May 2003 Archive
April 2003 -June 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 May comment - Public v Private Interests- considers whether current regulation, copyright and patents has become skewed in favour of the private rather than public interest and whether all should be subjected to regular re-evaluation, as US media regations now are by law.
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?
2003-05-31: US moves towards digital radio have received a setback following a demonstration of its HD technology to National Public Radio (NPR ) by iBiquity according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The report says that the demonstration "it went so badly that it seems likely to delay the nationwide transition to digital radio, which involves an obscure standards-setting organization called the National Radio Systems Committee."
The paper says that after hearing the test of iBiquity's system for AM broadcasts, members of an NRSC sub-committee decided the quality was not good enough to broadcast and suspended further work on an industry-wide standard to be used in building receivers although the NRSC has already approved iBiquity's FM system.
Milford Smith, vice president for engineering at Greater Media Inc. and chairman of NRSC's digital audio subcommittee, described the AM broadcasts he heard as "swirling [and] watery."
An iBiquity spokesman said it would make improvements and described the setback as a "short-term issue" that will not delay HD's inevitable nationwide distribution.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report:
2003-05-31: The US Center for Public Integrity has reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in more than 70 private meetings between broadcasters and its officials and commissioners to discuss proposals to change US media ownership regulations.
It says that the number of meetings contrasted sharply with only five meetings held with the two major consumer groups working on the issue, the Consumers Union and the Media Access Project.
On March 11 it reports, 18 FCC officials met with executives and representatives of ABC and its parent company, Disney, in six different sessions, and other meetings included Rupert Murdoch of News Corp., which owns Fox, and Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin.
According to the Center, all five FCC commissioners and 31 other top officials and a total of 63 executives and representatives of the nation's top ten television and radio broadcasters participated in such meetings since the rules were first proposed in September 2002.
It notes that such closed-door sessions -- ex parte meetings - are allowed under FCC rules and no detailed minutes are kept although non-FCC people who participate in the meetings are supposed to file a notice of the session by the end of the following day that includes a summary of what was discussed.
FCC spokesman David Fiske commented, "There is a very detailed public record of everything in the process, including the ex parte meetings."
"We want a wide variety of comments from everyone-including those from businesses. This is what good regulatory agencies do."
Others took a different view: Robert McChesney, author of "Rich Media, Poor Democracy" and research professor in the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, commented," Traditionally, these things have been done by the FCC without any sort of meaningful public involvement. This is just par for the course with the FCC. They are much more interested in protecting business than looking out for the public."
Danny Schechter, executive director of media watchdog group Mediachannel.org, was harsher:
"There is a complete lack of transparency in the rulemaking process at the FCC," he said.
"These issues get treated as just business issues, when they are vital to our democracy. When real money is involved, the work gets done in the dark of night."
US Center for Public Integrity report:
2003-05-31: BBC Radio Five Live mid-morning host Fiona Glover is to leave the BBC in July to take a sabbatical from the BBC; She is to move to New York in September and will develop her writing career in the US.
Glover, whose book "I'm an Oil Tanker - Travels with My Radio" was published in 2001, has been commissioned to write a book based on the US radio industry.
She commented, Whilst I am sad to be leaving Radio Five Live after six years, as I've had a great time here, I was really flattered to be asked to write another book."
"It will follow the launch of a new kind of liberal radio station challenging the shock jocks in the run up to the presidential election. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Glover began her BBC career as a trainee reporter in 1993 and worked at a number of BBC local radio stations before joining its London station then Five Live. She moved from hosting the late-night Fi Glover Show on the station to the mid-morning show in January (See RNW Jan 13); her slot is to be filled by stand-ins John Pienaar, Julian Worricker and Juliet Morris, until a replacement is appointed.
BBC Radio Five Live Controller Bob Shennan said: "Fi will be a big loss to Radio Five Live, and we will miss her intelligence, wit and engaging style. We wish her all the best with her new writing challenge in the States."
Radio Five Live is also is revamping its soccer line-up next season following the move by Five's main sports anchor Ian Payne, to Sky Sports( See RNW May 16).
Soccer commentator Alan Green, who has commentated for the Five since it went on air in 1994, is to move over to present the channel's soccer phone-in show 6-0-6 on Saturdays from next season.
Mark Chapman, currently BBC Radio 1 breakfast sports presenter, is to host the Sunday show and will continue his weekday Radio 1 stints.
Current host Jonathan Pearce is moving to present Midweek Sport on Five, formerly hosted by Payne.
2003-05-31: Seattle-headquartered Fisher Communications has announced a USD 44 million cash sale of its two Portland, Oregon, stations.
Entercom is to begin operating the stations - country format KWJJ-FM and talk KOTK-AM - through a time brokerage arrangement form June 1 and the deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
The sale is part of a continuing programme of debt reduction by Fisher and its president and CEO William W. Krippaehne Jr. commented, "Taken together, these sales should help us achieve a considerable portion of our goal to reduce long-term debt by approximately one-half during 2003."
2003-05-31: UK Capital Radio has dropped DJ Steve Penk's late-night show a year after he rejoined the station following a walkout from Virgin Radio (See RNW Jan 26 2002).
Capital said the show had pushed Capital "as close to the edge" as it was prepared to go and wasn't working to its full potential. It added that it was looking for other opportunities for Pink within the group.
2003-05-31: The main changes in the most recent Arbitron-MeasureCast Internet ratings show MUSICMATCH artist match back at the top of the station rankings with Virgin dropping to third; in the network ratings, new subscriber The Adsertion Network came in at fifth rank, pushing Warp Radio down.
For the week to May 18, 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 335,350 (290,073); CP 137,760 (119,652). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 251,737 (238,388); CP 32,163 (31,906). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3:Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM - TTSL 247,702 (290,668); CP 55,744 (56,729). Down from top rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 226,360 (238,388); CP 31,937 (32,234). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz format KPLU-FM - TTSL 200,781 (187,539); CP 33,602 (31,723). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to May 18 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Live365.com - TTSL 3,160,752 (3,103,521); CP - 577,755 (566,744) Up from second with lower listening and higher reach.
2: Launch - TTSL 3,096,631 (3,194,088); CP - 687,282 (672,959). Down from first with lower listening and higher reach.
3: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,623,812 (1,640,162); CP 194,895 (205,589). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,300,609 (1,266,290); CP 360,044 (349,670). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: The Adsertion Network TTSL 1,209,314; CP 127,487 - new subscriber.
*Warp Radio fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 807,180, down from 820,835 and CP 150,318 , down from 154,768.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast weekly ratings:
2003-05-30: Forstmann-Little owned Citadel Broadcasting Corporation's initial public offering when it goes back on the market will be comprised of 17 million shares at an estimated price of USD 18 each, a total of USD 306 million, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The details were released by underwriters Goldman Sachs & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank Securities, Merrill Lynch & Co., Bear Stearns & Co., Citigroup, JP Morgan and Wachovia Securities but no date has been set.
In June last year Citadel filed plans to sell up to USD575 million worth of common stock but gave no further details. It has said it will use the proceeds to repay some USD 288 million of senior debt.
Forstmann-Little bought Citadel in June 2001 for USD 2 billion (See RNW June 30 2001).
Citadel was then trading on the Nasdaq exchange as CITC; in its new incarnation it will trade on the New York Stock Exchange as CDL.
In other US radio business, Saga Communications has agreed a USD 13 million deal to acquire smooth jazz stations WJZA-FM, Lancaster, and WJZK-FM, Richwood, both serving the Columbus, Ohio, market from Scantland Broadcasting Ltd.
No details were given but Saga says it expects to close the deal during the third quarter of this year.
Saga already owns AC WSNY-FM and Oldies WODB-FM in the market and Saga President and CEO Edward K. Christian said the stations were "highly complimentary" to its existing stations.
Elsewhere, Maryland-based First Media is paying USD 11.35 million for eight radio stations and a low-power TV station from MainQuad Communications.
Six stations are in North Carolina -- Urban Oldies WYTT-FM, Gaston; AC WZAX-FM, Nashville; Country WKTC-FM, Pinetops; Country WCBT-AM and WPTM-FM, Roanoke Rapids and Gospel WSMY-AM, Weldon.
The other two stations are Virginia FMs Urban AC WSMY-FM, Alberta and WLGQ-FM, Emporia.
In New Jersey, Nassau Broadcasting is selling Classic Rock WCHR-FM, Manahawkin, serving the Monmouth-Ocean market has been sold to Millennium Radio Group for an undisclosed amount. Millennium already owns three FMs and two AMs in the market; it bought these from Nassau in June 2001 for nearly USD 100 million (See RNW June 12, 2001).
In Puerto Rico, Media Power Group is to pay Arso Radio USD 6.8 million for four AMs - mixed tropical programmed WLEY-AM, Cayey and Spanish news and talk-formatted WDEP-AM, Ponce, WSKN-AM, San Juan and WKFE-AM, Yauco.
Previous Arso Radio:
2003-05-30: UK radio ratings conducted by German research group GfK based on the wristwatch measuring Radiocontrol meter device that records everything listened to or watched by participants have shown speech stations to have much larger audiences than recorded by official UK radio ratings conducted by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) using a diary system.
The ratings, commissioned by the Wireless Group, which owns TalkSport, are to be released monthly and for the period of the Iraq war showed BBC Radio 4 with the most listeners in the UK
The GfK figures showed it had 17.9 million listeners per week compared to just under ten million listed by RAJAR, which put BBC Radio 2 at the top with 13.2 million listeners a week. Radio 2 also gained in the GfK figures, being show to have 15.2 million listeners a week.
Amongst other stations, TalkSport leapt up to more than 8 million listeners a week, making it the most listened to commercial station in the UK; it was shown as having only 2.4 million by RAJAR.
BBC pop music station Radio 1 had 12.6 million listeners a week compared to 10.5 million, and Radio 5 Live had 10.8 million compared to 6.3 million.
GfK also measured TV audiences and found a large boost for channels watched in pubs and clubs compared to official BARB (British Audience Research Bureau) figures. It showed Sky News and Sky Sports 2 more than doubled weekly audiences to 16.5 million people and 8.9 million.
GfK Media director Nick North said the figures showed the radio industry to be in "excellent shape".
RAJAR managing director Jane O'Hara said the two research methods were not comparable and pointed out that it used a sample 15 times as large as GfK's.
RAJAR says that the RadioControl system records four seconds in every minute of listening, which is then matched to transmissions and O'Hara commented, " what the release of this data does do is to raise very starkly two important issues for the radio industry that neither GfK nor The Wireless Group has addressed."
"First, do audio-meters provide us with a greater form of accuracy or a different form of inaccuracy?"
"Second, what is the impact of changing the definition of listening? GfK and TWG have assumed that listening for 4 seconds in a minute is acceptable without revealing whether there is a potential for 'false listening', or how those very short listening periods impact listener volumes. "
RAJAR would be reporting on both these issues and others to the RAJAR board next month, she added.
RAJAR has recently completed tests running over more than a year of the GfK system and Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) and expects to reveal plans soon for a new system.
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-05-30: Demonstrations were staged around the US on Thursday calling on the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prevent further consolidation in US media.
The demonstrations, timed four days before June 2 when the FCC is to announce new regulations, were planned outside Clear Channel stations in 14 cities including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Clear Channel, which now owns more than 1200 radio stations, has been a particular target for criticism because of its programming of syndicated national shows to local stations and voice-tracking in which a personality in one location hosts shows in a number pf places.
In Los Angeles , about 60 people marched outside Clear Channel talk format KFI-AM with signs reading, "No Choice, No Voice: Reclaim Our Airwaves."
"We're frozen out," said Karen Pomer, a member of the group Code Pink, which organized the protest and also rallied for peace during the war in Iraq. "All of this is benefiting conservative voices."
In New York a demonstration by about 150 people was staged outside Clear Channel's WWPR-FM hip-hop and urban station by United for Peace and Justice NY, an anti-war group. The demonstrators carried signs that read, "Farewell Free Speech, We'll Miss You" and "The Airwaves Belong to the People, not Clear Channel."
Previous Clear Channel:
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2003-05-30: Ibiquity Digital has announced that University of Southern California classical station KUSC-FM has become the first non-commercial licensee of its HD In-Band on-Channel digital radio technology.
The introduction follows earlier launches of HD by commercial stations including its introduction at the start of this month by Clear Channel at its are Smooth Jazz WNUA-FM and Urban Adult Contemporary WVAZ-FM in Chicago.
Commenting on the KUSC adoption of the system, iBiquity president and CEO Bob Struble said," HD Radio technology opens the door for public broadcasters, such as KUSC, to offer digital quality and superior services to their loyal listeners." "Public radio offers the potential for listeners to get the local news and information they value, as well as the option for new and exciting secondary services - all offered on the same frequency."
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-05-30: The clash between Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and Univision over the latter's planned takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting (HBC) is building up according to the New York Post which said the companies had been calling each other "liar".
The accusation was put into print by Univision a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal saying earlier adverts by some of those opposing the deal, notably by Bronx Democrat State Senator Efrain Gonzalez and his National Hispanic Policy Institute are "lies."
SBS chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, a 47-years-old old Cuban-American tried to buy HBC last year but lost out to Univision and also lost a federal lawsuit, against which he is appealing, to block the deal.
Both sides are lobbying heavily, with Alarcón in step with many politicians, mainly Democrats, urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the deal, which has already been passed by the Department of Justice following Univision's agreement to reduce its stake in Entravision.
The FCC is still holding up the deal and FCC chairman Michael Powell has said that no decision will be made until after the June 2 announcement of new US media regulations.
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
New York Post report:
2003-05-30: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has said that use of a "sexually violent metaphor" during an NFL football sports report on CJAY-FM, Calgary, was" inappropriate for broadcast."
The CBSC had received a complaint by a listener after the announcer started by saying the, "Redskins got bent over and fisted by Philly 37-7."
He went on to say, "Can you feel that?! Can you, baby?!"
In its ruling, the CBSC comments, "The suggestion that one team 'got bent over and fisted' by another is obviously metaphorical, but it nonetheless creates an image of sexual violence."
"While an intent to convey dominance in reporting a sports score is understandable, the linking of such dominance to a sexual scenario in this context is both unnecessary and unjustifiable."
"The sexual connotation of the statement was further emphasized and exacerbated by the announcer's succeeding interjections ;Can you feel that?! Can you, baby?!'. The Prairie Panel thus considers the qualifying comments to be gratuitous. "
"There was no attempt to mask the sexual meaning with double entendres or innuendo. The sexual reference was obvious and would likely have been widely understood by the majority of the station's listeners."
2003-05-29: Advocacy groups Common Cause and MoveOn.Org, which oppose further US media consolidation are to launch a series of print and TV advertisements to publicize the issues.
The TV advert, which starts airing today, shows a channel surfer who can't get Murdoch's [media magnate Rupert Murdoch] image off his TV set.
The voiceover says, "On June 2, the Republicans on the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] plan to get rid of an important regulation so that Rupert Murdoch can buy more TV stations, radio stations, newspapers -- giving him control over much of the news you hear. This monopoly is no game."
The print advert is based on the statement, "This Man Wants to Control the News in America. The FCC Wants to Help Him."
In all Moveon says it is to place the adverts in the run up to the June 2 Federal Communications Commission meeting at which proposed regulations will be announced and will spend around USD 80,000 on print adverts in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Daily Variety and another USD100,000 on TV adverts in New York and Washington D.C.
Common Cause on its web site singles out radio consolidation as a warning, saying, "The Telecommunications Act of 1996 lifted ownership limits for radio stations, leading to rapid consolidation by media conglomerates. Thousands of radio stations have changed hands at least once since the law was passed. Before the change, the most stations a company could own was 40. One company alone, Clear Channel - criticized recently for its censoring of artists and control over its homogenized music play lists - now owns more than 1,200 radio stations across the country.
At the FCC itself, the meeting called by Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps and fellow Democrat Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein on Tuesday heard from a wide range of organisations but without much hope of changing things since the Republican Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin have indicated that they will support proposals from chairman Michael K Powell.
Amongst those opposing easing restrictions was Black Association. of Journalists President Condace Pressley who argued that this would result in less journalism and fewer opportunities for minority journalists.
Copps again called for a delay but again with little or no hope as Powell has repeatedly rejected such calls..
Powell, in an interview with Reuters, defended the call for a relaxation in ownership limits and said that Copps and Adelstein had failed to make "substantive alternative proposals." He maintained that a diversity of viewpoints would continue even in a more consolidated media world and also said that a proposal was still being considered that would allow a company to own 10 stations in a 60-station market.
Common Cause web site:
Moveon web site:
2003-05-29: Today sees the release of the first large-scale use of the RadioControl watch system for radio ratings in the UK; they are being published by Nuremberg-based German market research group GfK (Growth from Knowledge) in conjunction with an initiative launched by Wireless Group chairman and Chief Executive Kelvin MacKenzie.
GfK, which was established nearly 70 years ago as Germany's first market research company, began its UK media research business GfK Media Ltd., in March this year and is involved in a test of the Radiocontrol meter with RAJAR (Radio Joint Industry Research), which currently uses a diary system but is also evaluating Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM), as well as with the Wireless Group.
Advance tasters of the results being issued that was published in the UK Times showed listeners tuning in to more stations than previously recorded but listening for shorter periods.
The paper reported that the BBC, and Radio 4 in particular, came out well with GfK figures for the period from March 10 to April 20 - which included the run-up to the war in Iraq - showing that Radio 4 had 17.9 million regular listeners a week compared to just under 10 million according to RAJAR's ratings.
The GfK survey also showed talk stations to have larger audiences than music stations, more than 8 million for TalkSport compared to 7.3 million for Classic FM; RAJAR's figures were 2.415 million for the former and 6.657 million for the latter.
Previous Wireless group:
UK Times report:
2003-05-29: UK Emap shares ended Wednesday up just over 2.5% at 890 pence following strong figures for the year to the end of March and an upbeat assessment of its prospects.
Overall turnover for the year was down 6% to GBP967 million (USD 1.58 billion) because of the impact of its disposal of Emap USA in August 2001 but turnover on continuing operations - the same total - was up 3%, operating profit was up 5% to GBP 191 million (USD313 million) and it turned a 2002 loss of GBP 69 million (USD113 million) into a pre-tax profit of GBP 140 million (USD 229 million).
Chief Executive Tom Moloney commented, " Emap has proved its growth potential this year through a combination of solid organic growth, the launch of successful new products such as Closer, and bolt-on acquisitions, with the Excelsior acquisition in France moving us up to number two in this market."
"Whilst media markets in general remain volatile, we are confident of making solid progress in the coming year."
In divisional terms, Emap's consumer media group had underlying turnover up 6% to GBP 329 million (USD 538 million) and its profits were up 10% to GBP 51 million (USD 83 million) - both figures excluding digital; its communications division had an underlying 2% increase in turnover to GBP 192 million (USD 256 million) and a 1% underlying increase in profits to GBP 53 million (USD 87 million)- again excluding digital; and Emap performance, which includes its radio operations, had a 2% increase in underlying turnover to GBP 155 million (USD 253 million) and a 5% decrease, because of "due to increased launch investment and revenue pressure across higher margin radio operations" in underlying operating profit to GBP 37 million (USD 61 million).
Within the Performance division radio revenues were down 1% at GBP 89 million (USD 146 million) compared to an overall UK radio advertising market growth of 3% in the period with national revenues up 1% and local revenues up 5%.
Emap noted that its "relative performance was markedly different in the first half, down 7% against a market up 3%, to the second half, up 5% and outperforming a market up 3%, helped by a strong performance from Kiss in London in the last quarter."
It added," During the year Emap Performance has continued to build its digital radio networks and now has seven digital brands distributed over both screen-based and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) networks, giving it a greater digital presence than any other UK commercial radio operator."
"These brands are already well known to consumers as analogue radio, television and magazine brands, and will be supported by extensive cross-promotion. As listening starts to transfer from analogue to digital over the coming years Emap is well placed to increase radio market share further."
Looking forward Emap says," Bolt-on acquisitions remain central to Emap's growth strategy. Over the next 12 months the acquisition focus will be prioritised to delivering value enhancing bolt-on acquisitions in UK and European B2B, and on creating value within the potential consolidation of the UK radio sector. The company has the commitment, management depth and funding power to achieve this.
Concerning radio expansion, Moloney said that consolidation in the industry would not be as rapid as some people expected because of hurdles in the communications bill and from the competition authorities but added that Emap was on a strong position to move when the time was right.
"We have the financial firepower to do any deal we want to do but we will not do a deal that is not at the right price, " he said.
Moloney said Emap was not intending to sell radio interests and added, "We see it as a core business and we think there are a lot of exciting developments - look at digital radio"
2003-05-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has red-flagged on ownership concentration grounds a Florida change in ownership under which Styles Management Co Inc. would take control of five stations in the Panama City Market that had been in a partnership between Styles Media and Thomas DiBacco.
The five stations are WPCF-AM and FMs WILN, WVVE, WYOO & WYYX.
The market has 11 other commercial stations, six owned by Clear Channel, four owned by WAITT, and an AM owned by HourGroup Inc.
2003-05-29: Shares in UK Capital Radio fell back slightly following a surge by 50pence of 490 pence on Tuesday after reports that the Guardian Media Group (GMG) was considering a bid; they ended Wednesday down 10pence at 480 pence, valuing Capital around GBP 400 million (USD 655 million).
There were conflicting reports about the bid in UK newspapers; The Independent wrote of a GBP 500 million to GBP 550 million bid (USD 820-900 million), a premium of GBP 100-150 million (USD164-245 million), The Daily Telegraph carried the line that GMG had refused to rule out a bid but The Times reported that no bid would be made in the "foreseeable future."
The Times quoted Guardian Radio Group managing director John Myers as confirming that the company was interested in expanding its commercial radio interests and that the group had amassed a war chest of about £165 million in cash to pursue acquisitions; it added that the rate at which the group expended its radio interests would depend in part on its attempts to purchase the whole of the Auto trader publishing business it currently co-owns with BC Partners (see RNW May 28)
Myers told the paper, "We are at the top of the first division (in commercial radio) and we want to be in the Premiership and I have been assured the funds will be available to do that."
The Independent noted that the Guardian had around GBP 120 million (USD 200 million) available in cash and quoted Myers as saying the company was "quite able" to raise the funds for a large acquisition.
It also noted that the group would not have significant regulatory problems with an acquisition; Myers commented, "By and large, we don't have to wait for the Bill. But that doesn't mean to say that we'll rush out and do a deal tomorrow."
"We are looking at all the big groups and running the rule over them," he said. "Of course Capital is one of these. That doesn't mean we've settled on one company."
Capital Radio has refused to comment.
Previous Guardian Media Group:
UK Independent report:
UK Telegraph report:
UK Times report:
2003-05-28: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has come out broadly in favour of retaining the current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) definition of radio markets.
NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts says the contour-based definition should be kept but that what he terms "large-signal " stations should be excluded from the count of stations in a market when their transmitters are more than 58 miles (90km) from the area where their signals overlap.
Fritts also calls for all current clusters to be "grandfathered" as long as they remain under their current ownership and also to permit free transfer of any existing station clusters that fall foul of revised rules.
Fritts notes that all such cluster came into being under existing contour-based definitions that date to 1992 and comments, "It would be strikingly unfair to now change the rules and require those stations to be divested or to limit their owners' ability to transfer them for full market value."
Fritts took a sideswipe at the idea of ratings-based definitions, saying that the contour approach "does not result in markets that are affected by past and potential future 'gerrymandering' by ratings service subscribers."
2003-05-28: The UK Guardian Media Group (GMG) is considering a bit for Capital Radio following a seeming collapse in talks to buy out its co-owner in Autotrader that has left it with funds it is to use in building up its radio interests.
In all GMG will have some GBP 600 million (USD 985 million) to spend, and significantly more if it sold its 48% interest in AutoTrader that it currently co-owns with BC Partners.
Last year GMG paid some GBP 44 million (USD 72 million) to take control of Jazz FM from Clear Channel (See RNW Nov 7, 2002) and in 2001 it paid GBP 25 million ( USD 41 million) to purchase Scot FM from the Wireless Group (See RNW June 12, 2001)
GMG says it has not approached Capital adding it was "looking at Capital, but not ruling anything out."
Capital shares ended the day 11% up at 490 pence following the news.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2003-05-28: The Los Angeles Times in a feature linked to forthcoming US media regulation changes notes a move by some stations to play down their corporate ownership and tout their independence as they come to grips with "a brand-new worry - an audience that might actually care who owns the station."
Questions about" chain dominance", it says, "are influencing promotional decisions, particularly among rock broadcasters, many of which rely on an outsider image to hold young listeners" and it cites Larry Rosin, president of Edison Media Research, as commenting that he's beginning to see signs that listener habits are affected by a station's affiliation.
Although ownership issues haven't reached a "tipping point," Rosin said, "there are pockets where people do care."
His comments were backed up by radio consultant Dave Beasing who has advised a number of stations about campaigns built around anti-corporate themes.
One of them, KEDJ-FM, Phoenix, is beginning to air promotions with average-Joe sound bites, in which listeners offer their definitions of "independent" radio. In one sequence a male listener says, "You're not under the corporate authority." Another, which the station has not aired, has a female voice saying: "Independent means not owned by Clear Channel."
Scott Fey, the station's general manager, said focus groups had shown owner New Planet Radio, whose only station is KEDJ, that listeners knew with pinpoint precision which local stations were owned by Clear Channel, and what each station was doing. Those surveyed also were aware that the entertainment giant owned the local concert venues.
"The public at large was picking up on the business aspects of radio," Fey said.
Viacom's Rochester rock station WZNE-FM , part of its 180-station Infinity Broadcasting unit, notes the Times, pokes fun at an expansion-minded parent and San Diego's KBZT-FM, one of 17 Jefferson-Pilot Corp.-owned stations, bills itself as "anti-corporate, local and musically diverse" - while looking for extra points by taking shots at the radio industry's 800-pound gorilla.
"Not one of those cookie-cutter Clear Channel stations," runs a KBZT tagline.
KBZT has seen ratings rise to 5.1 from 2.6 among its target 18-to-34 demographic after six months of independence-themed promotions, but, says the Times, the boost may have come from a format change. Program director Garett Michaels, however, felt that the promotional gambit was working because of listeners' sentiments.
"We didn't say, 'Hey, let's pick on Clear Channel.' It was already there," Michaels said. "We just decided to pick up the ball and run with it."
Clear Channel, says the report, "doesn't push its name the way it used to" but it adds that executives are sceptical of the notion that fans care any more who owns the local station than they do what label puts out a favourite album.
"I doubt any consumer ever decided against purchasing Eminem's CD because it was owned by Interscope rather than Island Def Jam," said Tom Owens, Clear Channel's senior vice president of programming.
In the past Clear Channel encouraged stations to mention their corporate affiliation but not, says Owens, decisions are left to local market managers.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Edison Media Research:
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-05-28: Veteran CBC radio reporter David McLauchlin has died of cancer aged 56 in Montreal where he had been based since 1995.
He began his CBC career in the Maritime Provinces and among other posts was a writer-broadcaster for Information Morning in Saint John, the Eastern Townships correspondent for Radio News, field producer for Sunday Morning in Winnipeg, and national reporter for Radio News for the Prairies.
He has won a number of awards for his work including a 1981 Gabriel Award for best radio documentary of 1981 for his hour-long programme about three generations of a family of black musicians in Nova Scotia and a citation from the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada for his series about a generation of men from a Dene [RNW note - a people from Canada's Northwest Territories] community who died of cancer because they hauled uranium ore from a mine in jute sacks on their shoulders.
2003-05-27: The latest discussion on proposed US media laws is being held today at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), hosted by Democrat Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan Adelstein. They say they will be holding a roundtable discussion with some 20 organizations from all sides of the political spectrum in the afternoon.
Included will be artists, civil rights organizations, and consumer and political groups as well ass local broadcasters.
The FCC has announced that it is to stream live on the Internet its June 2 open meeting, starting at 0930 ET (1330 GMT) at which it will issue its report and order on media regulations.
2003-05-27: Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr has joined Chrysalis Radio's bid to win a new independent local radio FM licence for Glasgow and the surrounding west central Scotland area under the Arrow station brand according to the UK Guardian.
Glasgow born and bred Kerr, who has been appointed to the Arrow board as a non-executive director, commented, "I am convinced the Arrow will not only bring great, real music to listeners in west central Scotland, it will also provide opportunities for new up and coming talent as well."
"At the moment we are discussing the possibility of a programme that will focus on showcasing unsigned local bands - perhaps giving them their first big break in the business."
Glasgow currently only has one commercial FM, Scottish Radio Holdings' (SRH) Clyde FM, and theres expected to be keen bidding for the new FM..
UK Guardian report:
2003-05-26: Yet again the issue of US media regulation was the dominant one in print over of broadcasting last week and in many cases it went over the same old ground. There were, however, some slightly different approaches, including one in an Art Buchwald column in the Washington Post that had not only an inimitable touch but also a number of neat twists.
"It wasn't terrorism or a coup d'etat that turned the United States into a dictatorship. It was the information monopoly," he began.
Then a seemingly logical follow on "The "King of Monopolies" was Rupert the First, who in a short time bought up every press, TV and radio outlet in the United States."
And the first twist!
"Rupert the First, in an unfriendly takeover, won control of Murdoch's properties. Rupert the First was a golfing partner of the president's and supported him in his call for a pre-emptive war against France, Germany, Russia and Cuba."
"He made sure anyone who said otherwise would be considered a traitor and, after being investigated by his newspapers, would be called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where the person would be held in contempt."
And another one " What no one knew was that Rupert the Second hated his father -- so much so that he was really a closet liberal. Instead of being to the right of his father, he was far left of him. He immediately started changing everything in the company."
..."The editorials in all his papers called for decent Medicare, the doubling of education funds and long prison terms for anyone who cheated on Wall Street."
And finally "The FCC spokesman said, "When we gave a monopoly to the media, we never dreamed that someday it would be owned by a liberal."
"The commissioners met in an emergency session and voted 3 to 2 to reverse themselves and break up any media chain that owned more than one TV station and one newspaper."
Fantasy over, but not some alliances that the debate has wrought and that might well at one time have been considered fantastical.
