York Times/Reuters report:
2003-04-26: UK Chrysalis Group has confirmed that it is at an advanced stage of talks to sell its TV production interests to a team headed by former Granada TV chief Steve Morrison and David Liddiment, the former ITV programming chief.
A sale would allow Chrysalis to concentrate on its radio division, whose holdings include the Heart and Galaxy franchises and the London LBC stations; it is valued at around GBP 40-50 million (USD 78 million).
The TV side was responsible for around 37% of Chrysalis revenues last year but its Chief Executive Richard Huntingford sees radio as the group's main priority in advance of the relaxation of ownership laws due under new UK media legislation later this year.
UK Guardian report:
2003-04-26: US shock jock Howard Stern has again been attacking executives of Viacom, whose Infinity subsidiary airs his radio show. Earlier this month he accused Infinity of "setting him up for the fall" after the row over a record indecency fine imposed on the company's Detroit station WKRK-FM (See RNW April 19).
In his latest on-air comments Stern attacked CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves for signing a development deal with Mike Fleiss and Scott Einziger whom Stern is suing for allegedly stealing his concept for what became ABC TV's "Are You Hot?"
Stern attacked both Moonves himself, who he says he has never liked, and the deal. In a personal attack he commented that Moonves, a former actor, had "phoney hair and fake capped teeth."
A CBS spokesman responded to the New York Daily News saying, "Mr. Moonves' teeth are not capped and are in fact his own. And the hair is real."
New York Daily News report:
2003-04-26: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has urged support for the Telecommunications Ownership Diversification Act of 2003, sponsored by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, that is designed to encourage diversity in US media ownership through tax breaks where purchases are made by minority owners.
A letter sent by NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts to all US Senators says, "In an era when Congress and the Federal Communications Commission are examining ownership rules for broadcast and other media, this proposal would institute market-based, voluntary measures to foster diversity in broadcast ownership."
"By providing sellers of telecommunications assets a tax deferral, the bill could make it significantly more affordable for sellers of broadcast properties to divest their properties to qualified small and minority owned businesses. Moreover, the legislation would provide investors an incentive to consider certain small businesses by providing a reduction in the tax on gains from investment in these companies."
"These steps could significantly advantage the cause of minority ownership without creating opportunities for abuse."The letter then says that NAB has given priority to increasing both employment and ownership opportunities in broadcasting for minorities and calls for support of the bill.
2003-04-26: Former British TV chat show host Vanessa Feltz, more famous for problems in her personal life since the show was axed, is to return to her radio roots by taking over as host of the with BBC London radio's afternoon show from Lisa I'Anson from April 28.
I'Anson, a former BBC Radio 1 DJ, has left the station to spend more time with her mother, who is recovering from a heart operation.
Feltz began her broadcasting career on the station, then BBC GLR (Greater London Radio) and has been a regular guest presenter on the station since the New Year.
She recently stepped in to front talk shows when the station turned to 24-hour rolling news for the first two weeks of the war in Iraq.
2003-04-25: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Eddie Fritts has warned that changing the definition of a radio market could cause problems but described as "modest" the changes in US ownership media regulation sought by NAB, adding that he did not see the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as being "on a mad rush to toss out all media ownership rules."
Speaking at a at a Media Institute luncheon in Washington, DC, Fritts also defended the cap that prevents a broadcaster from owning stations that reach more than 35% of US homes, saying that it had been "good for localism and diversity."
He argued that the position differed for radio and TV since there were only some 1,300 US TV stations, compared to ten times as many radio stations, and argued that deregulation had made local radio stations more competitive with other media and had increased diversity.
"From hip-hop to gospel, from all-sports to all children's stations, radio format diversity has exploded," he said.
"Quite frankly, the radio business was in terrible financial shape a decade ago. Some 60% of stations were losing money, and scores of stations went dark because the economics of the business could not justify their existence. Given that backdrop, Congress concluded that radio deregulation was warranted. Lawmakers got it right. Radio broadcasters were afforded the opportunity to better serve consumers. And that is exactly what has happened. "
Even with deregulation, radio ownership remains far more diversified than virtually all media. There are 3,500 separate companies that still own stations in the U.S."
"Bottom line: Congress got it right with radio deregulation. Listeners are now better served by stronger companies, and program formats are as diverse as the American population."
" that revival," said Fritts, " could be jeopardized by an FCC initiative that would re-define what constitutes a local radio market. Congress did not change the FCC's existing definition when it enacted new local radio ownership limits in 1996."
"Broadcasters in large and small markets made significant business decisions based upon the existing market definition. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for the FCC to change the definition. However, if there is a change, the Commission at the very least must grandfather existing combinations and permit licensees to transfer these combinations in future sales. "
Fritts also brought up the issue of eliminating the newspaper-broadcast cross ownership ban, which NAB supports, and the issue of a "diversity index" that has been suggested by FCC chairman Michael Powell to ensure that consolidation does not end diversity, an idea on which he was more neutral..
" While details are still being debated," SAID Fritts, " he [Powell] assured us that the test will be simple, easy to administer, and reasonable."
"We've examined this idea from many different perspectives, but we're concerned that applying such an index will be difficult, if not impossible, to administer. We look forward to learning more about this proposal."
2003-04-25: The British music industry may call for a home music quota system to help foster UK talent according to a report in the UK Times; Such a system is already operated in France, Canada and Australia operate quotas where up to 40 per cent of a radio station's output has to consist of home-grown contemporary music.
The aim is to reduce the influence of American pop and the quota countries believe that the system has helped to develop native talent.
The possible move comes as changes in UK media regulation may allow US companies to buy British radio groups and US artists dominate the charts.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which says the idea may have to be considered, is concerned about a threat to the British recording industry should there be takeovers by companies like US radio giant Clear Channel, which has attracted criticism for enforcing a highly-restrictive playlist upon its stations.
"I can foresee us having to ask the Government for quotas," Peter Jamieson, the BPI executive chairman told the paper. "The statistics already show that in recent years there has been a decline in the amount of British music played on air and a corresponding decline in sales of those same British singles."
He was backed by EMI Music chairman Tony Wadsworth, who raised the prospect of quotas at a music industry forum and Alison Wenham, chief executive of the Association of Independent Music, which represents Britain's smaller record companies, who warned of a "quantum shift and a measurable and meaningful one away from UK acts" on station playlists.
Britain's Broadcasting Minister Kim Howells, however, played down the idea and suggested that the record companies needed to do more to develop and promote British musical talent.
"There are lots of reasons why British bands don't seem to be having the success they enjoyed previously," he said. "It could be the way they are being managed or because they are not making the kind of music which has characterised the best of British in the past. I am opposed to quotas. What we need is British talent to be better developed and the music industry has got to look to itself to do that. When British music is popular, it is on the radio."
The idea of quotas is also opposed by the UK's commercial radio companies and Paul Brown, chief executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) , said: "The last thing we want is to have a group of people getting into the minuscule and microscopic of what our playlists should be."
UK Times report:
2003-04-25: More positive radio results have been issued in North America, this time by Canadian group Corus Entertainment and by Seattle-based Fisher Communications.
Overall Corus reported net income up 42% after excluding a one-off gain from the sale of its Comedy Network interests and double-digit earnings growth compared to a year earlier from its radio and TV divisions in its fiscal second quarter to the end of February.
If the adjustments for disposals are removed, Corus revenues fell 12% to CAD147.5 million (USD 100million) compared to a pro-forma increase of 1%; net income was CAD 7 million (USD 4.8 million), or CAD 0.16 per share, down from CAD19.3 million (USD 13.2 million), of CAD 0.45 per share a year earlier when the figures included a CAD 14.3 million (USD 9.8 million) gain on its sale of its share of the Comedy Network.
Corus Radio revenues were up 12% to CAD 48.9 million (USD 33.5 million), and radio EBITDA was up 32% to CAD 7.1 million (USD 4.9 million).
Corus President and CEO John Cassaday commented, "We were very encouraged by double digit advertising growth for both our television and radio assets in the quarter.
Still in Canada, Winnipeg-based CanWest Global Communications Corp. has reported a strong performance from its New Zealand radio operations whose revenues were up 27% to CAD 19 million (USD 13 million) and EBITDA up 31% to CAD 5 million (USD 3.4 million).
They significantly outperformed the company's overall operations that showed revenues for the quarter to the end of February up 7% to CAD 603 million (USD 412 million) from pro forma combined revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2002.
Over the border in the US, Seattle-based Fisher Communications has reported broadcasting revenues for the first quarter of this year up 3% to USD 28.8 million and trimmed its net loss from continued operations from USD 8 millions (USD0.94 per share) a year ago to USD 3.1 million (USD 0.36 per share).
Its net loss nearly tripled to USD 21.4 million (USD 2.49 per share) from USD 7.8 million (USD 0.90 per share), largely because of a loss from discontinued operations of USD 18.3 million.
In other US radio business, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now lifted the red flag it had put upon the sale of a Tuscaloosa AM because it would lead to two companies- Clear Channel and Radio South - controlling nearly 95% of the market revenue.
WSPZ-AM was being sold by Birmingham Christian Radio to Radio South Inc., which owns three FMs and an AM in the market.
The FCC commented that the alternative in this case would probably have been that the station would go dark and Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps, a regular critic of consolidation, issued a statement in which he said," I support this transfer of WSPZ to Radio South despite the significant levels of market concentration that will result from this transaction, because the parties have made an adequate showing to demonstrate that WSPZ is a "failing station" which would otherwise go silent."
"The community will receive a tangible benefit from WSPZ remaining viable and on the air, and I am heartened by Radio South's commitment to serve the 50+ audience with public affairs, local news, weather, and other information not presently available to those residents of Tuscaloosa."
2003-04-25: Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines, whose comments about being "ashamed" of US President George Bush led to some US radio stations boycotting the group's records, has said in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer for "Primetime Thursday" that she spoke out of frustration and regrets her choice of words but not thinking critically.
"It was the wrong wording with genuine emotion and questions and concern behind it," Maines told Sawyer.
Maines and the other members of the trio, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, said the reaction was too harsh for the offence and they've always supported U.S. troops even though they questioned the war.
They also speak of receiving threats and having to take precautions at their concerts. Robison commented, " It's not that we don't care [about record sales]. We just put in perspective as to what is really important. You know, when you're getting death threats ... At our concerts this year, we have to have metal detectors, and to me that's just crazy. But we have to take those precautions because this thing has gotten so out of control."
The Chicks, who appear nude on the May 2 issue of Entertainment Weekly, with epithets such as "Traitors" and "Saddam's Angels" written on their bodies, have received support from Bruce Springsteen in a message posted on his website.
In it he says, "The Dixie Chicks have taken a big hit lately [RNW note - their song Travelin' Soldier, which had been No 1 in Billboard's country charts went out of them and sales of their latest CD, Home, also fell, but it remained the top selling country album] for exercising their basic right to express themselves."
"To me, they're terrific American artists expressing American values by using their American right to free speech. For them to be banished wholesale from radio stations, and even entire radio networks, for speaking out is un-American. "
"The pressure coming from the government and big business to enforce conformity of thought concerning the war and politics goes against everything that this country is about - namely freedom. Right now, we are supposedly fighting to create freedom in Iraq, at the same time that some are trying to intimidate and punish people for using that same freedom here at home. "
"I don't know what happens next, but I do want to add my voice to those who think that the Dixie Chicks are getting a raw deal, and an un-American one to boot. I send them my support."
Bruce Springsteen web site comment:
2003-04-25: As news eased, WLS-AM dropped from second station rank to fifth in the Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings for the second week of April just released; MUSICMATCH's artist match retained top station spot but Live365 more than tripled its listening to take top network spot, pushing Chain Cast/StreamAudio into second.
Clear Channel continued its plunge and having fallen from second to seventh rank the previous week was down again to ninth.
For the week to April 13, Arbitron-Measure Cast'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 303,203 (306,290); CP 122,343 (128,991). Same rank with slightly lower listening and reach.
2: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 216,468 (230,539); CP 34,435 (32,257). Up from third despite lower listening and reach.
3: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 213,333 (186,945); CP 26,931 (28,710). Up from fifth with higher listening and lower reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 207,470 (202,303); CP 47,209 (48,436). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
5: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 201,560 (230,788); CP 37,911 (44,046). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to April 13 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Live365.com - TTSL 2,260,465 (739,893); CP - 450,419 (138,503) Up from fourth with much higher listening and reach.
2: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,664,514 (1,595,972); CP 224,935 (228,953). Down from first despite higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,296,186 (1,290,206); CP 358,034 (371,371). Down from second despite higher listening although reach was down.
4: Warp Radio TTSL 769,893 (765,357); CP 139,622 (136,648) - Down from third despite higher listening and reach.
5: Moontaxi TTSL 586,529 (629,963); CP 79,039 (151,557) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-04-24: The UK Radio Authority in its quarterly Programming and Advertising Review for the first quarter of this year just released headlines the issue of stations retaining recordings of their output, a matter highlighted in its latest complaints bulletins in which a number of complaints were automatically upheld because tapes had not been kept (See below)
An article by Martin Campbell, the Authority's Director of Programming and Advertising, notes that a fine of GBP 5000 (USD 7,900)was imposed on GWR station Chiltern FM (See RNW Feb 11) for failure to produce tapes for two days output and adds that it should be noted by licensees for three reasons.
The first marks a change in policy in that a fine was imposed for a first offence: previously the Authority has usually allowed a station one "slip".
Following on this is the general question of the importance of logging systems - a marked contrast to the US where complainants have to provide their own recording or transcript and some stations deliberately fail to keep recordings -- and finally the point that the Authority was unable to adjudicate on a potentially serious breach of regulations.
Only six UK stations have been fined for non-production of logging tapes over the past eight years with some twice as many getting off with warnings.
Campbell says that in the past stations have not taken advantage of the "one slip" policy to get away in the case of a particularly awkward complaint but as the regulatory climate changes and moves towards self-regulation stations will have to display responsibility.
Keeping a record of output-the UK requires tapes of entire output to be kept for 42 days - he goes on, has "always been a lynchpin of regulation in the UK, and the technology now available has rendered this obligation a pretty simple task."
"It was, therefore, with great disappointment that the Authority had to accept that a major group had not been able to meet the most basic of compliance requirements."
"The fining of a station for a first offence is a policy change. The move has been made in order to underline the seriousness with which such a breach is considered in today's climate, which in itself will hopefully act as a reminder to stations of the importance of checking regularly all logging procedures."
Campbell notes that Restricted Service Licensees are also governed by the same regulations and that there were two cases involving them, one where tapes were incomplete and another where recordings were said to have been lost in a burglary.
"Whatever the circumstances," he writes, " there are no exemptions for RSLs and they, too, face fines, if unable to produce tapes."
He then deals with the issue of behind the requirement, that of providing evidence in case of a complaint or even an enquiry as to whether there had been a breach.
The review also deals with an issue loosely linked with logging, that of the issues relating to the reporting of conflicts. Advice on such a situation, particularly when it comes to making significant changes to a station's output is given based on past experience of similar events.
"Clearly, " says the review, "if a situation escalates, stations will use their formats as a base on which to build the most useful coverage possible, within the spirit rather than the letter of that which is demanded by the Promise of Performance or Station Format."
"This is what the Authority would expect, and there is no need for a station to seek permission to change output to that extent. "
" In such times, when sensitivities are high and worry at a peak, it becomes even more important that on-air staff are fully aware of their responsibilities, particularly with regard to:
b) Political comment
c) Sourcing information"
"We have received enquiries regarding the actual amount of programming and programme change expected in times of conflict and emergency."
"Clearly much depends on the nature of the conflict at any particular stage, but in the event of war we would remind each station of the Broadcasting Act (1990)'s requirement to strive for accuracy."
"Stations will of course want to have in place clear plans to allow for whatever extra coverage is required. Such plans need not involve staffing alone, but also arrangements to adapt or drop order to react adequately to changing circumstances."
"A number of licensees have told us of their contingency plans in case of emergencies directly involving stations. These plans have included the possibility of switching transmitters, taking or sharing programming or studios to keep output on air during any emergency and so on."
"It is obviously a wise precaution both to review contingency plans and make relevant staff aware."
Previous Radio Authority:
Previous UK Radio Authority Quarterly Programming and Advertising Review:
UK Radio Authority Quarterly Programming and Advertising Review (403 kb PDF):
2003-04-24: Clear Channel and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have announced agreement on their dispute involving on-air hosts at New York stations WLTW-FM, WKTU-FM, WAXQ-FM and WWPR-FM but have given no details.
Announcers at the stations had been working under expired contracts because of a dispute centred on Clear Channel's intention to introduce voice tracking and replace some announcers with pre-recorded links and talk. They had recently been granted AFTRA authorization to take strike action.
AFTRA refused comment as to whether the agreement included voice tracking but in a statement its New York AFTRA Assistant Executive Director Peter Fuster said, "AFTRA and its members are pleased that we have reached an agreement with Clear Channel [The] announcement demonstrates our commitment to our members and to listeners of New York."
Clear Channel Radio's New York Market Manager Andy Rosen commented, "Clear Channel attributes the success of its New York stations to the talent and hard work of all its employees in the market."
"We are happy with today's agreement and remain committed to preserving the localized focus of radio while providing our listeners with the highest quality programming."
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-04-24: The latest Complaints Bulletin, running to the end of March this year, issued by the UK Radio Authority shows that the Authority considered fewer complaints than in the first quarter of 2002 but upheld more, including three that were upheld automatically because the stations involved did not have recordings of output as required.
In all it considered 142 complaints compared to 200 a year earlier, upholding 35 compared to 27.
Of the total 60 were programming compared to 67 a year earlier, nine being upheld compared to eight, and the remaining 82 were advertising related compared to 133, 26 being upheld compared to 19.
Of the programming complaints upheld, six concerned taste and decency, one related to balance, bias and fairness, and two concerned other matters.
The Complaints Bulletin shows a breakdown (Q1, 2002 figures in brackets) of programming complaints as follows:
* Accuracy - Two (10) of which none (Two) was upheld;
*Balance/Bias and Fairness - Nine (Six), of which One (None) was upheld;
*Taste and decency - 29 (37) of which six (three) were upheld, one partially;
*Promise of performance or format - Six- two on one matter (Two) of which None (None) was upheld and
* Other 14 - four on one matter (12) of which two (three) were upheld.
These total 60 complaints (67) of which nine (eight) were upheld.
The advertising complaints breakdown (again with 2002 figures in brackets) was:
* Harmful - four - two on one matter (16), of which one (None) was upheld;
* Misleading 41 (23) of which 12 (None) were upheld - four of these were on one matter, three on another and two each on four matters;
* Offensive 33 (90) of which 13 (17) were upheld - ten of these were on one matter, and two each on three matters; and
* Other - four - two on one matter (four), of which none (two) was upheld. These total 82 complaints (133) of which 26 (19) were upheld.
Of the programming complaints, the Balance/Bias and Fairness complaint upheld was against Chiltern FM and related to a listener complaint that the station was supporting the UK firefighters' strike. Chiltern had been unable to provide programme tapes and was fined GBP5, 000 (USD USD 7,900 ) for this (See RNW Feb 11); in addition the complaint was automatically upheld.
The Taste and decency complaints upheld involved:
* A complaint against Capital FM over the playing on an Eminem record that included the word 'motherfucking'
*A complaint against Vibe FM (East of England) over the playing an uncensored version of a recording in an urban/R&B show.
*A complaint against TalkSport by a listener who thought that a presenter was unnecessarily rude to two female callers whom he had called "cows" and who had then pretended to be the complaints department when a further caller phoned to object to his treatment of previous callers.
*A complaint against Sunrise Radio, Greater London, in which a presenter decided not to use the "dump" button when a caller referred to some American politicians as "Jewish hogs" and did not challenge the comment although the call was wound up speedily.
A complaint against LBC News, London, in which a presenter sympathized with a caller who used the term "bloody foreigners" and later made "unnecessary derogatory comments that negated the legitimate concerns he had expressed earlier about immigration policy and bogus asylum seekers.
*A complaint against Q103 FM (Cambridge & Newmarket) that was partially upheld. It involved comments by the breakfast presenter who encouraged listeners to "breath deeply" to smell the smoke from the cremation of Moors murderess Myra Hindley's cremation. The complainant also alleged that another listener who had taken issue with these comments had received a threatening response. The latter complaint was not upheld but the comments were ruled to be in poor taste.
Three other complaints were considered resolved because of action taken by the station involved.
They were: *A breakfast presenter's use of the phrase "I couldn't be arsed" on Southern FM (Brighton/Eastbourne & Hastings): The station has already told the presenter the phrase was not suitable at a time when children might be listening.
* A complaint against Beacon FM (Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury & Telford) whose breakfast presenter had made comments that the complainant felt condoned cruelty to cats. Beacon had already apologized to the complainant by letter and rebuked the presenters for comments he felt were extreme although intended to be humourous.
