March 2006 Archive
-February 2006 -April 2006 -
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 previous relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
RNW March comment - in "The Battle for rating" considers whether Arbitron can retain its business against potentially superioer technological competition to the PPM.
RNW February comment - asks whether commercial radio's current business model can survive new technologies and competition.
RNW January comment - - Looks at where digital radio is, where we'd like it to go and is very disappointed by HD if the samples on iBiqity's site - much worse than good quality FM on a UK site - are anything to go by.
2006-03-31: Shares in Arbitron slipped a little again on Thursday following the news that Arbitron is to hold off dropping its diaries in Houston and switching to its Portable People Meter (PPM) until it receives full Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for the PPM service.
Arbitron had said it would drop diaries and switch to PPM ratings in Houston in July this year, using a 2,000 strong panel but following a meeting of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council agreed to retain diaries until it receives accreditation for the PPM.
Arbitron shares ended Thursday down 0.47% at USD 33.56 having at one point dipped to USD 33.34, just below its 52-week low of USD 33:35.
Previous Media Rating Council:
2006-03-31: The UK Guardian, which on Wednesday reported that GCap Media had dropped its threat to sue regulator Ofcom following assurances that a planned new national digital multiplex will not be allowed to broadcast stations that compete with those on the existing Digital One commercial national multiplex, now reports that the regulator has denied making any special assurances to GCap.
It says an Ofcom spokesman said that it had merely clarified some points about its published consultation at GCap's request adding, "GCap/Digital One requested clarification of some of the proposals in the consultation The Future Licensing of DAB Digital Radio. The meetings enabled Ofcom to provide clarification."
"As set out in the DAB consultation," he added, "Ofcom proposes to interpret its statutory duties such that any proposed line-up of services on a further national radio multiplex should appeal to tastes and interests that are distinct from those catered for by services on the existing national multiplex."
Regarding any interest in a second commercial multiplex, the spokesman said GCap would not be allowed to have a controlling interest but could take a minority one.
GCap, the majority shareholder in Digital One has opposed the new national multiplex on the basis that when GWR took its stake in the multiplex, which was launched with NTL in 1999, it was told it would be the only commercial national licence holder for digital radio: When Ofcom proposed adding a further multiplex or multiplexes GWR had threatened legal action (See RNW Apr 2, 2005), a threat that GCap, formed by a merger of GWR and Capital Radio, had subsequently repeated.
UK Guardian report 1 (saying GCap had withdrawn objections):
UK Guardian report 2 (saying Ofcom has denied any special assurances):
2006-03-31: Former St Louis KTRS-AM morning host David Lenihan has now agreed with the station, which fired him after a comment in which he used the word "coon" in connection with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's suitability to become Commissioner of the National Football League (See RNW Mar 24) that leaving it is in "everyone's best interest" according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
The announcement was made after a meeting between Lenihan and station executives: attributed to Lenihan it said, "we agree it is in everyone's best interest to part company and put this matter
behind us, as professionals and as a community."
Only hours before that Lenihan, who with his wife Karen has joined the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), has appeared at a news conference held by St Louis NAACP leaders at which they called for his reinstatement saying they believed that he was sorry and saying the incident provided a "teachable moment."
Lenihan and his wife said they had joined the organization this week. The NAACP St Louis chapter President Harold Crumpton, who had initially praised the prompt dismissal of Lenihan, said he changed his mind after a chapter member said he had talked to Lenihan and that Lenihan had said he would like to have the group's help.
Another NAACP member, Elston McCowan, told the paper, "God forgives us," said member. "David did exactly what we ask all Christians to do - seek reconciliation with the person we've offended. Who are we to continue to persecute him and his family?"
At the news conference Lenihan and his wife denied that they had joined the NAACP for convenience and that Lenihan was involved in a publicity stunt to boost your career
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2006-03-31: CanWest's new UK Solent regional station Original 106 has appointed John Evington, previously Group Programme Director for the Wireless Group, now taken over by UTV, as its programme director.
The station, which was the first where an overseas bidder took a UK licence following easing of ownership regulations in the Communications Act (See RNW Sep 6, 2005) is to go on air later this year with an album-led Adult Alternative format. CanWest has been expanding its global radio operations with further purchases in New Zealand and an entry into the Turkish market in the past year.
Evington, who began his radio career on Piccadilly Radio in Manchester in 1978 then moved to BBC Radio 2 briefly before resuming his commercial career as Programme Director for Signal Radio and then moving to the Wireless Group.
Since he left them he has been working as a consultant and last year went to China in a training role for Radio Foshan in Guangdong Province, China (See RNW Jul 26, 2005).
He commented of his appointment, "I remember reading the Original 106 license application and thinking that this was a station I could - and would listen to. This is a fantastic opportunity to launch a new radio service in what is, without doubt, one of the best markets in the UK".
2006-03-31: According to the New York Post David Lee Roth "appears headed for another showdown with CBS Radio - this one potentially fatal."
Quoting "sources" John Mainelli says Roth was "ordered to make significant changes to his radio show this week" adding that Roth's audience was down to an estimated 32,000 listeners last month compared to predecessor Howard Stern's 277,000 last December and saying that CBS executives, who "read the riot act" to Roth last month were "much more forceful" this time.
Mainelli says Roth has been told to "get a Robin Quivers-style sidekick, take direction from his bosses and put more effort into his show" and notes that Stern has said on his Sirius Satellite Radio show that he heard Roth "does no show prep or post-production meetings, curses when he has to record commercials [and] is always angry and complaining."
Roth had been broadcasting from Miami this week but was replaced by WFNY-FM (Free FM) midday hosts JV & Elvis on Wednesday and yesterday. CBS said Roth was not "suspended" and would be back on air today.
RNW comment: Whatever may be said about allowing time for new shows to bed down, the futures of both Roth and Rover (Shane French, the former Cleveland host who replaced Stern in Chicago and on CBS Radio's mid-west stations) must be suspect. As well as poor ratings both have attracted heavy criticism of their performance.
On the West Coast Adam Carolla has a long way to go with ratings but is attracting more favourable comment. Should his ratings pick-up we wouldn't be very surprised to see him in more markets or even going national at the expense of his current Free FM colleagues.
New York Post report:
2006-03-31: Montreal Jewish station Radio Shalom. which was granted a 1,000 watts commercial religious AM licence earlier this month to replace the service it currently offers on the subsidiary communications multiplex operation (SCMO) facilities of CIRA-FM Montréal (See RNW Licence News Mar 19), expects to be on air in late May or early June according to the Canadian Jewish News quoting its programs director Philippe Régnoux.
The station, which terms itself North America's first full-time Jewish radio station first went on air in 1999, and expects its new AM signal to cover all of Greater Montreal. It will broadcast in French (60 per cent), English (30 per cent) and Hebrew (10 per cent) and Stan Asher, who co-ordinates English programming, said the goal is to create a radio station that will be of interest to the broad spectrum of the Jewish community and even the general public.
Régnoux told the paper he was confident an AM station would reach a much larger audience than it currently attracts - around 7,000 people daily.
Canadian Jewish News report:
Radio Shalom web site:
2006-03-30: BBC Radio 3 has joined the ranks of BBC radio station going for Hollywood names with an appearance by Jude Law in a specially commissioned play "Eyes Down Looking", written, directed and introduced by director, producer and writer Anthony Minghella as part of the station's Samuel Beckett centenary celebrations.
The play will air in "The Verb" on Saturday (21:15 GMT) and is the story of a grieving father and son remembering their dead wife and mother: law plays the son, Juliet Stevenson The Mother and David Threlfall The Father and Minghella commented of the cast, "Three of my favourite actors in a room, who agreed to this without having read my script - that's not bad!"
Law commented of the drama, "It's a puzzle of words - a great excuse to sit and talk for a couple of hours. It's lovely working on something by a great writer who was inspired by a great writer."
The programme will also include Billie Whitelaw reminiscing on her 25 years as his close artistic collaborator in conversation with actress Lisa Dwan.
Other Beckett-inspired programming on Radio 3 will include newly commissioned dramas by leading young playwrights, discussions of Beckett's work, and, in a Beckett Evening on Sunday April 9, new productions of "Krapp's Last Tape", starring Corin Redgrave, and "Embers" directed by Stephen Rea and featuring Michael Gambon, Sinead Cusack and Rupert Graves: Radio 3 will also broadcast a new recording of "Waiting for Godot" in Drama on 3 the following Sunday.
2006-03-30: Former Vermont micro-station radio free Brattleboro, which was closed down by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in June last year after various court battles (See RNW Jun 24, 2005) and a previous closedown by the Commission is to continue its legal fight with the FCC.
The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the two parties, who were ordered by US District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha to negotiate a settlement were not able to reach agreement because, according to rfb attorney James Maxwell said the station would not sign a document admitting it broke the law.
Maxwell said the station had been broadcasting without a licence since 1998 but only because one was not available and told the paper, "Since the FCC does not issue licenses for 10-watt stations, there are no regulations for 10-watt stations, so there is no violation."
The paper adds that the FCC offered to return the station's equipment if it agreed to the terms, but rfb founding member Larry Bloch said the equipment was a small price to pay to maintain radio rights and added, "We certainly wouldn't want to jeopardize the low-power radio movement."
rfb is now offer air as a licensed 100-watt station Brattleboro Community Radio, to be run by Vermont Earth Works is scheduled to launch soon (See RNW Dec 25, 2005).
Brattleboro Reformer report:
rfb web site:
2006-03-30: The UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent, reports that Guardian Media Group's three Real Radio stations - in Wales, Scotland and Yorkshire - are to air a "bespoke" chart show fronted by former BBC Radio DJ Mark Goodier.
He will record a separate show for each station based on music airplay and sales in each area and the paper quotes John Simons, the group programme director of GMG Radio as saying, "This is the first time many listeners have had the opportunity to listen to a music chart show that really reflects their area. It'll be interesting to see how musical tastes differ in each of our regions."
The three-hour Real Top 40 chart show, to be broadcast on Saturdays between 12pm and 3pm starting this weekend, will air in addition to the UK commercial radio A-List chart show that is broadcast on Sundays.
The Guardian also reports that BBC Radio 2 has dropped its national big band competition, which it had been airing since 1975. Last May's broadcast, won by the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Chetham's School of Music Big Band, says the paper was the last broadcast but it adds that Radio 2 says it is not giving up on big bands but will increase its commitment to big band talent by devoting three editions of its Monday nights "Big Band Special" to up and coming musicians.
So far the matter has not raised great comment on the station message boards although this could be because word has not yet got around.
UK Guardian on BBC Radio 2:
UK Guardian on Real Radio chart show:
2006-03-30: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has renewed in principle Today FM's national licence for a ten year period and has praised the station as "exceptional" in making the announcement.
Today FM, owned by Radio Ireland Limited, has been on air since 1997 and the BCI board expressed its "satisfaction with the exceptional quality of the application coupled with the track record of the applicant" and added, "On this basis the Board considered that it was appropriate that the licence should be awarded in principle at this time."
The BCI has also announced that it has invited News 106 Limited (Newstalk 106) to a public oral hearing on April 24 regarding its application for a quasi-national news/speech licence: It said it was "satisfied that the application was of sufficient standard to qualify for this second phase in the licensing process" but "In light of the nature and type of service being applied for, the Commission felt that an oral hearing was appropriate to further test concepts and propositions within the application."
In Limerick where it received one expression of interest for the Limerick City and County Broad Format licence - from Treaty Radio Limited (Limerick's Live 95FM) the Commission says it has decided that it will seek the authorisation of ComReg to advertise a broad based service for the franchise area and will subsequently seek applications for its provision.
Previous Newstalk 106:
2006-03-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a USD 21,000 penalty on a Maine Amateur Radio Station licensee and one of USD 7,000 on the former licensee of a Montana AM.
The lower penalty went to Alpine Broadcasting Limited Partnership, the former licensee of KWYS- AM, West Yellowstone, for failing to maintain a meaningful managerial and staff presence at the KWYS main studio.
The company had argued following a Notice of Apparent Violation that the NAL is "unenforceable against Alpine, and that the agent's assessments of the station's main studio were not consistent with the facts at the time of the inspection."
Regarding the former, Scott D. Parker, who identifies himself on the "Former General Partner of Alpine Broadcasting Limited Partnership" said KWYS was sold to Chaparral Broadcasting and that "Alpine has completed "'winding down' its business affairs . . . [and that] Alpine is nothing more than a shell entity without any assets or cash."
The FCC notes no documentation was provided to support this statement and that the NAL had made it clear that documentation had to be provided to consider a penalty unenforceable.
Regarding the issue of the facts - the FCC said its agent had found the main studio locked with no station personnel present and only a sign referring persons seeking the public file to see a realty agency, located across the hall, for instructions on how to gain access, that the agent was told no one associated with KWYS had been present at the studio for the last few months and that Alpine's General Partner at its office in Ketchum, Idaho, told the agent that KWYS was run remotely from that office - Alpine said the partner had told the agent at the time of the inspection that the station had two employees and an engineer on contract who "must be out of the office." It added that the representative of the realty company who held the key to the KWYS main studio and unlocked the main studio for the Seattle agent "had a long working relationship with the radio station" and that he "had previously agreed to serve as alternate chief operator in the event station personnel were out" but acknowledged that KWYS was not on the air for nearly four months between January 2004 and May 2004.
Based on this the FCC held that there had been a breach of regulations and confirmed the full penalty.
The USD 21,000 penalty went to Glenn A. Baxter of Belgrade Lakes for interference with the ongoing communications of other Amateur radio stations, failure to exercise station control, transmission of communications in which he had a pecuniary interest, and transmission of communications that constituted impermissible broadcasting.
The commission has reacted to what it termed "numerous complaints of deliberate interference" from his Station K1MAN, issuing warning notices in September and October 2004 and subsequently carrying out an investigation after which it issued a Notice of Apparent Liability in June last year for USD 21,000.
In response to numerous complaints of deliberate interference caused by transmissions from Baxter's Amateur Radio Station K1MAN to ongoing radio communications of other amateur stations, the Bureau issued Warning Notices to Baxter on September 15, 2004 and October 29, 2004. Agents in the Commission's Boston Field Office ("Boston Office") subsequently conducted an investigation, including monitoring and inspecting Baxter's station and, as a result of the investigation, the Boston Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability to Baxter on June 7, 2005, in the amount of twenty-one thousand dollars ($21,000).
The FCC said agents observed his station start transmissions on top of existing communications and also broadcast information regarding his website, which offers various products for sale, and also a 70-minute interview with a person who was considering whether to retain Baxter Associates, an employment-search firm owned by Baxter broadcasts concerning pecuniary interests that are prohibited to amateur licensees.
Baxter had responded denying any liability and citing the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the US Constitution (which relate to the requiring a Grand Jury indictment and right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed) and requesting "all documentation regarding the alleged apparent liability and a trial like hearing before the full Commission."
The issue was made a broader one by a petition filed by REC Networks for Leave to File Amicus Pleading and an associated Motion for Partial Reconsideration or Declaratory Ruling: REC was concerned that the ruling could subject many amateur radio licensees to similar enforcement action merely for uttering a website address on their stations.
The commission ruled that Baxter has not shown that there is any reason for us to follow anything but our ordinary procedures for monetary forfeitures or that a hearing "will better serve the ends of justice" and also denied REC's application although it noted that however, that the violation for which Baxter is being assessed a forfeiture is not the mere mention of a website but of his site that offered items for sale.
2006-03-29: Latest Australian radio ratings just released by Nielsen Media Research show DMG Australia's new Vega FM stations in Sydney and Melbourne still failing to make much impact in their third ratings but with a slight consolation as in both cities Vega moved up a rank and grew share - from 1.7% to 2.1% in Sydney and from 1.1% to 1.6% in Melbourne. For its target 40-54 baby boomer age group it had a 3% share in Sydney and a 2.6% share in Melbourne.
At the top end in both cities the established leaders consolidated their lead with Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB in Sydney increasing its overall share albeit it slipped back a little in the breakfast slot from a 17.5 to a 17.4 share but more than made up for it in the 0900 to noon slot where its share was up from 12.2% to 14.7%. In Melbourne, Southern Cross Broadcasting's 3AW increased its share from 12.9 to 14.5 with pluses in all day parts.
Although Alan Jones continued his dominance of the breakfast slot for 2GB there was good news for Southern Cross rival 2UE in the time slot with the team of Mike Carlton and Peter FitzSimons increasing their share from 8.7% to 9.5% having already moved up from a 7.2% share in the previous ratings.
In second rank, Austereo's 2-DAY continued its rise and took its share up from 10.0% to 10.4% but DMG's Nova slipped back from 9/0% to 8.0% and dropped from third to fourth spot.
For the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) new breakfast host Adam Spencer slipped slightly from an 8.6% share to 8.5% but there was good news for former ABC host Angela Catterns, now hosting Vega's breakfast show: She increased her share from 1.6% to 2.4%, recovering the ground she had lost so far this year and taking her weekly audience up from 100,000 to 139,000 listeners. Vega's Melbourne breakfast team also increased share but by rather less - up from 0.8% to 1.1%
Perhaps the worst news in Sydney was for John Laws at 2UE: His morning share dropped from 9.3% to 8.1%
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
Adelaide: Mix 14.5 (14.3) - Up from second; Nova - 13.5 (13.1) - Up from fourth; 5AA 12.8 (14.1) - same rank.
*SAFM with 12.5 (14.5) fell from second to fourth pushing ABC 891 with 11.6 (10.7) into fourth.
Brisbane - Triple M with 16.5 (16.5) - same rank; Nova with 14.4 (13.1) - same rank; 4BC with 10.4 (9.9) - up from fourth.
*97.3 FM with 10.7 (10.7) was down from third to fourth.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 14.5 (12.9) - same rank; ABC 774 with 13.0 (12.4) - same rank; Fox FM with 10.3 (10.0) - up from fourth - and 3MMM with 10.3 (9.1) - up from sixth.
Gold with 9.9 (10.9) was down from third to fifth and Nova with 9.0 (9.6) fell back from fifth to sixth.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 18.1 (16.4) - same rank; ABC 720 with 12.1 (11.6) - same rank; Nova with 11.8 (11.3) - up from fourth.
*96FM with 11.7 (11.5) fell from third to fourth.
*Sydney: 2GB 13.4 (12.4) - same rank; 2-DAY with 9.6 (9.9) same rank; 2UE with 8.3 (8.2) - up from fifth;
* WSFM with 7.6 (9.3) fell from third to seventh whilst Nova with 7.8 (8.1) was up to fourth from sixth followed by MIX FM with 7.7 (8.4) - down from fourth and ABC 702 with 7.7 (6.9) - up from eighth.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-03-29: Nominations announced for the 2006 Sony Radio Academy Awards, the British Radio Industry "Oscars", include a mainly BBC contest for The Entertainment Award for which the nominations are newly-appointed BBC Radio 2 host Chris Evans; Jonathan Ross -also from BBC Radio 2; Chris Moyles from BBC Radio 1; Danny Baker from BBC London and Ugly Phil from Emap's West Midlands Kerrang! Regional station.
