November 2003 Archive
October 2003 - December 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 November comment - Looks at the relationship between regulatory penalties and the importance attached to things.
RNW October comment - Considers whether talk radio need be the province of bigots and the crude.
RNW September comment -Meters are likely to replace diaries for ratings soon. We consider the ratings future.
2003-11-30: Last week was one that in general was more notable for speeches than decisions although in Australia, for the first time ever a commercial radio licensee was held to be unsuitable to hold a licence.
The licence involved was that of Cybervale Pty Ltd and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) refused to renew the licence (See RNW Nov 26).
The ABA has also expressed concern over comments made about its digital radio plans, which were openly criticized by the Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) (See RNW Nov 20); it says the statements "amount to a misrepresentation of the ABA's position and actions."
It adds, "The ABA's recent decision to permit Broadcast Australia, which is not an incumbent radio broadcaster, to conduct digital radio trials has provoked strong unease within the commercial radio industry."
"However, the ABA's trials policy is expressly designed to confer no long-term rights or in any way to pre-empt Government policy decisions in this area. Indeed, no decision has been made that the spectrum in question (VHF television channel 9A) will even be used by digital radio in the long term. "Nor, crucially, does the policy prevent trials by existing commercial radio operators Given these facts, the repeated public claims by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) to have been 'frozen out' of digital radio trials in Melbourne are of concern. The Broadcast Australia trial will make use of only one of up to three channels that are vacant and potentially available for trials in Melbourne."
" CRA did not, at the outset, apply for a channel in Melbourne. The ABA has now invited CRA to apply to conduct trials using one or more of the remaining available channels. These channels would be adequate to permit on air trials by every AM and FM commercial radio service currently licensed to operate in Melbourne, at the same time as the Broadcast Australia trial proceeds."
The ABA also says CRA's claim that it has applied three times for test spectrum in Melbourne and was ignored by the ABA is misleading and wrongly implies that CRA has faced regulatory The reality is that CRA was at all stages made aware of the ABA's open trial policy. In Sydney, CRA has itself been a beneficiary of the policy and unlike in Melbourne, the CRA trial will make use of all suitable and available broadcasting services bands spectrum."
It concludes, "CRA's claim that the ABA is aiding and abetting Broadcast Australia's business expansion plans and is 'trying to totally destabilize the radio industry', is extraordinary and simply wrong. In all its public and private communications, the ABA could hardly have been clearer that it has conferred no rights beyond an 18-month trial to Broadcast Australia."
The ABA has also been involved in a number of changes to radio licensing plans in New South Wales.
In Braidwood, it is proposing to make capacity available for an additional community radio service in Braidwood and has revised proposals to change the operating conditions of the existing commercial radio services in Braidwood. Comments have to be submitted by December 5
In Gosford it has decided, following requests from DMG Radio, which won the new commercial FM licence, to change the operating conditions of the news service to enable it to transmit with the same radiation pattern and power as the existing commercial radio services, 2GGO and 2CFM allied with which the licensee of 2BOB Taree has agreed to change frequency to facilitate the changes.
In the Illawarra Region it has decided to make an extra FM channel available for a national radio service subject to the WIN commercial television service moving to a UHF channel.
It is also to allow existing SBS radio service 2EA to move to a higher frequency so as to be able to increase its power; the existing 2EA frequency will continue to be reserved for a national radio service for the foreseeable future.
In South Australia, the ABA is proposing to make new community radio services available in Coober Pedy and Roxby Downs where Dusty Radio, which is currently operating under a temporary community broadcasting licence at Coober Pedy, has expressed interest in providing a community radio service in the Coober Pedy area and 5Rox Community Radio, which is currently operating under a temporary community broadcasting licence at Roxby Downs, has expressed interest in providing a community radio service in the Roxby Downs area. Comment on both plans has to be submitted by December 19.
In addition to the Authority's decisions, its chairman, Professor David Flint, has courted controversy in relation to regulation of advertisements, particularly in relation to problems of obesity (See RNW Nov 29).
Canada was very quiet as far as radio is concerned with the only licence action from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) being the renewal of Rogers Broadcasting's licence for its English-language radio network that will broadcast the baseball games of the Toronto Blue Jays from the start of next month to the end of February next year.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed ten-year contracts with County Tipperary Radio Limited (Tipp FM) and Radio 2000 Limited (Dublin 98FM) covering their services for County Tipperary and Dublin City and County respectively.
In the UK, where the Radio Authority is getting ready to hand over its duties to the new Ofcom regulator, there were no licence decisions but there was again speechmaking by the head of the regulatory body, this time in relation to the likelihood of consolidation in UK radio and the expansion of digital services (See below). There were also reports of a number of complaints to the Authority but it is not clear if it will make decisions on these or pass them on to Ofcom.
The US was also fairly quiet and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lost a day because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Its actions did include a re-iteration of its policy regarding refusal of confidentiality relating to material already broadcast, in this case in relation to a CD submitted to it by Entercom (See RNW Nov 26).
Previous Licence News:
Previous Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-11-30: BBC digital radio network 6 Music has launched a new album chart show for genres such as rock, urban, R&B, and indie that feature on the channel and which is aimed at promoting new music.
Hosted by Vic McGlynn, the show will only feature artists who have not featured in the chart before and runs from 1600-1800 GMT on Saturdays with a repeat on Sundays from 0700 to 0900.
McGlynn, who promoted and DJ'd her own indie night at a small club in her home town of Blackpool before moving on to radio - first with a restricted service licensee and then on regional commercial radio; she says the music in the show will be "be unique - a snapshot of our musical future. It will focus on real music that people are buying before those artists become established."
In other changes to come in the New Year in the UK, Emap has announced that former Capital and Virgin host Steve Penk, who began his career in the commercials production department at the then Piccadilly Radio in Manchester in 1978 is to return to the station, now Key 103, where he became host of the breakfast show in 1991.
Penk left five years later for Capital radio, later moving to SMG-owned Virgin from which he walked out after a row over his breakfast show (See RNW Jan 26, 2002) and returned to Capital FM where he hosted a late-night show until it was axed this year (See RNW May 31)
No details of his new role have yet been announced by station owner Emap, which says they will be given when it announces a new schedule for the station.
Penk himself commented, "My heart has always belonged to Manchester. It's where my career began and it's where I was given the most freedom to do what I enjoy most - funny, lively and at-the-edge radio."
"I wanted to return to Key 103 and Emap because I love the way they know how to properly use creative talent. Key 103 is my spiritual home."
Also launching changes in the New Year is Chrysalis's LBC talk station, where Nick Ferrari is to move from his 10:00 to noon slot and take over the 07:00 to 10:00 breakfast slot.
Current breakfast show co-host Jane Moore has announced that she is to leave the show at Christmas after starting maternity leave and is due to return in a different role; her co-host John Nicolson is leaving the station.
No replacement has yet been named for Ferrari's current morning slot but Chrysalis has said that Howard Hughes, currently reading the news on the breakfast show will now present the 06:00 to 07:00 programme.
2003-11-30: Reporting on the plans by Southern Cross Broadcasting and Macquarie Radio Network to form a joint venture company to offer operational and sales services to their Sydney radio stations (See RNW Nov 27), the Sydney Morning Herald says many people are seeing the move as a death knell for the former's 2UE and sign of success for Macquarie.
For many years the dominant talk station in Sydney, 2UE has fallen on hard times since its breakfast host Alan Jones jumped ship to take the same role at 2GB (see RNW Feb 8, 2002) and the paper says that Jones is said to have told his staff that 2UE "has come waving the white flag."
The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has already asked for further details of the plan and New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has condemned it, saying radio stations that closed their own newsrooms should have their broadcasting licences revoked.
He told 2UE breakfast host Mike Carlton. "I think it's outrageous. You could end up with a single commercial microphone put in front of the Premier, or the Opposition Leader, at any press conference. And that's very unhealthy."
Southern Cross says the deal will not affect competition between the stations and the aim of the plan was just to cut costs where there was duplication of effort.
It denied suggestions that the two broadcasters had agreed to carve up the radio markets in Sydney and Melbourne, with Macquarie agreeing to stay out of Melbourne in return for control of the Sydney market.
"There are no agreements outside this arrangement at all. It is business as usual; there are no control issues," Southern Cross managing director Tony Bell told the paper.
The Herald added that Macquarie chief executive, George Buschmann said the network was open to a merger with 2UE, although it already owned 2GB and 2CH in Sydney. Current Australian law prohibits an organization owning of more than two stations in an area.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-11-30: The outgoing chairman and chief executive of the UK Radio Authority, which is to be subsumed into the new Ofcom regulator towards the end of December, has told the Voice of the Listener and Viewer autumn conference that the UK spectrum allocation had begun to turn towards commercial radio as more digital stations came into being but said he did not expect speedy consolidation in the UK Radio Industry following the passage of new legislation.
David Witherow, whose organisation held its farewell party earlier this month after 13 years in existence, is to retire when the Radio Authority hands over its duties.
He told the meeting that, although share values of UK radio companies were well down from their peak they still seemed expensive to potential buyers from outside the industry and noted that format controls and local ownership rules would continue to apply as well in addition to competition laws.
"It is more likely that we will see convergence of interest, with some companies finding synergies with others rather than outright takeovers, at least in the short term," said Witherow.
He also commented that opportunities for expansion still existed for both analogue and digital stations and predicted that radio would increase its share of the advertising pie.
He also noted that digital offered new opportunities and that while spectrum for analogue stations had been shared equally with the BBC, the proportions had moved to favour commercial radio for digital spectrum.
Previous Radio Authority:
2003-11-29: UK commercial radio in the period from July to September recorded the highest quarterly growth it has seen since 2000 with a 6.3% growth in advertising expenditure to a total of GBP 149.5 million (USD 256 million) according to latest figures from the UK Radio Advertising Bureau; national advertising expenditure was up 6.4% on the period a year before.
In comparison, UK TV advertising expenditure in the period grew by only 1.1% and display advertising in the UK national press was down 4.3%.
Michael O'Brien, Director of Marketing Operations at the bureau, commented, "The very strong performance by Commercial Radio in these results demonstrates that as the advertising industry gradually pulls out of the slowdown, advertisers are increasingly turning to radio ahead of other media. This move is being spearheaded by leading FMCG advertisers such as P&G and Lever Faberge doubling their investment in radio over the last 12 months."
Last month the bureau reported "dramatic growth in key advertising demographics" according to the latest UK official rating with significant growth in listening to digital radio that helped take total commercial radio listening hours up 3.1% year on year for the quarter.
In particular it commented on a greater reach than ever among housewives and housewives with children and the Bureau's managing director Justin Sampson commented that the ratings showed that radio had "a bright and vibrant future and these numbers demonstrate how Commercial Radio is taking advantage of new distribution platforms."
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
2003-11-29: The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Professor David Flint, has jumped into the centre of controversy over the issue of regulating advertisers and the media over the issue of obesity, a matter that has led for calls for regulatory measures in a number of countries including the UK and Australia.
Speaking on the topic "The Importance of Defending Freedom of Commercial Speech" at the 75th Anniversary Forum of the Australian Association of National Advertisers in Sydney, Prof Flint commented that it was "surely not the role of legislatures to forbid everything that people do legally but which may not be good for them."
"This is the area where responsibility should be encouraged, but not legislated," said Prof Flint. "This includes not only responsibility on the part of the manufacturer, the publisher or broadcaster and the advertiser. It includes responsibility on the part of the citizen, and in the case of children, on the part of parents and those in charge of them."
"Our society depends on a free and robust market place not only of goods and services, but also ideas. If we identify a problem which results from legal and non-criminal behaviour, the solution is not to immediately reach for the legislative proscription. It is to put a countervailing idea into the market place. In this case, arguments for exercise and good nutrition."
Prof Flint said that, as was done by the print media in Australia, the best solution was through self-regulation or co-regulation.
Commenting on the emphasis in considering freedom of speech, Prof Flint said, "We have hitherto tended to downgrade the importance of one aspect of free speech - commercial speech. For the essence of the proper working of the market economy based on private property is the freedom to inform and the right to be informed."
"It will of course be said that information which is paid for is tainted. But information which is free can also be tainted. For example, news that is not objective, or current affairs which purports to be balanced, and is not. The fact that speech is paid for does not mean it is necessarily tainted, nor does it mean it should not be protected. After all, a great amount of the primary sources of news and current affairs comes from the public relations profession. It should be assessed on its merits, not on its source."
Professor Flint said he was not arguing for a free for all or the right to shout "Fire" in a crowded theatre and suggested "An example of a limitation of commercial free speech which is acceptable would be the restrictions on advertising of therapeutic goods."
" Another perennial issue concerns restricting the advertising of products which are legal. I would say that imposing a statutory limitation or proscription in relation to a product which can be lawfully traded may be adopted where it is established that the product is intrinsically deleterious to health, and that advertising encourages significantly increased levels of consumption or the maintenance of the present level of consumption among adults. It is the view of our legislatures that tobacco products fall into this category. But there remain products which again, are lawfully traded, but which in themselves are not generally believed to be intrinsically deleterious to health: tea or coffee, wine, and of course, fast foods."
Expanding on his point, he continued, " I would ask what then encourages the intake of illicit drugs? It is certainly not commercial advertising - there is none. Is it word of mouth or fashion?" "But it is surely not the role of legislatures to forbid everything that people do legally but which may not be good for them. To stop people from driving at excessive speeds, when drunk or drugged, or when holding a mobile phone to their ears is clearly within their jurisdiction. To stop people from engaging in acts which may damage themselves - smoking, at least in private, or gluttony in private or in public - is none of their business, at least in the sense of making laws to stop it This is the area where responsibility should be encouraged, but not legislated."
RNW comment: Prof Flint's comment was made in the tenor of a general argument for a market economy and an attack on socialism - in his speech he commented "Not necessary Stalinism - - after 1956, it gradually dawned on the more honest Marxist that communism was flawed to its core. Nevertheless, many clung to its pale shadow, democratic socialism. This used to involve occupying the commanding heights of the economy, more recently it has been reduced to the slogan of some unspecified 'third way'."
Irrespective of his wisdom in making such overtly political comment as the head of a broadcast regulator, some comments heard in the UK debate on the issue make us wonder how deeply he has considered his case. In particular, it is reasonably to ask how far individuals can reasonably be expected to research matters to ensure they are not misled by advertisers.
As an example, one UK doctor commented on an advert that said a food for children only contained 20% fat - actually a high level - but gave the impression that it was a healthy food and could easily have led a parent to buy it on the basis that is was good for children.
We would certainly prefer a situation where all in a society were dedicated more to truth than self-interest but think it rather naïve to assume that is the case - think of the tobacco industry's actions in keeping quiet about some of its research into the health effects of smoking, the propaganda of the former Soviet Union and indeed the constraints on many scientists - working in industry or on Saddam Hussein's war programmes - in terms of voicing their concerns.
In the specific context in which Flint made his remarks, he would probably have enjoyed knee-jerk approval from his audience; this, however, does not necessarily prove the strength of his case.
Obesity is indeed a significant health problem in many countries and to insist on health warnings with some advertisements, as are mandatory on cigarette packets in many countries, could in many cases be sensible. We doubt that this is the emphasis that was intended but it is one supported as much by the Professor's logic as the one he put in his speech.
A quick search in any Internet engine will show both that obesity is a very widespread and growing problem over most of the "developed" world and also that food manufacturers are both including excessive levels of sugars and salts in many products as well as resisting calls for health warnings.
The professor's call is fine until confronted with facts; yes he's right about the dangers of forbidding things but he's not about the efficacy of voluntary restraint where huge amounts are at stake. Our view in the end is no to bans yes to health warnings, and making it a criminal offence with massive fines for the companies and potential mandatory jail for their directors when clear evidence of health problems is proven to have been deliberately kept out of the public arena thus preventing the exercise of responsibility on which the Professor - and the food companies when it comes to parents exercising it but not themselves - are concerned.
Flint Speech (143 kb PDF):
2003-11-29: Chrysalis's Galaxy station in Birmingham has become the subject of a complaint to the UK Radio Authority for a stunt in which it burned GBP 5,000 (USD 8,600) in a breakfast show competition.
The Bank it or Burn it competition included a vote from listeners as to whether the money should be burned or given to a listener who wanted to spend it on a breast enlargement operation; listeners voted for the burning and, despite appeals from churchmen that the money should be given to charity, the cash was set alight.
A member of the public has already lodged a complaint and according to the UK Guardian, the Anglican Church in Birmingham is also considering a complaint under the Authority's taste and decency guidelines.
A spokesman for the church told the paper, "Members of the clergy were outraged at what was happening. The station told us it was bound by its decision but it could have given its listeners another choice - to give the money to charity. But they refused to do that."
Galaxy managing director Paul Fairburn said the competition was funded from the station's marketing budget and competition winners were free to do what they wanted with winnings.
"We were aiming to involve the audience in a truly dramatic competition. I would stress the money was never earmarked for charity use; it would either have been burned or given to a listener to squander," he said.
In potentially more serious trouble is GWR's Beacon FM in Shropshire, following an incident in which two presenter asked listeners to call or text them to say whether they thought a man accused of the murder of two schoolgirls was guilty.
Cambridgeshire police in whose area the dead girls lived has confirmed that they are investigating the station and have asked for a tape of the broadcast containing the comments that could be in breach of laws concerning court cases and the prejudicing of a trial.
The station and GWR are refusing comment but have confirmed that the two presenters involved are now " on leave".
Previous UK Radio Authority:
UK Guardian report:
2003-11-29: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) is to sell 1.62 million new shares at GBP 7.90, thus raising around GBP 12.8 million (USD 22 million) to help fund its acquisition of Dublin music station FM104 for Euro 26 million (GBP 18 million, USD 31 million) (See RNW Oct 25).
The deal has yet to be approved by Irish authorities and SRH says that if approval is given around 80 per cent of the funds raised will be used for the cash part of the acquisition deal and the rest will be used to reduce debt; should the deal be rejected, all the funds will be used to reduce debt.
SRH was already paying for 45% of the acquisition in the form of stock from an issue of around 955,000 new SRH shares.
2003-11-28: UK Wireless Group, whose flagship is the national talkSPORT station, is seeking GBP 27 million (USD 46 million) in damages from the official UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) according to a report in the UK Guardian.
Wireless Group chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie has been in a long-running spat with RAJAR about its ratings system, which gives its group much lower ratings than the electronic meter system he has commissioned from Gfk Media (see below).
He launched his latest attack at a UK Media Research Group conference but said he would be having one last meeting with RAJAR on December 18 to persuade it to switch to electronic metering.
MacKenzie says he will be suing for some GBP 1.5 million a month in lost advertising revenue, some GBP 9 million (USD 15.4 million) of it for the last six months of this year and twice that amount for 2004 because the case may not be heard before the end of next year.
"If they don't agree to introduce watches [the wrist device that Gfk uses] immediately after that meeting, I will be in the High Court the next day," he said.
MacKenzie also launched an attack on Douglas McArthur, chairman - and co-founder in 1992 - of the UK Radio Advertising Bureau, who has supported RAJAR's decision to delay the introduction of electronic metering whilst it carries out further research (see RNW .
"He gets paid £290,000 a year, plus a pension of £70,000 a year. I don't know who else in this room makes that sort of money, apart from me, but he is getting paid by commercial companies who have a vested interest in sticking with outmoded technology," said MacKenzie.
McArthur told Media Week in response, "If I was currently that well remunerated I would be delighted. I do wish that Kelvin would concentrate on the real research issues and stop this mud-slinging PR."
"I have been very clear that RAJAR will eventually move to using electronic measurement systems, but will not do it immediately as there are problems with both current systems - even according to their manufacturers. RAJAR would be mad to introduce them knowing such problems exist."
MacKenzie in his usual crude style responded, "The opposition to change is all financially based - the rest is just bollocks."
RNW comment: As we have commented before, it seems to us that nobody is forcing the UK radio and advertising industries to use any particular method for gathering ratings information and those involved will be fully aware of the factors involved.
Our view is that that MacKenzie's arguments for change are probably even more financially based than the arguments of those who want further evaluation of systems, even if they do benefit from the current system and we cannot see how he has any reasonable case in law.
We understand why RAJAR might feel they have to meet him, however unpleasant they may find the experience, but hope that they will tell him exactly where to put himself.
So far he's had loads of free publicity from his blustering and seems at times to have come very close to libelling his opponents in his comments about them and their motives; We hope he's stubborn enough to push the matter to court, runs up heavy costs, and then not only loses but gets told to pay the costs of the other side as well. And since he makes that kind of money, how about paying from his own pocket? Penury for MacKenzie, we suggest, would be a plus for humanity, even if it benefits lawyers.
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
Previous Wireless Group:
Media Week report:
UK Guardian report:
2003-11-28: A Valentine's Day broadcast by CHMJ-AM (MOJO Radio, Vancouver) of the US-originated Tom Leykis Show - which it has now dropped - has been held to be both degrading to women and unduly sexually explicit by the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC)
In the show concerned, broadcast from a tavern in Los Angeles, Leykis, says the CBSC, "continually used, and allowed the use by others of, words and comments such as 'bitch', 'money whore', 'pathetic chicks', 'another illiterate ignorant vagina' and other such terms in reference to women. He emphasized that women merited no special treatment on Valentine's Day. He also put breasts on display, as best as he could in a radio context, and engaged in unduly sexually explicit conversations that described, among other things, oral sex acts."
The CBSC was responding after a complainant, who noted the warnings given during the show but said they "no way excuse what follows", had written to it and the station, saying, "In my view, Mr. Leykis is a misogynist, and his show promotes the objectification and hatred of women. His main theme is that women are nothing but objects to be f ed and treated badly. They should never be married, because, as I have heard on an earlier program, they'll never "put out" for their husband, but "just lick it around the edges".
The station responded in part by commenting, "The Program, which is syndicated from Los Angeles, is widely known to be a program of broad interest to male listeners. As a result, topics discussed on the Program and callers that are interviewed by the Program host are selected because of their appeal to a male audience. Realizing that the Program may not appeal to all our listeners, the Program frequently airs appropriate advisories to inform our listeners that some might find the Program offensive."
"We appreciate that a number of the Program host's comments may seem derogatory when reviewed in small sound bites. However, we believe that a reasonably frequent listener to the Program will come to understand this as the host's 'shtick' and not a full representation of his beliefs However, he often balances his outrageous opinions with counter arguments. For example, he frequently espouses the value of a strong family unit and the importance of making responsible decisions. He is a champion of Planned Parenthood and marital fidelity."
" Accordingly, we believe that while the comments in the Program may have been controversial and not to everyone's taste, in the context that it were [sic] presented, it was not promoting the objectification or hatred of women. Please be assured that we do not condone discrimination or profanity of any sort on MOJO Radio."
The CBSC panel, however, found that Canadian codes which prohibit the objectification and degradation of individuals based on gender, on the one hand, and the broadcast of unduly sexually explicit material, on the other had been thoroughly breached, commenting of the show, "the extent of its disrespect for women and sweeping generalized disregard for their equality are astonishing"
2003-11-28: Details that have been given by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the indecency and obscenity complaints in its latest quarterly report on consumer complaints and inquiries released earlier this month (See RNW Nov 22 FCC18) show that the massive increase in complaints related to two TV shows and not to radio broadcasts.
The figures showed 19,920 of the 20,103 radio and TV complaints in the third quarter were about indecency and obscenity but most of them were about two TV programmes - NYPD Blue and Keen Eddie, a cop show that has now been dropped.
FCC spokeswoman Rosemary Kimball told the New York Daily News that radio was "very quiet" in relation to complaints in the quarter and put down the high volume of complaints against the TV shows to morality groups One Million Moms and the Parents Television Council.
2003-11-28: The latest UK Broadcast Media Survey from Gfk Media, which uses electronic metering and covers the period from July 14th to October 12th, shows the numbers of people listening to the UK's two national sports radio stations were up compared to the previous period whilst they fell for other national networks.
The Gfk survey was set up in conjunction with the Wireless Group and its flagship national talkSport station did particularly well with its weekly reach up 5% to 6.6 million; BBC Radio Five Live was marginally up to 8.8 million.
In London, in contrast, talkSPORT fell back, dropping from fourth-placed commercial station to sixth; BBC Radio 4 was the capital's most popular station but its London Live local station was ninth.
Overall the weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from July 14th to October 12th (with in brackets Gfk prior period, running from June 23 - Sept 14, and then RAJAR figures to the end of September) in rank order were:
BBC Radio 4 - 17.19 million (17.99 million; 9.53 million): Down from 40% to 38% of potential national 45 million adult audience.
BBC Radio 2 - 15.78 million (16.10 million; 12.477 million): Down from 36% to 35%.
BBC Radio 1 - 12.63 million (12.98 million; 9.85 million): Down from 29% to 28%.
BBC Radio Five Live - 8.81 million (8.79 million; 5.716 million): Same 20%
BBC World Service - 4.71 million (4.75 million; 1.411 million); Down from 11% to 10%.
BBC Radio 3 - 3.90 million (3.91 million; 2.214 million): Down from 9% to 8 %.
talkSPORT (Wireless Group) - 6.59 million (6.20 million; 1.904 million): Up from 14% to 15%.
Classic FM (GWR) -- 5.75 million (5.75 million; 6.46 million): Unchanged 13%
Virgin (SMG) - 3.91 million (4.11 million; 2.86 million): Unchanged 9%.
Gfk figures for the London area showed that for the period from July 14th to October 12th the three most popular stations were BBC Radio 4 with 4 million listeners a week, BBC Radio 2 with 2.8 million, and Capital FM with 2.6 million.
For the same period the top five London local stations (with in brackets Gfk prior period, running from March 10 - Sept 14) in terms of weekly audience were:
Capital FM - 2.57 million (2,63) -25% of the potential 10.25 million audience, down from 26%.
Heart FM - 2.32 million (2.42 million) - 23% down from 24%.
Magic FM 1.96 million (1.99 million) - unchanged 19%.
Kiss FM 1.64 million (1.67 million) - unchanged 16%.
Virgin Radio (AM and FM combined) 1.57 million (1.63 million) - 15% down from 16%
BBC Radio London was ninth with 1.30 (1,29 million) - unchanged 13%.
*talkSPORT, which was fourth-placed commercial station in London before, fell to sixth with a weekly audience of 1.56 million (1.68 million) and 15% down from 165.
Previous Gfk and Gfk ratings:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
2003-11-28: Longtime Washington DC radio host Eddie Gallaher has died aged 88 of complications that followed hip surgery.
Gallagher, who retired in December 2000 from Clear Channel's then WGAY-M (See RNW Dec 15, 2002), had a career that lasted 53 years, working among other stations for WTOP, WWDC and WASH.
He began his Washington career in 1946 at WTOP-AM on the night show after a spell as a radio announcer in Oklahoma and as a newscaster, disc jockey and baseball play-by-play announcer in Minnesota, moving over to mornings a year later as a morning replacement for the legendary Arthur Godfrey, who was moving to New York to do a national CBS program. For a time, he hosted both the morning "Sundial" program and nighttime "Moondial" show.
After WTOP went all-news in 1968, Gallaher remained with the station for a couple of months and then took his morning show to WASH-AM. In 1982 he moved to WWDC-AM, which later became WGAY and which in 2000 was converted to business broadcasting format WWRC-AM.
Washington Post obituary:
2003-11-27: Sirius shareholders who at its annual meeting pushed the company about how it would catch up with rival XM - currently with more than a million subscribers against 150,000 for Sirius, which is now saying it expects 200,000 subscribers by the years end, down from previous forecasts of 300,000 - have been told that the company's strategy is to differentiate itself in terms of the content it will offer.
President and CEO Joseph P Clayton said that going forward Sirius would have to define its differentiation from XM and mentioned four areas - commercial free music, talk programming niches, news and sports.
"Those four things will be the differentiating factors for our product," said Clayton, adding, " hardware will not be what differentiates us " and that his job was to make sure Sirius justified its extra three dollars a month subscription charge.
He had been taken up about a perceived shortage of receivers on the shelves and said there would be "plenty of goods for the Christmas selling season" and said Sirius boom box would be shipped for Christmas. He said there had been delays, particularly with integrated circuit development, but Sirius had done well to introduce a second generation chip and new products would be coming along that were cheaper, smaller and more powerful.
He admitted hardware had been a problem but they would catch up.
Clayton also said that Sirius had a good footprint to reach outside the US and saw strong prospects in Canada and also in Mexico but things there were a "little further off" because of various problems including regulatory ones.
In terms of the rest of the world, Clayton noted that Global Radio went out of business in Europe, and said it was premature to consider expansion outside North America.
