June 2004 Archive
- May 2004 -July 2004
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.
E-mail note: For obvious Virus reasons, we neither send nor accept e-mail attachments without prior notice and agreement. All messages sshould be sent plain text.
RNW June comment - argues for strong public broadcasters and suggets the BBC licence fee system is better than other options.
RNW May comment - Looks at how radio as an aural medium is progressing as technological change opens new ways to listen and new competition.
RNW April comment - Considers the basis on which any indecency regulation should be based: We conclude that the FCC is behaving shamefully at the moment in terms of the manner in which it lays down the rules, in which it enforces them, and is effectively changing the goal posts during the game.
2004-06-30: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell in what the Washington Post termed "a wide-ranging interview the first he has given since the rules were sent back" has expressed disappointment over the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit sent back three proposed FCC media ownership rules (See RNW June 25) and as the paper put it "lamented the lack of deference shown by the court to the FCC."
"The previous commission drew tighter lines, and the court said they could not justify those. This commission drew slightly looser lines, and we still couldn't justify those," said Powell.
"It may not be possible to line-draw. Part of me says maybe the best answer is to evaluate on a case-by-case basis. The commission may end up getting more pushed in that direction."
Amongst the FCC proposals rejected was its "Diversity index", a Powell pet project based on the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index of market concentration that the Justice Department uses in antitrust cases.
Powell says he think they had done "fairly well" in creating the index, which eh described as "completely novel", although he accepted there were some "areas of Weakness": The court had blasted the proposal and commented, "A diversity index that requires us to accept that a community college television station makes a greater contribution to viewpoint diversity than a conglomerate that includes the third-largest newspaper in America also requires us to abandon both logic and reality."
Powell also suggested that the result was due to the venue in which the hearing was held : "I still believe we would have had a very different result if it had gone to the D.C. Circuit," he l said. "That's why those who opposed it were so aggressive about going to a different court."
He also said opponents were crowing too much, commenting, "The court wants more explanation for the lines we drew Yes, we failed to convince them on the first try. But we were not sort of way out of whack the way people portrayed it."
In another report, the Los Angeles Times says media and telecommunications lobbyists in Washington are rushing to get their "pet issues" on the FCC's agenda because they are convinced Powell is likely to step down this winter, although he has denied any plans to do so.
FCC Chief of Staff Bryan Tramont was quoted as saying that Powell "has no plans to leave after the president's re-election," although he acknowledged that Powell had done some thinking about wrapping things up in the event of a defeat of President Bush.
Of the other commissioners, the paper says that the Republicans Kevin J. Martin and Kathleen Q. Abernathy are "eyeing the exits" and Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein, whose term runs out soon, is actively seeking to extend it.
Abernathy, a former telephone industry lobbyist, wants to return to the private sector and a substantial salary increase according to the paper but Martin would stay if he expected to become chairman.
It adds that Powell opposes such an appointment and might not leave if Abernathy departed and Martin stayed, because two open Republican slots would make it almost certain that Martin would become FCC chairman in a second Bush administration.
RNW comment: Assuming the court got its facts right, the Powell defence could have been used by the builders of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that collapsed spectacularly in 1940 - a revolutionary and elegant design with the disadvantage that, for all that seemed right, it was useless for the purpose for which it was designed. Still Powell was a lawyer, not an engineer, and is also operating in a political context so he could well have problems with both reality and logic.
At the same time, the agency was presented with a difficult politically charged task in the context of a legislature dominated by one party so we have some sympathy although we do think a response suggesting the ball should be taken to another pitch, however common it may be, isn't generally helpful unless some sound reasons are advanced as to the benefits of the move. We didn't see them in this report.
Los Angeles Times report:
Washington Post report:
2004-06-30: The BBC has launched a nine-point manifesto for its future as part of its arguments to retain its royal charter and licence fee funding for another decade.
The document stresses public service and also a continued revival of drama on both radio and TV and also particular attention to comedy. There is also a plan to put its TV archive online and to decentralize with more programmes to be made outside London.
In line with public service commitments the corporation is proposing a "public value test" based on
reach, quality, impact and value for money to ensure that the programming and services it offers justify retention of the licence fee.
2004-06-30: Sirius is to launch an All-Elvis channel in conjunction with Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) on July 2 with a live broadcast from Memphis, Tennessee.
The channel will be hosted by Sirius DJs from a special studio in Presley's Memphis home, Graceland, and will cover tracks from his whole career.
The launch coincides with the 50th anniversary of his first single, "That's All Right."
Elvis's widow Priscilla Presley said in statement, "I know he'd be beaming with pride at having his very own station" and EPE president Jack Soden added, "Elvis Presley was a true pioneer, a man of many firsts in our world. It seems natural for Elvis to be the first artist to have a satellite radio station exclusively devoted to his work."
"It's especially fitting that the launch of Elvis Radio happens to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the beginning of his career.
2004-06-30: One complaint against radio and two against TV are upheld in the latest programme complaints bulletin just issued by the UK regulator Ofcom.
In all the report lists a total of 173 complaints against 91 items with most just listed and details given of only 5 TV cases including the two upheld and the one radio complaint that was upheld.
This involved a news item on The Saint radio that is owned by the parent company of Southampton Football Club and which included an interview with a member of the club staff promoting their season tickets.
Ofcom ruled that the commercial link between the licensee and the football club made the content of the news item unacceptable and the station director had acknowledged that the output was "questionable" and said there would be no recurrence.
Previous Ofcom complaints bulletin:
2004-06-30: According to a survey from US independent advertising sales and marketing cmpany Interep there has been a growing regionalization of US media buying that has led to significant changes in the percentage of national advertising placed by the big city agencies.
Figures comparing the 1999 and 2004 figures for eight cities show the largest fall to be in New York whose share dropped from 36.4% to 28.5% and the largest rise in Los Angeles, up from 13% to 22%.
Interep Co-President and Co-COO George Pine said the regionalization trend was not of itself any cause for concern but his company needed "to keep abreast of these changes to assure that we allocate our resources appropriately to respond to the changing needs of our customers."
2004-06-29: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) says it is not to prosecute Southern Cross Broadcasting 's 2UE, Sydney, in relation to breaches of the commercial radio disclosure standard because advice it has received from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that on the evidence available there would be no reasonable prospect of a conviction.
Its acting chair Lyn Maddock said of the decision, "The burden of proof in criminal cases is much higher than in civil cases and for a successful prosecution in this case it would have to be proven that Radio 2UE engaged in the conduct with the requisite criminal intention."
"This outcome highlights how difficult it is for the ABA to impose appropriate sanctions when it finds breaches of licence conditions and program standards."
She added, "The only civil law-based remedies available to the ABA are imposition of further licence conditions (which must not be punitive), or suspension or cancellation of the broadcaster's licence. The ABA has imposed a stringent monitoring condition on Radio 2UE, but would always be extremely reluctant to deprive the public of a popular service by suspending or cancelling the broadcaster's licence.'
The issue had been referred to the DPP in December last year after the Authority found that 2UE had breached the Broadcasting Services (Commercial Radio Current Affairs Disclosure) Standard 2000 on 19 occasions and also that there had been six breaches of the special licence condition imposed on the 2UE licensee following the ABA's Commercial Radio Inquiry in 2000 (See RNW Dec 5, 2003).
The conditions relate to disclosure by a host of a commercial relationship with a sponsor when commenting on a matter directly related to the sponsor and the Authority decided to refer the matter to the DPP because of the repeated failures of the licensee to maintain standards: It also imposed a further licence condition on 2UE (See RNW May 7) requiring the station, at its expense, to engage an approved independent third party to monitor the John Laws program, for limited periods nominated by the ABA, and provide a report, including a transcript, direct to the ABA.
The monitor was appointed this month and the ABA comments that the action will provide an ongoing incentive to ensure compliance with the disclosure requirements.
RNW comment: Being simple souls, the situation seems fairly simple to us in this case. The Authority should not pussyfoot around with further conditions in view of the history of breaches of such conditions but should make it clear that the situation is now one of another breach and you're out of business. The fact is that if 2UE loses its licence, someone else will bid and may well end up being as popular, whereas messing about when there have been breaches after imposition of special conditions implies weakness by the regulator. In our view it should already have taken 2UE off the air for a few days to make the point.
We suspect that if it had, John Laws would be extremely careful about taking sponsorships since he seems to have difficulties undertanding the rules but would lose the sponsors anyway were he not onthe airwaves.
Previous Southern Cross Broadcasting:
2004-06-29: There were no changes in the rankings at the very top of Arbitron's RADAR 81 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering March 27, 2003 - March 31, 2004 but top-ranked ABC Daytime Direction Network again lost a significant number of listeners allowing followed second-ranked Westwood CNN Max Radio Network to close the gap between the two to fewer than 400,000 listeners a week.
ABC Morning News Radio Network remained in third and Premiere Pulse Network remained fourth but then Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, one of three networks that made their debut in RADAR 80 moved up to fifth from sixth, pushing Premiere Morn Drive AM Network into sixth.
Further down there were other changes, most notably a plunge from tenth to 18th for Premiere Focus Network and rises for the ABC Urban Advantage Network and American Urban Pinnacle Network from 16th and 11th respectively to tenth equal.
In the top five places:
*Top-ranked ABC Daytime network lost 912,000 listeners a week to end up with a weekly audience of 8.005 million, down from 8.17 in the RADAR 80 survey and 9.45 million in the RADAR 79 survey; its AQH rating fell from 4.0 to 3.7 to 3.3 in the three ratings.
*Second-ranked Westwood CNN Max, which in the previous survey had lost 114,000 listeners a week, more than made this up with a gain of 275,000 to end with a reach of just 7.608 million and AQH rating up from 3.0 to 3.1.
*ABC Morning News Radio Network lost 4,000 listeners a week to end up with 5.613 million and AQH unchanged at 2.3.
*Premiere Pulse Network lost 16,000 listeners a week to end up with 5.455 million and AQH unchanged at 2.2.
*Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network moved up from sixth to fifth having gained 237,000 listeners a week to end with 5.364 million and AQH up from 2.1 to 2.2: In so doing it pushed Premiere Morning Drive AM Network, which lost 50,000 listeners a week and ended with 5.077 million, down a rank to sixth with the same AQH of 2.1.
During the RADAR 81survey period, 77% percent of U.S. consumers, age 12+, heard one or more network radio commercials in the course of a week, up a percent on the RADAR 80 figure that in turn had been up a per cent on RADAR 79.
Among the prime audience demographics sought by advertisers, the commercials that aired on the 40 radio networks now rated reached percentages 78% of Adults, age 12-34 (up 1% again for the second survey running); 79% percent of Adults, age 35-49 (up 1%); and 74% of Adults, age 50+ (up 1% again for the second survey running).
As in the past, radio did better among upper-income adults with 79% (unchanged) of adults living in households earning USD 75,000 a year or more are in the network audience each week.
The survey RADAR 80 is based on more than 70,000 diary keepers across the US but Arbitron is to increase this to 80,000 by March next year.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 80):
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2004-06-29: 2004-06-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued penalties totalling USD 58,5000 for public inspection and other file offences along with ten licence renewals it has approved.
The stations involved are (in order of state of licence- penalty is for public file offence unless otherwise noted):
WGIB-FM, Birmingham, Alabama (Rather than the base amount, a USD 4,000 penalty felt appropriate and this was reduced to USD 3,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
WQEM-FM, Columbiana, Alabama (Rather than the base amount, a USD 4,000 penalty felt appropriate and this was reduced to USD 3,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
WMCZ-FM, Millbrook, Alabama (Rather than base amount, USD 4,000 penalty felt appropriate and this was reduced to USD 3,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
KLRC-FM, Siloam Springs, Arizona (Base forfeiture of USD 10,000 reduced to USD 9,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
KUOA-AM, Siloam Springs, Arizona (Base forfeiture of USD 10,000 reduced to USD 9,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
WPNG-FM, Pearson, Georgia (Rather than the base amount, a USD 4,000 penalty felt appropriate and this was reduced to USD 3,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
WGSO-AM, New Orleans, Louisiana Carolina (Base forfeiture of USD 10,000 reduced to USD 9,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
WDAV-FM, Davidson, North Carolina (Base forfeiture of USD 10,000 reduced to USD 9,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
WLTC-AM, Gastonia, North Carolina (Base forfeiture of USD 10,000 reduced to USD 9,000 because of voluntary disclosure):
WZRH-AM, Dallas, North Carolina (Base forfeiture of USD 3,000 for failure to file application in a timely manner was reduced to USD 1,500):
It has also cancelled a USD 7,000 penalty issued to Mega Communications of New Britain Licensee L.L.C., licensee of WLAT-AM, New Britain, Connecticut for alleged failure to enclose two of its antenna structures within effective locked fences or other enclosures.
It says that based on its review of Mega's response and the overall record, including Mega's regular inspection of the tower and the fact that the problem occurred shortly after an inspection by Mega, we conclude that Mega did not wilfully violate the Rules and no forfeiture should be imposed.
2004-06-29: BBC Radio 1 is to broadcast the UK's first official online music download chart that is to be launched in September of this year. It will be compiled from tracks sold online by legal download services such as iTunes, Napster, HMV, Virgin, MSN, Playlouder and Coca-Cola, and will be broadcast mid-week although full details are yet to be announced.
The Official Chart Company, whose current chart is sponsored by Coca Cola and is also broadcast by Radio 1, says it wants information from as wide a range of legal download sites as possible and is considering extending the range that it uses fro compilation as new services are developed.
The launch has been welcomed by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents British record labels. Its chairman Peter Jamieson said that legal downloading was a major part of the future of music and should be represented by its own chart.
2004-06-28: This week we start our look at print cover on radio from the UK and the Guardian's view of the one-day suspension of DJ Tony Blackburn for playing Cliff Richard tracks against proclaimed policy on UBC's Classic Gold.
Mark Borkowski goes straight to the point, writing: "Any silly season worth its name needs silliness galore, so warm and generous thanks to whoever organised the Tony Blackburn and Cliff Richard stunt this week The concept of using not one but two of the country's national treasures to promote a digital radio station, and to make music the 'issue' at stake, was brilliant. A much better way to promote a radio station than that terrible debacle at BRMB a few years ago, when competitors had to sit on blocks of ice for as long as they could, resulting in frozen-arsed Brummies being carted off to hospital. What great publicity that was."
Borkowski comments on the artists involved and their popularity and then goes on to recount "another scam" relating to Cliff Richard in which he was involved.
"Facing a similar ban from Radio 2's airwaves," he writes, "we mixed a particularly funky Cliff track called 'Can't Keep This Feeling In', credited it to something or someone called 'Black Knight', and sent it as a 'white label', pre-release CD to various oh-so-cool radio stations. It was deeply satisfactory when the track duly started clattering out across the airwaves. A point had been proved."
On the other side of the Atlantic the story we noted about a host concerning not putting things on air rather than the other way around. Writing in the Hartford Courant Tara Weiss reports that Brad Davis, host of WDRC-AM's morning show was told Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland's decision to resign on Sunday evening but sat on the story until it was public rather than telling the station.
"I knew when I got off the phone with the governor that he was going to resign," said Davis, who has been one of Rowland's staunchest supporters and a friend. "I could have come on at 5:35 this morning and said that, but he was talking to me as a friend, and that's where I draw the line. My responsibility is to me first and to my character."
Although the station bills itself as News and Talk, its vice president and general manager Wayne Mulligan expressed support for the decision, commenting, "I'm not at all disappointed that WDRC didn't break the story. Brad and I also are friendly with the governor and we feel sorry for him. Brad called me right after he got off the phone with the governor. I think it's appropriate [that we didn't break the news on the air]. It's not our job to make news."
Also not being full reported - at least not in the print stories we saw - was the tale of the outburst in the US Senate by Vice-President Cheney. RNW comment: Unfortunately as far as we are aware there is no audio of the VP telling Patrick Leahy, the senior Democratic senator on the Judiciary Committee and a leading critic of Halliburton's [Cheney formerly headed the company] operations in Iraq, to go and fuck himself: It would have been a good test of what Howard Stern might be allowed to air, giving the F.C.C. a real conflict between freedom of speech and indecency regulations.
The question of broadcast indecency was again getting cover last week, particularly after the Senate approved an increase in maximum penalties per offence to USD 275,000(See RNW June 23) but there was a slightly different angle from Randy Dotinga in the North County Times.
"To hear all the bloviating politicians and hand-wringing parents, " he wrote, "you might think the radio airwaves are a virtual smutworld, full of dirty words and descriptions of activities that only Bill Clinton could imagine."
But, he continued, "'Twas never so. Before the feds cracked down, only a few radio folks routinely stretched the boundaries of taste... now, nearly six months later, everybody on the dial is paying the price for their misdeeds."
"In San Diego, disc jockeys are getting intensive lessons about how to avoid getting in trouble. Programmers are worrying listeners could bring down their empires with a single complaint. And even staid ol' KPBS-FM is on alert to make sure cuss words don't get on the air unless there's a really good reason."
"None of the producers like this, and the reporters hate this," said KPBS-FM program director John Decker. "But for now, we don't know what the rules of the game are. We do not want to be a test case because it could kill us. The last thing I want to do is go to court to set precedent."
" While radio stations typically avoid comedian George Carlin's famous 'seven dirty words,' there's no list anywhere that says what people can say on the air and what they can't. Could a four-letter word be acceptable on a public radio documentary but not a show like 91X's syndicated sex advice show 'Loveline'? What about stations that barely disguise offensive words with bleeps?"
RNW comment: Or indeed had it been on tape, what about stations that had opted to air or fully report vice-presidential comments? We're neither surprised nor shocked about them but would regard it as a serious First Amendment matter should such news reporting be inhibited by indecency regulation!
So far, being subscription services, cable and satellite do not come under the same indecency regulation and the courts could well throw out the attempts by some to extend the regulations to them; some see the potential for hosts found to risky for terrestrial broadcasts to move to satellite and boost it but a Chicago Tribune report by Maureen Ryan, although it starts with consideration of the implication of such a move by Howard Stern, suggests that even without such a move the satellite companies are going to take a significant number of listeners from terrestrial radio.
It includes a number of comments from one online discussion board as to why people have found it worthwhile to pay a subscription to satellite: "Regular AM and FM where I live is terrible. It's a small-town market with hardly any national programming of talk radio," said one XM subscriber. "Because I hate commercials!!!" chimed in another. "To hear stuff that FM will never play," added a third.
A move to satellite by Stern would says the report would give a significant boost to satellite and already the possibility has given a significant boost to awareness of the service.
The report quotes XM programming chief Lee Abrams as saying, "We're uncensored and we offer true national coverage" and adding that, though they currently have long-term contracts to their current employers, they'd be fools not to talk to superstars like Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh, though he notes that both are currently under long-term contracts to their current employers.
Noting the opposition from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to the weather and traffic services on satellite, the report quotes XM spokesman Chance Patterson as saying, "The NAB has a tradition of acting as a bully in defence of the incumbent radio platform, which in this case is AM/FM. We know that we are permitted to provide these traffic and weather channels. The FCC has publicly stated in different forums that we are in compliance with our license."
There was also support from artists and their agents who benefit from the range of music on the satellite services.
Zach Hochkeppel, marketing director for Blue Note, home to Norah Jones commented, "XM and Sirius have both become big parts of the radio and promotional plans for our artists. Now that both great [in-house studio] facilities are opened, XM has been an automatic thought any time an artist is in Washington, D.C...And with Sirius' wonderful NYC studios, it's definitely something we get together for all the NYC-based artists."
Sirius' director of country programming Scott Lindy noted that when he was hired by a Clear Channel station in Baltimore in 1996 he had 23 people working for him but by the time he left he had 7 full-time staffers.
The station was, however, making more money and Lindy commented that at many mainstream stations now "you're working more for an ad-marketing company than you are for a radio station."
Looking at the finances of satellite, which has made massive losses so far, it suggests the future is now more hopeful and quotes Sean Ross, radio analyst for Edison Research as saying, "If you look at the [negative] headlines from 12 or 18 months ago, both have clearly hung in there past what a lot of people were expecting, and past what a lot of people in broadcasting were hoping for."
It notes a change in the market as subscriptions, currently coming mainly from retail, build up from automobile manufacturers programmes and also takes on the nay saying from some quarters.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton commented that he laughed at the Entercom negative advert: "Thinking about satellite radio? The fact is every month, tens of thousands of people who have it cancel it. Maybe they know something you don't."
"That's when you know you've arrived -- when people start saying bad things about you," he said noting that after a decade satellite TV, which he worked in and attracted similar comments at the start, now reaches more than a fifth of US households. Satellite radio, he says has a larger potential market as it can also reach vehicles on the road, plus boats, RVs, heavy trucks, workplaces and stores.
And finally before moving on to programmes still around and worth a listen, a UK Financial Times comment from its associate editor and chief economics commentator Martin Wolf regarding the BBC.
Headed, "The BBC does not need privatizing " it begins," In the past 25 years, there has been a worldwide move towards greater reliance on markets. But how far should that shift go? Can we, for example, make a strong case for restricting the role of markets in broadcasting?"
He then goes on to consider the case made by former BBC chairman Gavyn Davies in his Lubbock Lecture in Management Studies "Economics and the BBC Charter" delivered earlier this month and that examined whether there is a case that a competitive market would under-provide what Davies calls "Reithian services" - that is, content that "informs, educates and entertains".
The economic balance that Davies produces takes a study (commissioned by the BBC) estimate that users of its services would be prepared to pay GBP 2 billion (USD 3.7 billion) a year more than they cost to produce, which would be lost if the organization were closed, and goes on to estimate that although a move to a higher-priced subscription model would benefit those who feel they are now forced to pay more than the service is worth, those gains would be outweighed by the extra costs to the others of some GBP 500 million ( USD 914 million).
Other classic arguments noted by Wolf are the value of "living in a society with an informed electorate", the "dangers of monopoly" in the face of estimates that News Corporation's British Sky Broadcasting could receive more than one-third of all broadcasting revenue by 2010 and the market problem of "the need to experience broadcasting before knowing whether it is worthwhile."
Wolf concludes, "Nobody would now invent the present model. But if it isn't broken, don't fix it. True, the BBC looks a little broken. Privatization, however, would not fix it. Mr. Davies has made a good economic case for public intervention in broadcasting. The new management must convince the public that a well-funded BBC remains the pragmatic way to do so. I hope it succeeds."
And now for some suggestions of programmes worth a listen: To start off with, spurred by the Cheney comment, we suggest a listen to last week's We've Been Here Before that runs on Friday evenings at 17:30 GMT on BBC Radio 4. It includes, around five minutes from the start, broadcast of comments by former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock describing pithily the economic failures of the then Conservative government.
Still with Radio 4, the listen again web site contains Letters from Iraq, comprised of stories of life in Iraq over a year of occupation through the letters, journals and e-mails of American soldiers, British officials and Iraqi civilians.
Moving over to music and Radio 3, whosee web site now has the (four-hour long) 2000th edition of CD Review, the channel's weekly Saturday morning show.
With sport in mind, BBC Radio 5 Live is carrying commentary of Wimbledon Tennis but BBC Radio 4 had a historical perspective on a different aspect of the tournament on Saturday in New Balls Please, an examination of the history of the ball boys and girls that includes interviews of some of them who were at the event sixty years ago.
Equally with this year's Glastonbury Festival in mind we would have suggested some of BBC Six Music's Dream Ticket programmes on past festivals but they currently seem to have a fault with their listen again feature so we have to settle for Radio 1's listen again programming from this year's festival.
For those with a historical bent, Radio 4 again came to the rescue on Saturday with the Archive Hour and Summers Of Mud And Madness, a look at the history of the British pop festivals that had their roots in the Jazz festivals that preceded them.
On BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday in Empress of the Blues (19:30 GMT) George Melly continues the story of his blues heroine, Bessie Smith, chronicling the strange circumstances surrounding her death.
And to end with, the last of the repeats of the late Alistair Cooke's Letter to America is nigh and next Sunday (19:30 GMT) BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting Letters to Alistair in tribute.
Chicago Tribune -Ryan:
Financial Times - Wolf:
(Also see Davies Lubbock lecture):
Hartford Courant - Weiss:
North County Times - Dotinga:
UK Guardian - Borkowski:
2004-06-28: US radio has taken three grand awards and ten Gold World Medals in this year's New York Festivals 2004 International Radio Programming & Promotion Awards with the UK following in second place with Nine World medals and then Canada with one Grand Medal and three Golds.
The four Grand Awards went to Lichtenstein Creative Media, New York (The Grand Award for Best Documentary for "War", an episode of the nationally broadcast, weekly public radio series The Infinite Mind, guest-hosted by John Hockenberry); Kansas Public Radio (The Grand Award for Best Entertainment Program for "Right Between The Ears", a sketch comedy series performed before a studio audience and broadcast);Online station CBCradio3.com (The Grand Award for Best Programming Format - the first time this has been awarded); and Clear Channel's KFI-AM, Los Angeles (The Grand Award for Best Promotion Spot for "Can't Get Enough").
In all there were 494 entries from eighteen countries with a total of thirty-three Gold World Medals and four Grand Awards being awarded; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and its affiliates took the most Gold awards for a single organization for the second year running. Last year it took five of the 27 Gold Awards..
They were the Gold Awards for Human Relations with Beethoven's Bust; for Online Radio to CBC Radio 3; for Social Issues/Current Events with He's My Brother; for Science & Technology with In The Beginning; for History with Race Against Time; for Best Drama Special with Rue Morgue Redux: Parts 1 & 2; and for Health/Medical with Voice Box & Flute
Also gaining multiple awards were:
* LBC - now owned by Chrysalis - which won the Best Talk Format award for LBC and the Best Comedy Special award for the Sandi Toksvig Christmas Pantomime. Chrysalis also took the Contest Promotion award for Fugitive on Galaxy 102.
* Radio Netherlands, which won the Best Investigative Report (Longform) award with On The Rampage: Zimbabwe's Youth Militia; the Profiles/Community Portraits award with Palestinos E Israelíes: Dos Pueblos Y Una Tierra; and the National/International Affairs award with Weapons Of Mass Destruction: The Race.
* The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which won the Human Relations award for The Asylum Seekers on Radio National and the Religious Programs award for The Monk & the Modern Girl.
*BBC World Service, which won the Environmental Program Gold with Dzhan On Aral Shores and the Best Special Event with Edinburgh Festival 2003.
*Ben Manilla Productions, which won the Culture & The Arts award with The Blues and the BEST Regularly Scheduled Music Program award with The House Of Blues Radio Hour.
* Kansas Public Radio, which won the Best Regularly Scheduled Comedy Program and Best Comedy/Humor Personality: Local awards with Right Between The Ears.
Among the individuals gaining awards was US veteran Paul Harvey who gained the gold for network/syndicated personality for The Rest Of The Story that is syndicated by ABC.
One award that came a little late was the Best Comedy/Humor Personality: Network/Syndicated award to SMG's Virgin Radio for the Daryl Denham Show: Denham's contract was not renewed and he is no longer with Virgin (See RNW June 8).
Previous New York Festivals' award (2003 Awards):
New York Festivals web site:
2004-06-28: Chicago classical music station WFMT-FM faces the loss of much of its audience with the news that it is to be dropped by Tribune Co. from its cable superstation feed that has carried the signal for 25 years.
According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times the station is to start streaming its signal early next month on a subscription basis with fees expected to be between USD 60 and USD 100 a year.
The station had streamed its signal previously but stopped in 2002 because of the costs and uncertainties relating to royalty payments.
It said at the time that it had tried hard to keep the service going but "given the reality of having to pay not only past royalties but future royalties at a rate that is still being determined makes continuing service at this point impossible."
Chicago Sun-Times report:
2004-06-28: The initial rush on broadcast delay systems that put pressure on equipment manufacturers is now over according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
It quotes Dane Butcher, president and chief executive of Symetrix Inc., one of two American companies making delay equipment, as saying that after an initial rush of orders and backlog his company has "worked our way through the brunt of it."