As Frank Ahrens wrote, again in the Washington Post, "The Federal Communications Commission's likely action to relax major media ownership rules is forging some unexpected political alliances. For instance, for the first time a group known as "CodePink, Women for Peace" (so called because it present pink slips -- literally, a piece of frilly pink lingerie -- to public officials they wish to fire for poor job performance) finds itself on the same side of a fight as the National Rifle Association. "
"These ideologically disparate groups share a common concern. If the FCC votes to ease ownership rules, several organizations -- left and right -- fear they will lose access to the public airwaves. Traditional foes are even speaking a common language, shared by some Democratic and Republican lawmakers. "
And to put it in the words of the two "allies" concerned: "It does put us in the position of strange bedfellows," said Gael Murphy, Washington coordinator for CodePink "But we do believe in diversity and that includes hearing from people we don't want to hear from," she said, referring to the NRA.
Wayne R. LaPierre Jr., president of the NRA, said he had no problem siding with CodePink on this issue, saying his group routinely has ads rejected by what he calls ideologically opposed television networks and stations.
"I am all for citizens having the ability to express their views. Diversity is what America is all about," he said. "Where I have a problem is when I get four or five big media conglomerates choking off dissenting points of view. That will be worse if Powell's consolidation is allowed to go forward."
The Washington Post also a public service by wading through some of the comments filed to the Federal Communications Commission.
It included excerpts from comments by Viacom, NBC, Fox and Telemundo in a 398-page jointly filed comment and by Clear Channel; both were in favour of less regulation.
Then there was a difference in emphasis from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose 286 page filing included the line that "the need for some check on the power of the networks has always been recognized -- to assure that the system would continue to be true to the localism principles of broadcast allocation policy" and from advocacy group the Consumer Federation of America that in a 296 page comment said that "outlets that are commonly owned are less likely to provide diverse points of view. Owners have a tendency to impose their preferences and biases on the media they control. They may not do so all the time or on all issues, but at critical moments, when their interests are at stake, they are more likely to do so. . ."
And a selection of comments from individuals (who presumably didn't need hundreds of pages to make their point) but overwhelmingly seem to oppose further relaxation of media controls albeit from different perspectives.
Examples given included a comment from David Vearle Palmer of Vancouver, Washington, who wrote, "I am appalled that you would even consider expanding the percentages of media ownership. Most of the major media channels are already controlled by the political left. Fox News is the only major dissenting voice. This ruling makes it easy for those who control the media to now wipe out any fairness in news reporting."
"We may as well have state-owned television and radio. Our government should not destroy the ability of people who have dissenting opinions to get access to major media channels."
From Virginia Bolten, Missoula, Montana, came the comment, "To have 3-5 corporations owning the broadcasting networks and controlling the news, entertainment and information I receive is very frightening. I do not want nor care for canned programming being fed into my community, because someone in New York, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., deems it fitting for me or my community."
And from Debra Dekelaita, Santa Rosa, California, "We can get more news than anyone wants concerning stupid scandals about movie stars and just about any other slimy subject except the subjects that really matter the most, like what our government is really up to. Investigative reporting is gone and the investigative reports that are done do not get air play. The hosts of radio and talk shows have become loud mouths -- rude, name-calling jerks who only cause and encourage division among the people."
And from north of the border, comment from Antonia Zerbisias in the Toronto Star which looks at the issue from a Canadian perspective (RNW note: Australia, Canada and the UK are also considering major changes in media regulation).
"Those in the media concentration camp," he writes, "say there's nothing to fear, that thanks to the proliferation of cable channels, hundreds and hundreds of them, plus the growth of the Internet, there is no such thing as a lack of diversity or a dearth of voices in this, the information age."
"Except that it's not so simple. In the U.S. some six companies own just about everything on the TV dial. And when the FCC rule changes take effect, you can look for some of those companies to merge. As for the Internet, well, as reported in Salon yesterday, "Every single one of the top 20 news Web sites is under the thumb of a media giant." In most cases, they're the exact same media giants who control the TV dial."
"What's more, although independent Web sites exist, they lack the clout of a merged, converged media company. So they don't have the resources to do the sort of hard-hitting journalism that seems to be disappearing in favour of much more Laci Peterson-like sensation on CNN."
"The thing about the public airwaves," comments Zerbisias, " is that, like public parks, they are free and belong to everybody."
"Canadians and Americans probably wouldn't sit idly while the corporate sector took over, say, their national parks. So why are they so silent when their airwaves are being claimed for permanent corporate ownership?"
"Could it be that there is something their corporate news media sources aren't telling them?"
Toronto Star - Zerbisias:
Washington Post - Ahrens:
Washington Post - Buchwald:
Washington Post - Excerpts of comments to the FCC:
2003-05-26: Congressional Democrats efforts to stop the Univision takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting are fuelled by fears of Republican inroads into Latinos political allegiances according to a report in the Washington Post.
Some 20 Democrats including the Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle have urged that the deal be blocked and the paper says that they fear the deal would place more power into the hands of Republican business executives who could influence the news heard by US Hispanics.
The paper quotes California representative Linda Sanchez as saying they were already concerned about the coverage they received on Univision and feared being further marginalised; she said the deal would create "a major giant in the Hispanic community that doesn't really give a balanced perspective or the full range of discourse on issues."
Univision's CEO Jerry Perenchio is a registered Republican and if the deal goes through he will end up heading a corporation that controls owning 65 Spanish-language radio stations, more than twice the number controlled by closest competitor, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), which has 27 stations.
SBS is lobbying against the deal and its chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón has retained three firms to fight the proposed merger.
P.C. Koch, SBS's lead lobbyist, says the merger would allow Republicans unfettered access to Latinos and cites a poll, showing that nearly 90 percent of bilingual Hispanics get their news exclusively from Spanish-language television and radio.
Daschle wrote to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell saying, "If the Univision merger is approved, there may be less diverse programming, news sources, and viewpoints available to Spanish-speaking audiences," "This could significantly impact public debate and lead to less local and community-oriented programming."
The letter followed a similar one written by eight members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who said they were "concerned about the impact of consolidation on our constituents and the fact that Hispanic ownership and management of U.S. media has virtually vanished in recent years."
Democrats have accused Univision of biased news coverage and said that, during the recent coverage of the judicial nomination fight over Miguel Estrada, Univision barely covered Democratic opposition, instead painting Estrada in the most positive light.
Univision general counsel Doug Kranwinkle said Perenchio does not exercise editorial control over Univision's news coverage.
The Democrats are also concerned about the influence of Clear Channel chairman and CEO Lowry Mays, whose company owns nearly a third of HBC.
Mays, a Texan friend of President Bush and his father, gave 87 percent of his political donations to Republicans in the last election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics but Univision officials, argue the deal would reduce the influence of Clear Channel because it would control only 3 percent of voting interest in the newly formed company.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Washington Post report:
2003-05-26: Viacom's shareholders have approved a new board that now has 11 independent members and six company insiders compared to ten independents and eight insiders on its previous board.
Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone described the changes to investors as furthering the company's "commitment to good corporate governance."
He also suggested that the company might consider paying a dividend if tax regulations were changes, commenting that as soon as tax relief on dividends is granted the board would give the matter very serious consideration.
2003-05-25: The past week was as notable for what will be the UK Radio Authority's last full annual report before it is subsumed into the new British regulator, OFCOM, as for regular licence activity.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), as well as more routine licence activity, has released proposed amendments to its Technical Planning Guidelines, which were first issued in August 1995.
It also revealed that it received seven submissions on whether to defer the allocation of further commercial FM radio licences in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, an issue that has reportedly led DMG to threaten to sue should there be a delay in the allocation (See RNW May 20).
the ABA says it will release details of the latter, apart from confidential material, when it has made a decision.
Concerning the planning guidelines ( 910 Kb PDF) ABA Chairman Professor David Flint said, "The proposed amendments provide for greater clarity in the application of the guidelines and address a number of editorial issues flowing on from previous amendments. The ABA welcomes submissions from affected and interested parties on the proposed changes."
On the licence front, the ABA has extended until the end of September this year the deadline for 5CS, Spencer Gulf North, South Australia, to convert from AM to FM; it has also changed a number of commercial radio licences in North West Western Australia
The changes involve moving the towns of Paraburdoo and Tom Price from the Karratha licence area to the Remote Western Australia licence area and also moving Broome from the Remote Western Australia licence area to the Port Hedland licence area.
In addition Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands, which formerly were not in any commercial radio licence area, have been added to the Remote Western Australia licence area
All the services in the areas involved - 6KA Karratha, 6RED Karratha, 6NW Port Hedland, 6HED Port Hedland, 6FMS Remote Western Australia and 6SAT Western Australia- are operated by Redwave Media Ltd
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has had a fairly quiet week for radio activity. Its main activities (in province order) were:
*Approved extension until February next year of the deadline for Native Communication Inc. to start operating transmitters of CINC-FM Thompson at Fox Lake and Lake Manitoba.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approved a new low-power 20 watts English-language Type B community FM in McKay's.
The CRTC has also issued a public notice, with a deadline for interventions of June 25, concerning an application to amend the licence of radio station CIAM-FM, Fort Vermilion, Alberta, to change its frequency because of interference on its current frequency.
There was nothing radio-related from Ireland but In the UK, the Radio Authority has published its annual report and financial statement for 2002 (6.43 Mb PDF- site links to this), the last full year that it will operate (See RNW May 22):.
It has also announced that only one application was received for the Reading & Basingstoke digital multiplex licence.
This was from Now Digital Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of GWR Group, which is proposing an initial service of six channels in addition to carrying BBC Radio Berkshire.
The channels proposed are:
Contemporary hit radio - 2-Ten FM - provider: Thames Valley Broadcasting Ltd.
Gold - Classic Gold 1431/1485 - provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.
Modern rock - The Storm - provider: The Storm (Digital Radio) Ltd.
Easy listening - Saga - provider: Saga Group Ltd.)
Dance - Kiss -provider: EG Digital Ltd.)
An "Access" channel including Student broadcasting from 19.00 - 00.00 - provider: SBN Ltd.).
In the US, the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) is still working on new US media regulation rules but no details have yet been released although we have reported considerable reaction over the week.
In addition the FCC has been involved in a number of penalties and also red-flagged on concentration grounds Forever Communications planned purchase of WGBV-FM, Glasgow, Kentucky, from Royse Radio Inc.
The penalties involved were a reduction of USD 3,000 to USD 2,000 of a penalty of Titan Towers for failing to post a readily visible Antenna
Structure Registration (" ASR") number on a tower near Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and the cancellation of a USD 2,000 penalty on Moffatt Properties Leasing LLC for failing to post an ASR number on a tower near Tupelo, Mississippi. Muffed had argued that it had posted the number but a contractor had bulldozed the ASR number sign.
The FCC was also involved in a workshop on cognitive radio, a technology that may have considerable use in the future; Through software-controlled use of spectrum it allows a signal to be shifted around different portions of the spectrum, with both transmitter and receiver adjusting themselves accordingly, thus allowing fuller use of spectrum.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site :
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-05-25: Sirius has now closed its USD 175 million offering of 3.5% convertible notes due 2008 and says it is now fully funded with the net proceeds of just under USD 169 million expected to fund it to break-even.
The satellite radio company says it expects to reach 100, 000 subscribers during the current quarter and 300,000 by the end of this year.
The notes are convertible into Sirius common stock at the holder's option at a rate of USD1.38 per share; this compares with a closing price on Friday of USD 1.32 and a Friday high of USD 1.36.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton commented, "Our ability to raise this capital in today's financial markets environment is indicative of the confidence felt within the financial community about our business."
"With our subscriber base more than doubling during the first quarter of this year, our automotive partners firmly on board, and the introduction of portable 'Plug & Play' products this summer, we are feeling a strong wind in our sails."
2003-05-25: A BBC news release announcing that former US First Lady Hillary Clinton is to read excerpts from her memoirs on BBC Radio 4 from June 23-7 has been removed from its web site without any comment.
The release relating to Clinton's book "Living History" said the readings would provide "glimpses into the world of the White House and the pressures of media scrutiny" and in more contentious wording that "She also describes how she was the first First Lady to play a direct role in shaping American domestic policy and talks about her work as a resolute campaigner for health and women's welfare issues throughout the developing world."
Clinton commented, " Living History was a difficult book to write. Partly because there was so much I wanted to say and my publisher kept saying 'you can't say that much, you have to fit it into a book, not a multi-volume history'.
"It's not meant to be a history, it is a memoir, and I tried to express my feelings about everything that happened during those eight years."
2003-05-25: Just days after the New York Metropolitan Opera lost sponsorship from Texaco of broadcasts of its live Saturday matinee performances (See RNW May 22), the New York Philharmonic' Orchestra's live national radio broadcasts from next season have announced a new sponsor.
The sponsor, the New Jersey-based Kaplen Foundation, is providing more than USD 250,000 to sponsor the broadcasts, which will also be supported by the US National Endowment for the Arts.
The New York Philharmonic Live broadcasts, which air monthly on selected Thursdays, are produced by WFMT-FM, Chicago, and syndicated to more than 250 US radio stations.
The concerts, which will start their eighth season in September, had been funded for six seasons by Time Warner and AOL Time Warner and last year were sponsored by WQXR.com.
The Kaplen family foundation has agreed to sponsorship for one season and the orchestra's executive director Zarin Mehta commented in a statement, "In these economic times we are especially grateful for this remarkable and generous gift, which supports the importance that we attach to broadcasting live on a national basis."
2003-05-24: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) has significantly outperformed the UK radio industry as a whole according to its figures for the six months to the end of March just released.
They show turnover from continuing operations up 28% to GBP 41.5million (USD 66 million), operating profit from continuing operations up 41% to GBP 9.6 million (USD 15.5 million) and overall pre-tax profits more than doubled at GBP 6.9 million (USD 11million) from GBP 3.4 million (USD 5.4 million) in the first six months of last year.
Profit before exceptionals and goodwill was up 51% to GBP 8.6 million (USD 13.8 million).
After taxes and dividends, SRH retained profits of GBP 2.4 million (USD 3.8 million) in the half-year compared to a full-year loss of GBP 22.5 million (USD 26 million) up to the end of September last year when it had a loss of GBP 21 million (USD 34 million) from the sale of its outdoor advertising business.
Within the group, SHR's stable of 23 analogue radio station produced revenues including acquisitions that were up by a third and like-for-like radio revenues for the six months were up 5% on last year, including an increase of 3% in sponsorship and promotions income. Local advertising revenues were up 3% and national was up 8%.
SRH noted that across the whole of Scotland survey area, SRH stations combine to enjoy a 51% reach, and market share of 31.9%; in Northern Ireland, SRH stations have a 49% reach and market share of 25.1%, and in the Republic of Ireland, Today FM was up 6% on the previous year to a record 995,000 listeners a week.
Digital - - SRH operates five digital multiplexes - - and Internet net expenditure was kept at a steady GBP 600, 000 (USD 960, 000),
In comparison, print revenues including acquisitions were up 21% on a year before and like-for-like print revenues were up 9%.
Commenting on the figures, SRH Chairman, Lord Gordon of Strathblane, said, "The strong first half growth in revenues and operating profits in both radio and publishing is extremely encouraging." SRH is well placed for continued growth with its market leading radio companies in recognised geographical marketing areas and well-established local press titles. Trading in the second half has also started strongly, underpinning the Board's expectation of a good result for the year as a whole."
SRH chief executive Richard Findlay commented that following the acquisition of GWR's share of Vibe Radio the company was looking at further opportunities in England, Ireland and Scotland for further acquisitions.
He added that he did not foresee regulatory problems for any acquisitions that SRH might go for, adding that the deterrent in the past had been high prices that had now "come down and that has given us an opportunity, with good financial strength behind us."
SRH says the outlook is healthy with double-digit rises in national radio advertising expected for April and May. Its shares, which ended Thursday at 670 pence touched 720 at one time and ended Friday 5.2% up at 705 pence
Previous Lord Gordon:
2003-05-24: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has joined groups calling upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to release details of planned media regulation changes before its June 2 vote on them.
In a letter sent to FCC chairman Michael Powell and copied to the other commissioners, the ACLU requests that "that the Commission propose a specific rule or rules, hold public hearings, and allow the public and Congress to review and comment on any proposed rules prior to final adoption."
"Allowing greater concentration and cross-ownership of media may have a profound impact on Americans' access to a wide range of news, information, programming, and political commentary," it continues. "Despite tremendous advances in telecommunications, Americans predominantly gain information from television, radio, and newspapers. For the relatively small percentage of Americans who turn to the Internet for their news, television-affiliated web sites dominate."
"The mass media, therefore, provides the information Americans need to fully participate in our democratic society. Altering media ownership rules could seriously affect vigorous public debate and the marketplace of ideas."
It then says, "Hindering public comment is the fact that no rule has yet been proposed. The Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on media ownership, but proposed no actual rule upon which the public could comment."
"Thus, the public and Congress have had no opportunity to comment on specific changes and their possible effect on diversity. While there may be a difference of opinion on whether media concentration automatically results in lack of diversity, relaxation of the rules could have such a consequence. For this reason, the opportunity for the public and Congress to comment on a specific proposed rule is necessary."
2003-05-24: The UK Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), which has a 29.8% stake in GWR, will ultimately either bail out or take control of the company according to GWR chief executive Patrick Taylor.
He commented according to a UK Guardian report, "As far as we are concerned they have made it clear to us they look at this business as long term investments."
"They have made it clear they are not in this business to be 30% shareholders. They will either gain control or sell out. But the resolution of all this may be five years away, 10 years away or 20 years away."
"They like the digital radio plan that we have, and they are great believers in opportunity to add value to the assets we have in digital radio.
Commenting on likely UK radio consolidation after the UK Communications Bill becomes law and in the wake of the ruling that forced GWR to divest itself of its interests in Vibe Radio Services (See RNW May 23), Taylor said GWR was better placed than rivals because its business did not overlap to the extent that applied to Capital, Emap and Chrysalis who were going to face "pretty significant regulatory difficulties."
"We don't overlap with them in any of these areas, so we're more likely to join forces," he added.
Taylor said financial considerations and return on investment would determine the progress of consolidation bids.
"The thing one needs to look at is the return on investment," he said. "That's all about price and all about the opportunity to grow the top line and cut out duplicative costs."
HE added that DMGT "would not dream" of selling its stake at the current trading price of GWR stock, and queried whether anyone else could make a return on the premium DMGT would require - he mentioned a GBP 3 price.
Taylor also commented that potential buyers like Clear Channel would be deterred by content provision restrictions in the UK, saying, "There is no way Clear Channel will be allowed to do in this country what they have done in the US."
UK Guardian report.
2003-05-24: There was only minor change at the top in the latest Internet ratings from Arbitron-MeasureCast apart from a leap back up to fifth from 17th for Jazz format KPLU-FM after what had seemed an anomalously low week. Its move put two Jazz stations back into the top five but news was absent as WLS-AM fell to sixth spot but no well names disappeared - a feature recently as the service was moved to subscription only with other stations no longer being ranked.
For the week to May 11, 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 AM & FM - TTSL 290,668 (293,445); CP 56,729 (56,928). Same rank with slightly lower listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 290,073 (279,504); CP 119,652 (114,058). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 238,388 (210,527); CP 31,906 (30,093). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 238,388 (231,609); CP 32,234 (32,755). Down from third despite higher listening although reach was slightly down.
5: Jazz format KPLU-FM - TTSL 187,539 (70,267); CP 31,723 (17,909). Up from 17th with significantly higher listening and reach.
* News-Talk WLS-AM fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL of 177,432, down from 185,125 and CP of 27,568. down from 28,712.
The top five networks for the week to May 11 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Launch - TTSL 3,194,088 (3,110,885); CP - 672,959 (681,866). Same rank with higher listening and lower reach.
2: Live365.com - TTSL 3,103,521 (3,058,731); CP - 566,744 (570,878) Same rank with higher listening and lower reach.
3: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,640,162 (1,615,336); CP 205,589 (205,158). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,266,290 (1,249,452); CP 349,670 (354,170). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 820,835 (835,054); CP 154,768 (158,874) - Same rank with lower listening and very slightly higher reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast weekly ratings:
2003-05-23: The US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has been told by the Center for Public Integrity that most of 2,500 trips made over the past eight years by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had been paid for by the telecommunications and broadcasting industries regulated by the agency.
The report, which was based on public records, details trips mainly to industry conventions, academic symposia and technical forums worth more than USD 250 taken by commissioners and staff between May 1995 and February this year; the total cost came to USD 2.8 million but all appear to be within US government guidelines.
The top destination for trips was Las Vegas, with 330 trips followed by New Orleans, with 173 trips then New York with 102 trips and London with 98 trips.
Biggest spenders were the National Association of Broadcasters which spent USD191,472 followed by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association which spent USD172,636 and the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association which spent USD 149,285.
FCC Chairman Michael K Powell "chalked up" the most industry sponsored travel and entertainment among active commissioners during the period covered by the with 44 trips costing USD 84,921and amongst the other commissioners, Republican Kathleen Abernathy took 14 trips costing USD 16,185, Democrat Michael Copps took 14 trips costing USD 15,410, Republican Kevin Martin, who joined the commission a month later in July 2001 has taken 12 trips valued at $14,857, and Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, who joined the Commission a month later in July 2001, took three trips costing USD 2,998.
None of the trips, notes the study, were sponsored by consumer groups or individuals.
Charles Lewis, director of the Center, questioned as a result whether the FCC could be objective in its review of US media regulation.
"I think travel is necessary and if it's necessary then the taxpayer should pay for it," he told the Washington Post. "When you're travelling on somebody's nickel and they're in your face while you're travelling, there might be a problem."
Abernathy, although refusing an interview about her trips, issued a statement saying, "The Commissioner believes that meeting with a diverse range of groups, including industry, consumer groups, and other interested parties, serves a crucial information-gathering purpose that is necessary to effective decision making."
"Commissioner occasionally travels to meet with interested parties for this purpose, particularly where parties seek to provide a tour or demonstration that cannot be provided in Washington, D.C."
Robert Pepper, chief of the FCC Office of Plans and Policy, who took 104 trips costing USD 149,595, commented, "We need to understand what the industry is doing and the industry needs to understand what we are doing. We need to get outside the Beltway in order to do that."
Pepper said the FCC should pay for such trips in an ideal world, but that isn't possible in an age of tight agency budgets. "I'm not crazy about having the industry pick up the tab, but I think it is the second-best option we have in tight fiscal times like now," he said. "The other option is for us to just stay home. That doesn't benefit anyone."
Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, commented of the hospitality, "It is silly to say they [FCC officials] don't lose some of their objectivity when they are being wined and dined like they are at these industry events. You would have to be superhuman not to."
Andrew Schwartzman, president and CEO of the Media Access Project, a consumer advocacy group, commented, "The problem for me is the access and the personal face time the industry gets with these top officials they bring out to their events. It's impossible for the public to get the same kind of access with those officials."
Republican former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth said he found industry-funded trips useful, although he would have preferred to have had them paid for by the agency if funds had been available.
"It almost always benefits the public because the commissioners are better informed when it comes time to make decisions," he said. He took 58 industry-sponsored trips costing USD 51,483 during his tenure as a commissioner from November 1997 to May 2001.
Center for Public Integrity report:
Washington Post report:
2003-05-23: UK GWR Group, which on Thursday announced its preliminary results to the end of March, has provisionally sold its 49% holding in Vibe Radio Services Limited ("VRSL") for £17.6 million (USD 28.1 million) in cash to Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), which already owns the remainder of Vibe.
The sale follows a ruling by the UK Competition Commission that GWR had could not keep the holding (See RNW May 17) and is conditional upon prior approval by Britain's Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
GWR says it and SRH have also conditionally agreed that GWR's contracts to sell airtime for and provide other services to VRSL will be terminated and that the companies GWR and SRH have been in contact with the OFT and believe that regulatory clearance should shortly be forthcoming.
GWR Executive Chairman Ralph Bernard commented, "Following the Competition Minister's statement last week, we have reviewed the proposed remedies and concluded that they were commercially unworkable and we were not prepared to implement them. We believe that a swift disposal of our investment is in the best interests of GWR."
GWR says the disposal will be earnings neutral in the current financial year. It notes that from its inception in September 2002 until the end of March this year, VRSL had revenues of GBP 1.6 million (USD 2.6 million), profits before interest, tax and amortisation of GBP 240,000 (USD 384,000) and a pre-tax loss of GBP 925,000 (USD 1.48 million). On 31 March VRSL had net assets of GBP17.4 million (USD 27.8 million).
GWR has also announced a conditional sale of its Hungarian radio interests for a total of GBP 18 million (USD 29 million) in cash in two simultaneous transactions to Advent International and Mezzanine Management Central Europe.
The sale is the strategic disposal as the group concentrates on building up its UK resources. It virtually completes GWR's disposal of overseas holdings and Bernard commented that they had achieved "a substantially higher price than we initially expected."
The funds from both disposals will be used to reduce debt and Bernard, who said he was "disappointed" about having to sell the VRSL holding added that they had no acquisitions planned at the moment.
GWR's preliminary results showed the company losing turnover slightly - down 1% to GBP 127.1 million (USD 203.2 million), Operating profit, before goodwill and exceptional items down 10.4% to GBP 14.7 (USD 25.5 million) but an operating loss after goodwill and exceptional items trimmed from GBP 7.3 million (USD 11.7 million) to GBP 2.6 million (USD 4.2 million).
Within its revenues, underlying UK radio revenues were 2.3% down compared to last year, national radio revenues -- 59% of its total UK advertising revenues - were up 0.6% year on year, but local radio revenues were down by 6.6%, partly reflecting a shift of inventory towards the more lucrative national market during the year.
Overall GWR's loss after goodwill and exceptional items was down 2% to GBP 14.8 million (USD 23.7 million) - from 12.7 pence per share to 11.7 pence per share.
The figures were boosted from those in GWR's interims by the Hungarian sale for which it had provided GBP 11.8 million (USD 18.9 million) to reflect an anticipated write-down; subsequently it succeeded in getting an extension of its Danubius national licence at a substantially released fee. As a result it is releasing GBP 5 million of the provisions because of the price achieved.
Bernard commented of the year that GWR had "made excellent progress in delivering our stated strategy over the past twelve months."
"The company is now in a significantly stronger position, despite trading conditions during this period continuing to be difficult," he continued, noting that it had successfully re-organised UK operations with benefits now coming through, reduced staff with an annualised saving of GBP 3 million (USD 4.8 million) and "virtually completed the process of disposing of our overseas and non-core UK radio operations."
Debt, he said, was trimmed by GBP 65 million (USD 104 million) through disposals and by a further GBP 33 million (USD 53 million) on the disposals of just announced today to a total of approximately GBP 66 million (USD106 million)
Overall Bernard said the group felt "financially stronger and leaner" and "better placed than our peer group to take advantage of future consolidation across the country."
GWR Chief Executive Patrick Taylor described the Galaxy 101/Vibe deal as being a "fill-in" where the station was on offer and fitted in with the London News Radio deal, and said the VRSL disposal was not a strategic defeat.
He added that April and May advertising revenues would show low single digit with June expected to be a little better.
The markets welcomed the news and by early afternoon had marked GWR shares up 7% to 176.50 pence.
2003-05-23: Proposals that Dallas City Council should move the city's classical music public station WRR-FM to a different frequency as part of a three-way swap that could boost its finances by some USD 60 million have received a cool reception from a council committee.
Under the swap WRR would move to the frequency currently used by urban contemporary station KRNB-FM, KRNB would move to the frequency used by Susquehanna 's 50,000 watts classic-rock KDBN-FM and KDBN would take over WRR's frequency. It would double KDBN's power and improve its coverage area but reduce WRR's power.
Other proposals mooted are for WRR and KDXX-FM to swap frequencies with a payment to the city of USD 45 million or for WRR be run under a "local marketing agreement" by public radio station KERA-FM, and that City Council meetings, currently broadcast on WRR, to be aired on KKDA-AM.
The Dallas Morning News said that Arts, Education and Libraries Committee chairwoman Veletta Forsythe Lill had described the idea of swapping frequencies as now "being on life support" although the full council is still to discuss the proposals on June 4.
The suggestions had come from a task force convened last year by Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and John Tyler, a member of the task force, told council members that the USD 60 million shouldn't be passed up.
"This is one of the sweetest deals I've ever seen," he said. "I don't think the city should hesitate a second in accepting this deal."
The committee itself was not unanimous in its views. Lill commented, "This is an asset that belongs to all of the citizens of Dallas. And if there are citizens who cannot hear the station, then we have marginalized those citizens."
All six of the committee's members said they have serious misgivings about the proposed swap and some council members had reported static when tuning in to the KRNB frequency but another task force member Martin Greenberg said he has crisscrossed the city in his car, flipping between the frequencies without encountering problems.
City Council member Mitchell Rasansky said he thinks WRR's signal should command a higher price than what has been offered.
"I'm not going to support this unless we get $100 million to $125 million," he said. "They're short changing the city."
He added that maintaining the station's current service area also is a priority, saying, "The whole city of Dallas has to hear this.
"We cannot take a chance on this. This is a jewel that we have."
Dallas Morning News report:
2003-05-23: UK Capital Radio is searching its vaults in the hope of finding recordings of classic concerts following the discovery of a historic archive of Radio Clyde recordings that have led to a recording company deal with its owners Scottish Radio Holdings (See RNW May 17).
Capital, which was launched 30 years ago, is hoping to find recordings of artists such as Fairport Convention, Midge Ure and The Damned.
The UK Guardian reports that Capital hopes to benefit from the old recordings as part of a company-wide review to get maximum benefit from its existing content and quoted a company spokeswoman as saying they had started the search a couple of months ago.
Chris Bennett, the newly appointed commercial development director, is overseeing the process at Capital, which has enjoyed recent success with branded CDs from its Capital Gold and Xfm radio stations.
UK Guardian report:
2003-05-22: ChevronTexaco is to end the longest continual commercial sponsorship in broadcast history by dropping its support for the New York Metropolitan Opera's Saturday afternoon live broadcasts after the 2003-04 season.
The matinee broadcasts began on Christmas Day 1931 with Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" after NBC offered the financially strapped Met USD120, 000 to broadcast the season in 1931.
They are now broadcast to 360 stations in 42 countries and have a worldwide audience of around 10 million.