Clayton was also taken up on the pricing of the company's shares with particular reference to the USD 2.10 pricing set on its recent USD 150 million shelf offering. Clayton added that there were no current plans for issuing more shares but he would do so if it were felt to be in the company's best interests.
Overall, Clayton said, the satellite radio was enjoying "spectacular success" with consumer awareness rising, auto makers seeing provision of satellite radio as a plus and Wall Street paying closer attention. "The " market opportunity is not only huge today but is expanding as well," commented Clayton.
2003-11-27: Southern Cross Broadcasting and Macquarie Radio Network have announced agreement in principle to form a joint venture company to offer operational and sales services to their Sydney radio stations -- 2UE for Southern Cross and 2GB and 2CH for Macquarie.
The new company, provisionally called Sydney Radio Network will services including sales, commercial production, news, and technical support in what the partners term "non-sensitive areas" and they say that it will not "provide any services which would permit its officers or directors insight into, or participation in, significant decision making processes of each licensee" but it will substantially reduce operational costs.
Southern Cross Managing Director Tony Bell commented, "Whilst we remain fierce competitors with MRN, we are taking the opportunity to jointly access outsourced services in areas in which the stations currently have significant duplication of costs. It will, however, in no way affect the ongoing management and programming of 2UE."
Despite the comments by the companies about not affecting sensitive areas, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has called for further details of the plan especially as to how it might affect the "provision of news and advertising services on the radio stations concerned."
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-11-27: Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild has told the US "repping" industry's first teach-in - "Getting to Know National Radio & Repping" - that he predicts 8% - 9% growth for US radio next year, with major growth in six areas - Wireless/Telecom, Computer/Software, Automotive, Cable & Entertainment, Airlines, and the Internet as an advertising category.
The teach-in also heard Susquehanna Radio President and COO David Kennedy note that his company's national business, as a percentage of total revenue, has grown from the high-teens to over 20 percent from national radio billings that grew at a rate of 14% in the last four years in comparison to the market's 6% and the industry's 4% growth.
Kennedy told the event that Susquehanna had done its best to "establish a partnership with our rep firm, not just a contractual relationship," adding, "Clients' needs have become much more complex and our abilities to respond have become greater and more sophisticated. Fortunately for us, Interep has long been an innovator in that area."
Guild, fresh from Interep's failed bid to take over most of the staff of rival Katz Media (See RNW Nov 26) has also formally confirmed that it has withdrawn from an arrangement to raise USD 50 million in investment commitment from Boston Ventures, saying, "Due to the events of last week, we do not feel that additional funding of this magnitude is necessary at this time."
He added that Interep valued "the strong relationship that we have developed with Boston Ventures" and continued, "As additional opportunities develop, we look forward to their continued support."
2003-11-26: For the first time, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), has found a licensee unsuitable to hold a commercial radio licence, and has refused to renew the non-broadcasting services bands commercial radio licence of Cybervale Pty Ltd that expired yesterday.
Cybervale had operated 6GS Wagin in Western Australia on 1611kHz, just outside the AM band, and the decision only affects its use of the band as Cybervale will be able to use the frequency for other purposes such as narrowcasting.
In June, in what was the first radio licence suspension in its history, the ABA suspended the licence for 14 days after finding that it had breached a condition of its licence relating to audited annual returns (See RNW June 3).
This was followed by an investigation into Cybervale concerning notifications made ownership and control of the licence, which followed notification in March 2002 that Cybervale was 'taking over all future business activities of Great Southern Broadcasters Radio 6GS Pty Ltd' to whom the licence had been issued in 1998.
The investigation found various breaches and omissions concerning those with beneficial ownership of the licensee.
In making its ruling, the ABA noted that the 6GS commercial service has been off air since early June this year due to a transmitter problem and adds once this problem is fixed Cybervale will be able to use the frequency to provide a different type of radio service; it also noted that decision does not affect the operation of Cybervale's narrowcasting service Radio 6GS on 1422 kHz in Wagin.
Commenting on the decision ABA chairman Professor David Flint said, "This is the first time the ABA has found a licensee not suitable to hold a commercial radio licence. The ABA takes very seriously the manner in which every licensee complies with its obligations under the [Broadcasting Services Act 1992 ] Act."
2003-11-26: Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh was on Monday pushed into defending himself against charges of being a hypocrite for demanding tough sentences for drug users while himself was taking black-market pain killer drugs.
Limbaugh was ambushed by caller "Mike from Miami" who, after commenting on a congressional cote, suddenly added, "How do you equate hypocrisy and addiction, pillhead?"
Limbaugh responded by commenting on the original congressional vote and then said the show was prepared for crank callers before moving on.
Later in the show, however, he returned to the issue of hypocrisy, saying [quotes courtesy of Limbaugh's own transcript on his site], " it's not hypocritical because my behaviour doesn't determine the value of right and wrong. Nobody's does. I mean right and wrong, there are absolutes of right and wrong. And there are people who waver from right and do wrong, and I'm one of them It doesn't change what right and wrong are You know, a lot of people say, "Rush, you're too rigid. This right and wrong business, you have to understand there's a lot of grey area out there." And those are people who wish to be exempt from any moral judgment, and so they are taking the occasion of my story to try to weaken the whole concept of right and wrong by taking shots at me. And let them do that. They can do it all they want. And whatever I did, I did, but it doesn't change what right and wrong are, which I think is the real objective of people who are taking this opportunity."
Limbaugh then went on to attack former President Clinton and make other attacks concerning "liberals" attitude to defence and concluded, "I do think that that's what this is primarily all about which is why I am not going to admit to being hypocritical about anything here, because if I were to admit that I'm a hypocrite, then I'm going to be disqualified from being able to say what I think is right and wrong. I'm not going to give that up."
"I'm not going to let anybody take that away from me, so that's my answer to this. There's some e-mails coming in and we had this prank phone call earlier about it and I just decided that I wanted to tackle it and tell you what I really think is going on with all this. Just so you can be aware of what the real motivation is."
RNW comment: Taking first the Merriam Webster definition of hypocrisy as "a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion" a strict reading lets Limbaugh of the hook as far as a dissonance between comment and behaviour is concerned.
If however, the definition is put into the context of someone who is claiming virtue as far as telling the truth is concerned, then we think the charge is justified as far as Limbaugh is concerned even if he is too bigoted and blinkered to be able to see it.
We await with interest the decision of the authorities as regards a prosecution of Limbaugh on money-laundering charges in relation to his drug purchases and rather hope they'll go ahead since the logic of many of Limbaugh's past comments would suggest they would be derelict in their duty not to do so.
In the meantime, either Limbaugh did or did not put pressure on his housekeeper to purchase drugs illegally as was alleged in the original National Enquirer report. If he did, he presumably thinks it wrong and also that it would be wrong to deny it and that the authorities should prosecute in such cases. If he's being honest, a prosecution would give him full opportunity to clear his name -he can certainly afford the best lawyers - and he'll come out strengthened and declared not guilty. If found guilty, then, as he himself might well comment of others, " jail the bum."
Limbaugh web site (Currently carries Limbaugh comments about hypocrisy):
2003-11-26: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied an appeal by Entercom against its decision to refuse to keep confidential material on a CD from the company of a programme that was the subject of an indecency complaint against KNRK-FM, Camas, Washington State.
Entercom had requested that the material be kept confidential when it supplied the recording but the FCC held that it had not made its case for confidentiality.
In upholding the refusal, against which Entercom had appealed, the FCC noted that its confidentiality rules are designed to protect against the disclosure of competitively sensitive material such as financial records, trade secrets and personnel records.
It ruled that Entercom had not, as required, demonstrated "by a preponderance of the evidence that the material for which confidentiality is requested falls within one of the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") exemptions" and said the fact that Entercom had supplied a recording that covered more than the material complained about was not relevant to a call for confidentiality for material that had been broadcast.
RNW comment: In this case the simple answer seems the sensible one in most cases: If it's been broadcast is can't then be considered confidential and any attempt to have a broadcast subsequently declared confidential should be refused unless there are truly exceptional circumstances such as further dissemination of a libel or potentially serious consequences from the rebroadcast as could happen if it had, for example, revealed details of weaknesses that had not been remedied in the security of a nuclear plant that would put the public at risk.
2003-11-26: Paul Ross, best known as a TV editor and presenter, is to move into radio to present Chrysalis-owned LBC's Saturday morning show from the New Year; he replaces Matthew Wright who is to concentrate on TV work.
The move will put him up against his older brother Jonathan Ross, who hosts the BBC Radio 2 Saturday morning programme.
Previous Jonathan Ross:
2003-11-25: The US radio "rep" companies war now seems to be definitively over with reports that not only are the Katz employees who moved over to Interep briefly now back with Katz but also the three former executives whose signing was announced by Interep last week (See RNW Nov 15)
Former Katz Radio Group President Steve Shaw, former Christal President Tucker Flood and former Katz Radio President Mark Gray, are to resume their duties at Clear Channel-owned Katz just after Christmas and Interep is reported to have ended its deal for in financing that it had arranged with Boston Ventures (See RNW Nov 15) since it no longer needs the level of financing that would have been necessary for its planned expansion.
Interep has now named Mike Agovino as co-President/co-COO of Interep; Agovino, a former president of Clear Channel Radio Sales, recently became vice president and general manager for the Spanish Broadcast System (SBS) in Los Angeles (see RNW Nov 1)and he will remain based in Los Angeles, but reporting to Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild.
His appointment coincides with an eight-year extension of SBS's national representation deal with Interep, foreshadowed earlier this month (See RNW Nov 13).
Marko Radlovic, former Vice President / General Manager of SBS Los Angeles stations KLAX-FM, KXOL-FM and KZAB-FM/KZBA-FM, who was promoted earlier this month to the newly created corporate position of Chief Revenue Officer will continue to oversee the stations until a successor to Agovino is appointed.
Rumours are that the returns are being accompanied by significant pay rises for those involved although previously they had been told they would not be getting rises next year or bonuses this year.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-11-25: Two more sets of UK radio results, those of UBC Media and the Wireless Group, have shown healthy increases in revenues over recent months as have other results we have reported on recently.
The greatest increase was for the Wireless Group, whose revenues were up 24% on a year ago in the period from September to November, and whose flagship TalkSport station increased revenues by 28% in September and 42% in October when it began coverage of the seven weeks of Rugby World Cup that ended this week. For November it reported a rise of 38%.
The Wireless Group's 13 local radio stations also saw significant increases with revenues up 11% in September, 23% in October and 19% in November.
The company said that as well as a boost from the rugby competition and the return of Premiere league soccer, it was helped by a general improvement in advertising and could also have benefited from its self-commissioned electronic meter ratings from Gfk Media, which show TalkSport with a far higher audience share than it is given under the official diary-based RAJAR system (See RNW Oct 16).
The group's chairman and chief Kelvin MacKenzie, who has been pushing for the introduction of metered ratings, said the " very strong performance figures speak for themselves "The sales director is whistling, which is always a good sign."
At UBC Media, which owns national digital radio stations One Word and Classic Gold as well as producing content for other stations, turnover for the first half of its fiscal year was up 31% to GBP6 .51 million (USD 11 million) and pre-tax losses were cut by 26% to GBP 758,000 (USD 1.285 million).
It turned a loss before goodwill and development spending a year earlier of GBP 24,000 (USD 40,700) into a profit of GBP 152,000USD 257,000)
UBC was helped by the launch of the AA Roadwatch traffic update service, with sales at its commercial division more than doubled at GBP 2.39 million ( USD 4.05 million).
Chief executive Simon Cole said it had been "a tough year in the sector, marked by disappointment and pessimism", but added that performance was in line with expectations and after a strong advertising month in September it expected to benefit from a sustained recovery.
UBC said its analogue stations held steady although they were in a declining market and its
The group said its Classic Gold Digital brand continued to perform strongly, with revenues in the half year up 5% to GBP 2.4 million (USD 4.1 million) with profits at its national network of radio stations based on the Classic Gold digital and analogue formats up 28.7% to GBP 665,000 ( USD 1.13 million).
Cole also said UBC looked forward to returns from the group's long-term investment in digital radio, commenting, "The entire radio industry is now alive to the opportunities in digital radio - opportunities in which we have carefully been investing for the last three years."
He also anticipated strong digital receiver sales, saying, "There's no doubt that digital radio is going to be the Christmas present of the year."
Revenues from Unique, UBC's production arm, were up revenues were up 6% to GBP 1.19 million (USD 2.02 million) and UBC also announced that Unique has signed a three-year deal to provide radio services to bingo club chain Gala.
Unique has also recently announced that it had been commissioned to produce eight documentaries, covering subjects including Asian Rap, Going to College, South Africa 10 years after apartheid, African football and disability in the black community, from the BBC's Digital Station, 1 Xtra.
It has, however also just lost its commission to produce the re-launched Hit 40 chart for independent radio stations (See RNW Nov 12), but said the loss would be "immaterial" to this year's financial performance.
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-11-25: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is reported to be investigating Clear Channel's operations in San Diego where it owns eight stations and also has operating agreements with four Mexican stations that serve the market.
The San Diego Reader reports that two Clear Channel employees confirmed that on November 12, DOJ staffers were at the San Diego Clear Channel headquarters to collect evidence regarding a federal investigation regarding monopolistic activity and restraint of trade.
Clear Channel says it does not operate in any anti-competitive way and its Sr. VP Government Affairs Andy Levin said the enquiry is routine adding that it began in summer and the company was fully cooperating.
Levin said the DOJ was asking for documents to see if anything was wrong and "If they think there is, you'll probably hear about it. The problem is, if there isn't anything wrong, you probably won't hear anything about it."
Previous Clear Channel:
San Diego Reader:
2003-11-25: Yahoo's Launch continued to narrow the gap on leader AOL in the Arbitron Internet Broadcast Rratings for October, while newcomer, Educational Media Foundation's K-Love Contemporary Christian station retained second place in the station rankings behind MUSIMATCH, which kept its top spot. Overall listening was up at the top, but only slightly after taking the extra day in the month into account.
The top five stations for October were (September figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (non-commercial) - TTSL 3,094,250 (2,972,685); CP 744,044 (673,624). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: K-LOVE Contemporary Christian (non-commercial) - TTSL 1,420,311 (1,259,669); CP 126,897 (111,751). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: AOL Top Country (commercial) - TTSL 1,264,164 (1,211,885); CP 397,655 (354,798). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin Radio (commercial) - TTSL 1,192,445 (1,170,770); CP 163,441 (172,152). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: AOL Top Pop (commercial) - TTSL 1,143,552 (998,923); CP 555,966 (430,291) Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
** AOL Smooth Jazz (commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 1,129,522, up from 1,126,959 and CP 200,666 , up from 190,864.
The top five networks for October were (September figures in brackets):
1: AOL Radio Network (commercial) - TTSL 27,379,327 (26,050,947); CP 4,333,059 (3,850,491). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Yahoo LAUNCH (commercial)- TTSL 18,311,876 (15,725,817); CP 2,498,962 (2,130,136). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (non-commercial) TTSL 9,378,479 (8,432,371); CP 1,537,326 (1,393,128). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Adsertion (sales network) -TTSL 5,357,224 (4,774,733); CP 433,295 (379,779). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) - TTSL 2,358,331 (2,061,693); CP 250,333 (236,915). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Arbitron is not now ranking content delivery networks but it does list the top two --
Live365.com, which had a TTSL of 11,352,734 hours, up from 10,551,161 in September, and StreamGuys with a TTSL of 2,390,014 hours, up from 2,219,870.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast monthly ratings:
2003-11-24: We just couldn't resist the temptation this week to lead off our look at print comment on radio with a couple of comments about the returned-to-the-airwaves unabashed Rush Limbaugh, who may yet find his career curtailed should money laundering charges be brought against him (See RNW Nov 20).
One came from the Washington Post in the form of advice from former alcoholic Mark Gauvreau Judge that Limbaugh should not, as he seemed to have indicated he would, allow recovery to remain the centre of his life.
Judge writes, after references to Alcoholics Anonymous's 12-steps programme, "As someone once addicted to alcohol, I've logged many hours in the rooms. I've heard lots of self-aggrandizing stories of debauchery, which are common in the recovery culture."
"In most of these stories, individuals battle addiction to arrive at the truth that the world doesn't revolve around them -- yet often they still manage to make themselves the centre of the universe. They spend years of their lives in a stupor of addiction; then, once sober, they spend years of their lives talking about it."
In his case, Judge says, "I escaped that hell [of addiction], thanks largely to A.A. After a few years, however, I got tired of telling my story. It seemed -- it was -- years ago, something I had put behind me. I stopped craving alcohol. I could meet friends in bars and it didn't bother me I had found a higher power. It turned out to be the Catholic Church "
Limbaugh, of course, often seems to portray himself as a higher power, or as headlined in a Chicago Sun-Times column by Mary Mitchell, "Limbaugh may be off drugs, but he's on his high horse."
Mitchell notes that she wasn't one of those awaiting El Rushbo's return to the airwaves, indeed exercised her freedom not to listen.
Instead she followed the news accounts, which led her to comment, "Now that he's been in the valley, would he use his power to help pull others out?"
"Of course not."
"Why should he? He's doing just fine. He still has his radio show. He still has his $24 million oceanfront mansion. He still ranks right up there with 1 percent of the wage earners in this country."
"Is he a hypocrite? Probably not, because addicts don't see themselves as addicts. "
"As any addict would tell you, when people are abusing drugs, they are always hiding their real selves. How would I know that? Well, to be honest, I've dealt with enough addicts in my own family to know their moves. There's not much difference between addicts who snort, shoot up or pop pills, although many of us would like to see it that way."
And then, in a polite way, she really put the boot in, writing, "All addicts are notorious liars. They have to be in order to hide their sickness from people who care about them -- not to mention those who don't give a darn
"Between 1995 and five weeks ago, the time Limbaugh said he was an addict, the man must have told a whole lot of lies."
"'I've not been a phoney here,' he told his audience on Monday. 'I've not been artificial on the program. I was all of that elsewhere. I was all that other places, but not here.'"
"He also said "he avoided the subject of drugs" on his program, despite the fact that the quip most quoted while he was laid up in rehab was about drugs. "
Mitchell then continued, "As tainted as it is, Limbaugh has his image to uphold. Obviously, it wouldn't be good for business if the rooster came off looking like your average chickenhead. Because Limbaugh has mastered the art of manipulating the masses, he knows his celebrity status and drug of choice distance him from other drug abusers. "
"Most people can relate to the "ordeal" of getting hooked on a prescription drug and forgive the means by which those illegal drugs are obtained. But fewer people can relate to the life circumstances that have led millions to abuse street drugs. Those conditions -- neglect, sexual abuse, violence, mental illness, and depression -- are far less palatable."
"But a backache or dislocated disc? That's another matter."
" Accusers claim Limbaugh used his former maid as a drug mule to make his buys. If that's true, he should be treated like other small-time drug dealers. Maybe after he gets out of prison, listeners would really see a changed man.."
"Palm Beach County officials have said that Limbaugh's drug use is still under investigation, and fair-minded people in that town ought to make sure those officials don't flush the toilet on this one."
"I don't expect Limbaugh to come clean about how he acquired illegal drugs for eight years, but police officials should go after this drug conspiracy as aggressively as they go after other drug conspiracies."
So having put Limbaugh into context, on to a far greater man who also had back problems along with other medical ones- and took to both drugs and women.
The man of course is John Fitzgerald Kennedy, assassinated in Dallas 40 years ago, and the subject of numerous retrospectives. Two worth a listen - and still available online from BBC Radio 4 were "Secrets at Camelot " presented by Anthony Howard and The Archive Hour's "Something is terribly wrong", presented by Alan Thompson.
The former was a "warts and all" evaluation of Kennedy's Presidency and the latter a documentary using archive recordings and more recent interviews, including some memorable comments from Nellie Connally, widow of the late Texas Governor John B Connally who was injured in the Dallas shooting, and who recounted how she turned to the President shortly before the fatal shots were fired and commented of the crowds cheering him, "Mr President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you."
Kennedy like Limbaugh had medical problems, in the President's case including the potentially fatal Addison's disease, prostatitis, urethritis, sinusitis, spastic colitis and, back problems. His response wasn't so much painkillers as sex and other drugs: he once confided to British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan that if he didn't have sex for three days he got a headache, and Frank Sinatra's valet, George Jacobs, recounted walking into Kennedy's guest suite in Sinatra's Palm Springs mansion to find the President and his brother in-law Peter Lawford, laughing wildly, and being told, "'It's all right, George. 'The white powder is medication for my bad back."
As well as cocaine, Kennedy was also well known to have indulged in numerous affairs including those with Marilyn Monroe and an 18-year-old intern called Mimi. There were also two young women on the staff, known as Fiddle and Faddle, and on one occasion, while showing a reporter from Paris Match around the White House, Jackie opened the door of the Oval Office, saw one of them and said in French: 'This young woman is supposed to be sleeping with my husband.'
In contrast to the warts and all as above and the Thompson documentary, BBC Radio 2 went more for hagiography in The JFK Generation, presented by Martin Sheen, in which various famous showbiz personalities including Janet Leigh, Harry Belafonte, and Joan Baez heaped praise on Kennedy.
RNW note: If you like sugar and schmaltz - and more sounds from the time - go for Radio 2; for facts and meat, Radio 4.
BBC "Listen Again" web site (Links to audio of BBC Radio 4 programmes available on demand including the two Kennedy programmes referred to.
Also available for a week is the Staurday Play, the new production of Dylan Thomas's Under Milkwood we referred to last week -- follow this link.
BBC Radio 2 - the JFK Generation).
Chicago Sun-Times - Mitchell:
Toronto Star - Burrill:
Washington Post - Judge:
2003-11-24: US Catholic-oriented talk format non-profit Starboard Broadcasting is about to expand in the Chicago area with the conversion on November 26 of WWCA-AM, a former Indiana gospel station it bought for USD 1.5 million from Willis Broadcasting in the summer of last year, into a full time outlet for its "Relevant Radio" programming.
At the start of next month it is also to expand its programming on Newsweb Corporation's time-brokered WCSN-AM from two hours a day to a full sunrise to sunset slot.
In January this year Starboard was in a USD 3.25 million cash deal to purchase community news and sports format WJOB-AM, Hammond, from the receivers of St George Broadcasting's but this ran into local opposition (See RNW February 7) and the station was subsequently sold last month this year, along with full service WIMS-AM, Michigan City, to Vazquez Development.
John Bitting, Eastern region president of Starboard, told Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times there had been "overwhelming" demand from listeners in the Chicago area to expand programming on WCSN. WWCA's signal boosts coverage to south Chicago and northwest Indiana.
Starboard, which now boasts 14 stations, has grown from a single AM acquired in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in October 2000.
Chicago Sun-Times -Feder column:
2003-11-24: The BBC has now launched a new campaign to promote its UK digital radio stations - it began at the weekend with a poster campaign and will be followed up with TV, radio, and online from next weekend and run to the end of the year.
Created by the Fallon ad agency, the campaign continues the theme of the BBC's first digital promotion campaign - a humorous view of the lengths people will go to in order to listen to the radio.
The BBC says its first campaign significantly increased awareness of the medium and adds that people enjoyed the humour of the adverts.
Also boosting digital radio in the run-up to Christmas is the MXR commercial digital radio consortium, which ahs launched a new DAB dedicated website - www.buydigitialradio.com - that will offer the latest DAB digital radios made by leading brands.
2003-11-23: Last week was in general a low key one for most of the regulators with only a steady level of radio-related activity.
Australia was quiet on the radio front, although the country's commercial broadcasters, who have attacked the way the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) is handling digital radio trials, has now backed up its complaints with the issue of its wish list for digital radio (See RNW Nov 20).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been involved in various issues of new licences, renewals and amendments. They included approval of a new trans-Canada English-language religious specialty service, The National Youth (Radio) Network, to be made available in both analogue and digital formats.
Local decisions, in order of province, included:
Approval of additional extension until 12 September 2004 for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence operation of its station in Calgary; this is the third extension granted
Approval of a new 125 watts English-language community-based campus FM radio station in Lethbridge; this application was opposed by Spirit Broadcasting Ltd., the licensee of CJTS-FM Lethbridge, a low-power English-language specialty radio station that offers a Christian contemporary music format and that said the new station would have a negative effect upon it.
*Approval of new 4.9 watts Community-based campus FM radio station in Kamloops; this will replace developmental campus radio station CFBX-FM.
*Approval of an English-language specialty audio undertaking to be known as C-VUE FM and to be distributed to residents of the Sechelt region.
*Approval of acquisition by the Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. of the assets of low-power stations CJWL-FM, Iroquois Falls, and CHPB-FM, Cochrane.
*Approval of request by oldies station CKDO-AM, Oshawa, to broadcast a lower level of Canadian popular music than the normal 35%; the CRTC permits a reduction to 30% for this format.
*Approval of a transitional digital radio undertaking (DRU) to serve Toronto associated with CHKT-AM, Toronto.
*Approval of power increase from 3,000 watts to 9,750 watts for CFNJ-FM Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon. The proposed change is intended to offer a better signal in the Lanaudière area and at the east side of Mauricie and will change the CFNJ-FM transmitter from Class A to Class B1.
Ireland was quiet on the radio front but in the UK the Radio Authority, winding up its duties before becoming part of the new Ofom regulator, published its assessment of two recent awards.
In the case of the new Glasgow FM licence that went to Saga against competition from 12 other applicants (See RNW Nov 7), Saga is offering a format of easy listening music and a relatively high speech level aimed at those aged over 50, and the Authority panel said this catered for a large section of the population "less well served by the area's existing Independent Local Radio stations."
It added. "Saga had made genuine use of research in tailoring its proposed output to cater for the tastes and interests of listeners in Glasgow."
The Authority also published its assessment of the award on the same day of the Plymouth/Cornwall digital multiplex to the sole applicant South West Digital Radio Ltd., a newly-formed company whose shareholders are Now Digital Ltd. and UKRD Group Ltd.
The panel said the applicant offered a "viable business plan" and had demonstrated a reasonable level of local support. It added that members "recognized the difficulties of attracting programme providers to digital multiplexes in areas with limited population coverage, and considered that a good start had been made with the provision of a variety of services."
The new regulator, Ofcom, meanwhile has begun issuing its own releases, the latest of which concerned consultation on plans to allow spectrum trading (See RNW Nov 20).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued its latest quarterly complaints and inquires report, which showed a massive jump in indecency complaints over the previous quarter (See RNW Nov 21).
It has also decided, because of problems with its database, to extend until December 8 the deadline for license renewal applications and annual EEO reports for stations in Alabama and Georgia, and for ownership report submissions for stations in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont. Petitions to deny a license renewal application for a station in Alabama or Georgia will now be due 90 days from release of the FCC public notice announcing acceptance of the application for filing.
The FCC enforcement bureau has confirmed a USD 11,000 penalty relating to failure to have an operational Emergency Alert System deficiencies and register its tower on an Alabama AM (See RNW Nov 18).
The FCC has also given notice of a hearing to decide whether an amateur radio operator, and licensee of Amateur Radio Station W5EBC, should lose his licence following his 1998 conviction for the murder of his wife.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site:
2003-11-23: Capital Radio's London new music station Xfm, has appointed Nigel Harding as its new head of music to succeed Andy Ashton who has succeeded Andrew Phillips as the station's programme controller (See RNW Nov 6).
Harding has been at the station for around 18months; before that he promoted bands at Alan James PR.
2003-11-23: Sirius has re-united three KROQ-FM veterans who pioneered alternative music in Los Angeles in the early 1980s with daily shows on the Sirius Classic Alternative stream, First Wave.
They are Richard Blade, who was with KROQ for 18 years and was the first US DJ to play such artists as Duran Duran, English Beatr, and Billy Idol; Freddie Snakeskin who was among the original staff members of the KROQ Los Angeles alternative format and spent 12 years at KROW where he hosted every time slot and was program director for two years; and Swedish Egil, a 10 year KROQ veteran who spearheaded a number of the station's specialty shows, including Reggae Revolution, New American Rock.
2003-11-22: The latest quarterly report on consumer complaints and inquiries released by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows complaints increasing in all major areas except cable with the largest increase within radio and broadcasting and a massive leap in indecency and obscenity complaints from 351 in the previous quarter to 19,920.
The increase came in each month with 5,552 complaints in July, 8,876 in August and 5,492 came in September compared to totals of 47 in April, 62 in May and 242 in June.
Inquiries by contrast fell with the largest fall in radio and broadcasting where they almost halved, dropping from 6,014 to 3,244.