In contrast to the Entertainment Award, commercial stations dominate the Breakfast Show Award nominations: They go to (Spence) Macdonald & (Mike) Maguire at Breakfast on Emap's Magic 1152, Manchester; Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Chrysalis's LBC FM; The Today programme on BBC Radio 4; (Mike) Toolan in the Morning on Emap's Manchester station Key 103; and Wes (Butters) at Breakfast on Chrysalis's Galaxy Manchester.
Tim Blackmore, Chairman of the Sony Radio Academy Awards Committee, said: "The accelerating rate of change within our industry is reflected in the way these awards have kept pace across almost a quarter of a century. The enthusiastic support for 'The Sony's' from all sectors of UK radio is evidenced by an outstanding year in which the overall number of entries has increased, alongside a significant increase in support from our local and regional broadcasters."
The other nominations announced are:
Station of the Year:
UK Station of the Year - XFM, as BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2
Digital Terrestrial Station of the Year - Capital Disney, BBC 1Xtra and Planet Rock
Station of the Year - 1 million plus potential audience - BBC Radio Ulster, Choice FM, London, and Kerrang! 105.2, West Midlands
Station of the Year under 300,000 potential audience - Coast 96.3, Isle of Wight Radio and The New Fire 107.6FM
Station programmer of the year:
Jeff Zycinski - BBC Radio Scotland
Mark Browning - London's Heart 106.2
Richard Park - Magic 105.4
Music programme award:
Ben Jones Most Wanted - Virgin Radio
hit40uk - Somethin' Else for GCap, Chrysalis, SRH and various UK radio stations
Mornings with Rick Shaw - Kerrang! 105.2 West Midlands
Scott Mills - BBC Radio 1
The Weekender with Adam Longworth - Xfm
Music Radio Personality of the Year:
Lauren Laverne, Xfm
Jamie Theakston, London's Heart 106.2
Marc Riley - BBC 6 Music
Tim Lovejoy - Virgin Radio
Music broadcaster of the year:
Andrew McGregor - BBC Radio 3
Paul Gambaccini - Howlett Media Productions and BBC Radio & Music Factual for Radio 2 & Radio 4
Suzi Quatro - Howlett Media Productions for BBC Radio 2
Tim Westwood - Justice Entertainment for BBC Radio 1
Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1
Speech broadcaster of the year:
Eddie Mair - BBC Radio 4
Jeremy Vine - BBC Radio 2
Jim Hawkins - BBC Radio Shropshire
Simon Mayo - BBC Radio 5 Live
Umberto Saoncella - Real Radio Yorkshire
News journalist of the year:
Angus Stickler - BBC Radio 4
Christian Fraser - BBC Radio 5 Live
Eddie Mair - BBC Radio 4
Peter Allen - BBC Radio 5 Live
The Radio City News Team - Radio City 96.7
Specialist music programme award:
Andy Kershaw - BBC Radio 3
The 6 Mix - BBC 6 Music
The Charles Hazlewood Show - Somethin' Else for BBC Radio 2
The Loose Cannons - Kiss 100
Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1
The Breaking News Award:
GCap Media News for Capital Radio for its report The London Bombings;
BBC Radio 4 -The Death & Funeral of Pope John Paul II;
BBC Radio 4 - The Demise of Rover at Longbridge
Key 103 - Glazer and Manchester United;
Radio Five Live - The Death of The Pope.
Interactive programme award:
606 - Campbell Davison Media for BBC Radio 5 Live
Alex Dyke Phone-In - Isle of Wight Radio
Justin Moorhouse - Key 103
Scott Mills - BBC Radio 1
Simon James and Hill - Chase Enterprises for TLRC Network
News & current affairs programme award:
1800 news bulletin - BBC Radio News for Radio 4
Real News at Five - Real 24/7 News for Real Radio Yorkshire
Talkback - BBC Radio News & Current Affairs for Radio Ulster
The Today programme - BBC Radio News for Radio 4
Viking FM News - 96.9 Viking FM
Sports programme award:
Fighting Talk - World's End Television for BBC Radio Five Live
Hearts - That Penalty! - BBC Radio Scotland
The Danny Kelly Sports Show - BBC London 94.9
The Real Football Phone-In - Real Radio Scotland
The Summer Club - BBC Radio Ulster
Speech programme award:
Broadcasting House - BBC Radio News for Radio 4
Jon Ronson On ... Unique the production company for BBC Radio 4
The Reunion - Whistledown Productions for BBC Radio 4
The Stephen Nolan Show - BBC Radio Ulster
The Umberto Show - Real Radio Yorkshire
Hitler in Therapy - BBC World Service Drama for the World Service
In Search of Lost Time - Fiction Factory for BBC Radio 4
Last Loves - BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4
No Background Music - BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4
What a Carve Up! - Tiger Aspect for BBC Radio 4
oneclick/comedy ... The Milk Run - BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 1
That Mitchell & Webb Sound - BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4
The Ape that Got Lucky - BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 4
The Flight of the Conchords - BBC Radio Entertainment for Radio 2
The Lee Mack Show - BBC Radio Entertainment for BBC Radio 2
84 Book Crossing Road - Falling Tree Productions for BBC Radio 4
A Requiem for St Kilda - BBC Radio & Music Factual for Radio 4
Nobody Told Me There'd Be Days Like These: John Lennon 25 Years On - Radio City News for Radio City 96.7
The Search for Black Trafalgar :
Previous Radio Academy:
Previous Sony Awards (Sony 2005 Awards):
2006-03-29: San Francisco sports show host Larry Kreuger, who was suspended last year by Susquehanna's KNBR-FM after comments about the Giants including criticism of manager Felipe Alou's whose mind he said had "turned to Cream of Wheat" (See RNW Aug 8, 2005) and then fired along with producer Tony Rhein and program director Bob Agnew for ridiculing Alou's criticism of his apology (See RNW Aug 11, 2005) has settled a lawsuit he brought against the station.
The San Francisco Chronicle says that Krueger was barred by a confidentiality clause of giving details of the settlement but did comment, "It's over, and I'm pleased. That's all I can say."
Krueger, who now works for KGO-AM in San Francisco on weekdays and at KHTK-AM in Sacramento at weekends, and Rhein filed separate lawsuits in October, alleging that KNBR's then owner, Susquehanna Radio, fired them to appease the Giants. Susquehanna has subsequently been taken over by Cumulus.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2006-03-29: Administrators of Australian AM network WorldAudio say that the company might still be re-structured and added that they hoped for approval of a new digital trial licence using the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM ) system.
WorldAudio had called in the receivers after failing to raise new funding in the wake of a government decision to allocate new Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) spectrum only to existing players for the first six years (See RNW Mar 22) thus seemingly dashing its hopes of using the low-power Radio 2 AM network to create a national digital network.
Administrator Bob Elliot of the accounting firm Hall Chadwick said he was to meet regulators to discuss the possibility of a DRM licence saying he was "hoping" for this and had been told such a trial was still being considered although it was unclear whether any licence would cover all of the country or just some areas.
The administrators say the company will continue operating as normal for the moment but only on a week-to week basis: They have placed advertisements in the hope of finding a buyer or investor and say several possible buyers have been identified.
The Australian report:
2006-03-28: ABC's Daytime Direction Network retained top rank but Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network moved into second place, pushing ABC Prime Access into third in Arbitron's RADAR 88 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering the period from January 6, 2005- December 14, 2005.
In the top three, ABC Daytime Direction Network lost 160,000 on the RADAR 87 numbers to end up with a weekly audience of 7.28 million and its AQH was down from 3.0 to 2.9; Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network gained 460,000 listeners to end up with 5.752 million and an AQH of 2.3, up from 2.2; and ABC's Prime Access network lost 119,000 to end up with 5.716 million and an AQH of 2.3, down from 2.4
Following them Westwood CBS News Primetime Network pulled back a rank to end up fourth having gained 198,000 listeners to a weekly 5.406 million and AQH up from 2.1 to 2.2 whilst Dial-Global Complete FM Network gained 339,000 listeners to move up from seventh to fifth rank with 5.264 million listeners and AQH up from 2.0 to 2.1.
RADAR now rates 56 networks having added four since RADAR 87 - Premiere Radio Networks' Morning Drive FM, Spectrum, Select, and Urban Two and also saw an increase in sample size from 95,000 to 100,000 diary keepers
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous Jones MediaAmerica:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 87):
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2006-03-28: UK Chrysalis Group in a pre-close trading statement remains bullish about its prospects despite what it terms "challenging "conditions for the radio industry over the first half of its financial year - to the end of last month - during which it says its radio operations have "comfortably outperformed the market" although they are expected to be down 4% on a year earlier on a like-for-like basis. Chrysalis Music, it added, has had a strong first six months
It says that for the full year trading "continues in line with the Board's expectations" and notes "much improved" trading for Chrysalis Radio with like for like revenues expected to be up 10% over the figures for the same two months a year earlier and adds, This, together with last month's Q4 2005 Rajar audience figures showing Heart 106.2 as London's most listened to station, gives us confidence that Chrysalis Radio's full year targets will be met."
Group Chief Executive Richard Huntingford said in a statement, "The out-performance of both our radio and music divisions, against their respective peers during the year to date, confirms that the benefits of our strategy of focusing on these two strong businesses are coming through as planned."
"Heart 106.2," he added, "remains the most listened to station in the important London market and we have once again demonstrated the strength of our music catalogue and our distribution business, all of which gives me confidence that the current financial year will be a successful one for the Group."
In other UK radio business SMG shares rose on Monday on bid rumours, hitting 95 pence at one time and ending the day up 3.4% at 92 pence.
The Sunday Times had reported that Mecom, the investment vehicle run by former Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) chief executive David Montgomery, has been secretly building a stake in SMG, ahead of a potential GBP 300m (USD 525 million) takeover bid.
It added that Montgomery has enlisted Rob Woodward, the former commercial director of Channel 4, as a prospective chief executive of SMG if Mecom decides to proceed with a bid and said Mecom and Woodward are thought to be working with unnamed investors on an approach to break up SMG and sell on some of its assets to trade or financial buyers.
Mecom was established to invest in underperforming media assets and is also bidding for the Dutch newspaper group Limburger Dagblad: It has also made investments in two German regional newspaper groups, the Berliner Zeitung and Hamburger Morgenpost.
RNW comment: SMG's fortunes have been getting somewhat better recently on the back of improved ratings for Virgin Radio: Montgomery, who made his name cutting costs at MGN, does not seem a likely figure in our view to enhance the performance. More likely to be a case, we'd suggest, of surgery leading to dismemberment than healthy growth.
UK Sunday Times report:
2006-03-28: Some 30% of Howard Stern's fans followed him when he moved to Sirius Satellite Radio according to a Jacobs Media survey late last month of 25,000 respondents from more than 75 Rock-formatted stations from all over the U.S. that also shows subscriber parity in the group between Sirius and its competitor XM, each with a 6% share.
There is a plus for Sirius from the survey, however, in that it has an edge amongst those who say they are likely to subscribe to satellite radio this year and a plus for Stern in that he was the key reason Sirius subscribers had moved to satellite...
The survey indicates that in the markets where Stern was broadcasting on commercial radio in 2005 (more than 15,000 respondents)a fifth of his "regular listeners" have already subscribed to Sirius and a further one in ten say they intend to, "a strong indicator", says Jacobs, that "for commercial radio broadcasters in Stern markets, the worst is over."
Sirius' competitor XM meanwhile has announced that it is to expand its channel line-up to offer "the most channels and most choice" in satellite radio. XM says it will add 10 new commercial-free music channels and seven regional news and talk channels from Clear Channel to end up with a total of more than 170 channels with new channels.
Among offerings on the schedule Bob Dylan's channel launches in May and "Oprah and Friends" in September.
The Clear Channel services, all of which will carry advertising, are to be grouped with Clear Channel-programmed music channels in a new category on the channel guide called "Regional News, Talk & Music Channels" thus, says XM, keeping them distinct from the 69 commercial-free music channels it offers.
XM also notes that its sports line-up, as well as Major League Baseball, also includes a newly launched channel dedicated to FIFA World Cup Soccer and that it will also carry Spanish-language coverage of World Cup Soccer.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Jacobs Media:
2006-03-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that it proposes to collect USD 288,771,000 in regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2006 - a 3.1% increase on a year earlier, and notes that as part of the requirements of the US Deficit Reduction Act is also required to collect an additional USD 10 million in the year.
The regular fees, which cover all communications service under its remit, will be collected in August-September as has been its standard practice but regarding the extra amount is seeking comment on how this should be raised, putting forward as prime options additional charges on application fees or regulatory fees.
2006-03-27: We concentrate this week in our look at print comment in the media on issues of hosts and accents, starting with the "coon" comment made by fired St Louis KTRS-AM host Dave Lenihan when discussing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's credentials to become National Football League Commissioner (See RNW Mar 24).
Whilst most reports have been about the comment, Lenihan's dismissal, and Rice's subsequent comments on Fox News - she told Chris Wallace, "My understanding is that he apologized, that he didn't mean it I accept that Because we all say things from time to time that we shouldn't say or didn't mean to say" - Jake Wagman in the St Louis Post-Dispatch analyzes the incident from a different perspective.
In a column headed "Seven-second delay could have kept racial slur off air" he says that that KTRS broadcasts on such a delay but the system was not used.
KTRS CEO Tim Dorsey said that at KTRS it is the host's responsibility to alert a technician when he wants to use the delay device, saying, "When you want something dumped you would point to the board operator, indicating to hit the button. I would say we use the seven-second delay button often. Everybody does. It's pretty standard in the business."
Lenihan, who had been with the station only a week and a half, said he was never told about the delay procedures and Roosevelt "Rick" Wright Jr., a professor at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with 48 years' experience in radio said that at most stations, censoring the radio personality is left solely to the show's producer.
Wright suggested Lenihan compounded his error when he drew attention to his mistake, repeating the word before an effusive apology, saying that if it was indeed a slip of the tongue, a more seasoned broadcaster might have been able to talk past it.
"In this case, we had a rookie trying to get out and he caused attention to it," Wright said. "That's when the phone calls started to come in."
Dorsey said of the reaction to the remark that comments had come from all over, commenting, "We've been vilified and we've been praised" and adding that comments ranged from "you are spineless and you are too politically correct" to "you did the right thing and only thing you could do."
RNW comment: It certainly seems to us that KTRS could also change its procedures and put responsibility for "dump button" use onto producers, by far a better practice. Our view is that a second person who is a listener is far better placed to spot things than a host who may be too close to something to recognize the full import of a comment in just the same way that we consider a vital part of a TV picture editor's role is to see video as a viewer will not as a correspondent and crew, who may have been in the thick of something, remember their experience. Dorsey does not come well out of this episode in our view.
After an incident when the reason for a host's departure is at least clear, our next selection is Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in this week's UK Sunday Times.
Under the heading "In the firing line" he notes, "Several radio presenters are now getting the boot, or being 'rested', as the BBC likes to say on these occasions. A listener, Paul Roberts, worked out that recently announced schedule changes - Chris Evans replacing Johnnie Walker on drivetime and so on - would erase Helen Mayhew's late-night jazz show, which he likes. He asked about this and received the following e-mail: 'Hi Paul, Helen Mayhew is being rested for the moment. Kind regards, Nic Philps, Radio 2 music programmes.'"
Donovan continues "If I had a pound for every time I have heard radio executives talk about "resting" programmes or presenters, I would be as flush as Chris Evans by now. Simon Bates, DLT, Alan Freeman, Paul Callan, Henry Kelly, Debbie Thrower, John Dunn - an endless hall of fame. Now, apart from Mayhew (poached from Jazz FM only two years ago), the axe has fallen on Radio 2's Ed "Stewpot" Stewart and Janey Lee Grace's own show, Brian Hayes of Radio Five Live and Shaheera Asante of Radio 3."
He notes that that the changes frequently happen in spring because the end of the financial year is in March and contracts often expire on March 31 and gives details of some past UK departures - saying that when Peter Hobday left the BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme after 25 years with the corporation he received no letter of thanks, that Henry Kelly was "airbrushed" off the Classic FM website overnight and concluding, "Few, however, have been as brutally treated as Richard Duncan on Metro. He was called in by his bosses before he was due to go on air and told he was being replaced. Inquiring when his last show would be, he was told: 'Yesterday.'"
Donovan also notes that what he terms "Potentially the most serious of the current changes", concerns Asante, one of only two non-white presenters on BBC Radio 3.
"Half Ghanaian, quarter Guyanese and quarter Brazilian," he writes, "she is an experienced world-music broadcaster from Canada, where she was raised. She has been the number three on Late Junction, the eclectic, award-winning music show, since 2002, brought in to add a note of diversity Asante, 39, was incensed to be told by e-mail on March 1 by the show's boss, the producer Andrew Kurowski, that she would not be covering for the regular presenters, Verity Sharp and Fiona Talkington, the next time they are both off."
She was angry about her treatment and commented that she thought she had been used as "as an 'ethnically tokenistic' presenter and is fed up with Radio 3's 'collective sugar-coated racism, and you can quote me on that'."
BBC Radio 4 also attracted comment on its role following the appointment of Ceri Thomas (See RNW Mar 22) as editor of its flagship Today breakfast programme, which first went on air I 1957.
In the UK Independent Tim Luckhurst said this "displayed BBC clumsiness at its worst. From the moment his predecessor, Kevin Marsh, resigned, executives briefed that Thomas would get the job."
He considers the gossip "unfair" and says "Thomas emerged from a genuine contest with the daunting challenge of making Today feel fresh."
"But," he continues, "the debate about whether Today exists to make trouble or simply be an avuncular establishment notice board ignores a more fundamental issue. In a time when newspapers and television have developed dramatically, the BBC's flagship radio programme has hardly changed in 20 years."
Luckhurst quotes former Today presenter Peter Hobday as saying, "If you were to invent Today today, is this really how you would do it? With all those fixed points of the sports news, the business news, the weather forecast, Thought for the Day and the big interview at ten past eight?" The programme's tradition of three- or four-minute chunks infuriates him. "I can't stand the phrase 'we will have to leave that now'. Who is the 'we'? It's not the audience."
Others were less critical with former Today editor Rod Liddle commenting, "The staid format works. People are familiar with it" and Justin Lewis of the Cardiff School of Journalism adding, "It is a pretty successful formula and Radio 4 is a revolution-free space."
Irrespective of the reasons for the changes noted by Donovan, another factor can still loom large in the UK according to David Smith in the Observer- that of "accent."