Texaco began sponsoring the broadcasts, which run from December to April annually and now cost around USD 7 million a year, in 1940. The next season will start on Dec. 13 with the Met's new production of "La Juive," by Halévy, and end on April 24, 2004, with the broadcast of Wagner's "Götterdämmerung."
ChevronTexaco, formed in 2001 through the merger of Chevron Corporation and Texaco Inc, said that it had made the decision because it was moving in "different direction philosophically" about funding projects and initiatives, spending money in communities more directly linked with where it did business.
It is to donate to the Met the USD1 million worth of equipment used to broadcast performances and will still be linked to the Met through the Early Notes programme that is run by the Met and the New York City Department of Education and introduces opera to public school students and which ChevronTexaco has endowed in perpetuity.
Joseph Volpe, general manager of the Met, told the New York Times that a search was on for a new sponsor. "One way or another, it will survive," he said. "Even if we have to appeal to the radio listeners themselves for support."
New York Times report:
2003-05-22: The annual report of the UK Authority just released looks back on the history of the organisation, to be subsumed into the new British super regulator OFCOM at the end of the year, as well as forward to the handover to the new authority.
In his comments, outgoing chairman Richard Hooper comments on pride at the Authority's achievements in "developing what has become the major new medium of commercial and independent radio in its modern form and of the contribution we have made to the proposed new pattern of regulation."
Hooper also notes that "in real terms, the Radio Authority now costs its licensees 31% less than in our first year of full operation in 1991."
Looking ahead, he singles out for comment future digital radio developments, and says that during the rest of this year the Authority will work with the Radiocommunications Agency on a "major public consultation designed to examine the best use of the new L-Band frequencies which will become available from 2007 onwards."
"The final roll-out of digital radio may very much depend on the availability of these frequencies and those in Band III," he comments.
The Authority's chief executive Tony Stoller comments in similar vein and notes that during the year five new analogue stations and nine new digital multiplexes went on air with a further six analogue and six digital multiplexes being awarded.
At the end of the year, the Authority had in existence three national analogue licenses, 261 local analogue licences, a national programme service licence and 39 digital multiplexes carrying around 245 services plus 199 licences for cable, satellite and long-term restricted services. In addition, the authority issued 450 Restricted Service Licences during the year.
The report highlights the success of the Authority's Access Radio experiment and comments on the significant advances by digital radio and Internet radio. Commenting on the UK Communications Bill, it says this "closely reflects the recommendations made by the Radio Authority to Government in 2000" and adds, "The extensive liberalisation of ownership rules, including the removal of all UK-wide ownership limits for ILR services, and the extension of INR and ILR licences from eight to twelve years, is in line with the Radio Authority's belief that a more mature industry can operate more effectively on that basis."
"The Authority is pleased to see that safeguards have been retained to ensure local plurality of ownership of ILR services in individual areas, although we are disappointed that the test has been set to deliver a minimum two-plus-the-BBC, rather than three-plus-the-BBC, in the major metropolitan localities."
Previous Radio Authority:
UK Radio Authority report: ( 6.43 Mb PDF):
2003-05-22: New York WQHT -FM (Hot 97) morning host Star (Troi Torain), who was suspended in April for reasons that were never revealed but were rumoured to concern comments about advertisers (See RNW April 10), has been suspended again according to the New York Daily News.
The show is being hosted by DJ Sway for the immediate future and a message on Star's voice mail has led to speculation that he may not be back. "I'm suspended again," says the message. "Please don't listen for us anymore on the Hot-97 morning show."
Emmis, which owns WQHT, has not commented about the reasons for the latest suspension.
*RNW update: Reports are now that the host has in fact been fired.
2003-05-22: NextMedia, which in April announced a USD4.25 million deal to acquire KNHK-FM, Reno, from Citadel (See RNW April 30), has announced that it is to place Adult Standards KSRN-FM into a trust, the Reno Station Business Trust.
The move was necessary to stay within Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership limits.
2003-05-22: Entercom finally took over the running of KWOD-FM, Sacramento, from Royce International at the beginning of the week after a six-year fight but it took it until Wednesday to change the station's web site that at first was still identifying the station as belonging to Royce.
The site - KWOD.Com - now has a re-direct to KWOD.net and identifies the station as belonging to Entercom.
Previous Entercom/Royce International:
2003-05-21: The party-line divide over new US media regulations appears to be deepening with comments from Democrat Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein saying he is getting less and less optimistic over time that he will support planned cross-ownership regulations and does not have much respect for the proposed changes.
Adelstein expressed concern about more consolidation and said that public comments into the FCC, in the tens of thousands, were "all against consolidation."
Meanwhile the call by Adelstein and fellow-Democratic Commissioner Michael J Copps for a delay to the June 2 vote on the regulations - rejected by FCC chairman Michael Powell (See RNW May 15) - has been backed by Wisconsin Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold.
Warning of the risks in changing the rules without proper consideration of the consequences and public debate on the issue, Feingold said the "changes would move this country closer to a time when the media is dominated by a small number of national companies that are completely out of the reach of local ownership and control."
"This would be a significant and largely negative development, given our nation's history of local access and local control of the media that has served us so well until now."
2003-05-21: Small Town Radio has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection according to the Atlanta Business Journal which quotes chairman and CEO Dan Hollis as saying the move became necessary "both to preserve the company's assets for the benefit of its proven creditors as well as to provide the company with breathing room to reorganize its business and its financial structure."
Hollis says the company, which has a strategy of acquiring radio stations in smaller, less-populated areas near, but not in, mid-sized and larger markets, anticipates continuing operations during the process and filing a re-organization plan in due course.
Unrelated Big City Radio has reported cutting its net loss in the first quarter from USD 16.5 million to USD 9.4 million but loss from discontinued operations increasing from USD 7 million to USD 7.2 million. Big City, which has sold all but one of its 12 stations, had only USD800, 000 of liquid assets at the end of March, not enough to pay senior staff and executives.
In other US radio business, Regent Communications has announced that its Board has adopted a Stockholder Rights Plan in which preferred stock purchase rights will be granted as a dividend at the rate of one right for each share of Common Stock held of record as of the close of business on May 30, 2003.
The move, says chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs is a "prudent measure that will protect shareholder value in the event of a hostile takeover, while not precluding a fair acquisition bid for the company. "
"Many public companies have rights plans similar to the one we have adopted and this plan will not interfere with any potential merger or other business combination transaction approved by the board," he added.
The idea behind the move is to make a hostile takeover more difficult and the rights will be exercisable only if a person or group in the future becomes the beneficial owner of 15% or more of Regent's Common Stock or commences, or publicly announces an intention to commence, a tender or exchange offer which would result in its ownership of 15% or more of the Common Stock.
Previous Big City Radio:
2003-05-21: All India Radio (AIR) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) are reported to have been talking about an exchange programme under which AIR programming would be aired in the UK on BBC channels and BBC programming on AIR's medium wave network in India.
The initial deal would be a one-hour a week exchange and the Prasar Bharati , the Indian statutory body overseeing public radio and TV in the country, has said that it has accepted the proposal with the aim of commencing the exchange on Indian Independence Day, August 15.
The BBC was more cautious and a World Service spokesperson would only confirm that a meeting was held but added that no agreement was reached on any of the wide range of issues discussed.
The BBC World Service short-wave broadcasts have been losing audience in the sub-continent, putting the Corporation under pressure to find new distribution.
Any deal would prohibit broadcasts of news and current affairs by the BBC; Indian private FMs are also barred from carrying these.
In neighbouring Afghanistan, the Word Service has built a solar powered FM transmitter in Bamian to transmit its service to the predominantly Hazara population of the region where two years ago the Taliban destroyed two huge Buddha statues amid worldwide protests.
The transmitter is the fourth set up by the BBC in the country - the others are in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad - since the Taliban regime was overthrown in 1991 and more are planned to cover other provincial cities.
Behrouz Afagh, head of Eurasia region at BBC World Service, commented, "Throughout more than two decades of conflict, Bamian became one of the most neglected regions of Afghanistan. Almost the entire population fled under the Taliban. There was little investment in the area. It has never had a power station or any radio facilities"
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-05-21: Sirius has announced that it is to offer USD125 million of convertible senior notes on terms to be determined for general corporate purposes; they will be covered by its universal shelf registration statement and the offering is expected to be underwritten by Morgan Stanley, as book running manager, and UBS Warburg.
Sirius has also announced that Kenwood is now offering its first portable tuner for the Sirius satellite radio service; the USD 99.99 Kenwood Here2Anywhere can be connected via a separate USD70 docking cradle to a mobile, home or PC sound system.
The device includes a search system to see what is currently playing on any music stream before selecting it and the ability to store and recall the names of up to 24 songs and artists heard on any of Sirius's music streams for later recall and display.
2003-05-21: According to the Salisbury Daily Times, Salisbury University (Maryland) radio station WSCL-FM is being appraised for a possible sale.
The station's owner, the Salisbury University Foundation, was contacted three weeks ago about a possible sale by WYPR-FM (the former John Hoplins University station WJHU-FM) in Baltimore according to the Foundation's executive director Albert Mollica.
He told the paper that he could not estimate the value of the station, which plays mainly classical music, but that its annual budget is roughly USD 630,000. A sale of WSCL also would include the affiliate station WSDL, he added.
Mollica said the station had not yet made any decision and had not thought of a sale until approached by WYPR on behalf of Kentucky-based John Pierce and Co.
The foundation has been hit by economic woes and its assets have lost around a fifth of their value over the past two years and Mollica said foundation officials will have to balance the benefits of keeping the station against the amount it would fetch.
Previous WYPR/WJHU FM:
Salisbury Daily Times report:
2003-05-20: US satellite radio listeners are years away from seeing Sirius and XM reach a federal requirement to design radios that can reach both signals according to USA Today.
The paper says the reason is that the 1997 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that required the companies as a condition of their licence to work towards compatible receives set no deadline or penalties for failure.
Steve Mather, analyst with Sander Morris Harris, told the paper that without deadlines or fines, the companies don't have much incentive to build compatible radios. "A radio that gets both signals makes it easier to turn to the company that has the deal of the month," he said.
The goal of the FCC requirement, says USA Today, was two-fold: to prevent a repeat of the Beta vs. VHS videotape nightmare and give consumers a choice.
FCC spokesman David Fiske says the agency didn't set a deadline for compatibility because it wanted the companies to "take the most cost-effective approach."
XM and Sirius say their engineers have jointly developed an antenna that can receive both signals and they are working to meet the requirement but are at least three years away.
XM chairman Gary Parsons said the companies could offer a radio today that receives both broadcasts, but it would be too costly. "We want to provide choice at a reasonable price," Parsons says.
USA Today report:
2003-05-20: Arbitron has released its latest report looking at the commuting patterns of radio listeners in the US, compiled from Census 2000 and Arbitron data and covering 286 Metros.
The study, available via its web site, shows for each metro details of commuting times, departure times, methods of getting to wok and time spent listening.
Unsurprisingly public transport use was high in New York (29% used mass transit) but low in Los Angeles (6%) whose public transport service is less usable and commuting times were shortest in smaller metros as a general rule.
Amongst other snippets -- the Clarksville-Hopkinsville, Tennessee-Kentucky Metro saw the earliest departures for work with 23.3 percent leaving home before 6AM to get to work; by comparison in New York some 30% left between 0700 and 0800 and another 25% left in the 0800-0900 period.
The area where commuters faced the longest journey was Sussex, New Jersey, 24.5 percent of whose residents have commutes of an hour or more.
Arbitron web site:
2003-05-20: DMG Radio has threatened to sue the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) should it delay issuing new commercial radio licences, one each in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The ABA last month called for comment on the issue (See Licence News April 13) and, says the paper, "Established FM broadcasters such as Austereo and APN News & Media claim more licences could push some stations into receivership."
DMG, whose Nova network did well in the latest Australian ratings (See RNW May 14), said the ABA would breach its powers if it did not issue the licences and added, "Across the nation, metropolitan radio revenue is growing."
"The ABA's test to determine whether to delay commercial radio licences is whether there has been a significant change in market circumstances since the determination of the relevant licence plan . . . there has been no such significant change."
"To purport to alter this now would be in breach of the law and would also expose us and our investment decisions to an environment that is neither stable nor predictable and, in those circumstances, we would challenge that outcome through the courts."
The ABA has not commented.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-05-20: The BBC World Service Trust, an independent charity promoting health, education and social development, is teaming up with Viacom to launch the world's first pan-African radio campaign to target HIV/AIDS following the launch in the US by Viacom of an Aids campaign, jointly funded with the Kaiser Foundation, the American health charity.
Under the year-long scheme, the BBC is to broadcast short educational spots thrice-daily at peak listening hours plus a five-minute special call-in segment will also be produced as part of the weekly English-language program "Postmark Africa."
They will be produced by seven BBC African language services -- English for Africa, French for Africa, Portuguese for Africa, Hausa, Somali, Swahili and Kinyanwanda/Kirundi; as well as the BBC Caribbean service, and will start airing from October. All material produced under the arrangement will be made available free to other broadcasters.
"We are thrilled that an international broadcaster of the stature of the BBC is joining us in battling HIV/AIDS in two of the hardest-hit regions in the world," said Viacom President and CEO Mel Karmazin.
"The BBC's power and reach will assure that important awareness and prevention messages reach every corner of Africa and the Caribbean in a coordinated effort for the first time ever."
"What's exciting about this initiative is that major broadcasters are joining forces to take on AIDS," said, BBC World Service Trust Director of Health Roy Head.
"The BBC reaches 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, and coupled with Viacom's huge audiences across the US and Europe we can make a real difference. And if other big media players can follow suit, so much the better."
Africa has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of any region in the world. Nearly 30 million or 70% of all those with the disease live in sub-Saharan Africa, with more new infections and AIDS deaths in 2002 than any other part of the world. The Caribbean has also been severely impacted and is the second-most affected region.
2003-05-19: With the deadline for the release of the proposed rules reconfirmed as June 2, the issue of US media regulation was again the most important story for radio over the past week.
One of the most telling cameos came from a Senate hearing, reported by Frank Ahrens of the Washington Post.
It refers to details of the news cover in 1996 of the debate as to whether the Federal Communications Commission should give away or sell digital broadcast spectrum with an estimated value of USD 70 billion.
Senator John McCain produced a list from a consumer group survey that found that the editorials of every newspaper that also owned TV stations - and thus would benefit directly - favoured the giveaway approach. Only newspapers with no substantial interests opposed it.
As Ahrens reports, McCain asked William Dean Singleton, president of both the newspaper industry's lobbying group and MediaNews Group, which owns 50 newspapers, concerning the list," "Do you think that's an anomaly?"
"I do," Singleton replied.
"So, it's a coincidence," McCain finished, with more than a little sarcasm in his voice.
RNW comment: The rest of the report deals with ground already gone over about the pros and cons of cross-ownership but to us the above says it all.
We would feel it fair to comment that on the evidence we have seen so far most lobbyists could justly be accused of hypocrisy were they to make any comment about President Clinton and his view of "sexual relations" since their partial view and prevarications are of the same nature and certainly much more damaging to democracy.
On to another element of the controversy, the way in which technology has changed the situation.
In this case the matter highlighted in a Washington Post item by columnist Marc Fisher who is working on a book about radio's evolution since the advent of TV.
He starts with the issue of voice-tracking and the first four paragraphs are worthy of a repeat: "Technology begets wonders," writes Fisher, "such as radio talk show host Brian Wilson, who, thanks to satellites and the Internet, sits on his farm north of Baltimore and talks California politics with listeners on San Francisco's KSFO."
"Wilson wakes each day, fires up his Web browser and reads the morning San Francisco Chronicle online for the latest news from clear across the country. He's so good that his listeners could be forgiven for thinking that he's in the City by the Bay rather than in a bedroom in Maryland. This is what passes for local radio these days."
"Satellites and digital recording also make it possible for oldies deejay Tom Kelly to finish up his afternoon air shift on WBIG in Rockville, then sit down in front of a microphone and record his next job, as JJ Jackson, the overnight oldies jock on KQQL in Minneapolis. "
"And no one's the wiser -- except, of course, Clear Channel Communications Inc., which owns both stations. You do have to give Clear Channel a hand for this wink and nudge on the KQQL Web site: "Actually, JJ is perhaps the most 'there' overnight presence in Twin Cities FM radio."
"Deregulation in the media industries," Fisher continues, " begets wonders, too, producing not only deejays with multiple personalities, but multiple stations with single corporate identities."
"Ever since Congress eased limits on media ownership in 1996, companies such as Clear Channel and Viacom Inc. have gobbled up hundreds of radio stations, threatening diversity. In many cities, a single company controls a majority of radio advertising revenue and makes most of the programming decisions."
"Since 1996, Clear Channel alone went from 40 stations to more than 1,200; add the company's prominence in the concert promotion and outdoor advertising businesses and you have unprecedented influence on the nation's popular music."
"The combination of technological change and freedom from government regulation has not liberated owners to do more with less; rather, companies have lunged at the chance to do far less and rake in much more."
Fisher then deals with the way radio has changed in the US since regulation and the arguments by the media giants as he puts it that they "offer a more bountiful selection of artistic riches than ever before and that they have brought big-city talent to backwater communities, replacing farm reports, swap shops and amateurish deejays."
"But," writes Fisher, "listeners hear the nation's broadcasters pressing the culture to its lowest common denominator in a cynical money grab. Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and Tom Joyner are piped into your hometown by satellite.
Looking at the effects in DC, he comments, " in the past few years, Washington listeners have lost far more music choices than they have gained, on both commercial and public radio: standards (WGAY, the only station in the market that aimed at older listeners, tried a series of failed formats); jazz (WDCU was sold to C-SPAN, which uses the frequency as a prototype of a satellite-delivered national audio service); bluegrass (WAMU dropped much of its local music programming to serve up more news and talk produced for a national audience); and classical (WETA dropped some daily music offerings to simulcast news programs already heard on WAMU)."
"In city after city," he continues, "Clear Channel points to formats it has added -- hip-hop here, alternative rock there. But critics contend that even when the big companies add program formats, the music they play is the same old stuff. A study by the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington-based artists group, found that different formats feature almost identical playlists, sharing as much as 76 percent of the songs they play."
"More important, the radio chain -- saddled with $8 billion in debt from its '90s acquisition spree -- has cut costs and increased ad rates to squeeze operating profits from its stations."
"The chain has replaced local deejays and news announcers with jocks who sit in Phoenix or Denver and record shows for stations thousands of miles away, tossing in a few local references for verisimilitude ("Hey, tough day on I-10! How about those Bucs!"). News operations have been eliminated or outsourced. And programming that once mirrored local standards now takes on the coarseness of New York and Los Angeles, where stunningly vulgar sex talk wins big ratings."
"If deregulation was supposed to let a thousand flowers bloom, most of the garden appears to be in Clear Channel's yard."
After further comment on the way in which the current system has led to changes, including those in the big markets where a host's patter now brings in references to other areas where a show is syndicated -" the humour is more generic, the content less local" - Fisher concludes, "There is also a powerful rational objection to a new wave of consolidation, one that fits the FCC's penchant for justifying policy decisions with economic and legal argument: The enormous debt and cost-cutting that follow corporate consolidation has produced a need for safe, bland and cheap programming -- and declining consumer interest."
"Chain ownership has diminished both the diversity and vibrancy of discussion and debate -- and that is what the FCC is charged to protect on the public's airwaves. As Justice Louis Brandeis once said, "We can have a democratic society or we can have the concentration of great wealth in the hands of the few. We cannot have both."
RNW comment: We go along with Fisher in this. It is a matter of degree and balance not absolutes but in the end if the US really wants "localism" in its radio, the original reason for licensing stations as local ones and limiting networks, it probably has to order Clear Channel to divest itself of most of its empire. Even if it is thought that this rationale can now be dropped, the only way to a healthy democracy is through a variety of viewpoints and in particular of newsgathering as opposed to processing or comment. Time after time when we see a story in a US newspaper or on a broadcaster's web site we find that even for local stories the source is often The Associated Press.
Certainly if the public comment that the Federal Communications Commission - as opposed to that from vested industry interests - is any guide the changes that are likely to go through should be strangled at birth.
According to the Future of Music Coalition as of May 8 its analysis of comments from individuals without industry links showed that 9,065 wanted current regulations to be kept and only 11 wanted them changes.
With what would be considered lunatic understatement by most lobbyists, Coalition Executive Director commented, "It's hard to read these comments and find evidence that the public supports rule changes that would lead to more media consolidation."
Indeed it is even allowing for the fact that only a miniscule number of comments have been received compared to the size of the US population and that it might be expected that these would generally come with a built-in bias.
But enough of regulation! Across the Atlantic, the British radio columnists were concerned about programming and, not coincidentally, we would venture, most of the praise (and brickbats) were for the BBC, in itself a proof of the value of diversity in funding for broadcasters.
In Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times the brickbat came first with the paragraph, "It was the most brutally honest comment any radio boss ever made. Michael Green, then controller of Radio 4, said in 1988: "We have abandoned a whole generation of children. What are we offering the under-12s? Nothing."
Donovan details some of the children's programming killed off by the corporation, notes that "commercial radio, meanwhile, was also neglecting children" and concludes, " at the end of the century in which the medium was born, radio was simply ignoring the 20% of the population aged under 15.
He then moves to upbeat mode, noting, "It is worth setting out that detailed litany to show just how much things have changed in four years. Children are no longer ignored and are returning to the radio in droves."
"Fifteen years ago, only 7% of listeners, even to Radio 1, were under 15. Now 20% of them are. More surprisingly, the under-15s also comprise 20% of the audience for Oneword, the talking books station. Virgin Radio has 490,000 listeners under 15, but so too does Classic FM."
"So this is not just a pop music explosion. And it is not just a commercial radio boom, either, even though three-quarters of all British children listen to commercial radio every week. Auntie, too, is no longer failing her nephews and nieces. "
He then details some of the programming on offer in the UK (notably omitting Capital Disney from the list!) , notes that radio and television in the UK complement each other in many cases, that most digital radio listening is via TV, and that Internet listeners can listen to BBC programmes up to seven days after the broadcast , and concludes, "None of this, of course, actually makes the programmes better. But it does make children's radio vibrant and viable once again."
That Internet access, of course, means that we can now justifiably highlight some of the BBC programming that only a few years ago would have been unavailable to most of the world but which can now be caught either live or for up to a week after a broadcast (albeit only for those rich enough; it's still nowhere near as easy to access as broadcasts that can be heard on a much more affordable transistor radio).
Amongst those we have noted and which also aroused comment were two BBC Radio 4 series.
The first, on Australian comedy, was highlighted by Chris Campling in his column for the UK Times.
"Laughing at Dingoes", which is presented by Mark Little, began last Tuesday (10.30 GMT) with an overview of Australian comedy and moves on tomorrow to the start of a chronology of the genre.
As Little comments it is "is something of a groundbreaker. British humour we know, of course, the American variety we are inundated with, but I don't remember the humour of any other country being granted such analysis. "
And finally another combination of praise and brickbats for the BBC featured in Sue Arnold's column in the UK Observer.
"Even the best programmes have bad-hair days," she starts. "With new digital stations such as BBC7 ransacking the archives to fill air space, it's inevitable I suppose that you hear less than brilliant episodes of classics such as Dead Ringers and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue."
"Having said that, I've yet to hear a bad or even mediocre Discovering Music or Word of Mouth or From Our Own Correspondent which last thought prompts me to submit the following proposal to the Radio 4 controller. If you heard last Thursday's FOOC you'll appreciate what I'm getting at - maybe even agree."
"There were four items - a report from Hong Kong about a small boy who has lost both parents to Sars, another from Jericho where Colin Powell has just met Mahmoud Abbas the new Palestinian Prime Minister, a lovely elegiac piece from Donegal about factory closures by Hugh O'Shaughnessy and an extraordinary story about the dangers of collecting honey in Bangladesh where a high percentage of honey gatherers are eaten by tigers."
"Listening to this collection of meticulously researched, beautifully written, genuinely interesting and, above all, personal reports was as exhilarating as barrelling through the waves in a Whitbread 60 with the sun blazing down, a force six behind and the spinnaker straining at the sheets - and then suddenly at two minutes past 12 I was pitched into a trough, that broadcasting hiatus called You and Yours."
On which programme she comments, "If you've been diagnosed as hyperactive and advised to just sit down and let your mind go blank, a daily dose of the You and Yours doldrums is what you need. It's the complaining tone of every item - sometimes strident, sometimes plangent - that depresses and, more to the point, the length of every whinge" before going on to comment, "The BBC has 3,000 correspondents, reporters and stringers worldwide longing to be heard. Why not use them to keep us in touch with the planet on a daily basis?"
RNW comment: Thanks to the Internet all the programmes mentioned can now be heard as streaming audio - based on the first programme, we think "Laughing at Dingoes" is likely to be informative, revealing and entertaining,
"From Our Own Correspondent" is a consistently strong mix and as for "You and Yours"?
Well for those of you who would like to feel superior to Whingeing Poms (as they are termed in Australia) who seem to think someone else should wipe their backsides or even that some of them ought to still be in nappies (diapers) that could also fit the bill.
Washington Post - Ahrens:
Washington Post - Fisher:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling.
FCC site for comments re media regulations:
2003-05-19: The first phase of private FMs in India is now complete following the launch this month of four stations in Kolkata and two in Chennai.
They followed the launch of three stations in Delhi at the end of last month including leading franchise Entertainment Network India Limited's (ENIL's) Radio Mirchi (see RNW May 5).
The earliest stations to be launched including those in Mumbai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Pune, have been on the air for a year. Most are using All India Radio (AIR) infrastructure for their transmissions.
Previous Indian radio:
2003-05-19: Emap is to launch three new digital stations The Hits, Q and Magic, on July 1; they will be carried on the Freeview digital service that already airsd Emap's Kiss, Kerrang! and Smash Hits channels.
Freeview was launched in October last year with BBC backing as a free-to-air replacement for the defunct ITV Digital service and broadcasts 30 channels to around 1.5 million homes. Freeview also carries ten BBC channels including its new digital channels and also Jazz FM and digital speech station OneWord.
This month's UK radio ratings showed that Kiss, Emap's London dance FM, added 932,000 listeners through its digital broadcasts on Freeview, Sky Digital and cable whilst Kerrang! had 771,000 listeners a week and Smash Hits 759,000 on the digital platforms (See RNW May 9).
Emap says the three existing digital channels added 9.6 million listening hours a week to take its overall total up to 68.5 million hours and its share of commercial radio listening in the UK up from 12.9% to 14.1%.
Tim Schoonmaker, chief executive of Emap Performance, which includes its radio business, said, "Freeview is demonstrating that the way people listen to the radio is changing. It is becoming clear that in the digital world consumers want to listen to the radio wherever and whenever suits them best - whether it is delivered via their television, their radio, their computer or their mobile phone."
"We're very excited to have six brand new national radio stations alongside the BBC on this rapidly growing platform."
2003-05-18: Yet again the main regulatory story of the past week was the forthcoming rules for US media ownership but there was a reasonable amount of activity elsewhere.
In Australia there was no licence activity but the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) issued its report on breakfast host Alan Jones holding in Macquarie Radio Network stations 2GB and 2CH. It said there had been no breach of its rules but rapped Macquarie's directors over the knuckles for the way in which they had handled the disclosure of information (See RNW May 14).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was again fairly busy with decisions including the granting of four new licences in Ontario for which there had been a total of ten applications.
In province order, decisions included:
Four new licences to serve Kitchener-Waterloo were approved. They went to:
*CanWest Global Communications Limited for a new Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio 3,600 watts FM, The Beat.
The licence was awarded against competitive applications from Rogers Broadcasting Limited, CKMW Radio Ltd. and Telephone City Broadcast Limited (TCB). Rogers had been proposing a Contemporary Hit Radio format, CKMW an Urban Top 40 format and TCB a country music format at nearby Brantford.
Commenting on the award, the Commission said that of the three Kitchener-Waterloo applications, it was "satisfied that approval of Global's application would provide the soundest, most compelling combination of benefits for listeners in Kitchener-Waterloo. These include the additional news and editorial diversity that the station would offer local listeners, as described in the applicant's well-developed plans for providing local reflection. It found that the frequency would be better used in this market than in Brantford.
Canwest has committed itself to spend CAD 2.1 million (USD 1.5 million) on developing local artists over the seven years of its licence and is also to broadcast 40% Canadian content, 5% above the minimum.
*Larche Communications Inc. for a new English language country format 1,600 watts FM. The licence was awarded against competition from Douglas E. Kirk , Edward F. Bauman and Rae Roe, and Trust Communications Ministries. The Kirk application proposed a "new country" format, targeted to an age group 18-64, The Bauman/Roe proposal was for a country station that would appeal to an audience aged 35-64 and Trust proposed an English-language commercial specialty FM that would offer Christian music and other religious programming.
Commenting on this award, the CRTC said that it felt a mainstream commercial radio station would make best use of the available frequency and that Larche was the preferable application based on the level and nature of the applicant's Canadian Talent Development (CTD) commitments, as well as its approach to local reflection and broadcast experience.
* Sound of Faith Broadcasting for a low-power 50 watts English-language specialty FM radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo that will feature Christian music and other religious programming.
* Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. for a 460 watts native FM station that will feature programming in English, French and Aboriginal languages.
RNW note - The Kitchener-Waterloo market is currently served by five commercial FMs -- Rogers has an AM news station and an FM pop station, CHUM has an AM talk station and an FM rock service and the market is also served by a Corus FM in nearby Cambridge.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of application for a 20 watts low-power English-language Type B community FM radio programming undertaking in McKay's.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to amend the broadcasting licence for the radio programming undertaking CBF-FM Montréal in order to delete its CBF-2 Mont-Brun transmitter, which broadcasts the programming of the CBC French-language radio network, La Première Chaîne.
The CRTC has also issued public notice, with a June 19 deadline for interventions, of applications by Newcap Inc. (CHTN-AM) and Maritime Broadcasting System Limited (CFCY-AM and CHLQ-FM), to extend until August 31, 2004, the date at which the licences expire, the conditions of licence allowing the licensees to operate these Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, stations pursuant to a local management agreement (LMA).