*A complaint against FM 103 Horizon (Milton Keynes) over use of what the complainant felt was offensive language on the breakfast show. The station had arranged to meet the complainant to discuss the matter.
The "Other" category complaints upheld involved:
*Viking FM (Humberside), which had broadcast a wind-up phone call live without informing the victim or his employer or asking permission.
*A phone- in competition on Galaxy 102 where an entrant had made a large number of calls but then found that charges on the line were at what he termed a "premium" rate. Galaxy argued that the rate was a forced-release rate of 30p a minute, below the 50 p a minute at which premium rate call charges have to be given.
The Authority said it "believed that listeners were likely to have been misled by the station's output concerning the competition, which had only included pricing information 'from time to time' " and upheld the complaint. It had also been asked by the complainant for reassurance that the calls would not be charged for but the authority said that this matter was outside its and told the complainant to contact Galaxy 102 if he wished to pursue the matter.
Another complaint, in the "Promise of performance " category was considered resolved by the Authority. It involved Star 106.6 (Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead), which had been using an "automated" sequence in its 10 am to 2 pm slot and which the station said that it felt was within rules limiting automation since there was always a presenter on hand in the 10 am to 11.45 am period and live news and weather junctions in the second sequence. The station aid it would bring things into line if the Authority felt that guidelines were not being adhered to. The Authority so felt and the station took appropriate action.
Advertising complaints upheld included the following:
*An advert that included the repeated sounding of car horns before a voiceover started. The Authority ordered the advert to be withdrawn and only re-broadcast after amendments that would ensure such sounds were, in accordance with codes, "brief, muted, under accompanying voice-overs "
*An advert that gave the impression that pictures could be sent from a mobile phone on one network to one on another network. This was partially upheld.
*An advert that implied that an advance payment would be made almost immediately for damages after an accident when this was only so when the claim was uncontested.
*A broadband advert whose claims of online movie service were exaggerated; this was partially upheld.
* A London congestion charge advert that was held to be misleading.
* A store advert that did mot make clear the restrictions on the redemption of discount vouchers being issued.
* A phone directory service advert that did not make it clear who was offering the service.
*A newspaper advert that did not make clear restrictions on cinema vouchers being offered.
*An advert for international phone calls that did not make clear weekend restrictions.
*A soup advert that complainants felt was racist. It spoke of a whole tribe taking strongly to the soup except on Sundays when they ate monkeys and included background comments in a Bantu family language, but suggested the setting was Amazonian rain forest. The Authority, partially upholding the complaint, said "Although on the one hand, we thought that most listeners would not recognize the language or make the connection and would take the advertisement on face value as a joke, on the other we acknowledged that Africans and others who understood the linguistic/anthropological context might be offended.
*An advert for the Essex FM Wedding Fayre that used the phrase " sweet baby Jesus" as a statement of exasperation.
*A clinic advert mentioning premature ejaculation that was held unacceptable for broadcast at a time when children were likely to be listening.
In addition two complaints against restricted service licence holders were upheld. They were:
*A balance/bias/fairness complaint, involving Radio Nankana (South Birmingham), a caller to which was alleged to have made derogatory comments about a satellite radio service. Radio Nankana had been unable to produce tapes of the programme.
*An "other " category complaint against Radio Ramadan (Bradford) concerning charity adverts/announcements where the station had only been able to produce recordings of part of its output. This part suggested the complaints were unfounded but because other material could not be checked the complaint was upheld.
Previous Radio Authority:
Previous Radio Authority Quarterly Complaints Bulletin:
UK Radio Authority complaints bulletin (0.99Mb PDF)
2003-04-24: Salem Communications has announced a write-off of USD1.3 million following a decision by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to refuse its request to relocate the towers for Salem's San Diego news/talk KCBQ- AM, towers to Muth Valley.
The company says that excluding this it expected to remain in line with previous guidance of a loss per share between USD 0.20 and USD0.22 per share for the first quarter of this year.
In other US radio business, Mapleton Communications has completed its purchase California News/Talk stations KUHL-AM, Santa Maria, and KTME-AM, Lompoc, from Black Hawk Communications for USD 1.3 million.
Also in California, Midvalley Radio Partners LLC has now completed its USD 3.8 million purchase of KUBA-AM and KXCL-FM, licensed to Yuba City, from Harlan Family Trust and in Texas Liberman Broadcasting has closed on its USD 5.7 million acquisition of KEYH-AM from El Dorado Communications.
2003-04-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has upheld penalties totalling USD 39,000 on Maria L. Salazar, licensee of KTCM-FM, Kingman, Kansas, and its antenna, for failing to light the tower, operation from an unauthorised location, failure to install and maintain Emergency Alert System (" EAS") equipment, failing to maintain a main studio at an authorized location; and failing to maintain a public inspection file.
Notice of the penalties was originally given in July last year (see Licence News, RNW July 21, 2002) but no response was received.
2003-04-23: There have been further strong media results from North America with Viacom in the US turning a first quarter loss of USD 1.11 billion (USD 0.63 per share) a year ago into a profit of USD 443 million (USD0.25 per share) in the first quarter to the end of March of this year and Astral Media in Canada reporting a 42-per-cent increase in its second-quarter earnings, which ran to the end of February.
Viacom's profits came mainly as a result of its cable networks group and Blockbuster video operations; TV also performed well but Infinity disappointed, leading President and COO Mel Karmazin to refer to "the absence of significant contributions from our Radio and Outdoor businesses."
The results contrasted with forecasts of weakness against the background of the Iraq war and Karmazin commented that Viacom "managed to hit these numbers in spite of what a lot of people are telling you they missed the numbers for,''
Viacom's revenues were up 7% on a year ago to a record USD 6.05 billion and EBITDA was up 12% to USD1.23 billion: Cable Networks revenues were up 13% and its Video income was up 14%.
Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone commented, "Viacom is off to a strong start in 2003, with high single-digit revenue increases, double-digit gains in operating income and a 26% increase in net earnings in the first quarter. Additionally, we continue to generate strong levels of free cash flow, in line with our goal to convert a significant amount of our earnings into free cash flow."
Viacom says it is "on track to deliver mid-single digit revenue growth resulting in double-digit EBITDA growth and mid-teen growth in operating income and earnings per share for the full year 2003."
Radio revenues for the quarter were down 2% to USD 443.8 million and radio operating income was almost flat at USD190.6 million compared to USD189.7 million a year before.
Viacom said "While revenues grew 6% in its other 30 markets in the quarter, Radio's results were impacted by softness in its top 10 markets where revenues were flat. Excluding transactions with Westwood One, an affiliated company, radio revenues would have increased 2% for the quarter."
In a separate announcement, Viacom has said that it is to pay USD 1.23 billion for AOL Time Warner Inc.'s 50% stake in Comedy Central, giving it full control of the network.
In Canada, Montreal-bases Astral has reported revenues for its fiscal second quarter up 21% on a year earlier to CAD 113.1 million (USD 77.4 million).
EBITDA for the half year was up 42% to CAD55.7 million (USD 38.1 million) and up 39% for the quarter to CAD26.7 million (18.3 million). The company said the increases reflected " the particularly solid performance of Astral's Television and Radio groups over the course of the first half of Fiscal 2003."
Net earnings for the half-year were up 53% to CAD 30 million (USD 20.5 million) excluding a non-recurring after-tax gain of CAD 13.0 million (USD 8.9 million) recorded last fiscal year on the sale of the company's holding in The Comedy Network.
President and CEO Ian Greenberg said, "We are very pleased with our solid results this quarter, particularly with the strong contribution of the radio stations acquired from Telemedia over the full three-month period."
"As a result of this first half's performance, we are very well positioned to reach our overall financial targets for Fiscal 2003."
Astral radio revenues (excluding assets held for disposal -these include the Québec AM assets and CFOM-FM) nearly tripled for the quarter to CAD 20.42 million (USD 13.97 million) from CAD 7.84 million (USD 5.36 million) and for the half- year were up 110% to CAD 35.77 million (USD 24.47 million).
Radio EBITDA (excluding assets held for disposal) went up more than five-fold to CAD 5.5 million (USD 3.78 million) for the quarter and nearly three-fold for the half-year to CAD 9.18 million (USD 6.28 million).
2003-04-23: Emmis WQHT-FM (Hot 97) morning host Star, suspended earlier this month over what was rumoured to be a matter of comments concerning advertisers (see RNW April 10) is now back on the air.
Neither Star nor Emmis has said why Star was suspended but the host tried to counter the idea in a New York Daily News interview in which eh said, "My show is very advertiser-friendly. I ran my own magazine for seven years, so I understand advertisers and I'm very respectful of them. When I got to Hot-97, they couldn't give away advertising on the morning show. I've made them millions."
Previous Troi Torain (Star):
New York Daily News report:
2003-04-23: Free radios are now a "primary weapon" for US troops in Baghdad according to a report in the Chicago Tribune; the radios, worth just under USD3 are being given away by the Army's Psychological Operations Unit, which next week is to begin distributing soccer balls and baseball equipment to children.
The tactics worked well in Eastern Europe and for many in Baghdad, where the only broadcasts are now those of the US military, the radios will allow them to get information on where to find food, drinking water, medical care and other necessities.
Chicago Tribune report:
2003-04-22: XM Satellite Radio, whose shares were up around 12% last week following its announcement that it now had 500,000 subscribers, powered ahead again on Monday.
In the four days of trading last week it rose from around USD6.50 to end at USD7.10; On Monday it opened at USD 7.41 and then gained 6.2% to end at USD 7.54
In comparison, rival Sirius had a comparatively thin time; its shares started last week around USD0.65, rose steeply on Thursday to end at USD 0.73, opened on Monday morning at USD0.75 but then fell back to end the day 2% down at USD 0.715/
Sirius may have lost and XM gained from a report in Barrons that Ford, which has an exclusivity deal with Sirius, could be interested in factory installing XM in its vehicles.
XM president and CEO Hugh Panero was featured in a New York Times report on Monday that says that in recent months, "growing numbers of investors and analysts have concluded he just might succeed" in turning the company into a successful business.
When Panero in 1998 joined what was then American Mobile Satellite Radio, a privately held company with 12 employees and licenses to launch two satellites, says the report, it lacked broadcasting technology, support from automakers, consumer radios that could receive its digital programming and the several billion dollars it needed from investors to deliver on the dream.
The article runs through the subsequent history of XM, which initially suffered from a satellite launch delay but then moved ahead of its rival, which had launched successfully but had other technical problems. XM's commercial launch was then hit - its first major marketing campaign to herald the inauguration of service was scheduled for Sept. 12, 2001and was scrapped because of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The article notes that the shares are still below the initial 1999 offer price of USD12.00 but adds that XM is predicting break-even late next year.
XM's success, says the article, has been of benefit to both satellite radio companies, and encouraged Wall Street backing for Sirius's USD1.2 billion refinancing package.
"Sirius did a good job of raising money and getting satellites launched first," said Joseph P. Clayton, Sirius president and CEO.
"Hugh and his team did a better job of commercializing the technology and getting to the marketplace first. We've had to play catch-up since."
Jimmy Schaeffler, who follows subscription-based entertainment businesses for the Carmel Group, a California-based consulting firm told the paper 2003 will be `the year that satellite radio answers the question of whether or not it will be successful, and the likelihood the answer will be yes is very high."
New York Times report:
2003-04-22: Clear Channel has promoted Lisa Dollinger, previously senior vice president for marketing and communications at its company's radio division, to the post of senior vice president for worldwide corporate communications.
The new role covers corporate communications across all Clear Channel divisions and Clear Channel president and COO Mark Mays commented, "In her brief time with the company, Lisa has demonstrated a deep understanding of the responsibilities of leadership and complete comfort with the nuances of the radio industry. It is clear that all Clear Channel divisions will be well served with Lisa in this newly-created position."
Dollinger was vice president for corporate communications at Capstar Broadcasting Corporation, where she was instrumental in building and promoting the company through its merger with Chancellor Media Corporation in 2000, creating AMFM, Inc., which was subsequently taken over by Clear Channel.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2003-04-22: Northeast Broadcasting is to buy Citadel's WCAT-AM and WAHL-FM, Athol, Massachusetts.
No figure has been released for the deal, which was described by Northeast Broadcasting COO Ed Flanagan as "provides an outstanding opportunity to extend the company's goal of providing community oriented radio in a decentralized structure."
Northeast is headed by Steven Silberberg who also owns WXRV-FM, Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Previous Forstmann-Little(Citadel owner):
2003-04-21: Normally we have eschewed columns based on reviews when looking at print comment on radio since so often they are but a reminder of what has been missed or could not be heard in much of the world but some UK columns over the past week have led us to break the rule, particularly since the BBC has started making programmes available online for a week after their broadcast.
First up then, a UK Observer column by Sue Arnold that began, "Media bashing has become so commonplace, and journalism especially so maligned, it was a relief to hear a programme that reminded me why I ever wanted to join the profession."
"Thanks to a last-minute schedule change on Monday night, Radio 4 listeners were able to hear a programme originally intended only for the World Service. This immediately quickened my interest because the World Service is far and away the best news network around. "
The programme that impressed Arnold, The World After the War was a discussion between correspondents Alan Little, Steven Sackur and Rob Watson for the Western overview and the heads of the Arabic, Bengali and African services for the Muslim viewpoint, as well as the BBC's diplomatic and economic correspondents James Robbins and Peter Day, combined with e-mails from round the world.
It was significantly more impressive than anything we have heard from the American and British administrations over the past week but over to Arnold for her comment: "It's at times like this that I wonder why anyone bothers with PPE lectures at university - this was philosophy, politics and economics on the hoof from men (why no women?) who, as reporters, had been there and done that at the front line."
"They compared the Americans in Baghdad with the British in Mesopotamia; they pondered the rise of the euro against the dollar, the likelihood of an alliance between Russia, Germany and France, the need for China to get its hands on Iraqi oil, and, possibly most important, the immediate consequences of the overriding feeling of humiliation reverberating through the Arab world." Worth a listen, and, should it disappear from the BBC web site before you get to it, a few e-mails to the BBC to get a repeat -it will probably still be valuable a year hence when we suspect the US optimism of today will have been well and truly tempered by events.
The programme also got a positive response from Elisabeth Mahoney in her review in the Observer's sister paper, The Guardian.
Mahoney led the review with "A military invasion, regarded as a civilising mission by some, and deeply controversial by others - no, it's not the one you're thinking of. This week's Masterpiece (World Service) looked at how Evelyn Waugh wrote about the Italo-Abyssinian war of 1935-6, covering the conflict for the Daily Mail - whose proprietor, Lord Rothermere, supported the war, claiming that Mussolini had already "rejuvenated" Italy and could do the same for Africa - and then fictionalising what he had seen in Scoop, his novel about hacks abroad."
Waugh was better regarded for his fiction than his reporting, of which Mahoney commented, "It was a different matter with Waugh's war journalism, widely acknowledged now to have been wrong-headed, with its support of Italy and its denial of Mussolini's use of chemical weapons in Ethiopia."
She then commented on The World After the War, "As Lustig posed the big, and in truth unanswerable, questions, it was fascinating to hear how insistently US-friendly Steven Sackur and Rob Watson (former and current Washington correspondents) were in contrast to other BBC journalists based, say, in Bangladesh or Oman. Watson bemoaned "an excess of cynicism and scepticism about America's abilities" while his colleagues maintained their cynicism and scepticism. "
"Best of all, in a programme that had "tired rehash" written all over it, I learned some new things and was reminded of other significant issues. Division of opinion and an unknowable future are the only certainties for now."
There was also some appreciation of the BBC from the US, albeit indirectly in a Washington Post music review. The review was of the Cream's "BBC Sessions" performances by Steve Futterman who commented that the trio of "guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker were such a volatile mix of creative talents that sparks flew each time they interacted."
All the numbers on the recording are short - the longest a little under four-and-a half minutes but Futterman comments, "While always singing and playing live, the band was given latitude by the BBC to enlarge its sound as it had done on studio recordings."
The BBC, of course, still remains a major "patron" of music; the same could have been said of the big US radio networks before the second World War but nowadays we can't recall hearing much about particularly meritorious programming by their successors except maybe at award times. That may in part be a reflection of the regard in which US commercial radio is held by US print critics and the space given to the medium in many newspapers.
There is, however, plenty of comment on the other side, particularly about Clear Channel whose very size obviously attracts strong negative feelings from some quarters.
The latest issue it is involved with is that of payments to independent promoters, a matter taken up by Clea Simon in her Boston Globe radio column.
Most of it goes over arguments and reports we've already carried but the conclusions drawn about the likely effect of Clear Channel's decision to pull out of deals with independent promoters are if anything more pessimistic than most.
Sean Ross, editor of Airplay Monitor magazine is quoted as saying he doesn't think promoters ever had that much power.
''Independent promoters never really controlled radio,'' he said. ''With or without them, it wouldn't have been the glorious free-form paradise that some of corporate radio's critics imagine. It wasn't indies that made WBCN go classic rock in the late '80s; it was a perceived market demand for classic rock that WBCN wanted to fill.''
He also doubted whether the change would help "less well-financed artists" to get on air. ''My very contrarian view is that independent promoters have made radio less conservative," said Ross. "Their job, after all, is to get records on the radio that need help. Will PDs [program directors] who are already too busy to listen to music use this opportunity to spike in that Graham Parker oldie from their home collection? Probably not. If anything, they'll play the existing hits more.''
Boston Globe - Simon:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Observer - Arnold:
Washington Post - Futterman:
2003-04-21: Arbitron's latest look at the state of US radio, "Radio Today", just released shows a remarkably stable medium over the past year with weekly reach and listening little changed; more than 94% of Americans listen to radio each week with average listening around 20 hours a week.
Within the medium, the number of AM stations has increased only slightly over the past two decades but the number of FM stations has more than doubled in that time.
In all says Arbitron the US had 8,748 commercial stations in 1980, 4,558 of them AM and 4,190 FM; by 2002 this had risen to 13,685,some four fifths of the total being commercial operations; 4,999 of them were AM and 8,686 FM.
A higher percentage of US women than men listens to radio over all demographics until age 55 after which a higher percentage of men listen; women listen more hours a week than men until the 25-34 demographic when men go into the lead until 65 plus when women again listen more.
Peak listening time is 7 am on weekdays and noon at weekdays with the least listening between 3 am and 4 am. The graphs of listening seem to indicate that American men start getting up earlier than American women as their listening shows a steep rise from 4 am whereas that for women rises more gently until after 5 am.
In terms of location, most Americans listen at home before 7 am and after 7 pm on working days; men are more likely to listen away from home than women with peaks for home listening occurring amongst those above 65 and also amongst teenage girls.
There are differences in listening habits according to age with teenagers most likely to listen at weekends and after school at weekdays, but adults more most likely to listen between 6 am and 10 am on weekday mornings.
Musical tastes change with age with teenagers preferring contemporary hits and, to a lesser extent urban and alternative, younger adults moving within the same grouping towards alternative music and adults 25-34 open to a broader range. After 35 tastes start to change and such formats as classical, jazz, adult standards and news/talk/information becoming stronger.
In terms of station numbers, Country remains the top format with 2,170 stations, followed by news/talk/information (including sports) with 1,999 and religious with 1,843 whilst the bottom rank was taken by Urban with 348, Classical with 296 and New AC/Smooth Jazz with 151.
In listening terms, measured by AQH, the picture changes significantly with News/talk/Information topping the list with a 14.7% share followed by AC with a 13.6% share and country with 12.9% whilst the bottom ranks went to Adult Standards with 3.5%, New AC/Smooth Jazz with 2.4% and Classical with 2.3%.
There are also some interesting variations in listening areas - New England is an area where Adult Contemporary, Adult Standards and Classical format do significantly better than the average; in the Pacific Region New AC/Smooth Jazz and Spanish formats performed well; Rock did well in West North Central; and Religious formats did well in the South Central and South Atlantic regions.
In terms of attractiveness to advertisers, Abitron's figures on purchasing behaviour and leisure activities also show some significant differences between formats with Adult Contemporary listeners, for example, being more likely to have children in the household than the average and being particularly likely to buy an SUV, or new furniture, spend more than USD 200 a week on groceries, use financial services, and take part in sports such as in-line skating and snow skiing and also to go to the movies.
At the top end of the AQH list, News/Talk/Information listeners tend to be older than the average and are less likely to have children, are more likely to buy a used luxury car, less likely to buy furniture, more likely to play golf and less likely to eat fast food.
At the bottom end of the AQH list, classical listeners, who are also likely to be older, more likely to purchase a new mid-sized car, more likely to swim or take photographs and much less likely than the average to eat fast food.
Arbitron web site (Links to study 2.17 Mb PDF)
2003-04-21: Fans of the BBC Radio 4 farming "soap" The Archers have received some good news from the past with the discovery of all 2,600 of its episodes from the 1960s.