The company had been making delay equipment for around a decade and until the recent brouhaha about indecency had seen slow steady business. Its units allow delays by up to 20 seconds, built incrementally so as to make deletions imperceptible.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2004-06-27: The main regulatory news over the past week has come from the US where a Federal Court in Philadelphia has thrown out most of the new media ownership regulations announced by the Federal Communications Commission a year ago but whose implementation had already been stayed by the court; it has continued that stay.
Elsewhere there was a steady but more routine flow of radio related decisions except in Australia where the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was exclusively involved with TV decisions although radio was on the agenda during its 200 annual conference held in Canberra.
The conference included sessions on the direction of broadcasting and communications regulations; the consequences of technological change; fairness, accuracy and bias; sports rights; and programming, advertising and audiences.
Opening it, Acting chair Lyn Maddock listed highlights of the year that for radio included an Australian Content Review for radio and TV, major planning of spectrum, the auction of new commercial FM licences for Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide - Melbourne followed earlier this month - after which there will be a pause in new commercial licence activity, although the expansion of services through community licences will continue; and a number of radio reviews including those into advertising and sponsorship on Sydney talk stations 2GB and 2UE, 5 AA in Adelaide (Where talk host Adelaide talk host Leon Byner was investigated because of payments that might have biased his comments - See RNW Feb 14) and into Groove Radio.
In addition the ABA has now started using audits to supplement its complaints-based approach in cases where non-compliance with regulations may not be obvious to audiences; it has already conducted an audit into licence fee collection.
Although it prefers self-regulation, the ABA says it will take action when an industry fails to perform and has explored new ways to in areas ranging from canceling a licence to imposing audit-type conditions for compliance.
Over the next year it says it will be examining the codes of practice for radio, the Internet and community TV, in particular looking like issues as to whether existing regulations concerning clear identification of editorial and advertising content are adequate and whether extra safeguards are needed to ensure accuracy and fairness in a current affairs programme when an issue involves a sponsor.
In addition a large number of reviews of digital policy will be carried out over the next 12 months.
Canada was quiet as far as radio was concerned with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) being involved in just two licence renewals, those of CKEC-AM, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011 and a short-term administrative renewal until August 31 this year of the licence for low power CHEV-AM, Toronto. The CRTC notes that it will not be able to rule on the application for renewal of this licence before the current licence runs out.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a five-year contract for the service for South West Tipperary and has also welcomes a High Court decision upholding its award in principle of the Donegal South/Sligo/ Leitrim North local licence to a new entrant rather than the incumbent licence holder (See RNW June 24 #BCI2).
In the UK Ofcom has advertised the new commercial FM licences for Edinburgh and Blackburn and also published its timetable for advertising new licences until May next year (See RNW June 26).
In the USA, the Federal Communications Commission now has to decide whether to rewrite its media ownership rules following a court ruling against the rules it published in June last year (See RNW June 25).
It has also been involved in a number of enforcement actions and one non-action when it denied complaints against three Clear Channel stations relating to broadcasts alleged to have incited violence against cyclists (See below).
Among other actions was the confirmation of a USD 10,000 penalty on a New York state AM for violation of power restriction, emergency alert system (EAS) and antenna structure regulations (See RNW June 19) but reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 7,000 its penalty on a Nashville AM (See RNW June 22).
It also denied applications for review of its decision to proceed with an application for a new AM in Bunnell, Florida and for review of its dismissal of an application for a new non-commercial educational (NCE) FM station to serve Baldwin, Michigan that was in conflict with the application of American Family Association for a new NCE station at Hesperia, Michigan (Also RNW June 22).
In Florida it has ordered Cox Radio's WKQL-FM, Jacksonville, to show cause why it should not be reclassified from class C to class CO in order to allow a first FM in Homerville, Florida. WKQL is operating below the minimum height above average terrain (HAAT) required for a Class C station.
Looking further ahead it has announced that it is to hold its next localism meeting in Monterey, California, on July 21.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-06-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied complaints against Clear Channel's WDCG-FM, Durham, North Carolina; WMJI-FM, Cleveland, Ohio; and KLOL-FM, Houston, Texas, relating to comments made that the complainants felt could lead to violence by motorists against cyclist.
The comments led to repeated attacks on Clear Channel at the first US FCC Field Hearing On Broadcast Localism held in Charlotte, North Carolina (See RNW Oct 24, 2003) but the FCC said that for First Amendment reasons the "comments do not merit enforcement action in the absence of an adjudication of a "clear and present danger" by a court of competent jurisdiction."
The complainants had alleged that a broadcast of the during the Walton and Johnson Show on KLOL-FM broadcast material that advocated that automobile and truck drivers hit and seriously injure bicycle riders; that WMJI-FM encouraged their listeners to pull around bicycles and slam on the brakes, pass bicyclists and then open the passenger door and slam on the brakes, and throw things and shout curses at bicyclists; and that WDCG-FM aired comments from hosts and callers during the Bob and Madison Show, which expressed contempt for law-abiding bicyclists and suggested that motorists run them off the road or throw bottles at them.
The Commission wrote to the stations asking if they had broadcast language "advocating violence toward bicyclists" and also asked if there were any litigation concerning such matters and asked for copies and transcripts of any recordings of the subject broadcasts.
Clear Channel responded by saying none of the three stations "broadcast language advocating violence toward bicyclists," and that none of the licensees was then or had been a party to any criminal or civil litigation involving the broadcasts and argued that in light of the remedial actions that it took subsequent to the broadcasts in question in response to listener complaints it resolved the matter to the satisfaction of all involved months before its responses to the Commission.
Recordings were submitted of two of the shows - that from KLOL had been recorded over - and Clear Channel contended that there was no advocacy of violence against cyclists.
The FCC noted that is very limited in its role in overseeing programme content and is prohibited from censoring programme material and interfering with broadcasters' freedom of expression. This it says left it with the question whether the broadcasts raised a substantial question about the licensees' basic qualifications and in this case no such question was raised.
RNW comment: Regrettably - and in our view lamentably since it often posts transcripts in indecency cases - the FCC does not post transcripts of comments made on the recordings that were supplied to it. It seems to us that the FCC has a public duty that it has failed in not making it crystal clear whether comments of the nature alleged were in fact broadcast by WMJI and WDCG and in particular which comments were made by callers and which by station personnel.
If the comments were not made, Clear Channel deserves a public exoneration; if they were made by callers the crucial question is that of how far the hosts allowed continued broadcast of calls that incited criminal acts - violence against cyclists and if they were made by hosts, the exact content should be on public record.
We also take the FCC point that the law and commission reasonably consider these matters for local law enforcement authorities rather than a broadcast regulator.
That being said, we think it would be better that the US, like most other countries, should require recordings to be kept of station output for a reasonable period so as to enable judgments to be based on the full details and context of broadcast remarks and also that they should be a matter of public record (again as elsewhere) if a complaint is received.
We also think that the point over the basic qualifications is quite reasonable and that the base for regulatory action should be that it should follow any successful legal action locally against a station; however where such a court decision has been made we feel that the corollary should be that the station has to justify retention of its licence in all cases with the FCC able to, as is done in Canada for example, either revoke a licence or renew it only for a short period subject to specific conditions that are appropriate in the circumstances.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-06-27: The Pacifica Foundation CFO Lonnie Hicks has warned the network that it is spending far too much on governance costs - projected as USD 580,000 nearly a quarter of its total expenses for April and May - and that it cannot "survive this kind of expense."
The amount includes the cost of Pacifica's board elections but not other normal administrative expenses and insurance, and Hicks comments that there are no "easy solutions" and also questions whether, even if the funds can be raised, Pacifica should spend "listener resources in this way and in these amounts."
Hicks' document says that for May revenue was USD 79,000 below budget but considers that this is "not particularly worrisome" but for a shortfall of USD 231,000 in listener support that is put down largely to transmitter problems at KPFK-FM in Los Angeles that led it to begin its pledge drive late.
Hicks expresses most concern about the cost of local board elections, some USD 347,000 in the fiscal year that takes total governance costs up to USD 580,000 when National Board expenses of USD 168,000, legal expenses of USD 50,000 and phone costs of USD 15,000 are added.
Legal expenses the report notes began as a USD 4 million item several years ago [RNW note: This arose from internal conflicts between the board and member stations on which we have reported over the years - see RNW Dec 14, 2001] and have now been "whittled down to a remaining balance of USD 271,000 by the end of the fiscal year."
In station-by-station terms, KPFA-FM, Berkeley, was USD 120,000 above budget in May; KPFK-FM, Los Angeles was USD 333,000 down; KPFT-FM, Houston, was USD 20,000 below budget; WBAI-FM, New York was above budget but is expected to be USD 55,000below by the end of the fiscal year; and WPFW-FM, Washington, D.C., was USD 47,000 below budget in May but is expected to be above by the end of the fiscal year. The archives had only a small income variance but there is a warning that some USD 12 million will be needed to preserve them adequately.
Pacifica financial report (1.22Mb PDF):
2004-06-26: It is still uncertain if the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will try to appeal to the US Supreme Court the decision made by a Federal Court in Philadelphia that struck down most of its planned new media regulations published a year ago (See RNW Jun 3, 2003).
Should it choose not to appeal, the commission will have to rewrite the rules: it was barred from a third option when the Philadelphia court said this was ruled out because too man of the judges on the circuit had to disqualify themselves from the case although it did not specify why' speculation was that it related to holding of media company stock by many of the judges.
If it does decide to appeal, the Supreme Court could according to some lawyers reject the case on the basis that it does not involve issues that it normally finds of interest.
Reaction to the decision has been largely among party and self-interest lines with Republicans and big media companies expressing concern and Democrats, consumer groups and small media companies expressing satisfaction: The rules themselves were passed by a 3-2 party line split with Republican Commissioners Michael K. Powell, Kevin J. Martin and Kathleen Q. Abernathy for and Democrats Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein against.
2004-06-26: Following the announcement that Infinity has moved its ratings agreement to Houston-based Media Audit (See RNW Jun 25), Arbitron has revised its earnings guidance for 2004, saying that it anticipates revenues for the year will be around USD 12 million lower than previously forecast.
It says that revenues are now expected to grow between 5% and 7%, net income to be flat to down 2%, and Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) is expected to decline between 5% and 7%.
Arbitron, however, left the door open for a last minute deal with Viacom. Its president and CEO Stephen Morris, said in a news release, "We remain willing to work with Infinity Broadcasting with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement for the renewal of our ratings contracts. Our Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited ratings services and our qualitative services are the most widely accepted tools to help broadcasters get the most revenue for the audience that they deliver to advertisers."
In other US radio business, Nassau Broadcasting has announced that it is to sell its last two stations in the Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic City markets, classic rock WCHR-FM "The Hawk" in Stafford Township and light jazz station WOJZ-FM "Smooth Jazz" in Egg Harbor City for USD 40 million.
Both stations are being bought by Atlantic City headquartered Millennium Radio Group that two years ago bought WADB-AM, WOBM-AM and FM, WJLK-FM and WBBO-FM in the Monmouth-Ocean market from Nassau for around USD 90 million (See RNW May 21, 2002) in an earlier deal that gave Millennium nearly two thirds of the advertising revenue in the market and had been delayed because of market concentration concerns.
The WHCR deal takes effect immediately but that for WOJZ is awaiting FCC approval.
Previous Media Rating Council:
2004-06-26: The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in favour of the weather and traffic services on Sirius and XM satellite radio.
Responding to a petition by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to ban such services, the DOT says it "strongly supports widespread dissemination of such information in the interests of enhancing safe and efficient transportation."
As to contentions that it would be against the public interest and duplicate existing services it says the submissions to this effect are "inaccurate on the fence" and argues that in fact they provide a service that is more accurate because it is updated more frequently and additionally has the advantage of making such information available outside the transmission area of local stations.
The submissions against these services the DOT says say "fail to appreciate the true value of making travel-related information widely available beyond such areas and on a continuous basis."
It goes on to say there "is a strong public interest in making available to drivers information that is relevant to their actual and potential journeys" and that this should not be "limited to those who live or drive daily within specific community boundaries."
"The record in this proceeding is overwhelmingly comprised of the comments of thousands of individuals attesting to the benefits derived from access to travel-related conditions pertaining to areas outside of their own localities," argues the DOT.
RNW comment: The DOT arguments in this case seem clearly sound to us, and those of NAB generally specious and self-serving. We would welcome an FCC ruling that not only throws out the NAB petition but also pokes it in they eye by including a paragraph to say that in this and other proceedings it will err on the side of the public interest not narrow reading of existing regulations for any services proposed by the satellite companies.
DOT petition (93 kb PDF):
2004-06-26: CBS News heads the winners' list for this year's Edward R. Murrow Awards, named after the long-time correspondent for the network and organised by the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA): It took five radio and three TV awards.
Its radio awards were for Overall Excellence; Continuing Coverage - with America at War; News Series - with Orange Alert; Spot News Coverage- with Saddam Captured; and Sports Reporting: - with Baseball in Beijing. The TV awards were for Overall Excellence; Spot News Coverage - for the CBS Evening News, First Day of War; and writing - for Everybody Has A Story.
In second spot, Disney's ABC took four radio awards - for Feature Reporting -with The Wiggles; for News Documentary - with It's a Gay Thing! An ABC News Exploration; for Newscast with the 10am Information Network Newscast; and for writing - with the Rest of the Story: Bar Mitzvah in the Dark. ABC TV also took two awards, for Newscast with World News Tonight and News Documentary with ABC News, Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy.
Other radio network/syndication awards went to National Public Radio (the Investigative Reporting reward for Iraqi Village Bombed);CNN Radio (Use of Sound for Urban Chicken Coops) and MissouriNet (website www.missourinet.com).
Among larger market radio stations, the overall excellence award went to WCBS-AM, New York, and the Investigative Reporting award went to KOA-AM, Denver, for Emergency Alert: Flawed System whilst in small markets KFDI-FM/KFTI-AM, Wichita, Kansas, took the Overall Excellence award and the Investigative Reporting award went to South Dakota Public Radio (KUSD-FM, Vermillion) for Black Hills Hydrology.
Previous (2003) Murrow awards:
RNDA web site (Lists all 74 awards):
2004-06-25: The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia has largely reversed new media ownership regulations proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would have allowed companies to own more broadcast stations in the same market; and has kept in place an order it made last September that stopped them from taking effect.
It did however rule that the FCC was entitled to end a blanket ban on a single company owning a newspaper and broadcaster in the same city.
it has also upheld FCC decisions to change definitions of a radio market from a contour-based system to one based on Arbitron markets and said that the FCC was entitled to count non-commercial stations as part of radio markets and to count joint-sales agreements in determining a company's ownership in a market.
In addition, relating to a constitutionality challenge, it held that the FCC decision to grandfather existing clusters that breached the new rules but only allow their sale intact to minority or small-business buyers was constitutional.
On the question of limits to how many stations a company could own in a market and general methodology of determining numerical limits for ownership it commented that the Commission operated on an "unjustified assumption that media outlets of the same type make an equal contribution to diversity and competition in local markets."
"Most importantly," it added, "the Commission has not sufficiently justified its particular chosen numerical limits for local television ownership, local radio ownership, and cross-ownership of media within local markets."
"Accordingly, we partially remand the Order for the Commission's additional justification or modification, and we partially affirm the Order. The stay will continue pending our review of the Commission's action on remand."
The decision came on a 2-1 vote with judges Thomas L. Ambro and Julio M. Fuentes in favour and Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica against and issuing a dissent.
Commenting on the dissent the majority said," Our dissenting colleague asserts several times (indeed it is a principal theme) that we somehow substitute our own policy judgment for that of the Commission."
"Our response is simple. It is impossible to substitute our policy judgment for that of the Commission when we have no view on its policies save that it act with reason. The proof for this
statement is that we do not reverse, but remand (and only in part)."
"Differences with our dissenting colleague touch only some of the many issues presented on appeal. He believes that the Commission's work, while in part flawed, comes close enough to merit our approval. Our response: not yet."
The decision was on a case brought by the Prometheus Radio Project and Andrew Jay Schwartzman, President and CEO of the Media Access Project who was lead counsel for the citizens groups in the case commented That the decision was a "a big, big win for diversity in the media." Noting that the ruling had been in the plaintiffs' favour in almost every issue he added, "The judges agreed with us that preserving democracy is more important than helping big companies grow bigger. Perhaps the most important part of the decision is the Court's holding that the FCC improperly applied a presumption in favour of deregulation in its review of the broadcast media ownership rules."
"The Court's directive that the FCC take its deregulatory thumb off the scale virtually assures a different outcome when the FCC revisits the question in response to the Court's decision. We won on almost every issue we raised. While the Court did uphold the FCC's authority to eliminate the current prohibition on new newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership, its remand to the FCC gives us the chance to prove that these limitations are necessary for local civic discourse."
"Almost as important as what we won is what the big broadcasters didn't win. The Court decisively rejected claims that the FCC hadn't deregulated enough, and that the existing ownership scheme is unconstitutional."
FCC Chairman Michael Powell reacted to the decision by saying that it might "perversely" make it "dramatically more difficult for the Commission to protect against greater media consolidation."
"It sets near impossible standards for justifying bright-line ownership limits," he continued. "The fear is realized in the opinion itself. The court rejected the Commission's effort to limit further radio consolidation. It also upheld the elimination of the newspaper cross-ownership rule, while rejecting our efforts to place reasonable limits on those combinations. This is deeply troubling and hampers the flexibility of the agency to protect the American public, as this agency is charged to do."
"This is the second time a court has put aside exhaustive efforts by the expert agency to set numerical limits. This has created a clouded and confused state of media law. The chaotic results demonstrate the wisdom of Chief Judge Scirica's nearly 100 page dissent, where he says that 'the Court has substituted its own policy judgment for that of the FCC and upset the ongoing review of broadcast media regulation mandated by Congress .'"
The two Democrat Commissioners, Michael J Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein, both issued statements supporting the decision which Copps said, "The rush to media consolidation approved by the FCC last June was wrong as a matter of law and policy. The Commission has a second chance to do the right thing. We must immediately move forward and redesign our media policy. This time we must include the American people in the process instead of shutting them out It would be a great mistake to drag our feet or rehash old arguments. It is time to protect media democracy in America."
Adelstein commented, "This week, both Congress and the courts repudiated the FCC's reckless decision on media ownership. It no longer works to say, "Congress and the courts made us do it" because the Commission has now been reversed by both. They got it right, and the FCC got it wrong. This is a vindication for the vast majority of the American public who opposed these rule changes. The court largely undid what would have been the most destructive rollback of media ownership protections in the history of American broadcasting."
"We now need to work together on a bipartisan basis to fix the rules so they comply with the court order and respond to Congressional and public concerns. We need a more inclusive discussion than we had last time on ways to move forward. This time the Commission should truly act in the interest of the American public rather than the corporate interests of media giants who want to get even bigger."
The Consumers' Union, which termed the ruling a "consumer victory" announced that it was to follow up with a "a nationwide campaign to ensure the Bush Administration follows through with today's Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision that overturns most of the Federal Communications Commission's lax media ownership rules and requires diversity and competition in the nation's media."
Its public policy director Gene Kimmelman commented, "The American people, the Congress, and now the courts have said that competition, localism and democratic dialogue must exist in our nation's media. Now we have to ensure that the Bush Administration shifts course and attempts to ensure that the most important sources of news and information cannot be controlled by a handful of giant companies The court's ruling clearly demonstrates that it rejects the desire of the Bush Administration and FCC Chairman Michael Powell to let large media companies dominate and grow even larger."
On another set of FCC rules, the chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Rep Joe Barton , said before the court ruling was announced that because of other clauses relating to ownership limits that been added on to the Senate Bill that increased the maximum indecency penalties that the FCC could levy for an incident of broadcast indecency (See RNW June 23) the House was likely to reject the amendments in their present form.
He told Reuters, "They watered down the bill, and then they added some things that are extraneous We'll just work with them and see what we can do."
RNW comment: We will be interested to see how the Republican-dominated House now responds to the Senate vote since the court ruling has somewhat stolen their thunder when it comes to opposing the ownership clauses that were tacked, like the indecency penalty increase, on to the Defense Department budget bill.
Previous Media Access Project:
Court ruling (courtesy of Media Access: 630 KB PDF.218 pages):
2004-06-25: The UK media regulator Ofcom has advertised new commercial FM licences for Edinburgh in Scotland and Blackburn in northwest England and also published its planned timetable for other commercial analogue licences to be advertised over the next 12 months.
The first will be a licence for smaller licence for Ashford in Kent to be advertised next month followed by a smaller licence for Kidderminster licence in August; a larger licence for Belfast and smaller licence for Cornwall in September; a smaller licence for Durham in October; a smaller licence for Banbury and larger licence for Manchester in November; and a smaller licence for Norwich in December.
In 2005, it will be advertising a smaller licence for Ballymena in Northern Ireland in January; a larger licence for the Solent region and a smaller licence for Torbay in February; a smaller licence for Swindon in March; a smaller licence for Barrow-in-Furness in April; and finally a larger licence for Swansea and a smaller licence for Northallerton in May.
Applications for both the licences advertised have to be in by September 23 and nearly all the major UK radio groups are expected to bid for the larger Edinburgh licence that will broadcast to a coverage area of approaching a million adults. Scottish Radio Holding's Forth 1 holds the existing Edinburgh licence.
Capital Radio, which already operates Beat 106 that covers Edinburgh and Glasgow has not yet announced its intentions but groups openly committed to a bid include Chrysalis with its Arrow format; Emap, which is joining forces with a local Castle FM consortium in Edinburgh Radio Ltd., a joint venture in which Emap will hold a fifth interest; SMG, which is to put in a bid for its Virgin Radio Classic Rock format; Guardian Media Group, which owns Glasgow-based Real Radio, with its Smooth station format that launched in the north-west in March on its former Jazz FM frequency there; and GWR.
2004-06-25: Viacom has decided not to renew Infinity's contract with ratings service Arbitron and instead opted for a multi-year deal with Houston-based Media Audit to provide ratings and other information for all its 185 stations from the start of next month.
Infinity President and COO Joel Hollander said the move was made because it had become clear it would not be able to reach agreement with Arbitron.
"After lengthy negotiations with Arbitron, it has become clear that we will be unable to reach a mutually satisfactory financial agreement," he said. "We will ready our company to grow our business using other means. The data provided by The Media Audit qualitative product is just one of the methodologies we will utilize to provide our stations with the highest quality research needed to compete in their markets."
2004-06-25: The Swedish Broadcasting Commission has condemned state-owned Sveriges Radio for a broadcast in which it announced as a prank the death of King Carl XVI Gustaf..
The "Hej Domstol! " (Hello Court) programme on March 15 changed its music and announced,"This is an official message from Sveriges Radio. His Majesty the King has died suddenly" before telling listeners that they had been listening to a prank..
In its ruling the Commission, which received ten complaints including one from the Royal Court, said the action could undermine confidence in future announcements and condemned the segment for not "taking into account radio's special pervasive force, and because it constituted an invasion of the King's privacy."
Under Swedish regulations the programme now has to air the ruling on the same day at around the same time as the original material was broadcast.
Swedish Broadcasting Commission site (has announcement in Swedish):
2004-06-25: Attendees at the first Interep Radio Symposium, held in New York City, have been told that a recovery in radio advertising is now under way although Victor Miller, Sr. Managing Director, Broadcasting/TV and Radio Analyst, Bear Stearns, noted that that "following historical patterns, radio - a residual medium - generally lags other media slightly in the recovery cycle."
The event heard speakers comment on the growing importance of non-traditional revenues but longer-term issues such as the growth of satellite and Internet radio were largely ignored.
Amongst other issues brought up were the issues of long runs of advertisements and the demand from advertisers for solid research and return-on-investment information if they were to fully use the medium.
2004-06-25: UBC Media's UK Classic Gold has now reversed its decision to ban Cliff Richard's tracks that had led DJ Tony Blackburn being suspended after defying orders to keep the singer of the station's airwaves (See RNW June 24).
A statement on the station's web site said, "We have reviewed our music policy following a staggering amount of listener feedback in support of Cliff Richard. Some of his songs will now become part of our classic hits playlist."
"We have to listen to our listeners, or they won't listen to us," the station's head of programmes, Paul Baker said in his statement. It's quite obvious now that they want to hear Cliff Richard on the station so that's what we'll do."
Managing director John Baish added, "This row was never actually about Cliff, it was just a situation with Tony which got out of control. I'm glad we've resolved it."
Blackburn will be back co-hosting his breakfast show with Laura Pittson today and said he was "delighted this business has been settled."
"I enjoy working with Classic Gold and doing my breakfast show immensely," he added. "I'm also pleased that we're going to be playing Cliff Richard records. It's the listeners who have come out on top."
Blackburn commented that he was not a Cliff Richard groupie but noted that he has sold more records than the Beatles."
RNW comment: We see nothing in this change of heart to revise our view of yesterday that this was a publicity stunt rather than a real clash.
2004-06-24: In his Chicago Sun-Times column Robert Feder says that Erich "Mancow" Muller, who is now off the air for two weeks vacation in Italy, is expected to be close to renewing his contract with Emmis's Q101 when he returns. Muller has been with the station for a decade.
Muller is reportedly earning around USD 3 million a year and Feder says all the signs "point to an amicable renewal" of his deal, despite flak from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over indecency offences.
Feder adds that Muller's agent has confirmed that talks have proceeded to the "proposal stage" with Q-101 and quotes the station's vice president and general manager Chuck DuCoty as saying, "I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of talent over the years, and I've never worked with anybody any more talented than Mancow. I love the time that I've been able to work with him here. Why wouldn't you want to have that kind of talent around as long as you possibly could?"
Muller himself commented of his indecency run-ins with the FCC and foe David Smith, who has filed 70 complaints against him, that he didn't want "to give the 'American Taliban' a victory. By those people trying to keep me off the air, it makes me want to stay on the air even more."
"I'm not a very corporate guy, but Emmis is about as good as it gets in radio," he added. "These people love radio. This isn't some big corporation. We are the little guys on the block. I like being part of the underdog team. I think they've been miraculous with me. It's been a great team."
Also in Chicago, long-time DJ Lon Dyson has died aged 65; he was the youngest DJ in the city when he started aged 15 on WHFC-AM, now WVON-AM, his brother, Marv, told the Chicago Tribune.
Dyson later worked for WBEE-AM, WAAF-AM, WJPC-AM and WLS-AM, where he was a news assignment editor for 11 years.
His father Richard Dyson was a WHFC-AM disc jockey, who wooed the brothers' mother Florence with dedicated slow jams over the airwaves, he added. She also became a DJ for the same station.
Lon Dyson most recently worked for WGCI-FM and Gospel Radio 1390; he retired in 2000 for health reasons.
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Chicago Tribune obituary:
2004-06-24: Liking oldies too much, in this case the records of Cliff Richard, has led veteran British DJ Tony Blackburn, who launched BBC Radio 1 in 1967, into a suspension from his breakfast show on UBC Media's Classic Gold Digital.
Blackburn, who joined the show last year (See RNW March 31, 2003) had defied an instruction at a meeting on Monday not to play Richard's tracks but on Tuesday played the 1963 number one Summer Holiday as a result of which he was sent an e-mail re-iterating the ban by head of programmes Paul Baker.
It said, "We shouldn't be playing Cliff Richard. As I said on Monday, we might carry out research on him, but for now we have a policy decision that he doesn't match our brand values, he's not on the playlist, and you must stop playing him."
Blackburn on Wednesday read out the e-mail on his show, tore it up, binned it, and then played to more hits from Richard's - Living Doll from 1959 and We Don't Talk Any More from 1979.
As a result Classic Gold managing director John Baish e-mailed him immediately telling him the matter was now "really serious" and then followed it up with a further e-mail saying, "You're consistently breaking the station's music policy. We've made our position as clear as we could. I've got no option except to suspend you until the situation can be resolved."
Blackburn has not commented himself but a spokesman said he was disappointed at the suspension and accepted he may have made a mistake.
In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 PM programme Baish later said all that had happened was that Blackburn would be off air on Thursday (today) to take some heat out of the situation.