"Anyone taking up a mike," he writes, "for Radio 4 must satisfy a fanatical army of listeners famed for revolting at the tiniest tweak of their beloved schedule. So pity the poor continuity announcer facing the full force of their wrath, apparently because he lacks the 'voice of Middle England'."
"Jamaican Neil Nunes, with his Caribbean accent," he continues, "has provoked the biggest controversy among Radio 4's sensitive audience since controller Mark Damazer axed Fritz Spiegl's 'UK theme' from its early morning slot. Some describe Nunes's voice as grating and inappropriate for the station, while others dismiss this as a 'Little Englander' attitude. The kind of angry exchanges erupting on the station's website are unusual for Radio 4's urbane followers."
David Anderson, head of presentations at Radio 4, said in a statement: '[Neil] already has a lot of experience as a newsreader and journalist with the BBC World Service, and comes to us also with the gift of an unusually rich timbred voice, something many listeners have commented on favourably. And to clarify, the accent is an indication of Neil's upbringing in Jamaica.'
When we last checked the BBC Radio 4 message board on the issue there had been 113 postings - initially commenting on Nunes but later spilling out into comment on other announcers the first praising him "I've only heard him once before and he sounds great."
This was followed by one saying, "This new announcer is a con. Its a computer using speech sythesis [RNW note - incorrect Its for It's and spelling of synthesis as posted]" then others showing confusion about the accent used " BBC does stand for BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation doesn't it? Do we really have to listen to this American drawl everytime we hear an announcement?" and "Neil Lunes has a nice voice. For nice America, take it back where it belongs."
Others were much less chauvinistic " Good grief, I can't believe the amount of negative views here based on where Neil (thanks for the name :-) ) comes from. His voice is clear and is paced well, he passes the information across which is the aim. What happened to the idea of 'Nation will speak unto Nation' ?" and "His voice has a very special quality,it's mellifluous tone is addictive, he could read out the telephone directory and i would melt."
Some wanted even more diversity " ... More variety of accent is what we need. Think of the sounds of Peter Donaldson, Corrie Cofield and Chris Aldridge...and now Neil Nunes. Lovely vocal qualities in all. "
Crossing oceans and continents, our next comment concerned the problems of Australian AM radio network WorldAudio which earlier this month called in the receivers (See RNW Mar 22).
Writing in the Australian Mark Day starts his comment: "THE history of the failed rebel radio outfit WorldAudio may be summed up as: Right idea, wrong time. In two decades, perhaps, we may see the kind of Australia-wide service WorldAudio aspired to provide, but it will not be delivered in the way the company chose."
He then summed up how the whole idea depended on what the founders thought was a "loophole" in Australia's broadcasting laws, building up a network of low-powered terrestrial broadcasts over AM frequencies just outside the broadcasting services band with the hope that this would enable them to obtain digital spectrum and thus level the playing field as opposed to an initial situation where their station's power and position on the dial meant "not many people could hear them clearly." He also noted that "the backdoor method of entry into the radio industry angered conventional radio players who lobbied against them."
WorldAudio founders Graeme Logan and Andrew Thompson believed they had found a loophole in broadcast law whereby they could get on air for thousands of dollars while mainstream stations shelled out millions.
They acquired dozens of licences for low-powered terrestrial broadcasts over AM frequencies just outside the broadcasting services band. This led to two ultimately insurmountable problems: because of their power and position on the dial, not many people could hear them clearly, and the backdoor method of entry into the radio industry angered conventional radio players who lobbied against them.
Co-founder Andrew Thompson he noted, "fully aware that his 50 terrestrial transmission sites were not the basis of a profitable future, lobbied hard to be granted digital spectrum. But he failed because the incumbent mainstream players convinced Communications Minister Helen Coonan that spectrum for digital conversion should be granted only to broadcasting services band operators. They argued they had spent hundreds of millions establishing networks and brands and it would be unfair to give equal status to an upstart who paid peanuts to come in via the back door."
And of the terrestrial Radio 2 network that the company had brought into existence, Day writes, "To get radio audiences to change their habits, you need a compellingly different programming proposition. Thompson was able to attract some well-known former radio presenters, but their programming was just more of the same. Listeners could find no reason to switch and advertisers found no reason to buy time."
He says this is a similar conundrum to the one facing satellite radio in the US, where the satellite operators through offering commercial free programming plus shows like Howard Stern (on Sirius) and Opie and Anthony (on XM) that cannot be broadcast in the same form on terrestrial stations because of regulatory indecency rules appear to be on the way to succeeding.
"How long before a similar model is established for Australia?" ask Day. "The WorldAudio dream survives it."
On then to programming and first BBC 6 Music, the digital and Internet station, that on March 30th kicks off its tribute to Punk on the music's 30th anniversary in its "Pretty Ancient" event that runs to April 2.
Amongst the material on offer is breakfast show ( from 06:00 GMT) host Phil Jupiter talking to former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock about the group's first gig at the 100 Club in Oxford Street on March 30 1976 and also on Thursday at 20:00 GMT My Way: The Sid Vicious Story.
Then BBC Radio 3 and last Saturday's "Discovering Music" in which Charles Hazlewood looks at Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra", "Jazz File -Pee Wee's Blues" from the same day in which Michael Pointon marks the centenary of jazz clarinettist Pee Wee Russell's birth in the first of two programmes (the second is next Saturday at 17:00 GMT); and "Composer of the Week" (Weekdays at 11:00 GMT) which this week has Donald Macleod looking at the work of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and interviewing him at his New York home.
Then BBC Radio 2 and tomorrow at 19:30 GMT the station has the second part of "Sir Richard Rodney Bennett: An Englishman in New York" in which Russell Davies celebrates the composer's output - the first programme is on the listen again past of the web site until then.
And for a final music offering, tonight's "2006 Radio Ballad", also on BBC Radio 2, at 20:00 GMT, the fifth of six programmes inspired by the original BBC Home Service Radio Ballads of the late 50s and early 60s: Tonight's programme, "Thirty Years of Conflict", looks at the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland through the eyes of musicians including songs from Tommy Sands, Karine Polwart and John Tams.
On to drama and "Drama on 3" that next Sunday at 19:00 GMT on BBC Radio 3 marks the 50th anniversary of launch of the English Stage Company at The Royal Court on April 2, 1956 with live performances from plays featured at the theatre including Wole Soyinka, Arnold Wesker, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Joe Penhall and Laura Wade and is followed at 20:30 GMT in "The Sunday Feature" with an exploration of the theatre's history.
Then BBC Radio 4 and Saturday's "Lenny and Will" in which comic Lenny Henry goes in search of the magic of Shakespeare in performance and Sunday's "Like A Rolling Stone" in which Jeremy Harding paid tribute to French poet Arthur Rimbaud plus yet another strong "Friday Play", "First Born" by John Godber in which hard-man made good Jack worries that his daughter Jenny is too soft to cope with life - last week's production of Fritz Lang's melodrama Metropolis is available until then.
At this point we'd note for the benefit of those of tender sensibilities that BBC radio fairly often treads into use of language that in the US might well attract condemnation from the Federal Communications Commission, a cue as it happens for last week's "On the Media" from WNYC-FM: It began with "Do You Swear?", a look at the record fines for indecent content just levied on US TV and included an interview with Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, who dissented from some of the ruling, and also "NYPD Blue" creator Steven Bochco who says the series just wouldn't have got the go-ahead in the current climate in the US.
It also has an interesting perspective on the news conference by President Bush in which he took questions from, amongst others Helen Thomas, doyen of the White House press corps -- New York Newsday columnist James Pinkerton in essence says she was allowed to ask her question (which was of course not really answered) as part of a deliberate media management plan to tag her and other journalists as extremists.
Finally documentary and first Radio Netherlands whose "Research File" today looks at how researchers say they have found a genetic 'masterswitch' for scent production from plants and Friday's "A Good Life" that looks at the risks illegal migrants take to get into the US from Mexico and, from Australia, the last two weeks of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Background Briefing", the first of which in "Post-modern politics" looked at "political spin and language laundering" and how politicians appeal to emotions such as fear are driving out rational assessments, and last week's "Defence Recruitment Crisis", which looked at the problems the Australian military, among others, is having in attracting "Generation Y".
The Australian - Day:
BBC Radio 4 Message board re announcers' accents:
St Louis Post-Dispatch - Wagman:
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
UK Observer - Smith:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-03-27: KTRS-AM, which fired most of its former air staff after a deal that gave the St Louis Cardinals a half-stake in the Dorsey Media -owned station that took over Cardinals cover, has brought back former host McGraw Milhaven to replace Dave Lenihan, who was fired last week after he used the word "coon" (See RNW Mar 24).
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that station management called Milhaven shortly after Lenihan was fired as morning host and asked him to lunch.
It continues, "In between dishes of crow and humble pie at J. Buck's, the bigwigs - program director Al Brady Law and operations manager Craig Unger - asked Milhaven if he would return and take the 9 a.m. to noon slot on weekdays" and that a long-term contract has now been signed.
Milhaven said of the deal. "I'm a baseball fan and I'm a St. Louis man, so KTRS was always the perfect place for me to be," and KTRS CEO Tim Dorsey said he was "delighted that Milhaven is coming back ... I think the real winners will be the St. Louis radio listeners."
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2006-03-27: Ireland's first commercial regional radio station Beat FM could go into the black for the first time this year according to the UK Sunday Times which reports that it is hoping to increase its revenues up to Euros 1.9 million (USD 2.28 million) this year and notes that its revenue targets this year are 20% higher than for 2005.
Earlier this month figures obtained from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) by the Irish Independent revealed that the station had yet to go into profit after three years on air (See RNW Mar 19).
Chief executive Kieran McGeary said costs would be static at up to Euros 1.8 million (USD 2.16 million), which would put the Waterford-based station into the black: He also ruled out a bid for a new southwest regional licence that is now being offered by the BCI.
Previous Beat FM:
UK Sunday Times report:
2006-03-26: Last week was a fairly routine one for most of the radio regulators with a steady level of activity in most areas but no major decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it is proposing to allow Southern Cross Broadcasting to swap the frequencies of its Melbourne AM stations News/Talk/Sport - format 3AW-AM and 40s, 50s and 60s music format 3EE-AM (See RNW Mar 23) and has also ruled that Austereo's Sydney 2DAY- FM breached codes of practice by broadcasting inappropriate sexual material during Lowie's Hot 30 Countdown
ACMA ruled that the broadcast breached Codes of Practice "as the program did not meet contemporary standards of decency having regard to the likely characteristics of the audience of the licensee's service" and also because the broadcast, with an "explicit sexual theme as its core component" was broadcast before 9.30 pm
In making its ruling the Authority commented that "It was foreseeable that inviting a guest introduced as a 'porn actress' to discuss her work in an early evening time slot might lead to the broadcast of explicit material The situation was exacerbated by the offer of an attractive prize (an iPod nano) to the listener who rang in with the 'dumbest question' for the 'porn actress'."
It concluded however that subsequent re-training of the programme team and a commitment to pre-record interviews that have the potential to be of even a slightly risqué nature were sufficient for it to take no further action, although it will continue to monitor the broadcaster.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a various radio-related decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of new English-language broad-based AC format commercial FM to replace CKEC-AM, New Glasgow, and associated denials of applications from Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc.(with a Hot AC bid), Atlantic Broadcasters Limited (with a Hot AC and Pop music bid) and Acadia Broadcasting Limited (with a Classic Rock bid) for licences to operate English-language commercial FM radio stations at New Glasgow.
*Approval in part by application by Newcap for a new 100,000 watts English-language, commercial FM in New Glasgow offering new and Classic Rock to the hits of today: the approval is subject to it finding a suitable frequency.
*Approval in part by application by Newcap for a new 100,000 watts English-language, commercial FM in New Glasgow offering new and Classic Rock to the hits of today: the approval is subject to it finding a suitable frequency.
Prince Edward Island:
*Approval of new 33,000 watts English-language Classic Hits/Oldies music format commercial FM radio station in Charlottetown to replace Newcap's existing AM station CHTN, Charlottetown.
*Approval of new 73,300 watts Country music English-language commercial FM to replace Maritime Broadcasting System Limited's existing CFCY -AM, Charlottetown.
*Denial of application from Coast Broadcasting Ltd. For a licence for a new 17,900 watts English-language, commercial FM in Charlottetown. The application was considered to be technically mutually exclusive with the application filed by Maritime to convert its station CFCY from AM to FM band.
*Denial of application for a 324 watts French- and English-language, specialty FM radio station in Montréal that would broadcast Christian music.
*Denial of application for a 500 watts specialty French-language commercial FM radio station in Montréal.
*Denial of application to increase from 3,000 watts to an average ERP of 33,200 watts and relocate the transmitter of CFEI-FM, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
The CRTC noted that this was the fourth attempt to improve CFEI-FM Saint-Hyacinthe's signal in its licensed area and that it had already approved a power decrease from 3,000 watts to 640 watts and transmitter relocation and later a power increase back to 3,000 watts but had denied an earlier application for a power increase to 33,200 watts. In this case the increase would significantly expand the station's contours towards Montréal and its approval, said the commission, could prevent future use of 106.3 MHz in the Montréal area, which is one of the last FM frequencies available in this large market.
There were no radio announcements in the Republic of Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has published the reasons for its award of the new Plymouth FM to a group backed by Macquarie Bank (See RNW Mar 21) and also for its award of nine new community licences earlier this month (See RNW Mar 17).
As on previous occasions most of the awards were linked to relevant experience, links with the communities the stations intend to serve and support for the services: It noted that it has now awarded 93 community licences and said it is planning to invite applications later this year for the second round of community radio licences...
Ofcom also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding one radio complaint (See RNW Mar 21) and also a list of the applications it has received for Restricted Service Licences for RSL applications for broadcasting during Ramadan and Eid in 2006.
Ofcom notes in connection with these that, as already advised, it is planning to review its RSL rules, and we will be consulting shortly on some proposed changes including how to decide between applications submitted at the same time and proposing a service for the same event in the same location. These changes, it notes, will not be completed for the current licensing round for which it will adopt the practice of a draw to decide when there are such multiple applications.
In all Ofcom lists 79 applications, 7 for the Birmingham area; one for Blackburn; three for Bolton; eleven for Bradford; two for Bristol; one each for Dudley, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and High Wycombe; two for Huddersfield; five each for Keighley and Leeds; two for Leicester; 13 for London including two applications for Southall; one for Luton; five for Manchester; four for Middlesbrough; one for Stockton on Tees; three for Nelson; one each for Newcastle, Oldham, Peterborough, Preston and Reading; two for Sheffield; and one each for Slough and Walsall.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which earlier announced penalties of almost USD 4.3 million relating to TV indecency/obscenity breaches is still to make any announcement concerning radio breaches although rumours continue that it will soon do so and that the rulings are likely to involve various penalties against The Howard Stern Show whilst it was on terrestrial radio.
It has however levied a penalty of USD 14,000 against Gibson Tech Ed, Inc. of Orem, Utah, for the marketing of two models of unauthorized FM broadcast transmitters. Gibson had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued in September last year.
In other radio related activity it rejected a request from Galaxy Communications, L.P. to allow a change in the community of licence for WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York, noting that in 2001 staff had granted an application to move to Granby, New York, but that under current radio ownership regulations this would now take it above the permitted number of stations for the relevant market - in this case that for Arbitron's Syracuse Metro.
Galaxy it notes currently has nine stations in the market - three AM and six FM - whereas the rules permit only seven and not more than half of them either AM or FM - thus meaning it is two above each of the overall and FM limits: In the Ownership Order, the Commission grandfathered existing ownership combinations like Galaxy's that had been authorized under prior rules
It also denied a plea by Qantum Communications Corporation to prohibit a swap deal between Cumulus and Star Broadcasting Inc. under which Florida stations WNCV-FM, Niceville, and WYZB-FM, Mary Esther, went to Star and WPPG-FM, Evergreen, Alabama, and WTKE-FM, Holt, Florida, to Cumulus.
Qantum has said that Cumulus already holds an interest in too many FM stations in Arbitron's Ft. Walton Beach Metro Survey Area, that grant of the licences would give Cumulus undue market power in the market, that it had guaranteed itself market dominance through rights for itself and restrictions on Star and that it had used loans to Star to induce it to breach its agreement with Qantum for the sale of WTKE-FM.
The FCC noted that it was not the proper place to settle contractual arguments between parties but it also ruled that various clauses in the agreement between Star and Cumulus relating to format restrictions on Star, Cumulus rights in the parties Stock Pledge Agreement, and Cumulus's right of first refusal to re-acquire WNCV-FM or WYZB-FM, did breach its rules and that these had to be deleted before closing of the deal would be allowed.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-03-26: Pete Mitchell, who ended his partnership with Geoff Lloyd - they formed the Virgin Radio "Pete and Geoff" breakfast team - at the end of last year has joined BBC Radio 2 according to the Manchester Evening News.
Mitchell, who was born in Manchester and is a former columnist for the paper, said he would be doing "a late-night show on a Saturday and a breakfast show on a Sunday. Both shows will be based around a chat-show format and I will be interviewing some of the more interesting bands around."
"Radio 2 is the biggest radio station in the world. It is a real compliment that they asked me to join," he added. "I thought I may have been heading for semi-retirement when I quit Virgin but, instead, I have gone right to the top of the ladder and joined the Manchester United of radio stations. I couldn't be happier."
Manchester Evening News report:
2006-03-26: A study by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers projects that India's radio industry will grow at around 32% annually over the next few years to quadruple revenues from an estimated INR 3 billion ( USD 67 million ) to INR 12 billion ( USD 270 million).
The study says the radio industry currently gets around 2% of all Indian advertising and says, "Even if we consider a conservative projection of five per cent share by 2010 of the growing ad spend, the radio industry is likely to achieve a growth of at least 32 per cent over the next five years.
Previous Indian Radio:
Economic Times of India report:
2006-03-25: GCap Media shares fell on Friday touching 225 pence - just above a one-year low of 224.5 pence - at one time but then recovering to end the day down just under 3% at 235 pence following release of a trading update showing revenues sagging and an announcement that because of low offers it had opted not to dispose of nine analogue stations in the South West and North Wales it had put up for sale as part of a strategic review.
In a statement the company said, "Several offers have been received for this portfolio of assets. The Board does not believe that it would be in the best interests of GCap's shareholders to sell these businesses at the level of the offers received having taken account of the likely post tax proceeds and the dilution to earnings per share from disposal."
When GCap announced the proposed sale in November last year (See RNW Nov 25, 2005) it had said it would to distribute most of the anticipated cash proceeds from these disposals by way of special dividends: It has added that these dividends will no longer be paid.
GCap has not said how much was bid for the stations but earlier this month the London Times, reporting that the sale could be dropped said that they were initially estimated as worth up to GBP 50 million (USD 87.5 million) but bids were below GBP 30 million (USD 52.5 million) (See RNW Mar 22).