It had thought that most of them had been lost and although appeals had been made for anyone who had kept recordings to supply them to the BBC, the Corporation's records showed only 60 programmes as having survived.
These had been kept because they related to special events and most of them have been on sale on BBC Radio Collection cassettes.
The discovery of the entire recordings was made at Bush House, home of the BBC World Service. They were on vinyl LPs and were to have been sent to overseas radio stations.
They will form the basis of two documentaries, Ambridge in the Decade of Love, to be broadcast next month.
2003-04-20: Last week was fairly quiet on the regulatory front, with the main action in North America where Toronto gained four new radio stations and in the US where the dual issues of indecency and ownership regulations continued to gain attention.
Australia was quiet as was Ireland and Canada was also fairly slow apart from the award by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) of four new Toronto licences (See RNW April 18).
The only other activity from the Commission was to issue a public notice, with a May 20 deadline for interventions, concerning two applications.
One was from an application for the renewal of the licence of CIDC-FM Orangeville, Ontario, together with an application to delete a condition of licence requiring payments to third parties involved in Canadian talent development.
The other was from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add an FM transmitter at Prince George for CBU-FM, Vancouver, to broadcast the programming of CBC's Radio Two service.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has received two applications for the new FM for Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. They came from Castle Rock Fm Dumbarton Ltd., which is offering a service targeted at a 25 plus audience of music favourites over the past forty years plus news and community information, and Peninsula Fm Ltd, which is offering a community-focused service mixing music and talk.
In the US, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has confirmed his June 2 deadline for issuing new media ownership regulations (See RNW April 17).
Apart from that it issued one red flag, this time on concentration grounds relating to the proposed acquisition by Davis Broadcasting of WMRZ-FM, Cuthbert, Georgia, from Alaga Communications.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-04-20: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is promoting BBC World Service Radio to listeners in the UK for the first time in a four-week campaign just started.
The campaign will highlight the extra means by which the service, for a long time available only on medium wave in the south east of England, can now be received with particular reference to such means as the Internet, through channels on digital satellite and terrestrial and cable TV and via digital radio transmissions.
Its TV trail will be a largely silent movie in which a character in various situations in worldwide locations mouths the phrase "can you hear?" and then the answer, "yes": Only the ending of the promotion, "BBC World Service Radio - now available throughout the UK" is audible
Mark Byford, Director, BBC World Service & Global News said, "Most people in the UK know of the World Service but fewer have actually listened to it."
"Until recently it's been easier to hear BBC World Service in Damascus, Dhaka or Delhi than in Donegal, Doncaster or Dundee - unless you're a night owl, tuning into World Service programmes on Radio 4, Radio Ulster or Radio Wales."
"With many new ways to listen, even more of the people who fund us, taxpayers in the UK, can benefit from and enjoy the service."
2003-04-19: US shock jock Howard Stern has attacked the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on his show over its policies over indecency offences and accused Infinity Broadcasting of setting him up "for the fall" should the Commission step up its moves against such violations in the wake of the Deminski and Doyle show indecency offence at its Detroit station WKRK-FM.
During the show on Thursday, Stern commented. "Let the FCC take me off the air, I don't care. Foul language is all around us; porno is rampant and, you know what? The country's running fine."
"Bleep the whole goddam show and get rid of me. My time has passed."
He then launched an attack on the Bush administration, saying, "Bush put in some maniac on the FCC who's super-conservative and here we go all over again because Clinton's out of office and he didn't care about stuff like this - 'course not, he was busy getting oral. But the FCC's worried if we talk about oral."
He then attacked Infinity and accused New York K-rock manager Tom Chiusano and Infinity lawyers of trying to pre-empt another FCC attack, saying, "Tom goes: 'It wouldn't be a bad idea if you got on the air and said I talked to you about the concern of the FCC,' "
"This way, [Stern's bosses can say] 'we got proof [that] we told him. We warned him, he didn't listen . . . We covered our ass.' "
"I'll tell you what, Tom, here's a big relief to you and your lawyers: you warned me, OK? Good."
New York Daily News report:
2003-04-19: Canadian media company Rogers Communications has reported strong first quarter results from all its divisions, Cable, Wireless and Media.
Overall revenues for the quarter to the end of March were up 14% on a year before to CAD 1.13 billion (USD 768 million) and operating profit was up 29% to CAD 309 million (USD 212 million).
Rogers said media revenues were up 11.3% in the seasonally lowest quarter of the year due largely to the success of the newly launched OMNI.2 multicultural television station, the acquisition of 13 radio stations in April 2002 and the year-over-year growth at both Sportsnet and The Shopping Channel.
Radio revenues, aided by station acquisitions, were up 17.1% to CAD 36.9 million (USD 25.2 million) but its operating profit was down 3% to CAD 3.2 million (USD 2.2 million).
Rogers president and CEO Ted Rogers commented, "The solid financial and operating results of the first quarter were an excellent start to the year and were balanced across all of the operating companies."
"In both our Cable and Wireless businesses we've succeeded in strengthening our sales and marketing, reducing churn, driving down activity levels and lowering capital expenditures, while
Media has benefited particularly from the strong results at two of its newest properties, OMNI.2 and Sportsnet."
Previous Rogers Communications:
2003-04-19: Clear Channel has added three more stations to its portfolio with a USD 3.6 million cash purchase of three Ohio stations from WJER Radio Inc.
The stations, AC WJER-FM in Dover and WJER-AM in Dover-New Philadelphia, are its first in the market.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-04-18: Arbitron has reported strong first quarter results to the end of March with revenue up 8.3% on last year to USD71.4 million and net income up 13.2% to USD16.1 million. Earnings before interest and taxes were up 8.3% to USD 29.9 million but costs and expenses were up 8.6% to USD40.2 million.
Net income per share for was up to USD 0.53 from USD 0.48.
President and CEO Stephen Morris said the results met financial goals, " a gratifying performance during a period in which global events brought a great deal of last minute uncertainty to the media industry."
"We have worked hard to keep our core services-ratings, Scarborough and software-as valuable, revenue-generating resources for our broadcaster, cable, agency and advertiser customers," he continued.
"In the first quarter, we increased our efforts to train those who work on the buy and sell sides of the media industry. Our continuing goal is to help our subscribers get the maximum value from the dollars they invest in our services."
Morris also spoke of progress in its relationship with Nielsen Media Research to develop its Portable People Meter but also commented on uses where Arbitron could go ahead on its own, saying, "We also strengthened our relationship with Nielsen Media Research, Inc., our potential joint venture partner for commercial deployment of the Portable People Meter (PPM) in the United States." "Last month, Arbitron and Nielsen announced an expansion of our agreement that increases the financial involvement and commitment of resources from Nielsen in a joint research program for the PPM." "Already, we are in the field with studies that are designed to further develop the PPM system as a local market ratings service."
"Even as we work with Nielsen, we are also developing a number of other applications for the Portable People Meter technology that we could implement on our own."
In other US radio business, Entravision has announced the completion of its 137 million USD cash and shares acquisition of Big City's three Los Angeles FMs KSSC, KSSD & KSSE (See RNW Dec 25, 2002). Entravision is already airing its Spanish Contemporary "Super Estrella" format as a simulcast on the stations under an LMA.
Previous Big City:
2003-04-18: Four new Toronto radio stations, three ethnic and one French language community service, have been awarded licences by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), bringing the total number of stations in the city to 37, of which nine will be ethnic, and three French language, and three community-based campus radio stations, each of which offers some ethnic programming.
The new licences were awarded following an examination of the state of the ethnic market in Toronto which resulted in a 2001 report saying that when licensing new stations in the greater Toronto area, priority should be given to the services that reflect its diversity of languages and its multicultural and multi-ethnic realities.
The new services are:
*Canadian Multicultural Radio (CMR-FM) -an ethnic service with programming directed mainly at South Asian communities but it will also serve a broad range of other communities. In total, CMR will offer programming to 16 different cultural groups in 22 different languages including Tamil, Filipino, Hindi and Punjabi.
*La Coopérative radiophonique de Toronto inc. (105.1 FM) - a French community radio station that will be the first French-language radio station in the area to be added to those provided by Société Radio-Canada (SRC).
*San Lorenzo Latin American Community Centre (1610 AM)- Canada's first not-for-profit ethnic community station. Programming will be community-based and directed to Toronto's Spanish-speaking cultural groups, but will also be provided in Italian, Portuguese and Tagalog. San Lorenzo will devote 60 per cent of the ethnic programming to Spanish-language cultural groups.
*Sur Sagar Radio Inc. (Transitional Digital Radio, Channel 2) -Canada's first stand-alone transitional digital radio service. Sur Sagar will offer at least 80 per cent ethnic programming to at least 5 different cultural groups in 5 different languages per broadcast week, (Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati, as well as English which is targeted at the Indo-Caribbean community). 70 per cent of all weekly programming will be in Punjabi, Hindi or Urdu.
In addition, because of the allocation of the 101.3 FM frequency to CMR, the CRTC has permitted CHIN-AM (Radio 1540), to continue broadcasting via a rebroadcast transmitter on the frequency 91.9 FM. CHIN, which provides programming to 23 cultural groups in 17 different languages was one of the stations whose bid for a licence failed.
Other unsuccessful applications came from Ark Broadcasting Inc. (OBCI - On behalf of a corporation to be incorporated), Canadian Thamil Broadcasting Corporation, Catholic Youth Studio - KSM Inc., CKMW Radio Ltd., Infinity Broadcasting Inc. (OBCI), Humber College (OBCI), A. Fitzroy Gordon (Caribbean and African Radio Network Inc.) (OBCI), Geetha Vanni Inc., Magic 1610 Markham Radio Inc. (OBCI), and Korean Community Radio Inc.
Commenting on the awards, CRTC Chairman Charles Dalfen said, "These new services will reflect the diversity of languages, as well as the multicultural and multi-ethnic realities of the Greater Toronto Area."
2003-04-18: Emap's Kiss 100 station has hired the PR and communications agency, Dutch set up recently by former BBC Radio 1 publicity chief Paul Simpson to promote its DJs and shows.
The agency has been given a brief to capitalize on the station's specialist DJ talent across a range of musical formats including hip-hop, garage, drum'n'bass and house.
2003-04-18: The news effect pulled WLS-AM into second spot in the Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings for the first week of April just released, although its listening had fallen; MUSICMATCH's artist match moved into top station spot and Chain Cast/StreamAudio retained top network spot, although lower down Clear Channel dropped from second to seventh.
For the week to April 6, Arbitron-Measure Cast'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 306,290 (306,142); CP 128,991 (127,150). Up from second with slightly higher listening and reach.
2: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 230,788 (269,876); CP 44,046 (54,311). Up from fourth third despite lower listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 230,539 (223,494); CP 33,182 (32,257). Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 202,303 (320,612); CP 48,436 (59,974). Down from top with much lower listening and reach increased.
5: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 186,945 (182,431); CP 28,710 (29,671). Up from sixth with slightly higher listening and lower reach.
*Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic, which had been third with TTSL 285,041 and CP 51,530 was not listed for this week.
The top five networks for the week to April 6 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,595,972 (1,475,135); CP 228,953 (198,897). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,290,206 (1,275,396); CP 371,371 (363,750). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Warp Radio TTSL 765,357 (726,986); CP 136,648 (134,639) - Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
4: Live365.com - TTSL 739,893 (761,738); CP - 138,503 (142,389) Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Moontaxi TTSL 629,963 (612,041); CP 151,557 (83,564) - Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
*Clear Channel Worldwide fell from second and TTSL 1,313,091, CP 207,318 to seventh with TTSL 554,340 and CP 124,739.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings (Month of March):
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast weekly ratings:
2003-04-17: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has rebuffed calls from some US lawmakers for delay in consideration by the FCC of media ownership regulations. Powell has currently scheduled June 2 as the deadline for completion of the FCC's review of the regulations.
In a letter he says the FCC is already "tardy" in meeting the requirement for a biennial review of rules as mandated in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
"If the Commission were to issue a further notice, as some propose, " he continues, "the Commission would be hard pressed to finish this 2002 biennial review before late this calendar year and would be forced to start the 2004 review almost immediately."
Congress noted Powell " chastised the Commission for failing to finish the first biennial review in a timely fashion."
Although, he said, "I fully concede, however, that getting it right is more important than just getting it done" Powell concluded, "I firmly believe, based on where the Commission is today, that further and more specific notice is unwarranted in light of the full record before us, and weighed against the pitfalls of further delay."
"I would highlight that the public interest is presently being ill-served by a body of rules that have been severely wounded and rendered substantially ineffective by withering judicial fire. Survival demands action."
FCC web site(links to Powell letter and letters to Powell):
2003-04-17: UK Wireless Group losses in 2002 doubled to GBP 20.2 million (USD 31.6 million) compared to GBP10.1 million (USD 15.8 million) in 2001, when it benefited from the sales of Scot FM and Wave FM (See RNW May 1, 2002).
Revenues for its flagship TalkSport national sport channel were static at GBP 11.2 million (USD 17.5 million) but the company says it has been trading profitably this year. Overall turnover was GBP 28.5 (USD44.6 million) million.
The group's chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie said uncertainty over the Iraq war was affecting the outlook, saying, "On Monday things might look bloody awful; by Thursday it might be the other way round."
MacKenzie also gave another plug for the wristwatch Radiometer that is currently being trialled by the group, saying early findings showed "spectacularly higher" numbers for speech-based stations; Full figures for the system, which is in competition with the main diary--based UK radio ratings produced by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research), are to be released at the end of May.
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-04-17: The Museum of Television & Radio has re-mastered a recording of 1935 radio broadcasts made daily by New York defence attorney Samuel Leibowitz giving his accounts of the trial of Bruno Hauptmann for the kidnapping and killing of aviator Charles Lindbergh's baby son Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. and is to feature it be featured at both its Los Angeles and New York museums from May 23 to July 6.
The museum learned of the historic recordings from filmmaker Joseph Consentino, who was producing a documentary about Leibowitz for the History Channel. Hauptmann, who maintained his innocence, was found guilty and executed on April 3, 1936.
Around five hours of recordings made on metal discs had been kept by Leibowitz's children; they feature the lawyer discussing the evidence, the jury's behaviour and the prosecution and defence strategies.
Museum President Robert M. Batscha commented of the find, "The Lindbergh trial coverage offers unique insight into the judicial system in America at that time and will serve as a valuable document for historians and scholars."
The Museum also now has a kinescope of the 1954 CBS jury room drama "Twelve Angry Men" that Leibowitz had been requested it from CBS. The recording was one keenly sought after by the museum, which had been given half the programme in 1976, the only copy known to have existed. The drama, earned Emmys for writer Reginald Rose, director Franklin Schaffner and actor Robert Cummings.
Rose later adapted it for the 1957 MGM movie directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
Museum of Television and Radio web site:
2003-04-17: Events propelled news-talk Chicago WLS-AM up into the top five station ranks in the March Arbitron-MeasureCast Internet ratings just released; they also saw Clear Channel take a major step up in listening for the second month running, bringing it within striking reach of top rank held by ChainCast/StreamAudio
The top five stations for March were (February figures in brackets):
1: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 1,354,007 (1,221,180); CP 190,258 (195,559). Up from second with higher listening but lower reach
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 1,328,508 (1,229,273); CP 462,914 (438,432). Down from top despite higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 1,316,963 (977,718); CP 187,769 (156,470). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM - TTSL 992,930 (926,525); CP 96,470 (96,725). Same rank with higher listening and slightly lower reach.
5: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 921,940 (297,152); CP 130,988 (62,142). Up from 15th with much higher listening and reach.
*Jazz Format KPLU-FM fell from fifth with TTSL 670,185 and CP 85,183 to seventh with TTSL 660,418 and CP 70,625, behind Jazz FM, which retained its sixth rank with TTSL 827,803 and CP 89,374, up from TTSL 668,809 and CP 77,478.
The top five networks for March were (February figures in brackets):
1: ChainCast/StreamAudio TTSL 6,413,416 (5,237,580); CP 570,521 (483,100). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 6,263,456 (5,009,959); CP 583,246 (480,424). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 5,622,847 (5,189,443); CP 1,274,190 (1,218,661). Down from second despite higher listening and reach.
4: Live365.com 3,244,719 (1,802,143); CP 459,178 (302,689). Up from seventh with leap in listening and reach.
5: WARP Radio TTSL 3,073,302 (2,359,369); CP 415,939 (426,607). Down from fourth despite significantly higher listening but reach was lower.
* Moontaxi fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL of 2,608,552 and CP of 220,183 compared to TTSL 2,338,877and CP 226,123.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast monthly ratings:
2003-04-16: Latest audience research for BBC World Service radio shows it having a weekly reach of more than 30% in Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania and in the US, it says, audiences have increased by 70% over the past two years, going up from 2.3 million a week to 3.9 million .
The survey was conducted before the war on Iraq that, says the Corporation, saw a major surge in the number of stations carrying the World Service in the US: It is now up to 332 from 265 in March last year.
Other areas singled out are Pakistan and Bangladesh where the World Service has a 16% reach and Romania where it is 12%.
The figures compare with an astounding 82% reach in Kabul in results released in January from the first media survey in Afghanistan since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 (See RNW Jan 23).
Overall BBC World Service reaches around 150 million listeners weekly, the same figure as last year and three million a week down on the peak figure of 153 million in 2001.
English-language listenership has gone up by some three million to 45 million a week over the past year with the majority of the increase coming from Kenya, Nigeria and the US; there have also been significant increases in Colombia and Sudan.
The main falls in audience were in Pakistan, Poland and Russia.
In terms of the manner in which people listen, the year has seen listening through rebroadcasts up by 3 million to 47 million a week, listening to FM transmissions on frequencies licensed by the Corporation up by four million to 12 million a week but listening via short wave and medium wave down by five million to 110 million a week.
No figures are currently available for UK listening to BBC World service through terrestrial or satellite digital channels but the service attracts some 1.2 million listeners a week in the UK to its analogue services, which can only be heard in the South-East or overnight on BBC Radio4's frequencies.
A separate survey in ten markets showed that BBC World Service was the most trusted and objective international broadcaster as well as leading in the race for audiences.
Mark Byford, Director BBC World Service & Global News, commented, "These are extraordinary figures that graphically show the impact of the BBC World Service in other countries."
"Even more important are the surveys that show we are the most trusted and objective international broadcaster. These are fundamental values for the BBC."
"As the fall-out from the Iraq war continues, it is vital that our audiences can rely on BBC coverage of events which is scrupulously impartial, fair, accurate, balanced, and independent; and covers a wide-range of opinion from all levels of society."
"The trust of our audiences is vital. We have no intention of betraying that trust, especially at this critically important time."
2003-04-16: Emmis shares were up 3.3% to USD 18.98 on Tuesday following release of 2002 results that showed fiscal final quarter revenues higher and overall loss than had been expected.
For the quarter to the end of February 2003, net revenues were up 7% on a year earlier at USD126.8 million, station operating income was up 23% to USD37.6 million, and the net loss available to common shareholders was cut from USD34 million (USD0.72 per share) to USD 7.4 million (USD 0.14 per share).
Pro forma net revenue for the quarter was up 9% to USD 116.2 million and pro forma station operating income increased 24%.
For the full year, net revenue was up 4% to USD562.4 million, station operating income was up 15% to USD213.1 million and the net loss available to common shareholders before taking into account income tax, the adoption of accounting standard FAS 142 and exceptional loss of USD4.5 million from unconsolidated affiliates (including a non-cash loss of USD 2.1 million relating to the shut down of its LMIV Internet venture) went from USD 88.6 million to a profit of USD27.3 million.
When the various changes and charges were included, the loss for the year increased from USD73.1 million (USD1.54 per share) to USD173.5 million (USD 3.27 per share).
Radio-division revenue for the full year was down 3%, to USD254.8 million but was up 2.3% in the final quarter to USD 56.5 million.
For its fiscal first quarter this year, Emmis says expected revenue is USD140.8 million, compared to USD136.8 million a year earlier.It expects radio revenues to be up from USD62.7 million to USD 64.4 million.
Commenting on the results, Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said, "Emmis has emerged as a company that is stronger and better positioned than ever before."
"Our numbers bear that out: This year we were able to build our overall net revenue and operating margin in a difficult environment while also reducing our debt level."
"Our radio division grew in ratings and share, turned back a serious competitive challenge in New York, and continued our market-leading position in Los Angeles."
"In television, we combined a heavy news emphasis with smart programming choices and political dollars to create ratings and revenue share growth at nearly every station. TV Division revenues were up 14 percent and station operating income was up 31 percent, giving us among the highest growth rates in the television industry."
Smulyan told investors during a conference call that results for January and February were ahead of expectations and he expected to continue beating the market. He also said that the company was focussing attention on Chicago where WKQX-FM (Q101) was facing tough competition from ABC's alternative station WZZN-FM.