There was nothing of note in Ireland; In the UK, the main Radio Authority announcement was of its receipt of 11 applications for the new West Midlands regional licence (See RNW May 14); The Authority also announced two re-awards of licences.
They were of the Milton Keynes licence to Milton Keynes Broadcasting Co. Ltd., broadcasting as FM 103 Horizon, and of the Taunton & Yeovil local licence to Orchard FM Ltd.. Both are GWR subsidiaries and in each case the licences were re-awarded under the Authority's fast-track procedure after a pre-advertisement that attracted no competing application.
In the US, the main news as already noted related to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) review of US media regulations that has been set for a June 2 vote; although both Democrats on the Commission had called for a delay this was denied by FCC chairman Michael Powell (See RNW May 17).
The Commission was also involved in an oddball exercise after it mistakenly rescinded Qantum Communications' purchase of Root Communications 26 stations and then corrected the error (See RNW May 16).
The FCC has also finally refused to allow Royce International any more rope in its effort to stop the sale of KWOD-FM, Sacramento, to Entercom, a deal that was first agreed in 1996 (See RNW May 16) and also gave final approval to Mondy-Burke Broadcasting's construction permit for a new Mississippi FM (See RNW May 17).
On the penalties front, it was involved in action against one pirate who was jailed and two others who were fined (See RNW May 13) and also in action over a number of technical offences, rescinding, reducing and upholding various penalties (See RNW May 15).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site :
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-05-18: Terry Gross, host of the US National Public Radio (NPR) programme "Fresh Air", which is produced by WHYY-FM, Philadelphia, has been awarded the 2003 Edward R. Murrow Award, named after the eponymous radio broadcaster, at the Public Radio Conference in New Orleans.
Fresh Air, which has been broadcast for 16 years as an hour long weekday programme, is known for its critics and commentators as well as interviews with cultural, current affairs, news and entertainment figures. It is syndicated to 435 US stations and has a weekly audience of more than 4 million.
Gross, who began her public radio career 30 years ago in Buffalo, became producer and host of Fresh Air, which was then a WHYY-FM local show, in 1975. The show's first national syndication was as a weekly half-hour version in 1985 and it then went to an hour in 1987.
2003-05-18: The BBC has launched a Children's Radio Player, offering instant access to content for children including BBC 7's Big Toe Show, Radio 3's Making Tracks, Radio 4's Go for it and two CBBC shows that have online radio elements: UGetMe and Smile.
The player also offers links to music related web sites from BBCi and allows a simple means of listening to radio whilst surfing the bbc.co.uk web site.
2003-05-18: Host Don Burns, who left Los Angeles Smooth Jazz KTWV-FM, The Wave, a year ago following a contract dispute, is now back at following the firing of his replacement J.J. Jackson.
Je joined the station in 1988 when it became the first all smooth-Jazz outlet in th US on St Valentine's Day in 1988.
He told the Los Angeles Times of his return, that it felt "almost as comfortable as the day I was hired in 1988. It just felt like home. "I was blessed to be put there in 1988. It was just the right fit. It was almost incomprehensibly perfect."
"I can't grasp why people like what I do so much, but I am humbled and flattered by it," he added.
The station has recently fallen in the ratings and has seen a number of departures over the year including long-time program director Chris Brodie.
She was replaced by Paul Goldstein from smooth-jazz station KKSF-FM in San Francisco her in January. He fired Jackson and lat week Brodie's assistant program director and music director, Ralph Stewart, left the station.
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-05-17: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has now formally written to Democratic Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael J Copps and rejected their call for a delay in the June 2 vote on US media ownership regulations.
In his letter Powell wrote, "There is precedent for granting such a request but it is not customary to do so over the strong objections of a majority of Commissioners who are prepared to proceed, or where Congress has statutorily set the pace of our deliberations, as is the case here."
"Media ownership rules are intended to protect and advance the cherished values of diversity, localism and competition," Powell continued. "These values and the public interest, however, are ill- served by letting stand a body of rules that are unenforceable. When the judiciary reverses our rules, especially ones intended to promote core First Amendment values, it is incumbent on us to repair the shortcomings as quickly as possible."
The Commission will vote on the media ownership Biennial Review on June 2, 2003, as previously scheduled. In addition, the sunshine period will be extended to Friday, May 30, the last business day before the open meeting, so that Commissioners and their staffs can continue to engage the public as the Commissioners deliberate the item internally.
Copps responded by commenting, "This is really disappointing. The Chairman's decision not to make these proposals public, nor even to grant a short delay in voting, runs roughshod over the requests of the American people and the precedents of this Commission. This rush to judgment means that we will not fully understand the impact of the specific proposals on our media landscape before
We are forced to vote. We are rushing to passage of new rules without letting the American people know who is going to own and control the public airwaves for years to come and without gaining the benefit of their input on what is being proposed. This is no way to do business when critical issues affecting every American are at stake. I am disappointed that the Chairman refuses to heed the calls of colleagues, as well as many Members of Congress, to let the sun shine on his proposals before the Commission decides on further media concentration."
2003-05-17: The UK Competition Commission has told GWR it must unpick the asset swap deal that put the former Chrysalis Bristol-based dance station into a joint venture - Vibe Radio Services - with Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) and would have taken the groups market share of advertising in the area up to 84%.
Competition minister Melanie Johnson said the deal was "against the public interest" and has referred the matter to the office of fair trading that is to negotiate with the parties involved to gain undertakings that will remedy the anti-competitive effects of the deal.
In its conclusions, the Competition Commission says that GWR, which holds 49% of Vibe, should cut its holding to no more than 24.9% and could only hold that as a financial investment with no managerial involvement or influence and should also end the arrangement under which Opus, its sales house, sells advertising for Vibe.
If it is unwilling to agree such undertakings within a reasonable period, says the report "the Secretary of State should consider making an order whereby GWR's share-holding in VRSL is divested."
The decision is seen as having major implications for potential radio consolidation in the UK when the Communications Act becomes law later this year but the Commission, in coming to its conclusions,cocnentrated on local advertising.
It said that in its view a significant number of local small businesses were vulnerable to price increases although it found no such problem for national advertisers, who were protected by their use of advertising agencies unlike many small businesses.
Overall it concluded, " the merger may be expected to operate against the public interest in that it may be expected to reduce actual and potential competition in local radio advertising services in the Bristol and Bath, and Taunton and Yeovil areas; result in higher prices to vulnerable advertisers in these areas; and adversely affect other radio stations and their listeners in these areas."
"The benefits which the parties argued would result from the merger-such as increasing diversity offered to listeners (which would also create benefits to advertisers)-would in our view," it added, "arise irrespective of the merger and any such benefits would not be sufficient to offset such adverse effects."
GWR says it remains committed to Vibe and would try and negotiate a new deal; its operations director Steve Orchard told the UK Guardian that the company had been shocked by the severity of the commission recommendations, adding, "Now we know we have to divest our share to below the 25% level and give up the sales contract, so we have got to work out a new structure."
"We were expecting remedies, but this is the most severe set of remedies. But we remain committed to Vibe."
He also suggested that the focus on local advertising meant the decision "does not necessarily carry implications for national advertisers and the implication for wider consolidation is not necessarily impaired."
Chrysalis radio division chief executive Phil Riley said, "The commission's remedies look extremely harsh - they've got to scale down their shareholding, reduce their influence over the station and sell it if they don't, so what's the point?"
On the wider implications of the ruling, he commented, "If the competition commission had allowed the deal to stand, it would have sent a clear signal that any number of combinations [of station mergers] were allowed. It would have been a huge green light."
" this ruling means there is no automatic green light. Whoever decides to try to merge or acquire radio stations and increase their share of market is going to have to make a call about whether they are likely to fall foul of the competition commission," he added.
GWR shares ended Friday down 6% at 172 pence, having dropped at one stage to just under 164 pence.
In contrast Capital Radio, which on Thursday fell at one point to 400p after it released its interim results but picked up again to end at 432.5 pence, was up again on Friday to end the week at 437.5 pence.
Capital's revenues for the half-year to March 31 were down 5.2% on the year before at GBP56.9 million (USD 91 million), its underlying profit before tax and goodwill was down 15.5% at GBP 12 million (USD 19.2 million) and its basic profit before tax was down 23.4% to GBP 7.2 million (USD 11.5 million).
Capital had warned of continuing pressure for the rest of the year but was more bullish about the long term.
"Advertising market conditions in the last six months have remained challenging for the Group and for the industry as a whole," it said in a statement.
"We anticipate our combined April and May 2003 revenues will be broadly flat year on year. At this stage, June is experiencing weak demand and we continue to manage our business on the assumption that the advertising market will remain under pressure for the rest of our financial year. However, we are focused on positioning the company for growth over the long term and remain confident that we are in a strong position to take advantage of the eventual advertising upturn."
Chief Executive David Mansfield commented, "Our continuing strategy is to build our strong portfolio of complementary radio brands to attract loyal listeners and advertisers. The introduction of regulatory changes later this year will present transforming opportunities for the UK commercial radio sector. Our strong balance sheet, operational synergies and acquisition track record, provide us with the leading position to take advantage of potential consolidation opportunities."
Competition Commission report (770 kb PDF):
2003-05-17: Hispanic Broadcasting, whose takeover by Univision is still being held up by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has announced net revenues for the first quarter up 8.7% on a year earlier at USD56.5 million but its profit was less than half that of the first quarter of 2002 at USD 3.1 million (USD 0.03 per share) compared to USD 6.9 million (USD 0.06 per share) and EBITDA was down 36.3% to USD 9.0 million.
Both of the latter were affected by expenses of USD 0.9 million in connection with the Univision deal.
2003-05-17: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) may be in for windfall millions from recordings of artists including that were discovered after chief executive Richard Findlay wondered what had happened to them and ordered a search of its Glasgow HQ.
The recordings date back to 1973 when flagship station Radio Clyde was launched; in all there were some 600 recordings including artists U2, Rod Stewart, Roxy Music, Elvis Costello, Madness, Thin Lizzy, the Average White Band and Simple Minds.
SRH has done a deal with Universal Records, which is to release the tracks and pay a percentage to the radio company.
Findlay commented to the UK Guardian of the find, "This is an amazing archive of very high quality "The artists we have been in touch with so far share our enthusiasm and with the support of Universal, whose labels represent a large part of the archive, we believe something of considerable importance can be created."
"In many cases these recordings have been unknown to fans, music retailers and music lovers. Their resurrection from the vaults of time will be eagerly anticipated," said Nigel Haywood, the UK commercial director of Universal Music.
UK Guardian report:
2003-05-17: Mondy-Burke Broadcasting is now on the last leg of its bid for a new FM construction permit in Greenville, Mississippi, that it obtained after Delta Broadcasting, which had originally placed the winning bid had failed to make its final auction payment on time. Mondy-Burke, as the under bidder, was then offered the permit (See RNW Sept 1, 2002).
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now says it is prepared to grant the CP after the final payment, due on June 2, is made.
The FCC has also has confirmed a USD3,000 fine on Pamal Broadcasting for failure to notify it of a change in ownership of an antenna structure.
2003-05-16: Westwood One veteran Joel Hollander has been named President and COO of Infinity Broadcasting; he succeeds John Fullam who stepped down at the end of April (See RNW April 29).
He takes over as another Infinity Executive, VP Programming Eric Logan, resigned. Logan, formerly with Country format WUSN-FM, Chicago, was only promoted to his post in November.
At Westwood One, which is operated by Infinity, Hollander is succeeded as President and CEO by Shane Coppola, who was Executive Vice President of Westwood One from 1999 until 2002; more recently he has been the Managing Partner of Columbus Capital Partners, LLC.
Hollander is to take over his new role on June 16 and will report to Infinity chairman and CEO John Sykes who commented, "Joel is one of the most gifted executives working in radio today and has built Westwood One into an exceptionally successful radio operation."
"Because of Infinity's relationship with Westwood One, Joel has become one of my closest colleagues in the industry and was my only choice for this important position. I am very pleased to welcome Joel back to Infinity, and I am confident that his presence will make an immediate impact on our business."
Hollander, who became president of CEO of Westwood One in 1998, was general manager of Infinity's WFAN-New York before he joined Westwood. He will remain on its board.
Coppola will report to Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin, who commented, "Shane's ten year history with the company and tremendous radio business experience make him the ideal executive to lead the continued growth of Westwood One."
"Westwood One has a great tradition of retaining senior managers who continue to make contributions to the company including company founder and Board Chairman, Norman Pattiz, myself and Joel Hollander, who will remain a member of the Board. With Shane's expertise and the depth of management already at Westwood One, the company will remain strong and the transition seamless."
Previous Westwood One:
2003-05-16: The long battle for KWOD-FM, Sacramento, seems to be drawing to a close with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denial of Royce International 's petition to stop the sale to Entercom, which first agreed the USD 25 million purchase in 1996.
Royce President and CEO Ed Stolz has since then been fighting to stop the sale but has been rebuffed in the courts and Entercom now expects to take over control of the station next week. Entercom already owns an AM and four FMs in the market.
The FCC has also cleared up its rescinding in error of the Qantum Communications USD 82 million cash purchase of all of Root Communications 26 stations (See RNW March 6) and has re-granted the applications.
Previous Entercom-Royce International:
2003-05-16: BBC Radio Five Live sports anchor Ian Payne , best known as the host of the regular weekday evening show Midweek Sport, is leaving the Corporation to join Sky TV's soccer team; he is to be replaced with Jonathan Pearce who joined Five-Live last year having formerly worked for Capital Radio and Channel 5 TV.
Payne, who has won two Sony awards, started his BBC career at BBC Radio Lancashire 15 years ago; he moved to 5 Live nine years ago.
Bob Shennan, Controller, Radio Five Live, said he wished Payne the best of luck and added, "Jonathan Pearce is a vibrant broadcaster who will put his own mark on Midweek Sport on Five.
It is an exciting time for one of our most popular and important programmes."
2003-05-16: Details have now emerged of the agreement between Clear Channel and The American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA) agreement for on-air staff contracts at four New York stations that was announced last month (See RNW April 24).
Under the deal, voice-tracking can only be used overnight (from midnight to 6 am), anyone whose voice is broadcast in the New York market has to work under an AFTRA contract wherever they are based and out-of-market talent will receive full AFTRA benefits and a minimum USD 20,000.
The contract also covers anything produced for the Internet and staff broadcasting traffic or weather news as well as "sidekick" announcers. New York talent will be allowed to voice-track into other markets under the deal.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-05-16: Virgin ousted MUSICMATCH from the top station spot but Yahoo's LAUNCH retained its top network rank in the Arbitron-MeasureCast Internet ratings for the start of May just released. Arbitron-MeasureCast also noted that newcomer to its rankings, Killer Oldies came in at 12th rank
For the week to May 4, 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 AM & FM - TTSL 293,445 (255,056); CP 56,928 (52,250). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 279,504 (290,453); CP 114,058 (115,247). Down from first with lower listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 231,609 (222,761); CP 32,755 (32,811). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 210,527 (186,714); CP 30,093 (26,626). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 185,125 (171,150); CP 28,712 (27,769). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
* Jazz format KPLU-FM fell from fifth to 17th with - TTSL of 70,267, down from 171,512 and CP of 17,909, down from 29,536.
The top five networks for the week to May 4 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Launch - TTSL 3,110,885 (3,155,570); CP - 681,866 (687,528). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: Live365.com - TTSL 3,058,731 (2,768,945); CP - 570,878 (543,862) Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,615,336 (1,496,421); CP 205,158 (205,745). Same rank with higher listening but slightly lower reach.
4: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,249,452 (1,267,009); CP 354,170 (353,590). Same rank with lower listening but slightly higher reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 835,054 (792,919); CP 158,874 (155,590) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings (Month of April):
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast weekly ratings:
2003-05-15: Sirius has more than doubled subscribers to its satellite radio service in the first quarter of this year -- and also nearly doubled its operating losses compared to a year ago.
It says it now has 68,000 subscribers compared to around 30,000 at the end of 2002 and expects to take this up to 100,000 by the end of this quarter and 300,000 by the end of the year, helped by the planned introduction of transportable 'Plug & Play' products from Kenwood and Audiovox into retail stores in the summer.
Sirius's operational loss for the quarter was USD 99.1 million compared to USD 50.8 million a year earlier.
However following its USD1.2 billion recapitalization, which eliminated approximately 91% of the company's debt and 100% of its convertible preferred stock, raised $200 million of new equity, and provided a one-off gain of USD 256.5 million, Sirius reported an overall profit of USD 58 million (USD 0.16 per share) compared to a loss of USD 90.1 million (USD 1.22 per share) a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of USD 75 million compared to USD 36 million.
Like its rival, XM Satellite Radio, Sirius is introducing a multiple subscription package; that for Sirius will allow additional subscriptions at USD 6.99 per month for subscribers who have signed up at the standard USD12.95 rate; the lower rate is the same as XM, whose initial subscriber rate is USD9.99 per month, charges under its Family Plan (See RNW March 29).
Sirius is also introducing a "Lifetime of Music & More Plan" under which it will charge a one-time fee of USD399 that will cover its service for the life of the satellite radio unit purchased.
Sirius shares were boosted by the results and ended Wednesday up 9.76% at USD 1.35 whilst XM stock fell 1.56% to USD 10.07
2003-05-15: Privately held and employee-owned Journal Communications Inc., which as well as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel owns and operates 36 radio stations and six TV stations in 11 states, has filed to sell stock to the public for the first time.
Some USD 250 million worth of shares will be included in the offering. The paper's report says
Chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith said in a letter to employees that the firm now needs a different capital structure to build its businesses and pursue growth opportunities.
Until now, capital has come primarily from employees buying the firm's stock through a trust, a system that has left current and former employees owning some 80% of the stock; of the rest the company treasury owns 10%, and heirs of former Chairman Harry Grant own the remainder.
In March the company agreed in principle a plan under which the heirs would exchange their stock for a mixture of common and preferred stock if new outside capital was attracted.
No details are given in the filing about when the stock is to be offered or the number or price of the shares.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report:
2003-05-15: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled on hardship grounds a USD 12,000 penalty on a Georgia licensee, reduced another by USD 2000, and confirmed a third.
Cancelled was a penalty proposed in July last year on Lighthouse Broadcasting , former licensee of Station WBIC- AM, Royston, Georgia, for , for failure to maintain operational Emergency Alert System (" EAS") equipment and failure to reduce power during post sunset hours and discontinue operation at night.
WBIC is a daytime- only station, licensed to operate at 230 watts with post sunset authority in June, when inspections were carried out, to operate at 3.5 watts from 8: 45 to 9: 45 p. m. EDT and then 1.8 watts from 9: 45 to 10: 45 p. m. EDT.
The station owner Joseph Hood did not deny the offences but said that at the time of the offences the station had been leased to Peachland Music. He also submitted tax returns to support his hardship argument and a note that he is selling the station for substantially less than he paid for it two years ago..
The Commission accepted the hardship argument and cancelled the penalty. The licence was transferred in April this year and the FCC noted in reference to the earlier period that it took "take no view at this point whether there may have been an unauthorized transfer of control of the station."
Reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 8,000 was a penalty on Mortenson Broadcasting Co. for failure to exhibit red obstruction lighting on its antenna structure between sunset and sunrise.
The tower involved, which is used by WSCW-AM, South Charleston, West Virginia, was seen to be unlit in May 2002. Mortenson had argued for a penalty cancellation on the basis that the problem had resulted from equipment malfunction and that the tower lighting was monitored visually daily by staff and also though an automatic alarm system, and that the engineer who had failed to report the outage to the Federal Aviation Authority until the following morning had thought no harm would be caused because there was another lit tower about 250 feet away.
The FCC rejected the arguments but reduced the penalty on the basis of a good past history of compliance.
The USD 4,0000 penalty upheld was issued to Tri- County Broadcasting Inc., licensee of WBRG-AM, Madison Heights, Virginia, for failure to reduce power at sunset and to limit WBRG- AM's pre- sunrise power.
Tri-County had said that it had fired the employee responsible and re-trained its staff to operate the station in accordance with the rules. It also argued for a cancellation on the basis of hardship.
The Commission rejected all the arguments and said the tax returns provided did not justify a reduction.
The Commission also issued a notice of apparent liability for unauthorized operation of radio equipment, one of USD to Mexicana Car and Limousine Services of Jackson Heights, New York, and denied an appeal by Alpha Ambulance, Inc. of San Juan, Puerto Rico, against a USD 10,000 penalty for unauthorized use of frequencies allocated to the Public Safety Pool.
2003-05-15: BBC journalists protesting over the firing of two World Service staff are to boycott a speech to be broadcast live to all staff including those in its bureaux and newsrooms round the world today by Director-General Greg Dyke.
The speech, part of Dyke's much-publicised and derided Making It Happen project is called a Big Conversation, a title shortened by the UK National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in its comments to "Big Con."
The union is supporting unfair dismissal claims by Dr Abdul-Hadi Jiad and Adli Hawwari who were fired from the BBC World Service in February (See RNW Feb 21); they claim the Corporation, which said their history of taking grievances to employment tribunal had cost it nearly GBP 1 million (USD 1.6 million), breached its own procedures when it fired them.
BBC journalists last month voted by a 63% majority to support limited industrial action over the firing and the boycott was called at a meeting of NUJ chapel (branches at organisations) officers last month; they had rejected a call for a full-out strike by 55-45%.
NUJ Deputy General Secretary John Fray said: "Greg Dyke has got his answer, that members across the BBC have voted for industrial action, and they will actively reject his Big Con."
2003-05-15: Yahoo's "LAUNCH" music destination came straight into the top network rank in Arbitron-MeasureCast's April monthly Internet ratings and MUSICMATCH Artist Match was top station in a month that saw two former big hitters - Clear Channel as a network and Radioio Eclectic disappear from the charts.
The top five stations for April were (March figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 1,252,021 (1,328,508); CP 405,291 (462,914). Up from second despite lower listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 995,663 (1,316,963); CP 161,749 (187,769). Up from third despite lower listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM - TTSL 964,362 (992,930); CP 93,466 (96,470). Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
4: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 855,844 (921,940); CP 94,212 (130,988). Up from fifth despite lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz Format Jazz FM - TTSL 788,125 (827,803); CP 75,392 (89,374). Up from sixth despite lower listening and reach.
* Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic, which in March was the top ranked station with TTSL 1,354,007and CP 190,258 was not in this month's rankings.
The top five networks for April were (March figures in brackets):
1: Yahoo LAUNCH - TTSL 13,627,782; CP 1,842,449 (First month of ratings).
2: Live365.com 10,025,171 (3,244,719); CP 1,477,109 (459,178). Up from fourth with leap in listening and reach for second consecutive month.
3: ChainCast/StreamAudio TTSL 6,869,779 (6,413,416); CP 565,509 (570,521). Down from first despite higher listening although reach was down.
4: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 5,421,057 (5,622,847); CP 1,165,253 (1,274,190). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: WARP Radio TTSL 3,414,191 (3,073,302); CP 438,463 (415,939). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
*Clear Channel Worldwide, which had been second-ranked with TTSL 6,263,456 and CP 583,246 was no longer in the top ten.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast monthly ratings:
2003-05-14: The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) proposals for future media regulation have now been delivered to the agency's five commissioners, but not released publicly.
According to the Associated Press, officials who have seen the document say that it would increase to 45% the current cap limiting TV station ownership to stations reaching 35% of US households, two existing "cross-ownership'' rules -- one preventing a company from owning a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same city and another involving radio and TV station ownership in a market -- would be combined into a single rule would permit cross-ownership would be allowed in large and medium markets, but restrict or ban them in small ones and the rule limiting radio ownership to eight stations in a market would remain largely unchanged
(RNW comment: We don't know whether this information should be considered a "leak" or "flying a kite").
Already the two Democrats on the commission, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael J Copps, have requested that the agency put back by a month its June 2 deadline for consideration of the regulations.
They also re-iterated calls for public debate on the proposed changes, saying in a letter to FCC chairman Michael Powell, who had been adamant about meeting the deadline, "We believe a full notice and comment period on the specific proposals is warranted. Sound policymaking, perhaps even the law, requires no less."
In the Senate, the Commerce Committee has been hearing from broadcasting executives on the issue, and Senators Ernest Hollings (Democrat- South Carolina) and Ted Stevens (Republican - Arizona) have introduced a bipartisan bill to put into law a 35% cap on national broadcast media ownership for both radio and television. Hollings commented, "As defenders of capitalism, we expect large media corporations to pursue policies in their own economic self-interest. But to protect the public interest, we similarly demand that our government act to protect the civic and local community interests of ordinary citizens, particularly in areas related to the public airwaves and the marketplace of ideas."
Hollings was not present at the hearings at which Senators expressed concern about the speed at which the FCC was proceeding.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (Republican-Maine) commented that it was " a high-risk proposition if we are wrong," adding, "We should pause. It is more important to get it right because the risks are too great."
She was supported by Sen. Maria Cantwell (Democrat-Washington), who expressed concern about the diversity of programming and news and asked, "What's the rush?"
Testifying at the hearing Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin argued that the fears of consolidation were not justified and pointed out that Viacom's advertising revenue was only USD12.5 billion of the USD300 billion spent each year in the US.
Karmazin also argued that less regulation in small markets would be to their benefit and drew a comparison with large markets like New York with more than 100 radio stations and small ones.
He condemned the situation in Minot, South Dakota, where the market definitions have allowed Clear Channel to own all the stations and suggested that the Congress and FCC establish a number for how many owners they thought was appropriate to preserve diversity in a market and then allow companies to own as many stations as they wanted providing the diversity was retained (RNW Comment: This is a similar idea to the framework proposed by the UK Radio Authority of three media owners plus the BBC in a market (See RNW Jan 20, 2002) although the UK Commercial radio companies want this reduced to two plus the BBC (See RNW July 2,2002)).
Also broadly supporting the changes, William Dean Singleton, vice chairman and CEO of the Media News Group, argued that the newspaper-broadcaster co-ownership ban was the "last vestige" of an outdated regulatory scheme,
Opposing were Frank A. Blethen, publisher of the Seattle Times, who argued that cross-ownership could reduce the number of independent voices in a community, and Jim Goodmon, president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Co., who argued that the FCC should ensure diversity, localism and competition rather than try to create a better economic environment for networks.
RNW comment: We rather suspect that Powell will get his way over June 2 but the lawyers will effectively tie things up after that. We would rate the chances of any regulation going unchallenged in the US courts as almost negligible.
San Francisco Chronicle/ AP report:
2003-05-14: US radio revenues in March fell ending a 12-month run of increases according to the latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), which indicated that the then possibility of war was a factor.
National revenues were up 4% for the month but local revenue was down 3%, taking the overall figure to a drop of 2%.
On a year to date basis total revenues are now up 4% on the first quarter of last year, local is up 2% and national up 8%
RAB's index, which sets pre-dot com boom 1998 as a base of 100, was 126.1 for March with the local index 124.8 and the national index 139.8.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio has consistently proven itself to be a resilient medium. While not immune to external factors, radio will withstand economic and geopolitical pitfalls because of its broad advertiser base and its ability to draw advertisers from both the local and national arena."
2003-05-14: Latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey show DMG's Nova and Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE doing well in Sydney, increasing their share in third and fourth rank respectively whilst both the leaders, Austereo's 2-Day-FM and Macquarie's 2GB lost share.
Nova, which is now within striking range of the leader, did particularly well with the 18-25 demographic with a 38.2 share, more than double 2-Day's second-placed 18.2, although 2-Day led with every other age group.
In day part terms, Nova is now ahead from 0900-1600 but 2-Day wins at all other times; it has a weekly reach of 950,000 compared to 784,999 for Nova but over the past year has lost 100,000 listeners a week while Nova has gained 140,000
Alan Jones retained the top breakfast slot for Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB and took his share up from 15.4% to 15.7.
2UE also had good news in the morning slot where John Laws retained top ranking with his share up from 12 to 12.3 whilst 2GB's share fell from 10.9 to 9.9.
In the breakfast slot 2UE's Steve Price took his share up from 8.3 to 8.9 and moved up one rank to third place.
DMG got a boost in Sydney, where its Nova station increased its share in third place as did 2UE in fourth place.
City by city, the top three were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM - with 24.1 (23.1); 5AA with 16.7 (15); 5MMM 14.7 (14.8) -No change in rankings;
*Brisbane - B105FM with 18.4 (17.4); NEW 97.3 FM 14 (14.1); Triple M 13 (12.5) -No change in rankings;
*Melbourne -3AW 16.3 (15.3); Fox FM 11.9 (11.3) Same rank but no longer shared with ABC 774: Nova 10.3 (9.8) - Up from fourth; * ABC 774 10.1 (11.7) fell to fourth;
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 22.4 (23.9); ABC 720 with 11.3 (11.5); All New 92.9 with 10.3 (10.3)- up from fourth-equal with 96 FM with 10.3 (10.3) that had been third on its own:
*Sydney - 2-Day with 10.7 (11.7); 2GB 10.2 (10.3); Nova - 10.1 (9.2) -No change in rankings;*2UE remained fourth with share up from 8.9 to 9.2.
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-05-14: The UK Radio Authority says it has received 11 bids for the new West Midlands regional FM licence, four fewer than for the East Midlands licence when this was advertised last year.
They came from:
*Capital Disney (Capital Radio plc and The Walt Disney Company Ltd), which is proposing a format for children aged from 8-14.
*Jazz FM West Midlands (Guardian Media Group) - proposing a format of smooth jazz and classic soul with local news and information.
* Jump FM (Absolute Radio West Midlands Ltd.)- proposing a mix of modern rock and alternative rhythmic music with intelligent news, cracking comedy and info-tainment targeting under-30s.
* Kerrang- (Emap ) proposing a mix of modern and classic rock.
* Newstalk 105.2 FM (The Wireless Group) - proposing a speech-based station with regional news, sport and information.
* The Storm (GWR, Channelfly plc and Mean Fiddler Music Group plc) - proposing a rock format for the 15-34 demographic.
* Sunrise Radio (Sunrise Radio ) - proposing a service for the Asian community music, news, Asian views and local community information.
*3C (3C West Midlands Ltd. - backed by Scottish Radio Holdings) - proposing a contemporary country music station.
*Virgin (Scottish Media Group) - proposing a rock station.
* WBC 105.2 (Chrysalis bid based on its LBC format) - proposing a talk format.