The decision to retain the stations has led to some criticism of the way the company handled the sale offering process as prices offered fell or bidders withdrew.
In its trading update GCap said that it anticipated revenues for the quarter to the end of this month to be down around 17% on a year earlier with revenues for the year to be down by around 13% on a year earlier.
It added however that it had benefited more speedily than anticipated from synergies from the Capital-GWR merger that led to its formation although it gave no idea of the scale of the benefits.
Previous GCap Media:
2006-03-25: Beasley Broadcast has announced that it is to buy KDWN-AM in Las Vegas for USD 17 million from Radio Nevada Corp. in a deal scheduled to close early in the third quarter of 2006.
Beasley already owns three FMs in Las Vegas - KYCE-FM (The Coyote), Classic Rock KKLZ-FM and KSTJ-FM (Star 102.7).
In a statement Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said the acquisition would broaden "our presence in the fast growing Las Vegas market and is consistent with our long-term strategy to develop our clusters to their fullest potential."
"The addition of KDWN-AM," he added, "improves an already great cluster, creating additional economies of scale while enabling us to provide more choices for our listeners and a more robust platform for our advertisers."
Previous George Beasley:
2006-03-25: Hong Kong has launched a search for a public broadcasting model that will determine the future of 80-years-old Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) that was set up when Hong Kong was a British colony.
A government appointed review committee is examining various public broadcasting systems in operation from round the world and is due to report in some six months: Concerns have been expressed that it could recommend a system that would enable the Beijing government to exercise more influence over the broadcaster...
The range being looked at includes from the licence-fee BBC system, which gives considerable independence from direct government intervention but is also resented as competition by some commercial operators because of its effect on their audience although the corporation does not take advertising; the Australian system under which the Australian Broadcasting Corporation gets government funding through a parliamentary vote every three years; broadcasters such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, RTÉ in the Irish Republic and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which are funded by a mix of licence fees and/or government subvention and advertising; and the US system, which, with a fairly small government subvention, leans heavily on corporate sponsorship as well as individual donations with the result that much attention has to be devoted to fund raising
Last year RTHK received around HKD 430 million (USD 55 million) in Hong Kong government funding.
2006-03-25: The University of the Pacific has taken its Stockton, California, station KUOP-FM off the market for now, expressing dissatisfaction with offers received after it announced in November last year that the station was up for sale with the money received to be put towards the cost of constructing two new buildings on its main campus in Stockton, a Biological Sciences Center and a University Center.
In a statement the University says it will retain the license, which it has held since 1947, and plans to continue its agreement with Sacramento-based Capital Public Radio Inc., which has operated the station for the university since 2000, to provide management, programming and operations services.
It quotes Pacific's vice president for business and finance Patrick Cavanaugh as saying the station would be put back on the market within the year and adding, "The Stockton and Modesto radio markets were recently ranked among the top 10 fastest-growing markets in the nation in terms of radio advertising expenditures. The strong population and economic growth in KUOP's service area will cause the station's value to continue to increase."
Pacific University statement:
2006-03-24: Arbitron has resumed its survey of the markets hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita where it opted not to carry out Fall 2005 and Winter 2006 surveys. The markets concerned - New Orleans; Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula, Mississippi; and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas - will be listed in the Spring 2006 survey
Commenting on the decision, Arbitron SVP sales Carol Hanley said, "In making our decision about whether to conduct a survey following a natural disaster, we take into consideration the physical and economic impact of the disaster as well as our ability to reach respondents in the market. We believe the time has come to resume surveying these markets."
Arbitron noted that the most recent surveys available for the markets - those of Spring 2005 - are now outdated and do not reflect the markets as they are now. New ratings it adds will signal resumption of normal business in them and it also noted that Claritas will have updated population estimates for these markets.
"We believe we can produce a quality Spring 2006 survey for these markets, but the only way to know for certain is to start the process," added Hanley. "However, I want to stress that we will review the extent to which the survey meets our standards, and we will only publish the results if we are firmly convinced it meets those standards."
2006-03-24: Following the success of the UK Radio Aid - held in January last year and which raised GBP 3.3 million (USD 6.2 million) for tsunami aid - and Live 8 (held in July last year) events, UK commercial radio is planning to launch a UK Music Week commercial radio event that it says is intended to promote the best of UK music and create a new grass roots initiative to encourage the development of the next generation of UK talent.
It is planning voting and pre-event promotion next month with the event itself - to be held from May 1st and that will include a four-hour May 1 UKMW Chart Show with live performances, artist profiles and guest presenters.
The show will be based on the work of the 40 most popular artists in UK music as voted for by listeners to UK commercial radio stations with voting driven by local station websites and text messages.
The event will be associated with an initiative to promote new talent and listeners will be encouraged to record their own music, which they will be able to upload along with a biography and photo, either directly through the website or by sending it on CD to their local radio station for upload.
In late summer or early autumn UK commercial radio plans a follow-up with a week of music programming based around the newest British music highlighting the best tracks through charts and showcasing the best new talent through Events.
2006-03-24: New York public radio station WNYC has announced that after 81 years it is to move from the Municipal Building in Centre Street, Manhattan, where it occupies 51,400 square feet of space on various floors, to new premises in Varick St, where it will take 71,900 square feet plus a 3,700-square-foot performance space on the ground floor.
WNYC CEO Laura Walker told the New York Daily News that construction is expected to start in a few months, says, and will take 12-18 months. The cost is yet to be calculated and she added that there "may" be one or two on-air drives to raise funds.
The new studio adds Walker will allow for updated equipment, better-designed space and "more interactive" programming - live performances, for instance, or live audiences for shows: "It's a tremendously exciting day for WNYC," she added. "The city has been wonderful to us, but it's time to complete our independence by getting our own place."
Host Oscar Brand, who has been hosting a weekly folk music show on the station since 1945, while welcoming the idea of improved facilities added that he would miss the old premises, saying, "It's been like home. No matter where you went in the world, you came back to that building. And I'll tell you, you can see New York City from there as you've never seen it. You look out the windows at the buildings, the water, and you know you're right at the centre. The heartbeat. I'll miss it."
Originally owned by New York City, WNYC went on air on July 8, 1924, using a second-hand AM transmitter bought in Brazil where it had been used for the country's Centennial celebration. It was originally on 570 AM, then on 810 AM and 830 AM before getting its present 820 AM frequency. It added FM in 1943, commencing those broadcasts on March 13.
In 1995 New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani agreed to sell WNYC AM and FM to the WNYC Foundation for USD 20 million and ownership and licences were transferred in 1997.
New York Daily News report:
2006-03-24: Sari Collins, currently Project Manager, Broadcast Development at BBC Wales and a former editor of BBC Radio Five Live's breakfast programme, is to take over as Editor of BBC Radio Wales, the country's English-language national radio station.
She replaces Julie Barton and commented of her appointment that she was "really enthusiastic about the job and the opportunity to build on Radio Wales's success."
Sari, who was brought up in Barry and is a fluent Welsh speaker, began her career with BBC Wales news.
2006-03-24: Writing of Saga's five-year contract extension until 2012 of the WHQG-FM (The HOG) morning team of "Bob & Brian" (Bob Madden and Brian Nelson) Tim Cuprisin in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that the team has been with the station for nearly two decades and top-rated for a decade.
The move, he also notes, is part and parcel of a Saga decision to make sure they retain strong local hosts - Carole Caine and Dave Luczak on sister station WKLH-FM are signed up until 2011- and quotes Tom Joerres, general manager of Saga's six-station Milwaukee cluster, as saying, "It's hard to grow good morning talent . It's very, very hard to crack through with a real success formula."
Joerres pushed for an early renewal and added, "I want to spend my time next summer planning a 20th-year anniversary, like we just had with Dave and Carole, rather than work out a contract and wondering whether they'd be renewed."
WHOG was formerly WLZR-FM "Lazer 103" for 18 years but was re-branded in August last year, changing its music format towards classic rock from one of newer rock. It was the top-rated Milwaukee morning show in the25-to-54-year-old demographic in the fall 2005 Arbitron ratings.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report:
2006-03-24: St Louis KTRS-AM has fired its morning talk host Dave Lenihan shortly after in what he termed an "inadvertent slip of the tongue" he used the word "coon" rather than "coup" in comment on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's credentials to become commissioner of the National Football League (NFL).
The topic that has been a frequent one for sports talk radio since current commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced he would retire later this year: Rice, who follows the Cleveland Browns, has said she aspires to run the league one day but on Wednesday ruled out succeeding Tagliabue, saying the opportunity had come at the "wrong time."
Lenihan in his broadcast said, "She's just got a patent resume, of somebody that's got such serious skill. She loves football, she's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon, a big coon - oh my God, I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that, OK? I didn't mean that. That was just a slip of the tongue."
Reached at home later by the St Louis Post-Dispatch the former host he was drafting a letter of apology to Rice and said, "I was trying to say 'quite a coup' but it came out 'coon."' "I caught myself and apologized. It wasn't anything I was meaning to say. I never use that word."
"I think she's a fantastic woman," he added. "I was even talking about if she ran for president, I'd work on her campaign."
Of his former job, which he took up only a fortnight ago, he said, "It was my dream job. Ratings were going well. It kind of stinks."
Almost all the former on-air staff of KTRS were dropped at the start of this year following a deal that gave the St Louis Cardinals a half-stake in the Dorsey Media -owned station that took over Cardinals cover from the team'ss long-time radio home, Infinity's (now CBS Radio) KMOX-AM (See RNW Aug 6, 2005).
KTRS CEO Tim Dorsey apologized on the air to listeners within 20 minutes of the comments about Rice and announced that Lenihan had been fired.
"I don't know what was in Mr. Lenihan's mind. I know what I heard. I know it was reprehensible," hge told the paper later.
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
2006-03-23: Shares in Arbitron dipped yet again on Wednesday following an announcement that Cumulus and Univision are joining four other broadcasters - CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Cox and Radio One Inc - in encoding its Houston signals for tests of The Media Audit/Ipsos smart cell phone audience metering device.
Announcing the decision, Cumulus Media Chairman and CEO, Lew Dickey commented, "We view our participation in this cell phone-based electronic measurement test as an essential first step. We are strongly committed to the development and subsequent roll-out of an electronic measurement technology that accurately captures all radio listening in a timely and efficient manner."
Commenting on the Univision agreement, which adds seven more stations and takes the total now participating in the trial to 26, The Media Audit president Bob Jordan said, "Partnering with Univision Radio is a significant step forward because we know that while Hispanics are similar to the general market, their media consumption and lifestyles can be different. The ability to encode the Hispanic stations will help us in our test to better understand how to fairly and reliably report radio listening in the market."
Univision Radio President and COO Gary Stone added, "We appreciate that The Media Audit/IPSOS sees the growing importance of the Hispanic community. We also applaud The Media Audit/IPSOS for establishing an ethnic advisory committee that will focus on appropriately surveying the Hispanic listener."
Arbitron shares ended the day down 0.91% at USD 33.85, still a little above the company's one-year low of USD 33.35.
Arbitron, which has already conducted tests in Houston, has said that it is to introduce its Portable People Meter (PPM) system in the city in July.
The company has also announced the results of another area of its activities - custom research - that it says shows live radio sports broadcasts generate a superior level of audience engagement.
A survey it conducted for WAXY-AM showed that more than half (53%) of the station's listeners were more likely to remain tuned to the station during a commercial break in a Miami Dolphins game than during regular broadcasting.
It says one in four of the 18 plus demographic in the Miami Metro Area tuned into a live radio broadcast during the 2005 season and 56% of them said they had a more positive response to advertisers who supported their local team. In addition 42% of them felt they paid more attention to commercials when they were delivered live by sportscasters.
RNW comment: So surprise, surprise, sports fans listening to a live game are more likely to stay tuned than at other times when to switch away when adverts come on is to risk losing pap or pop. And even more surprising, fans - by their very definition biased in favour of their team, are more likely to favour others - including advertisers - who support their bias.
What is amazing to us is that a fraction as high as 47% presumably felt it didn't matter to them if they tuned away from a live broadcast during an advert break with the risk of then missing part of a live commentary - we assume very few said they were more likely to tune away since those who did ought to be in a group who didn't want to listen to the commentary.
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
2006-03-23: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it is proposing to allow Southern Cross Broadcasting to swap the frequencies of its Melbourne AM stations News/Talk/Sport - format 3AW-AM and 40s, 50s and 60s music format 3EE-AM (Magic 693).
Southern Cross has asked to make the change because 3AW, which is consistently the highest-rated station in the area, would thereby improve the station's reception, especially in inner-city Melbourne.
3EE on 693 kHz has an omni-directional radiation pattern and thus, in theory at least, a larger coverage area than 3AW which has a directional pattern for its signal on 1278 kHz.
Southern Cross announced earlier this month that it would be switching the frequencies on May 1 and the ACMA says any comments on the proposals must be submitted by the end of this month.
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-03-23: The BBC has announced that two veterans, Aled Glynne Davies, the Editor of the Welsh language service BBC Radio Cymru and the BBC's Head of Religion & Ethics Alan Bookbinder are to step down later this year.
Aled Glynne re-launched Radio Cymru soon after he took over in 1995, introducing a more informal presentation style and introduced a youth-oriented evening service C2 and longer hours of broadcasting. Listening is at a record level according to BBC Wales, which says third of all fluent Welsh speakers now listen to the station every week.
Aled Glynne said of his work with the station, "As the national radio station in the Welsh language, Radio Cymru has to provide a full service to all kinds of Welsh speakers. There must be programmes across all genres, for all age groups, which appeal to people in all parts of Wales. It was a complicated task but the challenge has been very fulfilling."
Also to step down later this year is the BBC's Head of Religion & Ethics Alan Bookbinder, who will leave the Corporation this summer after almost five years in charge of the Manchester-based Department.
Prior to his appointment he had held a variety of TV posts since joining the corporation as a trainee assistant producer following graduation from Oxford University (St. Catherine's College) where he studied History and Modern Languages and Harvard University where he completed an MA in Russian Studies.
Commenting on his decision to leave, he said, "After 25 richly stimulating years in the BBC - the last five of which have been full of enjoyable and memorable times in charge of religious output - I'm keen to turn my skills and energies in new directions."
2006-03-23: South Dakota legislators have voted by majorities of 29-4 in the Senate and 63-3 in the House to reverse a decisionat the start of the month to cut USD 500,000 from the USD 4 million a year general revenues of South Dakota Public Broadcasting, which operates South Dakota's public radio and TV services.
Those voting to keep the cuts were all Republicans and in addition a further six Republicans - four from the House and two from the senate - did not vote: They included Republic Senator Brock Greenfield who had proposed the cuts on March 1, arguing that the state could not continue to increase spending on public broadcasting when there were plenty of other broadcasters in the state.
After the original vote, which cut state funding but added the amount to a category related to private donations, SDPB Executive Director Julie Andersen said it wasn't realistic to expect the agency to raise the amount private contributions.
Following the restoration she told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, "Now we're going to be all right for this coming year," adding, "This happened because of a groundswell of support for public broadcasting that I did nothing to orchestrate."
The paper says some legislators said they had been deluged with calls and messages after news about the funding change became known with some saying they thought Andersen and her staff instigated the contacts.
Although the funding has been restored, Republican State Rep. Ted Klaudt, who argued for the original budget change three weeks ago and asked for the restoration said the Government Operations and Audit Committee that he leads would look at SDPB's budget and programs closely in the coming summer.
He said legislators on the Appropriations Committee, which first proposed the budget change, received unclear and conflicting financial information from the broadcasting agency and commented, "I hope PBS has learned a valuable lesson here; that is, when we ask for information, you don't just say, 'I don't know' or 'We don't have it.' "
Argus Leader report:
2006-03-22: Australian AM radio network WorldAudio has called in administrators after running through some AUD 14.5 million (USD 10.4 million) raised from its AUD 6.5 million (USD 4.7 million)float in 2002 and a further AUD 8.2 million (USD 5.9 million) raised since the end of June last year: Its 2005 annual report showed this as made up of AUD 3.5 million (USD 2.5 million) through a pro rata rights issue, AUD 1.05m (USD 750,000) from a share placement, and AUD 3.65 million (USD 2.62 million) in secured loans from major shareholders.
In the report chairman Peter Solomon said the funding met its "future working capital needs including increased marketing and promotion costs and provides for proposed digital migration initiative."
"The company now has its Radio 2 national network infrastructure in place and is fully operational" he added, commenting "It is pleasing to see that these initiatives are starting to produce results with substantial air time advertising commitments having been made for the current financial year."
Less than presciently he also noted, "With the Federal Government likely to announce its policy on the allocation of digital broadcasting licences in the near future, we have to press our claims for inclusion amongst those to be entitled to a digital licence"
In the event the Australian government announced that it would grant digital radio licences exclusively to existing players for the first six years and dealt an apparently fatal blow to WorldAudio's plans to develop a national digital network on the basis of its 50 AM stations at the far end of the AM spectrum - on 1611, 1620 and 1629AM: It also broadcast on the Internet and digital audio channels on pay-TV operators Austar and Foxtel and had announced a trial partnership with WorldSpace involving a panel of Darwin households receiving digital satellite delivery of Radio 2 via the WorldSpace AsiaStar satellite.
Despite the positive comments the company reported an operating loss for the year to the end of June 2005 of AUD 6.57 million (USD 4.71 million( with advertising revenue of only AUD 175,000 (USD 125,000) and in the quarter to the end of 2005 it had an operating loss of AUD 2.4 million (USD 1.7 million ) and advertising revenue of only AUD 127,000 (USD 91,000).
The Australian reports that the company had raised AUD 895,000 from investors only last month but was unable to secure further funding and quotes administrator Bob Elliott from Hall Chadwick as saying contracts for on-air talent, such as breakfast co-host Mikey Robins, had been extended for a month after the group gained extra funds from investors to keep the stations on air.
WorldAudio, said the paper plans to seek further funding or look for a buyer, and it quoted investor Laurence Freedman, who holds around 10% of the company, as saying, "It's not the end of the road, but it's time to stop and reassess the situation - they have these great assets but it's not revenue-producing" and adding that he would consider a further investment "in the right circumstances".
The Australian report:
2006-03-22: The BBC has named Ceri Thomas as editor of the flagship "Today" breakfast programme on BBC Radio 4: He succeeds Kevin Marsh, who has taken up the post of Editor, BBC College of Journalism (See RNW Feb 24).
Thomas, who will move into his new role next month, started his broadcasting career in 1989 as a producer of AM at London commercial station LBC Radio. He joined the Today programme as a junior producer in 1991, becoming Assistant Editor under Roger Mosey from 1995 before moving to BBC Radio Five Live as Breakfast Editor and eventually the Head of News for the station.
Whilst with the station he was part of the team that won the 2002 Sony Gold "Breakfast Award - news & talk" for the breakfast show broadcastfrom New York six days after September 11th: It was described as capturing "the spirit of a city determined to get back to some semblance of normality and come to terms with what happened, whilst at the same time covering events the world over. A great example of news radio at it's best."