2003-04-16: UK Capital Radio has hired Emma Forbes from her role as co-host of London rival Chrysalis-owned Heart FM's breakfast show to present a weekend show in a move that is seen as potentially weakening Heart's battle for the London breakfast audience.
Together with Jono Coleman, Forbes has added a tenth to Heart's audience over the past year and in the latest ratings it has an audience of 875,000 compared to 1.48 million for Chris Tarrant's breakfast show on Capital FM: in the final quarter of last year, the Tarrant show lost some 132,000 listeners a week and Heart's breakfast show gained around 13,000.
Coleman and Forbes are currently on leave and when the former returns on Tuesday next week he will co-host with Harriet Scott, who with Toby Anstiss is currently standing in at breakfast time. Her future in the breakfast slot will be reviewed later.
Forbes will join Capital in August, co-hosting a revamped weekend morning show with Chris Brooks.
2003-04-15: US radio revenues were up 7% in February compared to a year ago with local revenues up 8% and national revenues up 5% according to the latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
On a year to date basis total revenues are now up 7% on a year before, local is up 6% and national up 11%
RAB's index, which sets pre-dot com boom 1998 as a base of 100, was 139.7 for February with the local index 139.8 and the national index 143.7
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, " February's revenue results show the on-going strength and stability of Radio's localism, even in a stressful economic climate." "Moreover, the national figures point to Radio's ability to work with advertisers in times of uncertainty, and to their reliance on Radio."
2003-04-15: XM Satellite Radio has now passed the half-million subscribers mark but Wall Street took the move calmly with XM shares down just under 0.8% to USD 6.36 at the end of trading on Monday.
Its rival Sirius did better in trading terms, ending up 3.17% at USD 0.65
Sirius on Monday launched its OutQ channel, a service of news, information, and entertainment specifically for the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community, their family, friends, and supporters.
OutQ replaces the Outdoor Life Network on Sirius and is perceived as meeting a demand underserved served by traditional radio and television broadcasters, which rely on advertising revenues.
2003-04-15: One of the beneficiaries of the war on Iraq has been Global Radio News (GRN) according to the UK Guardian.
GRN, founded three years ago as a means for distributing freelance radio news reports by a former freelance Henry Peirse, originally looked to the Internet as a means of distributing audio reports but, Peirse told the paper, "It has been very difficult to persuade broadcasters to buy audio on the web. The journalists jumped on it, but the stations have been slow to pick it up."
It changed course last year in favour of acting as an independent news hub, talking to its affiliated correspondents around the world and putting them in touch with radio stations looking for a specific angle or update.
Peirse commented, "A lot of editors and producers are still not using the web - they prefer to have a human interface" and the company has acted as a link between stations and reporters on the ground; among other things it supplies a thrice-daily e-mail detailing latest updates available and detailing where correspondents are located and able to cover listed events.
It was still struggling when the war began but has now found itself far more in demand as broadcasters became aware of its presence and potential value to them. It numbers heavyweights like CBS and Sky amongst its affiliates but is proving of particular value to smaller broadcasters who lack the resources of the large broadcasters.
Phil Longman, who has been in charge of the war coverage on London station LBC 97.3, said that using GRN had enabled it to widen the pool of correspondents it uses, adding context.
"It's an interesting idea that has worked extremely well. The key person we've been using is Tim Judah, but we've also used journalists from the Financial Times, Newsweek and the New York Times, who are also reporting for GRN," he says.
Although the focus is currently on the Middle East, GRN has some 500 freelancers on its books in nearly 100 countries, so is well placed should events unfold elsewhere.
"There is a renewed interest in international news and attention may well turn next to Syria, Iran and North Korea, and we're already working on setting these things up. We've got people all over the region," said Peirse.
He also spoke of reintroducing the web-based audio element.
"It was the right idea at the wrong time and it is definitely a very good way to aggregate reports," he told the paper, adding that it will wait until news editors and producers are ready for it rather than foisting it on them.
UK Guardian report:
GRN web site:
2003-04-15: The Supreme Court in Sydney has commenced hearing a case in which the former top-ranked female police officer in New South Wales is suing talk host Alan Jones and his then-station 2UE, now owned by Southern Cross Broadcasting, over comments he made in broadcasts in July and August 2001.
The police officer, Lola Scott, who left the force in December last year after reaching the rank of commander, was not named during the broadcasts but her counsel said references were made to a "very senior female police officer" who held the rank of commander during a discussion about police corruption.
Scott had served on the Government and Related Employees Appeals Tribunal which heard appeals concerning police appointments and had been attacked by Jones, who referred to one of its members as "very senior female police officer" who had "a curious rise during the [former police commissioner Peter] Ryan years" and was "commanding little more than her desk".
She said in testimony that she had been embarrassed by the comments, which had resulted in talk at police headquarters
She said that the police media unit had spoken of Jones "having a go at her" and that she new Jones was talking about her because "He described me to a tee. My rank, my position, my role and my function."
In response to questioning by Jones counsel, she said that there was one other female, its chair on the panel. This was another former high-ranking NSW policewoman, Christine Nixon, who was on the panel until June 2001
The hearing is continuing.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-04-15: The record industry is partly blamed for Capital Radio's woes at its London flagship Capital FM in a UK Independent feature centred on the company's chief executive David Mansfield.
Mansfield made the comment after being asked about the problems of Capital FM's breakfast show, hosted by Chris Tarrant.
"We needed to get some energy back into the show," he told the paper. "We decided to broaden the music we were playing, and with the state of the music market at the moment, a lot of the music is not strong enough to be played on a narrow and heavily rotated playlist."
He then said of the recording industry, "The industry has really failed to grasp a number of things."
"The failure ratio of 95 per cent [for artists] is seen as acceptable. But I think that's pretty poor. The industry has spent far too long reworking back catalogue from vinyl to CD, and the relationship between artists and record companies appears to be appalling. We have an interest in a strong music industry that produces successful artists."
Capital, notes the report, now owns half of the Wildstar record label that signed Craig David and has also decided to exploit the original music played on its station by recording live gigs and licensing the content.
"We have more interest in owning the content we produce," said Mansfield. "We don't like businesses that need a lot of cash investment, so we're not interested in venues, like some radio companies. We don't like anything that takes [financial] capital."
He also spoke of doubling the size of the Capital Group - as well as Capital FM it owns "alternative" station Xfm in London plus the Century brand and local stations in the UK and around 50 digital licences.
"Capital has 25 per cent of total radio revenues," said Mansfield. "We think we could comfortably get up to something like mid- to late 30s without necessarily being referred for a formal investigation."
The paper says he is said to be interested in merging with GWR - which runs local radio stations and is part owned by Daily Mail and General Trust - or in buying Magic and Kiss, the radio assets of Emap.
But, he admits, there are barriers to a quick deal, not least investors' reluctance to provide the money. "Whichever way you look at it, there are issues," he says. "There is no slam-dunk deal out there to be done. If anything happens, it will require a great deal of hard work."
He also said that the "anything" would be a friendly takeover, because going hostile is "a euphemism for overpaying".
UK Independent report:
2003-04-14: The radio story of the week has been the reactions to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) levying of its largest possibly fine on Infinity's WKRK-FM, Detroit, for indecency offences; the fine itself has been condemned as derisory with suggestions from increasing fines through to licence revocation.
The latter came from Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps (See RNW April 4) and has been followed by campaigning for such action.
As noted in a report on the issue by Steve Carney in the Los Angeles Times, Copps' "sentiment was echoed by the Parents Television Council, a consumer watchdog group that monitors TV and radio for sex, violence and indecency.
It ridiculed the fine as 'pocket change' to Infinity and called for WKRK's license to be revoked for "one of the worst outrages in broadcast history."
Carney says various "villains" are seen as responsible- "competition" for FCC Chairman Michael Powell, who commented at the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) convention, "If you're on the air and not willing to do the things to draw the audience's interest, the guy next door is" - and "consolidation" for Copps, who argues that as large chains gobble up radio stations from local owners, the executives who influence the programming are farther removed from the communities the stations serve and not constrained by local mores.
Unsurprisingly, NAB does not think there is much of a threat of licence revocation for most stations.
"It's the commission's intent to send a message," its spokesman Dennis Wharton said. "We, as an industry, play by the rules. There might be an aberration, rarely. We obviously don't condone any indecent or obscene programming. By and large, the vast majority of broadcasters do an excellent job in terms of their programming decisions."
The Detroit Free Press in its columns suggested that competition was in fact t the best way t deal with indecency matters.
"Betcha laminated copies of the stories about the FCC proposal to fine WKRK-FM (97.1) almost $27,500 for off-colour broadcasting were in the hands of every Greater Media salesperson handling arch-competitors WCSX-FM (94.7) and WRIF-FM (101.1) first thing Friday morning," it said.
"Their pitch to local male-hungry merchants: You don't want your business to be linked with purveyors of moral collapse like Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle and their morning accomplice, Howard Stern, now do you? "
It noted that the station has subsequently changed tack somewhat and concluded, "The best protection remains listeners changing the station."
The other hot FCC topic of the moment, ownership regulation, comes up in a Medialife article by Jeff Bercovici who comments that, "Faced with surprisingly strong resistance to his deregulatory push, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell has been back-pedalling somewhat of late."
Bercovici comments that Powell's plans to base future policy about reviewing mergers on may be leading him into a minefield, with further consolidation facing active opposition in Congress as well as from Democrat commissioners.
Powell has to find a way, continues the article, to move ahead in view of federal court decisions ordering the FCC either to justify existing ownership restrictions or revise them.
A diversity index based on a mathematical formula, it says, seems attractive but it might not affect the number of court actions involving the Commission.
Analyst Blair Levin, a former FCC chief of staff, said he doubts use of the diversity index would result in more lawsuits.
"There has never been a single decision the FCC has ever made of any consequence that has not been challenged in court," he says.
A virtual promise of such action, should regulations be eased came from Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.
"Every media merger approved by Powell under this proposed rule will be a fight," says Chester, who added that a diversity index, like other regulations attached too much weight to media outlets such as web sites and weekly newspapers and not enough to TV stations.
"Powell is trying to assert some kind of Einsteinian unified field theory when it comes to media ownership, " he continued, "but I fear that under Powell it will be more like Dr. Frankenstein then Albert Einstein."
Los Angeles Times - Carney:
Detroit Free Press -Names and Faces column re WKRK:
Media Life - Bercovici:
2003-04-14: Scepticism over Clear Channel's decision to end payments to independent music promoters last week (See RNW April 10) is expressed by the Chicago Chronicle in an article by its rock critic Greg Kot.
He writes that what on the surface looks "like an astonishing victory for those championing greater access to the commercial airwaves for underfinanced artists and record labels, and gives new hope to listeners that music radio is entering a new era of openness" may be nothing of the kind.
" it's likely that the Clear Channel decision won't overturn the pay-for-play system so much as reconfigure it."
"Instead of funnelling money through independent promoters to radio stations, record companies will now have to deal directly with Clear Channel programmers in seeking access to the airwaves."
"And, as in all things radio, money will talk. The radio giant said as much in a statement announcing the move, in which it promised a "new, restructured relationship with the recording industry . . . on specific group-wide contesting, promotions and marketing opportunities."
The words, says Kot sent a shudder through many industry observers, and he quotes Wisconsin Democrat Sen. Russell Feingold as saying," While I think Clear Channel Communications has taken a step in the right direction, it is still essential that we pass legislation to ensure that a replacement `pay-for-play' system does not emerge."
Others, however, continues the article, suggest that a replacement is already in the works, adding, "A consensus among many artist managers and industry executives was that those who can afford to pay for radio airplay will continue to pay dearly for it."
For listeners, " writes Kot, "the future looks a lot like the past: narrow play lists, stocked with only the most well-financed major-label artists, controlled by a handful of radio groups.
He looks at how the current system developed and gives a figure of around USD 300 per million a year for the cost of what he terms "legal payola" to record companies and says most labels say it takes at least $100,000 to just get a song on radio, with no assurance that it will be added to a station's regular rotation, much less become a hit. Clear Channel's announcement, he suggests is part of a skilful PR and lobbying campaign to clean up its image
Kot says Clear Channel is hoping independent labels will put the money saved from their independent promotion budget into adverts for artists and quotes Dave Frey, manager of Cheap Trick and Local H as saying one option is for major record companies to buy program time on commercial radio stations to air their latest acts, and sell ads for the "Sony Music Hour" to recoup.
"It's just a bunch of hooey to think the labels are going to stop paying the radio stations for airplay," Frey said. "Payola is never going away, it's just changing shape."
Bert Holman, manager of the Allman Brothers, suggested the radio and concert conglomerate will increase the pressure on labels to provide artists at cut-rate deals for radio festivals and to play Clear Channel venues, with Clear Channel stations promoting themselves by giving away tickets to the events.
Another industry executive suggested Clear Channel could start charging record labels to test-market songs: "If the labels don't pay, the song doesn't get tested and won't get played."
RNW comment: being very naïve, the logic of the situation seems very clear to us.
The original intent of allowing US radio stations to air songs without royalty payments (it is not a universal practice) related to the balancing of the interests of the broadcasters in escaping royalties with the promotional benefits to the recording companies of songs being aired.
The current situation would indicate that this bargain has been breached and the logic would therefore seem to be to set up rules for an "either ..or" change in the rules under which those who meet defined objectives in terms of airing new music continue to escape royalty payments.
Those who did not would automatically have to pay royalty charges for all songs aired, such a condition to be a permanent and irrevocable part of the frequency's licence except if surrendered and put on the market again with the former owners precluded from bidding.
Such a condition would to prevent avoidance by format changing and other tricksand would also would provide a very substantial incentive to play fair.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Tribune article:
2003-04-14: Whereas talk radio in the US is generally supportive of the war on Iraq, the reverse is trueon the most popular radio talk station in Mexico City according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
"The most listened-to radio personality in the country, a fixture on the airwaves for more than 30 years, Gutierrez Vivo is acutely tuned to public opinion," it reports.
His daily show daily show, "Monitor" is carried on more than 40 stations around the country and the Chronicle says,"... he knows for sure that Mexicans hate the war in Iraq. Polls show that at least three-quarters of them oppose the war, but Gutierrez Vivo thinks it's even higher."
The host puts the attitudes down to history, noting Mexicans are still deeply angry about losing land -- Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California - that they are taught "was stolen by an aggressive, arrogant U.S. invasion force. "
"So when the United States goes to invade another country under a pretext which still is not clear, there's a 'click' in our subconscious," he said. "It's part of our love-hate relationship with the United States."
He also carries discussions more reminiscent of public radio than commercial talk shows, one mentioned being a discussion between a panel of four academics to discuss the historical, cultural and religious roots of Iraq.
The Chronicle describes it as "a high-minded tutorial that begins with an explanation of Mesopotamia's place in the ancient world."
"Gutierrez Vivo," it continues, " said the world's understanding of Iraq is too thin, and he wants to do his bit to fix that."
His callers are more attuned to the current situation, speaking of the suffering caused and drawing parallels between their history and the situation in Iraq and also between the religious fundamentalism of Osama bin Laden and that of Christian fundamentalists who some see as having kidnapped the US administration.
Caller Eduardo from Tlaquepaque comments: "What the United States is doing to Iraq is exactly what it did to Mexico, and because of that we should be helping Iraq."
Another, Gilberto from Tlalnepantla, asks, "What will Mr. George W. Bush do to rebuild the little bodies of all the children who are being mutilated by American guns and bombs?"
The radio output is not mirrored on TV: Televisa, Mexico's largest network, reports the Chronicle shows periodic updates on the war but mainly sticks to its regular daytime schedule of fluff and cleavage and, it continues, "If TV Azteca, Mexico's second-largest network, knows there is a war, it is not evidenced by its morning line-up of giggles and jiggles."
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2003-04-13: The regulatory tale last week was not so much action but controversy in the US over indecency regulation in the wake of the fine on Infinity Detroit station WKSK-FM and also over the future of ownership regulation in the US.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has for a change been mainly concerned with commercial rather than community radio licences. It released its annual report on the finances of broadcasting in the country, showing radio profits down more than a fifth (See RNW April 11) and has also asked for submissions about whether it should delay the release of spectrum for further commercial FM licences in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The ABA says it has been approached by interested parties, some wanting it to proceed with making the spectrum available and others wanting delay. It adds that it is only likely to change plans if there has been a significant change in market circumstances since it set out its area plans.
Under the current schedule, the new frequencies due to be auctioned start later this year for Adelaide then Sydney-either late this year r early next year -- with Brisbane and Melbourne following next year
Canada was fairly quiet with the only activity from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) being from British Columbia, where they approved a second extension, this time until April 5 next year of deadline to start operation of new low-power tourist information in Squamish, and
Quebec where they have given notice of a proposal by CHYZ-FM (Sainte-Foy) Québec to increase its power from 239 watts to 6,000 watts; the deadline for interventions is May 13.
Ireland was quiet but in the UK the Radio Authority has been involved with both analogue and digital licence matters.
The digital award was of the Kent multiplex, which went to the sole applicant, Capital Radio Digital Ltd., which is proposing a bouquet of 8 channels in addition to carrying BBC Radio Kent (See Licence News, February 16).
On the analogue front it has awarded new licences for Maidstone in Kent and West Lothian in central Scotland.
The Maidstone licence, for which there were six applications (See Licence News January 12), went to Maidstone Radio Ltd., which has been involved in broadcasting to the area already through a number of restricted service licences. It is proposing a service of local news, views and information plus a wide range of music.
The West Lothian licence went to the sole applicant, River FM, which is offering a service of local news, sport and community issues plus music
The Authority has also announced that it has received five applications for the new licence for Buxton and other parts of the High Peak district, in Derbyshire.
Either an FM or AM licence is on offer, with four applications being made for the FM and one for an AM service.
The FM applications were from:
FM The Edge Ltd.- proposing a service of local news, sport and information plus popular music from the past 40 years.
High Peak Radio Ltd - proposing a service of music and a full service of local news and information;
Spring Fm Ltd - proposing a service of a diverse range of music from the last six decades, complemented by devoted local news, issues and event coverage;
Temple FM (The Radio Game Ltd.) - proposing a service of music from the 1950s to the present day, local news, travel and details of charity/community events.
The AM licence application came from Peak AM Ltd., which is proposing a service for an adult audience aged 25-55.
In the US, the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas has been the scene for a public expression of divergent view from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) members about future media regulation and indecency penalties (See RNW April 10).
The Commission has also announced that, following a court ruling over its previous policy concerning the allocation of non-reserved spectrum, it will rule out non-commercial applications in cases where there is a commercial applicant rather than conducting an auction (See RNW April 12).
There was also a minor setback for FCC chairman Michael Powell's plans to have ownership regulation plans ready in early June. The Senate Commerce Committee voted 12 to 11 to ask the agency to extend the deadline and allow public review of proposed changes before they were put into effect.
Those voting for the delay said it was virtually impossible to serve the public interest in the matter without allowing public comment.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-04-13: Radio Free Iraq, a subsidiary service of the U.S.-financed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that started broadcasts into Iraq in 1998, says it intends to establish a bureau in the Baghdad as soon as it is safe enough.
It is also planning to expand its broadcasting to 24 hours a day from the ten hours it has been broadcasting since the start of the war.
The US military currently controls all domestic broadcasts in Iraq.
2003-04-13: Nassau Broadcasting is now on track to dispose of three of the four Big City stations it acquired for USD43 million (See RNW Jan 1); days after it closed the deal it has announced that it is to sell WWZY-FM, Long Branch, New Jersey to Press Communications for USD20 million. Press already three stations in Monmouth Ocean.
It is also to sell WWXY-FM for USD 2 million to Jarad Broadcasting, which has already begun using the frequency to simulcast its WWXY-FM, Riverhead, signal, under a local marketing agreement.
Nassau is also negotiating the sale of WYNY-FM, Westchester, to Pamal Broadcasting, which is already operating the station via an LMA.
It is retaining WWYY-FM, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Big City had used all four stations to simulcast its "Rumba" format.
Previous Big City:
2003-04-12: Florida attorney Jack Thompson, who has crossed swords with Infinity over past breaches of broadcasting regulations, has jumped into the fray again over a Howard Stern broadcast on its Detroit outlet WKRK-FM, currently the subject of controversy over a broadcast of its Deminsky and Doyle Show that led to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposing the maximum fine possible (See RNW April 4).
According to the Detroit Free Press, Thompson has written to FCC commissioner Michael J Copps, who in a dissenting note about the fine had suggested that the Commission should consider revoking WKRK's licence, saying that a comedic discussion of "anal intercourse and related hygiene issues" by Stern might provide leverage for such a revocation.
Infinity, when contacted by the paper, said of the Deminski and Doyle proposed penalty, "As you know, we've been afforded a certain amount of time to respond by the Commission. We will be responding in due course."