Blackburn, he said, felt strongly that Cliff Richard was under played and he accepted this might be so but there were two issues, one about what should be played and the other about the way in which decisions were made.
RNW comment: is it the cynic in us that feels both station and Blackburn, having got oodles of publicity, will end up cosying up and attracting more Cliff Richards' fans?
2004-06-24: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a five-year contract with Tipperary Mid West Radio Co-operative Society Limited (Tipperary Mid West Community Radio) to provide a community service for South West Tipperary. It is to provide a service to reflect the community's values and involve all its sectors.
The BCI has also welcomed a decision by the Irish High Court to uphold its award in principle in April last year of the Donegal South/Sligo/ Leitrim North local licence to North West Broadcasting Ltd (Ocean FM), a decision that had been challenged by the existing licence holder, NWR FM Ltd.
There had been three applicants for the licence, which was being offered as part of the re-licensing process for local commercial radio, which took place during 2002/2003.
BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe commented: "The BCI is delighted with the outcome of today's decision. The Commission believes its decision to award the contract to North West Broadcasting Ltd. will best serve the needs of listeners in the franchise area. We look forward to furthering contract negotiations with the successful applicant, Ocean FM."
2004-06-24: In more North American radio deals, Entravision is to pay USD 16.1 million - USD 5.6 million cash plus a USD 10.5 million payment to secured creditors - for KBMB-FM, The Bomb, in Sacramento.
The Diamond Radio CHR/Rhythmic station was its only one; its purchase will give Entravision four FMs in Sacramento.
And in Canada, Newfoundland Capital Corp. is to pay CAD 2.3 million (USD 1.7 million) for Big Pond Communications' CJUK-FM, Magic 99.9, in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Newcap already owns CJLB-FM, Hot 105, in Thunder Bay.
2004-06-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a New York state AM for violation of power restriction, emergency alert system (EAS) and antenna structure regulations.
M.J. Phillips Communications, Inc., Licensee of WJJL-AM, Niagara Falls, had been found to have been exceeding its authorised power limits by 105%, and also not to have fully operational EAS equipment and to have failed to register its tower.
Baseline penalties of USD 4,000 for the power offences, USD 3,000 for failure to register its tower, USD 2,000 for failure to conduct requires EAS measurements and tests and USD 1,000 to make required EAS log entries were issues last year.
Phillips had sought cancellation or reduction on the basis of disputing the antenna registration requirements, because it said the power violations were due to unusual circumstances, and because it could not afford to pay: Concerning the last it said the station has been operating at a loss and that it has filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2003 but did not provide the documentation the Commission requires in hardship cases. All the penalties were confirmed.
2004-06-24: BBC Radio 4 is not to replace the late Alistair Cooke's Letter from America with a similar programme when the current set of repeats "Letter from America: A Celebration" ends next month but will instead shorten the slot he had to ten minutes and try out a number of different programmes.
Also in its summer/autumn (fall) schedule is a resurrection of the late Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with a new series starting on September 21.
It is based on the last three books - Life, The Universe And Everything; So Long And Thanks For All The Fish and Mostly Harmless - and features Adams himself.
This has been made possible because Adams, who had always intended to play the part of Agrajag, an alien who is repeatedly killed accidentally by the central character, Arthur Dent, but then reincarnates, and had already recorded it for an audio book that he narrated.
His recording is being worked into the new series that will feature most of the cast of the original BBC radio series. The Guide was originally written as a radio drama and was broadcast in 1978; Adams adapted it into a novel a year later and it went on to sell some 14 million copies and is currently being made into a film by Disney.
The project had been moribund until the director Dirk Maggs met radio producer Bruce Hyman at a memorial service for Adams and the idea of using the author as Agrajag came from Maggs who knew that Adams had wanted to play the part.
In making the series Maggs, who was the author's original choice for the job, has followed the preparatory instructions and notes that the author had made.
As in the original it features Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, Geoffrey McGivern as Ford Prefect, Susan Sheridan as Trillian, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Stephen Moore as Marvin The Paranoid Android but the late Peter Jones has been replaced by his friend William Franklyn as The Voice Of The Book.
Notable by its absence from the schedule is a replacement for Letter from America; there had been suggestions until recently that the BBC was approaching possible replacements but its Sunday first-run slot is to be trimmed by five minutes, which will be used to extend the news bulletin.
In the schedule so far is a seriesof 10-minute programmes starting on July 9 called State of the Union that will featuring local views on life in the US in the run-up to November's presidential elections.
Contributors include Robert Hodierne, an editor from Military Times, Detroit News writer Betty DeRamus and Paul Greenberg, the Arkansas journalist who coined former President Bill Clinton's nickname "Slick Willy".
On the World Service, Cooke's Letter to America slot has been replaced with a strand called Letter, featuring views from African, Asian and Latin American journalists based in the US.
Also in the schedule is another "classic", a new production of Homer's The Odyssey that will air at the end of August starring Amanda Redman, Tim McInnerny and Janet McTeer, and dramatised by Simon Armitage.
2004-06-23: The US Senate has approved by 99-1 an amendment tacked by Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback on to the USD 447 billion Defense Department funding bill that will increase the maximum fine for a single indecency incident nearly ten-fold to USD 275,000 for broadcast licensees with a daily maximum of USD 3 million. In addition on-air talent could be fined up to USD 11,000 per broadcast incident. Only last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had announced an inflation-linked increase in the maximum penalty from USD 27,5000 to USD 32,500.
Brownback had earlier this year introduced a standalone bill to increase FCC fines but it had stalled.
The Senate also voted for a clause proposed by Sen. Byron Dorgan (Democrat, North Dakota) to invalidate new, relaxed ownership rules, a proposal that had been rejected earlier by the House of Representatives when it approved a similar resolution that increased fines to a maximum of USD 500,000 per incident and required the FCC to determine whether to revoke a station's license after three violations.
The Senate ownership vote re-institutes the ban on a company owning a newspaper, television stations and radio outlets that serve a single market and also a ban on companies owning two television stations in a single market. These new rules are currently suspended while a Federal court in Philadelphia considers their legality.
In addition the Senate has also added clauses from Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns requiring the FCC to consider a station's audience and also how far it has controls and discretion about shows it airs - a proposition intended to protect small broadcasters - plus a clause from Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (Democrat, South Carolina) that would requirement the FCC to examine whether children are being exposed to too much TV violence.
To go forward both proposals need full congressional approval and a Presidential signature. There have been suggestions that President Bush, who had endorsed the House Bill, would veto changes to the new ownership regulations.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which is on record as preferring voluntary codes to government regulation, responded to the vote with a statement from President and CEO Edward O. Fritts saying, "NAB does not support the amendment passed today by the Senate. We continue to believe that voluntary industry initiatives that have been taken by a number of broadcasters thus far are far preferable to government regulation when dealing with programming issues. We also believe that most Americans would acknowledge that broadcast programming is considerably less explicit in terms of violence and sexual content than that which is routinely found on cable and satellite channels."
2004-06-23: The BBC's new Director-General Mark Thompson, who began his job with the Corporation yesterday, made a call to staff for a focus on "public value" and also announced top level changes that reduce the membership of the Corporation's Executive Committee from 16 to nine and told staff to expect reviews into its commercial businesses, production and commissioning, and how to increase efficiencies and control costs through self help.
We are going in to this with a genuinely open mind but these are questions which are not going to go away," he told staff. "If we did not examine them thoroughly ourselves, others would do it for us." " from the outside - and you may not want to hear this - it feels like the task of really changing the BBC has only begun. Our world - the world of broadcasting and media - is itself changing with the speed of an express train. We face amazing new challenges and opportunities. What they mean is that we're going to have to change the BBC more rapidly and radically over the next three to five years than at any previous point in its history."
"The people who founded the BBC believed that broadcasting could make the world a better place. Public intervention would ensure that its astonishing creative power - to enrich individuals with knowledge, culture and information about their world, to build more cohesive and productive communities, to engage the people of Britain and the whole globe in a new conversation about who we are and where we are going - would be put to work to the sole benefit of the public."
"Now we believe that that is still the point of the BBC. In fact, we believe that over the next decade the BBC will have a bigger role than ever in building public value. By helping to lead the challenge of building a digital Britain. By making sure that everyone - not just the better off or the media savvy or those who choose or can afford to subscribe, but everyone - can share in the benefits of the new broadcasting. By raising standards everywhere in content, whether in traditional TV and radio or in new media. And by finding new ways of making that content available to audiences whenever and wherever they want it. By creating a far more open, responsive, agile BBC."
Under the new structure, Thompson has created three mew boards to cover the BBC's main activities, a cross media Creative Board that he will chair, a new Journalism Board to be chaired by Deputy Director-General Mark Byford, and a third board covering the BBC's commercial businesses chaired by BBC Finance Director John Smith, who will also take on the role of Chief Operating Officer. In this role he will be in charge of all the BBC's commercial and resourcing subsidiaries, as well as leading its Finance and Property departments.
Thompson is to launch a BBC-wide programme looking at increasing efficiencies, costs controls, value for money and self-help and commented, "The financial picture is tight. Every bit of licence fee has been allocated to the end of the current Charter - and this year the BBC is spending more than its income. That was planned but nonetheless it's something to keep an eye on."
"As we are now in debt we need to keep a very careful control on cash - we cannot risk exceeding our statutory borrowing limit."
2004-06-23: Clear Channel has announced that it is has ceased providing weekly data to Miller Kaplan for weekly pacings, which its CEO John Hogan says are "no longer a meaningful or accurate measure of the performance and long-term value of radio advertising."
Clear Channel is to provide monthly actual sales reports but Hogan commented that the weekly reports, which he termed "created for a different time" did not "help us run our business, creates volatility in the financial markets by inviting exaggerated interpretations of normal sales cycles, and puts the radio industry at a competitive disadvantage to other media sectors who focus on advertisers and investors on longer term value."
Hogan noted that only radio provided weekly data and that the weekly reports only covered 32 markets adding that Clear Channel Radio's proprietary inventory yield-management system, TradeWinds, provides local station management with real- time inventory and pricing data in a given market or across a larger platform.
"Our stations have taken an enormous step forward - we've replaced the 'gut instinct' approach with informed analysis and decision-making," said Hogan. "This is the right decision for our business - and the right way to drive higher yields at individual stations, entire clusters and across the country."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-06-23: Macquarie Network's 2GB is back at the top in Sydney in the latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey, pushing DMG's Nova down to second but not lessening Austereo's woes as its flagship 2-Day plunged to sixth and fell behind the company's second station, Triple M, which moved up to sixth.
The news was not much better for Southern Cross as 2UE fell a rank to eighth despite increasing its share. In the breakfast slot Alan Jones for 2GB dominated the top spot with a 15.5 share, up from 13.3, whilst Nova in second place fell slightly from 11.2 to 11.1 and ABC in third also fell, from 11.3 to 11.0. Mike Carlton for 2UE fell from fourth to fifth with 7.5, down from 7.8.
In the morning slot, once dominated by John Laws for 2UE, 2GB's Ray Hadley took top honours - up from second with 13.3, an increase from 11.5; he pushed DMG's Nova, whose share fell from 11.7 to 10.7 into second. Laws however increased share, up from 7.3 to 9.0, and was third, up from eighth.
In afternoon drive Steve Price for 2UE lost share from 7.0 to 6.6 and fell from seventh to eighth as 2GB increased share from 5.8 to 8.0 and moved past it from eighth to sixth equal.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM - same rank with 19.2 (20.1); 5AA -17.2 (16.8) - same rank; Mix 14.4 (15.6) - same rank;
*Brisbane - B105FM - same rank with 17.9 (19.1); Triple M with 13.8 (12.8) - up from third; NEW 97.3 FM with 13.6 (15.1) - down from second.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.4 (14.4)- same rank; Triple M with 10.8 (9.5) - up from fifth; ABC 774 with 10.5 (10.3) same rank; * Fox FM with 10.3 (12.0) fell from second to fourth and Nova retained sixth spot with 9.3 (9.1).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM same rank with 19.0 (19.5); All New 92.9 with 13.0 (12.5)- up from third;
96FM with 11.6 (12.7) - down from second; *ABC 720 with 11.0 (9.8) remained fourth and Nova with 9.1 (8.6) remained fifth.
* Sydney 2GB 12.7 (10.4) - up from second; - Nova with 10.4 (11.4) - down from first; ABC 702 8.5 (8.7) - up from fourth.
*2-Day with 7.7 (9.4) dropped from second to sixth with behind Austereo rival Triple M with 8.0 (Fourth equal - up from sixth and 7.5 and equal with WSFM which increased its share from 7.8) and MIXFM (with 7.9, down from 8.1 and fifth) while 2UE's Mike Carlton increased share - from 6.6 to 7.5 but remained eighth.
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2004-06-23: Arbitron has announced that with the release next Monday of its RADAR 81 ((Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report it will start a new phase of sample increases that will end with a sample of 80,000 diary keepers next March.
In preliminary details released it says that for RADAR 81 radio remained a mainstay medium that over a typical week reaches 95 percent of Persons 18+ who live in a household with an income of $75,000 or more.
Listening is higher for college graduates at 95% compared to only 92% of those who did not go to college. The report also notes that 81% of adults 18 plus listened in their cars and 26% at work.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 80):
2004-06-23: Research by the Wall Street Journal into Progress Media's Air America come close to accusing Guam-based entrepreneurs Evan M. Cohen and Rex Sorensen of fraud in deceiving other investors and employees about the funding for the company.
An Associated Press report based on the research says many of Air America's investors and executives say they thought the network had raised more than USD 30 million, based on assurances from them when in fact Cohen concedes only USD 6 million had been raised.
Those funds were spent within six weeks of the launch and the company owed creditors more than USD 2 million according to the report, which quotes the company's acting chief operating officer David Goodfriend as saying when the problems came to light, "we realized that we had all been duped."
Cohen and Sorenson, who resigned in May (See RNW May 7), deny the allegations and say they didn't mislead anyone about the company's finances and had planned to invest more over time but didn't because of cultural differences with other managers.
The report says that the network, with a Presidential election on the way, should be on a roll but instead is in financial crisis and puts many of its problems down to its attempt to make a "big political splash" by trying to get stations to take all its line-up rather than individual shows: this led it to lease time in Chicago and Los Angeles on Multicultural Broadcasting stations, a costly move, that fell apart (See RNW April 15) in a financial dispute and has left it without affiliates in these two markets.
Commenting on attitudes when the network was launched, former Air America executive vice president Javier Saade said, "When you believe you're doing work for the greater good, you don't question as much. People never questioned the curves and obstacles on the road. People just said, 'We're on the road.' "
The report says that according to executives Air America's business is now stabilizing following positive ratings and re-structuring of its business plan together with more money from investors that will keep it afloat; it is negotiation with creditors and its newly-appointed chief executive Doug Kreeger says it is "on track" to meet its financial goals.
Creditors of the company include staff such as former Los Angeles market manager Bob Visotcky, who says he hasn't been reimbursed for his hotel room and flight to New York for the launch party and also that rent hadn't been paid on the company's Los Angeles office space -Cohen says this was because of a contractual dispute - and hosts Al Franken and Randi Rhodes.
The latter, says the report, "opened her own check (cheque) book when her staff wasn't paid" and commented that she found "a group that was running the place that was absolutely not up to it."
The report also says that according to a contract seen by the Wall Street Journal Franken had negotiated a pay package valued at more than USD1 million a year but in late April when he and Goodchild checked mail from Cohen that they thought was going to be proof of payment of some of the salary they simply found irrelevant documents.
Franken, who has continued working but deferred collecting any payments, was philosophical about the situation noting that people in start-ups often exaggerated what they had and saying Cohen "did just that, and somehow got us on the air. For that, I guess I owe him some gratitude."
RNW note: Franken has now been reported by Radio and Records to have extended his initial one-year contract, which was due to expire at the end of this year, as midday host for the network .
Last week the Chicago Tribune reported that Air America's investors have created a new company, Piquant LLC, to buy the assets of the old company from Progress Media and RadioFree America, two related companies that own and operate the network.
It will be chaired by Anita Drobny, who with Sheldon Drobny originally came up with the idea of the network and investors will include the Drobnys and new CEO Doug Kreeger.
The Tribune said it was unclear how much Piquant is paying for the network but quoted another investor Norman Wain as saying, "We have an asset purchase agreement we've entered into. Progress Media and RadioFree America are selling all of their assets to Piquant."
It has simplified its business plan and now follows the conventional syndication route of allowing local stations to pick up portions of the line-up and is currently on air in 15 markets.
RNW comment: The uncertainty as to the financing of Piquant still leaves a cloud over Air America, particularly since there will be understandable worries about committments to it until it is clear not only that it has adequate financing in place but also that plans are in progress for the payment of creditors to whom it has already run up debts.
In our view it needs to both do this and be open and above board in adequately publicizing its plans.
Previous Progress Media/Air America:
Chicago Tribune report:
M-Live (AP/Wall Street Journal) report:
2004-06-22: Latest audience figures from the BBC World Service show it remains the world's leading international radio broadcaster with a weekly global audience of around 146 million, down some 4 million from the 2003 estimate of 150 million.
According to the BBC this is at least half as much again as any comparable international service; it adds that independent surveys in top markets rated it the "most trusted and objective international broadcaster when compared to its main radio competitors in each market."
It says the decline in short wave listening is continuing because of quality of reception problems but this is in part being offset by a growth in online take-up --its sites attracted 279 million monthly page impressions in March 2004 equating to more than 16 million unique users a month -- and FM listening as it establishes more partnerships with local stations.
FM World Service is now available in 139 capital cities - around 72 per cent of the world's total - but the World Service Acting Director Nigel Chapman commented, "It is sometimes difficult to find suitable FM partners in some countries or to overcome regulatory obstacles, like bans on international news broadcasting on local FMs, in others."
In geographical area terms, BBC World Service suffered significant audience falls in Bangladesh, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Western Europe but made gains in Bolivia, Egypt, Turkey, Uganda and the USA, where its weekly audience increased from 3.9 million to a record 4.7 million.
It says that one in five of what it terms "opinion formers" in New York and Washington listen each week while the figure in Boston is even higher at nearly one in three.
It specifically noted success in Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter helped by the launch of FM broadcasts in Baghdad, Basra and other cities to a weekly audience of 1.8 million that according to a later survey has subsequently gone up to 3.3 million.
It is the leading international news broadcaster in both countries and says that in Baghdad one in four of the population listen to its service whilst in the Afghan capital Kabul it says it has a 60 per cent weekly reach, a feat it only matches elsewhere in Tanzania.
The service is broadcast in 43 languages and listening to its English language services is steady at 45 million a week.
2004-06-22: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 7,000 its penalty on Radio 810 Nashville, Limited, licensee of WMGC-AM, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for failure to maintain properly calibrated indicating instruments, failure to terminate broadcast operation as required when WMGC operated in non-compliance with the technical rules, and exceeding the station's authorized transmitter power by failing to reduce power at sunset.
Radio 810 had sought reduction or cancellation on various grounds including financial hardship and on the basis that its breach of the rules was inadvertent and minor. All the arguments were rejected despite although the penalty was reduced.
In Florida, the Commission has denied an application by Peoples Network, Inc. for review of its decision to proceed with an application from application of Frank McCoy for a new station at Sandy Springs, Georgia and dismiss other applications including People's application for as new AM station in Bunnell, Florida. The Commission had held that the two applications were mutually exclusive.
It has also rejected a plea by Great Lakes Broadcasting Academy, Inc. for reconsideration of its dismissal of an application for a new non-commercial educational (NCE) FM station to serve Baldwin, Michigan that was in conflict with the application of American Family Association for a new NCE station at Hesperia, Michigan.
The FCC has also announced that its next localism meeting, to be held in Monterey, California, will be on July 21. It has not yet names panellists for the meeting which will focus on the current round of licence renewals and how far stations are meeting their public service obligations.
2004-06-22: The Australian commercial radio industry is to set up a Creative Advisory Committee to advise on advertising issues and help devise strategies to increase the industry's share of the advertising market.
Its establishment follows the holding of a think tank held with key creative directors of leading national advertising agencies last month (See RNW May 27) and is part of a push to promote radio's effectiveness as an advertising medium and Joan Warner, CEO of the industry body Commercial Radio Australia, added that the new committee would meet regularly and consider various ideas, commenting, "The think tank identified education and training and well as peer recognition as important elements to improving the creative component of radio advertising and providing the medium the recognition it deserves... Ideas to be considered by the Committee once it's established might include broadening the education and training programs already on offer for radio copywriters and establishing a library of creative excellence including some of the best radio ads from around the world."
Steve Yolland of the Magnum Opus agency commented, "Better radio ads are good for consumers, good for marketers, and contribute to a better radio environment overall. The new advisory committee is a very positive step in this direction. If the best and brightest minds of Australian advertising bring the searchlight of their intellects to bear on this problem, then the future will be bright indeed."
Ralph van Dijk of Eardrum added, "We all know how much good creative improves effectiveness, but when it comes to radio agencies, clients and stations have all been guilty of letting standards slip. The objective of this advisory committee is to get things back on track. The ultimate winners will be the advertisers."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2004-06-22: Chicago radio executive Launa Thompson, station and sales manager for Clear Channel's WGCI-AM and also manager of WVAZ-FM and gospel station WRGB-FM, formerly WGCI-FM, has died aged 52 following a short illness.
She became general sales manager for WGCI in 1996 and was recently named by Radio Ink as one of the most influential African-Americans in radio.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-06-22: GfK Media has unveiled its MediaWatch ratings device that measures whatever mass media audio is heard by the wearer. It is a development of the Radiocontrol audiometer developed by GfK subsidiary, Telecontrol in Switzerland, and which is used by Swiss broadcaster SRG SSR and in unofficial UK radio ratings commissioned by the Wireless Group.
In the device a recording unit records and encodes audio and radio signals three times a minute for up to up to four weeks before it has to be changed and can be put into docking stations to send the signals recorded during the day to the GfK IT centres overnight.
The data receives is compared with sample signals from programmes and offerings from all media and further processed for analysis purposes.
Telecontrol CEO Professor Matthias Steinman said the Radiocontrol system had been a highly innovative step in radio audience measurement and the "new, even more comprehensive, MediaWatch system, enable us to precisely measure the variety of media contacts to which people are exposed these days."
2004-06-22: Research carried out by Tunecom in association with BIGresearch concerning plans by some record companies to move to distribution of songs via downloads and eliminate the shipping of CDs show that US country radio stations accept the idea of digital downloads but are concerned about a full conversion to an all-digital distribution system.
The research involved a survey of more than 100 Country Radio Programming personnel last month with most of them coming from stations in the top 150 US markets and showed that although nearly four-fifths had downloaded tracks there was concern about the quality.
Jerry Lenamon of KBCT-FM (LoneStar 94) in Waco, Texas, commented, "Some of the MP3s we've received are too hot to use...A performance standard would have to be maintained for it to be worthwhile."
There was also concern about convenience and logistics: Mark Phillips, Program Director of WWGR-FM (Gator Country 101.9), Fort Myers, Florida said, "I think if you want to keep a single fresh in the mind of a Program Director you better give them something they can touch and feel--otherwise it's too easily forgotten (or deleted) I like to listen to new music away from the office (in my car mainly) and I can't do that unless I burn the downloads to a CD (which frankly I don't have the time to do)."
Joe Patrick of Tunecom also noted the use of CD singles as a back up for on-air computer systems. "These findings clearly suggest that any record label currently considering digital distribution as a standard for future product delivery needs to consider all of the factors on how that single is being used" he said, adding, "While most can see the benefits a lot have legitimate concerns about the impact a shift like this will have on their daily tasks and schedules. There was even a small portion of the respondents who indicated they've never bothered to download any song, and really have no plans to start."
Tunecom web site:
2004-06-21: We start this week's look at print cover on media with an article on US National Public Radio (NPR) and the way, to use the Weekly Standard's phrase it "purged classical music from its airwaves."
In his article Andrew Ferguson reports on the 42nd annual convention of members of the Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio and quotes long-time attendee Dave Glerum, the music director of Orlando public station WMFE, who's attended the conference for 25 years as saying at one time it was "like a major trade show."
"You had 30 record labels here, giving records away, all kinds of free stuff," said Glerum. "Artists would perform during the day, every night, promoting their records. There were throngs of people all weekend long. By Sunday, when you left, you still wouldn't have met 80 percent of the attendees. That's how many people there were. And now it's . . . well . . ." He waved his hand toward the conference-goers who drifted from room to room, singly or in groups of twos and threes.
WMFE, indicates Ferguson, is typical of the change. When Glerum joined in 1990 it had three full- time and two part-time announcers and now he is the only one left; when it was founded it broadcast nearly wholly classical music and arts programmes but now it carries only three hours a day of its own classical music programming and is mainly a news and talk station.
All music writes Ferguson is "slowly being withdrawn from the public airwaves" and he notes that since 1993 the number of non-commercial US stations identified as "classical" has halved whilst those identified as news have tripled in number.
After going through the history of "Public radio" - educational and community in origin - Ferguson goes on to consider the impact of Ronald Reagan's years as President with the pressures for change coming from a combination of budgetary problems, a perception that everything could be "marketized--that is, turned into a commodity and subjected to the rigors of the marketplace", and a relaxation of "underwriting" rules that effectively allowed advertising although the term could not be used.
Ferguson quotes consultant David Giovannoni as saying of the changes, "I've been honored to be a part of it. In the eighties, and then later, with Gingrich running the Congress, we lived in fear of losing our subsidy. We had to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, Where's the money going to come from? We had to have more listeners, and we had to be more highly valued by those listeners."
Giovanni said of public radio's output that it was "Terrible, terrible stuff. Incredibly boring." And noted that audience ratings for stations spiked when their news magazines were aired and dropped when the format switched to music. He gave advice, widely followed, that the stations needed to drop classical music if they wanted to increase their audiences.
Ferguson says the "imperial ambitions of talk at NPR grow more insistent all the time" and continues, "For many individual stations, the commercial track they stepped onto in the 1980s and 1990s has become a treadmill: to draw listeners, they have had to pay expensive fees to NPR for its news programming--fees often topping $1 million a year. These high costs accelerate and, in turn, require ever more listeners to cover them."
Amongst those who has benefited from the changes at NPR is host Tavis Smiley, who was profiled by Clea Simon in the Boston Globe. He commented to her that for him to be the first "person of color as a national host" was "a bit ridiculous" and said of his show, "My mission is to challenge folk to reexamine the assumptions that they hold."
This he says is different to his priorities on his public TV show, where his target audience is mainly the one that tuned into his canceled BET (Black Entertainment TV) show whereas for NPR the audience is largely white.
"It's the whitest radio audience in the world; it is the most educated audience in the world; and they make more money than everybody else," said Smiley. " . . . I have found that when you talk to people who are white, make money, and are educated, you don't tell them, `I'm here to educate you.' What we do attempt to do is enlighten them. Does that have the result of educating them? I expect it does. Their eyes have been opened at least to another way of seeing."
"We still live in a very segregated country and I have found that radio is one of those mediums that, when it's used wisely, it can be used to introduce Americans to each other in a non-threatening sort of way."
"My role is to have the opportunity -- the blessing, quite frankly -- to empower people with ideas, empower with knowledge. And the NPR audience is intelligent enough to know what to do with that."
Still with US hosts but this time, in a sense with more of a look back at the way radio was, Marc Fisher in a report on the Shenandoah Valley's local - and last - station, WAMM-AM in Woodstock, Virginia, starts off by centering on Craig Orndorff, the station's "morning man and midday host and evening sports play-by-play announcer."
WAMM notes Fisher is the "the only place on the radio where anyone cares about elections in Toms Brook or Strasburg, or the games played by high school teams, or the needs of county residents when the weather turns dangerous."
He continues, "When a snowstorm or hurricane threatens, deejay Alan Arehart, a veteran of 33 years on the radio in the valley, brings his kids into the studio in sleeping bags and camps out for the duration, running the station on car batteries if necessary, reading listeners weather advisories through the night."