More recently Thomas spent a year at Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow before returning to the BBC in the new role of Radio Newsgathering Editor.
Commenting on his appointment he said, "For my money, this is the best job in BBC daily journalism. It's fascinating and full of challenges, and I'm very fortunate to be taking it on at a time when the programme's in such good shape. That's a tribute to all the work Kevin Marsh has done; I'm tremendously excited to be given the chance to build on it."
2006-03-22: Arbitron has announced that initial findings in its RADAR 88 Network Audience Report show radio retaining its "position as a mainstay medium" that each week reaches more than 94% of those 18 or over in households with an income of USD 75,000 or more e year: The figure is the same for college graduates but falls to 91% amongst those who did not go to college.
The initial survey results also show what Arbitron terms a "near-universal demographic appeal" with the medium reaching 96% of adults between 25 and 54 although it slips down to 92% for the demographics up to 24 and to 87% for those over 65: Amongst men and women above 18 the medium reaches 93%.
In terms of location for listening amongst those above 18, 39% listen at home, 34% in an automobile, 25% at work and 2% in other locations and in terms of the time when people listen, the periods 06:00 to 10:00 and 15:00 to 19:00 score highest , reaching 77% of Americans 12 and over, a total that falls to 70% between 10:00 and 15:00, and drops to 47% from 19:00 to midnight. At weekends between noon and midnight the medium reach 74% of those 12 and above.
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 87):
2006-03-22: According to the UK Times GCap Media's board is to meet on Thursday to decide whether the nine stations it has put up for sale as a single package as part of a restructuring should be sold in smaller groupings, or at a lower price or withdrawn from sale.
The paper says bids for the stations, initially estimated as worth up to GBP 50 million (USD 87.5 million) have come in below GBP 30 million (USD 52.5 million) and adds that bidders are thought to prefer smaller packages rather than all nine stations: UKRD and the Local Radio Company, it adds, are both understood to have expressed an interest in GCap's southern stations only.
In other UK radio news, regulator Ofcom has announced that it is to allow UKRD's Star Radio in Stroud to co-locate with the adjacent Star Radio service in Cheltenham but has turned down UKRD's application to simulcast the majority of programme output (excluding news) across both stations.
Ofcom had launched a consultation over the application last year (See Licence News Dec 18, 2005)
Previous GCap Media:
UK Times report:
2006-03-21: Arbitron shares slid further on Monday, falling to USD 33.85 - their one-year low is USD 33.35 - at one time before recovering a little to end Monday down 0.13% at USD 34.27, following an announcement by Clear Channel Radio that it was to join CBS Radio, Cox Radio and Radio One Inc. in encoding its Houston signals for tests of The Media Audit/Ipsos Smart Phone audience measuring device.
Announcing the decision, Clear Channel Radio president and CEO John Hogan praised TMA/Ipsos for their approach, commenting, "Creating a reliable, consistent solution takes more than technology and field tests and accreditation - it takes maturity and professionalism and the ability to understand the issues of all the players involved. We have experienced nothing but maturity, professionalism, true understanding and assistance from The Media Audit/Ipsos since the RFP 9Request for Proposal) process began. Radio is fortunate to have such a strong company interested in being a partner as we drive toward electronic measurement."
Arbitron, which has said it is to begin its PPM rollout in Houston in July, has announced that two more agencies - OMD and PHD - have committed themselves to use its Portable People Meter system, seen as the prime competitor to TMA/Ipsos, for radio audience estimates for their U.S.-based radio planning and buying activities. Both companies are part of the Omnicom Media Group.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
2006-03-21: UK Media regulator Ofcom has now published its reasons for awarding the new Plymouth commercial licence to Macquarie bank-backed Radio UK Holdings Limited 's rock format Diamond FM, a decision that has led to calls from local businessmen and some losing bidders for the award to be overturned (See RNW Mar 18).
The protests led local ruling Labour Party MP Linda Gilroy, who represents Plymouth Sutton, to write to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell asking for a review of the decision whilst South West Devon Conservative MP Gary Streeter has tabled written Parliamentary questions to find out what powers Jowell has to intervene and the Labour MP for Devonport has written to Ofcom about the award according to the Plymouth Evening Herald.
The paper says Gilroy had spoken to Ofcom on the day the licence was awarded and said she "was astounded to learn that the criteria they use does not take account of the local content of the bid."
[RNW comment - from which we opine that the MP concerned is illiterate or didn't have the commonsense to spend five minutes on the Ofcom web site to check statutory requirements that her government had legislated.]
Ofcom says that in advertising the licence it had been unable to indicate which of the four statutory licensing criteria it has to apply - Localness (in programming not ownership), ability to maintain operations for the licence period, the extent to which the award would broaden choice and local demand for the service - would be "of particular significance" but it did say it would be likely regarding the last to "to attach greater weight to robust and meaningful evidence of demand as demonstrated by findings from research undertaken in the licence area and, if appropriate, detailed analysis of the existing market, than to evidence of local support as demonstrated by letters from potential listeners and/or advertisers."
In making this ward it said that Radio Licensing Committee (RLC) "judged that the combination of commercial radio expertise and the 100% ownership of Radio UK Holdings Limited (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Macquarie Bank) would place Diamond FM in a strong position to compete with existing stations and establish a secure financial base."
It also said that "Diamond's mix of classic rock from the last five decades with relatively low speech, as well as its promise to play youth-focused alternative rock during evening output, would broaden choice more than any of the other proposals"; that the bid "offered a coherent and workable Format that would cater to the tastes and interests of an underserved audience"; noted that the bidder had "had carried out a full range of research which showed that classic rock was regarded by the potential audience as a genre that would be both relatively popular and offer 'something different' in terms of local commercial radio provision" and commented on the "strong support for Diamond's comprehensive local news proposals" - the bidder promised "locally-produced output 24 hours per day" and a "commitment to airing local news bulletins throughout all daytime programming and until 2200 each weekday."
Previous Macquarie Bank:
Plymouth Evening Herald report:
2006-03-21: Sirius satellite radio has announced that is has now passed 4 million subscribers but has released no actual total.
The news boosted its shares and they ended the day up 4.5% at USD 5.11.
Sirius is also reported to have reached an agreement with Universal Music to compensate it for the recording of songs by its subscribers using the Sirius S50 radio, which allows users to record as many as 50 hours of music and play individual songs.
The Los Angeles Times in reporting the deal says it may "serve as a template for discussions between Sirius and other labels and between Universal Music and XM."
It also notes that the satellite radio companies have been in negotiations with the National Music Publishers' Association over compensation for the composition rights of songs delivered to satellite devices.
No firm details were given of the agreement but the paper quoted "sources" as saying Sirius would pay Universal Music an undisclosed amount and would limit the number of S50 devices manufactured.
Copyright considerations may also take streams from commercial UK broadcasters out of action from the beginning of next month according to Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN).
It says UK Phonographic Performance Limited, which handles copyright payments for the music industry in the UK, has told the broadcasters it can only grant Internet broadcasting rights for streams within the UK, thus meaning that the broadcasters would have to set up arrangements with rights organizations in every country where their streams can be heard.
RAIN says many people are predicting that the broadcasters will cut the streams outside the UK and quotes GCap Media's Digital Content Manager Nick Piggot as saying, "We're disappointed... but we recognise the valid issues raised by the recent royalty negotiations, and we will be putting in place the agreed steps to restrict streaming to UK residents only from 1st April."
The report coincides with an announcement by Hibernia Atlantic of a deal with SMG-owned Virgin Radio to provide three different cable routes with Gigabit Ethernet services across the Atlantic and within the UK and New York City, including a direct connection to telx, New York City's most network-dense interconnection facility.
Announcing the deal, which suggests that Virgin at least will continue streaming in the US, Hibernia Atlantic VP of Sales and Marketing Eric Gutshall said in a news release, "Hibernia Atlantic will offer Virgin Radio the highest level of private network Ethernet at a competitive price, and the ability to directly connect with hundreds of other providers at telx. Outside of being a huge fan of the station, we look forward to providing Virgin Radio the ability to grow their broadcast network."
Previous GCap Media:
Los Angeles Times report:
RAIN web site:
2006-03-21: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds a radio standards complaint and considered three radio standards complaints and a radio fairness case resolved compared to one radio fairness standards complaint partly upheld in its previous bulletin. In addition it gave details of a further radio fairness complaint not upheld compared to a radio fairness complaint not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Regarding TV complaints it upheld one TV standards complaint and considered four others resolved and upheld in part two further TV fairness and privacy complaints and considered two other such TV complaints resolved: This compares with one TV standards complaint and one TV fairness and privacy complaint partly upheld; a further TV standards complaint considered resolved and a further TV standards complaint and two TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
The radio standards complaint upheld involved Leeds Restricted Service Licence station Bollywood FM: It had been the subject of a complaint that a presenter used an offensive Punjabi word in a late night show but had failed to make recordings available or reply to three letters sent by Ofcom, which noted that the failure was "a serious and significant breach of a licence and will be held on record and taken into account should the licensee make any future licence applications."
The radio complaints considered resolved related to the Bobby Bossman Christmas Eve broadcast on Sunrise Radio that featured a sampled recording of people breaking wind to the tune of
the traditional Christmas Carol; A comment made on BBC Radio 4 in which a contributor during a discussion about the presence of troops in Iraq in which he referred to "a nigger in the woodpile"; and a BBC Radio One Chris Moyles Show comment in which in handing over to a female news presenter Moyles referred to the presenter as a "slut" and then went on to make other comments about her as he attempted to defend his comment.
In the case of Sunrise the presenter had broadcast a personal apology the following day; In the BBC Radio 4 case a statement was read later in which said that "one of our contributors used a phrase which many of you found offensive. Following your calls and e-mails, he wishes us to make clear that he apologises for using the phrase and any offence caused"; and in the Radio One case the BBC had said it regretted offence caused to the listeners who had complained but added that barbed banter was a trademark of the presenter and his show and said the exchange between Chris Moyles and the news presenter was the culmination of a fortnight of backchat, in the course of which she had shown herself well able to respond firmly.
On this occasion, it said, other members of the team spoke up in her defence, and Chris Moyles included an element of apology in his later comments and in addition the Executive Producer and Head of Department both had conversations with the presenter subsequently, and reminded him of the need to avoid comments which risk causing listeners more offence than amusement.
In addition to the radio complaints one of the TV fairness complaints upheld in part involved Radio Carmarthenshire (Y Byd Ar Bedwar) which had complained about its treatment by TV channel S4C in a programme that looked at an alleged lack of commitment to Welsh language broadcasting by Welsh radio stations, focusing in particular on Radio Carmarthenshire.
In this case Ofcom noted that Radio Carmarthenshire's managing director had declined an interview to explain the stations position but concluded that there had been "misleading presentation of information" and that an "unbalanced impression" was given of Radio Carmarthenshire's Welsh output and its obligations with the result that there was some unfairness.
In addition Ofcom also listed with no details a further 136 complaints against 102 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 172 complaints against 146 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 19 radio complaints relating to 16 items and 107 TV complaints relating to 86 items compared to 35 radio complaints relating to 34 items and 137 TV complaints relating to 112items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-03-21: Jefferson Pilot Corporation shareholders have voted by more than 85% of shares voted to approve the merger with a subsidiary of Lincoln National Corporation whose approval by its board was announced last year (See RNW Oct 11, 2005).
The Corporation is the parent of Jefferson Pilot Communications, which owns 3 TV and 18 radio stations.
2006-03-20: A mixture of praise and brickbats plus some "high hopes" for HD radio form the backbone of our look at print comment on radio this week.
First HD and Consumer Reports' view of the technology and service which it notes is "free - in contrast to the USD 13-a-month tab for satellite radio" but involves buying equipment that is still expensive compared to that for satellite radio [RNW comment- and ,as we have noted before, an advertising-financed service isn't free albeit the costs are indirect).
Consumer Reports is currently testing two HD radio receivers for the home - the Boston Acoustics Recepter HD tabletop radio ( USD 300) that it says "had a muffled sound and lacked some features we'd expect from a radio of this price" and the USD 1,900 Yamaha RX-V4600 receiver that "showed us how good HD Radio can be."
The report commented that the sub-channels available on HD "are bringing welcome diversity to the airwaves" but added, "Still, don't expect anywhere near the variety you get with satellite radio."
It also noted reception problems with some New York-area HD Radio stations and additionally noted that although the receivers switched over to analogue reception efficiently when the primary HD signal wasn't good enough, for the sub-channels the signal cut out.
Overall it concluded HD offered pluses in audio quality - "At its best, HD Radio pushes FM sound quality closer to that of CDs" and more varied programming but felt that despite what it termed "high hopes for HD radio" most people would want to wait "before investing in HD-Radio equipment. At this stage, choices are limited and prices are high."
RNW comment: At the moment it would seem to us someone can purchase a year's subscription to a satellite channel plus equipment for less than HD costs - our conclusion is therefore fairly clear: It makes sense to try satellite now and wait a year before making any choice about HD unless the US radio industry gets it act together soon and takes a gamble on a mass purchase of HD receivers to get the prices down.
Similar views about the cost of HD were also expressed by Richard Mullins in the Tampa Tribune: He considered HD in terms of an "answer to satellite radio" and quoted Carl Marcucci, senior editor of the Radio and Television Business Report as saying, "Radio stations believe this is their one chance to compete with satellite. But it's a chicken-and-egg problem because listeners have to have the new radios to hear any of the new programming stations have to offer. And [electronics companies] need to make that egg a little less expensive."
Putting a slightly different perspective forward the owner of a local audio equipment store comments, "Customers are complaining about all the monthly fees they have to pay for content, so perhaps HD radio will be able to tap into that movement as a free alternative. Ultimately, this points to the war for the living room being waged by consumer electronics versus computer companies and the Internet versus broadcasters."
Mullins notes that a single station's can spend USD 75,000 to USD 250,000 to get HD on air and adds that "many stations view that as a small investment compared with the thousands of hours of extra airtime they could broadcast and sell to advertisers" although so far secondary channels on offer in the area are advert-free.
He also notes the involvement of public broadcasters: In the Tampa area WUSF 89.7 FM, the largest local public radio station, launched a second channel called 89.7(2) in December with the arts and culture program "Fresh Air," the BBC World Service news program and the African American-themed "The Tavis Smiley Show."
Moving on to a different aspect of public broadcasting we also noted that Newsweek's current edition has a feature on Bob Edwards, formerly US National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" anchor and now hosting a rival show on XM Satellite radio.
Having moved to compete with NPR on satellite airwaves he's now also striking closer to home with his show which is now being syndicated by Public Radio International to some 30 US public radio stations.
"Longtime public-radio listeners," says Newsweek, "may not recognize their host at first: his interviews are longer and looser; he gets out from behind the desk to do multipart documentaries"
It then goes on to an interview with him by Brian Braiker who asks Edwards if he feels any sense of vindication in the terrestrial syndication.
Edwards responds, "I guess in a way. The listeners never had a problem with me. That's why the program is being picked up by an increasing number of stations each week. They know the public-radio audience liked me, so they had this opportunity to bring me back and say, "Look we brought him back. It was NPR that took him off 'Morning Edition'."
He was also asked about listening to his old show and comments of his successors, "They're doing fine. Whenever I see one of them I say, "How does it feel to do half my job?" [Laughs.] Half my job for probably all of my pay."
Overall though Edwards still praises public radio, commenting about supporting it, "Yes, I am. I've even said so on my show here. It's just a necessity, a national treasure. We need to support that, and people can't get angry at public radio, or even NPR, for what happened to me-it's bigger than that. It's absolutely worthy of support."
Not of course that people everywhere always welcome voices from outside - and not just the militants in some countries whose views are often subjected to criticism they do not welcome, but also in the US where former Voice of America writer David Pitts, writing in the Washington Post, was not completely happy about the airing of BBC broadcasts on US public radio.
He writes " it is disturbing that a foreign broadcaster has taken such a prominent role in U.S. public radio. Few people realize that the BBC World Service Radio is not funded through the general license fee that pays for BBC domestic radio and television in Britain. Instead, it is funded through a special grant from the British Foreign Office. This has been the case since BBC international radio began as the "empire service" in 1932."
Pitts then goes on to make it clear he has an axe to grind, adding "Overseas, BBC World Service Radio is the main competitor of the Voice of America, which is located in Washington and is funded by the U.S. government. A prohibition on domestic dissemination of Voice of America radio has been based on government funding that makes it, at least to some degree, a propaganda organ. So, while Voice of America broadcasts originating in Washington are banned from U.S. radio, BBC programming -- funded by the British Foreign Office -- is allowed."
Pitts note that this has been defended in terms of the BBC's reputation for "fairness and impartiality" [RNW comment: not to Rush Limbaugh and many more of course, albeit some of them would need special training in dictionary reading to understand the concepts] and goes on to note that the BBC World Service has carried more stories critical of the US in Iraq than of British involvement although he does add, "Perhaps that is because the U.S. presence in Iraq is far larger than that of Britain and concentrated in more volatile areas of the country" before going on to comment, "Or perhaps coverage is connected to the BBC's funding."
In the UK, of course, public broadcasting means the BBC - primarily its domestic services - and in the wake of last week's White Paper on the organization's future (See RNW Mar 15) various British papers carried comments concerning the plans, the idea of a licence fee, the justification for its continuation, and other aspects of the government's proposals.
In the Times, owned by News Corporation whose Sky TV subsidiary is strongly critical of the funding support for the Corporation, Dan Sabbagh eschewed a direct attack but still had a few barbs, commenting, "Had the Competition Commission been writing the White Paper - to judge by the standards applied to Britain's equally well-used supermarkets - the result would have been very different."
He continued, "Still, it would have been preposterously optimistic to expect much else. Tom Moloney, chief executive of Emap, the publisher, says the best way to deal with the BBC is to start by falling in love with it. Most people did that years ago. Then the perpetuation of a well- financed, vast broadcaster - funded by the simplest means necessary (the licence fee) - becomes a strategic necessity. It would be, as Sir Humphrey might say, a brave Government that argued against that."
Sabbagh doesn't give up totally on commercialising the corporation however, suggesting that although advertising on air was not in prospect, "Online advertising, however, is different."
"Google," he commented, "shows it is possible to have non-intrusive advertising on the internet. Fiddling around with the BBC's excellent Planet Earth website, it seems clear that there could be a way of sensitively commercialising it and content like it Is this sacrilege? Planet Earth, and other websites, certainly should not be free to foreign viewers - who do not pay the licence fee but make up a high proportion of the BBC's traffic - and an experiment with overseas advertising would show how much money could be made. Setting the BBC a target for generating money from international advertising would cut its optimistic bid for an increase in its licence fee of inflation plus 2.3 per cent."