Thompson reports the paper,said the FCC action puts Infinity "in the crosshairs" for a license revocation; Stern himself, it reports, told his listeners that he'll be meeting Infinity chairman and CEO Mel Karmazin and will complain that the spotlight gets put on him after others get into trouble because he's Infinity's only significant talent.
Detroit Free Press report:
2003-04-12: The BBC World Service Trust has announced that it is to launch a series of programmes on its Arabic Service to provide the people of Iraq with vital information on humanitarian, health and security.
The programmes will be funded by theUK Department For International Development, will be produced by local journalists trained by the BBC World Service Trust; they will provide humanitarian information, follow the progress of the United Nations agencies and international NGOs when they return to Iraq, and also include personal testimony from Iraqis - including diaries recorded with them about their daily lives - to help them deal with the trauma of war and its effects.
The trust has previously worked in areas such as Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Somalia; In Afghanistan it produced similar programmes during and after US-led bombing of the country and also helped equip Radio Afghanistan with digital studios, provided training for local journalists and produced an educational series on the work of the interim administration and Loya Jirga process.
Domestic broacastign in Iraq is now under control of the US which reaches the entire country via radio and also runs a TV channel that on Thursday broadcast messages by US president George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, broadcasts that many Iraqis would not have been able to receive because of the absence of or disruptions to electricity supplies.
The US authorities say the broadcasts by the two were the first of planned regular broadcasts to include interviews with scholars and news updates.
Until recently Pentagon broadcasts were mainly comprised of warnings to civilians to stay at home and instructions to soldiers on how to surrender but now as well as news the broadcasts will change focus to include information such as where to find food, water and medicines.
"For decades, the Iraqi people have heard nothing but totalitarian propaganda that was designed to prop up the regime of Saddam Hussein," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "That will now change, and that is for the good of the Iraqi people."
2003-04-12: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to dismiss applications from non-commercial broad casters when they apply non-reserved broadcast spectrum in competition with commercial applicants under new procedures just released.
The regulations have been amended following a 2001 DC Court of Appeals decision that rejected an FCC decision in 2000 ruling that the exemption from the requirement to resolve competing applications by auction only applied when non-commercial educational (NCE) stations were seeking FM and TV channels specifically reserved for this use.
To mitigate any hardship for NCE stations thus having to compete at auction for non-reserved spectrum, the FCC decided to reserve additional channels for exclusive NCE use whenever those proposing such services could show they were technically precluded from using spectrum that had been reserved and also that they would provide needed NCE service in an area according to certain criteria.
The court threw out the FCC rules on the basis that the exemption from competing at auction related to the "the nature of the station that ultimately receives the license, and not on the part of the spectrum in which the station operates."
Under the new rules, applications from stations meeting the exemption requirements will be dismissed if they conflict with commercial applications, although settlements will be allowed as currently apply for secondary services, such as translators, should suitable engineering solutions be found possible.
Although concurring with the decision, Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps issued a separate statement expressing concern about further blurring of distinctions between commercial and non-commercial stations.
"Congress," he said, "did not establish non-commercial broadcasting to be the same as commercial broadcasting" and he was concerned that the FCC could soon "be dealing with revenue-raising schemes that will detract from and endanger the integrity of non-commercial broadcasting. "
He noted that the rules would permit a non-profit body to seek an additional licence outside reserved bands as a commercial station, take place in an auction, and then change its status to that of an NCE station.
This, he said, could mean, "...at some point, public funds could be used to purchase licenses to use the public's airwaves."
"I fervently hope," he continued, "that public broadcasters will not resort to this, because in so doing, they could be playing fast and loose with not only the proud heritage of their service, but also with its very credibility and long-term survivability."
2003-04-12: Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) veteran Bob Kerr has died aged 85, the Corporation has announced.
Kerr hosted the CBC programme Off the Record on weekday afternoons for 35 years; he was a pipe organ devotee and dedicated his Thursday shows to recordings of the world's greatest pipe organs.
2003-04-11: Australian commercial radio profits were down more than a fifth in the 2002-2 financial year according to figures from the Australian Broadcasting Authority'(ABA).
TV profits for the year were down only 0.2% following a weak preceding year.
The figures, based on figures from reports to the ABA from 249 commercial radio licensees, showed commercial radio generating revenues of AUD 730.6 million (USD439 million), down 2.2% on the previous year when 245 licensees reported figures. Expenses rose by 2.2% to AUD621.8 million (USD 374 million) and profits were down 21.5% to AUD 108.6 million (USD 65.3 million).
TV profits by comparison were AUD 410.7 million (USD246.8 million.)
The ABA collected a total of AUD 204.4 million (USD 122.8 million) in commercial licence feed, down 6.5 % on the previous year, of which AUD15.5 million (USD 9.3 million) was collected from 249 of 258 commercial radio services, AUD100, 000 (USD 60,000) less than the previous year.
The figures present a marked contrast to those in a more upbeat from CEASA (The Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia) also just released.
This showed Australian commercial radio revenue last year was up 0.8% on 2001 to AUD 684.4 million: including community radio the report said 2002 radio revenues were up 1.1% to AUD 702.4 million compared to a 1.6% rise in 2001.
For other media the report showed TV recovering in 2002 after a sharp decline but other media, including print and outdoor, showing further declines.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner commented on the CEASA report: "Radio is the only medium that has achieved growth in advertising expenditure for the past two years running. Commercial radio is performing well compared to other media because it offers advertisers flexibility, reach and better value for money - and that's a very attractive combination in the current market place."
Warner added that growth in the second half of the year was particularly marked in metropolitan radio where advertising revenues were up 5.3% over the same period a year earlier compared to a 2.8% increase for national radio.
During 2002,average listening to commercial radio in Australia was up 0.5% to around 1.28 million listeners per average quarter hour (AQH) compared to 1.7 million in 2001 and 1.16 million a year earlier according to figures released earlier this year from Nielsen Media Research's full year radio surveys. Australian commercial radio's weekly reach during 2002 was just over 8.4 million.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
ABA web site - links to ABA release:
Commercial Radio Australia web site - links to news releasere CEASA report:.
2003-04-11: Infinity New York station WNEW-FM, has now formally switched from talk targeting the young males to a free-form music plus entertainment news and gossip format targeting young women and is calling itself 102.7 BLINK.
It has hired actor Kiefer Sutherland as the voice of the station and its morning hosts will be Lynda Lopez, Jennifer Lopez's sister, and her boyfriend Chris Booker who is New York correspondent for Viacom-owned Entertainment Tonight.
DJ Erika "DJ E-Love" Hamilton will serve as Blink's music supervisor and will also host her own show.
Infinity Chairman and CEO John Sykes commented, "Blink is not only a music format but a brand that targets savvy New Yorkers that crave entertainment, gossip and information."
Infinity President of Programming Andy Schuon added, "We have assembled a first-class team of operators and created an innovative, highly entertaining and absorbing format of Top 40 music and insider Hollywood news and gossip designed to become the Zeitgeist of entertainment and pop culture for New York radio listeners."
WNEW, which commenced broadcasts in 1967, was an influential progressive/ free form format station for around 30 years and played a significant role in launching the careers of such artists as the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John.
It switched to a talk format in 1999 and had been languishing long before its star hosts Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) were taken off the air and their show subsequently axed in August last year following the sex in St Patrick's Cathedral row (See RNW Aug 24, 2002).
WNEW's fall ratings for 2002 were only a little above half of those a year before and it had dropped to 29th place in the New York rankings with an 0.7% share, down from 1.3%.
RNW comment: We are very sceptical about suggestions that this format will return WNEW - sorry Blink - to anything like its glory days, Stripping away the PR, this seems a pretty hollow format, although we presume Infinity have done enough market research to show a significant niche market for its offerings.
We also note that Infinity has competition in its declared move to allow its DJs more freedom to choose their own songs; Clear Channel has announced that its Z-100 chart station is to launch a new evening show "Reality Radio", which will allow celebrities to play what they want.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2003-04-11: The British Broadcasting Corporation's Radio 2 channel is to increase its live music output, launch a major new song writing initiative and give artists greater support by shifting the balance away from singles on the playlist towards album based artists albums, a move that it says will better reflect the tastes of its adult audience.
The moves were announced by Radio 2 head of programmes, Lesley Douglas at the Radio Academy's Music Radio Conference.
Concerning the move towards less emphasis on singles, she said, "We have always reflected albums within our programmes but we have now taken the decision to support artists in greater depth by further moving the balance of singles within the playlist to provide greater patronage for albums."
Douglas said the move would help to break record companies' habit of pumping resources into pop hits.
2003-04-11: Chaincast/Stream Audio has retained its top network ranking and Virgin Radio has reclaimed the top channel spot in the latest Internet ratings from Arbitron-MeasureCast.
The news-talk stations in the top ten, ABC Chicago station WLS-AM and Clear Channel's Los Angeles KFI-AM, increased their listening but WLS fell back in the rankings from third to fourth.
For the week to March 30, Arbitron-Measure Cast'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 320,612 (236,084); CP 59,974 (53,250). Up from fourth with much higher listening although reach increased to a lesser degree.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 306,142 (283,159); CP 127,150 (121,089). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 285,041 (314,604); CP 51,530 (57,506). Down from first with lower listening and reach.
4: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 269,876 (255,623); CP 54,311 (47,158). Down from third despite higher listening and reach.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 223,494 (223,356); CP 32,257 (32,999). Same rank with slightly higher listening and lower reach.
The top five networks for the week to March 30 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,475,135(1,503,471); CP 198,897 (224,518). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,313,091 (1,269,109): CP 207,318 (232,358)- Same rank with higher listening and lower reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,275,396 (1,215,020); CP 363,750 (354,398). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Live365.com - TTSL 761,738 (755,222); CP - 142,389 (141,516) Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 726,986 (739,691); CP 134,639 (142,860) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-04-10: The twin topical issues of media regulation and indecency penalties have been to the fore in sessions at the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual convention in Las Vegas this week.
Concerning indecency, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell warned that the commission might soon consider revocation of a station licence.
Powell had described a broadcast by Infinity Detroit station WKRK- FM that led to the Commission giving notice of its highest possible fine of USD 27,500 (See RNW April 4). as both "indefensible and unlawful."
There was no backing for broadcasters from NAB itself. Its President and CEO Eddie Fritts said that under no circumstances would his organization "condone programming that was obscene or indecent" and added "stations that cross that line do so at their own peril."
He sidestepped a question concerning an enquiry about any NAB code of conduct but said that any such code would not have changed the Deminski and Doyle comments on WKRK.
US watchdog the Parents Television Council has launched a campaign for the revocation of WKRK- FM's licence but Powell did not give any backing to this campaign. He said revocation might be on the cards one day but only for the "most egregious, wilful violations of the law."
There has been speculation that Infinity could be facing very large fines and calls for revocation of its licence for WNEW-FM in New York when the Commission comes to consider complaints about the sex in St Patrick's Cathedral stunt that led to the firing of hosts Anthony and Opie last year (See RNW Aug 24, 2002)
RNW note: WNEW has been in the doldrums since then and is to launch its new format this week.
An ABC TV interview by Barbara Walters of Jennifer Lopez's sister Lynda added weight to the suggestion that the new line-up will include a morning show to be hosted by Lynda and her boyfriend Booker, a former overnight DJ on Infinity's WXRK-FM in the city.
Powell commenting on the reasons for the perceived increase in indecency offences suggested that competition rather than consolidation might be the reason, with stations airing things to attract attention because they feared their opposition would if they did not.
Powell also took up the question of market definition and a possible change in its rules. He admitted that "anomalies" in a few markets had caused " a lot of concern" but said that it was not that easy to find a suitable new definition.
He also supported the idea of a diversity index, a mathematical formula to define concentration in a market for regulator purposes, an idea that has been questioned by some Commissioners.
Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps in particular has been sceptical but Powell has gained support from fellow-Republican Commissioners.
Kevin J Martin said It might be difficult to quantify the importance of one media form compared to another but he hoped the Commission could produce simple rules that broadcasters could follow easily. He said such rules would take into account local ownership rules but not the implications for national ownership.
Kathleen Abernathy suggested that an index could provide a simple way to filter the deals that go through without delay and those that get closer scrutiny.
Copps suggested that an index was going down the road to "micro-regulation" and also clashed with Abernathy over the information needed by the FCC before making final decisions on ownership regulations. Copps advocates field hearings to get wide public input but Abernathy backed Powell's view that the 15,000 comments received together with the 12 studies it commissioned had provided the Commission with ample information.
2003-04-10: BBC Radio 2 head of programmes Lesley Douglas has used a keynote speech at the UK Radio Academy's music radio conference in London to call for a light regime of content regulation by the new British media regulator OFCOM that will take up its powers at the end of this year.
"Whatever else happens under the new OFCOM, I hope that there is a lightness of touch which allows radio in the UK to develop and stretch the audience," she told her audience of radio and music industry executives.
"To challenge the status quo, to test the boundaries of humour, to entice and support daring radio which could lead to a greater expansion in exciting radio."
"Of course, offending the audience for the sake of being offensive should not be condoned, but daring should be rewarded by support," she continued.
"Only through that level of support can you develop the Kenny Everetts of the past and the Jonathan Rosses of today."
"To be over proscriptive about content would, in my opinion, lead to a stagnation of radio in the United Kingdom."
The UK Guardian notes in its report that there is still controversy over how far the regulator will have control over the BBC; commercial broadcasters want it to be subject to the same regulation they face but the BBC is arguing for a different approach since it is a public broadcaster.
Douglas held up Radio 2 presenter Jonathan Ross and the late Capital maverick broadcaster Kenny Everett as examples of "daring" radio talent that should be supported, rather than considered offensive, but, says the paper commercial radio executives think Ross gets away with content that they would not be allowed to broadcast.
He has received official reprimands from the Broadcasting Standards Council and from the BBC Board of Governors for some of his comments and jokes.
Douglas also expressed concern that the entry of US companies into the British radio marketplace that would be allowed under the UK's Communications Bill could lead to an emphasis on "products" rather than programmes.
Previous UK Radio Academy:
UK Guardian report:
2003-04-10: US radio giant Clear Channel has announced that it is to cut its ties with independent music promoters who are paid by recording companies to push songs to radio stations; the decision follows accusations that this boils down to a pay-for-play policy, although Clear Channel has always denied that it has been influenced in what it airs by the promoters.
In a statement Clear Channel President and COO Mark Mays said it was aware that "these relationships may appear to be something they're not.''
"We have zero tolerance for 'pay for play', but want to avoid even the suggestion that such a practice takes place within our company,'' he added.
Clear Channel is to deal directly with record companies when its current contracts with independent promoters run out.
The decision to cut the ties follows political concern that the current arrangements are a way round payola laws and Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold, whose "Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act" included an update of payola laws, has welcomed the move as a step forward.
He says he still feels legislation is necessary to prevent a replacement pay-for-play system emerging and argues that competition is the best antidote to what he terms "industry practices that endanger artistic freedom and listener choice."
Clear Channel is following in the wake of Cox Radio, which in October last year became the first major US broadcaster to take the decision to sever connections with independent promoters (See RNW Oct 20, 2002).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2003-04-10: The UK Radio Academy has launched its own Radio Hall of Fame, naming five living radio veterans and twenty others posthumously in its initial list.
The five are DJs Tony Blackburn, Noel Edmonds, and Alan Freeman, BBC Radio 4 breakfast presenter John Humphrys, and Alistair Cooke, who since 1946 has been broadcasting his weekly Letter from America that currently airs on BBC Radio 4 and World Service.
Posthumous awards went to Marjorie Anderson, John Arlott, Arthur Askey, Billy Cotton, Richard Dimbleby, Kenny Everett, Alan Freeman, The Goons, Benny Green, Tony Hancock, Tommy Handley, William Hardcastle, Kenneth Horne, Jack Jackson, Brian Johnston, Jack de Manio, Jean Metcalfe, Wilfred Pickles, Roy Plomley, and Roger Scott.
Previous UK Radio Academy:
UK Radio Academy Hall of Fame (Lists members with links to biographical details):
2003-04-10: Arbitron's Portable People Meter has won a deal in France but lost out in Australia, where AC Nielsen has retained its Australian radio ratings contract.
The successful French deal runs for two years with ratings company Médiamétrie, which is to evaluate Arbitron's Portable People Meter system in Paris.
During the evaluation Médiamétrie will compare radio and TV ratings from the PPM with those already produced from telephone recall for radio and set-top meters for TV in Paris.
Médiamétrie provides TV, radio, internet and cinema audience measurement and Arbitron President and CEO Stephen Morris commented, "The Portable People Meter can give Médiamétrie an ideal measurement solution for multiple media, which will help them meet the needs of their key customers-television and radio."
Médiamétrie chairman and managing director Jacqueline Aglietta said, "This agreement offers Médiamétrie an excellent opportunity to confirm its interest in a new concept of television and radio audience measurement. We always work to provide our customers with audience measurement based on the most advanced technologies available.
In Australia, the radio industry organization Commercial Radio Australia opted to retain diary ratings in a three-year deal with Nielsen Media Research.
It turned down meter systems proposed by Nielsen, based the Swiss radio watch system, and an Arbitron-Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS ) bid based on the portable people meter on the basis that meter technology was not yet sufficiently proven.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said that, although it had "decided to maintain stability and certainty by awarding the contract to the incumbent " the industry was nevertheless keen to see an electronic meter trial.
"The decision to award the contract to NMR should not be seen as a decision in favour of the radio control watch. Both devices on offer, the radio control watch and the PPM, currently have a number of shortcomings and the further development of both devices will be closely monitored by the industry," she added.
Arbitron has had success with its PPM technology in Canada where it is to be used at the end of this year by BBM measuring French-language television audiences in Montreal and Quebec and also in joint efforts with TNS in Singapore and Belgium.
Previous Taylor Nelson Sofres:
2003-04-10: New York Hot 97(WQHT-FM) DJ Funkmaster Flex (Aston Taylor), who had been accused of assaulting rival DJ "Big Steph Lova" (Stephanie Saunders) of Clear Channel's Power 105 (WWPR-FM) in September last year (See RNW Sept 30,), has been sentenced to 35 hours of community service after entering a guilty plea to a charge of harassment.
Flex had consistently denied striking Lova but his plea allowed him off the hook for the more serious assault charge.
Emmis-owned Hot 97 has also been in the news in the city after suspending indefinitely its morning DJ, Star (Troi Torain), for reasons it has not revealed.
His suspension was announced to listeners by his co-host Prozac Girl (Keysha Whitaker) who simply said she did not know when he would return but there have suggestions that he had made negative comments about advertisers on the station.
Emmis Senior VP and Marketing Manager Barry Mayo was quoted by the New York Post as saying, "We don't have a lot of rules about that morning show, but he broke a huge one."
"It's serious - he's been suspended before," Mayo added referring to two week suspension in 2001 for playing sounds of a plane crash and a woman's screams while joking about the singer Aaliyah's death in a small plane crash the day before.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Post report on Star suspension:
2003-04-09: USA Interactive CEO Barry Diller, the former chairman of Vivendi Universal Entertainment and one of those who built up the Fox Television Network, has told the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) that further consolidation of US media would limit diversity and stifle competition.
Giving a keynote address at NAB's Las Vegas convention, he said "There are real dangers in complete concentration. The conventional wisdom is wrong. We need more regulation, not less."
Diller said of the effect of media consolidation in radio, where large companies such as Clear Channel frequently replace local shows with syndicated ones "Local broadcasters should not be simply the distribution arms of monolithic enterprises."
His comments ran counter to those of NAB President and CEO Edward O. Fritts, who after wrapping himself in the flag with references to the war in Iraq, referred to broadcasters as pillars of their communities.
"I'm here today to tell you that broadcasting has met the test of time and relevancy, in war and in peace," he said, then going on to note "Broadcasting is forgoing millions of dollars in advertising revenues to keep America informed. We view this loss as part of the war effort, and as part of our responsibility to the American people."
In comments on radio, he had a dig at satellite radio, saying, "Take radio, for example. Some have sounded radio's death knell for 50 years, and yet local radio remains as vibrant today as it has ever been."
"A guy who had bought a satellite radio recently said to me, "You know, I can drive all the way from New York to Los Angeles and not change the radio dial." I asked, "How often do you do that?"
"And speaking of satellite radio, I recently read that XM Satellite Radio has filed a $400 million dollar insurance claim because the life expectancy of its satellites has been downgraded from 17.5 years to a mere 6.75 years. Now isn't that interesting?"
(RNW comment- and rather unpleasant gloating!)
Taking up the issue of ownership regulation, Fritts quoted Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell as saying, "it's hard to "assert that an ownership restraint is essential in promoting diverse viewpoints, where so many outlets and owners thrive."
"Over the last four decades," continued Fritts, "the number of media outlets has increased nearly 200%, and the number of media outlet owners is up nearly 140%."