* WWMR (backed by independent TV company Celador) - proposing an adult rock station targeted at males 35-54.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2003-05-14: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has exceeded its guidance and analysts expectations in the first quarter of this year but its revenues were down, from USD 28.9 million to USD28.8 million and station operating income (formerly broadcast cash flow) was down to USD10.4 million from USD11 million.
Pro-forma figures were better with revenues up 9.1% from USD26.4 million to USD 28.8 million although pro-former station operating income was down 2.7% from USD 11 million to USD 10.7 million, put down to three new FM start-up stations in Chicago (WDEK, WKIE and WKIF) and two new FM start-up stations in Los Angeles (KZAB and KZBA) which combined took USD 900,000 from the figures.
Overall SBS lost USD 800, 000 (one cent per share); last year SBS lost USD100.5 million including USD 45 million because of changes in accounting practices.
Chairman and CEO Raul Alarcon Jr. said that SBA had " once again exceeded our financial guidance, despite the difficult advertising environment in the first quarter. .. Looking ahead, our strong ratings bode well for our sales efforts as we seek to take full advantage of the recovering advertising market. As a leading radio operator to Spanish-speaking listeners in the nation's largest Hispanic markets, we are ideally positioned to continue to capitalize on the dynamic growth of our Spanish-language audience."
SBS says that for the second quarter it expects net revenue growth to be flat to slightly negative over the comparable prior year period and broadcast cash flow to be in the range of $14.0 million to $14.5 million.
In other US business, Sirius shares were up 16% on Tuesday, ending the day at USD1.23. The rise was put down to an announcement that Ford is to offer Sirius as a dealer-installed option on ten different Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles in the 2004 model year.
2003-05-14: Sydney breakfast host Alan Jones has been cleared by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA)of any breach of the country's Broadcasting Services Act in connection with his interests in Macquarie Radio Network stations 2GB and 2CH.
The findings of the ABA's six month investigation into the matter reveal details of the deal done by Macquarie owner John Singleton to lure Jones away from then top-rated 2UE, which had been acquired by Southern Cross Broadcasting; Jones wanted a stake in the network but Singleton ensured he got value for his money by offering not a straight share as earlier reported but a fifth of the increase in the network's market value after he joined.
Under Australian law anyone who personally through companies associated with them owns more than 15% of a broadcaster has to notify the ABA..
Macquarie and Jones signed their deal on February 6 last year but the ABA was not told until October that Jones could exercise control of 2GB and 2CH; Macquarie told the regulators that despite media reports that the host had a 20% stake, he was not in a position to control (See RNW Feb 8, 2002).
The ABA in its report comments, "On the material available, it is apparent that these responses were legally accurate. However, they did not explain to the ABA the full position in relation to Mr Jones' entitlements."
Because of the limited information given to it, the ABA says there was "public confusion aired in the media and, ultimately, to the need for a full investigation by the ABA with consequent expenditure of time and resources."
The ABA says that it was notified on October 30 and 31, 2002, that Jones and associated companies had come into a position to exercise control of the 2GB and 2CH licensees on 24 October 2002, by reason of the fact that a company associated with Mr Jones had become entitled to be paid a dividend interest exceeding 15 per cent in Macquarie Radio.
This, it says, was not in the nature of an ownership interest (whether legal or equitable) not the kind of interest that had been the subject of media speculation.
It says that under the agreement, Jones was to receive options to acquire 20 per cent of the fully diluted capital of Macquarie Radio, which would become exercisable progressively over a period of seven years.
"In effect," it adds, "Mr Jones would not be entitled to 20 per cent of the existing share capital but if Mr Jones decided to exercise his options, new shares could be issued with the result that Mr Jones could acquire up to 20 per cent of the expanded share capital."
"Mr Jones was not entitled to receive 20 per cent of the capital or value of Macquarie Radio as at February 2002. Mr Jones entitlement was to receive 20 per cent of any increase in the value of Macquarie Radio that might occur as a result of Mr Jones's role as breakfast presenter on 2GB."
The deal, it notes, required Jones to pay for the options at a price based on Macquarie's value in February 2002.
The ABA also notes in comments on Jones' role at the company that he had an "influential" role and had been described at the hearing by Singleton as a "partner" and also, in a memorandum to the company's CEO as a "20 per cent shareholder."
The ABA says "On the material available to the ABA, the legal position between Macquarie Radio and Mr Jones as a result of the one-page agreement was inconsistent with the description of Mr Jones and Mr Singleton as partners."
The ABA rapped the knuckles of Macquarie directors, commenting that as a group they "did not take sufficient care in respect of issues arising under the Broadcasting Services Act, including in respect of statements made to the ABA and the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee."
"The ABA does not accept that it is adequate for non-executive directors to leave significant matters of compliance such as control to management, without taking any steps themselves to monitor such compliance. The ABA expected Macquarie Radio to be more forthcoming in response to its inquiries. The ABA is able to receive information on a confidential basis."
It then concludes, "In light of the ABA's concerns about Macquarie Radio's corporate governance, the report says it would be appropriate for Macquarie Radio to improve its system for division of responsibility for compliance, as well as executive understanding of the control rules."
Singleton in his testimony to the hearing apologised, saying, "Chairman, I just apologise to you that we didn't keep you advised on an ongoing basis."
"I would have thought when it was raised so publicly and so incorrectly in the newspaper, it was at least the right thing to do to advise you what the correct situation was and I really assumed that that had happened. If you had asked me, I would happily have advised you fully."
Previous Southern Cross:
ABA web site (links to findings):
2003-05-13: Forstmann Little-owned Citadel Broadcasting has announced a USD133 million deal to acquire eleven stations from Wilks Broadcasting LLC subject to regulatory approval.
The stations are KBGG-AM, KHKI-FM, KGGO-FM, KJJY-FM), and KRKQ-FM in Des Moines, Iowa; KMEZ-FM, KKND-FM, WPRF-FM), and WOPR-FM in New Orleans, Louisiana; and KZRQ-FM in Springfield, Missouri.
Jeff Wilks, CEO of Wilks Broadcasting, which at the beginning of the year completed the USD 55 million sale of five Michigan stations to NextMedia (See RNW Jan 9), said, "We are delighted to have completed this transaction with a quality company like Citadel Broadcasting."
"I'd like to thank all of our employees for their hard work, as well as the listeners and advertisers in our markets who have contributed to the success of the stations."
Citadel chairman and CEO Farid Suleman commented, "These acquisitions are consistent with the Company's strategy to acquire stations in the top 100 markets. We are very excited about the growth prospects in Des Moines and Springfield, as well as expanding our presence in Louisiana [Citadel owns six stations in Baton Rouge and eight in Lafayette]."
In other US deals, Clear Channel has completed its USD4.5 million purchase of WDAK-AM and WSTH-FM, Columbus, Georgia, from Solar Broadcasting Company. The deal had been red-flagged on concentration grounds by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March (See RNW March 5). Clear Channel now owns eight of the 19 stations in the market.
Also in Georgia, Davis Broadcasting Inc is paying USD 5.25 million in cash for Lake Radio's WLKQ-FM.
On the results front, Spanish-language Radio Unica has announced first quarter revenues up by 18% to USD 9.6 million, although radio broadcasting revenues were only up 3% to USD 6.8 million.
Overall Unica trimmed its loss from The company lost USD 8 million (USD 0.38 per share) to USD 7.3 million (USD 0.35 per share) and nearly halved its EBITDA loss - from USD2.9 million in the first quarter of last year to USD1.6 million this year; radio related EBITDA was cut from a loss of USD 3.1 million to USD1.6 million.
Chairman and CEO Joaquin F. Blaya said, "Despite the difficult economic climate in the first quarter, we were able to grow our top-line by 18%, while continuing to prudently manage our costs."
"We reduced our radio broadcasting expenses by 10% during the period, which supported a significant improvement in our EBITDA loss."
"Looking ahead, we are cautiously optimistic that the advertising environment will begin to recover as the nation moves away from the Iraqi conflict. We will continue to operate as efficiently as possible, while seeking to drive revenues and improve cash flows."
In other US media business, Viacom has sold USD750 million worth of two-part bonds instead of USD 500 million originally planned. The first tranche of USD 300 million matures in May 2018 and the second tranche of USD 450 million in May 2033.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Forstmann-Little (Citadel owner):
2003-05-13: Applications close today for the new West Midlands FM licence in the UK; it is a keenly contested battle with all the major groups putting in bids to the UK Radio Authority; the prize is a potential audience of some 2.3 million adults in the Birmingham-Wolverhampton conurbation and surrounding areas.
So far ten applications are known to have been submitted - this compares with 15 for the new East Midlands regional licence that was awarded to Saga radio in June last year (See RNW June 13, 2002).
Saga already has a West Midlands licence that was awarded in 2001 (See Licence News RNW Jan 28, 2001) as does Heart FM.
Amongst the major groups applying, Capital in association with Disney wants a Capital Disney children's station; Chrysalis, fresh from a successful re-launch of LBC in London, is applying for a talk format; Emap is putting in an application for its Kerrang rock format; GWR is also proposing a rock station, in its case for it's the Storm format; and Virgin has also applied for a rock format station. Kerrang and The Storm are already broadcast on digital channels.
Others known to be applying are Absoluter Radio with an alternative format; Celador, with a rock format; Guardian Media Group for a Jazz outlet; Scottish Radio Holdings for a country format; The Wireless Group for news-talk; and Sunrise Radio for an Asian station.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2003-05-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that a Florida pirate operator has been jailed and confirmed penalties of USD10, 000 each on two other pirates from New York.
Jailed was Rayon Sherwin "Junior" Payne of Orlando who in February had pled guilty to two counts of unlicensed radio operation and agreed to forfeit all equipment used in connection with the unlicensed operation.
He was jailed for nine months to be followed by a one year supervised release during which time he must perform 50 hours of community service for multiple counts of operating an unlicensed FM radio facility.
The fines were imposed on Fernando Alejandro of the Bronx and Emmanuel Frederic of Brooklyn; neither man had responded to earlier notices of apparent liability.
2003-05-13: Australian commercial broadcasters have welcomed the Federal Government's provision of AUD1.05 million (USD 660,000) to help bring commercial radio services to regional and remote areas of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
The money is the first part of a 3-year AUD 5 million (USD3.1 million) programme and will help bring commercial radio to 36 locations that currently have either no service or a weak signal.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner commented, "This is great news for people living in regional and isolated areas of Australia, who will soon be able to enjoy access to free-to-air commercial radio services and the same high quality programming available to metropolitan listeners."
"We are delighted that the Government has recognised the important role commercial radio plays in providing information, entertainment and social interaction for regional audiences. All age groups will benefit from the services, but especially young people who are so often deprived of entertainment in remote communities."
The funding will go to:
New South Wales:
Capital Radio Network - Cabramurra, Crookwell, Khancoban, Talbingo - improved services.
DMG- Mossman and St George - improved services
Radio Outback - new services to Barcaldine, Blackall, Tambo, and Winton
Rebel Radio - new service for Alpha, Banana, Collinsville, Cooktown, Dirranbandi, Julia Creek, Karumba, Monto, Normanton, Richmond, and Weipa.
Ace Radio - Kaniva/Nhill- new service.
DMG - Corryong - new service; Falls Creek - improved service.
RG Capital - Corryong - improved service; Omeo - new service.
North West Radio - new second North West service for Argyle, Cue, Dalwallinu, Eneabba, Jurien Bay, Kalbarri, Lancelin, Leeman, Leinster, Meekatharra, and Perenjori.
2003-05-12: As the US Federal Communications Commission's self-imposed deadline of June 2 for issuing new US media regulations approaches- it is scheduled to deliver a draft to Commissioners today- US papers are continuing to run reports on the issues at stake but, before we look at some of them, a comment from the Mercury News that could yet be a harbinger of problems for US terrestrial radio.
Mike Langberg, who had filled in an Arbitron diary, commented, "Arbitron doesn't understand me, which should make local radio broadcasters very nervous I put down a total of about 90 minutes of radio-listening during the week, all spent on news and local traffic reports from KQED-FM and KCBS-AM."
"Yet I actually spent about 30 hours listening to audio programming during those seven days, about evenly divided between audio books that I download from an online service and Internet-only radio that I hear throughout my house."
Langberg goes on to suggest that local broadcasters are being blind to the world ahead and continues, "I got disgusted with most broadcast radio long ago, thanks to huge doses -- up to 20 minutes an hour -- of loud commercials and ever-diminishing creativity in programming."
For Langberg the moment of change came when he got high-speed Internet access, leading him to forsake broadcast radio as a regular habit except when driving - and then only tuning into traffic reports. For the rest, from music to news, he turns to the Internet although his later comments on satellite radio suggest that is also potentially a significant threat for a significant audience now tethered to terrestrial radio.
Those comments should also be good news for Sirius since, as well as praising the capability of it and XM to aggregate audiences and support a channel that would not exist in a local market, he also singles out its breadth in such programming areas as left-wing talk and its OutQ that is aimed at the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community.
In the end, he concludes, Arbitron shouldn't just be asking people what they listen to but also people whether they'll keep listening when something better comes along.
Of the articles on media regulation, two stood out to us.
Of these, Stephen Labaton's New York Times report was by far the longest; it runs through the political divide amongst the Commissioners, some of the political arguments being advanced in Congress and also by consumer groups, artists, musicians and academics who are lobbying against further consolidation and then gives details of what it terms "the broad outline" that has taken shape.
FCC chairman Michael Powell, it says, has paid particular attention to fellow-Republican Kevin Martin, who had voted with the Democrats on some issues: In essence, he has agreed to a modest increase in the national TV ownership cap whilst Powell has agreed to allow ownership of both a newspaper and broadcast stations in more concentrated and smaller markets than Powell had proposed.
It also gives details of reported meetings between Powell and broadcast executives that have led to suggestions of horse-trading by Powell to gain support for some of his initiatives were industry groups to get their way on others, suggestions denied by Powell but that led to questions from the two Democratic Congressmen (See RNW May 10).
Labaton quotes from a letter to Powell by James F. Goodmon, the president of Capitol Broadcasting, which owns a group of TV and radio stations in the Carolinas.
He wrote, "This ownership review will change what citizens in every community in America receive on their local news, sports, weather and public affairs programs, as well as how they receive it, and it will determine the kind of national network programming that ultimately is available in their homes."
"This debate should not take place with deal making and concessions between a few major media companies and a government agency with appointed, not elected, officials."
Whatever happens this time, concludes Labaton, the matter will not be settled since Congress has mandated reviews every two years by when Powell says the matter will be "even trickier."
The other report that caught our eye came from Jim Kirk and Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune.
It set the tone by starting off with a tale of how Fox TV killed off all the locally produced shows from WPWR-Ch. 50 after it bought the station last year
After running through the issues as did Labaton but with particular reference to the Chicago market, the report also notes the limited coverage that the issue has had from the media, noting that a February poll by the Pew Trust found that 72% of Americans had had heard "nothing at all" about the issue, and many of those who claimed familiarity did not understand it well.
"If the American people had heard as much about the proposed rule changes in their media landscape as they have about Laci Peterson in the last few months, this would be a front-and-centre issue," John Nichols, co-author of two books about media, commented.
He was supported by media critic Danny Schechter who commented, "You can't conclude people don't care if people don't even know what's going on."
There are also comments about the likely impact on news and information and alternative viewpoints with fears of a chilling effect on the development of small and medium media businesses in future, of job losses and a lowering of standards and that TV could follow the radio pattern of dropping news completely from some stations.
On the other hand are arguments that consolidation saved many radio stations from extinction and that technological change has media regulation change inevitable as current regulations are outdated.
The report also mentions fears that the power of cross-promotion by larger groups owning both newspapers and broadcasting outlets could weaken their smaller competitors, the example being given (honourably, we would suggest) of the fears at the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut, about the advantage that the Hartford Courant could gain from cross promotion by the Tribune Company that owns the Courant and two TV stations that are currently being operated under temporary waivers.
The paper also complained, as have independent radio stations in some markets, that they were being shut out of syndicated features because of exclusive deals with the dominant Courant.
RNW comment: Our view on this particular aspect of competition is fairly straightforward, namely that the giant groups need to fear major penalties should they, having argued their case in terms of consolidation not leading to less diversity, then abuse their powers and put competitors out of business.
The obvious ultimate penalty should result in a reinstatement of the former status quo - perhaps through revocation of broadcast licences in an area and their auction (with the offending group prohibited from bidding) plus financial penalties payable to the shareholders of the former competitor sufficient to enable it to start up again.
Had the smaller company been sold to the larger one and then closed, the penalty should be the same with the subvention offered to other groups through an auction process. We rather suspect that were such penalties to be imposed once, there would be at least a decade before any other major group tried to push its luck.
It's not only the US that is facing major regulatory changes-they are on the way in the UK, and probably Australia.
In the UK, the question "Who should rule the radio waves?" was posed by Maggie Brown in the UK Guardian in a report on how the new super-regulator OFCOM should handle the licensing of radio stations when it takes over from the Radio Authority.
UK commercial radio, notes Brown, involves fierce competition for every licence, with potential threats of judicial review from losing companies.
Unlike TV, it is also an area where new licences are coming on line regularly, with some 20 on the list being handed over to OFCOM in addition to potential new Access Radio licences.
Towers Perrin, the consultancy that worked on the scope and structures of OFCOM, originally proposed a standalone radio division but this was rejected.
However, noted Brown, the communications bill does not replace the existing licensing regime for commercial radio, stemming from the 1990 and 1996 Broadcasting Acts and commercial radio licences are awarded by appointed members of the radio authority, not by the paid executives. The latter vet applications and analyse whether business plans are sustainable but then put forward the applications without a recommendation.
The problem, she says , is that local radio licensing is too parochial a matter for the main OFCOM board but at the same time creating a separate radio board on top of the separate content body risks fragmentation along the lines of the individual regulators that are being replaced.
Enough though, of the serious stuff: To end with a couple of items chosen for less serious approaches. The first from the Guardian's sister paper, The Observer, is a report "Who Rules the Airwaves" in which Jamie Doward "hands out his own gongs" as opposed to the official Sony Awards.
We don't have space for the full list, but a summary of some of the categories follow with a guide to the award:
*The George Dubya Bush special prize for current affairs stations - awarded as " Thanks to US and UK preparations to unseat the Iraqi dictator, talk-based stations enjoyed a significant fillip in the first three months of the year as listeners tried to keep abreast of developments in the Gulf. "
*The Mark Twain award for premature death rumour - awarded as digital radio was rated for the firs time and the top channel garnered nearly a million listeners a week.
*The Comical Ali award for disingenuousness - awarded (just) to Capital radio which, after a fairly dismal performance, said it was "'proud that it had maintained its commercial share."
And finally from an Elisabeth Mahoney radio review in the Guardian again, some kind words for TalkSport.
"At dawn yesterday, Nigel Botherway imparted some sound advice to his listeners on A Fisherman's Blues (TalkSport). 'If you want to be happy for a day," he suggested, "get drunk. If you want to be happy for a week, get married. If you want to be happy for life, go fishing.'"
"Botherway certainly sounds happy on it, bumbling on sweetly about the pleasures of carp, and the perils of cycling on tow-paths ('I've run over someone's pole')."
"This fishing programme reveals TalkSport's gentle side, with Botherway (sitting in for regular host Keith Arthur who has, yes you've guessed it, gone fishing) saying things like "it's lovely now, with all the rabbits about" and raving on about his fishing bag, 'an absolutely brilliant bit of kit' with myriad handy pockets."
"With too much of the station's output veering towards belligerence, it's good to hear a presenter resisting sensationalist ranting and turning instead to quiet reflection. 'It's like everything in life,' Botherway murmured, 'You've got to show consideration, haven't you?'"
"Vegetarian, kind to small animals and enthusiastically inclusive of women anglers, Botherway doesn't fit the TalkSport presenter profile, and the show is all the better for that. At 6am, he got a text message from a man who had been fishing all night with no luck, but as the sun rose he caught a 12lb sea trout. 'That's lovely,' said Botherway, 'lovely.'"
Chicago Tribune - Kirk and Johnson:
Mercury News - Langberg:
New York Times - Labaton:
UK Guardian - Brown:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Observer - Doward:
2003-05-12: According to the UK Sunday Telegraph, Britain's Competition Commission is expected this week to block GWR Group's purchase of Bristol-based dance music station Galaxy 101 because it would take the group's market share of radio advertising in the area from 75% to 84%.
The deal was part of a complicated asset swap announced in September last year (See RNW Sept 27, 2002) was referred to the Commission in January (See RNW January 15); it caused concern because of possible implications for consolidation in the sector when the government's Competition Bill becomes law.
GWR and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) own Galaxy under a joint venture, Vibe Radio Services, and SRH, which owns 51% had said that it was confident competition issues could be resolved. The paper suggests that rather than forcing GWR to sell its holding, the Competition Commission could force GWR to contract out the sale of airtime at the radio station to a third party.
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2003-05-12: The group of lawn-care companies that aroused controversy in Toronto through radio adverts suggesting that a bylaw to restrict pesticide use could "increase the risk of contracting the West Nile virus" (See RNW May 11) has now toned down its adverts and removed this reference according to the Toronto Star.
The adverts, says the paper, were withdrawn by 680 News and CHUM-FM, but the Lorraine Van Haastrecht, the spokesperson for the group that had called itself the Toronto Environmental Coalition, defended the original adverts and suggested the stations had "unfortunately bowed to special interest groups and the board of health."
She argued, "If you allow your property to start to disintegrate (by not using pesticides) ... weeds overtake grass and you lose grass and when you lose grass, you have mud. When it rains, mud turns into a breeding ground for mosquitoes."
"So in order for you to protect your family from mosquitoes, you want to keep your property healthy and increased mosquitoes is increased chance for West Nile infection."
She also argued that the bylaw would cost 1200 jobs and lead to companies closing down.
The chairman of the city's health board Councillor Joe Mihevc responded by saying, "I don't think any public health official or any doctor with any credibility would affirm that ... because you don't put pesticides on grass, the grass is going to die and you're going to get mosquitoes from the mud. The argumentation is so stretched, it's beyond belief."
He added that the adverts had also incorrectly stated the public was "unaware" of the bylaw when extensive polling by public health officials found 72 per cent support for it.
Although the council's complaints have in part been met, the Toronto Environmental Alliance, a volunteer community organization dedicated to environmental causes, is still considering action either through the courts or via Canada's Advertising Standards Council.
Toronto Star report:
2003-05-11: In the US, the political pressures are now mounting up regarding future media regulation as we have already reported (see below) but in addition the FCC has been fairly busy issuing fines and elsewhere there has been a fairly steady flow of routine licence-related decisions in most areas.
Australia was an exception with no radio related decisions although the medium was well represented in discussions at the third annual Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) conference held in Canberra (See RNW May 6).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been fairly busy with radio. Decisions made, in order of province, included:
*Approval of an application by Medicine Hat Broadcasting Ltd., licensee of CFMY-FM Medicine Hat and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jim Pattison Industries Ltd., as part of a corporate reorganization, for authority to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertakings CIBW-FM Drayton Valley, CHBW-FM Rocky Mountain House and its rebroadcaster CHBW-FM-1 Nordegg from Big West Communications Corp. The Commission noted that the above transactions had been completed without its required prior approval.
*Approval of a new 900 watts English-language Type B community FM radio programming undertaking in MacKenzie.
*Approval of a new 160 watts transmitter in Victoria to rebroadcast the French-language CBC radio network service La Première Chaîne. The application was opposed by OK Radio Group Ltd., licensee of CKKQ-FM, Victoria, on the basis of possible interference but the Commission accepted that the transmitter as line with technical requirements although it noted that it would require remedial action should there be significant interference.
*Approval of a new low-power 50 watts Christian music English-language specialty FM in Woodstock.
*Renewal of the licence of CIMX-FM Windsor for four years instead of the normal seven; the shorter term was because an analysis of programming by the station in early 2001 showed that it broadcast less than the required 20% of Canadian content popular music. Normal requirements are for 35% but the station had been allowed in 1999 to broadcast the reduced level on the basis that the market received strong US radio signals from Detroit.
In addition in Ontario, CHUM has withdrawn an application to increase the power of CKLY-FM Lindsay, from 14,000 to 29,300 watts and to relocate its transmitter.
*Approval of a new 814 watts FM at Haines Junction to carry the programming of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Northern Radio Service.
The CRTC also announced a public hearing to be held in Gatineau, Quebec on July 14 to consider various applications including applications ( in province order):
*An application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add an 11,500 watts at Bonnyville to broadcast the programming of CBX Edmonton, Radio One.
*An application by Norwesto Communications Ltd. for a new 1,600 watts Hot Adult Contemporary FM in Vermillion Bay with re-transmitters in Dryden (1,800 watts )and Kenora (1,700 watts).
*An application by Radio Mf Charlevoix Inc. to add a 32.2 watts transmitter at Saint-Siméon, Quebec to broadcast the programming of CIHO-FM, St-Hilarion.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now moved into its new headquarters (See RNW May 8).
Also in Ireland, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has issued its report, Future Regulation of Electronic Communications Networks and Services - Rights of Use for Radio Frequencies, on the Rights of Use for Radio Frequencies.
The report followed a consultation in December last year on this matter, one of a series of consultations examining the impact of the new EU regulatory framework due to be implemented on 25 July.
The report noted universal support for a shift in regulatory emphasis from equipment to spectrum use, albeit concern was expressed that the conditions attached to rights of use should be adequately defined in terms of technical characteristics.
Comreg policy is that rights of use for radio frequencies should only be required where there is a risk of harmful interference either being generated by or suffered by the licensed service.
In the UK, various appointments, including that of Executive Chairman, have been announced by the Radio Authority in advance of the change to a new OFCOM super-regulator that will include the authority (See RNW May 9).
On the licence front the Authority has awarded the local digital multiplex licence for Nottingham to the sole applicant Now Digital (East Midlands) Ltd., which is proposing a bouquet of eight programme services, in addition to BBC Radio Nottingham (See RNW March 19).
It has also awarded the new licence for North Norfolk to North Norfolk Radio Ltd., which is offering a community-based service of news, information and contemporary and classic hit music. North Norfolk had been competing against GO-FM (Absolute Radio Norfolk Ltd.), which was proposing a full-service schedule of news, information and adult music for people over 25 (See RNW Licence News March 9).
In the US, as well as various matters of future media regulation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued its latest report on the number of US broadcasting stations (See RNW May 7); It also confirmed a number of fines on pirate operators and for various technical offences (See RNW May 5 and May 8).
It has also fined Brooklyn, New York, pirate operator Rawlins Charles USD 10,000; the same penalty was ordered J. Transport Inc. of Paterson, New Jersey, for unauthorised operation of radio transmitting equipment. In neither case had there been a response to the original notification.
The Commission has also been involved in the refusal of an application to increase the night-time coverage of Salem's WGKA-AM in Atlanta, a refusal that led Salem to write off USD 900000, although it is appealing (See RNW May 6).
The request followed a 1998 request by WOWO-AM of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to change from a Class A to Class B and cut its nighttime power to 9,8000 watts from 50,000 watts, specifically to allow WLIB-AM, New York, to increase its nighttime power. Salem also filed for an increase but in 2000 the FCC threw out both applications on the basis that the applications were erroneously filed outside a four-day window. That refusal has now been affirmed.
The FCC has also ruled against a Columbia University request that would have allowed WKCR-FM to regain the class B signal it lost when its tower at the World Trade Centre was destroyed in the September 11 attacks.
Columbia had been transmitting with limited power from its Upper West Side campus and wanted to upgrade the facility but Seton Hall University objected on the basis that this would cause interference with the Class A signal for its WSOU-FM, licensed to South Orange, New Jersey. The FCC has gone along and refused Columbia's request.
In Oklahoma, Champlin Broadcasting Inc., licensee of KMMZ-FM of Enid has been ordered to show cause why it should not be reclassified as a Class CO from a Class C, which would allow the allocation of a channel to allow Harper in Kansas to gain its first local FM service. KMMZ currently operates from a tower at 442 metres above average terrain, eight metres below the minimum 450 metres HAAT for a Class C.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site :
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-05-11: The two Democrats on the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have said that they are frustrated by the lack of information they have been given concerning the FCC review of US media ownership regulations and also upset by chairman Michael Powell's refusal to make proposed changes public according to the Associated Press.
Commissioner Michael Copps, who spoke on Capitol Hill alongside Democrats from the Senate Commerce Committee at a panel discussion of experts opposed to media consolidation, said that with only a few weeks until the vote, "We don't know what we're going to be working on. It's like a state secret.''
Copps criticized arguments that cable TV and the Internet provide more diversity as sources of news and entertainment, saying a few large media companies already own most cable channels and sources of online news.
Copps has been active in organising public forums on US media regulation, the latest of which is to be hold tomorrow at the at Dominican University of California in San Rafael; as well as Copps himself, participants on the panel to discuss the issue will include Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and local media executives.
Copps' fellow Democrat Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who had been named by Powell as being helpful in working out the proposed regulations (See RNW May 10) said that the vote on June 2 is a "rush to judgement" and added that he had asked Powell to make the recommendations public in a briefing to Commissioners."
"It would be helpful to him to eliminate the charge that the public isn't being involved in this,'' Adelstein said. "He said he wouldn't do it."
The Los Angeles Times has reported that an FCC staff report to go to Commissioners on Monday will recommend allowing TV broadcasters to reach up to 45% of U.S. households rather than the current 35%, but the FCC has refused any official comment.
On Friday, Reps. Richard M. Burr (Republican North Carolina) and John D. Dingell (Democrat-Michigan) introduced a bill to keep the national TV cap at 35%.
The Times report also says that the report will recommend allowing a company to own up to three TV stations and a newspaper in a major market and also will recommend leaving the FCC's local radio station caps unchanged and keeping the "dual-network" rule, which bans mergers among any of the top four networks: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.
Los Angeles Times report:
New York Times/AP report:
2003-05-11: The city of Toronto could take legal action to stop radio stations running advertisements sponsored by a group of lawn-care companies that took on the name Toronto Environmental Coalition to sponsor the ads according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.
The adverts call for a no-vote on a pesticide control bylaw, saying, "Imagine a law being passed that will also increase the risk of contracting the West Nile virus."