RNW comment: A rather mean-minded approach in the view of this particular licence payer who has absolutely no objection to people overseas going to the corporation's web sites without charge and equally values access to the sites of public broadcasters in other countries to Britons. Overall we thing it's not just a matter of fair exchange being no robbery but in general a significant plus overall. We certainly can think of a fair number of public programmes round the world that educate people to the different emphases and cultures elsewhere.
Enough of the comment, however, and on to the content: And our first suggestion this week for those who might wish to evaluate the World Service is its weekly "Pick of the World " programme that airs from Saturday and is available on the Corporation's "listen-again" service unlike the BBC Radio 4 "Pick of the Week."
Last week's contained extracts from a fairly wide-ranging variety of reports including the current World Service "Documentary" - "Secret Wars", a two-part series in which the BBC's Security Correspondent, Gordon Corera, investigates the CIA's covert operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East. The first part was broadcast last week and it and the MP3 will be on the site until 09:05 GMT when the second part airs.
Also from World Service, to give a little more idea of its range, we'd suggest "Play of the Week" - the most recent was an adaptation of Chekhov's "The Seagull"; this week's "Off the Shelf", which features readings of the final five of the ten runners-up from the BBC World Service 2005/6 Short Story Competition; this week's "Music Feature" from 09:30 GMT today, which looks at Aboriginal hip-hop (Until then last week's programme featuring Sir Paul McCartney's one man show recorded at Abbey Road studios is on the site); Masterpiece, which currently has a series of two programmes about the special emotional meaning attached to particular pieces of music - last week's was Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow" and this week's (airing tomorrow) will be Soul Music - Ben E King's, "Stand By Me."
Under the same "Soul Music" title, BBC Radio 4 tomorrow at 13:30 GMT looks at Widor's Toccata and until then the site has last week's programme on Old Man River, which we recommended last week.
And three more BBC Radio 4 suggestions - The latest "Archive Hour" in which David Hatch, a former managing director of radio, looks at Broadcasting House, the BBC's home in central London; last week's Friday Play"Unprotected" that used documentary techniques to construct a drama, using only words taken from interviews with prostitutes, their parents, police, politicians and clients, about reactions to a series of murders of prostitutes in Liverpool and this week's Friday play, which is a new adaptation of Thea von Harbou's novel Metropolis that became husband Fritz Lang's 1927 silent movie classic.
Still with documentary techniques we'd suggest this week's "2006 Radio Ballad" at 21:00 GMT tonight on BBC Radio 2. This takes as its topic the travelling show men and women who run Britain's fairgrounds. We'd also note here that Radio 2 has taken the opportunity to post on its site excerpts from the original Radio Ballads of the 50's and 60's - we don't know how long they'll be there but for anyone with around 8 hours to spend (or the ability to convert the stream into MP3's) there's still some very good radio there, even if it was put together using elementary physical tape editing -and we remember using the cutting block for ¼ inch tape at the BBC before digital technology came along.
After a suggestion of that length of listening to the BBC we think we should pay some attention to offerings from other public broadcasters and this week would suggest last Wednesday's Documentary from Radio Netherlands - "The New Irish", which looked at how Ireland, once a country from which there was mass emigration, is now booming and attracting immigrants, many of them seeking asylum.
Also from Radio Netherlands is last week's Dutch Horizons, which compared the work of Rembrandt with that of Caravaggio - despite no visuals, it painted an interesting comparison. MP3s of both (or streaming audio) will be on the Radio Netherlands English site until then.
Then Australia and Sunday's Radio National, including "Background Briefing", which looked at the evidence that fish oil can make great contributions to mental health and well-being, plus "Street Stories" which looked on how ageing can be traumatic for Holocaust survivors, particularly those suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Consumer Reports on HD radio:
Newsweek - Braiker:
Tampa Tribune - Mullins:
UK Times - Purves:
UK Times - Sabbagh:
Washington Post - Potts:
2006-03-20: Former Quebec CHOI-FM morning host Jeff Fillion, who left CHOI on March 17 last year after TV weather presenter Sophie Chiasson sued the host and station for comments made about her - a court later awarded her CAD 340,000 (then USD 275,000) in moral damages, punitive damages, and legal expenses (See RNW Apr 13, 2005) - is back behind the microphone, this time on the Internet.
He launched his show, a subscription service to which he claims some 6,000 subscribers, on Friday, the first anniversary of his dismissal, using it to criticise CHOI-FM owner Patrice Demers.
Fillion (radiopirate) web site:
2006-03-20: Miami pirate station Da Streetz, whose signal had been breaking into communications between pilots and Miami International Airport, has had its equipment confiscated following a raid by authorities after the transmission was pinpointed to a warehouse in Opa-locka, north of the city, according to the Miami Herald.
The paper says radio equipment, computers and CDs were confiscated but agents did not find anybody connected with the station and adds that the warehouse owner said he had no knowledge of the operation.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the interference was "intermittent. Not all day, every day," and added, "But clear communication between air control and the pilots is a critical part of flying.''
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman added that with no arrests it was still "an open case."
Miami Herald report:
2006-03-20: University of Michigan-owned Michigan Public Media, which is mired in scandal following charges of embezzlement laid against three former employees of WUOM-FM (See RNW Mar 19) has named broadcast veteran Stephen Schram as its interim director.
Schram replaces Donovan Reynolds, who resigned at the beginning of the month having set off the investigation by notifying authorities of suspicious activity in connection with "on-air messages on behalf of businesses and organizations" according to the University, which says he is under no suspicion.
Schram, a graduate of Michigan State, is a former VP and General Manager for Clear Channel in Detroit and SVP and director of sales for Infinity (now CBS Radio) in Detroit: After leaving the latter post last year he set up his own consulting firm.
In a University news release he said he was very pleased to join Michigan Public Media, adding, "These dynamic broadcast voices educate and inform their listeners at the very highest levels of excellence. I look forward to growing their impact and success."
Michigan Radio, which includes WUOM-FM, broadcasting from Ann Arbor and stations in Grand Rapids and Flint, is approaching a crucial pledge drive but it had some good news last week with the announcement by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) that it had been named "Public Broadcasting Station of the Year for 2005-2006." It had already been awarded eight 2005-2006 MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards, which were announced last month.
Crains, Detroit, report:
2006-03-19: The main regulatory news of the past week was the levying of a record USD 3.4 million of fines by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) relating to one TV programme as part of rulings that confirmed or proposed imposing nearly USD 4.3 million in indecency/obscenity penalties on TV broadcasters (See RNW Mar 16). So far there's no word about any radio penalties that may be levied. Elsewhere there was a steady level of regulatory activity apart from Australia and Ireland where no radio decisions were published.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has now received some submissions in response for its call for comment on radio's future for the country including calls by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for a tightening up on allowing new entrants and other measures (See RNW Mar 17).
The CRTC was also involved in a number of radio related decisions including (In order of Province):
*Approval of new 9,500 watts classic hits English-language commercial FM radio station in Lacombe. The application was opposed by Newcap Inc. the parent company of the licensee of CKGY-FM and CIZZ-FM Red Deer, and the partners of Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited the licensee of CHUB-FM and CFDV-FM, Red Deer, who contended that the station would effectively serve Red Deer. The applicant responded that its revenue projections did not include advertising from Red Deer and that it would be willing to accept a condition of licence prohibiting it from soliciting local advertising in Red Deer.
The commission said it was satisfied that such a condition of licence would mitigate any potential negative impact that the proposed station might have on incumbent Red Deer radio stations and included it in the licence conditions.
*Application for a new 92 watts English-language community-based campus FM radio station at the University College of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, subject to amendment of the application to propose new technical parameters that are acceptable to both the Commission and the Department of Industry.
*Application for a new 180 watts pop, rock and country music English-language commercial FM in Ucluelet.
*Approval of application by CHUM Limited for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language radio network in Vancouver. The network will broadcast the football games of the B.C. Lions during the 2006 season, originating from CKST Vancouver.
*Approval of application by CHUM Limited for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language radio network in Winnipeg that will broadcast the baseball games of the Winnipeg Goldeneyes during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, originating from CFRW , Winnipeg.
*Approval of new 5,200 watts French-language Type A community radio station in Petit-de-Grat that would include a variety of musical styles, such as Acadian, country and western, retro, rock, pop, folk, Cajun, disco, jazz, classical and world music and give priority to programming that features local and regional artists.
*Approval of new 700 watts adult contemporary/easy listening music format English-language commercial FM in Perth. The Commission received interventions from Corus, which wanted decisions to first be rendered on applications for new commercial radio stations in Ottawa/Gatineau and Christian Hit Radio Inc., the licensee of CHRI-FM, Ottawa, which was concerned that the application would constrain a planned power increase for its transmitter CHRI-FM-1, Cornwall.
It also said it feared, should there be any later application to increase the power of the new station, that CHRI-FM-1 could not continue on its current frequency.
*Application for a new 420 watts English-language commercial FM in Red Lake and Ear Falls to replace CKDR-5-AM. The new FM would provide 19 hours a week of local programming with the remainder being taken from CKDR-FM, Dryden.
*Application for new 560 watts English-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Sioux Lookout to replace CKDR-2 -AM. The new station would provide 20 hours a week of local programming and take the remainder of its service from CKDR-FM, Dryden.
*Approval of 37 watts French-language Type A community FM in Lebel-sur-Quévillon.
*Approval of new 1,000 watts, day and night, commercial religious AM radio station in French (60%), English (30%) and Hebrew (10%) in Montréal that will primarily serve Montréal's Jewish community, replacing the service currently offered by applicant Radio Shalom on the subsidiary communications multiplex operation (SCMO) facilities of CIRA-FM Montréal.
*Approval of new 1,000 watts, day and night, ethnic commercial AM in Montréal that will provide a service primarily intended for the city's Arab communities from Radio Moyen Orient du Canada, which is already providing a service on a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel. The application was opposed by the Association des radiodiffuseurs communautaires du Québec (ARCQ) and Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio Ltd. (CHCR), licensee of ethnic station CKDG-FM, Montréal, on the basis of the already difficult situation for community stations - CHCR said CKDG-FM has been on the air since April 2004 and is still not financially stable.
The Commission said it thought the service proposed would increase the diversity of services available and only have a limited commercial impact since it is already available on an SMCO channel.
*Denial of application for a 5,800 watts French-language religious AM radio station in Montréal. The Commission in refusing the application said it was not convinced that the proposed programming could ensure balanced multi-faith representation and that this programming would ensure that listeners would be exposed to a variety of opinions on religion, as provided for in Canada's Religious Policy.
The CRTC also issued a public notice relating to abridged licence renewal applications for stations whose licences are due to expire on 31 August 2006 and which it intends to renew under its streamlined renewals procedure.
The stations concerned are (In order of province):
*CFGP-FM, Grande Prairie.
*CJGR-FM, Gold River
*Community Type B station CJLY-FM, Nelson.
*Tourist Information CHPA-FM, Port Alberni.
*CHQB, Powell River.
*Campus Instructional station CKMO, Victoria.
*CKLG-FM, Vancouver, & CKLG-FM-1, Whistler.
*Native Type-B CICY-FM, Selkirk.
*Community-Based Campus station CFMH-FM, Saint John.
*Christian Music Specialty station CINB-FM, Saint John.
*Community Type A station CIVR-FM, Yellowknife.
*Native Type B station CKUN-FM, Christian Island.
*Tourist/Weather/Traffic Information station CKTR-FM, North Bay.
*CILQ-FM, North York.
*Greater Toronto Airports Authority station CFYZ, Toronto.
*Fabrique de la Paroisse de Saint-André d'Acton Vale church station, Acton Vale.
*Fabrique de la Paroisse de Saint-Paul de Scotstown church station CHPV-FM, Scotstown.
*Fabrique de la Paroisse Saint-Antoine de Padoue church station, Louiseville.
*Fabrique de la Paroisse Saint-Sauveur de Shawinigan-Sud, Shawinigan-Sud
The CRTC also approved the addition of a number of FM transmitters for the following Canadian Broadcasting Corporation AM stations in order to overcome reception difficulties following urban growth and the construction of high-rise buildings.
1,100 watts FM transmitter in Calgary for CBR, Calgary.
3930 watts FM transmitters in Edmonton for CHFA and CBX, Edmonton
2,800 watts transmitters in Winnipeg for CKSB, St-Boniface and CBW, Winnipeg.
4,100 watts FM at Saskatoon for CBK Regina.
The commission also issued public notices, with a deadline for the submission of interventions or comments of April 20 including the following radio applications:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 49,000 watts FM transmitter at Baie Verte to broadcast the programming of CBN-FM, St. John's.
*Application to increase the power of CJDV-FM, Cambridge, from 2,500 watts to 6,800 watts.
*Application by Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company Limited to use the frequency 107.3 MHz for 4,500 watts English-language commercial FM approved for the conversion of CKOT-AM, Tillsonburg, to FM.
*Application by CHRY Community Radio Incorporated to increase the power of community-based campus station CHRY-FM, Toronto, from 50 watts to 158 watts and increase the antenna height. This would change the station's status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A1 service.
Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add a 1,450 watts FM transmitter at Windsor to broadcast its Espace musique programming originating from CJBC-FM, Toronto.
*Application to renew the licence of CHCQ-FM, Belleville.
*Application to increase the power of CFIC-FM, Restigouche (Listuguj), from 50 watts to 425 watts: This would change the station's status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
There were no radio decisions announced in Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has announced nine new community licence awards (See RNW Mar 17). Ofcom also announced that its first spectrum auction - of frequencies suitable for short-distance communications - is to be held on Mar 21.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as well as levying TV penalties as noted is also looking closer to attaining full strength with a vote by the US Senate Commerce Committee to recommend confirmation of telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist Robert McDowell to fill the vacant Republican Commissioner's post (See RNW Mar 18).
It may also end up being asked to bar local information on the US satellite radio services following introduction of the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2006" into the US Senate (See RNW Mar 17) although passage of this and a similar House measure is neither imminent nor assured.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-03-19: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has announced that it is expanding its reach with an agreement with its German counterpart Radiozentrale to allow the latter's members full access to RAB sales and marketing materials, as well as training and consulting services.
RAB says its material will be "translated into German and repurposed to reflect the nuances of the Radio business as it pertains to Radio broadcasters in German-speaking countries in Europe."
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Given the backdrop of growth in Radio broadcasting globally, we anticipate that this will serve as a model for international cooperation between RAB and other Radio marketing organizations around the world."
Radiozentrale was founded a year ago by various German groups including Neue Welle Bayern; RTL Radio; Regiocast; Radio NRJ; Moira Rundfunk; NWZ Funk und Fernsehen; and WDR.
RAB has worked with various German broadcasters over recent years and Steffen Mueller, Managing Director of Moira Rundfunk, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Radiozentrale, commented in a RAB release, "RAB has consistently provided German-based Radio companies with proven strategies and tactics that help us accelerate our revenue growth."
Radiozentrale Managing Director Lutz Kuckuck added, "Now that we have formed our own Radiozentrale, we are thrilled to be able to offer our members full service support in sales and marketing through services of the RAB."
Radiozentrale web site (German only):
2006-03-19: Documents obtained by the Irish Independent show that Beat 102 FM, the country's first regional radio station, still has to make a profit after three years on air.
The paper says information from the station's annual review by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), which was released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows the cost of the sales teams, as well as marketing and publicity have pushed up overheads.
Beat's broadcasts cover Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and South Tipperary and the paper notes that in its original application for the licence, Beat was to share a sales team with Waterford station WLR, but opted for a separate sales team in order to maximise revenue.
This, says the BCI review, increased costs by about 33pc and is therefore a key factor in the on-going losses" and it comments, "income is generally on target but that expenditure is significantly higher".
Beat chief executive Kieran McGeary said the station was on the brink of breaking even and that the BCI was comparing its financial performance with projections made five years ago. "Times have changed and we have changed as we have gone along," he said.
Last month the BCI advertised a new regional youth-based service for South West Ireland (See RNW Feb 23) and further regional youth licences are scheduled to be advertised later this year -- in May - a North West service for counties Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon and Galway - and September - a North East/Midlands service for counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare, North-east Laois, Offaly and Westmeath.
Irish Independent report:
2006-03-19: Sirius has announced that Volkswagen of America, Inc. is to offer Sirius as the sole satellite radio provider for its vehicles sold in the US through 2012.
The company says it will offer Sirius with the introduction of 2007 models and expects to equip around four fifths of them - it sold around 400,000 vehicles in the US last year - with receivers.
Customers will be offered three months of service free of subscription charges.
In addition Audi, which in the past had offered buyers a choice of Sirius or XM, is now to offer Sirius receivers exclusively for the same model years. Audi said it made the decision to reduce complexity in dealer ordering [RNW comment: Do we take it the customers are better than the dealers in handling "complexity" or could money be involved?] and added, "We decided that the Audi customer demographic fit more closely with the type of content that Sirius Satellite Radio provides."
The news boosted Sirius shares, which ended Friday up 8.43% at USD 4.89 and at one point touched USD 4.90.
2006-03-19: Three former Michigan Public Media employees have been charged with embezzlement for illegally accepting golf club memberships, Persian rugs, airline tickets and massages in exchange for on-air considerations whilst working for WUOM-FM, Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The paper says each of the men - Michael Coleman, who is now the general manager of Wayne State University-owned WDET-FM; Jeremy Nordquist and Justin Ebright - was charged by Washtenaw County prosecutors in Ann Arbor with embezzlement of under USD 20,000, charges that carry a penalty of up to five years in jail.
The paper says an internal audit also found sloppy recordkeeping, excessive bonuses and expense-account fraud that totalled more than USD 50,000 from July 2001 to December 2005 according to the University of Michigan's chief financial officer, Timothy Slottow.
Coleman left Michigan Public Media, which is owned by the University of Michigan, last year to join WDET where he was involved in controversy for dropping the station's music output in favour of news and talk.
That controversy was reflected in comments by Free Press readers that the paper posted although one comment, from Saga Communications President and CEO Ed Christian, who is a Wayne State University supporter, defended the changes as "the right move at the right time" and also commented that he hoped the charges proved unfounded.
Detroit Free Press report:
2006-03-18: The US Senate Commerce Committee has voted to recommend confirmation of telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist Robert McDowell to fill the vacant Republican Commissioner's post on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
His nomination now has to be affirmed by the full Senate: If he is confirmed the Commission with have its full complement of five members, thus restoring a 3-2 Republican majority that would enable FCC chairman Kevin J Martin to move ahead on contentious issues such as new media ownership regulations.
Following the approval six Senators - North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan under whose name the letter was sent plus Republicans Trent Lott (Mississippi), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Democrats John Kerry (Massachusetts) and Maria Cantwell (Washington) have written to Martin urging him to "consider media ownership a comprehensive order and not deal with these rules in a piecemeal fashion."