Previous FCC Complaints report:
2003-11-22: BBC World Service is today broadcasting a special HIV/Aids Concert, hosted by actor Sir Ian McKellen and featuring amongst other artists Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits from Zimbabwe, Malian singer Rokia Traoré, poet and author Veronique Tadjo from South Africa, UK hit singer-songwriter Daniel Bedingfield, Russian violinist Vadim Repin, accompanied on piano by Itamar Golan, and virtuoso Chinese musician Liu Fang.
Oliver Mtukudzi, who opens and closes the Concert, says his brother and several band members have died as a result of Aids, commenting. "As an artist I feel we have a responsibility, we are a mouthpiece for the nation. If we are to stop the spread of this disease, if we are to conquer this disease, it has to start with us men because we are the head of the family."
Rokia Traoré says parents should talk to their children more openly about sex and sexually transmitted diseases and adds that she talks to teenagers regularly about HIV/Aids and is told by many that girls who carry protection are often stigmatised as bad girls with many boyfriends.
"I tell them it is better being a bad girl who is changing boyfriends than have Aids," she comments.
The is part of a season of special programming broadcast in 43 languages around the world on radio and online in the run up to World Aids Day on Monday 1 December.
The BBC World Service Trust in association with the Kaiser Family Foundation and Viacom is involved in a year-long campaign to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.
It will include short educational spots will be broadcast three times per day at peak listening hours in eight languages and a five-minute special call-in segment.
The target audience is 19-25 year-olds and the emphasis is on men, since they are the main drivers of the epidemic in this region. The spots will focus on three main issues: consistent condom use, risk assessment and stigma.
This effort in turn is part of a wider global effort on HIV/AIDS by the BBC World Service that began on November 16 in 43 languages.
Other activities include an international HIV/Aids communications forum in London next week in which the keynote speaker will be Dr Richard Feachem, Executive Director of The Global Fund - the Geneva based public-private partnership set up to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.
The forum will also hear a recorded message from former United States President Bill Clinton in which he says AIDS is "not just a human health issue, it is also economic issue, a national security issue, an issue with global ramifications."
Dr Feecham says, "If we are to win the fight against Aids, we all need to change our behaviour."
"But behavioural change is political as well as personal. People won't change their behaviour until governments do."
"Governments must say Aids is a national and global threat. They must say unprotected sex is unacceptable and involuntary sex is inexcusable."
"They must say that those infected need our help, treatment and care - not our condemnation."
"They must say we can beat this pandemic, if we do the right things and invest enough resources."
BBC World Service Trust web site:
Know Aids/HIV web site:
2003-11-22: Syndicated US radio host Dr Laura Schlessinger whose TV show was killed after demonstrations by lesbians and homosexuals who had been angered by her comments about them (See RNW April 1, 2002) is now in hot water with the US Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) over what it termed an "anti-Muslim tirade" on her Nov. 17 syndicated radio show.
CAIR said it received a number of complaints from Muslims who said Schlessinger's remarks crossed the line from legitimate commentary on terrorism to Islamophobic bigotry when she was talking to a mother who asked whether her 16-year-old daughter should take part in a Catholic High School class field trip to a local mosque.
The trip was to have the students in a "moral themes" class learn how "Muslims are treated" in America and Schlessinger responded, "This is a class on morals. What is the point of going to a mosque?...You're joking of course...How many Americans have tortured and murdered Muslims...I think you ought to stand up against this class and this teacher. This is despicable."
"You tell him you are willing to go to the mosque only if it is one that has done its best to route out terrorists in its midst...instead of complaining...I am horrified that you would let her go...I am so sick and tired of all the Arab-American groups whining and complaining about some kind of treatment...What culture and what religion were all the murderers of 9/11...they murdered us...That's the culture you want your daughter to learn about?"
CAIR says that when Schlessinger's extremist views have been confronted in the past, she has often responded by attacking the source of the challenge, instead of dealing with the substance of the complaints and Dr Laura's response on her web site does not tackle the complaint head on nor give any idea as to whether she made the remarks quoted by CAIR.
Instead she says that the purpose of the trip was "to find out how Moslems might be unfairly treated by Americans [RNW- significantly different to that given by CAIR] and that, "The mother was only asking about the head covering. She was concerned that her daughter going into the Mosque would have to cover her head."
Schlessinger also says people have to do a "proper job in listening some people have misinterpreted my remarks I pointed out that Moslems are safer here than in their countries of origin it is the radical Moslems who are responsible for 9/11 and various attacks."
She then goes on to attack those who target innocent men and women , repeatedly says she does not know how "much more clarity she could give" and says she gets really angry when others get angry over what people have told them and that she herself has a staff to ensure that she has the facts before attacking anyone or anything.
RNW comment: Either the quotation given by CAIR is accurate or Dr Laura is ducking and weaving. If the comment," This is a class on morals. What is the point of going to a mosque?...You're joking of course" was not made, we would have expected her to have stated this. Our view listening to her response is that the woman is either bigoted to the extent she is unable to grasp the complaint made or fundamentally dishonest. In her response she says, "I would personally appreciate if people would not get on to easy side arguments ." and then goes on to attack those she considers evil. Perhaps as this is a response to the original, she should take her own advice to heart.
Previous Dr Laura:
CAIR News release:
Dr Laura web site - currently has link to audio of her response.
2003-11-22: American University public station WAMU-FM in Washington, DC, had a deficit of USD 2.3 million in its fiscal year to the end of April 2003 according to audited reports released by the station; the accounts, audited by KPMG show its assets of USD 4.5 million at the end of April 2002 had been reduced to USD 2.7 million a year later and it now owes the university just under USD 490,000.
General operations, shown as USD 1.98 million in the back at the end of April 2002 are now in the red to the tune of just under USD 290,000.
The Washington Post reports that staff and donors, who were expecting a deficit, were unprepared for its size and quotes Michael MacLeod, a member of the WAMU community council, as saying,"I am absolutely appalled by this deficit I don't know what to say."
WAMU has just ousted Susan Clampitt from her job as executive director of the station (See RNW Nov 1) amid attacks from donors, current and former staff members, and volunteers about her management of the station's finances and manner of handling staff relationships and NPR talk-show host Diane Rehm, a leading critic of the Clampitt administration, said, "We knew things were bad, we just didn't know how bad they were."
The station is currently being overseen by David Taylor, chief of staff to AU President Benjamin Ladner, who stressed that the station remains solvent with the financial support of the university.
"This is not the first time there have been losses at this station," Taylor said. "It's fundamental to understand that the university will backstop these current losses."
Another critic Forbes Maner, one of several former WAMU donors who have been asking the university for an accounting of the station's spending, told the paper, "I saw the annual report and I'm not sure what I have to say about it can be printed in the newspaper. It's a real surprise. I think it's scandalous."
Clampitt herself in an e-mail to the paper described her management plan as being a long-term strategy and said the decision to continue with it despite deficits was one endorsed by Ladner.
"In order to increase revenues and to put the station on firm financial footing, investments were made to increase revenue," Clampitt wrote in her responses to questions submitted by The Post. "When the economy softened and contribution levels decreased, President Ladner decided to fund the shortfall with the accumulated reserves . . . We continued to be hopeful that the budget shortfalls would be resolved as the economy improved, and as we began to feel the effects of our capital spending."
WAMU audited accounts (845 Kb PDF):
Washington Post report:
2003-11-22: The row over remarks in which Entercom's Boston sports format WEEI-AM morning drive-time hosts, John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, made likening an escaped gorilla found at a bus stop to students on a bussing programme, is still continuing according to the Boston Globe; the station had suspended the duo for a period but they are now back on air (See RNW Oct 22).
Columnist Steve Bailey notes that the stations general manager Tom Baker is to step down although Baker says this is not related to the row; Baker, says Bailey, will continue in charge of news-talk WRKO-AM, and will take over Rhythmic-Based Hits WQSX-FM, whilst tipped to succeed him in charge at WEEI and Active Rock WAAF-FM is Julie Kahn, whom Baker helped hire three years ago as general manager of WAAF and WQSX.
Bailey also reports that Entercom has hired former Suffolk County district attorney Ralph Martin to negotiate a resolution to the row with Metco, a voluntary program that buses Boston students to suburban schools.
Boston Globe report:
2003-11-21: The fight of the US Rep Firms seems to be almost over in immediate practical terms with an announcement from Interep that confirms that nearly all of the Katz Radio Group (KRG) employees who joined Interep on Monday have returned to their former employer.
Interep however is still threatening action and said the sudden return was prompted "by an apparently untrue announcement by KRG that all major radio groups currently represented by Christal and Katz Radio had made the decision to retain representation with those firms."
Interep said that conversations with the heads of several major groups handled by Katz had resulted in responses that they had not made a decision over their choice of representation firm and its chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said in a statement, "Interep is aware that Katz Radio Group took actions to interfere with the recent expansion of our staff and leadership team."
"Although Interep strongly questions the legitimacy of Katz's behaviour, we are still gathering the facts. When we have all the information, we will take any and all necessary, lawful actions to stop any wrongful interference with our business that may have occurred."
It added that the Steve Shaw, Tucker Flood and Mark Gray, the three Katz executives who left it to start two new independent rep firms at Interep, had all "signed contracts with Interep which the company intends to enforce."
2003-11-21: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) has joined the ranks of UK radio companies reporting an improvement in national advertising; its comments follow similar reports from Capital Radio, Chrysalis and GWR this month.
SRH said the improvement was a main factor in an improvement in its figures for the year to the end of September in which it turned a 2002 loss of GBP 13.5 million (USD 23 million) to a profit of GBP11.8 million (USD 20.1 million) on turnover from continuing operations up 18% to GBP 83.5million (USD 143.2 million) with like-for-like revenues up 6%.
SRH's operating profit excluding goodwill amortisation from continuing operations was up 26% to GBP 19.0 million (USD 32.4 million) and adjusted earnings per share were up 26% to 37.2 p with basic earnings per share of 21.9p, turned round from a year earlier loss of 49.7 pence.
In divisional terms radio outperformed SRH's press holdings with turnover up 19% compared to 17% and SRH noted an enhanced presence in England from its acquisitions of Vibe 101 and Vibe FM together with expansion in Ireland to come from its acquisition of FM104.
SRH commented that it had made a strong start to trading in October and November with group revenues up 11% and like-for-like revenues up 7%.
Commenting on the performance, SRH chairman Lord Gordon of Strathblane noted that conditions remained "challenging" but added, "These results underline the strength of the SRH group and the strong growth in revenues and operating profits in our radio and press divisions is extremely encouraging."
"Both divisions produced outstanding performances during a year of still challenging market conditions. SRH is well placed for continued growth with its portfolio of radio stations in recognised geographical marketing areas and well-established press titles. The new financial year has started well with group revenues from continuing operations 11% ahead of the same period last year."
2003-11-21: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that what it termed "nasty insults and ugly epithets" directed by CHOI-FM host Jean-Francois Fillion (Jeff) Fillion against rival radio hosts in Quebec City were "unduly coarse and offensive" and in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics.
The judgement follows comments made by Fillion and his co-host on the radio show "Le monde parallèle de Jeff Fillion" in October last year in response to remarks made during a TV interview by rival host Jacques Tétrault concerning a defamation lawsuit that Fillion had lost.
Fillion referred to Tétrault and the television news host with terms such as "conceited asshole", "that worthless piece of trash", "shit disturber", and "a tree with rotten roots."
The CBSC panel commented, "While interactive talk shows are rightfully regarded as a bastion of freedom of expression, the Canadian airwaves are not a free-for-all." It concluded that Fillion had spouted ugly and generalized epithets, comprehensible only in their flailing nastiness and not because a serious listener might have actually understood what his competitor did, if anything, to merit criticism.
Fillion also claimed that Tétrault had only achieved success on the coattails of others, was only interested in young women and was known to leave important business meetings for frivolous personal reasons. He also said called television news host Jean-Luc Mongrain a "shit disturber."
2003-11-21: According to an Associated Press report the new US media ownership rules issued in June by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and whose implementation is currently stayed by the 3rd Circuit Court in Philadelphia, are about to receive a blow from lawmakers.
The AP says House and Senate bargainers are to include in an end-of -session spending bill a provision that would block the FCC's proposed increase in the national TV cap from 25% to 45%; this would hit Viacom Inc., and News Corp., owner of Fox, both f whom are already over the 35% limit.
The move does not affect other changes such as a move to defining markets in terms of Arbitron definitions rather than contours or loosening cross-ownership restrictions.
The AP says that Alaska Republican and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, a supporter of the current, narrower ownership limits, expects ``a verbal spanking'' from the White House, but not a veto over the issue.
New York Times - AP report:
2003-11-21: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings, which yet again was a matter of no change at the very top, but listening was generally higher.
For the week to November 9, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 657,851 (653,722); CP - 232,457 (231,574). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 344,615 (334,669); CP - 45,617 (44,949). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 303,291 (286,161); CP 126,603 (117,357). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 263,353 (269,400); CP 162,826 (164,250): Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL 256,913 (252,223); CP - 61,784 (61,181). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to November 9 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,545,078 (6,298,979); CP - 1,713,706 (1,650,778). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 4,066,530 (3,982,410); CP - 923,084 (919,614). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,085,981 (2,055,835); CP - 506,562 (499,343). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,197,072 (1,164,161); CP - 152,617 (147,126) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 518,409 (490,057); CP - 76,551 (70,092) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,561,817 , down from 2,601,820 and StreamGuys with TTSL 514,164, down from 558,252.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-11-20: Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh responded with an on- air denial of wrongdoing on Wednesday to an ABC News report the previous evening that he may face money-laundering charges in Florida in connection with his purchase of painkillers to feed his addiction.
ABC says that during a probe into the US Trust Bank in New York two years ago they found that Limbaugh had withdrawn cash amounts just under USD 10,000 and noted that financial institutions have to make a declaration to authorities under money laundering regulations any time anyone makes a single withdrawal of USD 10,000 or more.
Money-laundering expert Jack Blum described the withdrawals as in themselves a "suspicious activity" and added that those who make such withdrawals are "structuring their transaction to avoid reporting to the government, and the bank is required to file with the federal government something called a suspicious-activity report."
He then suggested there was a question of whether Limbaugh assisted his drug supplier in hiding the proceeds from the authorities.
Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, said there was no basis for any charges and said the bank, which offers a service that allows one of its own employees to take out the cash for the client and then personally deliver it to him or her, had suggested the deliveries.
ABC says authorities will decide in the next few weeks whether to lay money-laundering charges.
On his show on Wednesday, Limbaugh said almost immediately that he had never laundered money and reiterated the line that US Trust had suggested that he take up a "convenience" that it offered to customers and
That the cash payments came about because the bank were "pitching their services" and told him that when he was going to withdraw cash, he should keep it under USD10, 000 so they wouldn't have to report anything to the government.
Limbaugh continued by saying he needed to clarify the stories and said that there were 30 40 withdrawals but only up to four times did the bank bring him the money; it the other cases he cashed a chegue at the bank
He said the cash in question was mostly linked with the two-and-a-half-year remodel we did for the home in Palm Beach, adding that most of the money was not even withdrawn here in New York."
Limbaugh web site - (has links to Show transcript):
2003-11-20: Infinity Broadcasting has "respectfully declined" to pay the USD 357,000 penalties levied by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral broadcast on the former WNEW-FM in August a year ago that led to the axing of the Opie and Anthony Show (hosted by Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) and ultimately to the reformatting of WNEW.
In contesting the decision, Infinity says the broadcast, as opposed to the Act, was not indecent according to FCC rules because it contained only "oblique references and innuendo" to what was going on.
The incident led to widespread criticism and the cancellation of the show (See RNW Aug 24, 2002); the penalty was criticized as a "slap on the wrist" by Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps who called for a hearing on the possible revocation of the licences (See RNW Oct 3).
RNW comment: As we noted last year, the actual words used in the show seemed to us far less offensive than many others for which smaller fines have been levied (See RNW Sept 2, 2002).
On the other hand, Copps argument had logic in that the station was obviously encouraging acts that were likely to be illegal - and in this case were found to be so as manifested in penalties on some of those who took part (See RNW Nov 11)- and thus there is a reasonable argument that its owners were unfit to retain their licence.
The logic from the FCC point of view would be therefore to forget this one but remove licences next time Infinity offends, citing its past record. We suspect, of course, that it will pursue the case and may well win but in our view on the legal technicality, Infinity has a sound point.
How Mel Karmazin - who fought the FCC in the 90s to insist that the Howard Stern Show was not indecent - would react to the loss of a number of licences, we can only speculate, We suspect that long before that, should there be a serious risk, some form of payment would be found akin to the "voluntary" USD 1.7 million payment made in 1995 that let Infinity off the hook.
In another case, the FCC has rejected arguments by Puerto Rican broadcaster Aerco Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WQBS-AM, San Juan, concerning a 2000 ruling that denied reconsideration of an application for a covering licence for WQBS as "patently defective". The ruling has no practical effect on the operation of the station, which was subsequently allowed a subsequent application to modify its facilities.
FCC staff had held that the later decision, authorizing lower powered facilities, rendered the earlier one moot; they had originally granted a CP for relocation to a new site and a power increase from 5kW to 9.6 kW but rejected Aerco's subsequent application on a number of grounds, saying that the covering licence application "describes fundamentally different facilities constructed at a different site than those specified in the underlying construction permit.
The FCC accepted Aerco's argument that the later filing, made to was filed to facilitate the grant of a special temporary authorization to permit the station to continue operations following the loss of its previously licensed site, was not intended to supersede the first licence application but dismissed its other contentions as "meritless".
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2003-11-20: The new UK media regulator, Ofcom, which takes over its duties on December 29, has announced plans for wide-ranging changes to the way spectrum is allocation for radio, TV and mobile phone signals.
In a consultation document, to which responses have to be made by February 13 next year, it says that it plans to allow spectrum trading in the UK, a "a significant change to the current system, which does not allow licences to be bought or sold."
Ofcom Chief Executive Stephen Carter said spectrum trading would "allow innovation and choice to shape the future allocation of spectrum, in place of the centrally planned, top-down approach of the past."
" Our aim is to stimulate an environment in which the UK's communications industries flourish. The introduction of spectrum trading is a major component of that overarching policy objective," he added.
The introduction of the system is planned over the next four years and specifically excludes licence exempt spectrum, such as that reserved for the Ministry of Defence and Ofcom notes that it may designate more spectrum as licence exempt in future as technology evolves.
As well as trading, Ofcom is proposing a liberalization that will allow for licensees to change the use of their licensed spectrum, subject to some constraints.
Ofcom says the changes should allow faster access to new technologies with cheaper prices for the most popular wireless services and greater choice and greater competition for wireless services.
The consultation was jointly launched by Ofcom and the Radiocommunications Agency, which has in the past regulated most UK spectrum and which is among the five regulators, including the UK Radio Authority, to be subsumed into Ofcom.
The proposals are unlikely to affect UK radio broadcasters in the near future, apart from some possibility of spectrum trading for some digital licensees, but Ofcom does note that it is "is awaiting the results of the Independent study into Administrative Incentive Pricing. This study is looking at all aspects of administrative incentive pricing, including its future application to television and radio broadcast spectrum."
Ofcom also says that it plans to maintain current arrangements for analogue radio licences but adds that there is "more scope for trading of digital sound broadcasting spectrum."
Obligations under licences set out required levels of coverage but Ofcom says some licensees might be able to meet their obligations without using all the spectrum "implicit in the original Broadcasting Act advertisements."
It is proposing to expand licences to define rights more precisely and says this "could allow some trading of interference rights between licensees without compromising the licensees' Broadcasting Act obligations" from some time next year.
This could involve relaxing the current 20 per cent limit on transmission of non-programme related
Services by licensees and consideration is also being given to an option to make available new general multiplex licences that "would give successful bidders full flexibility of use of the capacity and spectrum within the confines of the Eureka 147 technology."
There could also be effects on the special events and programming use of spectrum by broadcasters; this is currently handled though a sub-contract from to JFMG Ltd, a company owned by the ITV network and the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA).
No changes are proposed until the current contract ends but Ofcom comments that this approach may not be "sustainable in a widely traded spectrum environment."
Ofcom says it will consult separately on any proposals to extend administrative incentive pricing to
It also notes that in contrast to its plans for broadcast TV, "there is no immediate prospect of digital switchover in audio broadcasting."
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Ofcom consultative document (416 Kb PDF):
2003-11-20: In more US radio results, Pennsylvania-based Susquehanna Media has reported third quarter revenues up 4 % to USD 61.7 million with operating income up 2.4% to USD 17.3 million. Same station revenues were up 2% to USD 60.5 million and same station operating income was up 1.8% to USD 17.4 million.
In marked contrast, Radio Unica, which is in the middle of its pre-planned bankruptcy and the sale of its stations to Multicultural Broadcasting, reported net losses for the third quarter up by nearly half on the loss a year ago - from USD 5.5 million to USD 8.1 million.
The increase came despite a net revenue increase by 11% to USD 13.3 million but EBITDA was down from a positive USD 40,000 a year before to a loss of USD 2.1 million; Unica attributed the worsening to costs of around USD 3.1 million associated with the bankruptcy and sale combined with increased operating and interest expenses.
On the deals front, Union Broadcasting has exercised an option to purchase First Broadcasting Company's half of Triple-A KZPL-FM, Lee's Summit, in the Kansas City Market in Missouri for USD 10 million.
In Florida, Ava Maria University, Inc. has moved into radio with agreement on a USD 4.9 million purchase from Bel Meade Broadcasting of Smooth Jazz WNRW-FM licensed to San Carlos Park, and serving Ft. Myers-Naples-Marco Island.
In Nevada, 3 Points Media LLC has moved into Pioche with a USD 1.96 million cash purchase of Rock format KBZB-FM, Pioche, and in Maryland Win Radio Broadcasting Corp. is moving into radio with a USD 2.2 million cash purchase of Christian Talk WCTN-AM, Potomac, in the Bethesda market from Gla-Mar Broadcasting LLC.
In other US radio business, Sirius has announced an offering of just over 73 million shares of common stock priced at USD 2.10 per share. The offering, underwritten by UBS Securities LLC, is expected to close on November 24th and Sirius says it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of approximately USD 150 million for general corporate purposes, including investments in programming and retail and automotive distribution.
As part of the offering, the company granted UBS Securities an over-allotment option to purchase an additional 10.98 million shares. The stock issued in conjunction with this offering will be covered by the company's shelf registration statement.
2003-11-20: Australian commercial radio broadcasters who last month criticized the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) over its plans for digital radio test transmissions (See RNW Oct 29) have now announced a set of "key principles" that they want to agree with the Australian government concerning the development of digital radio broadcasting in Australia.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) chief executive Joan Warner in a speech to an Asia-Pacific symposium on digital radio broadcasting says it was vital that incumbent broadcasters in every country engage directly with governments over their regulatory policies.
"As broadcasters we must make Governments aware that for there to be any future for digital radio, it must be based firstly on a conversion model that allows for the needs of all incumbent broadcasters and their millions of listeners to be accommodated and to migrate over time to digital," she said.
Key principles set out by CRA call for a full conversion model for incumbent broadcasters; formal recognition and support for the rights and level of investment of the existing in-band broadcast community; spectrum to be reserved for industry driven digital radio trials and development projects; final decisions only to be made after incumbent broadcasters have fully assessed available technology and advised government in detail on preferred technology; a simulcast period of not less than 20 years to allow for change over to permanent conversion to digital radio broadcasting and for digital licences when issued to be granted permanently at no cost to incumbent commercial radio broadcasters who have paid for the analogue spectrum they occupy.
2003-11-20: UK Capital Radio has added to its strength in London, where flagship station Capital FM's ratings have been flagging, with a GBP 12 million (USD 20.4 million) purchase of hip-hop and RnB format Choice FM in which it already had a 19% stake; Capital also owns Capital Gold (pop and rock from the past four decades plus sport), which has also been losing audience in the capital in latest ratings, and new music format Xfm, which has been adding listeners as well as the Century FM (pop and rock format plus music and personalities talk)network, which is available only on digital in London.
Choice FM went on air in 1990 covering south London as Britain's first 24-hour soul music station, adding a second London FM frequency covering north London the next year. Capital took its original stake in it for GBP 3.3 million (USD 5.6 million) in October 2001. It is also available on a number of digital multiplexes.
Its founder and managing director Patrick Berry, who is to remain with the company as non-executive chairman, said the sale would protect Choice's programming and also "fully develop the potential of what the original shareholders and staff have built."
Capital already sells advertising on Choice and its chief executive David Mansfield said the investment complemented Capital's existing portfolio in London, adding that the station also had significant growth opportunities round the UK on digital.
2003-11-19: US radio representation firm Interep, which is involved in a major battle with rival and Clear Channel subsidiary Katz Media from whom it has recruited a number of senior executives and 100 plus staff, has also announced an agreement with Yahoo's Launch music destination to represent its Internet LAUNCHcast service through a joint agreement with Ronning/Lipset Radio, which was recently launched to handle representation for Internet radio services (See RNW Nov 8).
The situation regarding the Interep-Katz battle is still unclear, although a fight back by Katz is widely anticipated.
According to Radio Business Report, a plan to to form a new firm and take Katz's client base from Clear Channel was hatched around 18 months ago by Katz Media CEO Stu Olds who took the idea to Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild.
RBR says Guild told it that he could bring over core management plus a number of stations but planning for the new company was ended because Olds demanded too much.
Olds version to RBR was that Guild tried to entice him away from Katz but he refused the offer.
In a letter to Katz clients, Olds has written concerning the staff who defected of "profound sadness and disappointment in individuals who had always had my trust and support."
"It became clear," he continued, " that character, integrity and loyalty were no longer values that these individuals chose to embody. I wondered what sort of precedent this set for young sellers in our business and a new generation of media sales executives."
He then writes, "This is a moment in our collective history that can never be undone but it can be made right. Do we condone and reward this type of behaviour or do we stand for a higher standard of conducting business?"
"Fortunately, I have had the chance to speak with many of you personally. I appreciate the words of wisdom and support that you have conveyed to me through those phone calls. It seems we were all taken aback by this example of a new low standard in a business that has traditionally been about trust, long-term relationships and partnering for greater success."
He also accused the former Katz executives Steve Shaw, Tucker Flood and Mark Gray of lying to and misleading their employees, saying they "told their staff that because management was leaving, the Katz Radio Group would no longer exist and therefore they would be on the street with no job or health insurance."
He goes on to assure clients that "Nothing could be further from the truth" and assure them that Katz is remaining in business.
Previous Clear Channel:
RBR Online site:
2003-11-19: UK GWR has joined the ranks of UK radio groups reporting an advertising upturn in recent months and has also reported a 5% increase in its UK analogue revenues over a year ago to GBP 55.3 million (USD 93.4 million) in the six months to the end of September.
Group turnover for the period was up on turnover up 0.2% to GBP 62.4 million (USD 105.4 million) with Operating profits, before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items up 46% to GBP 8.5 million (USD 14.4 million).
Overall GWR ended up with a profit of GBP 4.7 million (USD 7.89 million) compared to a loss in the year earlier period of GBP 14.67 million (USD 24.8 million). This years figures were boosted by a net exceptional gain of GBP 4.6 million (USD 7.8million) resulting from a GBP 5.4 million (USD 9.1 million) profit on the sale of overseas businesses and other investments, partially offset by GBP 700,000 (USD 1.2 million) of restructuring costs whereas last years included GBP 14 million (23.7 million) in amortisation costs and exceptional items.
GWR has also reduced net debt by GBP 34 million (USD 57.5 million) to GBP 65.2 million, mainly with proceeds from the sale of Vibe Radio Services and its radio interests in Hungary (See RNW May 23).
GWR said group radio advertising revenues were up by 16% year on year in October and it expected them be up by 9% year on year in November and executive chairman Ralph Bernard said signs were "reasonably good."
"Our efforts to restructure and refocus the business over the last 12 months have begun to bear fruit," he added. "We have seen sharp improvements in our operating margin and profitability with the Local Radio Group outstripping the competition. Better trading conditions have helped and if these continue, we are confident that GWR will be able to extend the leading position in the radio industry that our strong brands and digital assets have given us."
GWR was also upbeat about the performance of Classic FM, noting that it is now the third most popular station in London, after Capital FM and Chrysalis's Heart FM and also about the future of digital radio.
It was also upbeat about digital radio, noting that it already makes a profit from its digital operations - GBP 1.1 million (USD 1.86 million) in the half-year, just more than double the level of a year before.
GWR has a 63% share in the only national commercial digital multiplex and three national digital radio services (Classic FM, Core, and Planet Rock) as well as 15 local digital multiplexes and says "Our influence over these distribution networks will be a key strategic advantage as this new medium rapidly develops."