The chairman of the city's health board Councillor Joe Mihevc said the adverts were "wrong, misleading and cynical "adding, "This is not an environmental group, it is a pesticide lobby."
He said the proposed bylaw covers pesticides and weed killers used for cosmetic purposes on lawns, and does not include products that control the mosquitoes that spread West Nile.
Members of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, a volunteer environmental-activism group, called stations and told them to stop running the adverts but, reports the paper, although 680 News stopped playing the ad, but it was still being used by other radio stations.
RNW comment: We have full sympathy with stations that took on these adverts unknowingly but those that have continued to run them could not, in our view, complain were the Canadian regulator to take action against them.
In effect they are, at the very least, participating in allowing the advertisers to pass themselves as something that they are not, an illegal act in most western countries.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2003-05-10: Two Democratic congressmen have questioned whether Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell was involved in a "backroom deal" with Dallas-based Belo Corporation to gain its support for proposed changes in US media regulation according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.
The paper says that a letter from John D. Dingell (Democrat-Michigan) and Edward J. Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts) asked Powell whether he or his staff offered to assist Belo on unrelated matters if the company reversed its stance and offered support for an FCC proposal to raise the national television ownership cap to 45% from 35%.
Powell and his legal advisor have both denied any deal with Belo but the paper notes that in an April 16 FCC filing, Belo said it would endorse a 45% cap under certain circumstances. It asked the FCC to promise to keep the cap at that level for several years and help the owners of affiliated stations, such as Belo, contain the power of major networks. Company executives denied that Powell had asked for the filing.
Meanwhile, according to the Hollywood Reporter the Republican majority on the FCC has approved substantial portions of the new ownership rules prepared by the FCC Media Bureau.
At the beginning of the month Powell told reporters during an FCC meeting that his conversations with Republican Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin and Democrat Jonathan Adelstein were going well but he was having problems scheduling talks with the other Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps.
The new rules are due to be issued on June 2 and US politicians are stepping up their pressure as the deadline approaches.
The US Senate Commerce Committee is to discuss the issue on May 13 at a hearing at which those slated to testify include Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin.
As well as the regulations themselves, the issue of market definition is also raising some hackles and two Congressmen have written to Powell to say that the FCC should not change its current definition.
Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and Louisiana Rep. Christopher John note that Congress recommended no changes to market definition rules when it passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and conclude, "it is reasonable to interpret the current definition as the one that Congress intended."
They say that Congress established the limits and the FCC has no authority to modify them, directly or indirectly.
2003-05-10: UK Capital Radio has seen its stock downgraded by financial institutions following poor ratings (See RNW May 10 Capital2); its shares which fell 30p on Thursday to 455p dropped another 22.5p - nearly 5% - on Friday to end the week at 425.5p after beginning the week just above 460p.
Merrill Lynch downgraded its rating on Capital to "sell" from "neutral" and UBS Warburg changed its rating from "buy" to "neutral".
Also hit, but to a lesser degree was Emap, which also suffered in the ratings; its shares were down 8.5 p to 800p on Friday following an 11.5 p fall on Thursday. It had begun the week under 790p but saw a mid-week peak of nearly 830p.
Investec Securities cut its rating on Emap Heat - from "buy" to "hold".
In the US, there were no further results on Friday and not much action on the station sales front, although giant Clear Channel is selling one of its California stations.
It is getting USD900, 000 in cash from Jeri Lyn Broadcasting Inc for Charts/Pop KIIS-AM, Canyon Country.
Clear Channel will retain the call sign and transfer them to KACD, Thousand Oaks, with the KACD calls going the other way.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-05-10: All of Sydney's ten commercial radio stations as well as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) have now signed up to the launch of the first consumer digital radio services in Australia in the second half of this year but they are being held up by local authority delays.
The project is being led by Commercial Radio Australia, which said that more than AUD 1 million (USD 626,000); its CEO Joan Warner said that trials were being held up because of delays to the completion of infrastructure resulting from local council processes.
The broadcasters want to replace an existing antenna on the Channel 9 Willoughby Tower with one three metres (10 feet) longer but, said Ms Warner, they had been waiting seven months for officers to place the matter before Willoughby Council for approval.
"The very disappointing delay over a three-metre extension and the recent issue with urban encroachment to AM towers at Homebush Bay highlight the serious challenge facing broadcasters in metropolitan areas," she added.
"The listening public regards radio as an essential service, but our audience coverage is being threatened by the lack of understanding of broadcasting and broadcasters needs' by planning authorities at both State and local level".
Previous ABC (Australia):
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2003-05-10: Montreal-based Astral Media, which is controlled by the Greenberg family, has announced that the Telemedia Group has sold its 10% stake in the company, some 5.3 million shares, through TD Securities Inc.
Based on Astral's stock price the deal will net Telemedia some CAD132 million (USD 92 million); it involves shares that Telemedia acquired when it sold its radio stations in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces to Astral two years ago in a CAD 255 million (USD 178 million) deal (See RNW June 30, 2001).
2003-05-10: Bob Collins, Director-General of Irish state broadcaster RTÉ, is to step down from the post in October, ahead of his contractual term that runs to April next year.
Collins, who joined RTÉ in 1975, was appointed Director-General in April 1997 for a five-year period, subsequently extended to the maximum term of seven years.
The Chairman of the RTÉ Authority, Patrick (Paddy) J. Wright, said of the move, "It is with regret that the Authority accepted Bob's decision; it is typical of Bob that this decision was made in the best interests of RTÉ and in ensuring a smooth transition to his successor. The Authority will move to advertise the post in the immediate future."
"Bob will continue to carry out all of his duties as Director-General until his successor has been appointed and for a short hand-over period."
2003-05-09: BBC Radio 4 has dominated this year's Sony Awards, the British radio industry Oscars,
It took the Station of the Year award and golds in five other categories - The Comedy Award for "Just a Minute"; the Short Form Award for "On Saying Goodbye"; The 'Music Special' Award for "Axles, Engines, Music And Motown"; The News Programme Award for " File on 4: Cot Deaths"; The News Coverage Award for the "Today Programme: Ethiopian Famine"
John Humphrys, who has been a presenter on its Breakfast Today Show " for 16 years won the won the Gold Award for his "outstanding contribution to British radio".
In all the BBC took two thirds of the award with the next most notable winner being Jonathan Ross who won the other special award, The Sony 2002 Awardand whose show on Radio 2 won the Entertainment Award.
Other Golds to the BBC were:
The Sports Award for "Football Finance: The Bankrupt Game" on BBC Radio Five Live;
The Community Award to "Altogether Now" on BBC Radio Leeds;
The Speech Award for "Stark Talk: Joe Simpson" on BBC Radio Scotland;
The Feature Award for "The Troubles With Drugs" on BBC Radio 1;
The Event Award for "Cheltenham Festival" on BBC Five Live; The Station Sound Award for digital channel BBC7;
The Music Programming Award - daily sequences for "Late Junction" on BBC Radio 3;
The Specialist Music Award for "Bobby Friction & Nihal Presents" on BBC Radio 1;
The News Output Award to "Andy Whittaker's Breakfast Show" on BBC Radio Derby;
The Drama Award for "Runt" on BBC World Service;
The News Broadcaster Award to Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk;
The Music Broadcaster Award to Paul Gambaccini on BBC Radio 2; and
Station Of The Year with an audience over 1 million plus to BBC Radio Ulster.
The most prestigious individual award for a show in the commercial sector was of The Breakfast Music Award to Christian O'Connell's Breakfast Show on Xfm.
Other awards in the commercial sector were:
The Competition Award to "Caravan Of Doom" on Hereward FM; The Interaction Award to "The Stephen Nolan Show" on Belfast City Beat;
The Music Programming Award - single programmes to "Dominic Mohan - The Who Special" on Virgin Radio;
The Speech Broadcaster Award to Stephen Nolan of Belfast City Beat;
The Station of The Year with an audience under 300,000 to FM103 Horizon;
The Station of The Year with an audience between 300,000 to 1 million to Pirate FM; and the
Digital Terrestrial Station of The Year award to Saga Radio
Sony 2002 Awards report
Sony Awards site (2003 winners)
2003-05-09: The latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) just released brought comfort to those who had invested in digital radio, which now has a weekly reach of some 1.5 million according to the first digital listening figures reported.
The ratings also showed the BBC increasing its share of listening to a record 53.5; Overall radio reached 91.3% of the 15 plus audience in the UK each week compared to 90.5% for the previous survey, amd they listened a little more in the latest quarter - an average of 24.4 hours per listener per week, up from 24.2 hours.
The BBC figures were aided by increases in the news audience that helped boost BBC Radio 4 whose weekly audience topped ten million for the first time, and BBC Radio5 Live.
Also notable for the BBC was an audience of 1.4 million UK listeners for the BBC World Service in the UK, the first time it has been rated, and a near tripling of the recorded figures for the BBC Asian network which had a total reach of 433,000 when digital listeners were taken into account compared to just 150,000 analogue listeners.
In the commercial sector, Capital Radio has done well with its Century network but flagship Capital FM lost share in London, falling to a record low of 8.1%, although its flagship breakfast show hosted by Chris Tarrant added 86,000 listeners a week compared to the previous quarter to attain a weekly reach of 1.5666 million compared to 884,000 for Heart Fm's breakfast show, its nearest rival.
At Capital-owned Xfm, the Christian O'Connell breakfast show, which has won a Sony Award this year, dropped 42,000 listeners over the quarter to end up with a weekly reach of 217,000.
Chrysalis has seen its re-launch of LBC pay off, with audiences up 17% on the previous quarter although its AM sister News Direct lost 7.3%; it has also seen audiences up for its Heart FM channel in London - Heart put on another 38,000 listeners a week in the latest quarter to reach 1.849 million listeners a week compared to 1.68 million a year ago.
Emap fared badly with Kiss FM and the Magic and Big City networks all losing audience but Classic FM continued to do well for GWR, adding 34,000 listeners a week to reach a total of 6,872,000.
At Virgin, the new breakfast show team of Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd increased Virgin FM's London audience by 12% but overall the station lost audience again with its combined AM and FM weekly reach down to 2,708,000 from 3,210,000 last year.
The Jazz FM network, owned by the Guardian Media Group (GMG), added 247,000 listeners to end up with a weekly reach of 1.364 million listeners.
The ratings were reflected on the stock market where Capital shares were down 6.19%, Chrysalis was up 1.44%, EMAP was down 1.4%, GWR was up 0.83%, but SMG bucked the audience figures to end the day up 1.25%.
Capital radio put a positive spin on its results with Chief Executive David Mansfield commenting, "Capital's strategy is to create great radio that attracts loyal, long term listeners and good progress has been made across the group."
"I am encouraged that we have maintained our commercial share in these RAJARS with some significant successes. In London, our 95.8 Capital FM breakfast show has added 100,000 listeners, increasing the gap with our nearest competitor and 105.4 Century FM is now the largest commercial station in the Northwest. I am confident that we can continue to achieve steady growth throughout 2003."
There was also positive comment from UBC Media following figures showing a reach of 50,000 listening an average of nearly three hours a week for the digital Oneword speech channel co-owned with Guardian Media Group.
Its Chief Executive, Simon Cole, said, "this is great day for digital radio. We have waited three years for concrete evidence that digital radio is being embraced by the British people. Nobody can now doubt that digital listening will be a significant and growing part of the radio landscape over the next two years and will effectively deliver audiences to advertisers".
"Oneword Radio reported very encouraging inaugural RAJAR numbers, in the first survey to include digital-only radio stations."
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 162000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10.343million, a weekly reach of 21%, as before, and a listening share of 7.9%, down from 8.4%.
*BBC Radio 2 lost 26,00 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.234 million, a weekly reach of 27%, as before, and a listening share of 15.7%, down from 15.8%.
*BBC Radio 3 lost 58 000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2,096 million, a weekly reach of 4%, as before, and a listening share of 1.1%, down from 1.2%.
*BBC Radio 4 gained 236000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10,034 million, a weekly reach of 20%, as before, and a listening share of 11.8 %, up from 11.5%.
*BBC Radio 5 Live gained 141000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6,415 million, a weekly reach of 13%, as before, and a listening share of 4.7%, as before.
*BBC World Service, in its first ratings, recorded a weekly audience of 1,395 million, a weekly reach of 3% and a listening share of 0.7%
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM gained 215000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6,872 million, a weekly reach of 14%, as before, but a listening share of 4.6%, down from 4.7%.
*TalkSport lost 166000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2,249 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.7%.
*Virgin (Owned by SMG --total including all AM and FM) lost 109 000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2,708 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 6%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.6%. Digital national networks- first ratings:
*Kerrang had 771000 listeners a week, a reach of 2%, and a listening share of 0.3%
*Oneword had a weekly audience of 50,000, too small for reach and share to be listed.
*Smash Hits had a weekly audience of 759000, a reach of 2% and a share of 0.3%.
BBC Director of Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky, said: "Today's figures show that the whole industry goes from strength to strength with more people listening to radio."
"I'm particularly pleased with the first national figures for the BBC Asian Network.
"These figures and those of other newly recorded services show how significant listening through television and the internet has become, as RAJAR has been revealing for some time."
Alison Winter, Research and Communications Manager of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA), commented that the results proved, " once more that Commercial Radio knows its local audiences, with our local and regional stations claiming the lion's share of local listening in the UK. Meanwhile a record high for winter listening among 4-14 year olds, together with healthy first results from our new non-analogue services, points to a rosy future for commercial radio."
Previous GWR (owns Classic FM):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous Wireless Group (Owns TalkSport):
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous UBC Media:
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2003-05-09: In more US first quarter results, Radio 1 Inc has turned a first quarter loss last year into a profit and ended ahead of estimates and XM Satellite Radio has seen both revenues and losses increase.
Radio 1 Inc had net revenues of USD 63.4 million, up 9% on a year ago, both operating income and station operating income (broadcast cash flow) up 13% to USD 20.9 million and 29.1 million respectively. It turned a loss in 2002 of USD28.6 million (USD 030 per share) into a profit of USD6.9 million (USD0.7 per share).
During the quarter, it says, national revenue grew around three times as fast as local revenue, although this slowed down markedly in March.
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III commented, "This quarter was one of the more difficult in recent memory as the snow storms of February effectively shut down a number of our markets for several days."
"Soon thereafter, the fear of a potential war, followed by the reality of an actual war, put a serious damper on advertising activity that continued through the end of the first quarter. Through it all, Radio One managed to post impressive performance on the top line, as well as expense management and core profitability."
"During the quarter, we made our first scheduled principal payment on our bank term loan out of free cash flow, and managed to end the quarter with almost as much cash as when we started the quarter, further reinforcing the impressive free cash flow model of a high margin radio company. We are hopeful that as we move further away from the weak ad environment induced by the war that the radio industry returns to the strong health it had late last year and for the first six weeks of 2003."
Looking ahead, the company warns of an uncertain economic environment in the second quarter and says it expects revenues in the range of up a low-single digit percentage to down a low-single digit percentage compared to the net broadcast revenue generated in the second quarter of 2002.
XM, which now has more than 500,000 subscribers, reported an overall loss of USD126 million (USD 1.26 per share), up 12.2 % on a year ago whilst revenues were up more than six fold from USD1.8 million to USD13.1 million of which USD12.5 million was subscriber revenues and the remainder came from advertisements.
XM says that during the quarter it incurred an average subscriber acquisition cost (SAC) of USD 74 compared to an average SAC of USD127 for first quarter 2002 and USD96 in the fourth quarter 2002.
XM's results did not help it in the markets on Thursday. It closed down 6.28% at USD10.30; satellite rival Sirius suffered a similar fall, dropping 6.31% to USD1.04
In other US radio business, Hispanic Broadcasting has now filed to make a direct purchase of Big City's WVIV-FM, the former WXXY-FM, Chicago; originally Big City was transferring the station to Superior Broadcasting for USD32.9 million and Superior was to pass the station on to Hispanic for the same sum after the latter's merger with Univision. Big City and Superior have now asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismiss their application and a new application has been filed for a direct acquisition after the merger, which is still awaiting FCC approval, has gone through.
Previous Big City:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Previous Radio 1 Inc.
2003-05-09: The UK High Court case in which former Virgin Breakfast host and station owner Chris Evans is suing Virgin owners SMG for GBP 8.6 million (USD 13.6 million) has now ended with the judge, Mr Justice Lightman, reserving his judgement for a date to be set.
SMG is counter-claiming some GBP20 million (USD 32 million) for damage that it alleged was caused to its business.
Evans was fired in June 2001 after he failed to turn up to host the Virgin breakfast show and was alleged to have gone on a drinking binge.
2003-05-09: Colorado morning duo Dave Moore and Jeff Singer are now back on the air at KKCS-FM, Colorado Springs, as are the Dixie Chicks, for playing whose records they were suspended on Tuesday (See RNW May 8).
The suspension is increasingly looking like a stunt that went well in publicity terms; station manager Jerry Grant is now reported as saying that they never banned the Chicks but had reacted to listeners saying they didn't want to hear them.
2003-05-09: David Witherow, currently its Deputy Chair, is to become Executive Chair of the UK Radio Authority; he will take up his executive role on June 14 following the departure of Tony Stoller, currently Chief Executive of the Authority, and the role of Chair of the Authority on July 12 following the departure of Current Chair Richard Hooper.
Witherow, who joined the radio authority in 1988 and became Deputy Chair in 2000, started his journalistic career at Britain's national news agency, the Press Association, as a graduate trainee in 1960 and moved to BBC External Services, the predecessor of the World Service, three years later.
He became Editor of External Services in 1972 and five years later moved to TV and then had various other BBC roles before returning to the World Service where he eventually became Deputy Managing Director in 1989. He retired from the BBC in 1994 and subsequently worked as a broadcasting consultant concentrating on the implementation of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).
The Authority is being subsumed into he new OFCOM super-regulator that will take over at the end of the year; Stoller is to be OFCOM's External Relations Director.
David Vick, the Authority's Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Development, and Neil Romain, Director of Finance and Personnel will become Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Operating Officer respectively, with effect from 14th June.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2003-05-09: Jazz was on the up and news on the way down in the latest Arbitron-MeasureCast Internet ratings that saw News-Talk WLS Am drop out of the top five and two jazz stations Jazz FM and KPLU-FM at fourth and fifth rank. Network ratings were unaltered at the top.
For the week to April 27, 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 290,453 (257,699); CP 115,247 (112,104). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM - TTSL 255,056 (214,424); CP 52,250 (50,188). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 222,761 (206,557); CP 32,811 (31,135). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 186,714 (122,357); CP 26,626 (20,890). Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
5: Jazz format KPLU-FM - TTSL 171,512 (97,864); CP 29,536 (26,675). Up from tenth with much higher listening and higher reach.
* News-Talk WLS-AM fell from fourth to sixth with TTSL 171,150 (201,289); CP 27,769 (29,079) and Classical format Internet-only Beethoven.com fell from fifth to seventh despite increased listening; it had TTSL 146,335 (134,162); CP 25,503 (24,531).
The top five networks for the week to April 27 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Launch - TTSL 3,155,570 (3,040,830); CP - 687,528 (656,006). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Live365.com - TTSL 2,768,945 (2,847,013); CP - 543,862 (538,881) Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,496,421 (1,474,969); CP 205,745 (198,631). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,267,009 (1,140,590); CP 353,590 (345,100). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 792,919 (753,530); CP 155,590 (135,434) - Same rank with lower listening and higher reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-05-08: Cumulus, Entravision and NextMedia have reported first quarter revenue growth varying between 8% and 28.5% although pro-forma figures showed increases as low as 1%.
The latter figure was for Cumulus, whose same station revenue was up 3% but overall revenue was up 28.5% to USD 58 million, mainly because of acquisitions.
Overall Cumulus made a loss of USD7.25 million (USD 0.12 per share) compared to a loss of USD119.4 million (USD3.28 per share) a year ago including USD41.7 million loss due to accounting changes.
Pro-forma net revenues for the quarter were up 1.1% to USD57.6 million and same station revenues were up 2.9% to USD45.6 million.
Commenting on the figures, President and CEO Lew Dickey said, "This quarter was marked by key accomplishments including: an optimization of our capital structure, important strategic acquisitions, and strong operating performance in a difficult environment. We are building a strong platform that generates tremendous free cash flow and are well-positioned to continue to consolidate our space."
At the company's conference call he said the poor first quarter resulted from a number of factors including the war, unemployment and a lack of confidence. He said he expected the second quarter to produce similar results but then things would improve in the second half of the year.
At Entravision, there was an 8% increase in net revenues to USD53 million . a 10% increase in adjusted EBITDA to USD 9.3 million, and a increase of a third in net loss to USD 6.7 million (USD 0.08 per share).
Within the figures, TV revenues were up 6% to USD 25.5 million, those for radio were up10% to USD 16.3 million Outdoor was up 14% to USD 6.5 million and publishing was up 4% to USD4.8 million.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Walter F. Ulloa commented, "Despite the impact of the Iraq War, during the first quarter we recorded solid revenue growth, reflecting strong ratings and market shares across our television and radio station divisions, as well as the continued recovery of our outdoor segment."
"We also surpassed expectations with regard to managing operating costs, and our management team is focused on improving efficiencies throughout our operating structure."
"As the advertising market rebounds and we focus on capturing a greater share of the advertising pie, we expect to demonstrate considerable improvement in operating leverage. Given the growth of the Hispanic population and our diversified media footprint in the nation's most densely populated Hispanic markets, we are exceptionally well-positioned to benefit as advertisers increasingly recognize the value of our audience."
NextMedia reported net revenues up 25% to USD23.5 million and pro-forma revenues up 7.7% to
USD23.7 million. EBITDA was up 80% to USD 6.3 million and pro-forma EBITDA was up 33.3% to USD6.4 million.
Overall NextMedia cut its loss from USD 14.9 million to USD 5.1 million mainly because of a USD 12.6 million reduction in deferred tax expense; NextMedia noted that the first quarter of 2002 reflected a large deferred tax expense as a result of the adoption of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 142.
Within the total, radio division net revenue was up 3.9% to USD16.0 million and outdoor division net revenue was up 16.7% to USD7.7 million.
Carl Hirsch, Executive Chairman, and Steven Dinetz, President and CEO of NextMedia commented, "Our radio stations continued their solid performance during an uncertain advertising environment. Our outdoor division achieved impressive revenue and BCF(1) increases during the first quarter. We have successfully integrated our local selling strategy into the outdoor business. As the year progresses, we are most optimistic that our radio and outdoor divisions will post continued revenue, margin and EBITDA growth."
2003-05-08: Within a month of hiring Emma Forbes from Heart FM's London breakfast show (See RNW April 16), Capital Radio has signed up another Chrysalis presenter, this time hiring daytime host Phil Upton from Heart's Midlands station.
Upton, a native Brummie, will host BRMB's breakfast show from July 2 and also the Saturday evening Rhythm Birmingham show.
Announcing the signing, Capital whose ratings have been under attack from Chrysalis's stations headlined its release "Double Heart-attack" and noted that nearly 60% of Heart's weekly audience listen to his show.
BRMB Programme Controller Adam Bridge commented, " Phil is yet another fantastic signing and we're delighted to welcome him back. There is no doubt that he has been a massive hit for Heart and will be equally popular with BRMB listeners."
Upton whose broadcasting career started at BRMB, said, "I'm really excited to be returning to BRMB at a time when the station has never sounded better. Heart wanted me to stay but BRMB offered me a far better opportunity that I couldn't turn down. I can't wait to get back behind the BRMB mic as there's really no better place to work if you're from Birmingham and you love radio."
Chrysalis earlier this week reported radio profits up nearly 20% compared to a fairly flat set of figures for the sector as a whole.
2003-05-08: Two Colorado DJs have been suspended for playing the Dixie Chicks' music in defiance of a ban by the station - and gained wide publicity round the world for it (RNW has seen the story in newspapers in Australia and the UK as well as the US).
KKCS-FM, Colorado Springs,owned by Walton Stations who are selling it for USD 18 million to Superior Broadcasting, was reported to have been considering lifting the ban that followed controversy over comments made by lead singer Natalie Maines about US President George Bush when on tour in London but DJs Dave Moore and Jeff Singer jumped the gun.
Station manager Jerry Grant then suspended them: "I gave them an alternative: Stop it now and they'll be on suspension, or they can continue playing them and when they come out of the studio they won't have a job," he told the Associated Press.
"They made it very clear that they support wholeheartedly the President of the United States. They support wholeheartedly the troops, the military," Grant said. "But they also support the right of free speech, " he added.
RNW comment: We have already noted out disquiet at station bans of this kind - made worse in this case because the AP reports that three quarters of the station's listeners favoured bringing back the group. Whilst we can see a decision to drop a group because of listener reactions, whatever their reasons, this particular action is either going too far towards censorship or was just aimed at getting publicity.
We also note that other groups, including Cumulus, which had one of the hardest stances, and Clear Channel, have already started returning the Chicks to their airwaves.
Los Angeles Times/AP report:
2003-05-08: US public radio has announced two developments of classical music services, one involving National Public Radio (NPR) and the other Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).
NPR has announced a new alliance with Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN), which was created five years ago by Colorado Public Radio and University of Southern California Radio (KUSC-FM) under which it will market and distribute CPRN's around-the-clock classical music service.
The CPRN service will be made available to all 732 NPR stations, 472 of which already broadcast classical music.
NPR's director of music Benjamin Roe said, "CPRN has developed an impressive track record in attracting listeners and fundraising support. Its first-rate announcing talent, thoughtful music presentation, and format versatility complement local music presentations as well as NPR's popular national programs, including Performance Today."
"As public radio stations continue to seek ways to expand and focus their programming, this new alliance with CPRN will help NPR provide more and better service to NPR stations choosing to concentrate on classical music programming."
CPRN currently airs on five public radio stations or networks: KUSC Los Angeles, California; Colorado Public Radio Denver, Colorado; Boise State Radio in Boise, Idaho; Northwest Public Radio in Pullman, Washington State; and WBHM Birmingham, Alabama ; the addition of its service to NPR's offerings means that the latter will now distribute 196 hours of classical music every week .
The other development is a collaboration between MPR and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on an "American Mavericks" venture that celebrates 20th-century composers who changed classical music forever through a radio series and a web site that features an extensive collection of music, interviews, oral histories, art, film, and interactive experiences.
The web offerings include on demand streams of sixty unreleased performances of San Francisco Symphony performances of Mavericks music and two web radio channels.
The project was made possible through a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;Public Radio International (PRI) will distribute American Mavericks.
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, commented, "The Web site and radio series are significant ways of keeping alive the music of our American Mavericks concert festival."
"This is music that deserves to be heard, and there are relatively few opportunities for that. The radio show is compelling listening, and the Web site will grab the attention of anyone interested in exploring music."
American Mavericks web site:
2003-05-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a fine of USD10,000 on a Florida pirate radio operator Omar A Ebanks of Orlando and of USD 12,000 on Scott E.Kamm, licensee of amateur radio station NOUGN, Sioux City, Iowa, for intentional interference to communications on Amateur Radio Service frequency 146.31 MHz, transmission of music on his amateur station, and failure to identify his amateur station by call sign. Neither had responded to Notices of Apparent Liability (NALs).
It has also confirmed a USD13, 000 penalty on Minority Business and Housing Development, Inc. , licensee of radio station WYGG-FM, Asbury Park, New Jersey, failure to install Emergency Alert System equipment and failure to operate in accordance with the terms of the station authorization. Minority had also failed to respond to an NAL.
2003-05-08: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now officially moved to new headquarters in Dublin. The formal opening was performed by Ireland's Minister for Communications,
Marine and Natural Resources Dermot Ahern T.D.
Speaking at the opening, BCI chairperson Conor Maguire commented that since the present Commission took up office in 1998 there had been a growth in independent national TV service TV3 and radio service Today FM that now provided "genuine national alternatives to the RTÉ services."
"We have overseen the re-licensing of all local commercial radio services and added a range of local, community and regional services to the sector. Throughout this period our primary aim has been to provide extended choice and diversity to listeners and viewers in Ireland," he added.
2003-05-07: UK Chrysalis Group, which last month confirmed that it was in talks to sell its TV interests to concentrate on radio (See RNW April 26) has reported turnover up 10.3% to GBP125.5 million (USD 200.6 million) in the half-year to the end of February; its EBITDA was up 31.4% to GBP9.1 million (USD 14.6 million) and it has a 60% in operational profits before exceptional items to GBP 5.3 million (USD 8.5 million).
Its radio division operating profits were up 18/2% to GBP 3.9 million (USD 6.2 million) and excluding figures for Bristol based Galaxy 101 (sold - at a profit of GBP 6.3 million (USD 10.1 million) and LBC (acquired from London News Radio in September last year for GBP 23.5 million (USD 37.6 million) as part of a series of transactions - See RNW Sept 27, 2002) they were up 61.8% to GBP 5.5 million (USD 8.8 million).
Same station revenues, excluding LBC and Galaxy 101 were up 17.5%, and year-on-year radio revenues overall were up revenue growth of 19.8% to GBP 27.2m (USD42.9 million), an increase way above Chrysalis's estimate of 2% growth for the UK radio industry overall.
Within its radio operations, it said its Heart and Galaxy stations continued to perform strongly and produce impressive ratings, and the integration of LBC was going well with its sales team beginning to leverage the benefits of selling it in conjunction with Heart and Galaxy, aided by good initial feed back after the stations' re-launch.
It also said its digital strategy was now complete following the award of the Yorkshire multiplex to MXR, in which Chrysalis is the major shareholder.
In addition it noted that an agreement was signed in January with Switchdigital to bring both the Galaxy and Arrow brands to the Central Scotland region and, importantly, the Galaxy brand to London. Heart and Galaxy also have national transmission on the Sky Digital platform, with LBC 97.3 to be added in June.
Chrysalis said," This strong organic revenue outperformance has been driven by continued audience gains across many of our stations and our ongoing ability to improve yield. The inclusion of LBC for 5 months of the 2003 financial year has also contributed to our top line performance."
Chrysalis chairman Chris Wright confirmed the group's interest in further radio expansion after the UK relaxes media ownership regulations, commenting, "'These results underscore my belief that the Chrysalis Group is in a strong position to capitalize on opportunities that may arise as we enter this exciting new phase of industry development brought about by the forthcoming Communications Act."