They note that a bipartisan group of Senators has expressed "many concerns about increasing media consolidation and its impact on our democracy" and that the rules passed by the FCC in 2003 were rolled back by a 55 to 40 senate vote on a resolution sponsored by the group and 20 other senators.
"Any new media ownership rules established by the commission will be interconnected and thus must be considered in a comprehensive way," they write. "We urge you to allow this process to happen in as open and transparent a manner as possible, as well as engaging in public hearings and comment."
Senators' letter (888 KB 2-page PDF):
2006-03-18: Commenting on the success amidst local protest in winning the new Plymouth FM licence by the Macquarie bank-backed winning Diamond FM rock format bid that he led (See RNW Mar 10), Tim Schoonmaker, the former EMAP Performance Chief executive has told the Plymouth Evening Herald that they did not buy existing GCap Media station Plymouth Sound, which is up for sale, because they felt "the price that was being asked was too high and it is a lot more fun to build something from scratch."
He also commented - in the context of criticism from a number of local businessmen of the decision to award the licence to an Australian-backed bid rather than a "local" one- that "Diamond FM may prove to be the local radio station with the most local output. Plymouth Sound pumps out overnight programming from Bristol."
The paper had earlier reported that a letter, drafted by British TV personality Hugh Scully, approved by the chairmen of three unsuccessful city-based bids, and signed by Charles Howeson, chairman of Plymouth's Chamber of Commerce, as "'the leader of Plymouth's business community" was to be sent to culture secretary Tessa Jowell asking that the award be overturned and threatening a national campaign over the matter.
The unsuccessful bidders involved in the protest are Plymouth Live, Drake FM, and Radio Plymouth: They all sent representatives to a meeting, which was also attended by Westcountry Publications managing director Duncan Currall, Western Morning News editor Alan Qualtrough and Evening Herald editor Bill Martin, to consider action to be taken. The fourth local bid was from Armada FM.
The letter, reports the paper, "threatens to use the Freedom of Information Act to uncover all 'relevant documentation', including 'three cloned applications made by Diamond FM to Ofcom' and papers revealing 'the secret identity' of an additional Diamond director, not revealed in the firm's bid nor by Ofcom."
It accuses Diamond of making a 'formulaic application' similar to a other Macquarie-backed applications and comments, "If a licence can be won with such minimum effort, despite massive resources, what signal does that send to the whole of the radio industry? The consequences for local media groups having to compete against international banks are already clear. Ofcom's decision will result in fewer applications for local radio licences, less choice and less diversity for local audiences. I repeat; it is enormously damaging."
Schoonmaker told the paper they had chosen Plymouth because it was a "a town that's going places and it has only got one FM commercial radio station that serves Plymouth, rather than the wider region" but was reticent as to why Ofcom, which has not yet published its reasons for the award, had opted for the Diamond bid, commenting, "I don't know I can answer that. I suppose they were looking for a programme format that would broaden the choice and that a substantial number of people would want to listen to; that's where our research comes into its own. Ofcom also wanted something that could support itself financially."
Regarding the issue of "localness" he was more outspoken, noting that the biggest foreign investor in radio in Australia is the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) whose holdings include the Evening Herald, and which in turn is itself owned by institutions in the city of London.
"I don't think any readers are worried that the Evening Herald is ultimately owned by insurance companies in the city; it is local," said Schoonmaker. "The people that work there really care about Plymouth and love the area. Diamond will live and breathe the community."
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Macquarie Bank:
Plymouth Evening Herald - protest report:
Plymouth Evening Herald - Schoonmaker interview:
2006-03-18: The Media Audit has announced that CBS Radio has joined Radio One Inc and Cox Radio in agreeing to take part in tests by The Media Audit/Ipsos of its Smart Cell Phone Meter in Houston, an announcement that was followed by another small initial fall in Arbitron's stock price to USD 34.30 although it later recovered a little to end Friday at USD 34.40, down 0.86% on the day.
CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander said of the agreement, "We are impressed with how quickly The Media Audit /IPSOS team is hitting its milestones in bringing the radio industry an alternative electronic ratings service. The Media Audit/Ipsos formally applied to the evaluation committee in December and is now preparing for a market test 3 months later. That's impressive. Clearly they have a plan and they know what they are doing." commented Joel Hollander.
"As I have said before, we must be patient enough to fully evaluate each of our options" he added. "A bad choice, made immediately, is the worst possible circumstance for all involved. After all, we are evaluating a choice for a ratings service not for the next year or two but for decades to come. This is far too important a decision for our industry to jump before carefully evaluating our options."
The Media Audit president and co-founder Bob Jordan said of the agreement, "We see the move to electronic media measurement as a partnership between radio, advertising agencies and The Media Audit and its partner Ipsos. This spirit of partnership is evidenced with the cooperation of industry leaders like Joel and his team."
"There is an interest on the part of some advertisers and agencies to move to electronic measurement as quickly as possible," he added. "We hear them and with the kind of cooperation we have been getting this week, we can move quickly. Our uncompromising mission is to do it right and to do it right every step of the way."
The Media Audit co-Chairman and co-founder and head of research Jim Higginbotham fleshed out the aims of the study a little, saying, "One of the things we are going to be studying is what we call 'listening holes'. These are areas where radio listening might be lost because people don't necessarily carry their meter with them."
"One area of concern," he added, "is in radio's prime time of morning drive. We have not heard of anyone doing such tests, and we believe they will be the first of their kind. We will be sharing these findings with our radio and advertising agency partners with the purpose of finding a solution. Moving to electronic measurement is a big move and we want to make sure that all radio listening is recorded - fairly and accurately."
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
2006-03-18: Following the release of its 2005 results and negative reaction by some analysts shares in international satellite radio operator WorldSpace fell by nearly a quarter on Friday.
The company, which raised around USD 220 million in an initial public offering in August last year (See RNW Aug 5, 2005) ended 2005 with 115,306 subscribers, 40,235 of them added in the final quarter of the year; of the total 74,574 were from India where the company has been concentrating recent efforts, more than half of them (28,904) being added in the final quarter.
Revenues in the final quarter of the year were up 95% on a year earlier at USD 4.4 million of which USD 1.1 million was subscription revenue compared to around USD 400,000 a year earlier. Overall WorldSpace cut its losses to USD 33.2 million (90 cents a year) compared to USD 418.2 million (USD 71.45 a share) in 2004 when the figures included stock compensation expenses and other costs associated with an inter-company consolidation and subsequent debt restructuring.
EBITDA (earnings before interest income, interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization) loss for the quarter was USD 44.9 million compared to USD 101.0 million a year earlier.
For the full year revenues were up 36% to USD 11.7 million with subscription revenues up 255% to USD 3.7 million and overall loss was USD 79.9 million ( USD 2.77 per share), compared to USD 577.4 million (USD 99.00 per share) in 2004 with the 2005 EBITDA loss down from USD 130.1 million a year earlier to USD 84.6 million.
Commenting on the performance chairman and CEO Noah Samara said, "WorldSpace made important progress against all of our key operational metrics during the fourth quarter of 2005, especially in delivering strong subscriber growth. We believe we have gained significant traction in our efforts to acquire new subscribers, and will continue to do so as our visibility and brand awareness grow with the roll-out of our service to additional metropolitan areas, supported by targeted marketing campaigns. We also have made great strides in building our senior management teams, internationally and at the corporate level, by adding quality people with key areas of expertise that will be critical to our forward momentum."
WorldSpace stock ended the day 22.8% down at USD 8.89 having fallen at one stage to USD 8.63, the lowest since the IPO -they were then priced at USD 21 and eventually reached a high of USD 26.
2006-03-18: Although no details have been released Piquant-owned Air America Radio says it and Inner City Broadcasting have agreed that the latter's WLIB-AM in New York will continue as the former's flagship station.
Recently there had been reports saying that WLIB was to drop Air America (See RNW Mar 8) but in a statement the two companies say that they are in the process of finalizing a new agreement and over the next few months will seek to extend and enhance their relationship.
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Previous Inner City Broadcasting:
2006-03-17: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has welcomed the introduction of by three senators of the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2006" into the US Senate: Nearly identical to the bill (H.R.998) that has now gained 111 co-sponsors in Congress, the bill would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a rulemaking within 270 days to determine whether the satellite radio companies "should be permitted to provide locally oriented services on nationally distributed channels" taking into account such factors as "their impact on the viability of local stations and their ability to provide news and other services to the public" and whether the satellite companies could "provide the same level and quality of emergency communications" as local broadcast stations."
In a statement NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr applauds the senators for "introducing legislation designed to preserve the rich tradition of local broadcasting."
"It is crystal clear," he continues, "that both XM and Sirius - with nearly USD1 billion in combined losses last year and having failed as a national programming service - are skirting the intent of their original FCC licenses. This bill holds satellite radio accountable to those licenses."
Rehr then says that with this bill coupled with a companion bill in the House "NAB looks forward to educating lawmakers on the invaluable role played by free, local radio every day in communities all across America."
RNW comment: The Bill is phrased so as to produce the answers that the NAB wants since obviously, as a subscription service, the satellite companies cannot match the reach of local broadcasters and, even if they had the same size of audience would still not reach those who only had their old analogue receivers.
And of course if the NAB manages to get them barred from offering information of traffic and weather, there will be pressures on people to tune into analogue services whether or not they find the programming to be to their taste.
Two prime questions come to mind for us. One is the issue of providing emergency information to those who are listening to satellite stations whilst on the move - if, for example, there were tornado warnings or a spill of poison gas in an area that they were approaching should they not be informed of such dangers irrespective of the fact that this is local information.
The second is in our view an important question is should be asked of the terrestrial services in any case but if they are to claim privileges should be mandatory - that of the degree to which the local broadcasters do in fact provide the level of news and information services that they should.
Starting from the viewpoint that the first issue that should be considered is that of public interest, it seems to us that there is ample evidence that many stations do not adequately serve their communities in this area.
We therefore would either allow the market to decide and ease restrictions on the satellite companies or alternatively, if the balance is such that it is felt that local stations are essential for emergency information purposes and that their existence could be threatened through loss of audience to the satellite companies, then suitable demands in terms of such information should be made a condition of licence with challenges - and revocation - of licence possible at any time when a company fails to meet those public service requirements.
This would of course reduce the value of the companies but it would be important not to put them out of business so it should be possible to devise a suitable financial formula based on a return on investment on the basis of a nil licence value (since the licence is a lease from the public of spectrum) to ensure that they run at a reasonable profit and return on investment in plant and facilities.
If a company then said it could not operate profitably on the basis determined the licence should be put up for auction again with the same conditions attached - and awarded to any bidder who provides evidence that they can maintain it. If there are no such bidders then the public interest would indicate that the licensee should retain the licence but if there are bidders with the backing to keep a service going they lose it.
Thus those who cry wolf would find themselves bitten, those who bid but don't do their sums subsidize the public interest but will be able to continue operating for long enough to either amend the conditions or find another licensee, and the public will be better served.
Any bets as to whether NAB would prefer the former or the latter option - or are just being self-serving?
2006-03-17: Canadian commercial radio broadcasters in a 167-page submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) have called for the development of a Bonus System aimed at encouraging airplay of emerging music artists, stricter guidelines on market entry by all forms of licensed radio and the development of a Market Entry Test to help prevent over-licensing and a flexible approach to Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) regulation in order to encourage its development in the marketplace among other means of preserving terrestrial radio broadcasting as it faces growing competition from new technologies - it lists Internet radio, digital radio, satellite/subscription radio services, cell phone radio, podcasting, and peer-to-peer file sharing, among others- and changes in people's habits.
The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) says the response required is not one of more regulation but of smarter and more effective regulation.
Commenting that the changes "demand a bold new approach" to the regulation of commercial radio the CAB notes that the Canadian radio industry is "clearly cyclical" and says that the "fragmented media landscape and increases in copyright payments - which more than tripled to CAD 70 million [USD 61 million] between 1995 and 2005 - have created an uncertain economic outlook for private radio."
It projects a loss of radio listeners over the next decade due to new audio services and technologies and estimates that lost revenues could amount to USD CAD 39 million [USD 34 million] by 2010, with larger losses projected in subsequent years.
In a news release CAB President and CEO Glenn O'Farrell comments, "The old economy of radio has been abruptly replaced by a new economy where radio faces unregulated competition in an open field of media and entertainment services. We no longer have a single, regulated system of radio services delivered over the public airwaves, free of charge to Canadians. Now, we have two systems: the regulated system of the past, which is now in direct competition - some would say collision - with an unregulated, parallel system of new delivery platforms for audio content."
The CAB notes that since introduction of Canadian Talent Development policies by the CRTC in 1999 Canadian private radio has committed more than CAD 168 million [USD 146 million] to such development and comments, "Given the changing realities of private radio and the Canadian music industry, and also the inordinate amount of CTD funding from private radio that has flowed into the system in the past eight years, the Canadian regulator has the unique opportunity to set a bold new course by assessing the effectiveness of this funding and how it can be better leveraged to ensure the future health and success of Canadian radio and its music stars."
"For these reasons," it adds, "the CAB proposes to consolidate radio's CTD contribution into commercial fund in the English and French markets aimed at marketing and promotion."
As well as the impact of new technology the CAB also comments on the growth of low-power stations that is says can have a "severe" impact in small markets and a "significant" effect in larger ones, expresses concern about "over-licensing that is occurring or has the potential to take place in a range of markets, small and large."
"The abundance of licences issued by the Commission over the past several years," it says, "has lead to a crowding effect that has spread revenues too thinly and rendered diversity of voice difficult to achieve" and it says the commission should introduce a "Market Entry Test in a manner that fully addresses the modern realities of private radio's current business environment."
The CAB also comments on the loss of the teenage audience, describing a chicken-and-egg situation: " advertising for the 12 - 17 age group has been largely abandoned by advertisers, media planners and broadcasters. Since there is little revenue available from teens, there is little financial rationale for developing and launching a programming strategy targeting teens" and then "It is generally agreed that teens have abandoned conventional radio in favour of other audio platforms, including peer-to-peer file sharing, music downloading and iPods. Satellite radio may also prove to be popular with teens. The key question this raises is whether today's teens can ever be repatriated to conventional radio."
In its submission, listeners' lobby "The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting" says the Canadian content regulations introduced in 1999 "constitute a great success" and then adds, "Owing to turnover in your leadership, there may currently be no Commissioners who experienced directly the pressure from the CAB lobby when your Commission decided in 1999 to raise the bar for Canadian music."
This pressure it comments, "was intense, repugnant and entirely without merit, as subsequent experience has demonstrated...We recommend mature scepticism to similar entreaties during the 2006 review process."
It says it endorses the objectives of the review and says the Commission should not lose sight of "repetitive evidence from the broadcast sector that regulation facilitates markets and is a necessary tool to ensure that the Act's objectives are attained."
The group also calls for an increase in required Canadian content for category 2 popular music to 40% on a daily 6 am to 6 pm basis - the CAB wants it to remain at 35% in general but be reduced to 25 percent for music released prior to 1985; supports "the logic of a 10% Canadian Talent Development benefit upon transfers (or changes) of ownership and control of radio licensees"; says that regarding Local Management and Sales Agreements, " such arrangements, which inherently reduce competition and diversity, should be employed only on an exceptional basis, and in those circumstances require substantive supervision to ensure that the parties respect their public obligations - the CAB supports local sales agreements; and says the CRTC "should beware of any proposals to reduce the obligation of commercial radio stations to present substantial amounts of locally-produced news and information programming. This should apply to all stations, without exception."
CAB submission (167 Page -French and English - 800 kb PDF):
2006-03-17: Cox Radio has joined Radio One Inc. in agreeing to encode its broadcasts in Houston for tests of the Media Audit/Ipsos Smart Cell Phone for tests of the device.
The move will put pressure on Arbitron, which earlier this week announced that it was to commence rolling out its competing Portable People Meter (PPM) this year, starting off in Houston in July: Both Cox and Radio One had opted not to encode their signals for PPM tests in Houston.
The tests to be conducted of the Smart Phone will not be used to produce ratings but rather to check the "technical functioning of the Smart Cell Phone meter, testing cooperation and compliance of a panel" according to TMA Chairman and Chief of Research Jim Higginbotham who says the results will be shared with the broadcasters and the Media Rating Council.
Previous Cox Radio:
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
Previous Media Rating Council:
2006-03-17: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of nine more community licences, eight in England and one in Wales, taking the total now awarded to 93. The latest licences go to:
Bournemouth, Dorset - Hope FM, a faith-based group, linked to the local YMCA.
Dewsbury, West Yorkshire - Branch FM - a Christian group.
Ipswich, Suffolk - Ipswich Community Radio, which will in particular serve minority ethnic communities, asylum seekers and refugees, young people, and those whose musical tastes are non-commercial.
Lincoln, Lincolnshire - Siren FM - a university-based group that will provide a service intended to be of interest to students, school children and other young people in the City of Lincoln.
Luton, Bedfordshire - Diverse FM, which will provide a service to the area's various ethnic groups.
Tidworth, Wiltshire - Castledown Radio (Salisbury Plain) which will provide a service for both the civilian and resident military populations in and around the town of Tidworth and surrounding villages.
Tidworth, Wiltshire - Salisbury Plain Army Radio which will provide a service for military personnel living and working at Bulford Camp and other nearby military establishments on Salisbury Plain.
St Albans, Hertfordshire - Radio Verulam - a long-established community broadcasting organization serving the St. Albans area.
Wrexham, North East Wales - Calon FM which will serve the population of Wrexham and in particular the large number of students in the area.
Ofcom also announced that it had opted not to award licences to Nerve Radio, Bournemouth; Wrexham FM; Lindum Radio, Lincoln; and Lyon Radio in Stevenage: In the case of the last it said it would have liked to award a licence but its engineers had not been able to identify a suitable FM frequency that would deliver a sustainable service in Stevenage (either in stereo or mono).
2006-03-17: According to the New York Daily News, CBS Radio's New York WFNY-FM (Free FM) morning host David Lee Roth, who last week accused executives of trying to destroy his show (See RNW Mar 11), has now declared a truce.
It quotes him as saying, "The suits upstairs...have actually been pretty cool. We've all got bigger wars to fight."
The paper also reports that Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia), who last week said a CBS Radio deal looked "90%" now says this is in limbo.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
New York Daily News report:
2006-03-17: This year's Australian Commercial Radio Awards ceremony is to change its format with statues to be presented over dinner as opposed to in a ceremony prior to the dinner.
The awards, the 18th such annual event, are organised by industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) and will be held at Luna Park in Sydney on October 14: Entries can be submitted until May 5.
2006-03-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has upheld its 2004 Super Bowl ruling against CBS over the revelation of part of a Janet Jackson breast in announcing decisions that it says resolve more than 300,000 consumer complaints about the broadcast of indecent, profane, and/or obscene television programming.