It noted that Sony is to start selling portable digital receivers and the latest ratings, which showed a significant new audience for digital radio, as evidence of the importance of the medium and the success of its digital offerings in reaching their target audiences.
GWR says it continues to forecast a total net cost, for our digital activities for the full year, of approximately GBP 5 million (USD 8.5 million) and says it will continue its investment programme "at the current level, supported by the increasing digital revenue streams, to maintain the Group's position at the forefront of digital development."
GWR also announced that Alastair Ross Goobey, a senior adviser to Morgan Stanley, is to become its independent deputy chairman next year when Roger Gilbert of the Daily Mail & General Trust, which owns just under 30% of the group, steps down. It has yet to announce a replacement for its former chief executive Patrick Taylor, who left in the summer following re-organization (See RNW June 18).
GWR's report follows a similar upbeat report yesterday from Chrysalis (See RNW Nov 18) and encouraging comments about an advertising turnaround last week from Capital.
2003-11-19: The Amit Mitra panel for radio broadcast policy, named after secretary -general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has recommended that India allow up to 26% direct foreign ownership in the country's commercial radio sector and a change to drop the fixed licence fee in favour of a revenue sharing arrangement plus an entry fee.
The panel says the entry fee should be determined through competitive bidding so as to set a "true value" on the frequency. It also said there should be allocation of multiple licences in the same city and broadcasters should be allowed to network several stations.
To maintain Indian control, the panel says that as well as capping foreign ownership. Three-quarters of the directors of a licensee and all key executives and editorial staff should be resident Indians although for entertainment channels exceptions could be allowed to allow some of them to be people of Indian origin or non-resident Indians.
Information and Broadcasting Secretary Pawan Chopra said the government will study each recommendation before taking any action on the report.
Proposals have also been announced by Indian state broadcaster All India Radio to introduce a 24-hour all-news channel in April next year.
Previous All India Radio:
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India report on Mitra Panel:
2003-11-19: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced that it has reached a settlement with Carlow Kildare Radio and others (CKR FM) regarding the station's Supreme Court appeal on the award of licences for the franchise areas of Kildare and Carlow/Kilkenny to Kfm and KCLR FM respectively. Under the agreement, CKR FM has withdrawn its appeal to the Irish Supreme Court and will continue broadcasting until the end of January next year.
The High Court had upheld both of the Commission decisions at the end of July (See RNW Licence News, Aug 3) and BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said the Commission was delighted to have reached an amicable agreement and looked forward t having both new stations on air early next year.
2003-11-18: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh returned to the airwaves on Monday after a five-week absence during which he took treatment for addiction to painkillers; his last broadcast before going for the treatment in Arizona was on October 10.
He began in usual vein with self-promotion, saying to his audience "I know the sky probably seems brighter, the air cleaner " and so on because he was back, and also describing his show in terms of the "award-winning, thrill-packed, ever-exciting, increasingly popular, growing-by-leaps-and-bounds Rush Limbaugh program on the Excellence in Broadcasting Network."
He continued, "I cannot tell you how excited I am, how happy I am to be back. It is one of the biggest thrills of my life to be here and once again sharing and discussing and talking things over with you."
After speaking of nerves about his return, he said he had not kept in touch with the news during his rehabilitation, a period he termed "probably the most educational and informative five weeks on myself and about me that I ever have spent, and I would have had no idea how to do this myself."
Commenting on his treatment, he brought politics into the frame with a comment, " I know that because of some comments that I got many people feel and think that when you go to a rehabilitation centre for addictions or other things, that the people in there turn you into a linguini-spined liberal, and that's not true. No effort was made whatsoever. There's no ideological reference whatsoever in these things."
And of his own capability to handle addiction he commented, "I'm just like anybody else who has an addiction. I'm powerless over it, and I have to continue to recognize that and make sure that the things that I've learned continue to be practiced. It's a challenge, but it's exciting."
Limbaugh is still being investigated by authorities in Palm Beach, Florida, over allegations related to illegal supply of his drugs and is reported to have hired celebrity lawyer Roy Black to represent him, although it is unlikely he will be prosecuted.
Commenting on this he said, "This is something that I am not able to be as blunt and open about now as I'd like to be. That day will come, and it will come soon."
Limbaugh web site (Links to audio and transcript of comments):
2003-11-18: UK radio has received a further boost in the latest interim results and forecasts, this time from Chrysalis, which in the year to the end of August reported total radio revenues up 14.1% on a year earlier to GBP 56.1 million (USD 94.7 million) and like-for-like revenues, excluding the results of LBC and the disposal of Galaxy 101, up 12.4% to GBP 52.5 million (USD 88.7 million).
Total group revenues were up 4.5% to GBP 246.0 million (USD 415.5 million) and Group EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortisation) was up 6.0% to GBP 14.2 million (USD 24 million); excluding LBC first year losses, it was up 35.6% to GBP 18.1million (USD 30.6 million). Total operating profit was slightly down - from GBP 10.5 million (USD 17.7 million) to GBP 10.4 million (USD 17.5 million) but it increased its final dividend from 0.65 p to 1p per share. During the 2002-2003 year Chrysalis, which is concentrating on radio, sold its TV division for GBP 50.8 million (USD 85.8 million), paying a special 5p dividend in connection with this.
Chrysalis also said it had made an "excellent start to the new financial year, with trading across all divisions in line with current expectations."
"Chrysalis Radio," it said, "has continued to experience buoyant trading in the first quarter of the 2004 financial year, with revenues for the division up an estimated 17.5%, compared to the industry, which we believe to be trading between 5% and 6% up over the corresponding period."
"Recent audience figures - particularly Heart 106.2 becoming the most listened to commercial station in the London market - ongoing improvements in yield, and the progress made to date at LBC, give us confidence that we should be able to deliver another year of industry outperformance and margin improvement. This will ensure that we are in the strongest possible position to capitalise on any opportunities that may arise in the newly deregulated media environment."
Chrysalis chairman Chris Wright said it had been "another good year for Chrysalis Group, evidenced by continued outperformance from our radio and music businesses and strong progress in the execution of our corporate strategy."
Chief executive, Richard Huntingford said the "encouraging start to the new financial year - particularly from our radio division - puts us in a great position to deliver strong earnings growth for shareholders. Our strong balance sheet and proven management track record positions us well to capitalise on any opportunities that may arise in the newly deregulated media environment."
He added that the company was now getting more early bookings and expected a further boost from the most recent ratings that showed its London Heart station overtaking Capital FM in terms of listening.
"From our perspective," said Huntingford, "if you bear in mind the recent RAJAR figures we are only just starting to trade off those numbers - these are numbers that will affect December, January and February."
Of its other remaining divisions, Music revenues were up 12% to GBP 71.4 million (USD 120.6 million) with EBIT up 86.8% to GBP 3.8 million (USD 6.4 million) but books revenue was down 9.3% to GBP 30.7 with EBITA down from a positive 3.7 million (USD 6.3 million) to a loss of GBP 1.6 million (USD 2.7 million); Chrysalis has now re-organized the division and says "the controls that have been implemented as a result of the restructuring have laid a solid foundation for the recovery of Chrysalis Books."
Its TV division, which was sold on Aug 29, had recorded a revenue fall of 2.2% to GBP 87 million (USD 147 million) but EBITA up 71.0% to GBP 7.3 million (USD 12.3 million).
2003-11-18: In more US third quarter results, Seattle-based Fisher Communications, which owns 24 radio stations in the Pacific Northwest, reported a loss from continuing operations for the quarter to the end of September of USD3.28 million, nearly seven times the USD 482,000 loss of a year earlier on revenues up 20% to USD 36.2 million; adding in losses from discontinued operations took this up to USD 4.3 million, USD 0.50 per share.
For the nine months to the end of September, on revenues up 15% to USD 103.9 million Fisher made a loss from continuing operations of USD 8.77 million (USD 1.02 per share) including a USD 2.39 million gain from the sale of marketable securities; adding in losses from discontinued operations took the nine-month consolidated net loss to USD 11.5 million, USD 1.34 per share, compared to figures a year earlier of a consolidated net loss of $918,000 (USD 0.10 per share).
To cut its losses, Fisher had already sold its last two commercial properties for some USD 52 million, using most of the proceeds to cut debt; It is also selling two stations in Portland, Oregon, and two TV stations in Georgia and anticipates these deals closing by the end of the year; they should bring it around USD 76 million, which will also be used to reduce debt by the end of the year to half that of a year earlier.
Also in the US, the Federal Communications Commission has now started transferring Radio Unica's licences to its debtor in possession, a stage in its pre-packaged bankruptcy plan to sell its stations for USD 150 million to Multicultural Broadcasting, Inc. (See RNW Oct 5).
2003-11-18: BBC World Service yesterday launched a new dedicated service for Afghanistan that will include broadcasts in all the key languages spoken in the country.
The backbone of the new schedule will be domestic and international news with a strong emphasis on discussion and interactive debate on civil society and democratic politics; it features three hour blocks of new programming in Persian and Pashto plus some English and Uzbek, running at breakfast, lunchtime and evening every day.
The schedule will also include education, arts and science programmes, special programmes for women and children; as well as the popular drama serial New Home New Life.
The service launch coincides with the commissioning of three new FM relays - in Konduz, Faizabad and Pol e Khomri - this week, in addition to established FM relays in Kabul, Mazar e Sharif, Bamyan - a solar-powered transmitter - and Jalalabad.
In addition seven more FMs, including relays in Khost, Maimana, and Kandahar, are due to open by the end of this year.
Also new to the airwaves were two commercial stations that broke the 68-years old monopoly of state broadcaster Dansk Radio.
Sky Radio in Denmark, part of the News International Empire, went on air at the weekend with a mixture of pop music, half-hourly news summaries and a daily magazine show centred around sex and marital relations.
The second new station now on air in Denmark is commercial station, Radio 100FM, owned by Netherlands-based Talpa Radio International. Sky's nationwide signal will reach around 80% of Denmark's 5.3 million population whilst that of 100FM only half that (See RNW June 19).
2003-11-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 11,000 fine on Southern Media Communications Inc., licensee of WBCA-AM, Bay Minnette, Alabama, for failure to have operational Emergency Alert System Equipment and its failure to register its antenna structure.
The penalty follows the issuing of a notice of apparent violation in September last year and Southern Media had sought cancellation of the forfeiture "in consideration of the immediate response . . . and the problem being fixed."
It provided an invoice dated June 21, 2001, showing that it paid Tuned Circuits, Inc., for "initial work on tower registration for Bay Minette and Atmore" and also a letter certifying that the EAS equipment had been repaired.
The Commission in response noted that the tower was still not registered and pointed out that the
Repair did not justify the cancellation; it confirmed the penalty and also gave it 30 days to advise whether the tower had now been registered. It also warned "continued non-compliance could result in additional enforcement action by the Enforcement Bureau."
2003-11-17: This week we start our look at print cover of radio with a combination of history and today in the form of the newest version of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood that was broadcast on Saturday on BBC Radio 4.
As we reported last month (See RNW Oct 23) this version marries the voice of Richard Burton from the original 1954 broadcast with a new cast in the other roles and it attracted plaudits on the Radio 4 web site, many from listeners who asked when it would be repeated and when it would be on sale (The BBC has not said this will be issued on CD and the original production is still available on CD at around GBP 12 (USD 20)).
Not everyone preferred the new version, although all seem to have appreciated it, including UK Observer radio critic Sue Arnold whose column on Sunday was headed, "A cleaned-up Burton? I liked him dirty."
After noting that she had stashed away her review copy of the original - supplied when it was rebroadcast on Radio 3 six years ago - she then proceeded to review both versions.
"For me, the magic (and do not doubt it - that first production truly was magical)," she wrote, " began with the announcement in the usual sepulchral tones of all dinner-jacketed radio announcers: 'This is the BBC Third Programme.'"
She then briefly summarised the work as, "For those who have never heard or, indeed, heard of Under Milk Wood, it is a poetical evocation of a single typical day in a single typical Welsh fishing village called Llareggub. (RNW note - reverse that!)"
" The new version, we were told, would retain Burton as narrator but with his voice digitally enhanced to erase all imperfections. In the old version, you could hear Burton rustling the pages of his script. I suppose that had to go but was it really necessary to tidy up his delivery, tone down his stresses and regulate his rhythm so assiduously? What happened to the passion? "
"Far from being odious, comparisons can be incredibly revealing, as I discovered playing the two versions side by side. I don't mean to carp. If you had never heard Under Milk Wood before, you would have been as enchanted with last week's version as I was with the 1954 broadcast."
"And yes, there are improvements. Sian Phillips as the Second Voice was glorious and maybe it does take a woman's venom to do justice to Mr Pugh, eating stew across the table from his wife while reading from Lives of the Great Poisoners under plain wrapper as he cooks up 'a fricassee of deadly nightshade, nicotine, hot frogs, cyanide, bat spit for his bed nag of a poker-back nutcracker wife'."
In the UK Sunday Times, Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column looks forward to this week's BBC World Service "season " on HIV/AIDs that will be include broadcasts on all the 43 language services and will include debates, a global poll, and concerts in London and Cape Town.
Among the reasons Donovan gives for flagging up the season, the one he ranks as most important is that "there are some admirable programmes coming up."
Among them, he notes:" Allan Little's Discovery - The Story of HIV/Aids, the only part of the season to have started already, is outstandingly clear in its narrative, and presented by a correspondent who clearly has always loved Africa without being sentimental about it."
He then refers to Health Matters, which starts airing today, and asks why fewer than 1% of India's adults are infected, compared with 20% in South Africa, reports from China, where 700,000 people have contracted Aids through blood transfusions and dirty needles.
Also noted is Heart and Soul - Aids and Faith; this starts next week and examines the sensitive subject of Aids and the world's religions.
After more comment Donovan raises a salient point, writing, "At a more fundamental level, on what basis does the BBC select its topics? Nobody disputes the horrors that the Aids pandemic has visited on the world, but it is not the planet's biggest killer."
"More children die each year from being underweight (3.3million, or 9,000 a day) than the number of people who perish from Aids (2.8million). Almost as many each year die from diarrhoea (2.1million), and when did anybody last do a season on that?"
"The trouble is, of course, that ailments such as malaria and respiratory infection do not have the celebrity clout that figures like Sir Ian McKellen and Beyoncé, both of whom appear in the BBC's concerts, bring to the anti-Aids campaign. Isn't it time these causes had their own champions and their own World Service seasons?"
Whilst the BBC World Service was gaining praise in the UK, in the US former Voice of America director Sanford J. Ungar was bemoaning cut-backs in the broadcaster's English-language news and features service that has been cut back by around a quarter.
"The change," wrote Ungar in the Washington Post, "was dictated by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the bipartisan, part-time group of private citizens that supervises VOA and other government broadcast agencies. On the basis of its "research," it no longer regards English as a "Priority One" language."
"The irony is that this occurs even as other policymakers in the executive branch and on Capitol Hill, along with members of hastily convened commissions, wring their hands over how to improve America's "public diplomacy" effort in these tense times and get others to better understand the United States. They seem willing to spend billions on that effort, while VOA, for more than 61 years one of the taxpayers' biggest bargains, is cut back."
"How is this for enlightened government policy," he continued, " As of this month, for five crucial hours a day -- during morning "drive time" in Eastern Europe and parts of Africa, late morning in the Middle East and early evening in East Asia -- the straight news reporting of VOA about events in the United States and around the world is no longer available in English on short-wave, FM or the Internet, except for a six-minute newscast at the top of the hour. The cost savings will amount to about a million dollars a year."
Ungar notes that VOA will still be broadcasting in many other languages and notes the constraints under which the decision was made but then continues "there is something fundamentally absurd about sharply reducing VOA's reach in America's own primary language, increasingly dominant, for better or worse, in business, science, education and information technology around the world."
"Indeed, since the 24-hour continuous service in English, "VOA News Now," was launched in the late l990s, others have followed: the BBC, Germany's Deutsche Welle, Radio Australia and Radio Japan. Radio France International is said to be planning many hours of English in a new round-the-clock television service. These, among other international broadcasters, including al-Jazeera, will be richly amused by the VOA cutbacks. They will also inherit new listeners and viewers."
RNW comment: In the context of a USD 87 billion budget for spending on Iraq - and even allowing for the fact that by far the largest part of this is going on spending on the US military then on contracts for USD firms, the cut-back seems to particularly mean-minded and inept in the current world situation assuming that the US administration believes even only a tiny fraction of its rhetoric about defending freedom and democracy.
Finally another example of mean-mindedness - or maybe just partisan bigotry in Conservative US reactions to the USD 200 million bequest to US National Public Radio (NPR) by the late Joan Kroc, widow of, as Brent Bozell put it, "McDonald's franchising genius" Ray Kroc.
Bozell attacks Joan Kroc for other donations to the Democrats and terms her a "Mommy Peacebucks" before going on to speculate the reaction there would have been had "generous conservative philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife left one tenth Kroc's amount to NPR in his estate."
"You know exactly what would happen, from coast to coast," he continued. "The political left would rush to the rooftops to proclaim, in a panic, that NPR was being dangerously compromised, politicized, dragged to a right-wing extreme. Everywhere, there would be a call for NPR to honour its commitment to objective journalism by returning that gift."
He also attacked NPR, commenting, "Let's be clear about something here. NPR didn't need that money. They report their annual budget is $100 million a year from public and private sources, more than enough for even lazy liberals to run a radio network."
RNW comment: Not being American, our comments are from the outside, but we doubt very much that NPR would turn down any such sizeable bequest made by a Conservative American without any strings attached. True there may be some left-wing bigots who would take the view that Bozell ascribes to them but we'd love to see him and his colleagues meet a challenge: Go ahead Mr. Bozell. Find a suitable donor - why not A. Jerrold Perenchio or one of the Mays family who are not exactly beloved of the left - and get them to offer a few million dollars without strings to NPR. We rather doubt there'd be much chance of it being refused!
And as for a budget of USD 100 million a year to run a network, look at the annual reports of Clear Channel, Viacom and other US network owners - to see how far that sum might really go, especially if devoted to news rather than music outlets.
BBC Web site - Under Milk Wood comments page:
BBC World Service web site - Aids season page (Links to audio of various programmes):
Media Research Organization - Bozell column:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Ungar:
2003-11-17: Doris Bauer who as regular caller Doris from Rego Park became an institution on Infinity's New York sports station WFAN-AM has died aged 58 from complications from breast and lung cancer.
She was distinguished by her cough and loyalty to the New York Mets and became one of the best-known callers to the overnight programme on the station.
According to the New York Times, WFAN learned last week that she was ill in a call from Short Al from Brooklyn, who told them she was in hospital. On Tuesday overnight host Joe Benigno broke the news of her death at her usual 1 a.m. call-in time and also let listeners know that she had been disfigured from a lifelong disease, neurofibromatosis.
Benigno told the paper, "Doris's whole life was the Mets, baseball and calling the station. It was the little joy she had in life. This was her family."
"She was by far the most well-known of my callers; it's not even close. I'd say, 80 percent of the people I meet ask me: `Who's this Doris? Who's the lady with the cough?'"
Bauer, who lived her entire adult life in Queens with her Jewish parents who had fled the Holocaust, was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan as a child but turned her loyalties to the Mets after the Dodgers left New York; She had a regular Sunday box seat at Shea Stadium.
A posting on the station web site said the WFAN Family was "deeply saddened" to hear of her death, adding, "Over the years, Doris has become part of the tapestry of WFAN and a friend to many of the on-air hosts and staff. Her loyalty to this station and her beloved Mets was unmatched. The passion with which she shared her knowledge and insight was constant reminder of what Baseball meant to her, even in her last days."
New York Times report:
WFAN web site (In Memoriam page):
2003-11-16: Last week was one more of reports than licence work for many of the regulators: In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has announced no radio licence decisions over the past week but it has issued the results of a study of the state of commercial radio in the country that shows it has rebounded from the down period of the early 90s (See RNW Nov 15).
In Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chairman Charles Dalfen praised the work of the country's broadcasters during emergencies in a speech to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) 2003 Annual Convention. (See RNW Nov 12).
The CRTC has also been reasonably active in licence decisions: Among those announced (in order of province) were:
*Approval of conversion to FM of CKBC-AM, Bathurst.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Extension until 20 February 2004 of deadline for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Newfoundland and Labrador to commence operation of new transmitters of VOAR-AM, Mount Pearl, at Mount Pearl, Springdale and Wabush.
*Approval of a new 1,2000 watts FM transmitter in Hearst for CKAP-FM Kapuskasing.
*Approval of new 50 watts English- and Aboriginal-language Native Type B FM radio programming undertaking in Fort Frances.
*Approval of Cogeco Diffusion Inc.'s acquisition, as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of the radio station CJEC-FM Québec:
*Approval of conversion to FM of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBGA-AM at Matane that broadcasts CBC's La Première Chaîne plus 40 hours a week of local programming. It will operate using a 42,930 watts transmitter.
*Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence of CHRC-AM, Québec.
*Renewal until August 31, 2010, of the licence of CFVD-FM Dégelis and its transmitters CFVD-FM-2 Pohénégamook and CFVD-FM-3 Squatec.
*Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence of CJSO-FM Sorel-Tracy.
*Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence of CFLM-AM, La Tuque.
*Extension until 4 April 2004 of deadline for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence the operation of the new FM radio station at Ottawa/Gatineau (formerly Ottawa/Hull).Extension until 1 April 2004 of deadline for Radio Témiscamingue inc. to commence the operation of new FM to replace CKVM-AM, Ville-Marie.
*In all the Quebec renewals, the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) filed an intervention about the use of the Commission's use of its streamlined process in connection with them, suggesting more information was needed before automatic seven-year-renewal.
*Short-term renewal until August 31, 2005 of the licence of CFCR-FM Saskatoon; the short term was given to allow time to allow a review of the licensee's compliance with regulations and followed a review of Canadian musical selections broadcast by the station that was incomplete because the station could not provide logger tapes for part of the period concerned.
The Commission noted that it "remains concerned about the licensee's past record of non-compliance. It notes, however, that its most recent analysis indicated that CFCR-FM was operating in compliance with the terms of the Regulations as they relate to the broadcast of Canadian musical selections and the maintenance of logger tapes."
Amendment of the licence of oldies format CKJH, Melfort, to allow it to broadcast a lower level of Canadian music than the normal minimum 35%; Oldies stations may request that this be reduced to 30%
*Approval of power decrease from 100,000 watts to 96,400 watts that reflects the "as-built" technical parameters of CBC's CKSB-FM-1, Regina.
Both the UK and Ireland were quiet on radio; there was nothing from Ireland or from the UK, where the Radio Authority has now issued all the major new licences it will handle before handing over to the new Ofcom regulator. The main announcement from Ofcom was of the appointment of three principal legal professionals.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has again been in action on the enforcement front with a USD fine on another Florida pirate operator (See RNW Nov 14); it has also proposed a USD 4,000 penalty on a North Carolina College station over a competition (See RNW Nov 15).
Other enforcement actions included the levying of a USD 20,000 penalty on a Puerto Rican station owner for tower-related offences and in North Carolina allowed a takeover but levied a penalty of
USD 19,250 on the seller in relation to misrepresentation (See RNW Nov 11).
It dismissed however, an appeal by a Birmingham, Alabama, man for a review of its dismissal of complaints made against Clear Channel's WERC-AM, Birmingham.
The FCC had dismissed the complaints as moot on the grounds of the repeal of the rule following a decision by the US Court of Appeals but the complainant Orrin R. Ford had argued that his complaint should not have been dismissed because the rules were still in effect at the time he made his complaint.
The FCC disagreed and said," Although the personal attack rule was in effect at the time of Ford's alleged violations, the Mass Media Bureau correctly chose not to exercise its discretion to enforce this rule under the circumstances in this case."
"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit indicated that it had concerns about the constitutionality of the personal attack rule. The Commission was unable to justify retention of the rule to the court's satisfaction, resulting in the court's directing the Commission to repeal the rule. Any attempt to enforce the personal attack rule under these circumstances would most likely result in substantial resources being expended litigating the constitutionality of a rule that no longer exists."
The FCC has also issued its latest list of registered station numbers in the US (See RNW Nov 13) and announced that Dec 1 is the deadline for biennial ownership reports to be filed by both commercial and non-commercial stations in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site:
2003-11-16: BBC Radio 1 is reported to be poised to sign up the JK and Joel breakfast team from Emap's KEY 103 station in Manchester if they are available when their contract runs out next year.
Their agent says they are happy at Key and are also lining up TV work; the BBC says it will not poach them but would be interested if the duo were thinking of moving on.
2003-11-15: Big City Radio has moved into the final stages of its closure with the announcement that shareholders have voted to approve the company's liquidation plans that were approved by its board in August (See RNW Aug 26).
It is to file details of the plan with the SEC and later the company, which is incorporated in Delaware, has announced that it intends to delist its stock from the American Stock Exchange on or about the time that it files its certificate of dissolution with the Delaware Secretary of State. It will then cease filings to the SEC.
In the "repping" business, Interep, which has recently lost a number of contracts to Katz Media, particularly that of Citadel (See RNW Oct 4), , is fighting back and has announced that it has appointed three former Katz executives to senior positions with it; it has also attracted new financing and has announced a merger of rep firms Allied and McGavren Guild, under the name McGavren Guild.
Former Katz Radio Group President Steve Shaw is to become co-President and COO at Interep; he, Tucker Flood and Mark Gray, are to work with current Co-President and -COO George Pine to "expand both market share for clients and the radio industry's share of total available advertising dollars."
Shaw will report to Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild, who commented, "I know that Steve, Tucker, Mark and I all share a common vision for radio's future," Guild commented. "Now that they have joined our team, we can expect larger shares of current budgets for our client stations."
Lisa Sirotka, formerly president of Allied, will serve as the president of McGavren Guild and Pine commented that the merger "should provide valuable synergies that will strengthen both McGavren and Interep overall," said Pine. In a related move, Tom Poulos, the former President of MGG Radio, will now serve as a Boston-based consultant to Interep.
Interep also says it is to gain "significant" financing from private equity firm Boston Ventures Management, which will get two seats on Interep's Board Boston Ventures General Partner Barry Baker said of the arrangement, "I have known Ralph for 30 years when he represented my first radio station. Boston Ventures is excited about the opportunity to partner with Interep to provide the equity financing necessary to support the growth that will follow from this investment."
So far Katz has not formally responded to the move or to rumours that Interep has attracted many more Katz employees to join new rep firms that Interep is to create.
In other US radio business, the past week saw a number of US radio deals, led by the announcement by Jefferson-Pilot Communications' announcement that it intends to buy former alternative station KFSD-FM, San Diego, from North County Broadcasting Corporation; it has already commenced simulcasting the signal of its country station KSON-FM from the station, thus significantly strengthening its Country music in the market, particularly to North County where KSON had a weak signal.
In North Carolina, Sea-Comm has announced agreement to buy Adult Standards format WWTB-FM, Topsail Beach, from Jacksonville-Topsail Radio for USD 2.3 million; it already has five FMs serving the Wilmington and Jacksonville areas.
In Massachusetts, Vox Radio Group has announced agreement to buy Berkshire Broadcasting Co., which owns WNAW-AM and WMNB-FM in North Adams and WSBS-AM in Great Barrington. Vox, which owns 35 stations in New England, says the deal will allow it to create a radio network serving all of Berkshire County. No terms have been released.
In Indiana, Dille & Erlacher is spending USD 1.2 million to enter the Warsaw market with the purchase of WRSW-AM and FM from GBC Media and in Wisconsin, Cumulus has now closed its USD 8.1 million acquisition of Country format WPCK-FM and WPKR-FM, Appleton, from Midwest Dimensions.
Previous Big City:
2003-11-15: Australian Commercial Radio has steadily recovered since it fell back in 1990-1991 and has also retained its share of broadcast advertising revenue over the past decade according to a study commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).
The study on financial trends in commercial radio put down a loss of AUD 19 million (USD 13.7 million) down to a combination of national recession coinciding with higher capital expenditure but the industry has been profitable ever year since then.
The report says that since 1978-79, commercial radio revenue has risen by an average of 8.05 per cent per annum, compared with an average of 9.48 per cent per annum for television but over the past decade the radio industry's share of main media advertising has been a constant eight per cent. During this period total radio advertising grew in real terms by 25 per cent, or an average of 2.98 per cent per annum.
Over the five years from 1997-98 to 2001-02, Australian commercial radio profit before interest and taxation (PBIT) and profit before taxation (PBT) increased by 8.3 and 16.2 per cent respectively with FMs, which took some 70% of the total metropolitan advertising revenue, outperforming AMs
Since 1947, says the report, the Australian population has increased by an average of 1.8 per cent annually and the number of radio stations has increased by an average of 1.7 per cent annually, with most of the increase in the last decade.