A decade ago there were four stations in the Valley but then came consolidation and in 2002 the valley's big-band station was switched to hip-hop and moved to Harrisonburg, 35 miles to the south Clear Channel not owns five of the top 15 stations in the Harrisonburg market and nine of the top 26 in the Winchester area, the two surrounding markets.
Spurred by the station losses, a group of local investors including former Washington Star reporters Peggy Boston and Joan Anderson set up the station for USD 200,000.
It airs big band tunes and standards from the 30s through 50s, mostly syndicated programming, and has yet to make a profit although Fisher notes that a white board in the studio "a message congratulates the sales staff of one full- and two part-timers (one of whom also runs the cemetery and works at the post office) for their "best ever" month -- $12,468.75 in ads sold."
Support comes from car dealers, real estate brokers and banks for broadcasts of high school football, basketball and baseball, and Boston, the station chairman comments, "We don't want to become suburban Winchester. We're the only thing in the county, and we want to sound like the county."
The station's future is dependant on such support continuing and that may not be guaranteed. As the report ends, "Local business owners see the value in a station that broadcasts from the county fair, gives air time to the 4-H club and airs lost-dog notices. But local shops are giving way to the Wal-Marts of the world, and that's another story."
On the other side of the Atlantic before moving on to programmes still available on the Internet, to the UK and Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times in which he marks the 2,000 edition of CD Review, a BBC Radio 3 programme that began in 1949 as "Record Review, a weekly discussion of gramophone releases."
Donovan notes that the Saturday-morning show (0800-1200GMT) is not aired during the Proms annual concerts and was absent for half of the 1950s: He comments of it, "Although it has expanded to four hours, and to embrace the whole of recorded classical music, breadth has not been achieved at the expense of depth. Building a Library, its most celebrated segment, is just as it was when introduced in 1957, with critics painstakingly analyzing all the available recordings of one particular work to show how much (and why) they vary."
He also notes that the station is "much less keen" to subject recordings in other musical areas that it broadcasts such as world music and jazz "to anything like the same withering criticism that is dished out to classical recordings every week" and asks, "Why not? Why should a new version of, say, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique be dissected in minute detail, while a recording of Madagascan fishing chants is blandly welcomed as cultural diversity? Building a Library shows how it can be done; its approach deserves wider application."
Which takes us to recommendations for listening and CD review's special anniversary edition next Saturday in which Andrew McGregor will amongst other things play the CD voted Listeners' Disc of the Century and host a round-table discussion prompted by Norman Lebrecht's "rock-solid prediction that the year 2004 will be the last for the classical record industry".
Last week's programme, whose Building a Library segment included Penelope Thwaites analyzing 32 versions of Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata, will be on the Listen Again segment of the Radio 3 web site until then.
After that maybe a cue to recommend Tavis Smiley and a suggestion of the Parenting Series that was aired over the past week and is also still available on the NPR web site.
Moving back to the UK, last week's edition of "Revolting People" a Sitcom set before the American War of Independence, among its other virtues had some strong lines concerning who would want oil and the intelligence of politicians that don't seem out of place today. It's in the 17:30 GMT weekday comedy slot on Thursdays and last week's show will be on the site until then.
Also on Radio 4, tonight sees two programmes related to Islam, a documentary "In the Footsteps of Muhammad" at 19:00 GMT followed by an edition of Crossing Continents at 19:30 GMT that asks, "What Does It Mean to Be a European Muslim?"
Still in a sense in the Middle East and still with Radio 4, last week's "On the Ropes" featured Brigadier General Janis Karpinksi, who was in charge of the Baghdad prison where Iraqi prisoners were tortured, talking on why she refuses to take the blame. It's on the site until tomorrow when this week's edition at 08:00 GMT in which arms dealer Peter Bleach, who was jailed in India for what he claims was a 'sting' that went wrong, talks to John Humphrys.
For the spoken word Book of the Week at 08:45 GMT daily this week on Radio 4 is Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast by travel writer Charlie Connelly who was impelled to visit the places referred to in the Shipping Forecast that is broadcast by the channel on AM and write about them starting off today in North Utsire, South Utsire, Cromarty, Scotland and ending on Friday with the Hebrides, Faeroes, and South East Iceland.
And finally an oddball documentary, Taking the P*** out of London, from Radio 4 that is on the Listen again page of the site. It concerns the disposal, uses of and for centuries sale of urine in the UK.
Boston Globe - Simon:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Fisher:
Weekly Standard - Ferguson:
2004-06-21: British group UBC Media is expected to unveil plans this week that will allow downloads of music from digital radio receivers according to the UK Sunday Times.
The paper says UBC is expected to announce details of talks with manufacturer Pure Digital to produce a version of its recently launched Bug radio that will be equipped to handle downloading for which UBC is negotiating copyright clearance, with record labels.
Under the system, listeners would have to subscribe to a downloading service that would use memory cards in their receivers. When they hear a track they want they would be able to press a button that would order a new version of the track to be sent to the memory card. The card would play back the song on the radio, through a computer or allow downloading to an MP3 player.
UK Sunday Times report:
2004-06-21: Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone, the subject of The Sunday Interview in the New York Times plays down the importance of the departure of former President and COO Mel Karmazin and implicitly suggests Karmazin had been holding back the company.
Asked about the latter's departure, he says, "I would never denigrate Mel, but Mel was great when the economic environment was poor and the company agenda was to cut expenses and control expenses. But now we have an escalating economy and the name of the game is creativity and content."
He goes on to cite as an example the resurrection of a plan for a gay TV cable channel that had been held up and indicates it was held up by Karmazin, saying, "Well, let's just - I don't want to say that. Just say it was held up. It was not on the front burner because it cost $30 million."
Redstone also contends in the context of succeeding him that Karmazin's successors are different and re-iterates that his daughter Shari "will not have an executive or an operational role at the company."
New York Times interview:
2004-06-20: The main licence news this week came from Australia where the new Melbourne FM licence, the last that will be available in a major city under current plans, was advertised (See RNW Jun 18): Elsewhere the US was fairly busy but there was little from other areas.
In Australia, as well as advertising the new Melbourne licence, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has also announced that it is making additional capacity available for translators for commercial stations in Queensland and Tasmania.
The Queensland channel is for a translator in Ravenshoe for 4AMM Atherton, which had asked for the channel under the Australian government Blackspots Program, which provides government aid to improve commercial services to regional or remote communities where it has not been commercially viable for licensees to provide coverage, to enable it to resolve reception deficiencies in the Atherton region.
In Tasmania, a channel is being made under the same program for a translator in Weldborough for 7RGS, Scottsdale.
In addition, the ABA has extended the Break O'Day community radio licence area, in the Scottsdale area of Tasmania, to the towns of Bicheno and Coles Bay.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of changes to licences. In order of province they were:
* Approval in part of an application to amend the licence of CFBT-FM, Vancouver, to allow deferral of certain required expenditures on Canadian talent development required when the licence was granted.
As part of its application, the successful bidder, Focus Entertainment Group Inc., made commitments to contribute, over a seven-year licence term, CAD 2.8 million (USD 2.1 million) in direct expenditures in support of Canadian talent development and these were put into the licence that was awarded in 2001.
In 2003 Focus requested deferral, by which time there was a shortfall of CAD 372,000 (USD 273,000) in the scheduled payments of CAD 718,000 (USD 526,000); Focus said its request for deferral was mainly because start-up costs and first year cash needs were considerably higher than expected and it proposed to spend "catch up" amounts, in each of years five, six and seven of the licence term.
Interventions opposing the deferral were submitted by the Canadian Independent Record Producers Association (CIRPA) and Integrity Records (Integrity), which said respectively that artists should not be disadvantaged by market changes that should have been foreseen and expressed concern on failure to fulfill specific commitments affecting the Vancouver urban music community.
The Commission, which found that contrary to Focus's submission there had been steady growth in the Vancouver market since CBTM went on air in 2002, commented that because of the competitive nature of Canada's licensing progress and maintaining fairness to all applicants it was essential that successful applicants fulfilled all their commitments.
At the same time, it noted that there had been an effective deferral since initiatives that Focus had promised to undertake in 2002 and 2003 could not be realized retroactively. It decided that Focus should be required to make immediate payments to FACTOR and to scholarship funds for students at the British Columbia Institute for Technology, for students at Langua College and for students pursuing musical training.
The payments will represent the full amount of expenditures related to FACTOR and scholarships for which CFBT-FM is responsible under its commitments and conditions of licence, but for which it is currently in arrears. In addition, Focus is required to make expenditures on CTD representing the remainder of its arrears, by no later than 31 August 2006. In Appendix C to this decision, the Commission sets out amended conditions of licence 1 and 2, that reflect these requirements, and sets out the revised spending requirements for each remaining year of the licence term.
*Channel change for CFMV-FM, Pabos Mills.
*Increase in power from 1,650 watts to 1,780 watts for CFGE-FM Sherbrooke.
There was nothing of radio interest from Ireland and no radio decisions in the UK from Ofcom although the government put forwards its Community Licences order (See RNW June 17). Ofcom is due to advertise the new Edinburgh commercial FM licence this month, the first of some 30 new licences that are to be advertised.
In the USA the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been active in terms of enforcement and diversity issues.
Its maximum penalties have been increased in line with inflation (See RNW Jun 19) and earlier it was involved in a settlement with Willis Broadcasting over unpaid penalties and amendments penalties to other companies (See RNW Jun 17).
In addition, its Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age has adopted interim reports that include a large range of resolutions and recommendations to promote opportunities for minorities and women in telecommunications and related industries.
The recommendations include retention and possible expansion of the FCC's Distress Sale Policy and creating incentives in its ownership and licensing rules,
Outside the FCC's own operations, it accepted a Looking beyond FCC rules, the Committee accepted a report on best practices that most effectively promote workplace diversity entitled "Workplace Diversity: A Global Necessity and an Ongoing Commitment." The report surveyed leading companies engaged in diversity initiatives to examine the range of efforts being used by companies to keep pace with changing worker and consumer demographics in the 21st Century.
Advisory Committee Chairman Julia Johnson said: "The Committee's recommendations provide the Commission with an array of mutually reinforcing options for promoting diversity in the telecommunications and media markets. We look forward to continuing to work with the Commission to implement these recommendations and evaluate new proposals for promoting diversity."
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-06-20: KVI-AM, the Fisher Communications Seattle station that cut out of a President Bush speech a reference to Rush Limbaugh, formerly a star for the station but now with Entercom's KTTH-AM, has now publicly said it got it wrong and published an apology on its web site.
In it program director Paul Duckworth says, "It's not easy admitting that you're wrong but we blew it!"
He says that the engineer on duty at the time of the speech had just a few seconds to make a decision about whether to air or eliminate the comment. In the heat of the moment, he decided to dump it, writing, "It's certainly not part of any orchestrated strategy or policy. The individual who made the decision is a terrific employee. He simply made an error in judgment. We all agree that it won't happen again"
Duckworth had originally defended the engineer's decision to use the station's delay system to remove the mention of Limbaugh on the basis that KVI didn't want to promote a competitor on another station.
Of this he added, "I think that I tried to justify the unjustifiable. We've all learned an important lesson."
RNW comment: We agree that the decision to edit out the reference was mistaken as in our view is any of the fairly common censorship that happens in the name of not publicizing the opposition.
However we would contend that in view of the current situation in Iraq and Limbaugh's well publicized views defending maltreatment a much more serious error was made by the President in mentioning Limbaugh in a positive context, whatever the motive or electoral benefits.
In our view the least that is done to further any self-justification by murderers of hostages the better.
KVI web site:
2004-06-20: A report from All Africa.com on Ugandan station Radio Karamoja in the east of the country near the Bokoro Game Reserve illustrates the difference radio can make in rural communities.
When the station was set up in September last year at a cost of around USD 100,00 by Radio Management Services with assistance from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Ireland and the European Union, all the radio receivers in the area were speedily sold out according to Radio Management Services' director Julie Bell.
"All the radio sets in Moroto shops sold out in one day, the traders had to rush to Mbale to bring in more," she said.
She says that in the station's first three month of operation, measles inoculation rose from 29 children in 2002 to 305 children in 2003. The radio is also used to spread security alerts of imminent raids and ambushes and it was also used to announce to the general population that 4,600 heads of cattle seized by the UPDF (Uganda Peoples Defense Force) from cattle raiders were available to be collected by their owners, upon identification.
The station is run by a team of 12 and broadcasts from 6:00am to midnight with programming aiming at a balance of educating, informing and entertaining the audience. It is partly financed by advertising.
Information is broadcast on agriculture, rain patterns and current market prices for food and cattle, the latter helping farmers in the area to get full prices for their food where they used to get between 50% and 70%.
All Africa report:
2004-06-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced increased maximum enforcement penalties under a rule allowing it to put up fines every four years to keep in line with inflation.
For broadcasters the change will increase the maximum per violation from its current USD 27,500 to USD 32,500; in a number of recent cases it has issued penalties based on the number of times an offending comment was broadcast rather than limiting the maximum on a per-broadcast basis.
The amoutns still remain much smaller than the ten-fold increase propsoed by some legislators but currently stalled becuase of other clauses in the legislation in the Senate.
2004-06-19: Prices of shares in US radio companies that were hit Thursday by analysts' downgrading were fairly stable overall on Friday with Emmis, which fell 3.4% on a downgrading of the radio sector to "neutral" from "buy" by Jonathan Jacoby at Banc of America Securities, were up 0.1% but those of Entercom, which dropped 2.4% on Thursday, recovered a little and were up 0.35% on Friday.
Salem fell a further 0l61% on top of a 4.5% fall but Cox Radio were up 0.87% after falling 2% whilst giant Clear Channel, which bucked the trend on Thursday with an 87 cent increase, added a further 54 cents (1.47%) on Friday.
Jacoby based his downgrading on an estimation that national sales this month are down 7% on a year ago and those for next month are down 13%.
Jacoby also expressed reservations about advertising loads on commercial stations, which have risen to 20-25 minutes per hour, telling clients in a research note that radio adverts now lacked "perceived value" because they were seen as being unlimited in availability.
Other analysts at Goldman Sachs, RBC Capital Markets and A.G. Edwards also either downgraded radio stocks or cut their estimates reflecting increasing pessimism about the demand for radio advertising. despite the improving economy and the strength of other advertising media.
Goldman analysts Richard Rosenstein who cut his ratings on Clear Channel, Westwood One and Citadel Broadcasting from outperform to in line noted a weaker than expected recovery and expressed surprise at how soft pricing had been following consolidation in the sector.
He is advising a focus on near-term EBITDA rather than long-term projected free cash flow until there are signs of a real recovery.
A. G. Edwards was more positive than others, seeing a buying opportunity because of lower expectations; it said in a research note that it thought radio stocks were "near the bottom".
2004-06-19: Ohio this week has seen Disney's ABC walk away from a station licence in Fremont but two anonymous investors have rescued a popular Cincinnati-based Internet rock station.
Rescued is Oxford-based Internet station 97X WOXY.COM "The Future of Rock and Roll", which employed eight people and went silent last month because of a lack of funding.
Doug Balogh and his wife Linda moved onto the Internet after they sold their terrestrial station, WOXY-FM earlier this year (See RNW Jan 30) but despite audience success - they were in the world's top 20 stations - found costs mounting and decided to close it down. At the time they estimated it would need USD 1.8 million to keep it going for three years.
Doug Balogh told the Cincinnati Enquirer they were contacted the morning after they had closed the station with two questions: How much would it cost to continue the station and how soon could it be started.
"It was like one of those magical experiences - an amazing thing," he said. "We now have patient and passionate investors."
The paper reports that the re-incarnated station will be live from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and will initially be largely free of commercials.
Gone is ESPN outlet WFRO-AM in Fremont that ABC had been operating through BAS Broadcasting and had been planning to move to its 50,000 watt 910 AM in Detroit, Michigan, since it bought the latter station less than a year ago. It brought its plans forward when a bad thunderstorm took out BAS's Eagle 99 last week and Eagle General Manager Jim Lorenzen told the Central Ohio News-Messenger that the next day ABC took the programming off air.
"They knew they were going to shut it off anyway and instead of going through their licensing renewal, since this is the year that Ohio radio stations have to renew licenses, ABC decided they didn't need Fremont anymore," Lorenzen said
"I liked the station and so did a lot of people in the community, but I don't think it will make a tremendous impact now that it is gone," he added. "The folks at ABC have been very good to us and we've established a great relationship with them. It just made good business sense for them not to stay here because they are getting a larger wattage station, and it costs a lot of money to renew radio licenses."
Cincinnati Enquirer report:
WOXY web site:
2004-06-18: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has now advertised an additional commercial FM licence for Melbourne, the last of four major city licences that were announced in June last year.
All the previous licences have been won by DMG, which took the Adelaide licence last year with a bid of AUD 24 million (then USD 16.9 million - See RNW Nov 1, 2003) followed by winning bids in April this year for the latest Sydney commercial licence with a bid of AUD 106 million (then USD 78 million - See RNW Apr 16) and and of AUD 80 million (then USD 58 million - See RNW Apr 23) for the Brisbane licence.
In 2000, DMG paid a record AUD 155 million for the Sydney commercial licence that it used to launch its first Nova station (See RNW May 25, 2000).
Applications for the latest licence have to be submitted by July 15 and DMG is again considered the leading contender as Australian regulations that allow only two licences per city rule out bids by Austereo, Australian Radio Network (ARN) and Southern Cross Broadcasting.
Bids are expected to be between AUD 60 million (USD 41 million) and AUD 100 million (USD 68 million) with possible other bids from a consortium between Sir Richard Branson and John Singleton's Macquarie Radio Network and also possibly from the unrelated Macquarie Bank that earlier this month bid for regional radio operator RG Capital (See RNW June 2).
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2004-06-18: In submissions concerning digital radio to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the US recording industry is finding itself in opposition to broadcasters, equipment manufacturers and consumer groups.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has asked for either encryption or a signal to prevent redistribution of music recorded from digital broadcasts whilst the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has asked for a flexible approach to stations' use of their spectrum and says that the RIAA's concerns should not be allowed to slow the introduction of digital radio.
The RIAA says it doesn't want to stop listeners making recordings for their own use and has no worries about manual recordings or even recordings of a programme but is concerned that eh technology could enable listeners to "cherry-pick" by programming devices to record just specific songs that could then be redistributed.
In its 81-page submission says what it wants are "common-sense safeguards" to prevent digital broadcasts becoming a substitute for Internet file sharing that would enable recording of near-CD quality music without installing special software or risking viruses and spyware and copyright infringements lawsuits as they do with illegal downloads.
Its chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol says he has been told by iBiquity, whose in-band-on-channel digital system HD radio has been selected for the US, that to install protection would not be "terribly hard."
NAB in its much shorter filing (33 pages) is concerned with speedy final authorization of the including night-time AM broadcasts, saying that this will "provide the certainty and confidence for broadcasters and equipment manufacturers to continue to roll-out digital operations and products."
Regarding possible night time interference problems NAB says the benefits for broadcasters and listeners "will far outweigh the limited additional interference predicted by iBiquity Digital's studies" and asks that unexpected interference to AM stations analogue services be addresses by the Commission
It says the Commission should permanently authorize IBOC in advance of final standardization of
HD systems and adoption of detailed technical rules and calls for the Commission to allow "market forces" to dictate what is provided including technical quality and secondary services provided such as data and secondary audio.
In a comment that somewhat mangles language, NAB says, "At the very least, the Commission should not adopt any rules, including public interest requirements, which disincent [sic] radio broadcasters from offering new programs and service to consumers, particularly given terrestrial radio's need to compete freely against satellite radio. The Commission is well aware that innovation is best incubated in an unregulated or lightly regulated environment, and, while public interest obligations clearly apply to digital radio, the FCC should not inhibit the emergence of innovative new services by prematurely imposing specific additional obligations on services yet to develop, much less succeed."
On the RIAA's concerns it says the commission may wish to explore the rights of digital content owners but should not allow this to slow down "the permanent authorization and progress of digital radio."
It notes that under current temporary regulations 300 stations are licensed in over 100 markets and says that to encourage conversion to HD the FCC should "be careful not to disadvantage broadcasters who elect to implement digital transmissions, as compared to broadcasters continuing with only analogue services."
In its filing, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which like the NAB wants a speedy introduction of digital radio, describes the RIAA as "seeking to limit consumers' recording rights and rollback the landmark 'Betamax' decision, which maintains that manufacturers have the right to sell a product if it is capable of any commercially significant non-infringing uses."
Its President and CEO Gary Shapiro commented, "Interfering with radio broadcasters' shift to digital broadcasting would choke off advancement and modernization. Not only is that un-American, it's totally without merit."
"RIAA fears a combination of features and functions that have been available for several years," CEA wrote. "The introduction of DAB functions will be an enhancement, not a replacement, for analogue signal acquisition. RIAA has never requested an imposition on FM broadcasting, so one must question the absurd result of imposing impairments on DAB broadcasts, but not on FM broadcasts, which are comparable in quality and received by the same device at the same time."
The lobby group Public Knowledge, the Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America said in their filing that to impose new recording rules would result in "unprecedented restrictions on the ways that the radio audience might listen to, and otherwise use, free over-the-air radio broadcast content."
Mark Cooper, Director of Research for Consumer Federation of America, said, "The FCC should reject any proposal that would diminish consumers' enjoyment of digital radio and thereby hamper the transition to digital audio broadcasting. To do otherwise would be bad for everyone - consumers, content providers and equipment manufacturers alike."
Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said that, "No one at the Recording Industry Association of America or the FCC has demonstrated any need whatsoever for content radio on a service that doesn't exist in the U.S. The recording industry is trying to fool the FCC into regulating home taping of radio, which is protected by law."
RNW comment: It seems to us that the industry submissions are basically a plea for maximum gain, dressed as usual with high-sounding concerns about public interest.
In particular we noted that NAB's arguments to allow night-time digital AM to proceed uses precisely the reverse argument to the one it used in the case of low-power FM when the benefits were to the listeners but not NAB's members. We hope the FCC has taken note and will quote this comment against NAB when it comes to LPFM!
We also note how quickly NAB loses concerns for thepublic interest when it comes to maximizing its members gains from digital in terms of secondary services - no extra payments, no extra requirements.
2004-06-18: According to the UK Guardian Isle of Man International Broadcasting (IMIB) has now won permission for a new national UK AM station that is to launch next year and be targeted at female listeners in the 25-55 demographic.
The paper says backers include 70s rock star Rick Wakeman and 60s crooner Gene Pitney and adds that the company is hoping to raise GBP 13million (USD 29 million) in a subscription offer, prior to a flotation on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
It quoted IMIB chief executive Paul Rusling as saying that GBP 4.8 million (USD 8.8 million) would be spent on a transmission mast off the coast of the Isle of Man that would broadcast a much stronger signal than that of the former Atlantic 252 dance station that had poor audience figures and was eventually taken over by sports station TEAMtalk. TEAMtalk went off the air in July 2002 and the frequency has now reverted to Irish state broadcaster RTÉ which began using it again this year for a service targeted at the Irish community in Britain (See RNW Mar 7).
IMIB, whose plans had been held up by objections to its transmitter (See RNW Jan 14, 2003), will broadcast on the 279 KHz Long Wave frequency and currently has the working title MusicMann 279 although this is to be subject to market research before the launch and may be changed.
Rusling admitted to the paper that the station was a stalking horse for a digital station, with negotiations under way to take a slot on the UK Digital One national multiplex, commenting, "We only view the long wave transmitter as one outlet. It's to give the station a kick-start before we eventually see it on digital. The sound quality is not as great as FM but at the end of the day people choose their station by the quality of the content, not the quality of the signal."
UK Guardian report:
2004-06-18: Following plans by Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback to tack a proposal to increase US broadcast indecency penalties onto a defence bill (See RNW June 16 ), Iowa Democrat Senator Tom Harkin has announced that he has added a provision to the Fiscal Year 2005 Defense Authorization Bill that calls on American Forces Radio and Television Service to provide political balance in its public affairs programming.
The move follows a call last month by Media Matters for America for host Rush Limbaugh to be removed from the service because of his comments about the treatment of Iraqi prisoners (See RNW May 31).
"American Forces Radio and Television Service is funded by taxpayers - conservatives, liberals and moderates alike," Harkin said in a news release. "The Senate last night agreed that AFRTS needs to make a greater effort to provide balanced representation of political viewpoints on its airwaves to American service members around the world."
2004-06-17: US National Public Radio (NPR) is to spend USD 15 million over the next three years to expand its news operation, a move funded to a large degree by the income from the USD 225 million it received in the will of Joan B. Kroc, widow of Ray A. Kroc, founder of the McDonald's fast-food chain (See RNW Nov 7, 2003).
Over the period, NPR will hire around 45 extra reporters, editors and producers; expand staff for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and its new midday news program Day to Day; add management and editorial structure to oversee long-term coverage; add more bureaux to its existing total of 14, giving priority to Asia, Latin America and Africa; in partnership with member stations expand its local news cover; and also establish Kroc Fellowships - a radio and internet news training program that will enable young people to train and work at both NPR and local public radio stations for up to a year.
Commenting on the plans NPR President and CEO Kevin Klose said NPR would expand its "capacity to bring in-depth and top-quality reporting to its growing audience, at a time when other news organizations are retreating from the presentation of serious and thoughtful content We recognize that in this era, Americans seek reliable fact-based journalism that is up-to-the-minute and provides deep context and detail."
"Mrs. Kroc's gift," he added, "gives NPR a keel that secures our future by allowing us to think and act to build a stronger NPR in the years ahead. Although Mrs. Kroc made the gift without any requirements as to management decisions and with no instructions for use of funds generated by the endowment, we are certain we are putting Mrs. Kroc's bequest to work in the best possible way - by investing in the news coverage that she found so essential and compelling."
"We have always been a lean news group that does more with less. We now will be able to do better with more. That means, among other things, having the flexibility to cover and provide context for what's in the news now while we're uncovering the people, places and ideas that are emerging in the news."
2004-06-17: The US National Rifle Association (NRA) is to begin broadcasting its daily "NRA News" programme on Sirius Satellite Radio, a move that is widely seen as designed to bypass US legislation that prohibits organizations from using unregulated "soft money" to buy political advertising in the period before federal elections and primaries.
The NRA itself says that its three-hour show, which has been on the Internet since (See RNW April 19) is news and comment not advertising and thus it is entitled to continue to broadcast commentary and news reports angled against politicians who favour gun control in the period up to the November US elections.
Its executive vice president of the association, Wayne LaPierre was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "The great thing about America is there is no test about the right to provide information to the American public. There is no government licensing of journalists. Tom Paine was free to pamphlet. So are we."
The law exempts media companies from the rules and LaPierre said lawyers for his group had concluded that it would become eligible for the exemption after it had begun to broadcast its program.
"What we're doing is no different from what Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern or Air America with Al Franken do," he said.
The NRA had challenged provisions in the legislation before making its move into broadcasting but most were upheld by the US Supreme Court and LaPierre told the paper it was intending to go further and was looking to acquire radio stations in the Midwest, the Rockies and the South.
There were mixed reactions as to the implications of the move and Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and former general counsel to the Federal Election Commission told the paper, "If the N.R.A. is successful at this, we will definitely see other groups explore going down the same road."
Some gun control advocates were more sanguine, citing previous ambitious plans that went nowhere and Robert A. Ricker, a former lobbyist for the gun industry who is a consultant to a gun-control group, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, commented, "I think they are really just trying to show the Republicans that they are going to be able to do something at election time. It's a lot of hype, but I don't think there will be substantial content."
RNW comment: From past listening to the NRA's output it is crystal clear that were previous US fairness requirements in force for broadcasters the NRA would be off the air in quick time but in the current situation there are requirements neither for fairness nor accuracy as attested to daily by the output of various talk hosts.
Even against this background, however, LaPierre's likening what they do to Limbaugh, Stern or Franken is still self-serving drivel.
However we note that such programmes are mainly preaching to the converted so we suspect that Ricker's comments are fairly well on the ball and that the NRA is looking more to gain clout with the Republican Party than to achieve very much as far as listening to the broadcasts is concerned.