"And we have greater diversity of programming than ever before. We have more than 600 Spanish language stations. Radio offers more than 250 different formats from Haitian to hip/hop, Korean to country, not to mention Farsi, Chinese, jazz, gospel--and somewhere out there we probably have a station playing Guatemalan golden oldies. "
Fritts also took up the issue of the move to digital broadcasts, commenting, "Technologically, we are also moving forward. In radio, we're excited about the launch of HD Digital Radio, which will provide better quality service for consumers and new business opportunities for broadcasters. "
" .if we remained only analogue, we would not survive in a digital world. Admittedly, it's unsettling to totally cast one's fate with the future. Someone once said that courage is the power to let go of the familiar. That is what the broadcast industry is doing as it makes the transition from analogue to digital. We are letting go of the familiar and latching onto the future."
2003-04-09: Latest figures from Arbitron's Portable People Meter test in Philadelphia show radio listening went up in the second week of war with news station KYW-AM showing listening even higher than in the first week of war.
In the week to March 30 it had nearly a third more listeners than average. Its listening leapt in the times around 7 AM - to around 4 times its usual daytime listening and again around 5 pm to around twice the usual.
Talk station WPHT-AM was up 17% compared to 23% in the week to March 21.
Country radio also showed a significant increase with WXTU-FM up some 17% with peaks in the middle of the day and early evening whilst rock format WMGK-FM had an increase of 9%, mainly in office hours.
2003-04-09: Most US radio broadcasters are approaching the introduction of digital broadcasts with caution and many are so far taking no action according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Noting the push for a move to digital being made by iBiquity at the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual conference in Las Vegas -within the last week, iBiquity has announced deals with Matsushita, owner of the Panasonic brand, and Fujitsu Ten Limited, to develop automobile receivers for its HD digital radio system -- the Times points out that receivers will not be on the market until later this year and so far less than 1% of US radio stations have licensed the technology.
The US radio industry, it says, is "in the same vexing spot the television industry has been in for six years: shifting to a new technology well ahead of consumer demand, with no clear way to recover the investment."
"The consolation for radio broadcasters is that it won't cost them nearly as much to go digital as it's costing their TV counterparts."
Another difference from TV is the voluntary nature of the change: TV stations, which were given a second channel for digital broadcasts in 1997 are being ordered to start digital broadcasts by May this year but radio stations are using a system that in contrast squeezes the digital signal into their existing AM or FM frequency.
This gives near CD quality and the ability to deliver dial-up modem levels of data according to iBiquity, although critics point out that the competing Eureka system that is broadcast on separate spectrum and is used in most of the rest of the world ha even more benefits.
The cost of going digital, report the Times, is estimated at around USD250, 000 for a typical FM station and some USD70, 000 for an AM.
Entercom CEO David Field estimated that his company, with some 100 stations, would spend up to USD 2 million a year for three to five years on going digital.
IBiquity CEO Robert Stuble commented that many stations were justifying the investment in defensive terms, as a way to keep their audiences from switching to other sources of music or information, including satellite radio.
"The perspective of most of these folks is that it's a small insurance investment for the good of the industry," he said.
As well as a quality improvement for the signal, digital is also being touted as a way to also offer related data-driven services, possibly interactive ones if the technology is integrated with such devices of mobile phones.
Analyst Laura Behrens of GartnerG2s said broadcasters are used to making large upfront investments in technology with no immediate promise of a return. What's different about digital, she said, is that stations are unusually unclear about how, or whether, the technology will make them any money.
As well as the radio companies, record companies have concerns about the technology but in their case it's not so much cost as potential loss that worries them since the digital signals are not scrambled thus making it possible to copy them.
2003-04-09: The war on Iraq has led to many Arabs turning away from the US Government financed Radio Sawa, which broadcasts a mix of pop music and news according to an Associated Press report carried in a number of US Newspapers.
Sawa is pledged to offer unbiased reporting on its broadcasts from transmitters in Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates but some in the area see its reports as moving towards an official US position.
Sawa spokeswoman Joan Mower said it station was making inroads despite the anti-war mood, and cited a survey in Abu Dhabi conducted by Edison Media Research that showed that 90 percent of those questioned over a one-week period starting March 24 listened to Radio Sawa, up from 64 percent in January.
In Jordan, where there are closer ties to Iraq, the report said Arabic stations like the Middle East Broadcasting Centre, based in the United Arab Emirates, and the London-based Arabic service of the British Broadcasting Corp. have become the main source of news for many Jordanians
Amman accountant Eva Iffat said she turned to MBC two weeks ago because "I felt disgusted with the lies of American officials and Sawa's reports."
In Dubai, an Egyptian television producer at an advertising agency said she heard a difference in Sawa's news two days into the war.
"When they report Iraqi civilian casualties, they say that this is what Iraqi officials are claiming and there's no way to verify them," she said. "They portray it as if this is just the Iraqi way of getting people's sympathy and pity, as if there is a war without civilian casualties."
A contrary report came from Kuwait, the main US ally in the region, where a high school student, said he was a Sawa admirer but would. "... like to see it cover Kuwait more. I'd like it to cover the humanitarian aid we're giving to the Iraqi people."
Previous Edison Media Research:
Previous Radio Sawa:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2003-04-09: Viacom paid an increased 2002 bonus worth around USD 16.5 million each to chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone and president and COO Mel Karmazin according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The bonus was on top of a salary of USD 3.6 million each and the grant to each options for 600,000 shares at an exercise price of USD 48.16 each; they vest 25 percent annually and mature in May 2012.
Viacom shares are currently trading at around USD 40 but have ranged between USD30 and USD 50 over the past year.
The payments are the latest in a number of significant increases for US broadcasting executives: last month filings by Clear Channel revealed that Chairman and CEO Lowry Mays and President and COO Mark Mays each received a bonus of around USD 2 million.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
2003-04-08: Eastern Michigan University public radio station WEMU-FM, is coming under attack from US conservatives for firing veteran host Terry Hughes, broadcast name "Thayrone", after he refused to run National Public Radio (NPR) news during his Sunday night music programme "The Bone Conduction Show" and repeatedly delivered pro-Bush and pro-war comments.
Station manager Art Timko told the Detroit News. "He (Hughes) was fired basically over philosophical differences."
"Our announcers can't take a position. This is public radio. We represent a lot of different viewpoints."
Hughes has said to his listeners, "Bush has the guts to get up to do the right thing after 18 attempts to get everybody to help."
"We know if you want a current assessment of what's going on, you're sure not listening to us. You'll be over at Fox TV where they're not bending the news. It ain't happening on NPR."
He gave a similar version of his dismissal to the paper, saying, "Art said he was 'tired of the fight,' trying to get me to run news on the show and not have an opinion."
"I have never at any time taken a stand against NPR," Hughes stressed, "I just don't think my show is the place for news and I said so. This isn't the first time I've been canned here. I've been fired and rehired at least twice."
Hughes said he also aired his conservative viewpoint on the station during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, but ceased when he was ordered to do so by Timko; he added that he was continuing weekly music programs to NPR stations on the satellite network but without commentary.
The station's action did get backing locally, with WJR-AM general manager Mike Freeze commenting, "I kind of like what I'm told that he said about President Bush. But if he didn't run my news show, I'd have fired him, too."
The reverse was true of some outlets like NewsMax, whose story began, "The taxpayer-supported drones at National Pinko Radio have fired a disc jockey for not parroting NPR's leftist party line on the war against Saddam Hussein."
It concluded: Surprisingly, considering NPR's core audience of intolerant Guilty White Liberals, Hughes' on-air comments drew only a handful of complaints, but his dismissal has already prompted about 90 e-mails "expressing disappointment, curiosity, outrage," Timko admitted.
RNW comment: As with comments made by Don Cherry on his Canadian Broadcasting Corporation sports show -RNW April 4 -it does not seem unreasonable nor particularly censorious to us for stations to have a policy of avoiding political comment on non-political shows nor indeed, as the British Broadcasting Corporation did in connection with anti-war protests in the UK, impose limitations on the public association of news figures with particular political events on which they may have to report.
The problem is particularly acute in case where as in the case for the BBC, CBC and US public stations, public money is going into a station.
Perhaps NewsMax should reflect on the nature of the"intolerant Guilty White Liberals" who have enough concern about freedom of speech to object to the dismissal of a host who is clearly violating station policy and refusing to run news bulletins.
Somehow we can't see them screaming the same way had a Clear Channel host been dismissed for similar actions and had voiced anti-war sentiments.
On the other hand, perhaps their comments clearly reveal the nature of political bigots, right or left.
Detroit News report:
2003-04-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 9,000 penalty on Monroe Area Broadcasters Inc., licensee of WRKQ- AM, Madisonville, Tennessee, for failure to identify the station by call sign and for operating it during the night with daytime power; it is licensed for 500 watt daytime and 84 watts at night.
The penalty resulted from complaints of interference from its signal to other stations in 2002 and subsequent issue in June that year of a notice of apparent liability for the forfeiture.
Monroe had argued that the FCC had allowed its application to assign the licence to Sloan Radio Inc but that Sloan did not have the finance in place to complete the performance and this had kept it from performing preventive maintenance.
It said all the violations had now been corrected and said that the station was being leased from it and the lessee was doing his best to operate with limited finances. He had provided a letter saying he was unaware of the violations until informed of them by the FCC.
The FCC pointed out that licensees were responsible for meeting regulations and upheld the penalty. It dismissed hardship arguments as Monroe had not provided suitable documentation to back these up. It also noted that the licence assignment had not been consummated and said it took "no view at this point whether there may have been an unauthorized transfer of control of the station."
The FCC is also coming under more pressure concerning indecency offence penalties, this time following the USD27, 500 penalty notice issued to Infinity last week in connection with the Deminski & Doyle Show, broadcast in January 2002 on WKRK- FM Detroit (See RNW April 4).
At the time Democrat Commission Michael J. Copps argued that the Commission should have considered a licence revocation and the Parents Television Council, the largest entertainment watchdog group in the US, has now taken up this call.
The Council is launching a campaign calling for revocation and its President L. Brent Bozell comments on its website, "Infinity Broadcasting is simply writing-off these puny fines as the cost of doing business. It continually allows its stations to shock audiences and expose underage listeners to vile content. Unless the FCC gets serious about revoking licenses for this kind of filth, these types of broadcasts will continue."
"We want the FCC to know that parents are furious that these stations are allowed to get away with a slap on the wrist. Our message is clear: the FCC must use commonsense decency standards to protect children and to clean up public broadcast airways," continued Bozell.
Parents Television Council web site:
2003-04-08: Vastly divergent estimates of the value of its former breakfast host Chris Evans to Virgin Radio have been presented to the UK High Court where on Monday hearings resumed into Evans claim for GBP 8.6 million (USD13.6 million)from Virgin owners SMG and SMG's counter-claim for damages.
On Evans' side, British commercial radio pioneer Trevor Morse, called as a an expert witness by the former DJ on Monday, said it was unfair to attribute Virgin's losses to Evans and suggested that the company might have done better to retain him.
SMG argues that Evans was directly responsible for a fall in its audience and that Evans was responsible for a profit drop of some GBP7 million (USD 11 million) (See RNW March 27).
Virgin's airs on both AM and FM and Morse in his testimony said UK commercial AM audiences had been falling since 1998 and that, apart from a jump in late 1997 after Evans joined the station, its AM audience had fallen but its London FM audience had held up with a steep decline well after Evans had been dismissed.
The network AM had been responsible for nearly all of Virgin's audience decline before 2002 he said, adding that late 2001 had been disastrous for commercial radio as a whole and it would be difficult to estimate how much impact there had been as a result of Evans' departure.
"Taking into account the breakfast show collapse and the decline in Virgin's most important listener age group following Chris Evans' departure, even if one is to take the SMG case at face value, one might wonder whether the cure was worse than the disease," said Morse.
The case is continuing.
2003-04-08: Eastlan, the second largest radio ratings service in the US, has announced that it has added three more markets for 2003.
They are Marshalltown/Newton Iowa, where service commences in summer this year; Newport/Lincoln City Oregon, where service begins in winter this year; and Longview/Kelso Washington, which will be rated annually in the spring; Eastlan had previously rated the last but had been absent for a year from it.
2003-04-07: "Clear Channel Communications has caught a lot of heat lately, which isn't right. Clear Channel is actually providing a valuable public service."
If nothing else, a controversial statement - from David Greising in the Chicago Tribune - with which to start this week's look at print comment on radio over the past week.
The sting, of course comes after this, with the continuation
"Clear Channel shows us what happens when one media company owns more than 1,200 radio stations, multiple outlets in many cities and at least one station in all 50 states."
Later, after noting that it is Cumulus that is the prime leader of the anti-Dixie Chicks campaign, Greising in effect says that Clear Channel should not be hung for the things it hasn't done but does list some of the things "causing concern."
"Clear Channel's stations do have cookie-cutter formats," he writes." It has gutted news operations at many radio stations. It does lean on new artists to perform at Clear Channel-sponsored concerts in order to get airplay."
His conclusion, after detailing some of the arguments: "Powell [Federal Communications Commission chairman, Michael Powell] failed the last time he tried to ram a vote through the commission. He lost 3-2 on a plan to regulate telephone rates in a way that would have favoured large former Bell companies."
"Now Powell is trying to push through a vote on media concentration. All the fretting about Clear Channel may be telling him there's a backlash building on this issue, too."
Needless to say Clear Channel is in the mainstream media pool when it comes to reporting the war, but there are some stations that are bucking the trend.
Among them is WZBC-FM in Boston where, as noted by Clea Simon in her Boston Globe radio column, ''Sounds of Dissent'' hosted by John Grebe provides alternative voices.
WZBC is a community station and Grebe's show on Saturdays airs what Simon terms "a weekly news summary, drawing on sources from the BBC and (on a recent week) Time magazine to various nongovernmental organizations."
Glebe, she writes, started broadcasting alternative views during the first Gulf War when hosting a music show on the Medford University's station, WMFO-FM.
''I was astounded by how hard it was for me to find voices that . . . would be willing to report other perspectives, outside the State Department,'' he says. ''I'd go around and tape-record lectures here and there, and I wanted to put them on the radio. I loved doing music, but I felt this should be on the radio.''
As Simon comments, with the plethora of reports (many unverified) now available via the Internet as well as in traditional media, it is always interesting to hear a different perspective.
But enough of war as such, although the current one will end up with previous conflicts in the archives, the topic chosen by Chris Campling of the UK Times for his radio column on Saturday last week.
"When I come back in my next incarnation, " he writes, "I want to be a sound archivist. Not one of those people who makes history, but one of those who puts a label on it and files it. No it doesn't sound unutterably boring, it is a megalomaniac's dream - all of recorded history, with me the only one who knows where everything is. "
"Programme makers would come crawling to me, bearing gifts, yea even unto half their kingdom, in exchange for that 15-second soundbite from 1954 without which their potential Sony Award-winning series would be as naught. The power! The control!"
The introduction serves as a lead into a daily series that begins this week on the BBC6 digital channel: The Dream Ticket looks at the Sixties (Today) through to the Nineties (Thursday - all at 2000 GMT) and is a history of pop. Some of Campling's comments however apply more generally.
"After all, someone," he notes, "had to know, not just where these moments of living pop history could be found, but that they existed at all. Just like the tree falling, unheard, in the forest, so it could be argued that had it not been known, say, that there was a tape of Marc Bolan reading poetry, it may as well not have "been" at all. Zen and the art of the librarian, anyone?"
"And there is more, so much more - David Bowie's first recording session, back in the Sixties. John Peel commenting on the rise of punk, together with a Sex Pistols interview in the Seventies. Boy George talking about his heroin addiction in the Eighties. The Gallagher brothers having one of their barneys a few years ago, the air blue with invective, limited but nonetheless hilarious. Not to mention Madonna reading Winnie the Pooh to Simon Mayo."
The archives also get a mention in the Times' sister paper, The Sunday Times, in Paul Donovan's RadioWaves column but in his case a sidebar to a lament in part to the loss of the BBC Radio 3 programme, Listeners' Choice.
The programme, described on the station website as "the ideal way to spend your Saturday afternoon" is being killed off in September as is what Donovan terms, "the wonderful BBC Legends, which at 2pm every Sunday trawls the archive for great musical recordings from the past 100 years."
" Dropping BBC Legends," writes Donovan, "is a more profound mistake, because it disenfranchises weekend listeners. After Sept-ember, there will be no regular weekend slot where we will be able to hear historic recordings, which, with their careful selection and introductions, provide such an enjoyable way to unwind on Sunday afternoons."
" It is a sad, strange decision. The BBC's archive is one of its glories. Two of the new digital networks, BBC7 and 6 Music, are founded on it. Tomorrow, Janice Long rightly celebrates its riches in a new 6 Music series, Access All Archives. The BBC's vaults contain musical gems beyond compare, and now is not the time to deprive Radio 3 weekend listeners of any of them.
Boston Globe - Simon:
Chicago Tribune - Greising:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling:
2003-04-07: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has removed from its website the Real video of the Controversial Coach's Corner programme in which there was a controversial discussion of the war on Iraq that led to the CBC rapping host Don Cherry over the knuckles (See RNW April 4).
The site lists the March 15 and 29 shows but not that for March 22 and the Toronto Globe and Mail reports some concern by staff about what they see as censorship.
CBC spokeswoman Ruth-Ellen Soles told the paper the segment was removed because "the CBC feels Coach's Corner was an inappropriate forum for a discussion on the war and, therefore, we don't think the Coach's Corner Web site is an appropriate place for it, either."
She also added in response to a question about the idea of moving it to the CBC news web site that "because Ron and Don are sports commentators and not political commentators there was no reason to put it anywhere else."
In his sports column in the paper, William Houston, says general feeling is that Cherry came close to getting fires, not because of his comments on the war itself but because of his attacks on French Canadians and the CBC itself.
He quotes one CBC staffer as saying, "If a CBC reporter had gone on the radio, disparaged French Canadians and then said the CBC was run by the government, he would have been fired or at least suspended," said a CBC staffer.
"This speaks to Cherry's power as Hockey Night's cash cow and also the double standard at the network."
CBC Coach's Corner site:
2003-04-06: The past week was very quiet for the regulators with nothing of note concerning radio from Australia, Ireland and the UK but in the US there were rumblings from the Federal Communications Commission suggesting that it might be going to get tougher over indecency offences, possibly even that this could come when it considers the Opie and Anthony Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral case.
In Canada, all the radio activity came from Quebec where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved a new transmitter in Wapella for CFGW-FM Yorkton, a power decrease from 3,400 watts to 2,700 watts for CBMG-FM Cowansville, and an amendment of the licence of Type B community station CIAX-FM Windsor to increase the weekly broadcast time of the station from 104 to 126 hours.
There was nothing of note from Ireland nor from the UK, where the Radio Authority later this year is to be subsumed into the new OFCOM regulator.
The Radio Authority chief executive Tony Stoller, who has been appointed OFCOM's External Relations Director, is to step down before the handover
In the US, the main news was the decision of the Federal Communications Commission to go for the largest fine it can muster for indecency on Infinity's WKRK- FM Detroit (See RNW April 4). Infinity has 30 days to respond to the FCC notice but has so far not indicated what it intends to do.
It had not argued about the nature of the broadcast but did argue that no penalty could be imposed because the Commission generic definition of indecency was unconstitutional.
The FCC also dramatically reduced two others penalties - one on a Florida pirate and the other on an Illinois broadcaster whose stations are currently dark - eachon financial hardship grounds (See RNW April 3).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-04-06: Mumbai (Bombay) radio ratings just released by AC Nielsen India show that private FM in the city has significantly increased listening, taking it up from 42% of the 15 plus population to 72% within a year.
The survey is based on day-after recall by a panel of 2000 and showed the ENIL-owned Radio Mirchi taking top rank, ahead of public channel Vividh Bharati that was the leader in June last year when Radio Mirchi was the top private channel.
Previous Indian Radio
2003-04-06: XM Satellite Radio has declared a regular quarterly dividend on its 8.25% Series B Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock.
The dividend, payable in Class A Common Stock at a rate of $1.0313 per share of Series B Preferred Stock will be payable on May 1; the stock to be issued will be valued at 95% of its average daily price for the ten trading days running up to April 11.
2003-04-05: Large webcasters and the US record industry have now agreed the rate that the former should pay to broadcast songs over the Internet although the agreement still has to be approved by the US Copyright Office, which had mandated slightly higher rates last year (See RNW June 21, 2002).
The rate proposed by the Copyright Office of 0.07 cents per listener per song streamed would be replaced by a slightly higher rate of 0.0762 cents with 4% of performances carrying no royalty charge OR an alternative of 1.17 cents per aggregate tuning hour.
The agreement does not cover the streaming of a broadcast signal or charges for small webcasters or non-commercial webcasters; it also has an additional option for large webcaster subscription services of 10.9% or revenues with a minimum charge of 0.27 cents per month per subscriber or individual on a free-trial or other free service.