The number of FM stations increased by 32.1 per cent between 1997-98 and 2001-02 whereas the number of AM stations increased by only by 1.9 per cent over the same period: At the end of 2002 the country had 140 FM stations and 108 AM stations.
Commenting on the study ABA chairman Professor David Flint said it "provides a picture of the financial performance of commercial radio over a period when the competitive environment and regulatory regime changed substantially An examination of the financial data collected by the ABA and its predecessor over a 20-year period enables a better understanding of the interplay between industry structure and profitability and the regulatory environment. We hope that the study stimulates discussion of the issues raised in the report."
ABA report (456 kb PDF):
2003-11-15: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a penalty of USD 4,000 on Isothermal College's WNCW-FM, Spindale, North Carolina, for breaches of its regulations concerning competitions.
The penalty relates to an on-air raffle broadcast in April last year and the FCC said it failed to make it clear that no consideration was required to take part and also did not air the contest's rules.
There were also complaints concerning maintenance of the station's sponsors list and that the station had sent harassing e-mails in reprisal for a complaint against the FCC.
Isothermal admits that "there was no regular schedule for the broadcast of contest rules" but said the station's complete contest rules available on its website but the FCC said it should have broadcast details of the rules during the contest and said "listeners might reasonably conclude that they would have to make membership pledges in order to be entered into the contest."
On the complaint of intimidation it said the e-mails were not threatening.
2003-11-15: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings, which yet again showed the same players but a little chair swapping at the top end where listening was down for most, and especially for Virgin, which fell out of the top five station ranks.
For the week to November 2, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 653,722 (681,441); CP - 231,574 (230,385). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 334,669 (314,174); CP - 44,949 (43,741). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 286,161 (298,046); CP 117,357 (120,767). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 269,400 (287,768); CP 164,250 (187,325): Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL 252,223 (261,576); CP - 61,181 (61,545). Up from sixth with lower listening and reach.
* Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - fell from fifth to seventh with TTSL 231,862 (270,063); CP - 41,098 (52,833).
The top five networks for the week to November 2 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,298,979 (6,437,944); CP - 1,650,778 (1,716,488). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,982,410 (3,866,613); CP - 919,614 (895,287). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,055,835 (2,096,719); CP - 499,343 (490,128). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,164,161 (1,143,567); CP - 147,126 (150,645) - Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 490,057 (530,996); CP -70,092 (82,002) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,601,820, up from 2,587,667 and StreamGuys with TTSL 558,252, down from 564,893.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-11-14: Spanish language media results dominated US radio business results on Thursday with strong performances from a trio of companies, Entravision, LBI Media , and Univision, whose radio division now includes the former Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation.
Entravision reported third quarter net revenues, adjusted to reflect its former, publishing operations as discontinued operations, up 8% to USD 64.4 million. adjusted EBITDA up 15% to USD 19.4 million and broadcast cash flow up 11% to USD 23.5 million; for the first nine months of the year, Entravision's adjusted net revenues were up 10% to USD 176.8 million its adjusted EBITDA was up 7% to USD 49.9 million and broadcast cash flow was up 14% to USD 60.1 million..
Net income for the quarter was up from USD 582,000 a year earlier to USD 901,00 (from two cents a share to five cents) and for the nine months Entravision turned a loss of USD 8.73 million (14 cents a share) to a profit of USD 3.53 million (4 cents a share). The 2002 figure included a SD 1.6 million charge to settle a contract dispute with Interep, Entravision's former national rep firm.
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa said, "Entravision recorded solid revenue and cash flow growth in the third quarter driven by industry leading results from our television and radio groups."
"For the fourth quarter, we expect revenue growth of 5-6% over the fourth quarter of 2002. However, on a pro forma basis excluding political revenue, we expect revenue growth to be a robust 9-11% in a difficult quarter. We continue to see increased demand from advertisers across our station group. Our Univision and TeleFutura stations are significantly outperforming their general market peers and are on pace to deliver double-digit growth for the full year. Our radio group is seeing strong demand from national advertisers and our Los Angeles cluster continues to exceed expectations, having already achieved its full-year ratings share goal."
"With our assets in the fastest growing and most densely populated U.S. Hispanic markets and the expanding influence of the Hispanic consumer we are uniquely positioned to serve advertisers as they seek to reach this exciting market."
LBI Media, which owns 15 radio stations and three TV stations and terms itself "the largest privately-held, Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States", reported net revenues up 24% on the quarter a year earlier to USD 22.8 million with adjusted EBITDA for the quarter up 30% to USD 12.6 million and net income of USD 5.9 million for the quarter, compared to a net loss of USD 7.3 million for the same period of 2002.
For the nine months to the end of September net revenues were up 19% to USD 61.9 million, adjusted EBITDA was up 15% to USD32.6 million and net income moved from a loss of USD 10.4 million a year ago to a profit of USD 13.2 million this year.
It put the income growth down to increased revenues and the effects in the earlier period of a refinancing of its former senior credit facility and senior notes that cost USD 8.6 million combined with a USD 1.8 million non-cash impairment charge recorded during the third quarter of 2002 to reduce the carrying value of one of the Company's broadcast licenses.
For the third quarter radio division net revenues increased 20% to USD 12.7 million and adjusted EBITDA was up 33% to USD 7.4 million whilst TV revenues were up 30% to USD 10.1 and TV adjusted EBITDA was up 27% to USD5.2 million.
For the nine months radio division net revenues were up 18% to USD 34.1 million with adjusted EBITDA up 14% to USD18.5 million whilst TV revenues were up 21% to USD 27.8 million with adjusted TV EBITDA up 17% to USD 14.1 million.
Commenting on the Company's results, Executive Vice President Lenard Liberman said, "We are very proud of our performance on a same station sales and adjusted EBITDA basis for the third quarter of 2003. "
"Our net revenue and adjusted EBITDA growth rates compare very favourably to our Spanish-language competitors. Additionally, these growth rates are more pronounced when compared to the general market."
"We experienced a balanced contribution of revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth from our television and radio properties in the Los Angeles, Houston and San Diego markets. A combination of our existing customer base, increases in new advertisers and a favourable Spanish language advertising market contributed to our net revenue growth."
Univision reported net revenues up 19% in the third quarter to USD 321.1 million with net income up 108% to USD 42.2 million whilst earning per share doubled from eight to sixteen cents.
Within this TV revenues 18% to USD 283.9 million whilst the radio division - Univision Radio, which incorporates the former Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation that was taken over in September- had net revenues of USD 7.4 million with same station revenues up 9.7%.
For the first nine months of the year, Univision revenues were up 12% to USD 902.9 million with net income available to common stockholders up 93% to USD 96.6 million and earnings per share nearly doubling from 20 cents to 37 cents a share.
Univision Communications Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer A. Jerrold Perenchio said the company was "extremely pleased with Univision Communications' performance in the third quarter and the integration of HBC into the Univision family."
"This merger and the creation of Univision Radio," he added, "has opened important new avenues of growth, as the combined company has achieved the scale and scope to better serve advertisers and the rapidly growing Hispanic community. We expect that Univision's new ability to offer advertisers the brand building power of television and the promotional power of radio will accelerate advertisers' development of Spanish-language marketing campaigns. This, in turn, will grow Spanish-language media spending."
Univision Radio President and CEO Mac Tichenor said, "We are pleased to finally become part of the Univision family, and to begin the relationship having posted industry-leading revenue growth in the third quarter. Univision Radio has already begun working with the Company's other business units to identify opportunities to expand Univision's business, and we believe capitalizing on these opportunities bodes well for our future prospects."
2003-11-14: UK Capital Radio profits fell by 18% t GBP 22.8 million (USD 38.4 million) on turnover down 4% to GBP 115.3 million (USD 194.3 million).
Looking ahead the group said that while it was "encouraged by recent signs of optimism in the media marketplace, with industry forecasts for revenue growth of approximately 5% in the year to September 2004, we remain cautious on the timing of a full advertising sector recovery.
It added that October revenues were up 8% on a weak month a year ago with November expected to be up 4% and added, "Booking levels are providing greater visibility for December and indicate that the month will be in positive territory, which will represent six consecutive months of growth."
Chief executive David Mansfield commented that Capital's stations "broadcast in the most demanded advertising markets in the UK and in spite of tough trading conditions we have enjoyed some notable successes"
"Our Century network, acquired 3 years ago, is enjoying significant increases in both listeners and revenues. In London, we are the clear commercial leader, with more listeners than any of our commercial competitors. We are confident that the management and programming changes at 95.8 Capital FM will reclaim listening hours in the long term. With greater visibility and positive revenue forecasts for the current quarter, we remain cautiously optimistic of early signs of an improvement in the advertising market as a whole."
Many of Capital's woes have been linked to weaknesses at its flagship Capital FM London station and it said it "recognised this year that as part of the Capital FM Network, our London flagship station 95.8 Capital FM, required greater creative and programming focus at a senior level" adding, "We initiated structural, management and programming changes to tackle increased competition and declining audiences, that culminated in September with the announcement of Johnny Vaughan as the station's new breakfast show presenter."
"We are confident that in time, these moves will reverse the recent decline in audience figures at 95.8 Capital FM. Across London, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, the Group maintained its leadership position, supported by strong performances from the other brands in our portfolio; Xfm, Capital Gold and Choice FM (19% ownership)."
"Outside London," it said, "we have seen particular success with the Century FM Network, with 105.4 Century FM becoming the Northwest's leading commercial radio station."
"With record reach and share across the network, our success with Century is a prime example of the Group's ability to acquire and grow successful radio brands."
Concerning its digital radio operations, Capital noted that it had invested GBP 4.2 million (USD 7.1 million) in the past year, nearly 30% up on the previous year, on its wholly owned digital operations.
"As a major player in the development of digital radio," it said, "it remains a key part of our strategy for growth and we plan to invest an additional £0.8 million in our digital radio development in the coming financial year, as more of our brands are transmitted on digital platforms."
"Digital development is a core part of our national strategy to extend Capital's brands across additional platforms and we are focused on the growth of digital radio in the UK. We now have 50 stations broadcasting our existing analogue and digital only stations; Capital Disney and Life, across the UK to 85% of the population. We believe that as multiplex owners, content providers and owners of data spectrum, we are uniquely placed to harness the opportunities offered by the roll out of digital radio. "
Capital also said that it thought the easing of regulations in the UK would "open up a number of transforming opportunities in the UK commercial radio market and we believe that we have both management experience and operational synergies to take advantage of potential consolidation opportunities."
Capital shares ended the day up 9.49% at GBP16.47.
Also in Europe, SBS Broadcasting S.A., which has just announced its results (See RNW Nov 12) has now announced that it is to call for redemption all of its 7% Convertible Subordinated Notes Due December 1, 2004.
These have an outstanding principal amount of USD53.65 million and holders of the Notes will receive the full principal amount of the Notes plus accrued and unpaid interest on the Notes on the redemption date, which is expected to be December 19, 2003, except with respect to notes that are converted into SBS common shares at the conversion price of USD 29.13 per common share by that date.
2003-11-14: Australia's leading commercial broadcaster Austereo has reported 2002 to 2003 profits down 12.2% on the previous year to AUD 43.9 million (USD 31.6 million) after tax, pre-specific and discontinuing operations although it says its "underlying performance was solid with earnings before interest and tax, (before non-recurring items) at AUD 75.2 million (USD 54.1 million)"; this was down 6.6% on the previous year and compares with a 5% growth for the commercial radio industry as a whole in capital markets.
Austereo's figures included an AUD 6.7 million (USD 4.8 million) after-tax loss resulting from discontinuing its A-live Worldwide operations and an AUD 3.5 million (USD 2,5 million) pre-tax amount from its sale of eye-shop.
The decline came as the group faced increasing competition, particularly from DMG's Nova network and Austereo commented that "radio held a 9.0% share of ad spend across all media, down 0.1%. The decline occurred in Metropolitan Markets, indicating that the new licences failed to increase radio revenues."
The competition, especially from Nova, which has seen steady growth since its launch in 1996 and whose Sydney station overtook long-time leader Austereo's 2-Day in the latest ratings (See RNW Nov 5), also took a toll with Austereo's share of the under 40 market in the June ratings, the last inside the reporting window, down 1% on the previous year at 43.6%.
Austereo's overseas operations performed more strongly than those at home and it noted that its Malaysian operation that runs the leading Malay, Chinese and English networks takes 67% of radio revenues in the country, its Athens stations is top-rated in its 13-24 target demographic and in the UK, UKRD, in which it has a 5.7% holding and which operates 12 non-metropolitan stations, saw its revenues increase by 14%.
Looking ahead to next year, Austereo says that there are signs of improvement following the world downturn in advertising but warns that its need to invest in its networks to fend off new competition may impact on its results but only to a "modest "degree".
"Based upon our current expectations," it says, "we believe that there will be a modest EBIT decline, against the 03 result. The EBIT result for the first half is likely to be down compared to the same period last year due to a number of factors specific to the first half. But we expect to recover some ground in the second half."
It points to a number of specifics affecting it this year including a poorer advertising market in July and August, its investment in the re-launch of its Triple-M network, and competition in Perth from Nova's new station.
Austereo has also announced details of its new Sydney 2-Day breakfast team that will take over when Judith Lucy takes over from Wendy Harmer later this month (See RNW Nov 12).
She will be joined by journalist, cartoonist and author Kaz Cooke, broadcaster and stand up comedian Peter Helliar, and also by Jamie Angel, who will be moving from the 2DayFM Drive program to be the anchor.
2003-11-14: After 35 years in Chicago Radio, Marv Dyson is to leave Clear Channel, which has eliminated his post president and general manager of urban-contemporary WGCI-FM, gospel WGCI-AM and adult-urban WVAZ-FM as of the end of the year.
The move ends a management consolidation at Clear Channels seven stations in Chicago and
John Gehron, regional vice president and market manager of Clear Channel Radio in Chicago, will become general manager over the stations as well as remaining general manager of Clear Channel's other local stations.
Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times says that Gehron praised Dyson's "tremendous broadcast legacy in Chicago" but said the streamlining became inevitable when all the stations were moved to one location.
Dyson, who is 65, told the paper, "It just made sense for John [Gehron] to move into that position. There's no room for me here, so I know it's time to move on."
"I don't necessarily have to work if I don't want to anymore, but I've never not worked since I was 11 years old. So it's really going to be an opportunity to sit back and evaluate what happens and to see if anybody cares enough to call me and offer me a decent job."
"I've had a 35-year run that's been incredible. I don't know what else there is for me to accomplish in Chicago radio at this point in my life. So this has come at a good time for me and my family.
Dyson started in radio sales in 1968 at the then WGRT, later rising to become general manager of the station that had been renamed WJPC. He moved to WGCI in 1979 and took it to the top of the Chicago ratings and was promoted to be president of the other stations in 1999.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago-Sun Times - Feder column:
2003-11-14: Former US military DJ Adrian Cronauer, whose story was made famous in the 1987 movie "Good Morning Vietnam" in which he was played by Robin Williams has become a US Supreme Court lawyer.
Cronauer, now 65, is a former communications lawyer who now works on prisoner-of-war issues for the Pentagon.
2003-11-14: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 10,000 fine on yet another Florida pirate station operator.
Tori Javier Lipscomb of Fort Myers, had been issued a notice of apparent liability in April this year for operating the FM station but did not respond to it.
2003-11-13: US conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh is to return to his show on Monday after five weeks f treatment for addiction to painkillers according to his brother David.
The announcement was made to stand-in host Matt Drudge during Wednesday's Rush Limbaugh show.
"Rush is chomping at the bit to get back on the air," David Limbaugh said, so he can personally express "how deeply moved he is by the love and loyalty" of his listeners and "his gratitude to his stations and his advertisers."
"And as you can imagine," David added, "there are one or two other things on his mind that he wants to talk about as well!"
Limbaugh is to resume his full three hours a day weekday routine from the start.
Limbaugh web site: (Includes transcript and audio of return story):
2003-11-13: Maryland-headquartered Radio One Inc. has reported third quarter net broadcast revenues up 1% on a year ago to USD 81.5 million with net income up 30% to approximately USD16.7 million (USD 0.16 per share); for the nine months to the end of September it reported net broadcast revenues up 5 to approximately USD 218.9 million with a net income of approximately USD 39.3 million (USD 0.37 per share) compared to a net loss a year earlier around USD 2.6 million.
The latter included the cumulative effect of an accounting change, as well as the effect of the accounting change in the first quarter of 2002, which reduced net income in that period by approximately USD 29.8 million
Radio One attributed the improvement to net broadcast revenue growth in several of Radio One's markets, including Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis and Minneapolis, partially offset by revenue declines in several other markets, including Boston, Houston, Philadelphia and Richmond.
Commenting on the results, CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III, said, "This quarter, the environment for radio was only marginally better than in the second quarter. With top line growth spotty and tenuous, we did a great job of controlling our expenses, which led us to post respectable growth in station operating income and strong growth in net income and free cash flow."
"As we look through to the end of the year, we are not seeing signs of a turnaround but, anecdotally, things seem to be feeling better. Let's hope that this sense of healing is a good leading indicator for next year. Certainly, with the economy on the mend, and other positive factors next year, such as the Olympics, the elections and fairly easy comps, we are optimistic that radio will see growth closer to its long-term trend in 2004."
"One notable bright spot for Radio One was the strong Summer ratings book which showed ratings increases for most of our radio stations, with some of those increases being substantial. This should also bode well for 2004."
"As for TV One, our joint venture with Comcast Corporation, the deal is closed and the first draw down of funding has occurred and the company is well on its way to a successful launch in January 2004. We are very excited by the potential of this new business and what it may mean for future shareholder value."
Looking ahead, Radio One is predicting fourth quarter net broadcast revenue in the range of 0% to 2% less than 2002's figure of USD 76.9 million with station operating expenses flat to down 2% on the USD 37.9 million of 2002. It says corporate expenses will increase in low single digits from the USD 3.3 million of a year earlier.
Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) in its results exceeded its guidance with reported net revenue up 1.7% on a year earlier to USD 35.7 with pro forma net revenue for the quarter, excluding non-cash AOL barter revenue of $1.6 million, up 6.6% to USD 33.5 million.
Overall SBS reported a net loss of USD 2.4 million compared to USD 930,000 a year earlier, after taking into account losses from continuing operations and the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle of 2.174 million, up from USD1.923 million and losses from discontinued operations, net of tax of USD 225,000 compared to a plus of 1.83 million a year earlier.
For the nine months to the end of September SBS trimmed its overall loss from 87.8 million to 2.4 million.
Commenting on the results SBS chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr. said, "Our third quarter results surpassed our forecast, primarily due to growth in revenues and market share at our Los Angeles cluster. Leveraging our ratings growth, we are continuing to pursue and secure a greater part of the advertising revenues in the nation's largest Hispanic radio market."
"Given the overall lacklustre environment in the radio industry, we have continued to support our ratings and sales efforts, while operating as efficiently as possible. Most of our core stations have maintained leadership positions in reaching the key Hispanic demographics, and our recently launched station in Los Angeles has made impressive gains in ratings."
"We have also taken steps to unlock the value of non-core assets to improve our financial flexibility and support our strategic growth. The outlook for radio advertising remains difficult to predict, particularly at the local level, but we continue to focus on gaining market share so that we can fully benefit when a sustained recovery begins to surface."
For the final quarter of the year, SBS is predicting net revenue growth in the low single digit range compared to year earlier with station operating income flat to up in low single digits.
Alarcón told the company's conference call that the company is to target sales in the general market next year; he also said he had talked to Interep, whose contract with SBS expires at the end of next year, and set out "very aggressive goals for 2004."
He said an extension in contract was being discussed: Interep recently lost its deal with Citadel to Katz Media (See RNW Oct 4)and also saw Saga, who had agreements with both Katz and Interep, decide to move its business solely to the former.
Denver-headquartered NextMedia reported revenues up 16.3% to USD 27.8 million for the third quarter and turned a loss of USD 1.2 million a year ago to positive net income of 16.5 million.
For the first nine months of the year its revenue was up 19.2% to USD 79.0 million and it turned a loss of USD 25.4 million to a profit of 8.3 million.
Pro-forma radio division revenues, however, were down 1.6% for the quarter to USD 18.9 million with pro-forma broadcast cash flow down 2.6% to USD 7.4 million; For the first nine months the corresponding figures were a 3.1% revenue increase to 78.7 million and 7.6% BCF increase to USD29.7million.
Commenting on the results Executive Chairman Carl Hirsch and President and CEO Steven Dinetz said, "We have maintained our market positions and continued to focus on controlling costs and expanding radio's share of total advertising expenditures in our markets. "
"During the third quarter, we stayed true to our growth plan through prudent acquisitions while maximizing returns in our existing assets. Consistent with this strategy, we announced the acquisition of WCCQ-FM in one of our Suburban Chicago market clusters, and we continue to seek similar add-ons in our markets."
Previous Radio 1:
2003-11-13: The British rock band Radiohead are to be given charge of the BBC digital station BBC6 Music for the week including Christmas Day - from December 22 to 28.
They will be allowed to choose music, artists and programming and the BBC says their role will be to "curate 6 Music under the heading The 6 Music Selector contributing to all areas of the output, guesting on programmes, co-presenting shows, selecting exclusive recordings and contributing website material."
Each selection will be presented by a band member and the channel's Programme Editor John Sugar commented, "It will be exciting for our listeners to see what Radiohead do with this creative freedom and what it reveals about the group's personal taste and influences."
BBC 6 Music web site:
2003-11-13: The total number of registered broadcasting stations in the US as of the end of September totalled 26,469, 13,450 of them radio stations, according to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
This compared to a total of 26,366 licensed broadcast stations including 13,383 radio stations at the end of March this year (See RNW May 7).
In all there were 4802 AMs, two down from the total six months and a year earlier, and 6207 commercial FMs, up 46 from 6161 a year ago and two from the March total. In addition there were 2441 educational FMs, up from 2400 at the end of March and 2354 a year ago (See RNW Nov 12, 2002).
Previous FCC station numbers:
2003-11-13: The Minnesota Production Network (MPN), founded earlier this year by community leader Janet Robert and marketing and broadcast industry veteran Paul Mock, launches a new afternoon talk show, The High Ground, on WMNN-AM in the Twin Cities on November 24. It says it is soon to be aired on other stations in the state.
The company is keeping quiet the name of the show's host, described as "a veteran comedian, writer and political pundit" but says the show will provide "a fresh, independent view of timely issues and topics."
Mock, the company's president of operations, commented, "We're taking a whole new approach to the talk radio formats available today. This is real talk radio, not 'attack' radio. With a witty, insightful host who can discuss topical events from a fresh perspective, we're reaching out for independent-thinking Minnesota listeners."
RNW comment: Whilst we wish the show luck, we think it will have an uphill task denting the hold of "attack" radio formats.
The High Ground web site:
2003-11-12: UK Emap has announced a 16% rise on a year ago in pre-tax profits to GBP 71 million (USD 118 million) turnover was up 7% to GBP 507 million (USD 844 million in its interim results to the end of September and says it is on target to achieve its full-year goals. Its shares were up 1.2% on Tuesday to GBP 8.095
Within its divisions, EMAP consumer media had turnover up 1% including the effect of some title sales but underlying turnover was up 7% whilst Emap communications, which includes its business-to-business publishing and exhibitions activities reported turnover up 8% AND Emap performance had a 1% increase in underlying turnover; Emap commented that good growth in radio was partially offset by softer revenue across magazines, music events and television.
In France, EMAP France total turnover increased markedly by 13%, due in part to the impact of the
Excelsior titles acquired in June 2003 and also to the strength of the Euro.
Emap Chief Executive Tom Moloney said of the results, "Although the trading environment has not noticeably improved, Emap has again made good progress in the first half of its financial year. The core business is performing well, and has the potential to perform even better."
"Our new product development initiatives and recent acquisitions are well on track and we remain confident of meeting our targets for the full year," he added.
Moloney also commented on the group's policy of building up its digital portfolio rather than rushing to acquire more analogue stations in the consolidation that is expected to follow the easing of ownership regulations in the UK, saying that Emap did not feel under pressure to be "the first mover" in consolidation, adding that the balance of power was changing towards those companies with a strong digital portfolio, although this couldn't be at the expense of the analogue business.
Looking ahead Emap says radio advertising revenues in the third quarter would be up 6-8% with strong national revenues and firm local ones.
In Europe SBS Broadcasting SA has reported revenues in the quarter to the end of September up 16% on a year ago to Euros 98.9 million (USD 114 million) with a 2002 loss for the quarter of Euros 18. 2 million (USD 21 million - Euros 0.64 per share) turned into a profit of Euros 20.1 million (USD 23.1 million - Euros 0.70 per share); for the nine months to the end of September its revenues were up 13% to 341.8 million (USD 394 million) and a loss of Euros 20.4 million (USD 23.5 million) turned into a profit of Euros 27.6 million (USD 31.9 million).
In each case, the figures include a non-cash investment gain of Euros 30.2 million realized on a transaction to acquire various media assets from Veronica Holding BV in The Netherlands in which Veronica Holding BV was issued a 10% equity interest in SBS Broadcasting BV. The figures are based on a share valuation that may be subsequently amended.
Without the gain, SBS lost Euros 10.1 million (USD 11.6 million) in the quarter and Euros 2.5 million (USD 2.9 million) over the nine months.
SBS radio net revenues were up 32% in the quarter, mainly due to revenues at newly acquired stations including those in Norway and Denmark bought from Clear Channel and Norsk Aller (See RNW July 18) and involved in the merger of SBS's Swedish radio operations with Bonnier Radio AB (See RNW Oct 9) and increased revenues at Finnish Radio operations and Radio Lampsi in Greece.
Commenting on the results, CEO Markus Tellenbach said, "SBS had a historic third quarter as we recorded substantial improvements across all financial metrics. Revenue increased 16%, significantly outperforming our markets, and station operating cash flow improved more than fourfold as we continued to drive operating leverage throughout the Company."
"We are clearly executing on our operating strategy, as most of our stations captured additional viewing shares while operating costs as a percentage of revenue continued to decline."
"While our financial performance continues to improve, we executed several strategic acquisitions that will further strengthen our competitive position. We now operate the largest radio group in Scandinavia with the leading or second market share ranking in each country based on net revenues."
"With the strong market positions of our television and radio stations, SBS provides a unique pan-European marketing vehicle for advertisers."
"We are committed on improving our profitability and are on track for a record fourth quarter and full-year in terms of profitability."
2003-11-12: Wendy Harmer, who for most of the past decade has ruled as breakfast radio queen in Sydney radio ratings for Austereo's 2 DAY-FM is leaving her post a year before her contract expires to spend more time with her husband and family. Her last show will be on November 28.
Harmer, now 48, was one of a group of comedians who made their name in the 1980s but she had slipped in recent ratings, being beaten twice in the past year by Angela Cattens of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; her Morning Crew show was also beaten in the latest ratings by the Merrick and Rosso team at DMG's Nova FM .
Austereo had planned to partner her with Melbourne-based comedian Judith Lucy but now Lucy will relocate to Sydney and host the show with a new team whose names are to be released shortly.
Harmer, reputed to earn around AUD 1.7 million (USD 1.2 million) a year, said that after 11 years with 2_Day she had started to think it was time to do things she wanted to do.
"I am very much looking forward to being able to work from home and being a full time Mum next year," she said. "Maeve has one last year at home before she's off to school and I am thrilled to be spending it with her. I am also excited about being able to have breakfast with my son Marley and dinner with my husband Brendan."
She said she had a number of writing projects including more children's books, an adult novel and a television series and when she was talking with Austereo CEO Michael Anderson about the future of the 2_Day breakfast show, "We started thinking maybe now was the time for a new Breakfast team - I would be allowed to get on with the rest of my life one year earlier and 2DayFM would have a new fresh team. And to make it even better a great mate would be the one to take over for me."
Anderson added, "When Wendy came to us and said that after 11 years at the top, all the changes in the team, and the various things on her plate she wanted to have a big talk about next year, it made sense. And it made even more sense to both of us when we started talking about what a brand new breakfast team could look like."
All the talk led to Judith Lucy being the one. Wendy Harmer said "I couldn't think of anyone better than Judith take over Breakfast. Word is there will be some other new faces over her breakfast table as well. I will get it out of her over lunch today and spill the beans in the coming days."
In the UK, another female breakfast host is on the move before the end of her contract: UK Capital FM host Emma Forbes is asking to leave the station seven months after she moved to it from rival Heart FM, owned by Chrysalis, and little more than a month after the launch of her weekend breakfast show, co-hosted with Andi Peters (See RNW Sept 23).