New York Times report:
2004-06-17: The British Government has now put before Parliament legislation to establish community radio stations. Provision was made for these stations in the Communications Ac that was passed last year and experience gained through a pilot scheme of 16 "Access stations" set up by the then-regulator, the Radio Authority (See Licence News June 3, 2001).
The new stations will have access to a government fund of GBP 500,000 (USD 914,000) set up to establish them and will be allowed to raise funds from advertising although any profits made will have to be ploughed back into improving the station or "or for the delivery of social gain to members of the public or the community that the service is intended to serve" and there are also other limitations.
The limitations have been imposed to prevent prejudicing the "economic viability" of existing local commercial stations and include a bar on stations in areas overlapping with a commercial stations with a measured coverage area (MCA) of 150,000 adults or fewer taking any sponsorship or advertising.
For smaller areas where there is an MCA of 50,000 or fewer no community licences will be granted if there is overlap with another licence and for stations in larger areas combined advertising and sponsorship revenues will be limited to half or less of total income. In addition, no licensee will be allowed to receive more than half its income from one source.
Announcing the move Media Secretary Tessa Jowell commented, "Community radio is an exciting new tier of not-for-profit radio broadcasting for the UK, which will complement the existing independent local radio stations. It offers a whole range of potential benefits including training, volunteering, regeneration, and social inclusion."
If the order is passed by Parliament the British regulator, Ofcom, expects to offer one or two licences in most cities and major conurbations although there is no legislative cap on the number of stations that can be set up.
The licences will be offered during an annual "window of opportunity" lasting some three months during which organisations can bid for a licence anywhere rather than bidding for specifically designated local licences as is the practice for commercial station licences.
Community Radio Order (157 Kb PDF):
2004-06-17: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Willis Broadcasting Corporation, controlled by Levi E. Willis, Sr. ( (Bishop Willis) have reached a settlement over payment of more than USD 85,000 in forfeitures, surrender of some licences, and remedial action to be taken by Willis in connection with violations of technical and public safety regulations by various Willis stations.
It has also reduced a number of other penalties and cancelled yet another against a Texas AM.
The violations in the Willis case had gone through the courts and led to a default judgement being entered against Willis for non-payment.
Willis also owes federal taxes as well as regulatory fees due to the Commission for its stations.
The agreement covers various corporations owned or controlled by "Bishop Willis" -- Willis Broadcasting Corporation; All-Channel TV Services, Inc.; Arkansas Radio Corp.; Birmingham Christian Radio, Inc.; Charlotte Christian Radio, Inc.; Christian Broadcasting Corporation; Durham Christian Radio, Inc.; Edenton Christian Radio, Inc.; Kinston Christian Radio, Inc.; Metro Communications, Inc.; Virginia Urban Radio, Inc.; Willis & Sons, Inc.; and Winston-Salem Broadcasting Corporation.
At the start of this year, Willis advised the Commission that "Bishop Willis" had suffered a serious illness and had not been able to properly attend to matters but said that since receipt of letters from the Commission he had made vigorous efforts to correct the violations and submitted information saying that the violations cited in the Bureau's letters either had been corrected or that the licenses of the pertinent stations had been surrendered for cancellation.
Subsequent inspections or re-inspections of stations showed them still to be violating Commission rules or the terms of their licences, although for different matters to those originally cited.
The agreement now made involves the surrender of licences for four stations KLRG-AM, North Little Rock, Arkansas; KVLA-AM, Vidalia, Louisiana; WCRY-AM, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina; and WSVE-AM, Jacksonville, Florida) - and also the use of the proceeds of two station sales to pay various amounts due and bring remaining stations up to standard with further licence forfeitures to come into effect if the conditions are breached.
The commission notes that Willis has two applications pending to assign the licences for WWCA-AM, Gary, Indiana, and WJNS-FM, Yazoo City, Mississippi, and that he proposed to use the proceeds from the sales to pay the judgements made and other unpaid forfeitures, regulatory fees and taxes.
Under the order made these licences will now be renewed, if necessary for assignment purposes, subject to the assignment and the assignments will then be granted conditional on consummation within ten days. Should this not happen, the renewal and assignment grants will be voided and set aside and within five days Willis will surrender the licences for cancellation together with the licences for six other stations - KDLA-AM, DeRidder, Louisiana; WGRM-FM, Greenwood, Mississippi; WBOK-AM, New Orleans, Louisiana WGPL-AM, Portsmouth, Virginia; WNUZ-AM, Talladega, Alabama; and WTJH-AM, East Point, Georgia.
If the sale of WWCA and WJNS goes through all proceeds will be put in escrow and used for payment first to the payment in full of federal taxes, judgments obtained by the United States against Willis, FCC regulatory fees, and any other outstanding forfeitures levelled by the FCC against the Willis Companies, with such payment to be made by the Escrow Agents within ten (10) days of consummation of the assignment of the stations.
The remainder of the Escrowed Funds will be used to bring Willis Stations into compliance with FCC rules and their licences and no part is to be used for any other purpose until Willis has certified to the Commission that its remaining stations are in compliance.
If the proceeds are not used in this manner, the Consent Decree becomes void and, within five days of the Commission's giving notice to Willis it will have to surrender the licences noted above.
In addition Willis has to inspect the six stations noted within 60 days of the consummation of the WWCA and WJNS licence assignments and should they not be in compliance the licences are to be surrendered. It then has a further 30 days to certify that all its stations are in compliance and renewal applications for all stations that have not been granted will be held up until the Commission has certified the validity of the certifications.
Every six months after this for the remainder of the licence terms Willis will also have certify compliance.
In other enforcement actions, the FCC has reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 1,000 on financial hardship grounds the penalty on pirate operator Mark A. Clay, of Huntington, West Virginia, and also cancelled a proposed USD 25,000 penalty on Renaissance Radio, Inc., the licensee of KCAF-AM, Farmersville, Texas.
The penalty was proposed for failure to maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment, to exhibit all red obstruction lighting on the antenna structure from sunset to sunrise, and to maintain an effective locked fence around the base of its AM antenna tower.
Renaissance had responded that it had promptly corrected the violations, said the EAS equipment was being monitored and tested from its Dallas studio, and asked for cancellation or reduction on these grounds and because it is unable to pay as it is a debtor in possession.
The Commission after examining documentation that had been submitted accepted the financial plea and substituted an admonishment for the financial penalty.
Also in Texas it refused to reconsider refusal of permission for Pacific Broadcasting of Missouri, LLC, licensee of station KTKY-FM, Refugio, for Special Temporary Authorization to operate the station from facilities specified in its construction permit to relocate the station Taft, Texas.
In Florida, it has reduced from USD 3,000 to USD 2,400 on grounds of a history of previous compliance a penalty imposed on Pamal Broadcasting for failure to update antenna ownership records in connection with a tower that Pamal acquired along with WRGO-FM, Cedar Key, from Williams Broadcasting Co.
2004-06-16: Newsweb Corporation has now re-launched WRZA-FM, the suburban Chicago station it bought from Entravision and that had formerly broadcast the "Super Estrella" Spanish hits format, as "Nine-FM".
The station last month was switched to format of the day programming (See RNW May 21) and it now has what Robert Feder in his Chicago Sun-Times column terms a "format that defies simple description and a slogan that says it all: "We Play Anything."
New talent is in the pipeline for next month and the station is to keep its commercial load down to a maximum of nine minutes an hour, about half the normal load in the US [RNW comment: DMG has been successful in Australia with a similar lower commercial load policy for its Nova network.]
In other US radio business, Beasley Broadcasting has announced agreement to purchase WGQR-FM and WBLA-AM in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, from Sound Business of Elizabethtown, Inc. for USD 850,000.
The company says the acquisition complements its six-station market clusters in nearby Fayetteville and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina and adds that current President and General Manager of WGQR/WBLA Lee Hauser will continue to manage the station and that it does not anticipate changing the format of the stations, which simulcast an 'Oldies and Beach' format.
2004-06-16: Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback is trying to skirt round the problems that are holding up a Senate Bill to increase US broadcast indecency penalties by tacking a provision to increase the fines ten-fold to a maximum USD 275,000 per offence to a defence measure now being debated according to Reuters.
The stand-alone bill to increase the penalties is currently stymies in the Senate, partly because of other measures in it that would tighten-media ownership limits (See RNW ) and Brownback told the agency of his plan that he hoped that "since there is such broad agreement on the indecency fines, that we'll be able to leave it at that."
"There's not a lot of (legislative) days left, there's not a lot of vehicles left to move it forward with, and this is something there is broad agreement on," he said.
2004-06-16: In further developments in digital radio, which is now taking some two-thirds of new kitchen-style receiver sales by value in the UK, RadioScape has announced a new module, the RS201, which adds further features to its RS2000 module that already accounts for more than a third of current UK sales.
The new module allows CD control, Red remote control, clock and alarm functions as well as DAB, FM and RDS, that the company says make it "making it ideal as the heart of a new generation of DAB-enabled boomboxes and hifi systems."
The introduction comes as manufacturers increasingly begin to target younger purchasers, who are less likely to purchase the kitchen-style sets, and are developing portable and micro-systems. The former in particular are expected to have a significant impact - in less than a year digital radio personal stereos have taken a quarter of the UK market by value - with some estimates that digital receivers sold in the UK by the end of this year could more than double the 600,000 or so already sold.
Also driving the digital advance is increasing competition, which has brought prices down significantly and RadioScape has taken further steps towards development of sales of its modules to Asian manufacturers though the appointment of William Lam as head of its Asia Pacific operations.
He was formerly with Harris Corporation and most recently with 3A DigiComm Technology, where he was the General Manager and responsible for digital broadcasting technology in Asia Pacific and will be based in Singapore and will also set up a new office in Hong Kong to service RadioScape's customers in China and the region as a whole.
Amongst new customers in the area already is Taiwan's ELANsat, which currently makes three DAB receivers that it markets under its own LaGIO label. These were designed using the Texas Instruments DRE200 chip but the company says the market is developing so speedily that it has now licensed the RadioScape RS200L and RS250H module designs to enable it to provide a wider range of products under its own name and also for major international customers' own name brands.
2004-06-15: XM Satellite Radio says it has now topped 2 million subscribers, eight months after it reached the million mark in October last year.
Its President and CEO Hugh Panero said the second million was "even sweeter than the first" and continued, "It took us almost two years to reach 1 million subscribers, and only eight months to double that figure. With more than 200 million vehicles on the road and 100 million households, we've just begun to scratch the surface of our market."
"Our rapid growth in both the retail and automotive markets puts us on our path to reach 20 million subscribers by 2010."
Its stock was up slightly on the news, ending Monday 2.16% higher at USD 24.11
2004-06-15: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) is to launch its award-winning 3-C, Continuous Cool Country, service as a UK national country channel on the digital TV Freeview platform by autumn (fall) this year.
The format, which was voted Best Country Music Format in the World by judges at the International Radio Festival of New York in 2001 and 2002, is currently available in the UK on a number of local digital multiplexes with a potential audience of some 10 million.
This will be tripled by the launch on the Freeview platform, which can potentially reach around three-quarters of UK homes.
SRH Chief Executive Richard Findlay said the company was "pleased that our digital radio strategy continues to unfold as planned with this significant development across so much of the UK on what is an increasingly important digital platform."
2004-06-15: Radio escapes scot-free and attracted comparatively few complaints according to the latest complaints bulletin just issued by the UK regulator Ofcom.
Of a total of 365 complaints listed concerning 18 programmes only 28 involving 20 shows were against radio and all of these were held to be not in breach or outside the regulator's remit as were 333 TV complaints involving 161 programmes; of these 97 related to just three programmes.
In addition two V complaints were not upheld and two were upheld, one a watershed offence involved violence in a TV drama and the other a Fox News opinion piece concerning alleged BBC bias about which the regulator commented, "We recognise how important freedom of expression is within the media However, such items should not make false statements by undermining facts Even taking into account that this was a 'personal view' item, the strength and number of allegations that John Gibson made against the BBC meant that Fox News should have offered the BBC an opportunity to respond."
Previous Ofcom complaints bulletin:
2004-06-15: US National Public Radio (NPR) has come out in favour of clauses protective of radio reading services in the Low Power FM legislation introduced earlier this month (See RNW June 6) by Senators John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont) but also says that there are flaws in the Mitre Study, which said third adjacent channel protection was unnecessary, that need to addressed.
NPR's vice president for government relations Mike Riksen said the legislation took "takes the correct approach with respect to radio reading services" but added that significant, widely held concerns remain about the methodological integrity of the Mitre Study, upon which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) based its recommendations to Congress.
"NPR continues to believe that LPFM can coexist in a complementary, compatible way with America's public radio stations and radio reading services," he said, "but the flaws of the Mitre Study cannot be ignored."
2004-06-15: Australian Broadcasting Corporation veteran host Jim McLeod, whose weekend evenings (1700-1900 local Saturday and Sunday) Jazztrack is the longest-running and only national jazz programme in the country, is to leave the corporation this weekend after 48 years.
His departure will be marked by a special farewell programme on Saturday, June 19, in which he will be joined in the ABC's Melbourne's studios by friends and special guests from 18:00 local time (08:00 GMT).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Jazztrack site (Has links to audio of last four shows):
2004-06-14: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a Paul Donovan Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times that is almost certainly nowadays more relevant to the UK than most countries: in it he draws attention to the manner in which radio in Britain acts as a talent scout for other media, starting with a reference to the author of the film Billy Elliot, who began on radio and won the 1996 Richard Imison Memorial Award, an annual prize for newcomers to radio drama.
"Talent-spotting is, indeed, one of radio drama's main achievements," he writes. "Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, John Mortimer and Bill Naughton are just some of those discovered or nurtured by it. Tom Stoppard also made his debut on radio, in 1964 Then there was Anthony Minghella, whose celebrated 1988 portrait of a woman taking refuge in silence, Cigarettes and Chocolate, set him on the path to success and his Oscar for The English Patient. And the world's longest- running play, The Mousetrap, is actually only an enlargement of a radio play called Three Blind Mice, written by Agatha Christie for Queen Mary's 80th birthday and broadcast in 1947."
He notes that of the highlights of 36 hours of TV drama on UK terrestrial radio in the past week all but three hours went to crime dramas or soaps whereas of 17 hours of UK radio drama, soaps were only around an hour of the Archers and crime drama less than two hours; of its content he writes radio is "clearly far more rooted in literature and far less obsessed with murder. It tends, as far as I can tell, to be written by slightly older people. It is quieter, less angry, less polemical and less foul-mouthed than much television drama."
Imison, who died of cancer in 1993 and most of whose career was in BBC radio drama, writes Donovan "would be dismayed (but not surprised) at the near disappearance of drama on commercial radio, but heartened that his old employers are still maintaining its presence and its assorted moods and formats."
In the US, where the commercial rules much more, radio drama is nowadays neglected almost unto death: Even the satellite radio companies with more than 200 channels between them don't list drama as a category, something that of itself, we would argue justifies the existence of public radio as opposed to the commercial variety - and that's not taking into account the wealth of documentaries on BBC radio and its cultural influence in other areas.
And as far as we know the BBC isn't even influenced as much by the commercial when it comes to what is played in pop music, never mind airing a wide variety of music, particularly thanks to its new digital channels.
Which takes us to the land of the dollar almighty and the way in which the mighty dollar comes into the equation when decisions are made as to what songs should air.
On that topic we noted in the Chicago Tribune an article from the Los Angeles Times by staff writer Jeff Leeds in which he noted that Avril Lavigne's new song "Don't Tell Me" was helped into the top 10 on Billboard magazine's national pop radio chart through heavy airing on Nashville radio station WQZQ-FM, more than a third of the plays being as advertisements paid for by the record company.
Leeds notes that, unlike payola in the late 1950s when DJs were bribed to play songs, what's happening now is perfectly legal with the stations offering to play songs in the form of ads, often in the early morning hours when there tends to be an excess inventory of airtime, and running disclosures of the label's sponsorship.
The practice can't turn a poor song into a hit, he comments, but it can help keep a song going until it attracts a following, keep it in the charts or move it up and thus pervert the system.
Garett Michaels, program director of San Diego rock station KBZT-FM said the practice makes the charts unreliable, adding, "Basically, the radio station isn't playing a song because they believe in it. They're playing it because they're being paid."
The chart compilers -- Billboard and Radio & Records - are aware of the practice but can't control it.
Michael Ellis, associate publisher of Billboard and sister publication Airplay Monitor, acknowledged his concern about the "legal but nevertheless questionable practice" and commented, "We take great pride in the accuracy and credibility of our radio charts. We are carefully studying this situation and consulting with the industry to determine the proper course of action."
The charts are compiled from monitoring which songs are being played and do not distinguish between different kinds of play and the radio stations say the matter is none of their concern.
Bud Walters, president of Cromwell Group Inc., which owns WQZQ and 19 other stations, summed things up with the comment, "We're in the advertising business" and he was backed up by Al Vicente, president of Archway Broadcasting, which owns 13 stations, who said, "The labels are an advertiser like anyone else, and they have the right to advertise their product."
Their stations, notes the report, charge around USD 1,200 for 21 airplays compared to around USD 3,500 a week for a batch of 42 plays on Entercom's stations under its CD preview system.
The content of those airplays, however, may well be limited by the current US indecency clampdown, a matter that continues to arouse comment and not just in the US.
From north of the border, the Toronto Star in an article "Sanitizing the airwaves" by Vinay Menon comments mainly on TV, albeit with a mention of Howard Stern thrown in, but also makes a point or two not usually mentioned prominently in the US itself.
"For Americans who view censorship as anathema to the cherished First Amendment, it would be easy to blame the Religious Right," he writes. "But at least they are consistently deranged. Save your displeasure for parts of the Left that remain intellectually dishonest and prone to vile political correctness. Make no mistake: The culture cops now patrolling the nation are decidedly bi-partisan."
"Never mind that America is now facing its highest deficit in history. Or that the invasion of Iraq is not, to put it mildly, proceeding as planned. Or that health care, education, the economy and the environment are serious concerns for millions of hardworking Americans."
"No, let's waste time bickering about the impact of four-letter words and sex. This, in a country where profanity has been banal and socially ubiquitous for three decades. This, in a society that spends more than USD 4 billion on pornography each year."
His conclusion? "The irony, of course, is that as network television and conventional media are forced to abide by anachronistic codes of decency, they will haemorrhage young consumers to satellite radio, cable television and the Internet."
"The puritans saving us all from mortal turpitude and eternal damnation may end up destroying more than they expected."
For Howard Stern, who presumably has a different perspective on the clampdown to that of Menon, the culprit is the Bush administration and this has led him to fulminate against the President.
It is also, according to a number of reports, having some effect. One report from Steven Thomma of Knight Ridder Newspapers that we saw in the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that, "Stern is going after Bush with near-obsessive zeal, a notable development in a medium in which 20 of the top 27 talk-show hosts are conservatives, including the top-rated Limbaugh and Hannity."
It also quoted Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers magazine, as describing Stern as "the most influential political talk-show host in America today" on the basis that his listeners are less interested in politics and more likely to be undecided, and thus are better prospects to be persuaded one way or the other.
"The Hannity/Limbaugh audience already knows where it's going," said Harrison. "The Stern audience is fertile ground."
He also noted that Stern's listeners are older and more affluent many people think, having aged with the 50-year-old star. "It's a myth that young people listen to Stern," Harrison said. "He's an old guy to them. Their world is far raunchier, far edgier than anything Howard Stern does. They live in the world of the Internet, of porn sites."
Whereas more than three-quarters of Limbaugh's audience, according to a recent poll, were "conservative", whereas nationwide according to the same poll by the New Democrat Network, Stern's listeners were divided much more evenly, favouring Kerry over Bush by 53 percent to 43 percent, and by 59 to 37 percent in 18 battleground states.
It adds that of the likely voters - some 17% of the total of likely US voters - who listen to Stern, one in four is a swing voter who hasn't decided how to vote in November, meaning that about 4 percent of the national swing vote up for grabs this fall listens to Stern.
"You're now seeing a guy who has phenomenal reach of swing voters and a huge percentage of people who are going to be critical voters in the election spending all of his day every day going after the president," said Simon Rosenberg, the president of the New Democrat Network.
On then to programmes still available or coming up on the Internet and after the emphasis we began with, the obvious first pick is BBC Radio 4 and the Classic Serial: On the site currently are Saturday's abridged version of Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha with Timothy West as the main narrator and Sunday's Good Behaviour, the first of two episodes of Molly Keane's classic Irish "big house" drama.
Also available from Saturday is the Saturday Play - Bloomsday 100: Walking at Ringsend by Edel Brosnan; it's a love-story to commemorate the centenary of Bloomsday - the day on which James Joyce and Nora Barnacle first went walking at Ringsend and which Joyce later immortalised in his novel Ulysses.
Still with Radio 4 we move on to a combination of many things in the Archive Hour and "Z is for Zapple", the story of the Zapple division of the Beatle's Apple record label that was set up to release a regular audio magazine of poetry, lectures, conversations, music and drama and headed by Barry Miles.
And if you want music out of the ordinary try Radio 4 tomorrow at 12:30 GMT for Operation Desert Song about the Sultan of Oman's court orchestra comprised entirely of Omani musicians who have had to learn Western music from scratch.
Before that the World Service, whose music feature has just concluded its Legends of Rock series with the story of Metallica (available for just a few hours more until 08:30 GMT) and today moves on to The Hidden Music Of Venezuela in which Lucy Duran uncovers some of South America's most beautiful and dazzling traditional music.
And for those who might wish to learn more about Islam, Radio 4 again does things proud today with Voices from Heaven at 10:00 GMT in which Magdi Abdelhadi, an Arab affairs specialist at the BBC, conducts his own search for the meaning of the Koran and looks at the reciters of the Holy Book, who have not only to memorise the entire 6,236 verses but also possess a "voice from heaven".
That is followed this evening at 19:00GMT by the start of Edward Stourton's four-part series on the history of the prophet Muhammad and the major impact he has had throughout the world.
For Bessie Smith fans, BBC Radio 2 on tomorrow (20:30 GMT) reaches the third of George Melly's six-par Empress of the Blues series on the woman widely considered to be the greatest blues singer of all time and for Ray Charles' fans why not dip into US National Public Radio's Tavis Smiley Show - Friday had the first part of the singer's last interview for NPR and today's will carry the second part.
Moving on to BBC 6-Music, tonight's Dream Ticket features Fairport Convention, Richie Havens, Free, and The Who while for a mix of speech, drama and comedy why not dip into the past week of BBC Radio 7's listen-again site.
And as a tailpiece, try Smiley again on Friday for the interview with Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, who, even if half-right comes up with a convincing case that Jeb Bush helped his brother steal the Presidency by disenfranchising black voters disproportionately - 180,000 votes were thrown out in a state that was won by 537 votes and in black areas simple mistakes led to the ballot being junked whereas in many white areas the system picked up errors and new papers were supplied.
Even if this isn't the case, if the allegation that around 40,000 black voters have been disenfranchised for this November's election combined with the errors in the 2000 lists and subsequent victorious lawsuits by the NAACP and ACLU suggest it would not be unjust firstly that Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris and various others should be risking jail for the rest of their lives, that urgent action is needed to correct the Florida voting rolls and those of a number of other states launching crackdowns on "questionable" voters.
Perhaps one should be questioning Katherine Harris how her list could contain someone convicted in 2007?
Chicago Tribune - Leeds:
Philadelphia Inquirer - Thomma:
Society of Authors web site re Imison (for those who are interested):
Toronto Star - Menon:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2004-06-14: Dublin's Country FM's plans to re-brand itself as Star FM appear to have fallen foul of 'intellectual property rights' with reports that lawyers from The Star newspaper have contacted the station with warnings about the name change.
They are said to have threatened that they will contact the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) over the matter before the commission discusses the name-change at a meeting later this month.
Country was originally awarded its licence as Star FM and was reported last month to be considering the change of name to this or Cara FM after the names More FM and Choice FM were rejected (See RNW May 28).
RNW comment: Since the station is not to change its format and was awarded the licence on a bid for a country format when the licence was originally offered in 2002 as part of what the commission termed a bid to increase "diversity" of services we cannot find ourselves greatly excised about this particular name change. We do think however that, unless there is an attempt to "pass off" a company as related to a strong brand, particularly where common names are involved, the courts should be very brutal indeed with such claims, which we frequently see as bullying tactics by the rich companies that have very little to lose. Ideally we'd like the courts to be given the power, if they consider a claim an attempt to intimidate a small non-competing company, to require the main brand to change its own name and lose all rights to it, thus providing a very significant deterrent to abuse of power.
2004-06-14: Progress Media's Air America radio is now on the air on three stations in Hawaii but only The O'Franken Factor is being carried by all three.
KUMU-AM 1 in Honolulu broadcasts Franken in the morning and repeats it in the evening, when it is followed by the Randi Rhodes' Show.
Sister stations KAOI-AM on Maui and KQNG-AM on Kauai are only carrying the Franken show.
When it launched the Air America network wanted stations to take all its programming but the Hawaii stations have a number of existing contracts with other syndicators and John Detz, president and chief executive officer of their owner, Maui-based Visionary Related Entertainment LLC, said these would take some time to unwind.
He told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that he was hesitant to finalize the deal because of the Air America's much-publicized difficulties, but added, "they've got some stability now and we're gonna go for it."
Previous Progress Media/Air America:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin report:
2004-06-14: The BBC is predicting a significant increase in radio listening over the next five years as digital radio moves into the mainstream with around half the increase coming from the introduction of new niche stations and a third from listening via digital TV platforms, the Internet and mobile devices.
Radio listening in the UK has been increasing over recent years and over the past years was up by around a tenth to an average 22 hours a week for adults.
2004-06-13: Last week was notable for the record USD 1.75 million indecency offences settlement reached between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Clear Channel to clear the company's slate from all proceedings currently in the pipeline; elsewhere there was a steady but low level of radio-related activity in Australia and Canada but nothing from Ireland or the UK relating to radio.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) chairman, Professor David Flint, has announced that he is stepping down (See RNW June 8).
The Authority has also invited applications for two more community licences, one for the Braidwood area and the other for the Warrumbungles area, both in New South Wales.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of radio decisions including, in provincial order:
*Approval of 35 watts low-power ethnic and religious specialty FM in Williams Lake for the Western Singh Sabha Association (WSSA) whose service will target the area's the Sikh and Hindu communities.
*Approval of power increase from 406 watts to 7.200 watts for CFLZ-FM Niagara Falls.
*Approval of 50 watts Christian music FM in Peterborough for King's Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Incorporated.
*Approval of English-language Toronto radio network for Priszm Brandz Properties Ltd. that will broadcast weekly program "Live from Wayne Gretzky's consisting of sports talk, hockey analysis, or discussion about players and events surrounding the National Hockey League season and playoffs. It is currently broadcast under a temporary licence.
There was nothing from Ireland or the UK specifically related to radio but in the US speculation was aroused about possible future penalties for Infinity Broadcasting when Clear Channel, as already reported (See RNW June 10), agreed a record USD 1.75 million deal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to wipe the company's slate clean of all indecency cases in the pipeline against it. The deal included a number of cases, particularly a USD 495,000 penalty relating to broadcasts of the Howard Stern Show on six of its stations [RNW note: Infinity broadcasts the show on three times as many stations as Clear Channel did and so far is holding to the line that FCC rules as published were not breached by Stern].
The announcement of the settlement was followed by another from the FCC that a further fine on Clear Channel had been negated by the statute of limitations by the time the Commission had made a decision (See RNW June 11).
On other matters the Commission's advisory committee on diversity will present interim reports on June 14 on what "guidelines, incentives or regulations," if any, are needed to promote diverse ownership and get more minorities and women into management positions in the industry" and it has also announced new rules on the frequencies used for wireless broadband (See RNW June 12).
And finally back to complaints and in its latest report the Commission says that during the final quarter of last year it received more than seven times as many complaints as a year earlier - 146,268 compared to fewer than 20,000 and all but 135 related to indecency or obscenity.