The minimum charge for those tasking up the subscription offer is USD5, 000 per year with half that for those choosing the other options. Notice and record keeping, which are also in contention, are not in the proposed agreement and are currently the subject of US Copyright Office proceedings.
Sound Exchange, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) body charged with collecting the fees, said in a news release that although it felt charges were still lower than in a free market without a compulsory deal I did solve two main problems by avoiding costly arbitration and ensuring payments were made sooner than if the parties had gone to arbitration.
Its executive director John L. Simson said," Webcasters had stopped paying royalties pending the setting of new rates even though they continue to exploit sound recordings for their businesses. This action threatened to deprive SoundExchange of royalties necessary to continue operations, and the Register of Copyrights has even asked Congress to clarify that webcasters cannot do this in the future."
AFTRA (American Federation of Radio and TV Artists) Director of Sound Recordings Ann Chaitovitz commented," Artists should be compensated whenever businesses use their work, and AFTRA is very pleased to have reached an agreement with webcasters that avoids a CARP [Copyright Arbitration Panel] and allows those businesses to grow while compensating artists. We hope that the commercial radio stations will now acknowledge the value of the music they play."
Digital Media Association (DiMA) Executive Director Jonathan Potter commented that for webcasters, "the agreement is a temporary band-aid that avoids millions of dollars of legal fees associated with a broken arbitration process, and thereby enables resources to be focused on high-quality programming that is enjoyed by millions of listeners."
He added that two points should not be forgotten, that "webcasters remain at a competitive disadvantage to terrestrial radio by having to pay huge royalties for sound recordings that broadcasters get for free; and second, that the arbitration process that determines these royalties is sorely in need of reform."
2003-04-05: Big City Radio has now announced the closure of the USD 43 million cash sale of its four "Rumba" format stations to Nassau Broadcasting (See RNW Jan 1).
It has also announced that the Forbearance Agreement that it had previously entered into with holders of more than two-thirds of its 11.25% senior discount notes due 2005 has been extended until the end of this month.
Big City owed around USD195 million in March but had less than USD1 million in hand. It only has one station left to sell, Chicago suburban station WYXX-FM.
In other US radio business, Radio One Inc, which released its 2003 guidance in early February in a more upbeat environment, has now revised the guidance.
Its broadcast revenues were up 16% in January and 10% in February but severe snowstorms in the US northeast plus the impact of the war that led to more cancellations and lowered new bookings hit its March figures.
As a result, it has cut its first quarter broadcast revenue predictions from a growth of 11% to 8% growth and says that for March itself it is forecasting low single digit revenue growth.
Radio One also announced that it had made in cash a principal payment of some USD13 million on its bank term loan.
Previous Big City:
Previous Radio One Inc:
2003-04-05: BBC Radio 5 Live hosts Nicky Campbell and Fiona Glover were involved in an on-air exchange on Friday following an allusion to an incident last week in which Campbell was alleged to have reduced co-presenter Victoria Derbyshire to tears.
The allusion came after Glover ran through the item on her show and then paused as Campbell was preparing to hand over to her from his breakfast show.
He asked Glover if she wanted to take a break and she responded that she did not want him to reduce another woman to tears, a reference to a show last week when Derbyshire abandoned the show in tears during news headlines.
Campbell then came back with a retort concerning believing items in a Daily Mail, a reference to a series of articles in the newspaper about Glover's private life.
There has been obvious tension between Campbell and Derbyshire since the pair started co-hosting the station's breakfast show earlier this year following a reshuffle (See RNW Jan 13) but during her Friday handover to Glover she said that her lapse into tears had not been caused by Campbell.
2003-04-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a USD27, 500 fine upon Infinity Broadcasting for what one Commissioner, who felt consideration should have been given to revoking the station licence, termed "most vulgar and disgusting indecency" broadcast on the Deminski & Doyle Show, broadcast on January 9, 2002 on WKRK- FM Detroit.
Infinity had not argued that the material was not broadcast - the complainant supplied a recording - nor that the material was indecent under the Commission's definition but argued that no action could be taken because the Commission generic definition of indecency was unconstitutional.
The segment in question involved the hosts discussing various sex-linked acts including excreting on a woman, ejaculating on her, "slapping" and "punching" her, and having oral, anal and vaginal sex with her.
In a dissenting statement, Democrat Commissioner Michael J, Copps, said he was "deeply disappointed that the majority proposes a mere $27,500 fine against this station" adding that he believed "that a financial slap on the wrist does not adequately reflect the seriousness of the station's actions."
"To fulfil our duty under the law, we should initiate a hearing to determine whether the WKRK-FM license should be revoked, £ he said, adding "Such a fine will easily be absorbed by the station as a 'cost of doing business.'"
He described the case as one in which "WKRK- FM in Detroit aired some of the most vulgar and disgusting indecency that I have had the misfortune to examine since I joined the Commission."
"The station presented graphic descriptions of violent sexual acts against women as entertainment at a time when children likely composed a significant portion of the audience. The extreme nature of this broadcast - among the worst we have faced in the Commission's history - and the fact that it was broadcast in the middle of the day, gives the FCC the responsibility to take serious action."
In a strong attack on Infinity, he said, "Would anyone who reads the transcript of this program argue that the United States should subsidize such material by giving WKRK- FM free spectrum through their broadcast license? "
"Can anyone read the indecency law that Congress has given us and conclude that any station could broadcast such material on the public's airwaves consistent with the law?"
"The majority admits that WKRK- FM appears to have violated egregiously and extensively the statutory ban on the broadcast of indecent material. The majority presumably recognizes the seriousness of the offence and, importantly, this Commission has agreed for the first time that it may revoke the license of a station owner that broadcasts indecent material."
"But the Commission does not take this step. Our tepid action today will not dissuade these types of broadcasts in the future. The message to licensees is clear: Even egregious violations will not result in revocation of a license."
"The majority does warn Infinity that another similar action could result in a revocation hearing, but it fails to mention that this is not the first action against a station owned by Infinity. Infinity stations were fined $1.7 million by a previous Commission in 1995 to settle a series of indecency cases. As part of that settlement, Infinity agreed to take steps to prevent further broadcast of indecent material. But more complaints involving other broadcasts followed. "
"Last August, for example, another Infinity station aired the "Opie & Anthony" program allegedly involving sex acts performed in or near St. Patrick's Cathedral. That investigation is still pending without action by the Commission. "
"The majority may say that this is the largest fine we are allowed to impose under our guidelines. But fines are not the only tool Congress gave us to enforce the law. The Commission would be more credible by moving immediately to a hearing to determine whether the station's license should be revoked. We would be well within our statutory authority to do this."
In his statement the other Democrat on the commission Jonathan Adelstein also brought up the issue of licence revocation, saying, "The Commission has now given fair notice that it can and will avail itself of a range of enforcement sanctions, including the initiation of revocation proceedings."
" Moreover, the Commission will, in the future, consider finding broadcasters liable for multiple violations that occur in a single program where statements can be viewed as separate indecent utterances. Such an approach could result in substantially higher forfeiture amounts."
Republican Commissioner Kevin Martin, whilst not suggesting licence revocation, brought up the possibility of higher fines, commenting, " I would have proposed a higher fine. For instance, we could have found that each time the show's hosts solicited a new call on an indecent topic, the ensuing conversation constituted a separate violation."
"As the Notice acknowledges, we have the discretion to consider each indecent
Utterance a separate violation."
FCC news release:
2003-04-04: Former Virgin breakfast host Chris Evans drank around eight times more than the recommended safe limit of alcohol in a three day binge after he walked out of his in 2001 according to evidence given to the UK High Court on Wednesday.
The evidence came during hearings of Evans claim for GBP 8.6 million (USD13.6 million) from Virgin owners SMG and their counter claim against him.
Dr John Gayner, who was called to examine Evans on June 27, 2001, a week after the start of his binge between June 20 and 22, confirmed that Evans admitted he had a drink problem.
In response to questioning by SMG counsel Geoffrey Vos QC Dr Gayner agreed that if Evans had been drinking at the rate of 25 units a day - the equivalent of around 12 pints of strong lager - it would have contributed to his feelings of anxiety and low mood.
He added that he did not believe Evans should have continued working in his state, describing him as "very, very stressed" when he examined him.
A psychiatrist asked by SMG's lawyers to report on any psychiatric consequences arising from the case,
Dr Adrianne Reveley said that in her opinion Evans had no psychiatric problems although he had a binge-drinking tendency.
The case is continuing.
2003-04-04: US National Public Radio (NPR), Chicago Public Station WBEZ-FM and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) took the radio honours in the 62nd annual George Foster Peabody Awards just announced for 2002.
NPR won its award for the Yiddish Sound Project, a celebration of Yiddish radio in the US produced in conjunction with Sound Portrait Productions and aired in its All Things Considered slot starting in March last year (See RNW March 19, 2002).
The WBEZ award went to its Stories of Home collection of 11 personal stories that were aired in April and May last year as part of its Chicago Matters series on housing. The series had been running for 13 years but funding for it died up this year.
The BBC File on 4 award was for a programme that looked in depth at how nations such as Iran illicitly procured "dual-use" materials for the development of nuclear weapons.
2003-04-04: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) TV sports host Don Cherry has had his knuckles rapped for comments he made on the Jim Rome US syndicated radio programme at the start of the week.
In the interview Cherry attacked Quebeckers who had booed the US anthem at a hockey game and went on to say it was a "damn shame" Canada did not support the was on Iraq and calling anti-war protesters "kooks."
CBC Executive vice-president Harold Redekopp said Cherry had been speaking for himself in the interview, adding that the CBC disassociated itself from his comments, which he termed "uninformed" and "inappropriate".
Cherry, who had aired pro-war views during an edition of his coaches corner sports segment, told Rome he thought he would be fired for his seven-minute tirade during the March 22 segment in which he was involved in a fierce debate over the war with co-host Ron Maclean that attracted thousands of e-mails and phone calls of complaint to the broadcaster.
A story posted on the CBC sports web site reports that concerning the booing, he commented, "You have to realize it's Quebec and it's French Canadians."
Cherry alleged that most Canadians supported the war and that it was the media that had put him in a bad light.
"Our media up here is totally left wing," he explained. "It's socialist, left-wing, pinko, Commies. I got ripped to shreds in the left-wing media. That's the chance you take."
He also attacked the CBC itself, saying," "You have to realize the CBC is government owned" and then continuing, "You have to say the government was against it (the war) and I'm for it and I'm on a government program. I really thought this could be the end ... I've been on long enough. If I have to go I have to go. I don't back down one bit."
The story also notes that following the Montreal incident the Star Spangled Banner was given a standing ovation before all March 22 games, including ones in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary.
RNW comment: A quick read of a dictionary definition of communist and look at the ownership of the main Canadian newspapers combined with fairly elementary consideration of the appropriateness of political comments and blanket condemnation of French Canadians during a sports show would seem to fully justify the CBC reaction to Cherry's comments.
Presumably he was never dishonest enough to condemn the mixing of sport with politics in the past?
CBC Sports report:
2003-04-04: Bonneville International is marking the second anniversary of "The Drive", its Chicago classic rock station, with a week of advert-free broadcasting from 6 a.m. today.
Promoting the move on its website, the station says, "We've always been committed to keeping the music centre stage, that's why you'll always hear fewer commercials on The Drive than most radio stations. Our sponsors appreciate not being lost in a sea of endless commercials . . . and frankly we enjoy playing more music. "
The station is not saying how much revenue it will lose but estimates are of around USD 400,000.
Also marking an anniversary in Chicago - this time its 40th year - is WVON-AM, the "Voice of the Negro" station now the "Voice of the Nation" the current talk incarnation of the station founded in 1963 as Chicago's first full-service rhythm-and-blues station.
It is marking its history with a year of special programs and tributes.
Its first owners were Jewish brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, who owned the Chess Record Company.
Since its founding it has gone through a number of changes in ownership, format, and frequency before starting its current talk-format in 1986 under the ownership of Pervis Spann and Wesley South, two of its original personalities; Spann's daughter, Melody Spann-Cooper, is its present president and general manager.
WVON now broadcasts only from 10pm to 10m daily, although it has a 24-hour Internet stream.
WDRV web site:
WVON web site
2003-04-04: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has announced two that it is to make its UK schools radio programmes available on demand for seven days after their broadcast a move that replicates its existing service on other domestic channels.
It is also to move its overnight broadcasts of school programmes from BBC Radio 3 to Radio Four's digital platform in September.
In Nigeria, BBC World Service has teamed up with Econet Wireless to launch a news mobile phone summary service called News On Demand.
The service, which was launched in Zimbabwe in 2000, allows subscribers to access local and international news on the hour every hour and is Nigeria's first and only mobile phone-based audio news service. The service can also be accessed from fixed-line telephones.
2003-04-04: The war with Iraq has pulled news-talk up in the Internet ratings as well as broadcast ones according to the latest Internet ratings from Arbitron-MeasureCast that show two news-talk stations in the top ten, with ABC Chicago station WLS-AM jumping up from sixth rank the previous week to the number 3 slot for the week to March 23 and Clear Channel's Los Angeles KFI-AM moving to number ten from 13th rank.
At the very top, Radioio Eclectic moved to the top station slot and Chaincast/Stream Audio pushed Clear Channel, which is again changing some of its streaming, out of the top network rank and it was noticeable that the talk stations had comparatively few listeners than the top ranked channels but they stayed listening for longer.
For the week to March 23, Arbitron-Measure Cast'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: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 314,604 (330,819); CP 57,506 (64,402). Up from second despite lower listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 283,159 (317,131); CP 121,089 (132,808). Up from third despite lower listening and reach.
3: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 255,623 (168,408); CP 47,158 (33,063). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 236,084 (333,336); CP 53,250 (59,427). Down from top rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 223,356 (240,597); CP 32,999 (34,246). Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
* Jazz format Jazz FM dropped from fifth to sixth with TTSL of -162,672, down from 231,713 and CP of 28,419, down from 33,305.
The top five networks for the week to March 23 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,503,471 (1,569,934); CP 224,518 (215,076). Up from second despite lower listening although reach was up.
2: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,269,109 (1,748,610): CP 232,358 (224,486)- Down from top with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,215,020 (1,344,795); CP 354,398 (380,815). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Live365.com - TTSL 755,222 (805,808); CP - 141,516 (148,872) Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 739,691 (752,711); CP 142,860 (137,036) - Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-04-03: US Radio listening was up 5% and cable viewing went up 17% in the first week of the war against Iraq according to figures from Arbitron that also showed broadcast TV viewing falling 5%. The company also says that radio listening went up sharply for a few hours on March 23 when news broke that U.S. soldiers were believed to be captured or killed by Iraqi guerrilla forces. CNN, whose figures were already higher, saw an even larger spike over the same period.
Another survey by Paragon Media Strategies, conducted between March 21 and March 24 showed more than two-thirds of respondents saying they listened to radio for war news but only 10% saying they had first heard the news of war on radio compared to 79% saying TV.
Of those listening to radio for war news, some three-quarters go for current headlines, 56% for in-depth stories, and 58% for talk or discussion.
Just over half said radio was doing a good job in providing news and information about the war, 36% said it was doing an excellent job, 16% that it was doing a "fair" job, and 2% a poor one.
A further survey conducted over the same period by Wirthlin Worldwide and Fleishman-Hillard International Communications showed US consumer demand generally down since the start of hostilities with consumers holding back on major purchases. They also said they were less likely to purchase French, German, and Canadian products than they had been previously.
The degree of hostility - or preference- towards goods from other countries was linked to its perceived attitudes and actions relating to the war. Some 60% said they were more favourable to goods from the UK with 64% being more hostile to French goods, 52% more hostile to German goods, and 35% more hostile towards Canadian goods.
The report also notes some ignorance amongst US consumers about brand origins - Heineken was listed as among the top-ten German brands by respondents when it is in fact a Dutch company.
Philip Deihl, co-Chair of Fleishman-Hillard's Public Affairs Practice commented, "Many Americans appear to be ready to start choosing sides, with potentially serious consequences for companies and brands identified with France, Germany, and Canada - as well as troubling implications for relations between the United States and these nations."
RNW comment: We would also note considerable, albeit unquantified, evidence of reverse attitudes in a number of countries with some US brands being affected in France and strongly boycotted in many Arab countries.
Paragon web site:
2003-04-03: UK Virgin Radio chief executive John Pearson has denied lying under oath during the UK High Court case in which former Virgin breakfast host Chris Evans is suing Virgin owners SMG for GBP8.6 million (USD13.6 million) and SMG is counter-suing him for damages.
Pearson had testified last week that he had not spoken or written to former Virgin consultant programme director, Ian Grace, asking him not to give evidence but after being recalled to the witness box on Wednesday, Pearson admitted writing to Grace three weeks before the hearing began.
Evans' counsel, Christopher Pymont QC, had asked Pearson when the latter was first giving evidence if he had been in touch with Grace during the past month and was told that he (Pearson) had not. Pearson, giving evidence for the third time on Wednesday, said he only remembered the communication after he stepped down. "It seemed a lot, lot longer ago," he said.
Mr Pymont then said, "I suggest that what concerned you was that we might have access to those emails and could have disproved your evidence. I suggest you did not give an honest response to my question."
Pearson responded, "I apologise if it looks that way but that is not the case."
The case is continuing.
2003-04-03: Cumulus Media has announced a deal with Athens Broadcasting Company, Inc. to purchase its four stations serving the Huntsville (Alabama) market for USD 22 million in Cumulus stock. The deal includes around USD 2.5 million of net working capital and the number of shares to be transferred will be calculated on the basis of an average market closing price for a period prior to closing.
Cumulus is to operate the stations - Top 40 WZYP-FM (Athens, Alabama), Country WUSX-FM (Tullahoma, Tennessee), News/Talk, WVNN-AM (Athens, Alabama)) and Sports WUMP-AM (Madison, Alabama).
Cumulus already has 13 stations in Alabama, six in Mobile and seven in Montgomery and its Chairman and CEO, Lew Dickey, commented, "We are very pleased to announce the acquisition of these great assets in the rapidly growing Huntsville market. This transaction is highly accretive and de-leveraging as we are using our stock as consideration."
Cumulus has also announced a tender offer running to the end of the month for its outstanding 10 3/8% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2008 at the rate of $1,067.50 per $1,000 principal amount of Notes, minus a consent payment of $20.00 per $1,000 principal amount.
In other US radio business, Hispanic Broadcasting, which now expects its sale to Univision to go through after FCC approval this month, has released fourth quarter results to the end of 2002 showing a 7.3% increase in net revenues increased to USD 65.8 million and for the full year of 6.5% to USD 256.5 million.
EBITDA, however, was down 2.8% for the quarter to USD 20.4 million and down 3.5% for the full year to USD 78.2 million.
The latter figures were affected by merger expenses excluding which would have led to an EBITDA increase in the final quarter of 7.5% to USD 22.6 million and for the full year of 2.9% to USD 83.3 million.
In all Hispanic reported a net income of USD10.8 million (10 cents a share) for the quarter - but for merger expenses it would have been USD13.5 million (12 cents a share) -- or $0.10 per share for the three months; this compares to USD8.6 million (8 cents a share) for the final quarter of 2001.
For the full year net income was USD40.2 million (37 cents a share) compared to USD 31.0 million (28 cents a share) in 2001; excluding the merger expenses, net income would have been USD$45.1 million (41 cents a share).
Commenting Hispanic President and CEO McHenry T. Tichenor, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer said, "Over the last several months, we have taken steps to significantly expand our station line-up, and made important moves to augment and redeploy our on air talent, all in the midst of a challenging economy and a highly competitive marketplace. We recently announced acquisitions totalling approximately $105.0 million, including three new markets: Puerto Rico, Austin, and Sacramento, as well as a new FM station in Chicago. We have added important on air talent and realigned our talent line-up in key markets, expecting that by the second half of this year we will build on the ratings successes we enjoyed in the 2002 Fall ratings book."
He added, "We are particularly excited about our imminent future as a part of Univision. We believe that adding our assets to the tremendous array of Univision assets will result in an unprecedented opportunity to develop new business from advertisers who are not yet spending adequate amounts to reach Hispanics in the United States."
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
2003-04-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has dramatically reduced fines it imposed on Florida pirate station operator Richard Muñoz and on Cornbelt Broadcasting Company for Emergency Alert System offences, both on grounds of inability to pay.
In the case of Muñoz, the original penalty was USD 10,000 (See RNW Oct 25, 2002) but it was reduced to USD 2,000.
Muñoz had argued for a cancellation on the basis that he had relied on misleading advice from another unlicensed religious broadcaster in operating the station, promised no recurrence of the offence, and also that he could not afford the penalty.
The FCC rejected his first two arguments but based on tax return evidence accepted that he could not afford to pay the full penalty.