Her request was said to have come after she was told She could not be guaranteed a role on the new breakfast show to be launched in April next year and hosted by Johnny Vaughan (See RNW Oct 1).
A statement from the station noted that she was hired to co-present the weekend breakfast show but had never made any secret of her wish to co-present the weekday breakfast show.
"Whilst no decision has been made to date on Johnny Vaughan's breakfast team, Emma has asked to be released from her contract to concentrate on other broadcasting opportunities," it said.
At Heart, Forbes co-hosted the breakfast show with Jono Coleman; she was replaced with Harriet Scott, since when the show has continued to perform strongly.
2003-11-12: Canadian radio was singled out for praise amongst other encomiums to broadcasters in a speech by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chairman Charles Dalfen in a speech in Quebec on Tuesday to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) 2003 Annual Convention.
Saluting winners of Gold Ribbon awards for achievements in community service programming, Dalfen commented, "Community service is a field in which broadcasters can make some really important contributions, and we've seen some dramatic evidence of that lately."
"Floods and forest fires in BC, power blackouts, SARS in Ontario and even a hurricane in Nova Scotia - during these crises broadcasters have provided continuing coverage, anymore than that - they've provided a lifeline."
"During the Ontario blackouts, people could be seen sitting in their parked cars listening to the radio which was their only functioning link to the latest developments."
" People with medical problems, isolated in their darkened homes, called in to the radio stations and were able to get guidance from doctors and others who called in response. One elderly woman on oxygen reached a radio staffer who was able to talk her through the process of using her portable tanks and getting back-up oxygen."
"Things were even worse during the BC forest fires. Some of the radio stations lost their transmitters to the flames - and their competitors pitched in to help them get back on the air.
Station staff remained on the job around the clock - not even knowing if their own houses were still standing."
"I think all of us in the industry can feel very very proud of the hundreds of radio and TV people who rose to the occasion in these times of need."
Dalfen also spoke of the introduction of digital broadcasting to Canada, both for radio and TV, noting that the Commission needed to more than specified in legislation which instructs it not to "inhibit" the growth of information technology. After speaking of the virtuous circle in ensuring access to digital TV signals, thus encouraging supply of sets and take-up of services, he went on to note that satellite radio was now knocking on the door in Canada.
As a result of the application for a service from Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. said Dalfen, the Commission had "decided to postpone the commercial radio policy review that had been foreseen for next spring, until we have explored the issues related to the new radio technologies."
"In making this decision, the Commission has noted the very positive financial picture of the radio industry in the past year."
"The ownership and Canadian content changes introduced in 1998 clearly have not impeded significant growth in revenues and profits. In our view, taking a year or so to assess new developments in the industry just makes good sense.
He also spoke of the effect of the availability of digital signals on recording companies and also the potential impact of the Internet on radio stations.
"Radio may have still have cause for concern," he said. "Will easy access to music on the Internet cut into the listener base? A report in the United States found that only 0.2% of radio listening last year was done through the Net, but we have no way of knowing how this will develop in the long
" When we speak of technology-related problems, one is all too familiar to this audience: signal theft, with its enormous costs to the health and stability of the entire Canadian broadcasting system. "
2003-11-12: Hit 40 UK Ltd has appointed UK independent radio and TV production company Somethin' Else is to take over the commercial radio top-40 show, the former Pepsi Chart show, from Unique Radio, UBC Media's production arm, which had produced it for a decade.
The show currently leads its rivals in the ratings - it is some 250,000 listeners a week ahead of the BBC Radio 1 show and 1.45 million ahead of Emap's Smash Hits; it is hosted by Capital FM host Neil "Dr" Fox and Somethin' Else denied rumours that June Sarpong was to take over as host.
In a statement it said, "Rumours of June Sarpong's involvement stem from the fact that she featured in a pilot programme which Somethin' Else submitted as part of its pitch. This has no bearing whatsoever on whether Neil Fox will continue to host the show. Indeed, not only is Foxy the UK's number one radio DJ, and not only is he still contracted to Hit 40 UK, but he also remains firmly committed to presenting what is the jewel in the crown of commercial radio broadcasting."
The move is related to attempts to develop the format for other areas as well as radio, including TV, and Hit 40 managing director Rob Corlett said, "Hit 40 UK Ltd was created to bring a business focus to the Chart property and to help develop it into more than a radio brand."
"We are in conversation with a number of potential media partners and need to be assured of a production partner which not only shares our creative and development ambitions, but also has the experience to make them happen. Somethin' Else really impressed us with their grip on what our core audience expect from the charts, and the combination of Neil Fox with this exciting new production partner benefits everyone involved - especially the listeners."
More than 100 UK commercial stations currently broadcast the show: Somethin' Else is a leading independent that produces shows for the BBC as well as the commercial sector.
It is making two TV shows about the London Jazz Festival to be transmitted later this month by the BBC's digital TV channel BBC4 and has been commissioned by he BRIT Awards 2004 to produce all radio programming for international radio stations.
2003-11-11: US radio revenues were up 4% on a year earlier in September spurred on by a 13% increase in national advertising according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB); local revenues were up but only by 2%.
On a year-to-date basis, revenues are now up 2% overall, with national revenues up 8% and local ones up 1% whilst for the third quarter overall revenues were also up 2% but national revenue increase was greater at 10% and local revenues were flat.
In RAB's Sales Index, which takes 1998 year as a base equated to 100, the September combined index was 134.8; the national index was 143.7 and the local index 132.4 with corresponding year-to-date combined index figures of 136.9, a national total of 144.1 and a local total of 135.7.
Commenting on the figures, RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "While the results for September are encouraging, consumer confidence at the local level is not progressing at the same pace that economic indicators are improving. Even though local improvement traditionally follows national trends in a upturn, the momentum for this recovery is just in its first stages."
2003-11-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Puerto Rico broadcaster Radio X Broadcasting Corporation USD 20,000 for failure to clean and repaint its antenna structure to maintain good visibility and its failure to maintain a public inspection file at the main studio of WXLX -FM. It has also allowed the assignment of a North Carolina licence but penalised the licensee by just under USD 20,000 for misrepresentation.
In Puerto Rico, a notice was issued to Radio X in September last year and in a response the company had admitted the offences but requested substantial reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture citing the immediate measures it took to correct the violations. It also included financial statements for fiscal years 2000 and 2001 for what the FCC said it perceived "to be a claim of inability to pay the proposed forfeiture amount."
These said its parents company had made all cash payments for it in those years but did not submit financial records of the parent, so the commission held it had insufficient evidence to rule on a claim concerning ability to pay. On the issue of remedial action, the FCC took its regular view that this did not ameliorate the offences and it upheld the full penalty.
The FCC has also ruled in favour of a transfer of the licence of WKVE-FM, Semora, North Carolina, from Southern Entertainment, Inc. to Educational Media Foundation but levied a fine on Southern related to misrepresentation.
Objections had been raised by Piedmont Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of two competing broadcast stations, relating to FCC staff's extension of the initial WKVE construction permit, under rules that have since been superseded, and the concurrent grant of an application to assign the permit from HarryCo, Inc to Southern over Piedmont's objection.
At issue were the validity of WKVE's construction permit under the rules in effect, but subsequently changes substantially, when station's construction was completed in February 1996, and also the validity of the last extension of WKVE's deadline to construct the station. Piedmont also claimed that HarryCo misrepresented facts to the Commission and was thus unqualified to assign WKVE's construction permit to Southern.
In making its ruling the FCC commented that Southern did not adequately rebut Piedmont's prima facie showing of misrepresentation and concluded that Southern violated Section 1.17 of its rules because the altered letters submitted in Southern's Opposition to the Application for Review were untruthful written statements, made in a pleading submitted to the Commission, bearing on a matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
It added that it found "that the particular factual questions raised in this case are not significant enough to warrant a hearing as to Southern's basic qualifications to be a Commission licensee" and noted that the "misrepresentation appeared in two letters addressing the same issue, and was limited to the letters' dates rather than content."
It therefore levied a penalty of USD 19.250, on Southern, a total made up from a base forfeiture of USD 27,5000 with a 30% reduction because of the nature of the representation and a past history of compliance. Southern can still appeal the penalty on financial hardship grounds.
The FCC also allowed the licence to be converted to a non-commercial educational one, conditional on the completion of the assignment to Educational Media Foundation.
2003-11-11: BBC national digital radio has added yet another transmitter, its 14th since August this year; it is at Whitehawk Hill and will serve a potential audience of some 400,000 in the Brighton and Worthing area of Sussex.
In all since August more than 3.5 million people have been added to those able to receive BBC terrestrial DAB signals in addition to which many others listen via the Freeview digital TV platform and the Internet.
2003-11-11: Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin has made a paper profit of more than USD 18 million through exercising a stock option on 547,457 shares of Viacom stock at USD6.10 per share.
According to a filing with the SEC, the deal was financed through a sale of 275,790 shares at around USD 38.88 per share, bringing him just over USD 10.7 million.
Viacom shares ended Monday at USD 39.74.
2003-11-11: A weekend gathering organized by the National Conference on Media Reform at the University of Wisconsin in Madison attracted some 2000 academics, activists, lobbyists, and media representatives as opposition to further consolidation in US media continues to stir strong feelings.
Among those attending was Democrat Federal Communications Commissioner Michael J. Copps, who gained some of the loudest applause, spurred in part by his series of hearings on the then-proposed new media regulations issued by the FCC in June but currently held up in the courts and still facing opposition from many lawmakers in the US.
The FCC has subsequently begun a series of hearings on localism in US media and Copps told the gathering he welcomed the change of heart, adding, "You need to reach out to people other than those who have a vested interest in this discussion--they already know how to reach out to us."
2003-11-10: For this week's look at print comment relating to radio, we start in Boston with what to us was a perspective on real choice that we didn't really expect to find on US commercial radio.
Writing in the Boston Herald, columnist Dean Johnson began his column, Ratings don't count for much on weekend radio. But that's good news for listeners because interesting, unique programming that would never leak into a prime-time schedule pops up all over the local dial Saturdays and Sundays."
Having thus upset the Mays family credo, he continued, "Jazz, blues, Elvis, gardening and food talk, lost hits and more can be heard on Boston's commercial radio stations each week . . . if you know where and when to tune in."
Johnson then goes on to list some of the offerings on local stations, but from an English perspective the overall variety falls far short of that available routinely in the UK - and increasingly in the US, thanks in large part to satellite radio.
As an example, Sue Arnold commented in her weekly radio column in the UK Observer, "Breakfast clashes are getting harder to avoid now I have added a digital portable to my radio collection. It used to be a three-way fight between Today, Five Live's Breakfast and Danny Baker on Radio London until around 8am, when I'd heard enough news and inconsequential chat and switched to Morning on 3. Now that I can get the World Service clear as a bell and One Word radio to add to my early-bird entertainment, I have to be even more sparing with my patronage."
"The good news is that Fast Foreword, a terrific new 15-minute slot at 7.30am every day on One Word does not clash with any of my regulars, such as the Today programme's press review, in any case a repeat of the one I heard at 6.10am."
"Fast Foreword is one of those 'everything you need to know about so-and-so' distillations, they being mostly authors, but also literary genres and famous one-offs. Last week, presenter Simon Cheshire gave us Citizen Kane, Colin Wilson, Ian McEwan and vampires, with just the right mix of fact, anecdote and opinion to allow the information to slip painlessly but permanently into one's mental data bank."
Arnold also mentioned other genres that are routine in the UK including the work of the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol - this week it featured the migration of swans from the Arctic circle to the UK - which, she commented, "with minimum fuss and funds, regularly churns out state-of-the- art documentaries about every conceivable wildlife, environmental and ecological subject you could name, and hundreds more you couldn't possibly imagine."
And to end with, she wrote, "Some visiting Americans asked me to recommend West End plays they should see. I advised them to listen to an extraordinary week of radio drama which included Arabian Nights on the World Service, a chilling psychological thriller, The Ice Factory, on Radio 3 and the new classic serial, Hard Times, on Radio 4. They said they'd catch up with them on the net back in the US."
Over at the UK Sunday Times, Paul Donovan wrote in his column of the value of silence, tying it in to Remembrance Sunday and also Tuesday's two-minutes of silence on Armistice Day that marks the ending of the First World War.
After the comment that "Radio is full of sounds, and one of the key ones is silence", Donovan went on later to note the contrary, "Yet it is also a brutal truth that radio abhors silence."
"Machines," he continued, "are programmed to interpret the absence of sound as a break in trans- mission, and to switch to automated backup systems. Human beings are supposed to supervise them, but both they and machines can err."
"Last month, for example, because of what Radio 4's network manager, Denis Nowlan, calls "a lapse in communication" between St Paul's Cathedral and Broadcasting House, the two-minute silence during the controversial service on Iraq was suddenly punctuated by a prerecorded apology on tape, followed by 15 seconds of music by Cole Porter."
The silences - and sounds, we have written of so far are all by choice, which makes it all the more valuable when those who did not have such choices finally do get some. The article that brought this to our attention came from Pamela Constable in the Washington Post and concerned a low power radio station run by women in Mazar-E- Sharif, Afghanistan.
Radio Rabia Balkhi, named after a famous ninth-century Afghan female poet, is financed by a Canadian non-profit and only airs for two hours a day and has a range of only some 3 miles 95km); it has sister stations in the Afghan capital Kabul, also opened on March 8, International Women's Day, and also one opened last month in Herat.
Listeners receive a diet of popular music, live newscasts, humour, chats on child care, and features on more revolutionary topics such as the rights of abused women to divorce and the treatment of individual women such as an 11th-grade student whose parents forcibly engaged her to a much older, illiterate man after paying his family a substantial sum.
It does answer listeners' letters but many of its readers are illiterate and also without other means of communication such as telephones.
There are also some severe constraints on its freedom to air anything that upsets the Islamic clerics in the region. After the station began airing a series of programs on women's divorce rights, a group of senior clergy visited the studio, alleging that the broadcasts encouraged women to leave their husbands and demanding that the series be stopped. Station founder and radio and television veteran Farida Paktin said they had no choice but to comply.
"We cannot say anything to the mullahs, or they will put the stamp of infidelism on us," she said. Now, the offensive weekly feature, called "Yesterday's Woman and Today's Woman," has been replaced with news."
"There was a misunderstanding, so we canceled it," said Mubina Khairandesh, 25, the station manager. "This is a very traditional society. If we make direct criticisms, it is turned into a religious issue. So we just make indirect criticisms, in jokes and satires."
The station has also found itself in the middle of rivalry between the two major armed factions in the area, led by Gen. Abdurrashid Dostum and Gen. Attah Mohammad, being offered support by the former and receiving from the latter an offer to buy it. Both were turned down and Paktin commented, "What we want most of all is to remain independent."
BBC "Listen Again" web site (Links to audio of BBC Radio 4 programmes available on demand including the Natural History Unit "Migration Series" and the Classic Serial.)
Boston Herald - Johnson:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Constable:
2003-11-10: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has announced the names of the five books selected for its third annual "Canada Reads" battle of the books in which one work is selected as being essential reading for all Canadians.
The event, to be held from February 16-20 next year, will be hosted by Bill Richardson and for the first time will be broadcast on TV as well as radio.
The competition has a format in which five prominent Canadians argue in a debate on behalf of the book they favour; the books will be The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe whose defender is singer Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo; The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle by Monique Proulx defended by filmmaker and journalist Francine Pelletier; Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler defended by author Zsuzsi Gartner; Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King defended by Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray and The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro defended by Canadian classical soprano Measha Brueggergosman.
2003-11-10: Indian recording companies and other copyright holders are putting pressure on the Indian government to tighten up Indian copyright law and the Indian Performing Rights Society that collects royalty on behalf of artistes and music labels hopes to increase annual payments from around INR 120 million (USD 2.65 million) in 2002-2003 to around INR 200 million (USD 4.42 million) in the year to the end of June next year.
It is also examining ways in which Indian performers can repatriate royalties relating to performances of their work abroad, for which there is no current system.
Commercial FMs in India currently pay around INR 750 (USD 16.56) for every hour of music they air and state broadcaster All India Radio, which regularly pays royalty for all English and other foreign language music used on its network, is now to also make royalty payments to Indian performers.
The most significant of draft changes relates to remixes of songs, which ahs been adopted on a large scale by Indian companies over the objections of some performers about the way their works have been changed.
A document from the Ministry of Human Resources Development proposes to quadruple the payment to artistes from 5% to 20% for a remix of a work with a minimum five years before allowing remixing.
The monies paid in royalty payments in India are divided equally between composer, lyric writer, title producer and the audio/video publisher.
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-11-09: There was a fairly low level of activity from the regulators in the past week although in the UK the Radio Authority has announced its last new licence awards before handing over to the new Ofcom regulator and in the US, the question of payola has again been raised, this time by Democrat Federal Communications Commissioner David Adelstein.
In Australia, the only radio-related announcement from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has been to amend the radio services in the Canberra and Cooma areas.
In Canberra, the Authority has opted to allocate two FM frequencies to national radio AM service 2PB rather than for community use, made capacity available for community AM station 1RPH to serve Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, given Queanbeyan community radio service, 2QBN the option to change its current technical operating conditions to serve the communities of Sutton and Bungendore, and made capacity available for community station 1WAY to serve Tuggeranong, Australian Capital Territories. It will not make available any additional narrowcasting services for Canberra.
In Comma it is to make capacity available for an additional transmitter for the Cooma community radio service, 2MNO, to serve the town of Bombala, New South Wales and also to change the frequency of the existing Bombala open narrowcasting service in order to avoid potential interference from the proposed Illawarra high power national service.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a takeover and a number of licence renewals. The takeover is of the assets of CJYE-AM and its transitional digital radio undertaking CJYE-DR-2, Oakville, Ontario by Trafalgar Broadcasting Limited from Trafalgar's parent Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited in a corporate reorganization.
The renewals were of the licences of CKYQ-FM, Plessisville, Quebec, and CFWY-FM, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, until August 31. 2010.
The Commission has also announced a public hearing in Gatineau, Quebec, in January, with a deadline for interventions of December 18, to hear a number of applications. They include, in order of province:
Application by Trinity Lutheran Church for a licence to operate a very low-power 1.1 watts English-language FM religious radio programming undertaking in Abbotsford.
Application by Cariboo Central Interior Radio Inc. to convert radio station CKCQ-AM at Quesnel to FM.
Application by O.K. Radio Group Ltd. for a licence to carry on a transitional digital radio undertaking associated with its existing station CJZN-FM, Victoria.
Applications by Pembina Valley Development Corporation for licences to operate three separate English-language Tourist/Weather/Traffic information/ Environment Canada FMs in Morris, Winkler and Morden.
Application on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated to operate an English-language 50 watts commercial Christian music service FM in Peterborough.
Application by Radio Communautaire Mf Lac Simon Inc. for a licence to operate a French, Anishnabe and Algonquin-language FM native Type B radio programming undertaking in Rouyn-Noranda.
Application by Wilderness Ministries Inc. for a licence to operate an English-language Christian music service 200 watts commercial FM in Nipawin.
Also to be considered are an application by Ajit Broadcasting Corporation Inc. for a licence to operate across Canada a specialty audio programming service - in Punjabi (65%), Urdi (15%), Hindi (15%) and English-language (5%) - which will be available for distribution by broadcast distribution undertakings and an application by the Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. to acquire the assets of CKNR-FM Elliot Lake, Ontario.
In Ireland there were no licence decisions from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) but it did announce its fifth "New Adventures in Broadcasting" scheme (See RNW Nov 5).
In the UK, the Radio Authority has made its last new commercial licence awards with those of the new Glasgow FM to Saga and the digital multiplex licence for Plymouth/Cornwall to the sole applicant, South West Digital Radio Ltd. (See RNW Nov 7).
It has also renewed the Cambridge & Newmarket FM licence held by GWR subsidiary Cambridge & Newmarket FM Radio Ltd.; the renewal was automatic because the company is to provide a service on the Cambridge digital multiplex.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in a wide variety of issues.
On the enforcement front, it revoked the licence of a Georgia AM after a series of breaches of regulations (See RNW Nov 5) and confirmed fines on two Florida pirate station operators (See RNW Nov 4 and Nov 8).
It has also opened a new major AM station changes filing window (See RNW Nov 11) and has also again come under court challenge over its new media regulations announced in June, this time from broadcasters who say the new rules are too restrictive concerning radio ownership (See RNW Nov 6)
A further issue rumbling around the commission concerns payola, which is attracting attention from legislators and also led to comments to the Federal Communications Bar Association by Democrat Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein about the matter.
Referring to the localism hearing in Charlotte, North Carolina, Adelstein commented, "One issue that we heard loudly in the panel discussions and in public comment was the difficulty local artists are having getting airtime on local broadcast stations. North Carolina's local artists and musicians stood up and declared their frustration with what they viewed as payola - the need for big labels to pay radio broadcasters for airtime. As one commenter put it, "payola is alive and well in Charlotte."
" That term was coined by Variety magazine in 1938, and grew to scandalous proportions in the late 1950s and 1960s. Many say it is just as prevalent today, although in different forms. Each involve paying, either directly or in-kind, for access to the public airwaves - with no disclosure."
"Today payola could mean influencing artists and musicians to play at certain concerts or in certain venues that benefit the radio broadcasters. It could come in the form of lunches or cocktail parties where music companies must pay thousands of dollars just to talk with radio programmers from increasingly consolidated companies.
And it could take the form of music companies paying "independent promoters," who in turn pay radio companies for the privilege of consulting for the station and getting early notice of the station's playlists."
After giving details of the independent companies' charges - estimated to total anything from USD 150-300 million a year, Adelstein referred to testimony given at the Charlotte hearing that "These days payola doesn't guarantee your song will be played, but to not pay it means your song definitely won't be played."
Adelstein also referred to the practice of some broadcasters of charging in relation to material in news programmes - saying "disguised infomercials are being dubbed as the latest descent into pay-for-play journalism" - and said the problem was not of payment but of disclosure.
"The public deserves to know who is trying to persuade them," said Adelstein. " Payola is bad enough for music. Payola on the news should be unthinkable."
He also took a dig at US media, saying, "For anyone who would want a digital copy of today's remarks - I hear digital copies are quite valuable these days - just let me know and I can appropriately flag it for you. I'm sure it will be picked up by lots of legitimate news sources around the country - you know - the wire services, the New York Times - Howard Stern."
RNW comment: We had not seen cover in the major mainstream US media outlets we look at regularly so did a quick online search and found Google listing a reference in Forbes - involved in the deal with Sky Radio that charges for interviews in material it provides for airlines (See RNW Oct 28) but the page had gone offline. Yahoo had a link to a Hollywood Reporter story and that was it. There were on the other hand myriad links to reports about the broadcast flag proposed by the FCC to prevent digital copies being made of TV shows - all referred to the recordings in headlines that spoke of "Piracy" , which should please the media barons. Some reports did note concerns raised by FCC Democrat Commissioners including Adelstein comments about the flag on news shows on which he said "I see little threat to content creators from a parent e-mailing to family and friends a local television news clip of a son or daughter receiving a community service award."
As far as payola and paid for comment are concerned the matter is one that in our view should raise major concern by anyone really interested in democracy yet it seems to be largely ignored by the media and not exactly rousing any storms amongst the US public, which has potentially significant implications for the idea of democracy and the US but we'll comment more on that later.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-11-09: In a further postscript to the infamous Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) sex in St Patrick's cathedral stunt that cost the duo their show, Infinity Broadcasting USD 357,000 in fines, and put WNEW-FM into Blink format, the woman who took part in the stunt has been sentenced to five days of community service and producer Paul Mercurio, who described watching the act on air, was sentenced to seven days of community service.
Mercurio and Loretta Lynn Harper each pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Harper was arrested in August last year along with Brian Florence, who died of a heart attack in September this year.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2003-11-09: Clear Channel appears to have defused its row with US cyclists following a meeting at the company's San Antonio, Texas, headquarters between Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan and Elissa Margolin, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists that seems to have led to a deal in which Clear Channel will increase sponsorships of local bicycling events by local Clear Channel radio stations.
Hogan also wrote a letter in which he said "the comments made by Clear Channel Radio stations in Cleveland, Houston, and Raleigh were inappropriate and intolerable", adding, "As CEO of Clear Channel Radio, I do not support or condone the anti-cyclists messages and have taken steps to insure they do not occur again."
He followed this with a statement saying, "We are delighted with the response to our ongoing and new efforts supporting cycling safety and the cycling community."
"We are particularly grateful for the leadership of the League of American Bicyclists and their willingness to factually communicate what we've done to serve the cycling community. We look forward to a very productive partnership with this important organization, focused on promoting safe conditions for bicyclists."
A release from the League of American Bicyclists said Hogan repeatedly underscored Clear Channel's strong disapproval for recent broadcasts in which radio talk show hosts discussed and encouraged the physical harassment of bicyclists. He and Margolin discussed ways in which how the company could work with the bicycling community to promote safe bicycling and sharing the road and agreed to meet in early 2004 to review progress and chart next steps.
Margolin said, "The League of American Bicyclists is pleased with the response from Clear Channel Radio. The comments broadcast on stations in Cleveland, Houston, and Raleigh were indeed egregious, but the company's redress has been aggressive and the measures taken to prevent any reoccurrence are heartening. "
"CEO John Hogan has clearly demonstrated that any programming that endangers cyclists will not be tolerated and we applaud his leadership on this issue. We are particularly pleased that Clear Channel will work with the bicycling community to help make America's roads safer for everyone."
Martha Roskowski, America Bikes Campaign Manager, and Sue Knaup, Thunderhead Alliance Executive Director, also expressed their support for Clear Channel's statement.
Knaup said, "I look forward to building this important partnership with one of America's leading media companies to help promote safe bicycling in America's communities and to encourage motorists and cyclists to share the road."
RNW comment: Since some formal complaints have apparently been sent to the FCC, we await any further developments as to these.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-11-09: Georgetown College in Kentucky is negotiating the sale of its public radio station WRVG-FM to a non-public broadcaster according to Current Magazine.
The buyers identity has not been disclosed but Michael Dawahare, V.P. for institutional advancement at the Baptist-affiliated college said the buyer would not "continue public broadcasting in its true sense."
Dawahare said the College had talked with WRVG members who wanted to purchase the station, which costs the college around USD 45,000 a year, and would have preferred a deal with them but "just couldn't make numbers work."
Current Magazine report:
2003-11-08: In further US radio results, Kentucky-headquartered Regent Communications, Inc. has reported third quarter broadcast revenues up 14.1% to USD21.4 million, and net income up 16.7% to USD 2.1 million (USD 0.05 per share, up from USD 0.04 a year earlier). Same station revenues for the third quarter were down 3% to USD16.2 million.
For the first nine months of the year net broadcast revenues are now up 21.6% at USD 59.5 million and a loss of USD 2.6 million (USD 0.06 per share) has been turned into a profit of USD 4.5 million (USD 0.09 per share).
Looking ahead, Regent says it expects same station revenues to be flat in the final quarter of the year.
Commenting on the performance, chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs said, "We are pleased to report better than expected station operating income and earnings per share for the third quarter of 2003. Our financial results this quarter reflect our ability to improve free cash flow and earnings in a challenging local advertising environment, highlighting our long-term focus and disciplined approach to managing our business."
"Looking ahead, Regent is very well positioned to capitalize on an improving advertising climate. We operate market leading stations in attractive middle and small-sized markets, have a healthy mix of start-up, developing and mature radio properties and have maintained one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry. We believe 2004 will be an excellent year for Regent as we take advantage of the operating improvements we have made over the last year in an improving advertising environment."
2003-11-08: Emap's Kiss 100 station in London has announced agreement on a new three-year contract running to January 2007 with its breakfast host Bam Bam, whose contract was due to expire in the New Year.
Bam Bam, who has been with the show since 1999, leads the ratings in the 15-24 demographic in London.
The host, who had been courted by Emap rivals, commented, "The interest from other stations was flattering, but there really was no question about signing a new deal with Kiss. The chemistry with the station is unique - we really understand each other. I couldn't be myself anywhere else."
"I'm looking forward to the next three years, and keeping Bam Bam Breakfast the number one choice for young London."
2003-11-08: WorldAudio, the Australian nationwide commercial AM network, has now begun transmission from 15 sites across Australia; its progress had been held up by cash problems and court action from business partners and a dispute over its licences that was resolved in its favour only last month (See RNW Oct 11).
WorldAudio says it can now reach some 12 million listeners from its broadcasts that use transmission facilities negotiated with Broadcast Australia and Crown Castle International.
2003-11-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a Florida restaurant operator for running a pirate radio station.