The increase is even greater when compared to the situation a few months earlier - in the second quarter of 2003 the FCC received only 351 complaints but in the third quarter this rose to 19,920.
The massive increase is almost certainly due to organized campaigns by organizations such as the Parent Television Council and in particular to the spread of e-mail, which makes it just a few clicks to add a pre-prepared complaint to the total.
RNW comment: The BBC Complaints unit, which recorded a large jump in complaints since introducing an e-mail facility, lists not just the number of complaints but the number of matters to which they relate. It would be a public service were the FCC to do something similar and in particular employ software to identify standardized complaints - and then list these totals separately.
It should be a matter of concern since, as with many complaints to broadcasters, a well-organized and motivated lobby can now comparatively easily skew perceptions through such campaigns whereas at one time they had to go through the extra work of getting people to write and pay postage.
Thus, if, for example, one found that of 100,000 complaints, 99,000 were standardized, it wouldn't necessarily mean that there was not an issue to be addressed but it would put it into a context - and also weaken the effects of the practice of some lobbying organizations of setting up special e-mail addresses from which to send large numbers of complaints.
We would also note that, compared even to the weekly number of listeners to Howard Stern (some 8.5 million) or Limbaugh (some 12 million) the number of complaints that the FCC has received in a quarter indicates either that there's not much real concern about broadcast indecency notwithstanding the current politically-driven brouhaha or that Americans are so apathetic that all talk of the US as a democracy should carry a health warning.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2004-06-13: A US college DJ who was initially fired after devoting a radio show to celebrating the death of former US President Ronald Reagan is now to be reassigned to another job until he can respond to complaints about his actions according to the Associated Press.
28-years-old University of Alaska, Fairbanks, undergraduate Scott Hornyak, who used the name Spider Bui, was initially told he had been fired from his paid position as business manager at KSUA-FM following his show last Sunday but later the decision was rescinded until he had a chance to respond to complaints.
He had also been suspended indefinitely from his other job as disc jockey and says he will appeal against any re-assignment or dismissal, commenting, "They're firing me because of what I said, and the public's reaction to what I said."
Station general manager H.B. Telling, according to a report in the New York Times, refused comment on whether Hornyak was fired because of the broadcast, saying they had a policy of not discussing personnel issues.
He then went on to say Hornyak was not suspended as a disc jockey because of the inflammatory content of the show but solely because of his failure to obey the station's rules-he said Hornyak did not fill in a log of the songs he played and did not play standard disclaimers announcing that his views did not represent those of the station or the university. He added that numerous complaints had been received.
Hornyak, who attacked Reagan for his foreign policy in Latin America, Iraq and Afghanistan, and for his response to the AIDS epidemic, added that the show was "a celebration that Ronald Reagan was dead, was finally dead." He said he had not filled out the logs due to absent-mindedness and that he did not play the disclaimer because he was busy taking song requests.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the strong opposition to Reagan's policies when he was President number of US broadcasts that went over the top in eulogising Reagan to the extent of misrepresentation of history as opposed to merely accentuating the positives - check the tapes against print comment in the 80's during his presidency - it is surely remarkable that only one US station has apparently gone overboard the other way.
Unfortunately without a tape or full transcript it is impossible to make a proper judgement as to how far this show stepped into the offensive as opposed to the anti-laudatory. That is presumably what will be a matter for Hornyak to comment on in his defence. In the meantime, Telling comes over as a self-contradicting bureaucrat but then again one would need to know his exact responses to the exact questions posed to be fair to him.
New York Times/AP report:
2004-06-13: BBC Radio 4 tomorrow (1900 GMT) starts a four-part series on the history of the prophet Muhammad and the major impact he has had throughout the world.
Hosted by Edward Stourton, who begins with a visit to Saudi Arabia and Mohammed's birthplace, the series also takes in Jerusalem, where the Dome of the Rock is Islam's third holiest site, and Spain, which was one of the great Islamic civilizations by the tenth century.
It ends in Indonesia where Stourton queries whether Islam and democracy can be truly compatible.
2004-06-12: This month so far has seen a fairly strong run of US station deals varying in value up to just above USD 5 million. The larger deals included, in state order:
USD 2.45 million cash purchase from Voice Of Cullman by Williams Communications Inc. of WFMH-AM,Cullman and WFMH-FM/Holly Pond.
USD 5.1 million cash purchase from Clear Channel by Deer Creek Broadcasting LLC. of KPAY-AM and KMXI-FM, Chico; KEWE-AM and KHHZ-FM, Oroville and KHSL-FM, Paradise, in the Chico market.
USD 1.5 million cash and notes purchase from Robert Hecksher by Starboard Media Foundation Inc. of WMYR-AM, Ft. Myers.
USD 2.61 million cash and stock purchase from Jammin' Broadcasting LLC. by Artistic Media Partners of WSHI-FM, Columbia City.
USD 3 million purchase from Pittman Broadcast Services LLC. by Cumulus Broadcasting of KQLK-FM, De Ridder and KAOK-AM, Lake Charles.
USD 1.6 million cash purchase from Pat-Tower Inc. by Clear Channel of KVRW-FM, Lawton,
USD 1.9 million cash purchase from Grande Radio Inc. by Pacific Empire Radio Corp. of KBKR-AM and KKBC-FM, Baker plus KLBM-AM and KUBQ-FM, La Grande.
USD 4.7 million cash purchase from Exosphere Broadcasting LLC. by Double O Radio of construction permit for an FM licensed to Forest Acres.
USD 1.65 million cash purchase from East Tennessee Radio Group LP by Citadel Broadcasting of WEZG-FM, Jefferson City.
USD 3.7 million cash purchase from Seehafer Broadcasting Corporation by Midwest Communications Inc. of WXCO-AM and WLRK-FM, Wausau.
In addition prices have now become available for some earlier deals including Saga Communications' cash purchase - for USD 13.3 million - from Eagle Broadcasting Company of four stations - WTKO-AM and WQNY-FM plus WHCU-AM and WYXL-FM -serving the Ithica, New York, market (See RNW May 22).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Saga (US):
2004-06-12: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh, who is 53, and his third wife Marta, aged 44, have announced their intention to end their marriage after ten years in a statement from Los Angeles-based public relations firm Sitrick and Company said they had "separated pending an amicable resolution."
Limbaugh met Marta, a former aerobics instructor, through the Internet: They were married in 1994 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in a ceremony at the judge's home in Virginia.
2004-06-12: New rules established by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote wireless broadband services are to restructure the 2495-2690 MHz band and allow educational institutions to continue leasing their spectrum for commercial use but not to sell it.
The rules for the spectrum involved, which educational institutions use for Internet and educational broadcast uses, date back to 1963 and last year the Commission asked for comment on proposals from Multipoint Distribution Service (MDS) and Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS) providers to foster use of the spectrum.
All the Commissioners who each issued statements welcomed the new rules. Among them
FCC chairman Michael K. Powell commented on "the dawn of a new era for wireless broadband" freed from "heavy-handed rules" and added, "The magnitude of today's ruling is apparent when one considers that this band is double the spectrum that sparked the WiFi explosion at 2.4 GHz and equivalent to the entire spectrum devoted to terrestrial mobile, wireless services."
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps said that past uncertainty had held back investment in the use of this spectrum and added, "The best ITFS licensees provide an example of how the public's spectrum can truly be used to serve the public interest. Children are educated. Distance learning is enabled. Rural access becomes a reality. Let's make the best of ITFS the rule for the whole band."
RNW comment: Although this decision benefits wireless companies, with particular value for Nextel, which has licences for adjoining spectrum, it also holds significant potential benefit for educational institutions. There is also the potential for schools and educational institutions to creatively use the spectrum and set up their own version of Internet -cum-radio stations.
2004-06-12: Disney's ABC Radio in Chicago has confirmed a revamp of its management following the resignation of Zemira Jones, president and general manager of news/talk WLS-AM, active rock WZZN-FM and Radio Disney WRDZ-AM, and the ousting of Bob Snyder as manager of ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP-AM.
It has named 11-year ABC veteran Jim Pastor, formerly vice president of sales and marketing for Radio Disney, as president and general manager of active rock WZZN-FM and ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP-AM, and is looking for a new president and general manager of WLS-AM and WRDZ-AM. Until an appointment is made, ABC Radio Group president Mitch Dolan is to oversee the stations.
Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jones had taken what he called "a great opportunity" with another company but would not give further details.
Snyder said Feder had been burdened by onerous broadcast rights contracts that kept the station in the red and quoted him as saying he was "very sad because I really loved the job, the station and some terrific people that I worked with Unfortunately, even our strong growth over the last four years and a productive culture became secondary to what ABC thought they needed to do to address the overall Chicago market."
Feder Sun-Times column:
2004-06-12: More than 1,200 entries have been submitted for this year's Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs), up a tenth on last year, and there has been a good response to a new category of Best Sales Person.
The awards are organized by industry body Commercial Radio Australia and cover 29 categories, including news, talk, sport, music and entertainment and judging is by an industry panel.
This year's event, the 16th, will be held on the Gold Coast in October, that also includes inductions into the Australian Radio Hall of Fame.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia :
2004-06-12: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has extended by two-years Eddie Fritts' contract as president and CEO, running until April 2006 although he could be required to step down as early as September 1, 2005, should a successor then be in place.
In addition Fritts will get a contracting contract until April 2008 when he finally relinquishes his post.
2004-06-11: Following the announcement of settlement of all outstanding complaints against Clear Channel for a record USD 1.75 million (See RNW June 10), the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cancelled a USD 27,500 penalty on the company's WITH-FM, Washington, DC, because it found out it had acted too late and was unable to enforce any penalty because of the stature of limitations.
The FCC Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, relating to a September 2002 broadcast, was adopted in February this year and the Commission opted for the maximum penalty, saying of comments on the "Hot Morning Mess" Show about penis enlargement and size, albeit using euphemisms, that the hosts' "repeated vulgar and lewd references to male genitalia, in the context of explicit discussions of sexual arousal and masturbation while using the penile-enlargement device, were pandering, titillating, or used to shock the listening audience."
It rejected Clear Channel's submission that the "material broadcast, in context, was not patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards."
Subsequently it was informed that, because of a clerical error, its forfeiture notice was invalid because the statute of limitations had expired at the end of November last year and cancelled the penalty.
In a note of dissent, Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps, noted that the deadline had expired when the stations license was renewed and said he had been calling for "an effective license renewal process under which the Commission would once again actually consider the manner in which a station has served the public interest."
"One aspect of that consideration," he added, "should include complaints filed by the public Going forward, the Commission should not only ensure that all complaints have been addressed before a license is renewed, but we should also conduct a more thorough examination of how stations are meeting their public interest responsibilities over the term of their licenses."
Statements critical of the Commission's failure to act in a timely manner, leading to the inability to enforce the penalty, were also issued by Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein and Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-06-11: UK GMTV co-host Eamonn Holmes is to host a Saturday morning show on BBC Radio Five Live from August, taking over the 0900-11:00 slot from Adrian Chiles, who is switching to the station's Sunday evenings football phone-in show, 6-0-6, on.
Holmes, who has been standing in for Chiles in the Saturday slot, said." "It's a real privilege to be able to indulge my passion for sport on radio and spend time talking about something I love. I can't wait to get started."
BBC Radio Five Live Controller Bob Shennan commented, "Eamonn's show will be a great introduction to the key sporting programme on a Saturday on Five Live and I'm delighted that he has agreed to join us on a more permanent basis. Eamonn is a master communicator and gives the Saturday line up real strength."
2004-06-11: In another sign of the impact broadband may have on traditional broadcasting, IBC Radio Network, a division of International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), has announced a premium service under which it will install special high-speed servers that can be accessed only on a "pay-to-listen" basis to deliver shows.
It says that for a show like "Stock Talk LIVE," where timely delivery of information is critical, the new high-speed pay streams can make all the difference between winning and losing on a profit opportunity revealed on the show.
IBC President and CEO Daryn P. Fleming commented, "We have received many reports from listeners not able to tune in over the Internet because the broadcast servers are full. The new servers will also allow us to experiment with a new revenue stream."
IBC Radio Network web site:
2004-06-11: Legal radio stations in the Taiwanese capital Taipei are opposing plans by the Government Information Office (GIO) to legalize pirate radio stations in the city, claiming that they have a destructive effect on the industry.
On Monday this week the GIO told the Legislative Yuan that it was planning to legalize 93 underground radio stations by the end of the year to manage the industry more effectively, after struggling to crack down on clandestine operators but the Radio Broadcasting Industry Self-Help Committee, which is made up of four broadcasting associations - the Private Radio Broadcasting Association, the Radio Broadcasting and Television Industry Association, the Taiwan Radio FM Association and the Community Radio Broadcasting Association, says it is opposed to the idea.
At a news conference called by the committee, the conference convenor Ma Chang-sheng said, "There are currently 170 legal radio stations along with 200 illegal stations, so the illegal stations now outnumber legal ones. They affect the safety of air travel and interfere with reception for legal stations, as well as challenging the government."
Ong Hao-ran, president of the Yunlin-Chiayi Radio Station, added, "Because of the several underground radio stations operating in the Chiayi area, reception for our station is being jammed outside of a 10km radius."
Wang Wei, a lecturer at the Department of Communication Arts at Fu Jen Catholic University and deputy director of IC FM 97.5 in Hsinchu City, told the Taipei Times that underground radio stations eroded the profits of legal stations.
"There's only a handful of radio advertisers around, and there's a massive number of underground and legal radio stations to choose from. Many of the legal radio stations have been driven out of business due to financial losses," he said.
"IC FM 97.5 worked so hard to write up our business plan. We really do believe in our social responsibilities as a media outlet in providing high-quality radio programs for this changing world. However, there are just too many radio and TV stations trying to meet the needs of the audience. He said the government should consider very carefully long-term media industry plans and hold more public meetings before taking any action to legalize the pirates.
Taipei Times report:
2004-06-11: In a report on Baghdad's first talk radio station, the UK Guardian says that up to 18,000 people a day try to contact Radio Dijla, which it says has become Baghdad's favourite station.
The station is housed in a family house in western Baghdad and was founded by Ahmad al-Rikabi, formerly head of the US-funded Iraqi Media Network until he resigned citing frustration at interference and bureaucracy.
He told the paper," "This is a new concept for Iraq, and the Arab world, and fills a yawning gap. We've quickly become a part of people's lives. It shows the desperate need of ordinary Iraqis to share and communicate their pains and joys."
"I thought I had a good idea, but I never expected this amount of interest so soon. We are already No 1 in Baghdad."
Majeed Saleem, one of the station's most popular presenters, added, "Our dysfunctional capital has finally found a voice, and we know that the new authorities are listening in paying attention to the views aired. It is one of the few forums where they can get feedback from the public."
The paper cites examples of its broadcasts including a call from the police chief in the Baya district who thanked the station for helping to reduce the crime rate in the area - l police have asked the station to extend its programming because it has given Iraqis something to do at night - and monitoring by the electricity ministry, which is able to gauge the supply across the city from the on-air complaints, three-quarters of which are about the lack of power. On a more human front, it tells of a call from a woman in distress after husband had been arrested by US soldiers several months ago leaving her with the problems of feeding her eight children.
"Everyone at the station was moved by the call," Mr Rikabi says. "But the host failed to take her phone number. "So we asked people to refrain from ringing in for five minutes so she could ring back with her number. She did. And then people began ringing in from across Baghdad with offers of food and money."
The station has a policy of banning swearing or incitement to violence or sectarianism but it takes advantage of its localism and broadcasts in the local Iraqi dialect, not classical Arabic, the language of authority.
"We use language that can reach everybody; the doctor, the writer, the thief, the farmer, even the insurgent," Mr Rikabi says. There have been many calls from nearby Falluja. "It will take you inside their hearts. And once you get inside, then you can get the mind as well."
UK Guardian report:
2004-06-10: Clear Channel and the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reached an agreement - termed by FCC chairman Michael K. Powell a "significant victory for the Commission and the American public"- under which the company admits that some of its broadcasts breached indecency rules and agrees to pay USD 1.75 million in penalties to cover a number of cases in which the commission has already proposed penalties and all pending indecency complaints against Clear Channel stations.
The company is also to institute a company-wide compliance plan to prevent future indecency violations.
Clear Channel has also pledged not to go to court to challenge any of the complaints - including those that Clear Channel believes involved material that would not meet the legal definition of indecency.
Clear Channel's Executive Vice President for Law and Government Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Andrew Levin said that the company agreed that some of its broadcasts were legally indecent but not that all were and said they had taken "full responsibility" for the former.
Levin also reiterated the company's call for the government to establish standards that would apply fairly and evenly across all media platforms saying, "Cable and satellite networks should be treated no differently from broadcasters. In today's media landscape, that is a distinction without a difference. We all need to be accountable for what is said in the presence of our kids."
Its Radio CEO John Hogan said the "settlement allows Clear Channel to close the chapter on indecency and move forward with our business," adding, "This has been a complicated and controversial issue but it has also proven that we can provide compelling, entertaining and informative programming without being indecent."
The settlement tops the USD 1.7 million paid in 1995 by Infinity Broadcasting to settle complaints against Howard Stern.
The amount includes FCC penalties of USD 495,000 relating to Howard Stern Show broadcasts on six of Clear Channel's Florida stations, a USD 247,000 penalty against WWDC-FM over an Eliot In The Morning show (See RNW Mar 13) and another USD 55,000 in penalties against its Florida stations WAVW-FM, Stuart, Florida, and WCZR-FM, Vero Beach (See RNW Mar 20)
It does not include the USD 755,000 penalty that Clear Channel paid in March, USD 715,000 of it because of material broadcast in Florida on the "Bubba the Love Sponge" show and the rest related to public fine offences (See RNW Jan 28): Bubba - Todd Clem- was subsequently fired (See RNW Feb 25).
Clear Channel's admission that some of its broadcasts were indecent could be problematical for Viacom's Infinity radio , which has maintained that Stern's comments are not indecent speech in US law and are protected by the First Amendment: In April the FCC announced a proposed penalty of USD 495,000 on Clear Channel in connection with Stern Show broadcasts on six of its stations (See RNW April 9) and it permanently cancelled the show, which it had already suspended in February as part of its "zero tolerance" policy (See RNW Feb 27)
The settlement was agreed by a majority vote of the FCC with Chairman Michael K. Powell and the other Republican commissioners - Kathleen Q. Abernathy and Kevin J. Martin - voting for and Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein agreeing in part but Democrat Michael J. Copps against.
In a statement marking his preference for industry self-regulation [RNW comment- in this case Clear Channel took its action under a very significant threat rather than initiating action of its own volition much earlier, thus making the chairman's remarks somewhat akin to the substance that comes out of the rear end of a bull] combined with a dig at the Democrats on the Commission, Powell said the FCC's "task is made easier when our licensees wrestle the difficult decisions away from the government and take the responsibility for what they broadcast over our nation's airwaves."
"In the case of Clear Channel Communications, they have done just that through the substantial commitments agreed to in this consent decree."
"Oddly enough, these actions are not sufficient for some on the Commission. In their zealousness, they would prefer to expend valuable Commission resources to fully investigate each complaint against Clear Channel only to inflict more punishment. Enforcement of our regulations is not, however, simply a matter of punishment for past behaviour. More importantly, our enforcement regime is designed to deter future illegal behaviour."
"Where, as here, the licensee has taken significant steps to guard against future violations, the benefits of entering into a consent decree for the government and the public are obvious. Not only will a substantial amount of money be submitted to the Treasury by the company, but we achieve significant commitments from the company that the fines are intended to produce."
"In addition, the government, and therefore the public, will save time and resources, which can be redeployed to focus on more egregious violators that are less willing to take preventive steps."
"Finally, the government gains an admission of responsibility from the licensee without going to the laborious and expensive process of prosecuting these actions in court. For one to toss aside these public benefits and demand another pound of flesh suggests that nothing short of economic ruin or license revocation will truly satisfy. I believe such stances are excessively chilling of protected speech in this country and fail to be respectful of the limits imposed upon us by the First Amendment."
Adelstein in his statement wrote that he supported much of the action and commented, "By admitting that certain broadcasts violated our indecency rules, by making a sizable contribution to the U.S. Treasury, and by entering into a company-wide compliance plan involving training, internal investigations and suspensions, and program delays, Clear Channel has shown that it understands its responsibility to prevent the broadcast of indecent material on its stations Yet before the Commission enters into a settlement that seeks to resolve all pending matters involving a company's indecency compliance, it should have conducted at least preliminary investigations of those matters to understand the full extent of the possible violations and the suitability of the remedy."
In his dissenting statement, Copps wrote," Before the Commission enters into a settlement agreement, it should understand the full scope of what it is addressing. Today, the Commission instead enters into a consent decree with Clear Channel to settle all of the outstanding indecency complaints against the company without understanding the extent of the indecency that was broadcast."
"Additionally, the Commission removes all consideration of this issue from the license reapplication process. Despite my colleague's assertion, my dissent is about process-and the process here is inadequate. What message do we send to citizens when we fail even to investigate their complaints before making a sweeping settlement?"
RNW comment: This settlement appears to be a win-win one for Clear Channel, which can easily afford the penalty and by agreeing puts pressure on its competition, Infinity, as well as gaining political benefits in an election year.
There are also suggestions that Stern's position could be weakened by the resignation of Viacom president and COO Mel Karmazin, the long-time Infinity boss, who had been a defender of the host for two decades although Viacom Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone has said there is no change in the support (See RNW June 6).
We note however that Clear Channel took its action under a very significant threat rather than initiating action of its own volition much earlier, thus making the chairman's remarks somewhat akin to the substance that comes out of the rear end of a bull.
They are in our view a combination of bully-boy tactics -- what other than a threat to Infinity could his comments about more"egregious violators" mean? -- a lack of understanding that it is actually a public service that such matters should be taken through the courts when rights as important as those of the First Amendment are concerned, and a complete Ostrich act if he doesn't think that what is already happening is chilling of free speech.
In practical terms, we would actually agree with Powell's attitude about demanding a full pound of flesh as Copps obviously wants to but Copps stance is much more logical and straightforward, even though we hope that in the end Viacom will fight and the courts kick the FCC in a tender place.
Levin's comments, on the other hand, are in our view almost wholly contemptible. With his background it is inconceivable that he does not understand the differences between regulation that the US Supreme Court has ruled permissible over public airwaves and the different standards applied to subscription services.
His argument may well serve his masters' financial interests but in our view they make them less fit to hold any licences and the spokesman akin to a paid for harlot.
Previous Bubba the Love Sponge:
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-06-10: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that two segments of the Forbes and Friends morning show broadcast on CJAY-FM, Calgary, last year breached Canadian codes that prohibit the broadcast of unduly coarse and offensive language, on the one hand, and unduly sexually explicit material, on the other.
Complaints concerning a third segment, involving fictitious individuals suffering from Tourette's Syndrome, specifically those with coprolalia - a tendency to blurt out socially inappropriate or taboo expressions, were found not to have breached the Canadian codes but added, "it views the broadcast as a matter of bad taste, extremely close to the line, but not over it."
The Vice-President and General Manager of CJAY-FM said of this broadcast that it was "a Game Show parody taken from one of the American comedy services subscribed to by our radio stations. I completely agree that this particular parody was in poor taste and have addressed that with the program staff. However, it was intended as comedy only and was by no means meant to discriminate against persons with Tourette Syndrome.
The other two segments, which were in breach of the code, involved one dealing with Chinese "translations" and the other with circumstances relating to the Kobe Bryant rape case.
In the former case, which a complainant felt demeaned ethnic Chinese, the segment contained dialogue, intended to be humorous about accents: The CBSC held that this did not demean ethnic Chinese but the code was breached by the translation "f**ing super" in the dialogue.
In the Kobe Bryant case, the panel also rejected part of the complaint but found the discussion involving Bryant and his accuser to be unduly sexually explicit.
2004-06-10: Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA)chairman Professor David Flint, who at the start of this week announced that he was standing down (See RNW June 8) has said that his biggest achievements in the post were the introduction of disclosure rules for talk-back hosts and of minimum news broadcasting requirements for regional radio and TV stations.
The first is widely regarded with some scepticism since he had to resign from the inquiry following an appearance on John Laws' show on 2UE and despite being forced to withdraw himself from the authority's consideration of matters involving the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney talk stations 2UE, now owned by Southern Cross Broadcasting, and the Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB, and hosts John Laws and Alan Jones, who was with 2UE at the time but has since joined 2GB.
Recently he was involved in controversy over a letter he wrote to Jones praising the host in 1999, just before the start of the cash-for-comment inquiry (See RNW May 1).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2004-06-10: Emap's Kerrang! rock format goes on to the FM airwaves in the West Midlands in England today, the latest spin-off from Kerrang! Magazine, which was launched as a niche music publications more than two decades ago.
Emap has already launched Kerrang! on digital radio - both terrestrial multiplexes and the Freeview digital TV platform - and the latest ratings showed it as having 775,000 listeners a week (See RNW May 7).
The Birmingham-based FM stations was launched with a GBP 1 million (USD 1.8 million) promotional campaign (See RNW May 20) and is hoping to have around 200,000 listeners - an 8% share - for its first ratings, taking the brand to around a million listeners a week.
Kerrang! has already been conducting test transmissions.
Kerrang! 105.2 FM web site:
2004-06-10: With final filings having now been made, 10-watt unlicensed micro station radio free brattleboro (rfb) that has been broadcasting since 1998 is now waiting for a decision by US District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha as to whether it can remain on air.
Following a hearing in March Judge Murtha ordered both sides to file additional testimony following February filings by the station and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the former seeking to prohibit the FCC from seizing its equipment and closing it down and the latter requesting an immediate closure (See RNW March 17).
The Brattleboro Reformer says rfb is claiming that the FCC in its attempt to shut down the station is over-reaching its capabilities under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which states that Congress can control interstate commerce, and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that power not specifically delegated by Congress lies with the states.
It quotes rfb attorney Jim Maxwell of Brattleboro as saying, "No one with a straight face can say that a 10-watt radio station is interstate commerce. It is part of a local endeavour."
The stations filing says," "Having obtained the support of town voters [A March ballot question in Brattleboro saw voters cast their support for rfb, 1,519-780], and existing as a purely intrastate, extremely local non-profit operation not affecting interstate commerce, the station believes that FCC action to squash it is an unlawful exercise of the power granted to it, the FCC, by Congress," a May 17 court filing states.
David Kirby, a U.S. Attorney in Burlington who is representing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told the paper they have "provided what he asked for."
His filing says the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld challenges to the licensing provisions of the FCC in relation to the Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment and also that is also arguing that the U.S. District Court of Vermont cannot review the FCC's licensing or rules.
He also contended that the station could be considered as engaging in inter-state commerce because its signal can be heard in nearby Hinsdale in New Hampshire.
Previous Radio Free brattleboro:
Brattleboro Reformer report:
radio free brattleboro site:
2004-06-09: The US recording industry has added digital radio to its agenda in the fight against what it considers may end up a bigger piracy threat than Internet downloads according to the Hollywood Reporter, which says the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is to move to a higher profile on the issue this week.
The paper says RIAA CEO and chairman, Mitch Bainwol hopes to make digital radio - iBiquity's HD standards in the US - a focus of a hearing scheduled this week on copyright issues facing webcasters and adds that the organisation also plans to file formal comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the need for digital radio copy protections when final comments on a range of issues surrounding the technology are due on June 16.
It quotes Bainwol as saying, "We're in favour of HD radio. It offers great benefits for consumers and everyone involved, but we're not blind to several concerns. Someone could cherry-pick songs off a broadcast and fill up a personal library and then post it on Kazaa."
"The kind of listening that you do on radio today is passive. This turns it into an active experience. Not only will you be able to listen to it, but you can copy it and keep it forever."
iBiquity chief operating officer Jeff Jury said it was willing to build in copy protection but wants the rights holders, broadcasters and consumer electronics makers to agree to the regime.