Its chief executive, Richard Huntingford, backed him up with a suggestion that further disposals may be on the way, saying, "'This is a strong set of results. I am particularly pleased with the industry outperformance that we have again delivered in our Radio and Music divisions, with our management teams showing that they can deliver strong organic growth in spite of difficult trading conditions. As we announced last month, we are in discussions that may lead to the disposal of our Television activities, which, if successful, will be an important step in becoming a more focused media group."
"In addition, we have undertaken a strategic review of our Book Publishing division, which we hope will enable us to maximise value for shareholders in the medium term." (RNW note - the book publishing division lost around GBP 500,000- USD 800,000)
Still in Europe, SBS Broadcasting SA, which owns stations in Europe, reported first quarter revenues this year up to the end up March up 8% to Euros 115.7 million (USD 103.5 million), EBITDA turning round from a loss of Euros 9.8 million (USD 8.8 million), and overall loss down 57% to Euros 8.7 million (USD 7.8 million) or from Euros 0.7 per share to Euros 0.3 per share.
SBS Broadcasting's radio division, with stations in Greece, Finland, Norway and Sweden as well as shares of operations in other countries, were up 14% (by Euros 1 million (USD 895,000)) attributed mainly to revenues of Euros 700,000 (USD 627,000) from its Greek station, Lampsi FM, which was not broadcasting in the fist quarter of last year.
Commenting on the figures, CEO Markus Tellenbach said: "Our first quarter results point to our ongoing success in improving operating leverage across our station portfolio. Our revenue growth outpaced the majority of our markets as we continued to gain market share."
"This top-line improvement, coupled with strict station cost controls, supported robust growth in our station operating cash flow, EBITDA and margins. Overall, we are becoming an increasingly efficient organization as more and more of our cash flow falls to the bottom line, as evidenced by the reduction in our net loss of more than half in the first quarter."
"Looking ahead, our management team remains focused on utilizing our pan-European station footprint to drive ratings and revenue, while controlling costs and maximizing cash flow. The market share gains we are achieving in the current weak advertising environment position the company for strong growth as the European advertising industry begins to rebound. Our financial position is also strengthening and based on current pacings we are on track to be cash flow positive for the full year."
Previous SBS Broadcasting:
2003-05-07: Kentucky-headquartered Regent Communications has reported first quarter broadcast revenues up 29% on a year ago to USD16.7 million in the first quarter of this year; same station revenues, however, were only up 2% to USD 12.5 million, excluding barter, and station operating income was down 4.5% to USD 2.9 million.
Overall Regent just went into the black - by USD 110,000 (nil per share) compared a loss of USD6.1 million (USD0.17 per share) a year ago, when changes in accounting procedures had a USD 6.14 million impact without which it would have made a profit of USD 68, 000.
On a pro-forma basis, including acquisitions after January 1 last year and stations operating under a local marketing agreement ("LMA"), net broadcast revenue of USD16.9 million was flat and station operating income of USD3.6 million decreased 12%.
Commenting on the results Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs said, "Our first quarter results demonstrate our ability to adapt during challenging economic times. Leading up to the expected start of the war in Iraq we began to see a decrease in demand for advertising. Once the war began, we experienced postponements of existing advertising business, and a hesitancy to plan new business in the future."
"However, we were able to effectively manage our costs and deliver station operating income and earnings that were in line with our guidance. We also achieved impressive ratings performance in the Fall Ratings Book and continue to make progress in developing our recently acquired properties. Both factors bode well for our future and we look forward to more positive developments during the rest of 2003."
Regent is forecasting second quarter net broadcast revenues and station operating income of approximately $21.8 to $22.2 million and $6.5 to $6.8 million, respectively with earnings per share of $0.02 to $0.03, including a charge of approximately $0.7 million, net of tax, related to the write-off of deferred financing costs as the Company expects to refinance its credit agreement in the second quarter.
It says same station net broadcast revenues for the quarter should be up 1-2% and expects same station operating income to be flat to up 1%.
2003-05-07: The US had a total of 26,366 licensed broadcast stations including 13,383 radio stations at the end of March this year according to figures released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The radio total was up 52 but that for TV was down 5, to bring the overall total up 47 so far this year.
Of the radio stations, 4804 were AM, the same as before, 6159 were commercial FM, up from 6173, and 2400 were educational FM, up from 2354.
Previous FCC station numbers:
2003-05-07: US radio treatment of sex, normally associated with various shock-jocks and often indecency complaints, is to be broadcast on public radio in Chicago this month and next but with a rather different focus.
WBEZ-FM in the city is to air a series of locally produced stories and documentaries "Speaking of Sex" during the morning and afternoon National Public Radio news programmes.
It is not aimed at titillation but information and will deal with such topics as the rise of syphilis in the city, Internet sex, interracial dating in 1970s Chicago and nine "Love Stories" about love and intimacy.
WBEZ web site:
2003-05-06: Monday has seen mixed results from US media companies with Entercom and Salem producing strong revenue figures but Beasley Broadcasting reporting a fall, although it turned a loss a year ago into a profit in the first quarter of this year when it took a significant charge because of a change in accounting procedures.
For the quarter, Beasley's net revenues were down 1.3% to USD 24.5 million, same-station revenue was down 0.9%, and operating income from continuing operations and station operating income were flat at USD 4.7 million and USD7.0 million respectively.
Beasley, which in 2002 took an after-tax charge of USD11.7 million reflecting the adoption of accounting standard SFAS142, was in the black by USD 2 million (US 0.08 per diluted share) in the first quarter of this year compared to a loss of USD 11 million (USD 0.45 per diluted share) in 2002.
Chairman and CEO George Beasley said that uncertainties had affected revenues this year, adding, "Although some of our market clusters located near military bases in North Carolina and Georgia did better on a spot advertising basis than we originally expected and our Las Vegas cluster continued to out-perform the market, these contributions were not enough to offset the lingering effect of a format challenge and the absence of Miami Dolphins playoff revenue this year at our Miami cluster."
He added that so far there had not been any broad-based recovery but said, " we are cautiously optimistic that a return to normal operating conditions in some of our military markets and a more clear economic picture will help our Company return to growth in the periods ahead."
"In anticipation of this, we intend to promote our stations during the Spring Arbitron ratings period, especially in Philadelphia, where we recently launched a new morning show, and in Las Vegas, to support our successful cluster."
Looking ahead, Beasley says it expects a revenue decrease in the mid-single digit percentage range for the second quarter of this year.
In contrast, Entercom's revenues were up- by 9% to a record USD81 million overall and by 7% on a same-station basis; Entercom also headlined a 23% rise in Free Cash Flow to USD15.4 million and a 24% increase in station operating income to USD 29.6 million (up 10% on a same station basis).
Discounting accounting changes, Entercom's profit rose by 63% from USD5.7 million (USD 0.12 per share) to USD 9.3 million (USD 0.18 per share); taking into account a cumulative USD 138.9 million of accounting changes, Entercom lost USD133.2 million.
Commenting on the results, President and CEO David J Field said, "Entercom continued to deliver outstanding, record-breaking results, exceeding expectations despite the Iraqi war's disruptive impact on advertising. We continued to outpace the radio industry during the quarter by gaining market share in 15 of our 17 measured markets, enabling us to achieve 7% same station revenue growth. We are also very pleased to post 23% growth in our Free Cash Flow."
Looking ahead, Entercom says it expects second quarter revenues between USD104 million and USD 107 million, amounting to a same station performance flat to up 3%.
It also says it expects earnings per diluted share for the second quarter between 44 cents and 36 cents including a charge of USD 3.8 million for the extinguishment of debt following.
For the second quarter of 2003, based on the current business outlook, the Company expects to report net revenues of $104 to $107 million with station operating expenses of $59.5 to $60.0 million. This quarterly net revenues guidance equates to same station performance of approximately flat to up 3% and would result in reported earnings per diluted share of approximately $0.33 to $0.36 after a charge of USD3.8 million for the early extinguishment of debt following the April redemption of its Convertible Preferred securities.
Salem Communications reported revenues up 8.4% to USD 38.7 million but its operating income fell 23.8% to USD 3.2 million and losses went up from USD 1.8 million (USD 0.08 per share) a year ago to USD 6.1 million (USD 0.26 per share) this year; this figure included a one-off loss of USD 4.0 million (USD 0.17 per share) as the result of the early retirement of USD100 million of the company's 9.5% senior subordinated notes.
It also wrote off USD0.9 million as a result of the denial of an application to increase the night-time coverage of WGKA AM1190, Salem's southern gospel radio station for the Atlanta market.
It is to appeal against the decision.
Salem's same station revenue and station operating income increased 7.8% to USD38.5 million and 11.8% to USD 12.3 million, respectively, aided by revenue and station operating income growth from its contemporary Christian music radio stations.
Commenting on these results, President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said, "In what was a challenging quarter for the radio industry, we have once again reported strong growth in both revenue and station operating income."
"We delivered industry leading revenue growth on the strength of our reliable block programming revenues and continued improvements in our start-up and developing properties."
"We are especially pleased with the progress of our music stations, which are converting solid ratings into strong income growth. In total, we are pleased to start 2003 with a quarter that emphasizes both the upside potential of our developing portfolio, as well as the downside protection our block programming revenues provide."
For the second quarter, Salem is projecting net broadcasting revenue of between USD43.2 and USD43.7 million, Net income between USD1.0 and USD1.4 million and station operating income of between USD14.9 and USD15.4 million and Atsinger commented, "Our guidance for the second quarter reflects the high growth nature of our portfolio and the strength of our business model."
"We are successfully balancing cost containment while continuing the investment spending necessary to fuel growth. As the economy improves and our developing stations move to maturity, Salem is in an ideal position to capitalize."
Salem has also announced two AM acquisitions. In Massachusetts, it is to pay Mega Communications approximately USD 8.6 million for WAMG-AM in Boston and in Colorado it its to pay Walton Stations approximately USD 1.5 million for KKCS-AM in Colorado Springs.
Atsinger said the acquisitions were in line with Salem's "long-term goal of developing our clusters in large markets through our three strategic formats."
In each market the deal will allow Salem to launch its conservative news/talk format as part of a three-station cluster.
Also reporting was RealNetworks Inc., which has announced that it has become the first company to reach one million subscribers for paid Internet media content subscriptions and which last week announced a definitive agreement to acquire Listen.com, the maker of the Rhapsody music subscription service. .
Revenues were in line with guidance - up 1% on the final quarter of last year and down 1% on the quarter a year ago at USD46.9 million; Overall Real lost USD 2.8 million (USD 0.02 per share), the same as in the final quarter of last year but comparing with net income of USD 0.01 per share of the first quarter of 2002.
For the second quarter of 2003, RealNetworks says it expects modest sequential revenue growth due to the anticipated increase in subscription and system infrastructure businesses.
Previous George Beasley:
2003-05-06: The Australian Broadcasting Authority's third annual conference is being held today and tomorrow in Canberra with an opening session on the latest broadcasting developments in the UK to be followed by a debate on the proposition that radio is more influential than television.
Wednesday's proceedings will start with a session on radio activities that will include discussion on issues such as the rival digital audio systems - the Eureka 147 DAB system so far adopted everywhere except the US and iBiquity's HD in-band on-channel system that has been adopted in the US.
It will also consider the issue that has already affected some Sydney broadcasters of the implications of urban encroachment on transmission sites that led to the ABA issuing a call to State planning agencies to be sensitive to the risks of allowing developments near the remaining metropolitan AM radio transmission sites across Australia (See RNW March 27).
2003-05-06: The recording industry is facing a potential new competitor in US radio giant Clear Channel, which has announced a venture to sell live recordings on compact disc within minutes of the end of a show.
The venture, Instant Live, is to debut in small-audience clubs and theatres in the Boston area, but could potentially expand into music distribution, a troubling prospects for Clear Channel's critics who are already unhappy about its dominance of the US concert business and also say that its control of station formats and playlists severely restricts the variety of artists who get airtime.
Clear Channel itself says that the idea is simply aimed at increasing revenue from live events and continues the practice of some bands that sell authorised recordings on CD or via Internet downloads soon after their concerts, thus both attracting additional revenue and discouraging illicit records.
Clear Channel is playing down any threat and Steve Simon, an executive vice president in Clear Channel's concert promotion unit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, told the New York Times that the company was not interested in signing artists to exclusive contracts..
However Forrester Research music industry analyst Josh Bernoff told the paper that Clear Channel's move into the CD business could change a tenuous balance of power in the music industry.
"For the labels," said Bernoff, "that means that their most important goal is to get Clear Channel to broadcast their acts and promote their concerts." The task could become more challenging, he said, if the labels find themselves competing against Clear Channel's own CD's for air time.
Clear Channel has been trying out the idea since the end of February and has reported around a third of concertgoers purchasing CD's after some events. In one case CDs of a concert by alternative-rock band Machinery Hall were sold for USD 15 for a two-DC set.
As well as sales through orders placed when tickets are bought or at a concert, Clear Channel as also signed a distribution agreement with the Best Buy chain to sell Instant-Live CDs in eight of its Boston-area stores; it will also soon begin offering them on its web site.
So far the CDs have been of bands that do not have major record deals and, because |Clear Channel has no alternative rock stations in the Boston area, promotion has been done in conjunction with two non-Clear Channel stations.
The idea, which could eventually extend to DVD recordings that will provide video of a concert, has received support from one of the bands involved. Spookie Daly Pride whose manager Dan Millen said the band was receiving promotional support and radio backing that it might have foregone without Clear Channel's support.
He and other band managers said they received one-third to one-half of the USD15 disc price, terms they found agreeable; they also said that none had felt they were being pressed into accepting a poor deal.
The report cautioned however that there could be problems if the idea was extended to musicians with major label contracts, especially if there was a fear that official CD sales could be hit.
For that reason, reports the Times, DiscLive, a company that has also started to test the instant disc market at small clubs in New York, is taking a slightly different approach by limiting its releases to on-site sales, with no subsequent distribution planned.
John Paluska, manager of the jam band Phish, also warned of difficulties.
Phish, he said, had already sold nearly USD 1 million of concert-show downloads over the Internet since opening its livephish.com site in late December, making the idea a "big success" but added that the business was very complicated with many legal issues.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2003-05-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a fine of USD10, 000 against a Florida pirate station operator, Assondieu Fortune from Naples.
Fortune was originally sent a Notice of Apparent Liability in November last year but had received no response.
2003-05-06: Reacting to involvement by the Recording Industries Association of America (RIAA) in developing software to attack the PCs of people who download pirated music or movies and also lobbying to permit them to hack into their computers, computer hackers again took control of the RIAA web site for a period early on Monday.
The site was later taken down and was still ut of action just before we published.
The site carried a description of its search saying "This site contains nothing worthily to search for" and other messages such as, "oooh riaa want's (sic) to hack Filesharing Users / Servers ? - better lern (sic) to secure your own server...
Sorry Admin - had to deactivate ur accounts - they'll be reactivated after 2 hours."
Below this was a segment headed "Recommended File Sharing Tool - selected by Riaa.org" and then a description with "DOWNLOAD / sponsored by www.riaa.org" links of programmes such as open source filesharing client "Emule", gnutella client "Shareaza", OpenNap file sharing program "WinMX", advertisement free KaZaA programme "KaZaA Lite" and eDonkey2000, described as providing quick searches but not relying on one central server.
The RIAA has been increasingly active about what it considers piracy of music by people downloading songs and has recently the latest round in court in a court case to force US Internet Service Provider Verizon to reveal details of two customers who allegedly downloaded hundreds of songs through peer-to-peer services.
It also won damages against four students accused of fuelling music piracy by running file-sharing networks on campus and offering songs for copying, action seen as an attempt to scare off potential music downloaders.
The lawsuits asked for damages of up to USD150, 000 per infringement and could potentially have mounted up to hundreds of millions of dollars for each of the students who in the end settled for sums from USD 12, 000 to USD17, 500 each.
The move seems to have deterred others as the RIAA says some 20 campus file-sharing networks have been closed down by their operators sicne it first filed the lawsuits.
In 2001, the RIAA was reported by Wired News to have tried to tack onto an anti-terrorism bill an amendment that would immunize all copyright holders -- including the movie and e-book industry -- for any data losses caused by their hacking efforts or other computer intrusions "that are reasonably intended to impede or prevent" electronic piracy". It later dropped the plan.
RIAA web site:
Wired News 2001 report:
2003-05-05: The main radio-related story in North America over the past week were the future of media regulation and the return to the concert round by the Dixie Chicks following the furore over lead singer Natalie Maines' comments about President Bush that led to them being taken off air by many radio stations.
The two issues were linked in an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, North Carolina, pegged to the Chick's first US concert since the row.
As the paper reports, when Maines brought up the issue head on at the concert in Greenville, South Carolina, by telling the crowd, "We welcome freedom of speech," and then inviting them to boo if that's what they came for, the group was greeted instead by deafening applause and screams of approval.
The article then goes on toe make a wider point, saying, "It would be easy to dismiss the brouhaha over Maines' comment as little more than a lot of sound and fury over something of no consequence. But the reaction of some radio stations to their brief entrance into the political arena should raise concerns for anyone who cares about free speech and diversity in entertainment."
"Maines' comment, made to a London audience, resulted in radio stations nationwide boycotting the music of the Grammy-award-winning trio."
"Some continued to shun the group even though Maines apologized. Cumulus Media, which owns 262 stations, stopped all 41 of its country stations from playing the Dixie Chicks."
"Clear Channel, the nation's dominant radio broadcasting company, says it never directed its country stations to stop playing their music, but many did, nonetheless."
After commenting on the Chicks' right to comment and of others to then decide if they want to continue support, the paper considers the different issue of an organised boycott by a broadcasters and says, "The problem really has little to do with the Dixie Chicks themselves. But their treatment by Cumulus Media gives ample fodder to those who oppose further federal deregulation, which would allow control of the limited number of broadcast frequencies to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands."
It then gives a fairly succinct summary of the case against too much consolidation, saying, "The deregulation that reduced ownership limits followed deregulation in 1987 that repealed the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to cover controversial issues in their communities and to offer opposing views."
"In discontinuing the Fairness Doctrine, the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] said: "We believe that the interest of the public in viewpoint diversity is fully served by the multiplicity of voices in the marketplace today...." But that was before the deregulation in ownership allowed the multiplicity of radio voices to become so concentrated."
"There are only a limited number of frequencies, and those frequencies are assigned by the FCC, an arm of the federal government. With few barriers to monopolistic ownership and no requirement that opposing viewpoints be presented, despite the fact that the airwaves are owned by all the people, it's easy to see how dissenting voices on them could be muted and perhaps even squelched. Music has long been a venerable format for political protest. And while it's actually somewhat ironic that it would be the Dixie Chicks, not known for protest music, who faced banishment from some radio stations, what happened to them is an object lesson."
"Aside from pulling the plug on dissenting voices, the result of the consolidation that's taken place over the past few years is a loss of local programming on commercial stations that seriously undermines the value of the airwaves to the public that owns them."
It concludes, "Some regulatory changes are in order. But there are a limited number of broadcast frequencies and they are a public resource."
"Because it owns them, the public has a right to expect that in return for being granted the right to use those frequencies to make money, radio and television broadcasters will operate in a way that is in the public interest. If further deregulation is to be successful, that must occur."
"Actions like those by Cumulus Media demonstrate what could happen if broadcast frequencies become concentrated in the hands of a few owners with an agenda."
"Regardless of the fact that there are many other sources of information available in today's high-tech world, a resource owned by all the people should not become the propaganda tool of a few of the people."
RNW comment: An attitude with which we agree. We note that Cumulus has now ended its ban but still think it ought to be forced to publicly justify the action or face revocation of its country licences.
North of the border, there is also concern about cross-ownership and last week the Canadian Senate Transport and Communications Committee began public hearings for its study of the Canadian news media.
As reported by Graham Fraser in the Toronto Star, Tim Kent, who headed a 1981 Royal Commission on newspapers told the sub-committee that cross-ownership of television networks and newspapers should be prohibited.
"Whether such convergence, in fact, benefits any investors is questionable," Tom Kent told the Senate Transport and Communications Committee when it began public hearings for its study of the Canadian news media.
Kent then went on, "What is certain is that it is a combination against the public interest. It can be simply broken. It should be."
Kent also argued that newspaper owners who own more than one newspaper should be prevented from using all of the newspapers to promote the same editorial position, allowing only one to be the owner's mouthpiece.
Commenting on the Royal Commission he headed, Kent said, "It got the economic analysis right, but it didn't anticipate the force of two other factors."
"It didn't imagine that supposedly hard business heads would become entranced with dreams of convergent bliss. And it underestimated the drive for political power that could be fed by easy borrowing."
On the other side of the Atlantic, the British newspapers were more concerned with celebrating the radio that is and will be.
In the UK Times, Paul Connolly's column celebrated the success of BBC World Service radio's soaps, which have benefited greatly from the Corporation's experience with its domestic farming soap, The Archers that has been running since 1950.
Among those programmes, some of which are listened to by up to 90% of the population of their countries are
Rwandan soap Urunana (Hand in Hand) that was launched in 1999, Rruga Me Pisha (Pine Street) in Albania and New Home, New Life, that began in 1994 and retained popularity and topicality in Afghanistan before, during and after the Taliban regime.
In the Sunday Times his colleague Paul Donovan celebrates digital radio but then comes up with an unanticipated problem mentioned in an e-mail to him. Commenting on a digital radio that he had purchased the listener wrote, "All the praise about reception was well deserved, and we are thrilled with it - except for one thing nobody warned us about. We are a home with a radio in virtually every room. It was possible to follow a play without interruption while moving round the house, but no more. It seems that digital Radio 4 is out of synch with the standard transmission timing, so we cannot have both on at the same time."
According to Donovan the digital signal is around a second behind the analogue one because of the processing involved and then goes on to look at what is on offer on digital channels before looking back to the radio set that broke the psychological price barrier in the UK, the GBP99 Evoke 1.
"...that radio would never have been made," he notes, " had it not been for the £3.5m invested in a cheap chip by Digital One, backed by GWR and NTL."
He then goes ends with a comment on the provenance of most current sets, writing, "If you buy a digital radio set, the chances are that its chip will have been designed in Chepstow, made in Taiwan, sliced in Wales, wrapped in a module in Austria, assembled in China and finally returned to Britain for sale on the high street."
Finally a few questions raised in Sue Arnold's radio review in the UK Observer of "Questions, Questions" on BBC Radio 4.
"Are men really better at reading maps than women? Do they still make brown cars? Is shooting a Welshman in the back with a bow and arrow inside the city walls of Chester after sunset still legal? And how does the poem that begins: 'By tre, pol and pen, ye shall know Cornishmen' end? "
"To these and the many other questions put to and pondered by Stewart Henderson and a team of experts in last Thursday's Questions, Questions I would add another - are we the only nation obsessed with trivia? "
"This is not to denigrate either the amiable Mr Henderson or his excellent programme; indeed, so eager was I to hear the answers, I let three District Line trains go by in case my Walkman gave out in a tunnel. "
"For the record, it used to be thought that men's brains were better adapted to spatial orientation because men needed to find their way home after hunting, whereas women, who tended to potter about looking after the cave and the kids, were better suited to gathering and identifying edible plants. Recent tests, too, have revealed that whereas testosterone promotes navigational skills, oestrogen inhibits them."
"But science flew out of the window when an Army orienteering instructor said that in his professional experience women were better at getting from A to B because they didn't rush about excitedly trying to find landmarks. They just sat down quietly and looked at the map."
And as Arnold notes, if you want more, the answers to the rest of these Trivial Pursuit-type questions can be found on the Radio 4 website.
Asheville Citizen-Times report:
Toronto Star - Fraser:
UK Observer- Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Connolly:
2003-05-05: The latest Indian media survey, the recently released Indian Readership Survey-2002, shows FM radio and the Internet growing fastest but print slipping, down some 2% with magazine readership slumping by 14%.
In comparison, helped by the rollout of new private FMs, FM radio listening in 2002 was up some seven times over a year earlier; for the two years from 200 to 2002 it went up from some 110,000 a week to 870,000 and growth is expected to continue as more new private stations go on air.
In monetary terms, TV took by far most of the Indian market with a 51.9% share, around half of this from cable and satellite; it was followed by print with a 32.9% share, radio with 15.3%, the cinema with 7.4% and, bringing up the rear, the internet with a tiny 0.1%.
The latest entries into the commercial FM market included the [Times of India subsidiary] ENIL's (Entertainment Network India Limited) Radio Mirchi, which went on air in Delhi at the end of April, launched formally by Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor and Times of India Group managing director Vineet Jain.
Mirchi stations were already on the air in Mumbai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Pune.
Jain commented at he launch, ''It is the spirit of innovation that makes the Times Group the No 1 media house in the country. The need was for high-quality interactive entertainment. Radio is the ultimate interactive and immediate medium. Radio is the theatre of the mind. Music and humour are the best modes of entertainment."
"Radio Mirchi will help you live your dreams. It will take you where the action is. It will give you something new to talk about every day. Whenever something happens, you will hear it first on Radio Mirchi." "We, at the Times Group, believe that we lead because we create; we create because we innovate; and we innovate because we listen to our customer.''
Despite the ratings success of his group, Jain was among Indian radio executives at a meeting of private broadcasters that earlier in April met India's minister of information and broadcasting Ravi Shankar Prasad to call for a task force to address the plight of the industry.
According to figures from the country's top five private broadcasters, in the year to the end of March they had a turnover of some 500 million rupees (USD 1.1 million) but lost 1.2 billion (around USD 2.5 million; the loss included 74 million rupees (USD 1.56 million)paid to the Indian government in licence fees.
Industry sources say some groups will be forced to withdraw in face of the losses and the companies have asked for a task force of ministry and industry officials to be set up to submit a report by the end of this month, something the minister has said he will look into.
RNW comment: Should we be surprised that the same voices that call aggressively for governments to be kept out of business soon start to call for relief when deals they have freely entered into do not go as they have wished?
We noted similar responses when mobile telecommunications companies in Europe found that they too had overbid for licences in auctions and wonder how the companies would respond should the government demand a suitable equity share in response to the relief?
That, after all, is the way the US satellite radio companies have had to re-finance.
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-05-04: The issue of media ownership regulation seemed to go on the back-burner in the US last week but the Federal Communications Commission was fairly busy letting through and red-flagging deals as well as confirming, reducing or cancelling a number of technical penalties. Elsewhere there was also a steady flow of licence decisions except in Australia where only TV decisions featured.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in the following decisions (in order of province):
The Commission has also published a public notice concerning an application for renewal of the licence for CKEY-FM Fort Erie and its transmitter CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines. The notice was published following a previous notice that resulted in an intervention alleging that the applicant's [programming originated from a studio in Buffalo, New York.
*An application for a new non-profit 1060 watts English-language Native Type B FM in Wahta Mohawk Territory near Bala, Ontario, It would broadcast 126 hours of local programming during each broadcast week, including 7 hours of station-produced programming in the Mohawk language, and 110 hours of musical programming, of which 40 hours will be Aboriginal music.
*Approval of an application by Radiomedia inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a French-language radio network originating from CKAC-AM, Montréal. The new network will broadcast the National Hockey League games of the Montréal Canadiens including the pre-season and the playoff games.
*Approval of a new 740 watts transmitter in L'Anse-Saint-Jean for CBJ-FM Saguenay to rebroadcast its national French-language network service La Première Chaîne.
*An application for an amendment of the licence of CFVZ-FM Moose Jaw, which broadcasts only the hockey games of the Moose Jaw Warriors plus a related programme, to allow it to add similar broadcasts relating to the baseball games of the Moose Jaw Millers.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), as well as being involved in the release of latest ratings (See RNW April 30) has also announced the award in principle of the Cork, Donegal South/Sligo/Leitrim North, and Kerry area licences, completing the current round of local commercial radio services licensing.
The two Cork City and County licences went to the incumbent stations, Cork 96FM/103 FM County Sound, owned by UTV subsidiary County Media.
The new Donegal South/Sligo/Leitrim North went to North West Broadcasting Ltd.'s Ocean FM against competition from two other applicants and the Kerry one went to the incumbent, Radio Kerry,
In the UK, the Radio Authority, as well as licence-related work, has also announced initiatives that will allow some local commercial stations to improve their coverage either by adding co-channel relays or an additional 'plane of polarisation'.
Mark Thomas, Director of Engineering at the Radio Authority, commented, "These initiatives have been under discussion with the industry for some time. Now that we have a much clearer idea of the remaining possibilities for licensing new commercial stations in the FM spectrum, we can move forward with such enhancements for existing services."
"It will be for Ofcom to decide the priorities between all the competing claims on the residual FM resource, including Access Radio," he added.
On the licence side, the Authority has renewed for 8 years the East Lancashire local licence currently held by Asian Sound Radio Ltd. on the basis that it provided a digital sound programme service on the Manchester local multiplex.
The Authority has also published assessments of its award of the Maidstone and West Lothian licences.
The Maidstone licence was awarded to 20/20, which will provide a full-service radio station primarily targeting listeners aged 25-54, against competition from five other applicants (See Licence News January 12).
Members commented that its application "represented a realistic and sustainable proposition for the Maidstone area - a market where a new entrant will face considerable competition."
The latter went to River FM, the sole applicant, and the Authority commented that its board "displayed both commercial radio experience and strong local contacts." River FM, which is proposing a full-service local radio, had been involved in two trial broadcasts in 1999 and 2000
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission was involved in a denying a challenge to a Clear Channel purchase as well as red-flagging a Nassau sale and confirming, reducing and cancelling a number of penalties (See RNW May 3)
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-05-04: Denver-based NextMedia has announced the sale of another of its Chicago-area stations with an agreement for Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation to pay USD 21 million cash for WJTW-FM, serving Joliet/Chicago.
Its Radio Division President and co-COO, Samuel "Skip" Weller, said the transaction "allows us to divest WJTW-FM to a buyer that does not directly compete against any of our current formats."
"With an existing cluster of 10 stations in the Chicago market," he added, "we are very well-positioned to continue growing our business by serving advertisers and listeners in the greater Chicago area. We have assembled our Chicago cluster through three separate acquisitions over the past three years, and we continue to look for attractive opportunities to add to our station portfolio in the region."