Annetta Lovelock Enterprises Inc. of the Rum Runner Caribbean Restaurant & Lounge in Orlando was issued with a notice of apparent violation in May this year but no response has been received by the Commission.
2003-11-08: US radio advertising veterans Eric Ronning and Andy Lipset, who between them have worked for terrestrial radio giant Clear Channel, rep firm Interep, and online radio pioneers America Online and Yahoo, have set up what they say is the World's first online representation firm, Ronning/Lipset Radio.
The duo note that some 40% of Americans have now listened to Internet radio according to the most recent Arbitron/Edison study on the medium and Ronning commented, "Online radio has come of age and grown to a size where marketers can now make an impact by reaching this audience."
"There have been a handful of entities who tried this business several years ago, however, the conditions of the medium were not right at the time. Today, the conditions are different, and we feel, optimum. We now have real numbers in terms of listeners, Arbitron is on board with measuring the audience, and the language of online radio is finally consistent with the language of traditional radio. The pieces are in place."
Lipset added, "Research shows that the consumer sees online radio as another form of radio rather something that's new and different. Our goal is to bring that same concept to the marketing community."
" Most online listening takes place either in-office or at-home versus traditional radio that primarily takes place in-car. All of the research shows that the audience is incredibly upscale and has high purchase intent."
2003-11-07: In further US radio results XM Satellite Radio has reported revenues up nearly five-fold on a year ago but also a slightly increased loss, whilst the terrestrial broadcasters also reporting had far less explosive income growth but better bottom lines.
Cumulus reported third quarter pro-forma revenues up 0.8% to USD74.1 million and same station revenue pro-forma revenues up 3.9% to USD 56.1 million; reported revenues were up 11.7% to USD 74.6 million and 3.9% to USD 56.1 million.
Earnings per share for the quarter were EPS USD 0.13 compared to USD 0.06 a year earlier but this figure was before debt extinguishments losses and preferred stock redemption premiums.
For the quarter Cumulus had net income up 23.3% to USD 7.68 million before preferred stock dividends and redemption premiums with net income attributable to common stockholders turned round from a loss of USD 4.1 million to a profit of 7.0 million.
For the first nine months of the year it lited net income of USD 0.1 million, again after various losses. This compared to a reported net loss in the prior year of USD 98.6 million including various similar losses and a USD 41.7 million after-tax loss incurred in the prior year related to the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle as a result of adopting SFAS No. 142.
Commenting on the results, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lew Dickey said, "This quarter marks a strong performance for our company, particularly in our same-store group, in a very challenging revenue environment. We are executing well in all areas of our business and are well positioned for the recovery in advertising which we are optimistic will occur sometime next year."
Entercom was more upbeat in its comments after recording net income up 40.3% to USD 21.6 million (USD 0.41 per diluted share compared to USD 0.31 a year before) on revenues up 1% to USD 107.8 million. Same station revenues were up 3% to USD 107.8 million and same station Operating Income increased 6% to USD46.6 million.
President and CEO David Field said Entercom was "pleased to announce record-breaking results in the third quarter despite the challenging advertising environment."
"Same station operating income, free cash flow and earnings per share improved by 6%, 14%, and 32%, respectively, as we continued to improve our operating performance," he added.
"While fourth quarter business conditions are disappointing, we are optimistic for 2004 and believe that the advertising market will be significantly healthier. We have positioned ourselves for continued success through our substantial investments in our people, our brands, and our proprietary sales initiatives."
For the fourth quarter Entercom says it expects net revenues of USD103.0 million to USD105.5 million -equating to same station revenues flat to down 2%, partly because of the absence of USD 3 million of political and non-traditional revenues a year ago; excluding these revenue would be up in low single digits.
It also expects to pay a TBA fee of USD0.3 million in the fourth quarter for the period prior to the expected closing on the Portland station acquisitions in the fourth quarter. Entercom says the figures should result in reported earnings per diluted share of approximately USD0.36 - USD0.39.
Saga Communications reported net revenues for the quarter up 2.2% on a year earlier to USD30.4 million with net income USD 3.5 million (USD 0l16 per diluted share) compared to USD 4.4 million (USD 0.21 per share) a year earlier; this year's figures include a USD 1.2 million write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs due to the completion of a new USD200 million credit facility
Within its results, Saga reported radio revenues up 2.7% to USD 27.37 million but operating profit down 2.5% to USD9.57 million whilst TV revenue fell 2.5% to USD 8.79 million and TV operating profit plunged 34.7% to USD 633,000
Saga also noted the absence of political advertising this year but highlighted a strong local performance with local revenues up 7% and same station local revenues up 1%
For XM, which now has more than a million subscribers but at the end of the quarter reported 929,648, the highlight was adding 237,395 subscribers - 34% up on the figure at the end of the second quarter. Revenues totalled USD 26.9 million compared to USD 5.6 million a year earlier and XM's consolidated net loss available to common shareholders was USD 145 million (USD1.12 per share on weighted average shares of 129.7 million) compared to USD 114.7 million (USD 1.26 per share on weighted average shares of 91.2 million) a year earlier.
President and CEO Hugh Panero highlighted XM's success in passing the 1 million subscriber mark last month and added, "Complementing this remarkable subscriber performance is XM's track record of achieving financial and operational milestones. This focus on successful operational execution is a differentiator of our business and a clear indication that XM is focused on growth, while minimizing costs and creating long-term value for our shareholders."
2003-11-07: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that it is to receive its largest ever bequest - exceeding USD 200 million and around twice its annual operating budget - from the estate of philanthropist Joan B. Kroc, the widow of Ray A. Kroc, founder of the McDonald's fast-food chain.
The exact amount will depend on resolution of Mrs. Kroc's estate and the final value of her investments and disbursement of trust funds will take a number of months. There will be no immediate impact on NPR's budget.
In addition a further bequest of USD 5 million was made to NPR member station KBPS-FM, San Diego, to which Mrs Kroc had been a long-time donor and to which in 2001 she gave USD3 million to help the station build a new studio.
The bequest, around twice NPR's annual budget, is thought to be the largest-ever monetary gift to an American cultural institution and NPR Kevin Klose commented, "We are inspired and humbled by this magnificent gift."
"This remarkable act of generosity will help secure the future of NPR as a trusted and independent source of news, information and ideas for millions of listeners. Joan Kroc believed deeply in the power of public radio to serve the communities of America. She made this extraordinary gift from her steadfast conviction that NPR and our member stations provide a vital connection to millions of listeners." "She wanted us to continue building a programming service marked by excellence to meet the challenges of this new century. This contribution reflects not only Mrs. Kroc's belief in the growing significance and enduring value of public radio, but her conviction that NPR will be a wise and responsible steward of her legacy."
Most of the gift is to become part of the NPR Endowment Fund for Excellence that was set up ten years ago to provide a sustaining source of support for NPR activities that is independent of other revenue sources, which are affected by the economy and other factors beyond NPR's control.
John A. Herrmann Jr., chairman of the NPR Foundation, said the contribution, combined with a generous flow of other donations to the Endowment Fund for Excellence, was a recognition that NPR has grown to be a linchpin of American news, information and culture. "This is an enormous act of faith by Mrs. Kroc and other donors," said Herrmann. "They are creating a legacy for the audiences of today and tomorrow."
"Mrs. Kroc's generosity is an inspiring example for all of us who support NPR and public radio," he added. "She has given us the capacity to think big, both about the services of NPR and about further building the financial resources of this great institution"
Doug Myrland, general manager of KPBS, commented, "KPBS and National Public Radio are the beneficiaries of Joan Kroc's extraordinary generosity because she recognized that our programming provides vital public service to the American people. Joan Kroc knew that the partnership between local stations like KPBS and national organizations like NPR is the key to maintaining and improving our programming, and she understood the special value of creating a vital mix of local and national news, information and cultural programming."
2003-11-07: The new Glasgow FM licence, the last FM licence that the UK Radio Authority will award before it hands over to the new Ofcom super regulator, has gone to Saga against competition from 12 other applicants (See RNW July 2).
Saga is proposing a service for the 50 plus comprised of easy listening music plus a speech component of news and lifestyle-oriented programming.
Radio Authority Executive chairman David Witherow said of the award, "We felt that Saga had presented a very well-rounded proposal which would appeal to its substantial target audience of those aged 50+ in the Glasgow area with an imaginatively constructed blend of music and speech programming."
The Authority has also announced the award of the digital multiplex licence for Plymouth/Cornwall to the sole applicant, South West Digital Radio Ltd., whose shareholders are GWR subsidiary Now Digital Ltd. (67%), and UKRD Group Ltd. (33%).
This licence is the 46th local digital multiplex licence to be awarded by the Radio Authority, and the last that will be awarded during the initial phase of digital radio development.
The Authority's Chief Operating Officer, David Vick, said the Authority was "are extremely pleased to have completed the programme of local digital radio licensing which we embarked upon back in 1998, on schedule and with no loss of momentum."
He added, "This has been due to the enthusiastic support given by the commercial radio industry, as multiplex operators and digital programme service providers, to this technology, which will transform radio listening in the years ahead. The UK is acknowledged to be the world-leader in the development of Digital Audio Broadcasting, and I am proud of the role which the Authority has been able to play in facilitating this."
South West Digital Radio Ltd. Is proposing to launch with an initial bouquet of six services in addition to carrying BBC local radio and is to add two more channels during its licence term(See RNW Licence News, Sept 21).
Previous UK Radio Authority:
2003-11-07: Arbitron has reported an improvement in diary response rates in its top ten markets for the Summer 2003 survey but this was counterbalanced by a fall overall.
Compared to a year before, the top ten market response was up 0.6% to 27.9% with the average Metro return rate up 2.4 points to 52.7% but over all the 97 markets that Arbitron measures continuously the response fell by 1.8 points to 30.8%
The improvement in returns from those who agreed to keep diaries in metro areas was counterbalanced by a fall in those agreeing to take part - the average metro consent rate was down 2.8% on a year before to 56.9%
2003-11-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the lifting of its ban on new and major AM station changes with the opening of "an auction filing window for certain AM station construction permit applications" running from January 26 to 30 next year and linked with this a freeze on AM minor change construction permit applications between January 12 and 30 next year.
The window, according to FCC chairman Michael K. Powell is aimed at ensuring that a diversity of voices available to Americans.
"By opening this filing window," he writes, "we will enable all AM radio station licensees, many of whom represent minority interests, to apply for approval to move their transmitters to locations that better serve their local communities. Better signal coverage will increase the diversity of radio options available to listeners and will enhance the viability of AM stations."
2003-11-07: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings, which again showed the same players but a little chair swapping at the top end where listening was up for most.
For the week to October 26, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 681,441 (686,301); CP - 230,385 (227,032). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 314,174 (286,111); CP - 43,741 (45,239). Up from third with higher listening although reach was down.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 298,046 (290,244); CP 120,767 (120,488). Down from second despite higher listening and reach.
4: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 287,768 (256,888); CP 187,325 (161,679): Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 270,063 (264,499); CP - 52,833 (53,458). Down from fourth despite higher listening although reach was down.
The top five networks for the week to October 26 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,437,944 (6,260,894); CP - 1,716,488 (1,648,163). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,866,613 (3,997,369); CP - 895,287 (885,439). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,096,719 (2,084,285); CP - 490,128 (485,056). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,143,567 (1,093,999); CP - 150,645 (144,451) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 530,996 (515,374); CP - 82,002 (81,774) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,587,667, up from 2,493,391 and StreamGuys with TTSL 564,893, up from 532,723.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-11-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media ownership rules promulgated in June but currently held up in the courts by a stay on a September petition by the Prometheus Radio Project, which says it allows too much consolidation (See RNW Sept 4) have now come under attack for being too restrictive on radio ownership.
A brief filed with the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, which is considering the earlier brief, by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) along with Emmis and Millcreek Broadcasting, says that the FCC changes in radio market definitions is "arbitrary and capricious" and violates the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
It argues that the FCC cannot defend its increased radio ownership restriction since it had provided evidence of substantial benefits from consolidation.
The brief says the Commission "properly declined to reduce the numerical limits on consolidation and properly chose to include non-commercial stations in the local market analysis" but "for both radio and television, the commission adopted specific rules that sabotage its own judgments about the benefits of consolidation."
"The commission's order," it continues, "is thus a model of self-contradiction, and cannot be sustained."
The brief also argues that the switch to Arbitron markets from contour-based methods is illogical since a station can only compete for listeners who are able to receive a signal, adding, "For years the commission's rules, which defined markets based on signal contours, reflected this reality. The Arbitron-based rules do not. Nothing in the order justifies the switch."
2003-11-06: Cox Radio has reported third quarter revenues of USD 112.3 million, down from USD 112.5 million a year ago, although station operating income was up 2% to USD 46.1 million and net income was up 4% to USD 18.45 million, an unchanged USD 0.18 per share.
Cox says its national revenues increased 10% and local revenues decreased 4% in the quarter and regionally it had strong growth from its stations in Houston, Tampa, Richmond, Dayton and Greenville- Spartanburg but there were falls in Southern Connecticut, Long Island and Tulsa whilst its largest market, Atlanta, saw a decline of 3% but, excluding the recently reformatted WFOX-FM, were up 3%.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil said, "We are pleased to report record third quarter results with station operating income increasing 2% in a very difficult environment. We continued our focus on executing our operating strategy during the quarter, investing in our station brands in advance of an expected advertising recovery."
"These investments continue to pay off, as our stations are among the leaders in their local markets, ranking as the number one, two or three station in their target demographic in approximately 90% of our markets." While the advertising environment looks to remain challenging for the remainder of the year, economic indicators point to a recovery in 2004, with initial signs of strength already being seen for the first quarter. We are optimistic for the future, and our long-term focus and proven ability to execute operationally positions us to deliver impressive revenue and cash flow growth in an improving advertising environment."
"While we anticipate a more robust 2004, visibility continues to be a challenge in the short term. We again remain cautious in our guidance for the fourth quarter and currently expect net revenues to be flat to down slightly from the fourth quarter 2002."
2003-11-06: UK Capital Radio's alternative London station Xfm has announced that Andy Ashton is to replace Andrew Phillips as its programme controller; Ashton, who was head of music at the station, had been standing in for Phillips who severed a tendon in his foot in a sporting accident.
In a statement Xfm said, " following discussions with Andrew Phillips, it has been agreed that he will step down from his position as programme controller for the station and will leave the company."
There had been reports last month of tension between Phillips and Xfm, whose growth was said to be slower than Capital had hoped for. No replacement has yet been names as head of music for Xfm but head of production Karl Pilkington has been promoted to deputy programme controller. He will retain his former role and continue to produce and co-host the Saturday afternoon Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant show.
Xfm managing director, Graham Bryce, said Ashton combined "exceptional creativity and commitment as well as incredible attention to detail" and added, "That, along with strong relationships with staff and presenters, is exactly what we need to deliver great radio and sustain audience growth for the station. Under his guidance I am confident that Xfm can deliver even more success in the coming year".
At the BBC, Radio 1 has announced that Nemone and Scott Mills are to swap roles from early January when Chris Moyles in another swap takes over the station's breakfast show from Sara Cox, who is moving to his drive time slot (See RNW Oct 8).
Nemone currently hosts the weekend 1300-1500 shows and commented of her move to the weekday 0400-0700 slot preceding Moyles,said, "It's great to be given a five day a week slot."
Mills also welcomed the move, saying, "I'm glad to be moving to the weekends. Getting up early for Britain is great but you can only do it for so long. After five years I am looking forward to seeing a bit more daylight."
Also at the BBC, the UK Guardian reports that Fiona Glover is to take over the BBC Radio 4 Sunday morning "Broadcasting House" programme in the New Year when she returns from a sabbatical in the US where she was writing a book.
Current Broadcasting House presenter Eddie Mair is to move to the early evening Radio 4 weekday current affairs programme PM at the end of this month.
Glover, formerly a BBC Radio Five Live presenter, most recently on the morning phone-in show, has been broadcasting a weekly Fi-Mail from America segment in Krishnan Guru-Murthy's Sunday morning current affairs show on Chrysalis's LBC FM station (See RNW Oct 3).
UK Guardian report:
2003-11-05: US radio giant Clear Channel Communications has reported tripled of net earnings in the third quarter of this year compared to a year ago but most of the improvement came from the sale of a sale of shares in Univision and while overall revenues were up 9% to USD 2.54 billion those of its radio division were essentially flat.
The net earning amounts to USD 636.0 million (USD1.03 per diluted share) for the quarter compared to net earnings of USD212.5 million (USD 0.34 per diluted share) in 2002 but the earnings included 686 million of pre-tax gains (USD 0.66 per diluted share) after tax, related to the Company's investment in Univision and the sale of an investment in American Tower Corporation.
But for these - and certain impairment charges, Clear Channel says its net earnings would have been USD236.8 million (USD 0.38 per diluted share).
Reported radio revenues for the quarter were USD 963.6 million compared to USD 964.1 million a year earlier but radio but EBITDA was up 2%, to USD 427.1 million and revenues in the company's top 50 markets were also up 2%, offsetting a decline of around 7% in remaining markets.
Commenting on the results, chairman and CEO Lowry Mays said, "Our third quarter results reflect our focus on serving the needs of our communities, the strength of our out-of-home media strategy and our ability to execute in a challenging environment. We are especially pleased with the performance of each of our divisions this quarter and are very well positioned for the future."
COO Mark Mays added, "Our third quarter results demonstrate our ability to generate significant free cash flow on a consistent basis. Looking ahead, we expect 2004 to be an especially promising year as we expect the full growth potential of Clear Channel will be realized in an improving economic environment. By continuing to serve the needs of our communities, employing the best people and providing the highest quality products and services to our customers, we are in an excellent position to increase shareholder value over the long-term."
He told the company's conference call, however, that Clear Channel had paid a short-term price in the quarter for continuing to keep its rates up but added, "We believe that that is very good for the long-term interests of the radio industry and, specifically, ourselves."
Also reporting was Citadel Communications, which went public in August; it reported net revenues up 7.6% to a record USD 96.7 million and operating income turned round from a USD 4.2 million a year ago to a positive USD 3.5 million but its net loss, which included USD 8.2 million of costs related to the repayment of senior debt from the IPO, was also up - from USD 17.4 million (USD 0.18 per share) a year ago to USD 23.2 million (USD 0.20 per share).
Citadel put its revenue rise down to improvements at existing stations plus acquisitions and added that on a pro-forma basis they were up around 3.5%.
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman commented, "The Company is pleased with its record third quarter operating results, which were achieved in a tough economic environment for advertising based media companies" adding " the Company is well positioned to continue to grow both from its existing stations as well as through acquisitions in 2004."
Suleman also said during the company's conference call that the switch of representation from Interep to Katz Media had gone very smoothly; COO Judy Ellis added that they thought Katz superior leadership and a superior sales force and commented, "Their infrastructure is better suited to our markets and our selling strategies, including our regional efforts. This move positions us very well for the coming year."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
2003-11-05: Latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey show Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB remaining in top spot in Sydney but DMG's Nova pushed Austereo's 2-DAY into third place; Southern Cross Broadcasting-owned one-time leader 2UE remained in fifth rank but pulled back some share.
Alan Jones retained the top breakfast slot for 2GB but his share fell from 15.3 to 14.9 whilst talk rival 2UE, which in September switched its breakfast host Steve Price to the drive time slot in a swap with Mike Carlton increased its share -from 7.5 to 8.2.
In the morning slot, 2GB and Nova shared top rank with 11.2 whilst 2UE was third with 10.6.
Glossing over Nova's success in Sydney, Austereo CEO Michael Anderson said, " we saw our great ratings strengthen in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne and saw the fight ahead of us in Sydney. It's a fiercely competitive market around the country and we love a good fight."
"There were no real surprises. The strength of our results in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne reflect the changes we've made in those markets and we'll be turning up the volume even louder, showing everyone just how serious we are."
"We are in this game to win, and Austereo has consistently and convincingly beaten its FM competitors in every market to date. We've also been in the ratings game long enough to know this is an ongoing battle. There is no finishing line - and it would be a mistake to look at any one survey in isolation. We're in this for the long term."
DMG in its comment was wry about its slight drop in share, saying, "Nova 969 has lost listeners and is now the leading FM radio station in Sydney for the first time ever!"
City by city, the top three were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM - same rank with 20.2 (19.5); 5AA - 17.1 (16.4) - same rank; 5MMM - 15.5 (14.6) - same rank:
*Brisbane - B105FM - same rank with 17.7 (18.8); NEW 97.3 FM with 14.1 (13.0)- same rank: Triple M with 13.6 (12.5) - same rank;
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.1 (14.3); ABC 774 with 13.1 (13.2) - same rank; Fox FM with 11.2 (11.7) - same rank; Nova moved up from fifth to fourth with 10.0 (9.1).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM same rank with 20.9 (20.5); ABC 720 with 12.6 (11.8)- up from fourth; All New 92.9 with 11.1 (11.8)- down from second; *96 FM with 9.8 (11.8) - fell from third to fourth:
*Sydney - 2GB 11.3 (12.2) - Same rank; Nova 10.7 (10.8) - up from third; 2-Day with 9.6 (10.9) - down from second; *2UE pulled back some share - from 7.2 to7.7 but remained in fifth rank, below ABC 702 with 8.4 (9.5).
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-11-05: Former Premiere Networks senior vice president Karen Childress has filed a USD 10 million law suit against the Clear Channel subsidiary accusing its syndication arm of violating anti-discrimination and whistle blower-protection laws by ending her employment after she objected to alleged "hostile treatment" toward women, including the spread of a sexually explicit e-mail.
The Los Angeles Times say that Childress says that last October she received an e-mail depicting nude breasts and the message: "Good luck to you! You have been tagged by the Great Jugs!" that had been sent by a senior Clear Channel executive to his direct subordinates through a group e-mail.
She said she complained to Premiere President and COO Kraig T. Kitchin about the e-mail but the company took no action and she was fired three weeks later.
Childress. Reports the paper, contends the incident followed numerous objections to "offensive" acts she made during her six years with Premiere tenure at the company when she objected to.
In the lawsuit, Childress said she had voiced complaints that John Hogan, the radio division's chief executive, promoted women who slept with other male executives, including his predecessor, Randy Michaels and also complained that male executives solicited prostitutes while purportedly on company business. An attorney for Childress said she has "firsthand" knowledge of such alleged incidents.
Clear Channel has refused comment beyond saying that it takes such allegations "very seriously" but concerning two previous cases cited by the paper in which payments were made to veteran news director Brian Rublein, who was fired from a Louisville, Kentucky, station and former Salt Lake City morning personality Dawn College, who had complained of receiving pornographic e-mails from senior executives, its spokeswoman said neither of the cases had "any legitimate sexual harassment elements."
The Times notes that Clear Channel's ranks still include many people from Jacor, whose chief Randy Michaels became Clear Channel radio chief executive until forced aside last year (See RNW July 24, 2002); Michaels, a former shock jock along with Jacor was sued for sexual harassment by Florida DJ Liz Richards who said in a TV interview that she was frequently subjected to unwanted sexual comments and added that Michaels sometimes walked round the station with a flexible rubber penis tied round his neck. The case was settled but no details were revealed.
RNW comment: It's quite difficult not to conclude that both US radio giants in part make their money from a targeted demographic that certainly doesn't find much wrong with suggestive and lewd remarks judging by the jocks who score highly in the ratings.
That being the case, it seems most likely that to erase the comments in-house might well do the same to the listeners outside leaving the companies to make a business calculation - the one we are sure is done - as to the profitability of keeping the people concerned and paying up every so often or firing them and losing audience to competitors.
The Mays family, as the Times reports, has tried to clean up its image, ordering for example the removal of pictures of skimpily dressed women from station Web sites, but it has a dilemma in that should it enforce a consistent policy in matters like this it won't have available the excuse of allowing stations to make their own decisions when it comes to matters like the complaints of encouraging attacks on cyclists (see RNW Oct 15)).
Equally Viacom found the antics of former WNEW-FM hosts Opie and Anthony proving too costly in the Sex in St Patrick's cathedral case.
Certainly it will be diffiult to find staff who are polite and delicate by nature programming successfully to the young male demographic; perhaps both companies should campaign for more male jail to reduce the numbers in one target demographic and turn pink as WNEW became Blink.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-11-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revoked the licence of Georgia station WMGA-AM, Moultrie, following a series of breaches of regulations by Radio Moultrie that it ruled showed it to lack "the basic requisite character qualifications to be and remain a Commission licensee."
It had ordered the company in November last year to "show cause" why it should not lose its licence (See RNW Nov 27, 2002)
Radio Moultrie now has 30 days to appeal or the revocation takes effect in 40 days time; the FCC says that in view of the revocation it is not considering further its option to levy a financial penalty of up to USD 300,000
The ruling follows an inspection of the station, which had then been controlled by the Elder family for nearly ten years, and found no "presence of the station's licensee" and evidence that after licence renewal in 1996 control of the station had been abdicated to first Dixie Broadcasting, Inc. and then to Aubrey Smith and Sam and Gracie Zamarron but no record of any filings to the FCC to sell the station or transfer control.
The inspection also found that Radio Moultrie had failed to change the station to its critical hours directional array as required by its license; failed to repaint its tower structures after seventy-five percent of their orange and white paint had flaked off; left its towers completely unlit during night time hours; failed to report the station's tower light extinguishment to the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") Flight Service Station nearest Moultrie, Georgia; failed to register its station towers with this agency; failed to maintain EAS equipment readiness; failed to maintain a copy of the EAS Operating Handbook at normal duty stations; failed to keep a station log; left the station's main studio unattended; and failed to designate a chief operator at the station.
Letters sent to Dixie Broadcasting and Radio Moultrie in April 2001 and 2002 but received a response only from the former,
On the basis of this and the other evidence it had reviewed, it concluded that Radio Moultrie had "demonstrated that its conduct as a licensee before the Commission is unreliable."
"Based on the foregoing," the FCC continued, "we conclude, as a matter of law, that RMI's broadcast license for WMGA(AM) should be revoked. In light of our decision to revoke RMI's license, we do not impose a forfeiture. We believe license revocation is a sufficient sanction in this context."
2003-11-05: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has launched its fifth "New Adventures in Broadcasting" scheme that promotes "the development of new and innovative programming within the independent sector" of Irish radio.
The scheme is being funded with Euros 120,000 (USD 138,000) for programme production within three strands - one for one-off programming, a second that targets a station's regular programme schedule, and a third targeting Irish language programming.
This year's scheme will have a first phase in which applicants can obtain grants of up to Euros 7,500 (USD 8,600) per programme in addition to the resources devoted to it by the station itself; applications have to be submitted by December 15 and all programmes have to be completed and broadcast within six months.
The second phase is the competition and award process, with a closing date of the end of August next year, which is open to all programmes which have received funding; stations that wish to participate have to submit a thirty minute piece that is representative of the programme made.
BCI web site (Page links to brochures on the scheme in English and Irish - each 140 Kb PDF):
2003-11-04: WorldDAB Forum representatives have been attending the Futurecom 2003 event in Brazil at the end of October and promoting the Eureka 147 digital audio broadcasting standard to South America as part of their activities under the five-year @LIS (Alliance for the Information Society) programme launched in Seville in April last year.
The project, funded by the European Commission, has a budget of Euros 77.5 million (USD 88.8 million) and 18 Latin American countries -- Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela - are being targeted in its promotion of the Eureka DAB system.
The attendance at Futurecom 2003 was the first step in a plan to present regulators and broadcasters in the region with up-to-the-minute market data on the roll out of DAB digital radio elsewhere in the world, and best of practice strategies that have allowed this technology to develop into a mature broadcast medium.
WorldDAB President Annika Nyberg commented: "The feedback on DAB Digital Radio and the contacts we've made at Futurecom 2003 have been encouraging, and we look forward to following up on them."
In the UK, SMG-owned Virgin Radio is promoting DAB in the run-up to Christmas with the world's biggest ever DAB promotion in which a DAB Digital Radio is to be given away every hour for four weeks
In all nine of the latest model receivers, including the best selling Evoke-1, the new Tempus Alarm Clock DAB radio, the FM/DAB Stereo option from Intempo, DAB/CD player combos from Goodmans, handheld personal radios from PersTel and Grundig, and the first DAB radio from Roberts, are being given away in the campaign that starts on November 10.
Entrants simply have to send their name and address to Virgin Radio via fax or its web site.
The BBC has also added further digital transmitters in the UK over the past few weeks, bringing into service its Angus transmitter that serves the Dundee area in Scotland, the Blunsdon transmitter that serves the Swindon area of Wiltshire and the Churchdown Hill transmitter that serves Cheltenham and Gloucester, both in England.