"If there's a consensus among the groups, we're willing to go along," he said. "But given the state of the technology, it's premature to worry about this."
The RIAA move is opposed by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) which pointed to British experience of digital radio as providing no evidence to support RIAA claims.
"They've sold a half-million digital radios in Great Britain over the past five years, and this problem hasn't come up," said the CEA's Technology VP Michael Petricone. "It's premature to ask the FCC for restrictions on devices for a problem that might not exist."
"Our position on this is that there has been no demonstration that there's a problem. It's not clear what the RIAA is talking about. Do they want a broadcast flag (similar to the copy-control technology in digital TV) or some limit on recording material? We regard a consumer's ability to record off the radio as a pretty fundamental right."
Petricone was backed up by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose spokesman Dennis Wharton said, "Our question is, why now? This thing has been going on for a decade, and now that there are stations on the air and it's authorized, they decide to weigh in. The timing just seems curious. We've been moving aggressively (in) getting digital radio rolled out, and to delay that just so the record companies can add more revenue, that causes some concerns."
RNW comment: In realistic terms we suspect the quality of a good FM signal received on a good quality tuner is above that of most MP3s and well above the quality where significant differences can be perceived by most listeners using portable devices in non-ideal aural surroundings.
For those who wish to listen to high quality audio in a proper listening environment we suspect the level of investment in equipment is such that they would be likely to go for the extra quality of a pristine CD over that of any download of material recorded off-air.
The RIAA's case doesn't seem to be significantly different to the case made against cassette recorders - or VHS - except that technology makes it easier to edit into a package - or pre-select just the material that is wanted if additional data in the signal identifies the song and artist before it is broadcast: Overall we don't think the RIAA can properly sustain its case through argument in terms of a real-world threat even if they are able to buy enough politicians to get their way.
Hollywood Reporter report:
2004-06-09: Latest unofficial UK radio ratings from GfK are good news for BBC Radio 1 and Virgin.
Overall the weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from January 26th to April 25th (with in brackets GfK prior period, January 5 to March 21, 2004, and then official RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) figures to the end of March) in rank order were:
BBC Radio 4 - 16.46 million (17.02 million; 9.37 million): Weekly reach of 37%, down from 38%
BBC Radio 2 - 15.15 million (15.14 million; 12.90 million): Unchanged 34%.
BBC Radio 1 - 11.53 million (11.40 million; 9.85 million): Weekly reach of 26%, up from 25%.
BBC Radio Five Live - 8.72 million (8.78 million; 6.48 million): Weekly reach of 19%, down from 20%
BBC Radio 3 - 3.41 million (3.57 million; 2.29 million): Unchanged 8%.
talkSPORT -5.95 million (6.31 million; 2.14 million): Weekly reach down from 14% to 13%.
Classic FM - 5.54 million (5.63 million; 6.54 million): Weekly reach of 12%, down from 13%
Virgin -3.45 million (3.32 million; 2.49 million): Weekly reach of 8%, up from 7%
GfK figures for commercial stations in the London area showed that for the period from October 6th, 2003 to April 25th, 2004 in comparison to previous figures from September 1, 2003 to March 21, 2004) the five most popular stations were:
Capital FM - 2.533 million - Unchanged 25%.
Heart FM - 2.523 - Up from 24% to 25%.
Magic FM - 1.884 million - Down from 19% to18%.
Virgin Radio - 1.474 million - Unchanged 14%
Kiss FM - 1.464 million - Up from 13% to 14%
*talkSPORT with 1.394 million was down to seventh, below Classic FM, as its share fell from 16% to 14%
GfK has also released details of demographic profiles of station listening: They show Classic FM having the oldest audience profile of any commercial station, both nationally and in London: Nationally 77% of Classic FM's listeners are over 45 compared to 56% for talkSPORT and 37% for Virgin (AM and FM).
In London, 69% of Classic's listeners are more than 45 followed by LBC News with 59% and LBC with 55% whilst for the 16-44 demographic Kiss headed the list with 75% followed by Virgin with 74% and Capital with 73%.
Previous GfK ratings:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
2004-06-09: Mexican radio company Grupo Radio Centro says it is to pay MXN 13.1 million (USD 1.16 million) to Infored, S.A. de C.V., as required by a decree of a Mexican civil judge relating to litigation proceedings brought by Grupo Radio Centro in July 2002.
The case resolves a dispute concerning Grupo Radio's contract with Infored to produce sports programming that was broadcast on "Los Protagonistas", "Deportiv" and "Red Deportiva".
The case is not related to a dispute involving the two companies about the "Monitor" news programme that led to an International Chamber of Commerce award of USD 21 million to Infored: Grupo Radio is challenging this decision and last month a Mexican judge denied Infored's call for recognition of the ruling in Mexico and allowed the parties to take further legal action (See RNW May 29).
Previous Grupo Radio:
2004-06-09:A 17-year old from Norwich, Josh 'Rinse' Roberts has won BBC Radio 1's first "Under 18s DJ Search" in a grand final held in Essex and hosted by Radio 1 DJs Spoony, Fergie and Tim Westwood.
The final followed an Under 18s Club Tour in February that took in eight clubs around the UK with one DJ from each event going through to the next level and the semi-finals in June sent three DJs to the finals, Roberts, 16-years-old DJ Phase from Nottinghamshire and Joey M, also aged 16, from Cambridge.
Roberts, who spins a mix of urban, house and garage tunes, won a full decks and mixer set, two days at Radio 1 for a master class with a Radio 1 DJ of his choice plus an appearance on Reg & Dev's show on CBBC/Smile.
Radio 1's Executive Producer Of Dance Matt Priest commented, "It was an incredibly difficult decision to make, each of the finalists work with different styles of music so it was tough to compare We were amazed at the quality of all the contestants, technically the standard was high and it's definitely something we'll be doing again."
2004-06-08: In a surprise move Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) chairman Professor David Flint has announced that he is to step down; he will take leave from the end of this week until his resignation takes formal effect on July 2.
In a statement he said, "With the imminent introduction of legislation to merge the ABA and the Australian Communications Authority, which seems to have bipartisan support, and the public interest in that merger proceeding seamlessly with a minimum of controversy, there would be an advantage in having both the chairmanship of the ABA and the ACA vacant It is fortunate that both the ABA and the ACA are endowed with highly professional staff and strong boards which will ensure the merger is a success."
Flint had recently been at the centre of controversy over supportive letters he wrote to Sydney breakfast host Alan Jones during the 1999 cash-for-comment affair in which hosts were criticised for accepting undisclosed payments from corporations for favourable comment: The ABA board had refrained from criticizing Flint over the letters but did express " serious concern" (See RNW May 1).
He commented on the matter, "Notwithstanding the recent controversy, I am encouraged by the observation of my colleagues that they cannot recall an occasion when I have demonstrated actual bias in any decision I have taken. This mirrors the comments I have received from those who have, over two decades, worked with me in encouraging the responsible self regulation of the media.'
2004-06-08: According to a report in the New York Times new tougher US anti-broadcast indecency legislation is now much less assured of being passed before the November presidential election than it seemed a short while ago.
The paper notes that, although the House of Representatives in March passed by 391-22 a bill that would greatly increase penalties the Senate has yet to schedule a full debate on the matter; it adds that the delay "is tied partly to the broader politics of the Senate, where Republicans, who hold a slim 51-seat majority, have had difficulty passing major bills" and also "the peril of investing too much political capital in a divisive issue, which has pitted some social conservatives and child-advocacy groups against big broadcasters and civil rights advocates."
The Times also notes that the Senate Bill includes additional measures, such as action against violence in TV and anti-consolidation measures, that are not in the House version
Commenting on the situation so far, Charles Cook, the editor of The Cook Political Report, a non-partisan political newsletter, described it as looking like a "cheap date" and added, "You come out for motherhood, apple pie and 'decency,' and you know it's not going anywhere.''
New York Times report:
2004-06-08: DMGT has denied that it is involved in talks to sell its regional Australian radio interests to Macquarie Bank as reported in the Australian Financial Review.
DMG Radio Australia Chief Executive Paul Thompson told Reuters, "We're not in discussion with anybody in respect to those regional assets. We've had a lot of offers and we haven't progressed any of those offers."
The Australian Financial Review reported that Macquarie Bank, which is involved in an AUD 173 million (USD 122 million) bid to buy R.G. Capital Radio's regional stations (See RNW June 2), had become involved in a bid for DMG's 60 regional stations after West Australian Newspapers had made a bid of AUD 200 million (USD 141.5 million).
Previous Macquarie Bank:
2004-06-08: Salem Communications has updated its second quarter revenue guidance, increasing its expected revenue for the quarter from an earlier forecast range of USD 47-47.5 million up to USD 47.5 -48 million.
Salem notes that it had 10% same station net broadcasting revenue growth in April and is projecting same station net broadcasting revenue growth of approximately 10% for the second quarter as a whole.
The company has also given notice that it intends to redeem USD52.5 million of its outstanding 9% senior subordinated notes due July 2011. The redemption will take place in two instalments during June 2004 and Salem will report a one-time loss of approximately USD6.2 million resulting from the early redemption.
2004-06-08: SMG-owned Virgin radio has dropped two more DJs - former breakfast and drive time host Daryl Denham, who was moved in a re-vamp announced in December last year to the weekend breakfast show (See RNW Dec 10, 2003) and DJ Jezza who hosted the 22:00 to 01:00 slot from Sunday to Thursday with his Virgin Confessions Show.
Last month Virgin dropped Nick Stewart's Captain America show in a move described at the time as a "tweak" rather than part of a revamping of the schedule (See RNW May 27).
Virgin is again saying the change is not part of any major change, noting that Denham's contract had expired and saying Jezza had left by "mutual consent."
Virgin's web site for this weekend lists Leona Graham with "The Late Show" in Jezza's time slot and she is also to take over the Saturday breakfast show - this weekend she hosts both Saturday and Sunday shows "Live at the Nokia Isle of Wight Festival" - while Robin Burke, Weekend Overnights host, will take over on Sundays.
2004-06-08: Maxim Magazine, which has already expanded into branding furniture and hair colouring agents, is to add a radio channel on Sirius, expected to debut in the fall.
The channel will be targeted at the 21-34 male demographic and its news release says the programming "will provide social ammunition for men through an unpredictable mix of music, witty conversation and smart information, effectively adapting the attitude and humour that has made Maxim so successful."
Dennis Publishing president and CEO Stephen Colvin commented, "Radio was the first medium to embrace Maxim and never let go, so announcing this arrangement with Sirius, a national radio broadcaster for a national magazine brand, is a natural evolution Maxim Radio will enable a live interactive relationship with millions of Maxim readers like never before and bring new fans into the growing fold."
Colvin added that Maxim would look for inspiration in its first radio steps to British DJs Chris Evans (no longer on air) and John Peel (Hosting a talk show on BBC Radio 4 as well as music-related shows on BBC Radio 1, and BBC World Service).
2004-06-07: Two of America's top hosts, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern were again attracting print comment last week, as much for their politicking as their other qualities, but this week before moving to the big names we have opted to start with a Washington Post column by Marc Fisher - "From College Stations, an Intriguing -- if Intermittent - Signal."
"I just spent four hours listening -- through the miracle of Internet radio," wrote Fisher, "to college stations in Honolulu, Berkeley, New York and Baltimore. Result: I discovered a startling blend of jazz and hip-hop, heard a passionate DJ introduce the music of Morocco, learned about a cutting-edge composer of new classical music and caught up on the latest jazz releases."
Fisher notes that," "A series of political and financial disasters have virtually wiped college radio off the air" in his region and comments on the demise, or metamorphosis into professionally-run stations of formerly student-run stations at the Universities of Georgetown, Howard, American and the University of the District of Columbia.
He gives details of some of the changes before going on to list student stations including ones from Hawaii, New York, and one Maryland station, from Morgan State University.
By comparison with the college stations that Fisher found intriguing, Bob Gendron writing in the Chicago Tribune had harsh words for most US commercial output in a column "Radio Zzzzzz America" in which he wrote, "Reacting to relaxed ownership regulations, major record-label money and the substitution of corporate-generated playlists for decision-making deejays, it seems radio has traded its geographical flavour and adventurous spirit for a generic, marketing-driven approach" and then asked, "But is mainstream radio really as homogenous as a fast-food chain?"
He used Radio Charts, part of a recent update to Apple Music's iTunes Music Store, that allows users to browse the playlists of more than 1,000 radio stations from more than 230 locales to examine what mainstream stations were airing.
Of pop, he wrote, perhaps unsurprisingly, "Songs exclusively come from major-label artists that benefit from large promotion budgets, expensive videos and cross-exposure in magazines and on television" but with evidence of some bias towards local artists; the pattern was also there in other genres he looked at.
There was also disparagement of mainstream US radio from William Powers in the Atlantic.
"Mediocrity deplores excellence. It's a truth of human behaviour, and it applies to the media, too," he wrote. "It's on display right now as the commercial radio establishment, where mediocrity is king, tries to quash the best thing that's happened to radio in a long time: satellites."
Powers subscribes to XM and commented that it comes at a "price that seems miraculous given what it brings me: dozens of terrific, ad-free music channels; a high-grade menu of news offerings that includes the BBC, ABC Radio, CNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, and CNN; talk shows of various stripes; plus constant weather and traffic reports for various major cities, including Washington, where I live Sometimes I think it's too good to last. I hope it's too good to fail."
He then continues, "The people behind satellite radio understand that the dreadful quality of most commercial radio has alienated a lot of listeners. When was the last time you tuned in a traditional commercial radio station and were impressed? A huge swath of American radio is now controlled by a handful of corporations, and they've turned the airwaves into the aural equivalent of McDonald's: a product that was designed for least-common-denominator tastes, and is pretty much the same everywhere you go. Why? Because, like McDonald's, Big Radio is very profitable."
And his conclusion? "And here we see the great irony of this whole argument. To bring back the old richness of local radio-the eccentricity and niche tastes that once gave the medium its personality-our best hope may be a kind of radio that is the polar opposite of local, one that comes literally from space. So why not let this new kind of radio have some useful local content, too? Radio lovers deserve another choice. Mediocrity has such a hollow sound."
Power was backed up in the Oklahoman by George Lang whose wife bought him Sirius as an anniversary present and he comments that he would now "only give up Sirius if I were suddenly struck deaf."
He continued, "This seems to be the general consensus of XM and Sirius subscribers, of which there are 1.2 million and 400,000, respectively. Each service boasts ridiculously low attrition rates: according to MSN Money, about 99 percent of subscribers keep satellite radio after their initial signup period."
Like Powers he notes that terrestrial radio sees a threat ahead and comments. "Perhaps this is why the National Association of Broadcasters is fighting satellite radio's incursions into local and regional programming. Earlier this year, both XM and Sirius launched local traffic channels for the most grid locked U.S. markets. Using local repeaters installed to improve service in dense urban areas, both services now offer locally specific content -- one of the last clear-cut advantages that traditional radio held over satellite."
Lang notes the extra pressures being put on terrestrial radio by the US "indecency" crackdown and comments: "Whether the FCC is acting in the public interest by putting the kibosh on Stern and the Sponge is a matter of opinion. However, the NAB's legislative and regulatory campaign against satellite radio smacks of anti-competitive practices How can these broadcasters compete with XM and Sirius? Perhaps they could look at reducing the industry-average 15 minutes of commercials per hour. They might consider broader playlists, living up to their claims of less talk. Until that happens, more people will consider whether $10 per month is a worthwhile investment in their own sanity."
On, however, to the big names starting with Stern but in each case in a wider political context. In Stern's case we noted in the Chicago Tribune a report from the Hartford Courant by Liz Halloran that suggests that Stern could just in a tight election tip the scales against President Bush this November.
She quotes Michael Harrison of publisher and editor of Talkers Magazine as commenting that in contrast to Limbaugh, whose listeners are committed Republicans, "His [Stern's] influence is greater than Rush Limbaugh's. Limbaugh is not influencing anybody who's undecided about this race. Stern is influencing those who are changing their mind about Bush, or who haven't yet made up their mind."
Author Matthew Robert Kerbel, who has written extensively about the media and politics, takes a similar view, commenting, "Stern reaches an audience of white males that Bush is counting on, and he influences them People listen to Stern for reasons that have nothing to do with politics, but he's influential with his listeners."
Taking a contrary view was Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics who commented about Stern's "First Amendment" fight, "There obviously must be some people out there who feel strongly about this, but it's such a macro year - the plate is so full - that I can't imagine it turning a lot of votes. Not that the First Amendment issue isn't important but in this particular year, it doesn't seem terribly important. We've got a war, plus all these economic difficulties. Everything else seems minute by comparison."
To this writer, it is a continuing puzzle how Limbaugh continues to maintain his support, particularly in view of his comments on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners. Limbaugh would presumably dismiss out of hand any comments from Al Jazeera, as over the past few days he has again been attacking on air Florida attorneys' who he says are making a case against him because of political bias.
Irrespective of whether he agrees with Abd Allah al-Arian's comments posted on the Al Jazeera web site, Limbaugh might like to ponder that the station's audience are in large part probably just as bigoted as he is, only from a different point of view!
Al-Arian starts by writing, "Rush Limbaugh, the well known US radio talk show host, knew exactly what people should think of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Following the revelation of the abuses, Limbaugh lauded them as 'a brilliant manoeuvre'."
"Describing the photographs as 'standard good old American pornography', he insisted in spite of reports to the contrary 'there was no horror, there was no terror, there was no death, there were no injuries, nothing.'"
The article itself is a more general one about US talk radio which is dominated by conservative voices and which has grown so strong according to Talkers Magazine publisher and editor Michael Harrison because "conservatives make a fertile target audience. They rally around media that expresses their point of view because they feel left out of the dialogue expressed in most of the other mass media."
Al-Arian also notes a comment by Michael Savage: "I tell you right now - the largest percentage of Americans would like to see a nuclear weapon dropped on a major Arab capital. They don't even care which one ... I think these people need to be forcibly converted to Christianity. It's the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings" and quotes former CBS Radio producer Elizabeth Dribben as saying such statements have already had "terrible effects" and could be potentially devastating to US efforts to promote important values in the region.
And of Limbaugh's comment on the victims - "They are the ones who are sick. They're the ones who are perverted. They are the ones who are dangerous. They are the ones who are subhuman. They are the ones who are human debris, not the United States of America and not our soldiers and not our prison guards" - Dribben adds," "That sounds almost on a par with Tokyo Rose [A reference to the Japanese-American broadcaster who aired anti-Allied propaganda to US forces during the second world war]. The aim is shifting people's attention and allegiances. We all know that terrible things are done in the name of patriotism, but this was especially disturbing. There was something blatant about it."
RNW comment: We rather agree with Dribben and irrespective of anything else cannot see how any Iraqi listening to comments such as those of Limbaugh on American Forces Radio would be impelled to support the US. Rather to the contrary: Limbaugh and Savage, in our view, will probably be indirectly responsible for the deaths of a few American soldiers.
On now to programs available on the Internet and worth a listen over the next week. We start with politics again, firstly with former US President Ronald Reagan, who died on Saturday.
For those who want to hear him speak for himself we'd suggest US National Public Radio which has a page "Hear him in his own words" on its site as well as reports on the Sunday "Weekend Edition" Show.
As an alternative, BBC Radio 4 and World Service have a selection of reports and should it get posted on the Listen Again section of the web site the Radio 4 Sunday Tribute, "Ronald Reagan: The American Optimist" that replaced the originally-scheduled programming is worth a listen.
It has a good selection of interviewees including Reagan himself and George Schultz and also points out a few of the facts that have been brushed over in most of the US reports we've seen - like adding a trillion dollars to the US national debt through tax cuts to the rich and additional military spending, a practice that seems to be repeating itself at the moment.
And both the BBC and NPR sites also have a range of coverage of the other story of the week, the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
There's just time this morning to catch the first of the five "Book Of The Week: Countdown To D-Day" programmes that ran on Radio 4 last week with readings from (in day order) the writings of Rommell, Montgomery, de Gaulle, Omar Bradley and Winston Churchill and King George V1
And for a different theatre of war, the third of the Tiger Tales that was aired last Monday evening was on Okinawa - it too is still on the Radio 4 web site for a little longer.
For something completely different the programme that followed it was intriguing - it was Songs Of The Sky, which involved comments from Alaska from men who listened to the aurora borealis, or northern lights as opposed to just viewing them.
On Tuesday Radio 4 has its final programme in the Routemasters series (last week's on Pedestrian Crossings is still available for the moment) - this time looking at Road Humps (0830GMT).
For those with eclectic tastes in pop music, BBC 6 Music's "Dream Ticket" programmes (The last four shows are put on the site, albeit the links are currently a bit messed up) have a strong looking week ahead (Monday through Thursday at 2100 GMT to two hours).
For comedy, BBC Radio 2 has Punt and Dennis's look at the week on Thursday (2100 GMT) and last week's News Quiz (Radio 4 - and on the web site), the last of the series, is also worth a listen if only for the line about how unfortunate it is that "our oil is beneath their desert."
Al Jazeera - al-Arian:
Atlantic - Powers:
Chicago Tribune-Hartford Courant - Halloran:
Chicago Tribune - Gendron:
Oklahoman - Lang:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2004-06-07: SMG is "discreetly sounding out potential buyers for its Virgin radio station" according to the UK Observer, which says the group is looking for a price of GBP 130 million (USD 239 million) although it adds that rival groups, including Emap, have expressed interest but at a lower figure, possibly as small as GBP 80 million (USD 147 million).
SMG paid GBP 225 million for Chris Evans' Ginger Media Group, which included Virgin Radio and Ginger TV, in 2000 (see RNW Jan 13, 2000) but built up large debts as it tried to build up its Scottish media holdings -included amassing a 28% stake in rival Scottish Radio Holdings that it built up in late 2000 and early 2001 in the hope of an agreed takeover.
It then made a number of disposals to cut its debt including the 2003 sale of its publishing business for GBP 216million (then USD 338 million) that reduced debt by 40% to GBP 246 million (then USD 395 million) and enabled refinancing on much improved terms (See RNW Mar 29, 2003) and the subsequent sale in January this year of its SRH stake to Emap for GBP 90.5 million (USD 163 million) (See RNW Jan 17)
UK Observer report:
2004-06-07: Italian Green Party MP Paolo Cento has promised a parliamentary inquiry into a power outage that took to left-wing radio stations off the air on the morning of U.S President George W. Bush's visit to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican according to MediaChannel.
Power was cut from 08:30 to 12:25 to the Monte Cavo transmitter where the antennae of Radio Città Aperta and Radio Onda Rossa plus private television station, Tele Ambiente are located in what was termed "strange maintenance work" by Francesco Diasio, managing director of Amisnet, a community radio agency that was working with the stations and others to broadcast reports on Rome protests against the US President's visit.
Supplier Enel, which is 60 percent state-owned, declined comment but Alessadro Marenga, a music program director working the midnight shift at Radio Città Aperta, told MediaChannel that no warning was given although usually "When outages do happen, a representative from the company comes by our offices to give advance warning."
He added that station representatives tried throughout the morning to contact Enel to ask for repairs but their calls didn't go through.
The station's director Cynthia D'Ulizia commented, "It is something outrageous because while [Italy's] communication law recognizes the important role of local broadcasting, this role is taken away in a special day with great need of information and communication."
Media Channel report:
2004-06-06: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators although in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may soon be involved in more politicking following the introduction of a bill to remove the third-adjacent channel protection limit for low-power FMs, a move that could add a thousand more such stations in the USA (See below).
In Australia, the only radio-related notice from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was to invite applications for a new community licence for Lithgow, New South Wales. Applications have to be in by midnight July 9.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was involved in two radio decisions and also issued a public notice concerning a number of other radio applications. It also decided to institute its own action regarding material broadcast in Vancouver from the Tom Leykis Show that it ruled to be in breach of breached the prohibition "against the broadcast of any abusive comment" in Canada's radio regulations (See below).
Approved were applications from CKIC-FM, Winnipeg, Manitoba, to change its authorized contours by increasing the effective radiated power from 201 watts to 250 watts- the as-built power - and from CKJJ-FM, Belleville, Ontario, to change its contours by decreasing its power from 45,000 watts to 15,000 watts and increasing the antenna height from 93.2 metres to 135.8 metres.
The public notice, with a July 5 deadline for interventions, included applications to amend the licence of CJDS-FM Saint-Pamphile, Quebec, by adding a 135 watts FM transmitter at Mont Fournier and by CHOX-FM, La Pocatière, Quebec, to add a 12 watts FM transmitter at St-Aubert.
There was nothing of radio note from Ireland and in the UK the only radio-related announcement from Ofcom was the release of its tenth complaints bulletin (See RNW June 5).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed a USD 8,000 penalty on a Kentucky FM for failure to have Emergency Alert System installed (See RNW June 5) but reduced from USD 17,000 to USD 13,500 a penalty on a Louisiana AM for failure to maintain an effective locked fence enclosing its antenna tower, and failure to maintain all required material in its public inspection file (See RNW June 3) and from USD 10,000 to USD 1,000 a penalty imposed on an Indiana FM for violation of antenna structure painting rules (See RNW June2).
It also held a joint forum with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discuss how broadcasters and local authorities can improve their readiness for emergencies (See RNW June 3)
The FCC has also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning its new Equal Eployment Opportunity (EEO) rules and forms that were issued in November 2002; at the time it deferred requiring broadcast and cable outlets to once again submit the annual reports until now.
The report require details of the race, sex and ethnicity of applicants for jobs with respondents in the previous year but the FCC says that because of expressed fears from some bodies that third party access to details in the forms could leave licensees vulnerable to complaints or lawsuits it is asking for additional comment on the issues concerning this.
Separate statements concerning the proposals were issued by FCC chairman Michael K. Powell, who expressed pride in supporting the move; by Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps who supported the re-adoption of annual employment reporting forms but expressed concern about delays because of "seeking additional comment on whether we can or should modify our procedures to collect the data confidentially " and by Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin who noted past court decisions throwing out previous EEO rules and saying because of court skepticism "of race-based classifications, I have concerns with reinstating the requirement that parties classify employees in such a manner and file the information with us on a regular basis."
"I would have less concern if the data were supplied to us anonymously," he added. "If our goal is truly only to monitor industry trends and not to use the data (or allow others to do so) to determine EEO compliance, anonymous information would seem to fulfill that need while eliminating the constitutional concern. I therefore am concerned that we are adopting this form without first determining whether the information may be submitted anonymously. "
The FCC has also announced that its Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age is to meet on Monday, June 14, at its headquarters.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-06-06: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which normally allows complaints about programming to be dealt with by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), has taken the unusual step of condemning an edition of the Tom Leykis Show, syndicated by Westwood One and broadcast by Corus's CHMJ-AM (Mojo Radio), Vancouver.
It says the broadcast breached the prohibition "against the broadcast of any abusive comment contained in section 3(6) of the Radio Regulations, 1986" and also found "that the licensee contravened a number of Canadian broadcasting policy objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act, including the high standard provision."
It notes that the station's licence expires at the end of August next year and says the licensee will be required "as part of its licence renewal application, to provide a report on the measures and mechanisms it has in place to ensure that the content of the programming broadcast on CHMJ Vancouver adheres at all times to the Act and the Regulations, as well as on the implementation and effectiveness of these measures and mechanisms."
The November 2002 broadcast complained of included a segment in which a caller to the show described "how he had anally raped his girlfriend who was passed out at the time" and went on to tell everyone listening how he had also taken pictures of this act." The complainant also stated that the host "seemed to think that this was very funny and made some comment on how the male caller must have enjoyed doing that."
The CRTC says it decided not to refer the complaint to the CBSC but instead to investigate it "directly due to the potential illegality of the broadcast described in the complaint."
On listening to tapes of the show [RNW comment: Unlike the US but like most countries, Canada requires stations as a condition of licence to keep recordings for a period] the CRTC says it "found that the program segment that was the subject of the complaint was a promotional spot and identification message for The Tom Leykis Show."
It adds, "The logger tape included four additional program segments that Commission staff considered to be offensive and derogatory towards women."