In the case of Cornbelt, licensee of WHOW- AM and WHOW- FM, Clinton, Illinois - both now off the air -- the FCC had originally assessed it for USD 17,000 in penalties for failure to have an operational Emergency Alert System decoder, post the antenna structure registration number, and enclose its antenna structure within effective locked fences or other enclosures (See RNW Nov 2, 2002).
Cornbelt did not deny the offences but requested cancellation of the penalty on financial grounds and also on a history of overall compliance with regulations. It said that its stations had been forced off the air and it may not be able to raise funding to make necessary equipment purchases and repairs to recommence broadcasting.
The FCC looked at the record and did not accept that Cornbelt had a history of compliance but it did accept that it was in financial hardship and cut the fine to USD 1,000.
2003-04-03: AFTRA (The American Federation of Radio and TV Artists) and Clear Channel have now scheduled meetings on April 21 and 22 concerning their dispute in New York City over voice tracking.
AFTRA members at four of the company's five stations in the city (WLTW, WWPR, WAXQ, WKTU) have already voted in favour of seeking strike authorisation should agreement not be reached - personalities at the fifth station WHTZ) are prohibited from voting under their contracts.
The union says it is not attempting to prevent all voice tracking in the market but is seeking union rates for those who supply such tracks. It says it has already suggested that it allow voice tracking to cover overnight weekend slots but only if those supplying the service get the minimum New York part-time pay and benefits package.
AFTRA has re-scheduled its "Keep NY Radio Live" public rally has been rescheduled to April 24th
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-04-02: Infinity has confirmed that it has reversed its long-held policy of not streaming station signals and under a deal with AOL is to stream at least five nationally known Infinity stations over the AOL Radio@ Network.
The deal is part of a marketing alliance tied in to AOL's broadband push under which America Online will provide AOL for Broadband service to broadcasting facilities at Infinity's stations across the country.
Although the stations to be streamed have not been announced, CBS Marketwatch's story notes "Infinity owns 183 stations, including WCBS New York, WBBM Chicago, and KNX Los Angeles."
David Goodman, Infinity's Executive Vice President of Marketing, who valued the deal at around USD 30 million, commented, "AOL's significant commitment to Infinity demonstrates the tremendous power of our stations' word-of-mouth reach in major markets across the country."
"We have formed a win-win alliance that is not only a great media partnership, but a great promotional and programming partnership as well. And for the first time, as a result of AOL for Broadband, Infinity stations will have access to a whole new world of instantaneous content at their fingertips."
AOL's marketing campaign will involve all Infinity radio stations plus TV and a 50-city marketing tour.
2003-04-02: UK Wireless Group is facing a bill of around GBP 325, 000 (USD 508,000) after an appeal court ordered it to pay GBP 25,000 (USD 39,000) in damages to Formula One racing driver Eddie Irvine for using his image without permission.
The decision means that Irvine no longer has to pay costs of around GBP 300, 000 (USD 469,000) that he would have had to pay had he lost his appeal.
In March last year Irvine has won his case in the High Court (See RNW March 14, 2002) over the use by Talk Sport of a doctored photograph of him in an advertising brochure.
At that time however, he was only awarded GBP2000 (USD 3,100), in damages, less than the GBP 5000 (USD 7,800) that the station had offered by the station; because the award was lower than the amount offered he then faced having to pay TalkSport's legal costs as well as his own.
The original award had been made on the basis that the high court judge assessed as a reasonable endorsement but Irvine's lawyers argued that the leaflet could give a false impression that he had been paid to endorse the station.
The appeal court accepted Irvine's evidence from past endorsement deals that he would not have endorsed the station for less than GBP 25,000 and agreed that the High Court award was too low; it also rejected the station's argument that it was not liable to pay any damages.
Lord Justice Jonathan Parker said he could not accept TalkSport's arguments that the photograph would not have deceived recipients of the promotional pack in which it was used and said that the station would have to pay at least the GBP25, 000 "to enable it to do lawfully that which it did unlawfully."
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-04-02: Latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey show Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB losing some of the gains it had made; it lost its top station spot to Austereo's 2-Day-FM, which had been aided by heavy promotion, and although Alan Jones retained the top breakfast slot for 2GB his lead fell back with share down from 17.2% to 15.4%.
Austereo says the success of 2-Day was not at the expense of its Triple M, which in two surveys has fallen from third to eighth.
2GB talk rival, Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE, leapt back to fourth rank from ninth in the previous survey.
2UE also had good news in the morning slot where John Laws returned to top ranking with share up from 8.5 to 12 and in the breakfast slot newcomer Steve Price took its share up from 6.9 to 8.3, moving into fourth place from fifth.
DMG got a boost in Sydney, where its Nova station moved up from fourth to third slot.
City by city, the top three were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM -same rank with 23.1 (22,9); 5AA with 15 (13.6) - up from third; 5MMM 14.8 (13.9) Down from second;
*Brisbane - B105FM with 17.4 (16.2); NEW97.3 FM 14.1 (12.4) up from second; Triple M 12.5 (14.0) down from second:
*Melbourne -3AW 15.3 (13.7) - Same rank; ABC774 11.7 (13.1)- Same rank; Fox FM 11.3 (11.5) Same rank: * Nova moved above Gold, with which it had shared the fourth spot, taking its share up from 9.7 to 9.8 whilst Gold, now in fifth rank, lost share from 9.7 to 9.1
**Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 23.9 (24.3); ABC 720 11.5 (10.8) - up from fourth; 96 FM 10.8 (10.9) -same rank: *All New 92.9 with 10.3(10.9) fell from third to fourth;
*Sydney - 2-Day with 11.7 (11.5)- up from second; 2GB 10.3 (11.7) - down from first; Nova - 9.2 (8.6) - up from third;
*ABC 702 fell from third to seventh with share down from 9.0 to 7.8; 2UE rebounded from ninth to fourth with share up from6.3 to 8.9' and Triple M fell again, dropping from fifth and a 7.6 share to eighth and 7.4.
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-04-02: Coverage in local newspapers of the latest Federal Communications Commission (FCC) field hearing on US media ownership regulations, sponsored by Democrat Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan Adelstein and held in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday, indicated significant opposition to further media consolidation amongst both individuals who attended the hearing and local media owners.
The News and Observer, which included a comprehensive survey of local media ownership, quoted Jim Goodmon, chief executive of Capitol Broadcasting, which owns the CBS and FOX affiliates in the Triangle and radio station 101.5 FM, as saying, "The concept is localism and as many different owners as we can have. "Localism and, in turn, community standards are under direct fire from those advocating nationalism and corporate objectives."
Goodmon, the paper reports, has a vested interest since he was recently unable to buy syndication rights to two shows because a larger group had purchased them for all its markets and Goodmon noted that the more consolidation there was, the harder it was for small companies to compete.
There was support for his opposition to giant groups from Durham Cable Television Advisory Board chairman James E. Vaughan who commented, "At this point, communications and airwaves is too sacred a trust to leave solely to the discretion of monopolies and giant corporations."
Also opposing more consolidation was a panellist Tift Merrit, a country music artist who commented, "If you haven't heard of me it may well be because I'm not on the radio," Merritt, a panellist, said. "You're going to lose thousands of people like me -- they're going to be silenced by management playlists."
Merrit commented on the problems of getting on the radio, contrasting it with concerts where, if a show was good, more people would come the next time. She said that she didn't yet make enough money for Clear Channel to be interested in her or promote her show.
The News and Observer publisher, Orage Quarles III, supported the relaxation of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban and TV group representatives argued that consolidation had allowed them to increase the quality of news cover.
The Herald-Sun report notes that of the 11 media owners and musicians on the panel, two spoke in favour of easing regulation.
It also quoted remarks from Goodmon and also from Jim Heavner, of VilCom, which owns WCHL, a Chapel Hill AM radio station; he called deregulation a "disaster for the public interest."
Heavner said that had local radio been given time and "some regulatory protection" it would have survived without consolidation. He argued in favour of local ownership as the best option for serving local communities because such owners were more likely to be concerned about the community and less likely to give priority to economies.
William Sutton, past president of the National Association of Black Journalists and the News & Observer's deputy managing editor, said a large number of black radio journalists lost their jobs because of consolidation.
He added that 98 percent of radio stations had news operations in 1982 but this had dropped to 67 percent because of consolidation.
"Does that sound like a diversity of viewpoints to you?" he asked. "If we consolidate TV as we did radio, if we continue to go down this path, we're going to see a nation less informed, not more."
Herald Sun report:
News and Observer report:
2003-04-02: XM Satellite Radio says it now has nearly half-a-million subscribers, more than 135,000 of them having been signed up in the first quarter of this year.
Noting that XM'ssubscriber total at the end of March reached 483,075 , President and CEO Hugh Panero said the company's "accelerated subscriber growth is fuelled by the critically acclaimed Delphi XM SKYFi Radio, which is penetrating the home, portable and automotive market, and XM's availability in new General Motors' vehicles."
"Clearly, the critical milestone of one-half million subscribers is visible on the horizon and we will reach it shortly," he added.
XM's satellite radio rival Sirius has announced the extension of its availability in Hertz rental vehicles. Hertz says it had positive customer feedback from the initial launch of SIRIUS in California and Florida and from the start of April is now offering Sirius radio in rentals in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston and Detroit, in addition to previous markets of Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas and primary airport locations in California and Florida.
Additional markets are to be rolled out monthly t reach a target of 33 by July with Sirius receivers available in 28 different vehicle models.
2003-04-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has upheld a USD15, 000 fine on Concilio Mision Cristiana Fuente de Agua Viva, licensee of WRJS-AM, Bayamon, Puerto Rico, for failure to have its antenna structure registration number posted, failure to exhibit the prescribed obstruction lighting, and failure to notify the Commission of a change in the ownership of the antenna structure.
Concilio had argued that it should not be liable for any penalty concerning notification of ownership because the FCC had approved its acquisition of the station, an argument rejected on the basis that acquisition of a station does not necessarily include its antenna.
Concilio also argued that it did not need to light the tower because it was told by the tower's previous owner that the tower was below the minimum height for which lighting was mandatory but measurements made both by the company and FCC showed it to be above the relevant height.
The FCC pointed out that the station's licence showed that it was tall enough to require lighting and that it was also a licensee's responsibility to know its tower height.
The FCC also rejected an argument that the penalty was excessive and ordered payment of the full amount.
2003-04-01: The issue of US media concentration with particular concentration on Clear Channel's dominance of services in Minot,North Dakota is taken up in a New York Times article that notes that the radio giant owns 23 of the 80 commercial stations in the state and all six commercial outlets in Minot, the state's fourth largest city.
Radio, notes the article, is of particular importance in the sparsely-populated prairie where people spend a lot of time outdoors and it refers to the situation in Minot, where there is a only a public station and Christian station in competition for audiences with Clear Channel, as currently existing through a quirk in regulations but one with wider implications.
The concentration of ownership in Minot, however, does raise questions as to the implications should further consolidation be allowed over the US.
North Dakota Democrat Senator Byron L. Dorgan commented, "Over time, concentration of markets means less competition and we know that less competition is always bad for consumers. The question is, Where does this stop?"
Minot police chief Fred Debowey also expressed concern, saying, "The old radio stations used to cover the local news. We very seldom hear local news anymore."
Clear Channel, which employs only one full-time news employee in Minot, says that residents in the area can receive satellite radio signals and have access to TV, newspapers and billboards and the Times quotes the general manager of the stations Rick Stensby as saying, "If we got out of whack, we would be whacked with the advertisers."
(RNW comment: That response of itself is most revealing, as being related just to money and not in any way to provididing a public service.
For those outdoors and in need of an emergency radio warning, satellite radio, which is prohibited from taking local advertisements, is hardly a suitable alternative nor are newspapers, billboards or TV.
Indeed the Stensby response suggests that neither Clear Channel, nor any big corporate group, is fit to hold a monopoly on public airwaves anywhere).
The Times takes up the tale of a January 2002 train derailment in Minot when there was a delay in giving radio warnings of a toxic cloud over the area because police were unable to reach anyone at the designated emergency broadcaster, KCJB, and station employees had to be roused from their homes.
The police said that the problem arose because Clear Channel was piping in a satellite feed from elsewhere making a human presence at the station dispensable but Clear Channel said that someone was always on duty during the night and in this case busy phone lines and technological misunderstandings resulted in the emergency failure.
(RNW comment: The Times says that local officials now acknowledge that the Clear Channel version may have been true.
As we commented in February in relation to another New York Times article (See RNW Feb 24) if the facts are that the station was unmanned our view is that Clear Channel should automatically lost all its licences in the town as unfit to hold them and have to show cause why it should be allowed to retain a single licence anywhere.
We regard it as most unsatisfactory that no proper public investigation seems to have been held in relation to the safety issue involved, not only to ascertain the facts but also to improve procedures to ensure that recurrence of such a problem is less likely.)
Locals also allege other downsides since Clear Channel has had its monopoly. They say it has trimmed other staff - something Clear Channel denies (RNW comment-a simple look at employment record should clear that one up) and retired former KCJB general manager Rod Romine said, "They don't nearly have the quality of employees that they used to have."
The Times also says that on a recent afternoon two of the working DJs were students studying broadcasting at Minot State University and says some days, they run around substituting as DJs at different stations when others are out (The formats in Minot country, oldies, classic rock, adult contemporary, top 40 and news talk.)
Others say advertising rates have gone up noticeably following Clear Channel gaining its monopoly and in addition the stations no longer offer ratings.
"There's no audience ratings done because they control all the stations," said Charlie Ferguson, a former general manager of three of the stations, who now buys a lot of radio advertising for local businesses. "They say, 'We're the only ones here.'"
Clear Channel says it stopped buying ratings information because it is expensive and not statistically accurate for a market as small as Minot's.
The concentration in Minot has come about because of the way the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines markets; in this case Minot is grouped with the state Capital Bismarck, which is 100 miles away. The 45 stations in the market currently allow a single organisation to hold up to eight stations -and of the six Clear Channel stations, six are in Minot. Similar concentration pockets occur elsewhere and companies have a clear commercial reason to cluster stations because of the benefits they gain from sharing overhead costs.
Clear Channel argues that this has brought benefits to audiences because there are now more formats-formerly in Minot there were competing country stations for example - and also allowing it to install a new transmitter for KCJB.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2003-04-01: UK UBC Media in a trading update has said it expects revenue growth of 19% from its 80%-owned subsidiary Classic Gold Digital to top GBP4.4 million (USD6.9 million) for the full year; it says that since it bought the network in 2000 for GBP 2.1 million (USD 3.3 million) it has slowed the long-term audience decline and an encouraging recent performance. It adds that it hopes for a boost from the Monday launch of a new breakfast show hosted by veteran British DJ Tony Blackburn (See RNW March 31).
UBC says that it has done better than expected in the six months the end of March and expects to pass operating break-even in the period and move into a profit of GBP 75,000 (USD 117,000) for the half-year compared to a loss of GBP 210,000 (USD 330,000) in 2002.
In the past year UBC says it has achieved strong organic growth and continues to benefit from a complementary mix of revenues that have protected it from the decline experienced by the radio advertising market; it also notes that its UBC's production business- it is the UK's largest independent radio producer- continues to perform in line with expectations.
For the full year UBC expects to trim its losses to GBP 1.4 million (USD 2.2 million).
2003-04-01: The UK High Court hearing into the claim by former Virgin breakfast host Chris Evans for GBP8.6 million (USD 13.6 million) from Virgin owners SMG (Scottish Media Group) and SMG's counter-claim for damages, has heard evidence supporting Evans' claim that the company wanted to dump him and also that the DJ had run-down his co-presenters.
Virgin programme director Paul Jackson, who joined the company in June 2001 from Capital Radio, said that before he joined Virgin he had only hear the odd snippet of Evans' breakfast show but thought that it was poor.
"My general impression was that it was sometimes very good but at others it was unfocused and a bit blurry," he said. Jackson said that he had met Evans before he joined the station and heard praise of Capital breakfast host Chris Tarrant and criticism of Virgin.
Evans said his talent was being held back, continued Jackson, and criticised other presenters at the station, particularly his breakfast show team whom, he said, he had made rich but no longer gave him support.
Jackson said Evans said co-presenter John Revell and Holly "hotlips" Samos, another member of his breakfast team, were becoming "nonentities".
Jackson said that when he joined Virgin he was stunned at how bad relationships were between Evans and management, adding that the decision to end Evans' contract gradually became more inevitable as the DJs behaviour became more and more unacceptable. The priority when he arrived, said Jackson, should have been to get the right balance of music but "all management time was spent on dealing with the situation with Chris."
Under questioning by Evans' counsel Christopher Pymont about the disclosure of new evidence about enquiries made about commissioning of new jingles before he joined Virgin, Jackson recalled ordering jingles for a Steve Penk show in mid-May 2001, at a time when he was prohibited from working for Virgin under his severance deal with Capital.
The matter had been brought to light by Richard Spears, a former production manager at Virgin, who had alleged that Jackson went to Los Angeles to order jingles; the trip allegation was denied and the judge ordered that Jackson produce his passport to confirm his claim.
Pymont had produced an invoice from the US jingle company, Groove Addicts, confirming an order made by Paul Park (Jackson's father is former Capital Radio programme director Richard Park) a note saying, "See you next week."
Jackson did however admit ordering jingles at a cost of GBP 16,000 (USD 25,000) and said he thought that jingles would help refresh Virgin's sound over the summer. At the time, he said, the station hadn't got jingles; he said that he would have ordered a breakfast jingle for Penk, who was being hired to do the drivetime show, because he was also hired to cover the breakfast show when Evans was away.
He said he was sure he would also have ordered jingles for the Evans show but did so without discussions with Evans because the latter refused to speak to him. He added that he thought Evans was not suited to the breakfast slot.
Pymont also told the court of a draft report from Virgin Radio chief executive John Pearson writing on May 27, 2001, to SMG that said Evans had put in "significant effort" to express concerns about the breakfast show and said Pearson's notes had remained unchanged until June 12, 2001, the week before Evans walked out of the station. The notes, said Pymont showed that Pearson felt that it was too soon to judge whether changes Evans made his show would succeed but concluded that it "should ultimately increase audiences."
This, said Pymont, directly contradicted testimony given by Pearson and he said there had been concern about SMG's late disclosure of evidence and lack of disclosure of documentary evidence relating to the case.
The case is continuing:
2003-04-01: The latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) upheld four complaints against radio, one being partly upheld, compared with none in its previous bulletin (See RNW Mar 1). A further radio case was considered resolved.
In all the Commission dealt with 243 complaints, 107 more than in the previous bulletin. 20 of these involved radio and the remaining 223, including advertisements and trailers, concerned TV compared with 16 and 120 a month earlier.
There were again six fairness complaints, again all except TV; of these two were upheld and one partly upheld compared to just one partly upheld in the previous month.
Of the remaining 237 standards complaints, 20 involved radio and 217 TV compared with 17 and 113 a month earlier; no statements were required from broadcasters in 96 cases, 89 of them TV and seven radio compared with 56 for TV and eight for radio in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaints upheld involved two against Mark Radcliff one BBC Radio One and two against Bam Bam Breakfast on Kiss FM.
The latter both related to complaints about "endorsement of antisocial behaviour" and involved a stunt in which a "Streetboy" character had pretended to fall asleep in his stationary car in a single lane thereby causing an obstruction. The presenter had not discouraged a caller who had replicated Streetboy's stunt and Kiss had told the programme team that the stunt had gone too far. The Standards panel noted the action but said it still "considered that the potentially dangerous implications and anti-social nature of the stunt had exceeded acceptable boundaries for transmission."
The complaints against Radcliffe's show were one about offensive language and another about swearing.
The offensive language complaint was partly upheld, the Commission agreeing with a BBC assessment that the use of the word "tosser" was acceptable in the context of a programme whose presenters made much of their Mancunian bluntness but that the use of the word "bollocks" was unacceptable. The other complaint about swearing was upheld.
A further complaint concerning a discussion about the transmission of thrush carried by Galaxy 105 on Kirsty's Daily Dose was considered resolved. The broadcaster had said the piece was lighthearted but acknowledged that the presenters had pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable and reminded them of the impact of their actions.
Previous BSC Complaints bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 158kb PDF) .
2003-04-01: India's campus radio plans are failing to meet the expectations for them by the government, which gave its go ahead last year (See RNW Aug 31, 2002).
So far only four institutions have signed up for transmitters with Prasar Bharati, which has the exclusive deal to provide them.
None of the four -- Sardar Patel University, Gujarat; City Montessori School and CMS Degree College in Lucknow; and P G College, Ghazipur - are amongst the country's top institutions.
The government is now looking for assistance in promoting the idea from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and hopes to get transmitters for all the country's universities.
If the UGC accepts the proposals, around 400 services will be set up in India.
Previous Indian Radio:
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