In all the BBC has added 13 digital transmitters since August as part of a plan to enable terrestrial UK digital radio broadcasts to reach 85% of the population by the middle of next year; it currently reaches some 70%.
2003-11-04: Beasley Broadcast Group has reported third quarter revenues up 2% on a year ago at USD 29.4 million with operating income from continuing operations up 1.2% to USD 7.3 million but net income was more than doubled to USD 3.1 million (USD 0.13 per diluted share) from USD 1.5 million (USD 0.06 per share) a year earlier; the increase was largely due to a USD 1.2 million gain on the sale of 50,000 shares of securities.
Same station revenues, excluding the operating results from WRNO-FM and KMEZ-FM in New Orleans (sold during the first quarter of 2002) and the operating results of WBYU-AM in New Orleans (sold during the first quarter of 2003), was up 2% to USD 29.4 million.
For the first nine months of the year, Beasley reported revenue up 0.4% to USD 82.3 million, operating income from continuing operations down from USD 19.5 million to USD 19 million and station operating income down from USD 26.2 million to USD 25.8 million. On the plus side, Beasley turned a net loss of USD 6.9 million a year earlier (USD 0.28 per share) to a profit of USD 9.5 million (o.39 per share) including a USD 4.5 million gain on the sale of 300,000 shares of securities; the 2002 net loss reflected the adoption of new accounting standard SFAS 142 that lead to a charge being taken of USD 1.21 million (USD 0.50 per share).
For the final quarter of this year, Beasley says it expects revenues to fall by up to 5% on a year earlier because of the suspension of a major annual promotional event in Philadelphia and the absence of political advertising revenue.
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said, "Third quarter revenue benefited from continuing improvements at our Miami, Las Vegas and Ft. Myers market clusters, as well as from a modest revenue gain at our Greenville-New Bern market cluster. These increases were partially offset by challenging market conditions at our Fayetteville market cluster, which is located near several military bases."
"As we anticipated, the advertising climate in both our large- and mid-sized markets remains somewhat unpredictable, and with limited visibility on revenue, our fourth quarter outlook remains cautious. We continue to make targeted investments in programming and promotions to enhance our competitive position in certain markets, while eliminating marginally profitable non-traditional revenue events that do not contribute to operating income. We also continue to strengthen our balance sheet by using internally-generated cash flow and proceeds from the sale of securities to reduce the outstanding balance under our credit facility."
In other US radio business, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has completed its USD250 million purchase of KXOL-FM, Los Angeles, from the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and Newsweb Corp. has completed its USD 8.25 million purchase of WAIT-AM, in the northwest Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, from NextMedia; it is to switch the station, at present running a Johnny Cash format as a stunt but previously a syndicated Talk output, to brokered Talk programming from the start of next week.
In Southern California, the current fires are expected to hit revenues at some stations - and have already taken out transmitters in a number of cases - but overall the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) says it still expects October figures this year to be up on a year ago.
For the first six months of the year, the SCBA said Los Angeles top ten category revenues were nearly 12% up on 2002 at USD 1,72 billion and in August Los Angeles they were up 14.4% at USD 366.9 million.
Previous George Beasley:
2003-11-04: Writing in the UK Guardian, Lyn Long, managing director of UK Capital Radio's Capital Gold network, argues that the company, which has the nearest musical output to BBC Radio 2 but has only AM frequencies, is facing an unfair battle and should be allowed FM frequencies.
"Playing the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s," she writes, "we have the nearest musical output to Radio 2 so it comes as no surprise to me that it enjoys the success and accolades it does when it has no competitors broadcasting in FM."
"Why is Radio 2 given this free run with no true commercial equivalent as all other BBC national stations have? Surely it is time the commercial sector was allowed to tap into the huge 40- to 59-year-old market to give them the music they want in decent FM sound quality?"
Long then argues in terms of the commercial viability of the demographic targeted by Capital Gold, saying, " they are definitely not sitting by the fire with pipe and slippers and reading Saga magazine, but buying sports cars with their vast, disposable incomes, or enjoying multiple holidays every year. They have money and are not shy of spending it. This means that, as a commercial station, we are an advertiser's dream. When people are in their 40s and 50s, earnings are at a peak, children are starting to leave home, mortgages might have been paid. They can afford to indulge themselves, and they do."
The plea is in part tied in to the forthcoming award of the new Glasgow FM commercial licence, the last that will be issued by the UK Radio Authority before it is subsumed into the new Ofcom regulator at the end of the year, and Long comments, "I believe in some romantic notion that Capital should win the last ever licence, having won the first, and none in between. If we do, then at least in Glasgow, the 40-plus public can have a service they feel proud of."
RNW comment: Apart from the naked self-interest in Gold's argument, which is honestly displayed, the argument that this sector should be given preference above all others when it comes to the allocation of sparse analogue spectrum, does not seem all that strong to us.
We would also note that the increasing take-up of digital radio is also offering significant opportunities for commercial stations in terms of being able to offer FM-plus quality to most of the population using additional frequencies.
On top of this, imaginative use of software-enhanced radio - or even an examination of the potential for iBiquity's HD in-band-on-channel system on AM, would seem potentially more productive than focusing too closely on gaining additional FM frequencies.
UK Guardian article:
2003-11-04: The conflict between Clear Channel and US cyclists following anti-bike comments made by hosts at three of its stations (see RNW Oct 15) has now made it into the New York Times which reported Monday on calls for action to be taken against the group over the matter.
The hosts at the stations in Cleveland, Houston and Raleigh, North Carolina, have already apologized for their comments and the company has donated some USD 10,000 and air time to promote cycle safety but for many cyclists more is needed.
The paper quotes a St Louis cyclist as saying the matter "should not go unpunished" and reports that a cycle shop owner in the Cleveland area has filed a "complaint with the Federal Communications Commission asking it to fine the company or take away the licenses of the three stations."
Clear Channel has said the it was coincidental that similar comments came from three stations, and told the stations to refer questions to corporate headquarters but, the Times reports, it would not say if the disc jockeys were disciplined nor will it release tapes or transcripts of the broadcasts.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2003-11-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a fine of USD 10,000 on a Florida man for operating an unlicenced station in Orlando, Florida.
Daniel Clephar was issued with a notice of apparent violation in April but had not filed a response.
2003-11-03: Last week we spotted a wide range of perspectives in print comment on radio, including one article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's in-house publication that began by asking the question "Why Radio?"
In this case the question was asking why write or produce drama for radio as opposed to TV. It was pegged to ABC Radio National's version of Stephen Sewell's play Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America.
Sewell described working on the radio adaptation of the play as "one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career" and Richard Buckham, Radio National's Editor of Performance and Features, commented on why some writers found it rewarding to work for radio.
The reward is not financial: As Buckham commented, "You can accomplish things in radio that would be difficult in another medium. A good writer will constantly feed clues to listeners about what they want them to see and the listener subconsciously continues the process - reading a good novel has the same effect.'
Actors also, he added love working on radio because of the flexibility, the short-term commitment and also because it is "liberating". Time and again an actor cast in a role for radio will say that they would never be asked to play that character on stage because they don't look the part!'
Buckham and his producers also say the quality of a good radio performance depends not on a special kind of voice or microphone technique but on 'the level of energy.
There is a perception, they add, among some young actors that "less is good and they act as though for a film close-up. However if a radio actor acts from the neck up it is deadly. The experienced radio actors actually use their whole body to make the character come alive - to convey the physicality of the character - age illness, exhaustion, elation, ecstacy, passion - whatever it is. You've got to act from the gut."
Somehow, we feel, the gut feelings for many of the big players in the business of US radio have far more to with numbers - primarily with a dollar sign and secondarily with numbers of listeners and the value of the category to which they belong - rather than the artistic concerns that motivate the Australian writers and actors cited by the ABC.
And somehow most of them seem to think that they are better served by varnished rather than unadulterated versions of how they are doing when it comes to ratings times; the phenomenon was notable in the UK when the recent ratings showed that Capital FM in London had more listeners but Heart had overtaken it in terms of listening. Indeed reading the versions from various companies, one would not have been sure they related to the same set of numbers.
The same, it would appear is true in the US, a feature picked up last week by Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times in a column headed, "Everyone's a winner in radio ratings roulette."
"All of us here on the Sun-Times radio desk," he writes, "would like to offer our congratulations to Rafael 'El Pistolero' Pulido, morning host at WOJO-FM (105.1), on being No. 1 in the latest Arbitron ratings. Way to go, 'El Pistolero'!"
"While we're at it, we'd also like to congratulate Robin Rock, midday host at WLIT-FM (93.9), and Steve Seaver, afternoon host at WLUP-FM (97.9), on also being No. 1 in the latest Arbitron ratings."
"And let's not overlook Brian Middleton of WBBM-FM (96.3), Lisa Berigan of WTMX-FM (101.9) and Troi Tyler of WVAZ-FM (102.7)."
"Wait a minute. You say you've never heard of any of these people? Well, they're all No. 1. As Casey Stengel [RNW note - the late US baseball player and manager] said, 'You could look it up.'"
But when it comes to targeting both listeners and advertisers, radio is a highly segmented medium. Depending on how you slice and dice the numbers, there are at least 10 stations in town that can rightfully claim No. 1 rank among some portion of the market sometime during the day.
Still with numbers - and segments - Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times Radio Waves column asks if it is "crunch time" for the breakfast shows in the UK.
"Audiences are falling, presenters leaving," he continues. "Wogan, still No 1 and, as Paul Burrell reveals in his book, the Queen's morning favourite on her ancient Roberts radio, lost 570,000 listeners this summer."
"Today lost 300,000, Radio 5 Live 143,000, talkSPORT 33,000. Sara Cox, who dropped 140,000, will be replaced on Radio 1 in the New Year by Chris Moyles, who runs her close in the bad-taste stakes. Chris Tarrant, after a reign of 17 years, is abdicating in favour of Johnny Vaughan. Victoria Derbyshire, whose on-air relationship with Nicky Campbell on 5 Live is one of audible prickliness, is leaving at Christmas for the less painful business of giving birth."
To the suggestions that this could merely reflect the regular ratings fall in summer, he points out some exceptions - the new boys who put on ratings, "Simon Bates, on Classic FM, who attracted 105,000 (reversing the trend of his ejected predecessor, Henry Kelly), and Pete and Geoff's rock and chatter on Virgin."
He then goes on to draw some conclusions related to the additional stations available in the UK, commenting, "The only generalisation that makes real sense in this feverish atmosphere is that competition is growing, especially through the slow but steady increase in digital listening. That provides lots more stations to sample and a much easier way of sampling them than has ever been the case - because now you don't need to know anything about wavelengths."
"The BBC's five new digital stations attract 1m listeners a week. Output ranges from loud and proud 1Xtra to vintage comedy on BBC7 to the Asian Network, which mounted a delightful item last week, linked to Prince Charles's visit to India, on the most attractive tourist destinations the subcontinent has to offer."
RNW comment: In the same way as cable has made significant inroads into US network viewing, we suspect there would be a similar battle for listeners had the US opted for a digital system that provided extra choices as opposed to adding a digital signal to the analogue broadcasts of the current broadcasters. There the competition for listeners will probably be much more limited with only the subscription satellite radio services providing significant competition, which we feel is a worse situation than in the UK albeit the fight the commercial broadcasters have put up against low power FM - and the terrestrial back-up stations for the satellite companies - means they'd fight tooth and nail against anything that really did open up the market.
They of course, can't hold back Internet stations that we adjudge will increasingly gain listeners as broadband take-up grows, although even then their fight won't be on principle but rather to gain for themselves the ability to stream terrestrial music signals without copyright charges but not be overly concerned about charges for Internet-only stations.
That is of course a cue for a column on "Netcasters", from Hiawatha Bray in the Boston Globe.
After commenting, "It's easy to get depressed about the state of broadcasting in the United States" she suggests that on the Net "you meet a better class of broadcaster."
She cites as one example Seattle mortgage broker Sean Mulrooney who, off duty, is "a music DJ, specializing in free-form stuff."
Mulrooney, like the actors and writers in Australia, isn't motivated just by making money; in fact in his case it costs him around USD 400 a year and he measures listeners in the tens.
He says he doesn't mind only having around 30 listeners since he gets to call the tunes and adds, "
''I've met fascinating people through this whole thing. Lifelong friendships have been made, even though we'll probably never meet.''
Bray notes that the royalty demands from the recording industry nearly killed off Internet radio but compromise figures have just about made it viable although streaming organizations like Live365.com, which had anticipated getting three-quarters of its money from advertising is in fact getting some 90% from people like Mulrooney who pay to stream their signal. In all it has some 22,000 Internet broadcasters paying to stream on its network, which has 2-3 million listeners per month.
Live365 still loses money but says it has turned the corner financially. Listeners pay around USD 5 per month for a premium service uninterrupted by adverts but there are a limited number of free streams.
On a different scale are Internet broadcasters like classical music service Beethoven.com whose vice president Kevin Shively says that advertisers are eager to reach his affluent listeners.
''We expect to be able to reach profitability over the next year,'' he said. ''In the last year, we've seen advertising revenue jump over 100 percent.''
And for this week's recommendations from the BBC online, tomorrow night sees BBC Radio 2 air Mark Goodier's two-part interview with Kylie Minogue in The Language of Kylie (2030 GMT, Nov 4).
And from the Radio 4 Listen Again resouce Inventors Imperfect takes a look at the Dutch draper Antony van Leeuwenhoek who through examination of algae that began in 1674 ended up as the father of modern microbiology. Among his discoveries were bacteria and protests (one-celled organisms)and the programme includes an interview in London where original specimens from the time are still stored.
Fascinatingly van Leeuwenhoek did not publish his work -nor indeed exploit it commercially - just writing again and again with details of his microscopic observations to the Royal Society in London.
ABC, Australia (Why Radio item):
BBC "Listen Again" web site (Links to audio of programmes recommended above)
Boston Globe - Bray:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2003-11-03: A complaint brought against the BBC by actress Sandra Caron concerning a Radio 4 serial on her late sister, singer Alma Cogan, has been upheld by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) according to author Michael Thornton, a friend of Caron.
The findings are still to be published but Thornton says they severely censure the BBC over the serial in which Cogan was depicted as a drunk who was ashamed of her mother, who was portrayed as an overbearing Jewish harridan.
Caron had sought a High Court injunction to prevent the airing of the broadcast at the end of July and beginning of August last year but this was refused on the legal basis that the dead could not be libelled under English law.
The ruling says the "serialisation was unfair in the dramatisation in the dramatisation of Miss Caron's parents and sisters and failed to have regard to the feelings of surviving family members."
It rejected the BBC arguments and found "unfairness"
2003-11-03: US National Public Radio has announced that the NPR Tavis Smiley Show is to add another member to its team of regular commentators, which already includes Princeton professor Cornel West, author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, noted civil rights attorney Connie Rice and Ward Connerly, a member of the University of California Board of Regents.
He is businessman, minister and former Republican congressman J.C. Watts, Jr. whose commentaries will air on Tuesdays starting this week.
Smiley's one-hour daily show begins its third season in January next year and its success has led to the addition of a weekly half-hour TV show for public stations that also begins in January.
2003-11-02: The most important licence announcement over the past week was of the new Adelaide commercial FM in Australia, won by DMG; elsewhere there was a low level of activity although in the US, the Federal Communications Commission is still facing attempts to reverse its June regulatory changes as well as continuing with its routine business.
In Australia, as well as auctioning the Adelaide licence (See RNW Nov 1), the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), as well as more routine licence activity has become involved in conflict with the country's commercial broadcasters over its digital radio trials (See RNW Oct 29) and has also issued its annual report (See RNW Oct 30).
On the licence front, activity involved proposals for changes for commercial services and for new community licences in the Remote North East Zone and for changes in Victoria.
In the Remote North East Zone, the ABA is asking for public comment - with a deadline of November 24 - on plans to make channels available for commercial station 4RBL to operate at Inglewood, Stanthorpe and Texas in Queensland and to make revised technical specifications available to commercial station 4BRZ to operate at Inglewood and Stanthorpe.
It is also proposing three additional community services in the Zone, at Weipa, Queensland, Dunedoo, New South Wales and the Warrnambool area of New South Wales plus an additional open narrowcasting service to serve the Inglewood area.
It is also asking for comment - with a deadline of November 20 -on planned changes at Warrambool in Victoria; they are to change the transmitter site and technical specifications of commercial station 3YB, to extend the service area of community service 3WAY and designate both the community and commercial radio licence areas against the 2001 Census boundaries.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been dealing with routine matters. In order of province these included:
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence of CFHK-FM St. Thomas.
Renewal until August 31, 2010, of licences of CBFA-FM-1 Manouane, CBFA-FM-2 Obedjiwan, CBFM-FM Mistassini and CBFW-FM Wemindji, all of which rebroadcast the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) national French-language network service La Première Chaîne
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence of CINW-AM Montréal and its short-wave transmitter CFCX Montréal. The Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) had filed comments concerning the streamlined renewal of this licence but the commission held that a public hearing held when it changed to a news format resolved all relevant issues.
Renewal until August 31 of the licence of CJPX-FM, Montréal. ADISQ had also filed comments about the renewal of this licence that were considered by the Commission.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence of CHLT-AM, Sherbrook.
There was nothing of note regarding radio from Ireland and only little from the UK where the Radio Authority has announced the closure of its Reading Room from the middle of this month (See RNW Oct 28) in advance of its death when the new Ofcom super regulator takes over its role.
The Authority also invited comments on Shropshire Newspapers proposal to take a controlling interest in Telford Radio Limited.
The Authority says it is minded to allow the acquisition but is inviting comment since under law a company cannot run a local newspaper and a local radio station in the same area unless the Authority determines that the arrangement would not be against the public interest.
In the US some 200 congressmen have now signed a letter calling for a debate of the Senate Resolution that would nullify the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media regulations (See RNW Nov 1). The FCC has also been involved in more controversy about licence renewals, this time with Democrat Commissioner sounding a dissenting note concerning its manned of dealing with a California man's objections to the licence renewals of two Infinity stations -- KLSX-FM in Los Angeles and WXRK-FM in New York that carry the Howard Stern Show, which the man alleged to include "indecent material" (See RNW Oct 31).
The Commission has also been involved in levying a number of penalties, some of them reduced because of a past history of compliance (Also Oct 31), another being confirmed at its original level (see RNW Oct 30) and in another case going for the
Maximum penalty as with a proposed penalty of USD 120,500 forfeiture against SpectraSite Communications, Inc., Cary, North Carolina, for failure to register and light its antenna structures; the standard penalty for the offences would normally have been only USD 13,000 but the Commission noted "We are particularly troubled that SpectraSite continues to violate these rules despite receiving three forfeiture assessments within less than three years for at least 13 instances of failure to comply with the antenna structure rules" and added that its "continuing violation of the antenna structure requirements evinces a pattern of non-compliance with, and apparent disregard for, these safety-related rules."
The Commission also noted that it had warned Spectra "that further violations will result in even more serious enforcement action" and also directed it "to submit a compliance report, and directed the Enforcement Bureau to conduct a broader investigation of SpectraSite's compliance with the antenna rules, if appropriate after review of SpectraSite's compliance report."
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-11-02: In a number of changes by Infinity in Chicago, Big John Howell, currently morning man for WUSN-FM and host of the syndicated "Country Gold" show is hosting a new public affairs show "Sunday Journal" from this weekend. It will air on Infinity's US-99.5 early on Saturday mornings and late Sunday nights on WJMK-FM.
In July, Howell left oldies station WJMK-FM, which he joined only in March after 14 years at the Infinity's country format WUSN-FM (See RNW July 16); his new show replaces "Chicago Up Close", hosted by Lee Ann Trotter.
WJMK has also announced a permanent replacement for John "Records" Landecker, who was dropped by the station in August (See RNW Aug 29); he's Paul Perry, former morning host for the company's WODS-FM in Boston.
Perry, whose contract was not renewed by WODS in September, is due to go on air on November 5; since Landecker left the station has been using a number of fill-in hosts.
2003-11-02: A story of a prize in the latest issue of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Newsletter "Inside the ABC" reveals a delivery that deserves a prize of its own.
The prize - of a short-wave radio - was awarded in a competition run by the Vietnamese Language Service of Radio Australia, the corporation's international arm.
It was won by Mr Ta van Lam who lives in a very small commune deep in the jungle in Gia Lai province in the central Tay Nguyen Highlands near the border with Cambodia.
Mail delivery was not possible so Hue Nguyen, Executive Producer of the Vietnamese language Service, arranged to get the parcel to his nephew in Vietnam and the latter spend two days getting to the nearest large town and then had to travel another 100km (60 miles) into the jungle on taxi motorbike to deliver the prize.
Previous ABC, Australia:
ABC newsletter (217kb PDF):
2003-11-01: Some 200 US congressmen have now signed a bipartisan letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican, Illinois) asking for a debate on the Resolution of Disapproval approved in the Senate (See RNW Sept 17) that would nullify the new ownership regulations announced by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the start of June.
Should Hastert, who is under pressure from the Republican leadership in the House not to allow a vote,continue to refuse, those opposing the regulations would need 218 votes to force him to schedule a debate and vote.
This would be on the House version of the resolution that was introduced last month by Maurice Hinchey (Democrat, New York) but the debate would not take place until the 2004 session begins.
Those signing the letter want a vote in the current session of Congress and say," There is perhaps no other issue as central to the health of our democracy that the just governance of the media system. The public deserves a debate and a vote on this important matter."
2003-11-01: DMG, which at the start of the week launched its newest station, Hot 91, Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, has won the new Adelaide commercial FM licence in Australia with a bid of AUD 24 million (USD 16.9 million).
It is expected to become the latest Nova network station; DMG owns Nova stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and has a half-interest in new Brisbane station 97.3 FM with Australian Radio Network (ARN) in a station total of 64 excluding the new Adelaide licence.
The winning bid came from DMG Radio Adelaide Pty Ltd. whose Chief Executive Paul Thompson said they were "very pleased" and added that he regarded the bid as a "fair price."
The licence will be allocated as soon as possible following full payment, which has to be made between December 15 and 17 and DMG is hoping to be on the air in the middle of next year.
It already owns Adelaide talk station 5AAA, which it describes as the "highest rating talk station" in Australia.
Commenting on the auction, ABA chairman Professor David Flint said the Authority was "very pleased with the result, adding, "It indicates how commercially valuable the FM band is. The level of bidding demonstrates a real depth of interest in the market and shows that the radio frequency spectrum is a public asset of great worth. When this new service goes to air, it will add to the diversity of radio services for listeners in the Adelaide market."
2003-11-01: American University President Benjamin Ladner has ousted Susan Clampitt from her job as executive director of Washington DC public station WAMU-FM and assigned his chief of staff, David Taylor, to oversee the station on an interim basis.
The decision follows recent attacks on Clampitt over the state of the station's finances and staff problems at WAMU; she recently came under attack from donors, current and former staff members, and volunteers about her management of the station's finances and manner of handling staff relationships (See RNW Oct 21).
Ladner told the Washington Post, "My decision came after very thoughtful extended discussions over the past week or two. I've had very direct conversations with many members of the staff, they are ongoing, and I tried to assess the situation. And what I found added up for me to a decision that will take us in a different direction."
Clampitt, who is still listed on the station's web site as executive director, issued a statement that said WMU under her leadership had reached all-time record listening and boosted membership and revenues through effective fundraising, adding, "this decision made by American University President Benjamin Ladner signals a retreat from the vision that both he and I shared for the long-term growth of WAMU. The record demonstrates that the difficult decisions and choices I have made over the last three years have been in the best interest of the station."
The decision was announced at a station staff meeting after which host Diane Rehm, who had been one of Clampitt's harshest critics, told the paper, "There's a real lift in the air. A feeling as though we've got our feet back on the ground. . . . As sad as I am to see any one person have to bear the burden of this, it was clear that Susan Clampitt and the personnel of this station were out of sync, and it was not only her financial management, it was her personnel management. Both directions were just wrong for this station."
Taylor, who will retain his chief of staff role, which he has held for eight years, has a long background in media relations work, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism.
Washington Post report:
2003-11-01: Radio Unica, which last month announced a pre-packaged bankruptcy plan to sell its stations for USD 150 million to Multicultural Broadcasting, Inc. (See RNW Oct 5) has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in order to implement the station sale plus planned separate sale of its radio network and promotions company.
Unica says that all holders of the Company's 11 3/4% Senior Discount Notes, who will receive around USD 700 in cash for each USD 1,000 in notes, and are the only of creditors impaired by the plan, have voted to support the transaction and the pre-packaged bankruptcy.
Other creditors, it adds, will receive full payment and stockholders will then receive around USD 0.47 to USD 1.03 per share for their holdings.
Unica notes that its Hispanic Marketing and Promotions organization Mass Promotions, Inc. has not filed for bankruptcy, and says all its businesses will operate normally until closure of the transactions to sell them.
In other US Spanish language radio business, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced that Michael Agovino, former President of Clear Channel Radio Sales, is to become Vice President/General Manager of its Los Angeles cluster -- KLAX-FM, KXOL-FM and KZAB-FM/KZBA-FM.
He replaces Marko Radlovic, who is to take a newly formed corporate position that will be announced once Agovino is in his new post.
Agovino started with Katz Radio in 1985, becoming its President from 1995-2000 and then becoming President of Clear Channel Radio Sales.
SBS President and CEO Raúl Alarcón said, "Mike Agovino is the perfect candidate to implement and execute our aggressive sales growth plan in Los Angeles. We are extremely fortunate to be able to count on his expertise going forward.
In other US radio business over the past week, Clear Channel is again adding to its holdings, this time with a USD 31 million Georgia purchase of Oldies WLCL-FM, Canton, in the Atlanta market, from Cherokee Broadcasting. It is already operating the station via an LMA.
In Florida, Pilot Group Radio, is paying USD 6 million to Waitt Radio for four stations, Country WMXP-FM, Callaway, Chart/Rythmic WLHR-FM, Panama City, Smooth Jazz WASJ-FM, Panama City Beach, and Classic Rock WRBA-FM, Springfield, in the Panama City market.
In Oklahoma, Monarch Broadcasting is spending USD 1.8 million on the purchase of three Altus stations, KQTZ-FM, KRKZ-FM, and KWHW-AM, from Altus Radio. The stations are Monarch's first.
In Louisiana, Educational Media Foundation is paying UD 1.5 million American Family Association Inc. for Christian AC KSJY-FM, Lafayette; Educational Media has also spent USD 750,000 on North Dakota station KDJZ-FM, Harwood, in the Fargo market, and raised USD 70,000 through the sale of KEZX-AM, Medford, Oregon, to Opus Broadcasting Systems.
In Indiana, the assets of St. George Broadcasting, LLC, licensee of WJOB-AM, Hammond, and WIMS-AM, Michigan City, are now to be auctioned on December 8. Offers are invited in excess of USD 1.25 million.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Educational Media Foundation:
2003-11-01: The latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) upheld one complaints against radio, could not consider another as no tape was available, and considered two more resolved, compared with two complaints upheld and another partly upheld in its previous bulletin (See RNW Oct 1).
In all the Commission listed 89 complaints, 26 of which involved radio and the remaining 63, including advertisements and trailers, concerned video.
There were only three fairness complaints compared to 16 in the previous bulletin, all concerning TV whereas 12 concerned TV and four radio in the previous bulletin; of these one was considered resolved and the other two not upheld compared to four upheld- one of which concerned radio - in the previous bulletin.
Of the remaining 86 cases involving standards, five were upheld, of which only one involved radio, the same as in the previous bulletin. This case involved a complaint of anti-Semitism against Key 103; the broadcaster said the programme had dealt with a number of religions and the caller had been given ample chance to put his point of view but the panel held that comments about Jewish people exceeded acceptable boundaries.
In addition one case against radio - involving the morning crew on 2-Ten FM - was not considered since the broadcaster was unable to provide a recording due to a technical fault. This was reported to the Radio Authority.
Another four cases involving radio were considered resolved: They involved four complaints of swearing by a guest on the Jonathan Ross show on BBC radio 2 and another of swearing on Vibe FM plus a complaint involving Ridings FM which had broadcast an "an irresponsible spoof "tip" in which supposedly, to keep children quiet during the school holidays, listeners had been advised to swap the contents of a lemonade bottle for the contents of a bottle of bleach" and a complaint that Sara Cox on BBC Radio 1 had given the impression she condoned the use of cannabis. In all cases, actions taken by the broadcaster were held to be sufficient.
Of the 87 standards cases, no statements were required from the broadcasters in 62 of which 18 involved radio.
Previous BSc and BSc Complaints Bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 88 kb PDF):
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October 2003 - December 2003
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