The CRTC says that in its view the host was "not criticizing, but effectively condoning, the caller's behaviour" and "by choosing the tape of this particular conversation to promote The Tom Leykis Show, the licensee effectively conveyed the message that the program was a venue for boasting about unacceptable sexual behaviour, including assaults against women."
"Therefore," it adds, "one could infer that the broadcaster, by its use of this taped discussion to promote the program, condoned sexually violent behaviour towards women."
Corus in its response acknowledged it should not have broadcast the promo spot and outlined various measures it had in place at the time of the broadcast "as a matter of course", to detect and remove such inappropriate content from The Tom Leykis Show.
It said that as a result of this complaint it had held numerous meetings with programming personnel to re-iterate the need for greater vigilance. It indicated further that a senior member of the programming department had been assigned to monitor the program in question to ensure that it complied with broadcasting standards and requirements.
Subsequently in June last year, it took the show off the air.
RNW comment: Although we're not advocating the heavy fines being proposed in the US, comparing by the transcripts posted by the CRTC of this show to those of the broadcasts by Opie and Anthony, Bubba the Love Sponge, and Howard Stern that have attracted FCC censure and fines - for comparatively innocent comments, any complaint against Leykis should in fairness probably attract penalties in the billions. The show involved effectively incites violence against women as well as being crude.
Previous Westwood One:
2004-06-06: Radio listening is increasing in India and Malaysia according to latest figures released this month.
In India, the Indian Listenership Track 2004, Wave I Mumbai & Delhi conducted by MRUC and ACN ORG-MARG, shows that FM radio in the two cities is now reaching 34% of the population in the combined market outstripping that of English daily newspapers, which only reached 22%.
Market leader Radio Mirchi alone had a reach of 20.9%, a total of 4.88 million compared to 5.15 million for the English dailies combined. The second rated FM in the market was Radio City with 3.93 million and the third was RED FM with 1.27 million.
In Malaysia, listenership figures from Nielsen Media Research showed the reach of radio increased from 88% of the potential 12-plus audience in Peninsular Malaysia in October last year to 90% in April this year; the average time spent listening per week was 26 hours.
Previous Indian Radio:
2004-06-06: As many as a thousand more low power community FMs could go on the air in the US if a bill introduced by Senators John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and Patrick J. Leahy (Democrat, Vermont) that would reduce frequency separation requirements introduced by Congress following fierce lobbying by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and also opposition from National Public Radio (NPR) when the proposals for low power FMs (LPFMs) were originally approved in 2000.
Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said there would not be interference to the signals of commercial broadcasters from LPFMs pressure from the NAB led to the imposition of a second adjacent channel separation (third adjacent channel protection) in the legislation until a study had been carried out.
Subsequent studies were commissioned by the FCC from the Mitre Corporation, but the results that were released were contested by the NAB; it said full power stations "won't suffer any appreciable harm" should the restriction be lifted and in February this year the FCC recommended that the restrictions be dropped (See Licence News, Feb. 22).
In a statement concerning the new bill McCain cited the Mitre report and commented, "After spending almost two years and over USD 2 million, an independent study revealed what the [FCC] and community groups have said all along: Low-power FM radio will do no harm to other broadcasters."
The NAB re-iterated its opposition and in a statement President and CEO Edward O. Fritts commented, "It is unfortunate Sen. McCain is relying on the deeply flawed Mitre study in supporting the authorization of more low-power FM stations. Local radio listeners should not be subjected to the inevitable interference that would result from shoe-horning more stations onto an already overcrowded radio dial."
The impact of any lifting of the restriction will be mainly in urban areas. So far some 700 LPFMs have been authorised, mainly in rural areas, and a total of around 3,5000 community groups, some 40% of them church organizations, have applied for licences.
2004-06-05: Although still maintaining commitment to Infinity Radio and Howard Stern, Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone has told attendees at investment manager and research group Sanford C Bernstein's Strategic Decisions Conference that he had discussed selling some of the weaker-performing Infinity stations with its President and COO Joel Hollander who had said some of them were "not up to it".
Redstone told the conference that radio was growing but not as fast as he would like.
Regarding Stern he said that the shock-jock would continue to have support and noted that he had defended him in Washington more often than former Viacom president and COO Mel Karmazin.
He said he would continue to support Stern and believed the host would stay with Infinity, noting that by comparison with Infinity satellite radio audiences were "miniscule".
"Those who consider Howard a sleazeball don't have to turn him on," said Redstone and added, "He has millions of people who want to hear what he has to say, and those people should have a right to hear and see what they want to."
He noted, however, that if Stern lost his audiences then it would be "goodbye Howard".
2004-06-05: BBC Radio Five Live has fought off competition for UK Premier League soccer live commentary and agreed a three- season deal with the league that will also include streaming of the commentaries on the BBC web site.
Details of the price being paid have not been released but it is expected to exceed the price for the previous three-season deal cost the corporation GBP 45 million (USD 83 million) and led to complaints from TalkSPORT that it was pricing commercial rivals out of the bidding.
The Premier League this year split the games into two packages of 125 and 97 matches respectively in an effort to encourage other bidders to compete with the corporation.
Commenting on the agreement, BBC Radio Five LiveController Bob Shennan said the station was "delighted" to have secured it and added, "We are immensely proud of the close and successful working relationship we have established with the FA Premier League over more than a decade and look forward to working closely again as we take our Premiership coverage forward."
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said the league was "extremely pleased" and added, "Since the Premier League's inception in 1992 live match commentary has provided a valuable source of excitement for fans and an excellent platform for the competition."
Also at the BBC, the corporation has announced that its Director-General designate Mark Thompson, currently Channel 4 TV chief executive, is to join it on June 22 following an agreement by the Channel 4 TV board to release him early from his contract.
The BBC will pay Channel 4's one-off "five-figure" search fee to find a new chief executive.
2004-06-05: Former Chicago WLS-AM host Garry Meier in an interview with Bob Sirott on WTTW-Channel 11's "The Friday Night Show" says he and his wife Cynthia Fircak, who acted as his agent, did all they could to reach agreement and blames all other parties involved for his departure but his comments are meeting with some scepticism.
In his Chicago Sun-Times column Robert Feder comments, "Despite Sirott's attempts to pin him down, Meier never did make clear what he believes in -- unless it's that he believes he's worth many more millions than WLS (or any other station) was willing to pay him."
"At one point, Meier said he 'wasn't opposed to staying' at WLS and was 'trying to work out anything I could with them.' But in the next breath, he said he felt he had to go elsewhere: 'We might not make as much money, but we'll make a good amount of money and have a long run for as long as we want and be in a healthier environment.'"
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2004-06-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a penalty of USD 8,000 on a Kentucky FM for failure to have Emergency Alert System installed.
Floyd County Broadcasting Company Inc., licensee of WMDJ-FM, Allen, had admitted not installing EAS equipment but had sought cancellation or reduction on the basis of inability to pay.
The FCC after reviewing information provided decided there was no justification for a reduction.
2004-06-05: The latest complaints bulletin from the UK regulator Ofcom deals with seven cases, six TV related and the other a complaint against satellite service Apple FM.
Ofcom rejected one TV fairness and privacy complaint, considered two - both relating to language used before the "watershed" - resolved and intervened in four cases, two relating to language used and two to the failure of an "adult" satellite service to keep recordings as required by its licence.
The complaint against Apple concerned an afternoon broadcast in which a version of the record "God is a DJ" by Pink was aired in the early evening containing the words "fuck you".
The station was unable to explain how this track had escaped its vetting process but undertook to monitor new material more closely in future. Ofcom held that the broadcast breached its Language in Programming regulations.
Previous Ofcom complaints Bulletin:
2004-06-04: UK Capital Radio is going into the digital radio receiver market through a deal with i.Tech Dynamic Ltd., part of the Hutchison Whampoa Group.
In a project worth GBP 5 million (USD 9 million) Capital is establishing a licensing and marketing partnership with i.Tech to develop a high-specification Xfm branded DAB radio to be available by Christmas this year.
The set will be backed by a national campaign targeted at 15-35 year olds and Capital chief executive David Mansfield commented, "Digital development is a core part of our strategy, and we have made good progress in developing Xfm from a London station into a national brand. This is an exciting and innovative opportunity to position the brand at the leading edge of DAB. "
"The UK has seen significant increase in the sale of DAB sets but most have been sold to people in their 40s. Xfm's audience profile is attractively positioned 15-34's and their listeners regularly access the station online and through digital television so we expect this group to lead uptake amongst the younger demographic."
2004-06-04: Denver-based concert company Nobody In Particular Presents Inc. (NIPP) has settled on undisclosed terms its lawsuit against Clear Channel that it had sued on the basis of restraint of trade and monopolistic practices.
Last month a US District Court judge ruled that NIPP had not made a case that Clear Channel had created a monopoly with its eight Denver stations but said there was sufficient evidence to support claims that it had attempted to create one (See RNW April 5). The trial date had been set for August.
NIPP began the case nearly three years ago and its president and founder Doug Kauffman said in a statement, "This was a long and difficult battle, and we are very happy with this agreement."
Clear Channel has admitted no wrongdoing but its chief legal officer Andrew Levin said in a statement that it was "pleased to get the matter behind us"."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-06-04: SMG has appointed Dr Chris Masters, former executive chairman of power hire firm Aggreko plc and a member of a large number of boards albeit none of them media companies, as its Non-executive chairman to succeed Don Cruickshank who has already announced that he will stand down following today's Annual and Extraordinary General meetings of the company (See RNW Jan 27).
Cruickshank said of his successor, "He brings boardroom experience, strategic focus and a business profile and he will undoubtedly further strengthen SMG's already experienced Board."
Masters said he was delighted to be joining SMG "at such an exciting time in its development" and commented, "SMG has undergone some major changes over the last few years and is now well positioned to deliver real growth in shareholder value."
In other UK media business Daily Mail and General Trust has reported a "strong half year" to April 4 with pre-tax profits up 29% to GBP 107.3 million (USD 197.4 million) on turnover up 9% to GBP 1.047 billion (USD 1.926 billion).
Operating profits were up for all divisions except for DMG Broadcasting where they fell by GBP 1.3 million (USD 2.4 million) to GBP 8.3 million (USD 15.3 million) on turnover up 8% to GBP 60 million (USD 110 million).
Within the division teletext revenues were down 2% and operating profits fell by GBP 2 million (USD 3.7 million) but DMG Radio Australia profits increased despite the launch costs of two new regional stations. DMG singled out a strong performance from its Nova stations in Sydney and Melbourne where underlying revenues were up 38%.
2004-06-04: According to the Sydney Morning Herald restive minority shareholders at RG Capital Radio are resisting the AUD 173 million takeover of the regional radio company by Macquarie Bank (See RNW June 2).
RG Capital directors, who are advised by UBS, have appointed Grant Samuel to provide an independent view and left open the prospect of a rival bid: The paper quotes Perpetual Investments' head of equities John Sevior as saying that the AUD 3 per share bid "represents a pretty meagre premium to the last price, by the standards of most takeovers" and declining to say how he would vote the fund's 13.8% share of the company.
RG shares closed Tuesday on the ASX at AUD 2.950 indicating that investors are cautious about any competing offer.
Media mogul Reg Grundy owns 56% of the company but approval of minority shareholders is needed for the Macquarie bid and a vote is to be held in mind-August.
RG Capital chairman Tim Hughes has resigned from the company's board and joining the investment bank to chair its media fund that will start with RG's stations but is expected to purchase other regional media assets and may eventually go public.
Previous Macquarie Bank:
Previous RG Capital:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2004-06-03: Following the departure of Mel Karmazin from the company (See RNW June 2), Viacom Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone on Wednesday played down the suggestion that the company might sell of its Infinity radio division.
Redstone had fuelled the speculation during a conference call after the Karmazin announcement when he told analysts Viacom was "going take a good, hard look at all of our assets, including our radio assets" but on Wednesday he told CBNC that the chances of selling Infinity were "minimal" and added, "The margins are high, the cash flow's great."
The statement seems to squelch suggestions that Karmazin might look for funding to buy Infinity, which he built up before selling out to CBS.
The Karmazin move has also led to speculation both about where he may end up and also about Howard Stern's future with Infinity.
Karmazin has made no secret of his ambition to be chief executive of an entertainment company but at the company thought the most likely potential option, Disney, chairman George Mitchell said his "board has complete confidence in the current management" at the company " in response to speculation that Karmazin could succeed CE0 Michael Eisner.
Dissident shareholders Roy Disney and Stanley Gold have already called for Disney's board to look at Karmazin as a potential replacement for Eisner.
There seem no other obvious vacancies for Karmazin, who has said he has not spoken to anyone so far. He is certainly under no financial pressure to jump to another post - his pay off will be around USD 40 million, three-quarters of it as payment for the salary and bonuses in connection with the remainder of his three-year contract and the rest in the form of stock options he can exercise for up to two years.
For Stern there are three main options, all depending upon Viacom, which so far has said it remains committed to keeping him. Viacom can insist on him working through to the end of his contract although it could conceivably negotiate an agreement that would also allow him to run a show on satellite radio; it could take him off air but pay him to the end of his contract as it did with Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia)-whose contract has now ended with many rumours that they are going to move to satellite but no formal move so far, although their web site is still hinting at a move; or it could negotiate an end to his contract and allow him to move to another broadcaster with satellite the obvious move because he would be under less regulatory pressure there than with a terrestrial broadcaster.
Stern told his listeners on Tuesday he expected to know where he would stand in around a month.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2004-06-03: The joint Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) forum on Wednesday to discuss how broadcasters and local authorities can improve their readiness for emergencies was told that local government in general faced more problems than the broadcasters, who under FCC regulations have to install Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment.
The problems were said to be a combination of lack of preparation by the authorities allied with equipment that was not compatible with that of the broadcasters.
The success of the Amber Alert system - to publicise incidents when people go missing - was cited as an example of the way authorities and broadcasters could work together and develop trust.
2004-06-03: Chicago Infinity station WSCR-AM midday sports talk show co-host Dan Bernstein, who has been off air since his contract expired on May 18, has decided to remain at the Score alongside Terry Boers and has rejected a possible move to Disney-ABC's WLS-AM to team up with afternoon host Roe Conn and signed a new five-year deal according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder says that Bernstein's agent Todd Musburger has admitted serious talks with WLS and continued, "It's always gratifying to know of competitive interest on behalf of the folks that you represent. There are occasions when such interest pushes a deal along. In this case, not only did we have competitive interest, we had sincerity and maximum effort from the existing employer to close a very impressive deal."
At WLS-AM Conn, whose former partner Garry Meier had rejected a new contract offer but who has now agreed a new contract himself, said on his show that there were no plans "at this time" to add a new partner for him. He has been hosting the show solo since Meier was taken off air in January this year.
2004-06-03: SMG, the former Scottish Media Group, has come under fire about remuneration incentives for its top executives in advance of its Annual General Meeting tomorrow.
Leading shareholder advisory group Pirc says earnings targets for the company's executive share incentive scheme are "insufficiently challenging" and is calling for a vote against the re-election of two non-executive directors - Calum MacLeod and Allan Shiach - because they have been on the board for nine years and for an abstention on SMG's remuneration report.
SMG 's corporate affairs director Callum Spreng in response told the UK Guardian the company felt it had already answered many of the criticisms and had already said it would revisit targets for the long-term incentive plan in view of upgraded analysts' forecasts for this year.
UK Guardian report:
2004-06-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 17,000 to USD 13,500 a penalty on a Louisiana AM for failure to maintain an effective locked fence enclosing its antenna tower, and failure to maintain all required material in its public inspection file.
Greenwood Acres Baptist Church, licensee of KASO-AM, Minden, sought either a substantial reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture on the basis of immediate measures it took to correct the violations and an inability to pay; it accompanied its response with a one partial-year financial statement.
The FCC, as usual, dismissed the plea of remedial measures taken and regarding the financial plea noted that, although Greenwood stated it has been operating the station at a loss since it acquired it with income "largely from donations from the congregation . . . [with the] remainder from spot sales", the financial documentation provided was insufficient to enable it to accept the claim of inability to pay.
It did however reduce the penalty on the basis of a past history of compliance.
2004-06-03: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a morning discussion on Quebec station CHOI-FM in which host Jean-Francois (Jeff) Fillion and his colleagues sought to make the point that magazines such as Clin d'oeil and Elle had a "sex teaser ("un gros sex-choc")" but didn't generally follow through with what they promised breached its guidelines.
It said that although the hosts intent had been to parody the magazines with pseudo-headlines such as "Comment s'installer sur le carpet du salon avec son chum dans le vagin et son amant dans le derrière" and made-up articles, the content itself was unduly sexually explicit and breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Code of Ethics.
It rejected the broadcaster's argument that a critique using humour and exaggeration, even where sexual content was a component of the humour, constituted justification for the broadcast of such content.
2004-06-02: Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin has resigned and MTV Networks Chairman and CEO Tom Freston and CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves have been appointed Co-Presidents and Co-Chief Operating Officers to succeed him.
In their new roles, as well as jointly overseeing Viacom operations as directed by Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone, Freston will be responsible for overseeing MTV Networks and the operations of Showtime, BET, Paramount Parks, Simon & Schuster and the motion picture operations of Paramount Pictures whilst Moonves will oversee Viacom's broadcast television businesses and will also be responsible for the operations of Paramount TV, Infinity Broadcasting and Viacom Outdoor.
Viacom shares fell on the news, dropping to USD 36 at one stage but then recovered a little to end the day 1.23% down at USD 36.81.
The news prompted Howard Stern, whose show is syndicated by Viacom and who had last week said that "Mel" was leaving to comment that he was finished.
Stern has worked with Karmazin for nearly two decades and said, "I don't understand how Mel could resign. He resigned; I'm in shock. He's my backup here. I don't know that Sumner would back me up. This is definitely the nail in my coffin."
Stern also commented that he was ready to end "radio as you know it" and ad that he saw the future and this was not it, further fuelling speculation that he could move to satellite radio.
There has long been comment about differences between Karmazin and Redstone, who as well as his executive positions is Viacom's major shareholder, but Karmazin earlier this year signed a new three-year deal.
In a statement issued by Viacom, Karmazin said, "After more than 20 years with the Company, for personal and professional reasons, I have decided to leave Viacom and pursue other challenges. Viacom is performing exceptionally well with leadership positions in all of its businesses. The Company's very talented management team will ensure its continued success."
Redstone said," "We very much regret Mel's decision to resign and we wish him well. He has been instrumental in Viacom's operating success since our merger with CBS and he leaves with an extraordinary track record of accomplishment. We appreciate that he has agreed to stay on as a consultant for two months to help Tom and Les with the transition to their new posts."
Commenting on Karmazin's successors, Viacom said their appointments were "part of a corporate succession plan, which will provide for the orderly transition to the next generation of senior management for Viacom."
It added, "In connection with this plan, Mr. Redstone has indicated that he will relinquish his role as Chief Executive Officer within three years. Prior to that date, Mr. Redstone will continue to work with the Board to identify his successor and to designate candidates for other senior positions in the corporation."
During a conference call, Redstone insisted that the decision to leave was Karmazin's and noted that Karmazin had expressed frustration over Viacom's stock price for which eh felt responsible.
Redstone said he was "totally supportive" of Karmazin, and thought he was wrong in his concerns, adding that their relationship had never been higher.
He also said Karmazin was one of several people being considered as his successor and added that he was heartily sick of rumours that his daughter Shari Redstone was being groomed to succeed him, saying she would not take and doesn't want any executive operational role at Viacom.
He said he wanted her to learn about the company's operations - she controls the trust that controls his Viacom stock- because at some time in the future "-I hope in the very distant future - that may become important."
Asked about possible future competition from Karmazin, Redstone said he couldn't see anywhere that Karmazin could go to compete and even if he did Viacom had shown it could "compete with everybody."
2004-06-02: Trading in R.G. Capital, the Australian regional radio group that owns 35 stations has been suspended amid reports that an AUD 173 million (USD 122 million) AUD 3 per share takeover bid has been agreed.
The buyer is said to be Macquarie Bank, which is unrelated to John Singleton's Macquarie Media that owns the Macquarie Radio Network including Sydney 2GB, although interest was also said to have been expressed by Singleton and by Austereo.
The deal, which is subject to approval by both octogenarian media mogul Reg Grundy, who owns 56% of the company, and its other shareholders, is expected to be handled through a new, unlisted Macquarie Bank media fund likely to be run by RG's executive chairman, Tim Hughes.
According to the West Australian, Hughes, who manages Mr Grundy's investments, has been trying to engineer an exit for Mr Grundy for some years; He was involved in Grundy's 1995 exit from TV production when Grundy World Wide was sold to the Pearson International for USD 386 million.
Grundy, who is now based in Bermuda, was born in Sydney in 1923 and worked in the city as a radio sport commentator and then developed the game show Wheel of Fortune, which he transferred to television in 1959. He subsequently adapted American game shows for the Australian market and in the late 1970s the Grundy Organisation began to purchase game show formats, including Sale of the Century, and a few years later moved into drama production.
In 1983 the company was re-structured with Bermuda-headquartered Grundy World Wide as the parent company.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
West Australian report:
2004-06-02: Latest figures from the UK Radio Advertising Bureau show UK commercial radio revenues in the quarter to the end of March up 7.5% on a year earlier at GBP 150.9 million (USD 277.6 million); national revenues were up 6.3% to GBP 91.3 million (USD 168.5 million).
Revenues over the 12 months to the end of March reached a record GBP 611.6 million (USD 1.125 billion) and the bureau notes heavy use of radio by major advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, Lever Faberge and Sainsbury's.
Radio Advertising Bureau Marketplace & PR Manager Lynne Springett commented, "The Q1 figures provide a great start to the year for Commercial Radio. Advertisers are increasingly being attracted to radio by its proven effectiveness and ability to increase sales and, with digital radio offering more and more targeting opportunities, we look forward to seeing this trend continue."
The top five spenders were the UK government, whose spending was up 27.5% year-on-year, followed by Proctor and Gamble (up 40%), Sainsbury's (down 3.8%), British Telecom (down 14.4%) and Lever Faberge Home Care (up 96.8%).
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
2004-06-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are co-sponsoring a public forum in Washington, D.C., today to examine how "the relationship between local media and government can be strengthened to support local market operational readiness to cope with terrorist attacks, natural disasters or other similar occurrences."
The forum will include panel sessions that will discuss case studies in emergency planning and co-ordination between local media and the government; fostering communications and relations between local government and media; and a checklist on media preparedness.
2004-06-02: Arbitron has announced that Sporting News Radio, the US 24-hour sports radio network which has 430 affiliates, is joining its RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) national radio ratings service, the first stand-alone SportsTalk network to become a RADAR client.
Sporting News Radio is also streamed live through SportingNews.com, Radio@AOL and Radio@Netscape.
Its addition will bring the total number of RADAR-rated networks to 41 with the first report to include being the RADAR 82 release in October.
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 80):
2004-06-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cut from USD 10,000 to USD 1,000 a penalty imposed on Ad-Venture Media, Inc., Licensee of WQRK-FM, Bedford, Indiana, for violation of antenna structure painting rules.
Ad-Venture has not denied the offence but had sought a reduction or cancellation based on its past history of compliance, prompt remedial action, and inability to pay.
The FCC cut the penalty to USD 1,300 on the basis of inability to pay then reduced it by a further USD 300 on the basis of a history of compliance but did not accept that remedial action justified any further reduction.
2004-06-01: Europe will have some 40 million digital radio receivers by 2010 with nearly half of them, some 17.5 million, in the UK according to a report "European Digital Radio - On a roll, or another false dawn?" by Eureca Research; it says 2003 was a watershed year for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in the UK and the UK success is changing European perceptions.
Eureca says the value of the receiver market could be Euros 1.3 billion (USD 1.6 billion) by 2010 and adds that its 2004 DAB survey says that this year could be a decisive one for Europe as receivers are launched by large electronics companies, their prices fall, and spectrum and regulatory issues are finally addressed.
The organization's research director Gareth Owen commented, "We found that there is a new sense of optimism in several countries as a result of developments in the United Kingdom during 2003. Several public broadcasters have launched new digital-only channels and are gearing up for major DAB marketing campaigns as receivers become available. However, there are still problems in some of the other countries, and in particular, a lot of work remains to be done to get commercial broadcasters involved in digital radio".
Eureca also noted the multi-platform nature of digital radio listening in the UK where more than 10 million a week listen through digital TV receivers and comments that Europe as well as the Eureka 147 DAB standard for FM broadcasts may also have two other digital standards - the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard developed primarily for international broadcasting and offering opportunities for use of AM spectrum and possibly a proprietary Digital Satellite Radio (DSR) standard.
Both these technologies, says Eureca, would have to speedily acquire a critical mass of broadcasters and listeners to succeed.
DSR, which it sees as adapting US satellite radio technology, has a 3-5 year window to succeed according to Euraca.
It also notes that further DAB take-up could be spurred by the availability late this year of Electronic Programme Guides for receivers and that the continuing development of FM and DAB modules for integration into mobile phone and PDA devices could also "kick-start new revenue-generating data services for broadcasters."
2004-06-01: UK Channel 4 TV is preparing to launch a national radio station in conjunction with Simon Fuller, the former manager of the Spice Girls pop group and a radio company, thought to be UBC Media , according to the UK Telegraph.
The paper says that Fuller, who is known for creating the Pop Idol television series, and Channel 4 TV plan to turn the Popworld music TV show that he has devised into a commercial brand that can be exported and also to launch a Popworld radio station,
The paper says the plan is said to have been masterminded by Rob Woodward, a former investment banker, who heads 4 Ventures, the commercial arm of Channel 4 and an initial agreement is expected to be signed within the next two weeks.
UK Telegraph report:
2004-06-01: UK Reporting on Progress Media's Air America Radio, the New York Times on Monday refers to its first two months as "convulsive" even by the chaotic standards of a new media company and says its office politics have undercut its assurance that it has the finance and leadership to survive past this November's US Presidential election.
It notes that star name host Al Franken has said he has agreed not o draw a salary, at least temporarily and quotes him as saying, "We had some bad management. Then we got some good management'' and adding, tongue only partly in cheek, "It's a little fuzzy to me exactly who's in charge.''
"The turmoil," says the report, "has shed light on the network's corporate culture, laying bare a mismatched collection of managers and investors, including Democratic Party fund-raisers, Internet entrepreneurs and radio veterans who, as it turned out, did not get along especially well. Even as the network was finding an audience with its blend of humour and commentary, many of the principals' business relationships were dissolving in a flurry of charges and counter charges."
Of the management, former chief executive, Mark Walsh, who had said in March that the company had raised more than USD 20 million, said he had been "misled" about the figure and said he resigned in April (See RNW April 28) because "the company wasn't transparent'' and "I was unable to decipher how it was being operated.''
President Jon Sinton said in a separate interview, that he, too, had been misled about the company's resources and that a cash crunch had ensued as a result. "Financing wasn't as available for operational issues as we'd thought it was,'' he said.
Former chairman Evan M. Cohen, who resigned last month (See RNW May 7), declined to comment about the company's finances while he was there.
On the plus side, the Times reports that where the service can be heard it is attracting listeners and in New York City its home station WLIB-AM appears to be holding its own against Limbaugh's outlet, WABC-AM.
Ratings are awaited for other markets but signs so far are positive and Tom Taylor, editor of Inside Radio, commented, "There's a good chance they'll right the ship business-wise and keep going forward.''
The current Air America structure has Sinton reporting to new chief executive Doug Kreeger with Anita Drobny, the Chicago venture capitalist who with her former husband Sheldon initiated the idea of a liberal talk network, as chairwoman and Carl Ginsburg, a former news producer at NBC and CBS, as chief operating office.
Franken and Sinton would not say what funding was in place but said they had assurances there would be no problems in staying on air until November and beyond.
"No one is promising things they can't promise,'' said Franken. "But it appears to me that from the other people that are stepping up, the financing will be in place Imagine how we're going to do when we know what we're doing.''
Previous Progress Media/Air America:
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