Last month NextMedia announced the USD8.25 sale of WAIT-AM, Crystal Lake, Chicago, to go to Newsweb Corporation. (See RNW April 30).
Previous Next Media:
2003-05-04: Clear Channel has been threatened by legal action by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas over topless photos of heavily pregnant Zeta-Jones that were posted on some of its radio web sites according to newspaper reports around the world.
A letter from their lawyers was posted on The Smoking Gun web site described the "surreptitiously taken" photos as an invasion of privacy and spoke of "substantial" damages.
One photograph was said to show Zeta Jones smoking a cigarette on a private estate in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, while expecting her daughter Carys.
The photographs were said to have been offered around for sale by a European photo agency. There now appear to be no such photos on Clear Channel sites and the story itself has seemingly disappeared from the Smoking Gun site.
Previous Clear Channel:
Smoking Gun web site:
2003-05-03: The UK High Court has been told that share options that former Virgin Radio co-owner and breakfast host Chris Evans agreed when the company was bought by SMG, the then Scottish Media Group, should be honoured because the contract related to a separate company, not SMG as a whole or Virgin Radio.
Speaking in his closing submission in Evans' case in which he is claiming GBP 8.6 million from SMG made up mainly of share options, the DJ's counsel Christopher Pymont QC said Evans had separate relationships with SMG, one as an employee in his role as breakfast host and another contractual arrangement relating to the share options that was agreed when the station was sold to Scottish Media Group in 2000.
The shares involved, Pymont said, were held in a separate company, SMG Jersey, that had been set up in the Channel Islands and Evans sacking would invalidate the share deal only if it had a "materially adverse" effect on SMG Jersey - not on Virgin Radio or the whole of SMG.
Pymont also told the court that SMG tried to negotiate a deal to keep Evans after the three-day drinking binge that led to his dismissal and after he had been fired.
Pymont said that on the Saturday after the Wednesday when Evans began the binge that led to his dismissal on the Thursday, Evans' agent Michael Foster was told Virgin was still interested in holding on to the host and would either offer him a new show as a weekend presenter or give him a sabbatical from the breakfast show.
Foster, he said, had gone back to Virgin on the following Monday to say that Evans wanted to continue the breakfast show but on the Tuesday SMG approached the agent with an offer of a GBP3 million (USD 4.8 million) severance deal.
Pymont also denied that Evans had faked illness and that the DJ had created "a media circus" about the matter; although he accepted some responsibility for publicity, said Pymont, Evans had tried to stay out of the limelight.
2003-05-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected a petition to void the deal and allowed Clear Channel to acquire WCBM-FM, Chillicothe, Ohio, from Secret Communications.
David Ringer, an Ohio carpet dealer, had alleged that Clear Channel was using "front" companies such as Secret and Concord Media to "park" companies that it was prohibited from owning on market grounds and peitioned for the deal to be dismissed (See RNW Nov 24, 2001).
Both Secret and Concord said that they made their own business decisions and had not abdicated responsibility to Clear Channel and the FCC ruled that Ringer had not provided enough evidence to raise "substantial and material questions of fact."
The FCC also rejected Ringer's argument against the deal, which leaves Clear Channel owning all Chillicothe's commercial stations, on competition grounds, citing a rule that allows such a situation if a community is well served by nearby stations. In this case there are four commercial stations licensed to the town but it is served by 16 stations, 11 FM and five FM, including three non-commercial stations licensed to Chillicothe.
The FCC has slapped a new red flag on market concentration grounds on another purchase, that by Pamal Broadcasting of WXPK-FM, Briarcliff Manor, New York, from Nassau Broadcasting.
The station, formerly WYNY-FM and being sold for USD20.3 million, was one of the "Rumba" quadcast stations that Nassau purchased from Big City Broadcasting for USD 43 million (See RNW Jan 1); it is already being operated by Pamal under a local marketing agreement.
(RNW comment: Although only two other owners - Cumulus and Hudson Westchester Radio are based in the market - the area is well served by New York-based stations and we do not expect this deal to be turned down).
In Kansas, the Commission has ordered Capstar, licensee of KRBB-FM, Wichita, to show cause why it should not be reclassified from a Class C to Class CO.
The order has been made because of a petition from Sierra Grande Broadcasting Inc. requesting the deletion of Channel 252C1, a vacant allotment at Kiowa, Kansas, and the allotment of Channel 252C2 at Stafford, Kansas, as that community's first local FM service, a combination that would require the downgrade..
KRBB's 100 KW service operates from a tower at 303 metres above average terrain, significantly below the class C requirements of 450 metres HAAT.
The FCC notes that normally a petitioner requesting such a chain of actions has to certify that no alternative channel is available for its proposed service and in this case no such certification was provided but then adds that analysis has shown that there is no alternative channel available. It adds that any future petitions of this nature that do not include certification will be dismissed and says that any such current pending petitions that do not include such certification must now be amended within 30 days or be subject to dismissal.
In this case, however, it has ruled that the request has sufficient public interest benefit to warrant the issuance of an order to show cause.
On the disciplinary front, the FCC has upheld a penalty of USD10,000 on Gold Coast Broadcasting for tower offences but has cancelled USD8,000 on Smith Broadcasting and a USD7,000 penalty on Anastos Media Group Inc. and reduced from USD15,000 to USD 3,000 a penalty on an Arkansas FM.
The penalty upheld on Gold Coast related to a failure to maintain specified painting on an antenna structure for KUNX-AM, Ventura, California.
An inspection in mid February last year had shown the paint to be oxidised and thus failing to maintain good visibility and had issued a Notice of Violation on March 6 that year.
Gold Coast replied saying it had hired a contractor to repaint the antenna by March 22 but subsequently advised of delays after the start that held up completion until March 30.
It argued for a reduction or cancellation of the penalty on the grounds that it had taken remedial action promptly, that the tower is only 95.5 meters, is well lit at two levels and is located in the midst of three other towers, and consequently, its tower is part of a visible large array.
Gold Coast also said the oxidization of the paint did not pose any "real world risk" and contended that KUNX, a small market AM station using a Spanish news and talk format provided "an important new radio service," and that the proposed forfeiture amount would result in a financial burden for the station.
The FCC rejected all the argument, noted that no financial information had been provided to uphold the hardship claim, and upheld the penalty.
The Smith Broadcasting forfeiture cancelled related to an alleged failure to have operational Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment at KEYT-AM, Santa Barbara, California, from December 30, 2001 through February 13, 2002.
Smith had responded by saying that it was allowed to operate for 60 days without EAS equipment whilst it was being repaired; the Commission agreed that this was so and the period involved was less than 60 days and cancelled the penalty.
The Anastos Media forfeiture cancelled related to a February 2002 inspection of the tower for WUAM-AM, in Saratoga Springs, New York, that had shown the gate to the tower base was unlocked and the gate had been left open.
Anastos Media's president, in a statement submitted under the penalty of perjury, said that it had a regular practice of keeping the gate licked and checking it to ensure that it was and that on the same day as it received the notice it asked the station engineer to examine the site and had replaced the lock when he reported that it had been broken.
On the basis of this statement and a previous record of compliance, the penalty was cancelled.
The penalty reduced to USD 3,000 from USD 15, 000 related to an unlicensed antenna owned by L. T. Simes II and Raymond Simes, licensee of KAKJ-FM, Marianna, Arkansas.
They had not denied failure to ensure that Emergency Alert System (" EAS") equipment was installed and operational at KAKJ, failure to register the antenna structure for KAKJ with the Commission, and failure to operate KAKJ in accordance with the terms of its station authorization but had asked for a reduction or cancellation.
It argued for this on financial grounds and also because it said a contract engineer had provided the appropriate notification for the antenna structure to the Federal Aviation Administration in 1994, but that, without an engineer, it was not aware of the rule changes implemented in 1996 which required registration of antenna structures with the FCC.
Simes also said it was not aware that the geographic coordinates for its antenna structure, which were specified in its original construction permit application in 1993 by the contract engineer who prepared the application, were incorrect and added that it intends to install EAS equipment and to register its antenna structure.
The FCC as usual pointed out that a licensee was responsible for ensuring that it complied with regulations and rejected all the arguments relating to the breaches but accepted the financial hardship argument and cut the fine to a fifth of the original amount.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-05-03: Gaylord Entertainment, which in March announced the sale of its Nashville FMs, WSM and WWTN, to Cumulus along with an agreement for Cumulus to run country format WSM-AM via a joint sales agreement (See RNW March 26), is no longer reporting figures for its media business separately.
Overall it showed revenue from continuing operations up 14.8% to USD115.4 million and its net loss trimmed from USD8.1 million (USD 0.24 per share) to USD 6.5 million (USD 0.19 per share).
Because of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, the results of operations of WSM-FM and WWTN-FM have been reclassified as discontinued operations.
WSM-AM results are now included in the Attractions segment, which reported first quarter revenues down 30% to USD14.8 million and a doubled operating loss of USD 1.6 million.
In other US media business, Brill Media has launched a USD 300 million lawsuit against former creditors that it alleges forced it wrongly into bankruptcy.
In August last year a bankruptcy court approved the sale of 13 of the company's radio stations (to Regent Communications for USD 62 million - (see RNW Aug 24, 2002) and its newspaper group for USD108 million. At the time Brill owed USD 150 million.
The sales took place after Brill defaulted on USD 6.3 million in interest payments on bonds that had been bought by Los Angeles investment company TCW and other investors and the investors filed an involuntary bankruptcy suit against it.
Brill is asking for USD 75 million plus USD225 million in punitive damages and says that it could have paid the interest from sales of radio stations in Colorado and Wyoming but the deal collapsed after creditors contacted the would=be buyers and threatened legal actions and complaints to the Federal Communications Commission if they continued with their purchase.
Brill says the stations would have fetched USD 22.5 million.
TCW says it will defend itself vigorously and that there is no merit in Brill's case.
2003-05-03: BBC World Service has agreed a deal for Latin America's largest private university, Tecnológico de Monterrey, to broadcast its Latin American Service from its FM stations on its campuses in Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City and Mexico State and on its internet site.
The signing of the deal coincides with a series of training courses that the BBC is providing for more than 100 students from the Tec of Monterrey and journalists from the BBC's partner stations in Mexico.
The courses, which focus on BBC editorial principles and the coverage of human rights, are funded by the Human Rights Project Fund and organised and promoted by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
2003-05-02: Atlanta-headquartered Cox Radio has beaten expectations significantly and reported a record first quarter with net revenues up 6.4% on a year ago to USD 91.6 million, operating income up 11.3% to USD 24.9 million and profits before the cumulative effects of accounting changes are taken into effect up 28%. Station operating income (previously broadcast cash flow) was up 7% to USD 32.1 million.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil commented, "We are especially pleased with the performance in Miami, Orlando, Greenville-Spartanburg, Jacksonville, Richmond, Louisville and Houston, where we realized double-digit revenue growth. This strong top line performance led to Cox Radio significantly outperforming the markets in which we operate and to financial results that exceeded our previous guidance on all measures."
Cox said its local revenues were up 6.4% and national revenues were up 6.9% and particularly noted revenue growth of 19% in Miami, 15% in Orlando, and 14% in Greenville-Spartanburg and Jacksonville.
In its largest market of Atlanta revenues were only up 2% and Cox notes a revenue decrease of USD1.1 million at WFOX-FM, which was re-formatted to an urban contemporary format; if WFOX is excluded, Atlanta revenues were up 8%,
Looking ahead, Neil said, "Over the long term, we have built strong relationships with our listeners and our advertisers establishing a high degree of brand recognition within our markets. This will serve to bolster our competitive position both in ratings and earnings growth during the next quarter."
He added that because of current economic uncertainty the company's best estimates is for revenues to be within a range of down low single digits to up low single digits."
Radio advertising sales and marketing company Interep announced a 4.6% increase in commission revenue to USD18.3 million but dropped into a loss in operating EBITDA which went from USD0.5 million plus a year ago to the same mount in the red this year; Its loss more than doubled, up from USD 3.8 million a year ago (USD 0.41 per share) to USD 8.9 million (USD 0.87 per share) this year.
Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said, "National radio remained healthy with our three biggest categories, Retail, Auto, and Telecom showing significant gains in the first quarter over last year However, overall business slowed in March due to the war in Iraq and this, unfortunately, continued into April."
"We remain optimistic that May will see a rebound in ad spending. At this point, since visibility is extremely low, and advertisers are booking very close to a schedule's start date, the opportunity for increased May bookings is certainly viable."
In other US radio business, Superior Broadcasting is paying USD18 millions to Walton Stations for country format KKCS-FM, Colorado Springs, and in Wisconsin Family Radio is paying USD 4.33 million for six of Magnum Communications' eight stations.
Being sold are country format WBKY-FM, Portage; Adult Standards WTMB-AM, Oldies WBOG-FM and Hot AC WXYM-FM, all in Tomah; and Adult Standards WIBU-AM and Hot AC WNNO-FM, both in Wisconsin Dells.
On closure, Magnum will be left with two Wisconsin stations and Family Radio will have ten stations in Wisconsin plus two in Minnesota.
In Illinois, another Chicago Am is on the move as Great Lakes Radio pays USD1.78 million to Mariner Broadcasters for Jazz-Gospel format WBEE-AM.
2003-05-02: Arbitron, which has been facing problems over response rates to its surveys, has announced a programme to enhance the quality of its radio ratings in this and other key areas.
The programme has both short and long-term objectives and Owen Charlebois, Arbitron's US Media Services president said, "In the near term, Arbitron will introduce a number of new measures intended to slow or stop the decline in response. Over the long term, we will review our current survey design and evaluate alternatives."
Measures to be taken include the opening of a new Arbitron calling centre, new survey treatments, additional research tests, and an expanded research and development program
Regarding response rates, Arbitron is to try and improve both "consent rates" (those who agree to take part in a survey) and "return rates" (those who then actually complete diaries); for the Spring survey this year it will try to improve responses from the 25-34 male demographic and will also mailing additional diary and follow-up premiums to every black and Hispanic household in all markets instead of limiting them to markets where there was a significant enough percentage of blacks and/or Hispanics to qualify for Differential Survey Treatments.
In the Fall this year it is to open an Interviewing Center in the south-western region of the United States in addition to its current Interviewing Center in Columbia, Maryland, and will add such features as company identification on calls to households with caller ID services and providing a secure web site for respondents to agree to participate in a radio survey.
It is also testing such initiatives as the impact of offering payment just for agreeing to take part in a survey, working with an Internet-delivered electronic diary to complement the current written diary system and shared-cost, market-specific initiatives in selected markets.
2003-05-02: The attacks on former DJ - and station owner - Chris Evans continued in the UK High Court on Thursday when counsel for Virgin's current owners SMG (Scottish Media Group), summing up the defence against Evans' claim for GBP 8.6 million (USD 13.6 million) in damages, described a new breakfast show introduced by Evans as "absolutely appalling."
Geoffrey Vos QC said Evans had not consulted station management when he fired the presenting team - John Revel, Danny McGrath, Holly Samos and Jamie Broadbent - with whom he had worked with at Virgin and Radio 1 for six years, costing GBP 392, 000 (USD 626,000) in severance payments.
Vos also said Evans sacked the team on the telephone while on a holiday in the US, about which he had also not told Virgin management and then returned with a new format show co-hosted with John "Webbo" Webster without talking to them.
The move, he added led to a "wall of emails complaining about the absence of the 'old' team" but this when quantified came to 330 e-mails and - Vos admitted - some 200 in favour of the new show. The case is continuing.
2003-05-02: US talk radio pioneer Jerry Williams has died in Boston aged 79 following a stroke.
Williams built a reputation as a liberal in the 1960s when he opposed both the Vietnam War and President Nixon at a time when they were popular but in the 80s had become fiscally more conservative and whipped up a campaign against taxes and the Massachusetts establishment that resulted in the election of a large number of Republicans to the Democrat-dominated state legislature
Williams, who was born in Brooklyn, had a radio career spanning more than half a century. His first job was at WMCA-AM in New York.
Later he worked mainly in Boston - at WMEX-AM in Boston for eight years, then from 1968 at WBZ-AM until he was fired in 1976. He then worked at various stations until getting a post at WRKO-AM where, in the early 80s he rode high in the ratings with a mix of politics and entertainment, some of it off-colour. It included annual sex survey shows -- open to women callers only, because ''men lie'' - featuring frank talk about masturbation, bondage, sadomasochism, and preferred positions.
When his ratings eventually fell, he was moved to mornings then weekends and eventually fired although he made an abortive comeback attempt in 2000 at the now-defunct WMEX-AM and most recently hosted a one-hour show on WROL-AM .
Boston Globe obituary:
2003-05-02: The latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) upheld three complaints against radio, compared with four upheld and another partially upheld in its previous bulletin.
Three further radio cases were considered resolved compared to one in the previous bulletin.
In all the Commission dealt with 130 complaints, 113 fewer than in the previous bulletin. 25 of these involved radio and the remaining 105, including advertisements and trailers, concerned TV compared with 20 and 223 a month earlier.
There were 5 fairness complaints compared to six in the previous bulletin, 2 involved radio one of which was upheld, and three TV of which two were partly upheld; in the previous bulletin all the complaints were against TV of which two were upheld and one partly upheld.
Standards complaints totalled 125, no statements being required in 72 cases, 14 of which involved radio and the rest TV, including advertisements.
Of the total, 23 involved radio and the rest were TV, including advertisements.
The radio fairness complaint upheld was against Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland and a report on the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth 2 in which it was that said "People like Wendy Wood, who styled themselves Scottish Patriots, blew up pillar-boxes with the EIIR emblem" at the time of the accession. The Commission agreed with a complaint that the item clearly implied that members of the Scottish Patriots had been involved in serious criminal activity in connection with the Queen's accession to the throne, something that in the Commission's view was not supported by evidence.
The standards complaints against radio that were upheld involved two complaints against one edition of the Jonathan Ross show on BBC Radio 2 and another against the Rick Shaw Show on Metro Radio.
The latter complaint was about a reference to male rape in "The Prison Bitch Song" and the standards panel ruled that, while "listeners of this programme would have been likely to appreciate its earthy humour it took the view that the inclusion of references to male rape, particularly for the purposes of comedy, had exceeded acceptable boundaries for broadcast particularly in the morning."
The Jonathan Ross Show complaints were about "offensive statements" about terminally ill patients and swearing and abusive language. In a statement the BBC said that Ross had accepted that he had overstepped the mark by using the word "wanker" but it denied another suggestion that another part of the programme had condoned the idea that women should be drugged and abused. The panel agreed about the use of the word "wanker" and also said it was "was concerned by comments made about the demise of hospice patients, which were considered to have been unnecessarily callous."
The resolved complaints were:
*A complaint against the use by a presenter on Key 103 of the word "twat". Key said the presenter had personally apologised to the complainant and had been advised against using the word again.
*A complaint about swearing by presenter Joe Ferguson on Radio City. The station had already reprimanded the presenter who understood that "the language used was both unacceptable and distasteful."
*A complaint against The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4, also about the use of the word "wanker", this time by a panellist in the context of a "rude" (in the sense of deliberately discourteous) enquiry line. The BBC said senior managers had raised the matter with the production team in terms of making "extra efforts in future to ensure contributors were aware that, while exuberant iconoclasm was what the show was all about, there were limits to the language in which it should be expressed."
Previous BSC/BSC Complaints bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 123kb PDF) .
2003-05-02: The Miami Herald and South Florida National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate WLRN-FM have formed a partnership under which the newspaper is to produce news and information to air on the station, which is licensed to the Miami-Dade school district.
The organisations will also collaborate on promotional activities but terms of the deal have not been announced and no commencement date has yet been sate
Herald Publisher Alberto Ibargüen said the alliance "unites the best news operation in South Florida with the best national news organization on radio" and John LaBonia, general manager of WLRN's radio and television stations commented, "''We have the pipeline and The Herald has the news-gathering machine, which we don't have. We're hoping this will become a model."
Under the agreement, The Herald will hire a full-time staff of five radio journalists, who will work out of a radio studio to be built in The Herald's downtown Miami newsroom, to produce five-minute news segments to air every half-hour from 5:05 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. They will also be fed to NPR's national network.
In a later phase, segments are to be produced for WLRN's afternoon news programs, including NPR's All Things Considered. The partnership also could extend to jointly producing public-affairs programs for WLRN's television station, Channel 17, LaBonia said.
The Herald's report on the deal quoted University of Miami journalism professor Mitch Shapiro as saying radio-print partnerships are useful as local news coverage is increasingly fading from the airwaves.
''TV does more local news, and you really do have divergent points of view available to the public,'' he said. ``With these type of partnerships, everyone wins.''
Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, was a little more cautious, saying, "''If these partnerships are used to supplement or expand the type of journalism available to the public, that's wonderful. The danger is that having two news departments working together, one of the sources may cut back on its news budget.''
Miami Herald report:
2003-05-02: As virtually announced when it subscribed to Arbitron-MeasureCast's Internet ratings (See RNW April 29), Yahoo's Launch music channel jumped straight to the top network ranking for the week to April 20, pushing previous leader Live365 into second spot. In the station ranking, news WLS-AM moved up to fourth place and two classical stations featured in the top five, Beethoven.com and WXQR-FM.
For the week to April 20, 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 257,699 (303,203); CP 112,104 (122,343). Same rank with significantly lower listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 214,424 (207,470); CP 50,188 (47,209). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
3: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 206,557 (216,468); CP 31,135 (34,435). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: News-Talk WLS-AM - TTSL 201,289 (201,560); CP 29,079 (37,911). Up from fifth despite slightly lower listening and lower reach.
5: Classical format Internet-only Beethoven.com - TTSL 134,162 (151,076); CP 24,531 (25,834). Up from seventh despite lower listening and reach.
*Jazz format Jazz FM fell from third to seventh with TTSL 122,357 (213,333); CP 20,890 (26,931). Up from fifth with higher listening and lower reach.
The top five networks for the week to April 20 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Launch - TTSL 3,040,830 (3,194,628); CP - 656,006 (678,693) First week of subscription, but listening and reach were down from previously announced figures.
2: Live365.com - TTSL 2,847,013 (2,260,465); CP - 538,881 (450,419) Down from first despite higher listening and reach.
3: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,474,969 (1,664,514); CP 198,631 (224,935). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,140,590 (1,296,186); CP 345,100 (358,034). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 753,530 (769,893); CP 135,434 (139,622) - Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
* Moontaxi fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL 469,785 (586,529); CP 70,270 (79,039).
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-05-01: US radio giant Clear Channel has posted first quarter results to the end of March that were essentially flat, although a change in accounting procedures shows it as have turned a USD 17 billion loss a year ago into a profit this year of USD 71 million (USD 0.12 per share); without the accounting change it made USD 90 million (USD 0.15 per share) in the first quarter of 2002 but these figures included one-off gains of USD 28 million without which the earnings would have been flat.
Reported revenues were up 5% at USD1.78 billion but pro-forma revenues were flat at USD1.73 billion for each period and after-tax cash flow was up 38 percent to USD 262.9 million. The earnings were in line with analysts forecast, although presented bullishly by the company whose Chairman and CEO Lowry Mays said, "We delivered impressive financial results in what proved to be a challenging first quarter. Our results underscore the commitment and dedication of our employees to serve our listeners, viewers and customers with the highest quality products and services."
"We believe that by serving our communities and making our customers happy, we will continue to create value for shareholders. Our first quarter results demonstrate that we are succeeding in achieving this."
Star performing division was outdoor whose revenues were up 22% to USD 450.5 million; radio revenues by comparison were up 1.6% to USD 795 million, but most of that came from acquisitions.
Clear Channel was reluctant to offer firm second-quarter guidance because of the fluctuating state of the advertising market and President and chief operating officer Mark Mays told analysts in a conference call to expect radio revenue to grow or decline by a percentage in the low single digits.
In the longer term he said," Looking ahead, we are seeing a gradual improvement in the economy and believe that we are in an excellent position to capitalize on this given our unique collection of assets."
Clear Channel shares closed the day up 3.77% at USD 39.11,
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
2003-05-01: The latest report of the BBC Complaints Unit, covering the period from December 2002 to March this year, shows eight complaints concerning items on radio were upheld compared to nine in the previous bulletin.
The report is released together with the numbers for complaints considered for the whole of 2002, which showed they had more than doubled over the previous year, from 794 to 1,596, although nearly 300 of these were related to just two TV programmes.
The large increase was put down to the introduction of an e-mail complaints facility, about which BBC Director General Greg Dyke commented, "It isn't that people are complaining about double the number of broadcasts (though there has been an increase, which I would expect when you make it easier to complain). It's mainly that the programmes which do press a button bring in far more complaints."
For the first quarter of this year, the number of complaints dealt with was up to 709 from 458 in the previous quarter: They related to a total of 239 items, down from 266.
Of these 137 related to matters of fairness and accuracy, down from 149: they related to 59 items. A further 567 related to matters of taste and standards, up from 299: they related to 176 items. The remaining five on other matters, relating to four items, was down from ten on other matters in the previous quarter.
The eight radio-related complaints that were upheld included two of fairness and accuracy, down from three in the previous quarter.
* A complaint against the BBC Radio 4 breakfast programme, Today, by a journalist who said the programme had not adhered to the conditions under which he agreed to take part in a discussion on a report disclosing that a Roman Catholic Cardinal had allowed a priest to continue working after being informed of the priest's admission of "interfering with " a 17-years-old boy. The agreement was to give a Catholic viewpoint on general issues not the details of a case that the journalist had not checked for himself but discussion became specific after a comment by another participant. It was ruled that there was a fault in the discussion, and thus in the overall balance of the item as a whole, because the complainant was subjected to challenge in a way the other speaker was not.
*A complaint of factual inaccuracy against BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme in which it was stated that The Burns inquiry into hunting with dogs had concluded that fox hunting was cruel when in fact Lord Burns had said "there was not sufficient verifiable evidence or data safely to reach views about cruelty"
The six remaining radio-related complaints upheld included five of matters of taste and standards.
* A complaint of poor taste in an exchange on the Jonathan Ross show on BBC Radio 2 in which the host made a remark "which conjured up a graphic image of solitary sexual activity." The masturbatory item was held to have gone too far, although the report does not list details.
*A complaint about a track played on the Annie Nightingale show on BBC Radio 1 that was said to have contained sexually explicit lyrics and appeared to be promoting cocaine use. The item - part of a mix made for the programme by an independent DJ - had been broadcast before preceded with a warning and it was held that, although this broadcast was at 4 am, it should still have been preceded with a warning in this case.
*A complaint about the Drivetime show on BBC Three Counties Radio during the siege of a gunman in Hackney when the presenter had suggested that "the police should simply have shot the gunman."
This was held to have gone beyond acceptable bounds.
* A complaint that Sarah Kennedy had expressed personal views on the subject of asylum seekers during her reviews of those days' papers on BBC Radio 2. It was ruled that the expression of personal opinions on such a controversial matter was inappropriate.
* A commercial concerns complaint about a BBC Radio Leeds interview with a local businesswoman about new beauty treatments she was introducing to the area. It was held that "the length of the item, the enthusiastic comments of the presenters and the quoting of publicity material combined to give a promotional impression which was inappropriate.
Also upheld was one on "Other Matters": This was:
*A complaint that a BBC Radio 4 trail for BBC Radio 7 gave a phone number and said calls would be "charged at the national rate" when in fact there is no universal national rate in the UK.
Also issued by the unit is the latest Governor's Appeals report listing a total of seven appeals of which five raised matters of fairness and accuracy (three of these relating to Middle East cover), and two concerned matters of taste and decency.
One appeal, relating to a TV programme on the Israeli occupation of Bethlehem, was upheld in part because the announcement preceding it did not give adequate context: the programme was produced by an Israeli company from the Israeli Army point of view.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin:
Previous Greg Dyke:
BBC web site re complaints - Complaints report is 82Kb PDF and Governor's Appeals report is 56Kb PDF:
2003-05-01: Former Virgin breakfast host Chris Evans was accused of dishonesty by Geoffrey Vos QC, counsel for Virgin owners SMG (Scottish Media Group) during his summing up on Wednesday in the case in which Evans is claiming GBP8.6 million (USD13.6 million) from the company in the wake of his dismissal after a drinking binge during which he failed to turn up for work.
Vos commented about an "ever-shifting" case in which Evans had made a concerted attempt to mislead the court.
Evans, he said, had lied "in important respects - not about insignificant matters but about matters regarded by him as crucial to the events that gave rise to the termination of the contract."
He said the former DJ had made a "concerted attempt to mislead your lordship's court" into thinking he had waited around for three hours at Virgin Radio for a meeting on June 20, 2001 but had eventually admitted he was there for 75 minutes, drinking lager at the station.
"This is dishonesty which is crucial to the case and cannot be ignored, covered up or excused," said Vos, who accused Evans of finding it impossibility to accept responsibility when things went wrong and running away from problems.
Vos also accused Evans of being manipulative, citing his behaviour in connection with the fate of his fellow presenters. The court had been told that Evans had given Danny McGrath and John Revel the impression that Virgin's incoming programme director Paul Jackson had the knives out for them.
"That was extraordinary because it was dishonest, but it was also manipulative. He wanted his team to go, but he wanted someone else to take the blame for it," said Vos.
The case is continuing.
2003-05-01: With advertisements due to be placed next month for a new controller of BBC Radio 2 to replace Jim Moir, whose contract runs out at the end of this year, speculation is increasing as to who is likely to end up running Britain's most listened to radio channel.
Moir has been in charge of Radio 2 for seven years and under his rule Radio 2 was twice winner of the Sony award for Station of the Year.
He managed to gradually introduce new presenters and attract new listeners whilst retaining the old Radio 2 audience, although there was a brief ruckus over the departure of Sir Jimmy Young (See RNW Dec 21, 2002).
Current favourite is Lesley Douglas, Radio 2 Director of programmes and effectively Moir's deputy, who was seen as making her pitch for the post in her keynote speech at the UK Radio Academy's music conference earlier this month (See RNW April 10).
Other names in the frame include those of Classic FM managing director Roger Lewis, a former BBC Radio 1 producer; Guardian Media Group's Managing director of radio John Myers, who has told the Guardian newspaper that he has been approached by head-hunters; former BBC Radio 1 head of music Paul Robinson; and Emap radio's managing director, programming, Mark Story.
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April 2003 -June 2003
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