It did not release any decisions concerning radio indecency/obscenity offences but in all it has either confirmed or proposed TV penalties totalling nearly USD 4.3 million, the vast majority of it to CBS and its affiliates.
In the CBS-Janet Jackson case it rejects arguments that its ruling was flawed and confirms a USD 550,000 penalty: It also ruled that CBS stations and affiliates breached rules in a December 31, 2004, broadcast of "Without a Trace"that included "material graphically depicting teenage boys and girls participating in a sexual orgy" and issued notices of apparent liability of USD 32,500 per station, adding up to a total of USD 3.37 million and also issued Notices of Apparent liability totalling USD 355,000 in relation to a number of other stations concerning various breaches.
The FCC also ruled, but proposed no penalty , that there had been breaches in various other cases including the use of expletives during the 2003 Billboard Music Awards programme and various breaches involving such shows as NYPD Blue:
The FCC did not uphold other complaints about such shows as Will and Grace, Two and a Half Men, the 2005 Academy Awards broadcast and The Oprah Winfrey Show - the last relating to the notorious Salad toss oral anal sex definition about which Howard Stern raised a ruckus but where the FCC said that the intent had not been to pander or titillate.
In addition to the rulings, all the FCC commissioners involved in the rulings issued various statements that have been posted on the FCC web site: These either supported the decisions or suggested that penalties or rulings should have been harsher (Around 140 pages of rulings and statements for those who wish to plough through them).
FCC web site:
2006-03-16: The Vancouver Canucks, whose radio home for three decades has been CKNW-AM, are to move to CHUM's TEAM 1040 from the start of next season.
On the station web site, TEAM 1040 says it has agreed a sic-year deal to become the official radio station for the Canucks and will carry every one of their games live.
Vancouver Canucks Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Dave Nonis is quoted as saying, "Our fans will be well served by TEAM 1040's all sports format which provides the means to bring our game day activities to our fans. We look forward to TEAM 1040 providing the very best experience in radio and continuing CKNW's tradition of delivering a consistently high-calibre broadcast."
"In addition to the game broadcasts," he added, "we have negotiated an increased Canuck presence on TEAM 1040 by licensing a weekly show that will run through each season of the agreement. CHUM Radio has also brought to the Canucks a major commitment to support the team's community and charitable initiatives."
Corus-owned CKNW makes no mention of the move on its web site but the Canucks say play-by-play commentator John Shorthouse and colour man Tom Larschied are likely to move to CHUM after their CKNW contracts expire.
TEAM 1040 web site:
2006-03-16: The UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) has said that media regulator Ofcom should "bear in mind the fundamental distinction between television and radio" in its consultation on product placement, which would be allowed on commercial TV in Europe under proposed regulatory changes.
The CRCA says it "believes that the existing Code and guidance applicable to radio is outdated and warrants reform" adding that it wants "greater clarity" without losing "flexibility" and that radio sponsorship should be considered independently to that on TV, although any changes for both mediums should be introduced simultaneously.
TV loyalties says the CRCA are to particular programmes whilst that of radio listeners tends to be towards a station, adding that "In one sense, a single radio station's output or schedule can be seen as a single programme that offers a distinct sound and feel, one that fosters loyalty to an individual station that offers a desired format, invariably a particular format and style of popular music or speech and presenters."
"Lacking distinct programming strands in the manner of television, the concept of product placement on radio is therefore wholly distinct from that applied to television," it comments adding, "Consequently it is not possible to apply to radio programming Ofcom's suggestion of identifying placements at the beginning of a programme since radio typically does not broadcast defined programme strands. Nor is it clear what constitutes "factual programming" on radio (and therefore potentially exempt from product placement), where, in theory, almost all output could be construed as factual."
It says that in its consultation Ofcom should dedicate resources "to engaging specifically with commercial radio broadcasters to explore options for reform and relaxing existing rules, with the objective of removing the ban on product placement" concluding that "The overriding goal ought to be to instil greater clarity as to what is, and what is not, acceptable, set out in new Guidance."
2006-03-16: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a Quebec City station breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics in personal attacks on a guest and that a Toronto station was in breach for not making it clear that a Rolling Stones broadcast was not live but pre-recorded.
In the Quebec case, CJMF-FM morning host Sylvain Bouchard conducted a phone interview with the Vice-President of the Quebec Association of Friends of Cuba in which amongst other things Bouchard called the guest a "dirty bastard"
The CBSC panel in its decision said that the interviewee "presumably in good faith, if somewhat naïvely, expected that his press release on the Cuban National Day would lead to interviews on that subject" but in fact the host opted to press him on what he saw as the sins of Cuba itself, something the panel says he was entitled to do.
It notes that when Bouchard had questioned his guest about child prostitution in Cuba the guest had responded in a manner suggesting that Bouchard had been with a child prostitute, and said the host had overreacted.
He had insulted the caller directly and personally by saying "You are so twisted, you little bastard. You are such a bastard." Until this point, the Quebec Regional Panel said the host was within his rights as it appeared did the interviewee but the personal attacks then made were a breach of Canadian codes.
In the Toronto case, the CBSC received nine complaints about CILQ-FM (Q-107), which had advertised that it would be airing a live Rolling Stones performance on August 10, 2005, when the Stones were scheduled to play a single concert.
Q107's host then continually mentioned the show during the broadcast and referred to it as "live Stones" when in fact it was airing a pre-recorded live Rolling Stones performance from three years earlier.
The panel said the host's "comments were made with the sounds of a crowd cheering and instruments being tuned in the background. All of this left the distinct impression that the concert broadcast by Q107 was in fact the Phoenix show that was taking place that evening. "
It ruled that the station was in breach of codes "for its unfair, improper and misleading broadcasts."
2006-03-16: SMG-owned Virgin Radio has announced that Ordinary Boys frontman (Samuel) Preston, also known as a contestant in the Celebrity Big Brother TV show, is to host four Sunday afternoon shows starting on this week.
Virgin had championed the group before Preston went on the TV show and he commented, "Being in a band means music is a massive part of my life - the chance to be a DJ on a station like Virgin Radio is one in a million. I can't wait."
2006-03-15: Bridge Ratings is predicting that in 15 years HD radio and the two satellite services will each have roughly the same number of listeners but that their combined reach will be outstripped by Internet listening, which it says is already the preferred source of supplemental audio entertainment among young Americans.
Bridge's projections show that by 2007, XM will reach 9.06 million, Sirius 5.98 million, and HD radio 1.05 million but these will be well behind Internet listening which will attract 72 million aided by an increase in wireless internet penetration from nil last year and 5.67 million in 2005 to 41.15 million.
In 2020 it is predicting XM to have 46.60 million, behind Sirius with 48.15 million but just ahead of HD with 46.39 million: By then it says wireless internet penetration will have reached 205.09 million and Internet listening226.20 million with mobile phone streaming, which will reach 1.475 million this year, its year of introduction, up to 27.26 million.
Commenting on the figures, Bridge says, "While the wireless solution for in-car Internet radio still needs to be determined, its potential for use by the public at large is far greater than the current impressive growth projections for satellite radio. The question that begs to be answered is: 'As Internet radio use accelerates both in and out of home, how will satellite radio's profitability model survive?'"
"The key here," it adds, "is this: with Internet radio already the preferred medium over satellite radio, traditional radio and the moderate growth of High Definition terrestrial radio (HD) should benefit from additional free channels and the refinement of its analogue product. We still believe that terrestrial radio will have significant market penetration well into the future with at least 80% of the U.S. population tuning in at least once a week by 2020. Difficult to project with confidence at this time is terrestrial radio's time-spent-listening fifteen years hence."
RNW comment: The problem as always with long-term forecasts is that new inventions can upend a whole scenario as can changes of tactics and strategy by existing players. This, in our view, is already apparent in the US in the sense that terrestrial radio gave satellite far greater opportunities to take away audience than it need have or should have were it planning on a long-term basis. Of course, with takeovers and so on always threatening, taking a long-term view might well have simply results in any company that did so falling prey to a bidder who went for short-term gain.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-03-15: The British government has confirmed details of the BBC's new Royal Charter, which retains licence fee funding for its ten years of life that starts at the beginning of next year and sees the Corporation overseen by a new Trust that will be separate from management and have a brief to ensure that public interests are paramount.
The government White Paper eschews the idea of restricting the corporation to "worthy" public areas and says "For the BBC, being entertaining should be of fundamental importance, but it should involve competing with other broadcasters on grounds of quality, not by simply copying or adapting successful formats from other broadcasters or making programmes solely to tried and tested formulae."
The proposals do introduce some new curbs on the corporation such as the introduction for each service of a licence that sets out its purpose and main characteristics in a similar manner to the conditions of commercial radio licences. Until now the BBC has been able to make significant format changes without needing external approval but under the White Paper new services or "significant" changes to existing services will be subject to a public service test before the Trust approves them.
Assessment will include a market impact assessment to be carried out by Ofcom to consider how far commercial rivals would be affected by the plans.
Commercial broadcasters have given the Paper a cautious welcome but have commented that funding levels - the government is yet to set licence fee rates - is fundamental to considerations of fairness.
The Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) said Ofcom should assess the impact of current BBC services and re-iterating its past comments concerning BBC Radio One and Radio 2, which it has accused of being too commercial (See RNW Feb 28).
BBC chairman Michael Grade welcomed the decision to renew the charter and continue licence fee funding but added, "An overhaul of the BBC's governance to a modern structure that serves the licence fee paying public is long overdue. Promises of delivery and sincere words of assurance are no longer enough: the BBC has to demonstrate sustained commitment. "
"The BBC, he said, "must operate only in the public interest, ensuring value for money and high quality output. But in doing so, the BBC accepts it has a responsibility to take account of its potential impact on the wider market and to demonstrate through transparent decision-making processes how it delivers public value to the United Kingdom.
Comments on the White Paper have to be submitted by April 28.
White Paper (819 KB 76 page PDF):
2006-03-15: Australian Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan has released details of government plans for the country's media industry that would ease ownership limits and cross-ownership restrictions and also of foreign ownership of broadcasters.
Saying that "Traditional media services are being challenged by new digital technologies and this is resulting in the emergence of new players, new content, new services and new platforms," Coonan said the government had concluded that "the current regulatory settings, which are largely designed for an analogue world, risk becoming outdated."
"These reform options marry the Government's longstanding policy of changes to cross media laws in Australia and relaxation of the foreign ownership restrictions with reforms to ensure Australia will not be left behind as the world converts to digital," she said.
"This process has not been one of conforming to any particular media player's view of the world. Instead it has been one of balancing the need for diversity and new and innovative services for Australian consumers now, with the need to equip Australia for the digital future. There is a compelling case for change and if the Government does not act, then there is a genuine risk that Australia will become a dinosaur of the analogue age."
The plans would allow one operator to control a newspaper, television and radio channels in one city and in addition, when analogue TV is switched off, TV broadcasters will be allowed to broadcast up to seven channels through multiplexing although any HD channels introduced will cut into this expansion. Regarding cross-media transactions, the government is proposing that these be allowed to go ahead subject to a minimum of four commercial media groups in each regional market and five in mainland state capitals and it also proposes to retain a maximum of two commercial radio licences per operator in a radio licence are and one TV licence per licence area.
It also proposed to require public disclosure of interest when a media outlet reports on the activities of another entity in which it has holdings.
The plan was attacked by shadow minister Senator Stephen Conroy as facilitating "a massive concentration of the ownership of the most influential media."
Saying this was "not in the public interest" he called the plan an "unprecedented display of arrogance by the Howard Government" and said the public was being allowed just one month to consider proposals that would make the most significant changes in media regulations for two decades.
"At a time when the Government has a majority in both Houses of Parliament for the first time in a generation, Australia cannot afford to lose another check on government power," said Conroy, adding, "The rise of the Internet provides no justification for the gutting of the cross media rules. The fact is that when Australians turn to the web for local and national news they overwhelmingly go to the sites owned by the giants of the so-called 'old media'."
He illustrated this last comment with figures from AC Neilsen that in June last year four groups attracting 84.5% of visitors to internet news and advertising sites - Fairfax with a 33.3% share; News Corporation with 23.9%; the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with 14.4% and Packer-owned PBL (Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd) with 12.9%.
Australian media comment on the proposals has generally been in favour and leading publisher John Fairfax, whose company owns the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age, said the proposals were "an important step forward in consideration of media law and reform, and we commend the minister on her initiative."
The Australian, owned by News Corporation, said in an editorial under the heading "The Coonan media reforms are welcome, but overdue" that the report signalled "a cautious yet still important overhaul of media regulation by the Government - an achievement, given that the previous rules were written back when most people thought cable was a synonym for rope and the internet was largely the province of university and military researchers."
It added that "even with the changes, Australian media companies will still be subject to regulations on ownership and technological innovation that apply to virtually no other sector of the economy. This sort of over-regulation stifles innovation, diversity and efficiency, leaving consumers to pay the price in terms of limited free-to-air options and expensive pay-TV subscription fees."
The Australian - Editorial:
2006-03-15: Arbitron has announced that it is to begin to roll out its Portable People Meter (PPM) as its Radio Ratings Service in the top 50 markets, beginning with its introduction in July this year and with the system being in use in all the top 10 markets by the fall of 2008 and all the top 50 radio markets in a further two to three years.
Arbitron currently uses a diary system that dates back to 1965 and that has been criticised by various US radio companies, particularly Clear Channel.
It has been developing the PPM for around a decade and was in partnership with Nielsen Media Research from 2000 but Nielsen earlier this month pulled out and decided not to exercise its option to continue sharing in PPM development and deployment (See RNW Mar 2).
Commenting on the roll out Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris said in a statement, "The termination of the Nielsen Media Research option for the PPM earlier this month has given Arbitron the freedom to introduce the Portable People Meter as a local market, radio audience ratings system in the United States. Now that we are finally able to make a commitment to roll out the PPM for radio, we anticipate that our customers will be more willing to make a commitment to the PPM as well."
"In 2001, we took the lead by launching the first ever U.S. market trial of a portable and passive electronic measurement system for radio," he added. "We've spent the past five years reviewing and refining every aspect of the Portable People Meter system in close cooperation with the U.S. radio industry. We believe it's time for Arbitron to take the lead once again."
"We decided to move forward because there are important benefits that the rollout of the Portable People Meter is able to bring to radio today. We believe advertisers will have increased confidence in the medium, thanks to the increased accountability that electronic measurement delivers. Stations will have new audience insights to make improvements to their programming and broadcasters will be better able to garner incremental revenue from new and existing advertisers."
Arbitron has so far released details of 48 of advertising agencies/global holding companies, two broadcasts (SBS and Beasley Broadcast) and one advertiser (Wendy's International) who have committed themselves to using the PPM.
RNW comment: This move seems to us, following as it does an announcement by the Media Audit (whose system is one of the rival systems being considered by the US radio industry) that it was launching a test in Houston (See RNW Mar 14), an attempt by Arbitron to try and pre-empt rivals by having a system up and running whilst the rivals are still in testing mode. What is noticeable, however, is that only two broadcasters have signed up and if the big radio companies think the rivals are worth waiting for on a combination of cost and technological grounds then Arbitron could be in big trouble.
At the very least it may have to drastically reduce its charges to keep most of the industry from moving to a rival and in the worst scenario it may find a rival bid gaining approval and effectively putting it out of the ratings business.
We noted that Arbitron shares fell a further 1.22% on Tuesday and now at USD 33.93 are not that much above their 52-week low of USD 33.35: Should there be any clear statement from the radio Cross-Industry Evaluation Team that is favourable to the Media Audit/Ipsos submission, we would expect a much greater fall.
2006-03-15: Driven by radio and outdoor, SMG underlying pre-profits in 2005 were up 46% to GBP 20.0 million (USD 34.9 million ) with underlying operating profit up 11% to GBP 31.2 million (USD 54.5 million) on revenues up 4.4% % to GBP 210.0 million (USD 366.8 million): Overall, however, after taking into account gains and losses on disposals - at GBP 30 million (USD 52.4 million) in 2005 only half the GBP 59.7 million (USD 104.3 million) in 2004 - as well interest income and finance costs, the pre-tax profit was halved at GBP 18.8 million (USD 32.8 million - down from 12 pence to 4.6 pence per basic and diluted share).
In divisional terms, outdoor revenues were up 12% to GBP 20.7 million (USD 36.2 million); radio revenues were up 11% to GBP 22.4 million (USD 39.1 million) compared to an overall 4% fall in the UK radio sector - radio operating profits were up 23% to GBP 4.9 million (USD 8.6 million); TV revenues were up 3% to GBP 137.0 million (USD 239.3 million), marginally outperforming the UK TV sector as a whole; and cinema revenues were up 3% to GBP 20.9 million (USD 36.5 million) compared to a 2% decline in the cinema advertising market in the UK.
Commenting on the overall performance, SMG Chairman Chris Masters said, "The Group's encouraging overall operational performance and strong profit growth, coupled with its significant progress in new business initiatives, has underpinned the Board's confidence in the Group's long term prospects."
Chief Executive Andrew Flanagan added, "Overall, this has been a solid trading result for SMG, coupled with some positive regulatory outcomes, which has resulted in a year of strong progress.
Alongside this we have made significant headway in developing new revenue streams in response to the changing UK media environment."
On the radio performance, he said Virgin Radio had "maintained the momentum built up earlier in 2005" thanks to a combination of "increased sponsorship, promotion and online revenues in addition to a growing contribution from our digital stations."
"The lifeblood of any radio business," said Flanagan "is its listeners and 2005 saw a resurgence in Virgin Radio's performance. Listening Hours grew by 16% year on year and Reach by 3% partly reflecting the additional contribution of our growing digital stations, Virgin Radio Classic Rock, Virgin Radio Groove and the new member of the Virgin Radio family of stations, Virgin Radio Xtreme, launched in September."
Flanagan said that SMG held the firm view "that digital listening provides a range of opportunities that Virgin Radio is particularly well placed to exploit" and noted that 23% of Virgin's audience now listened through a digital platform - DAB, Dsat and online.
He also noted that with the decline in AM listening SMG, which was due to start negotiations on terms for the extension of the Virgin national AM licence, expected the current fee of more than GB 2,0 million (USD 3.5 million) a year to be reduced - SMG's TV operations have already benefited by a GBP 4.5 million ( USD 7.9 million) reduction in its licence fees in 2005 with a further GBP 1 million (USD 1.75 million) expected as digital penetration continues to increase before the analogue TV switch-off.
Looking ahead, SMG has warned of tough times for the first quarter of this year - comparisons are with a strong first quarter in 2004 when Easter was early and there was additional government spending - but that for the second quarter it expects things to improve, aided by Easter and World Cup soccer. For the first four months of the year it says like-for-like TV revenues are expected to be down 7% and cinema down by 10% with radio up 6% and outdoor up 14% but then.
2006-03-15: Clear Channel says in its 10 K filing for 2005 to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the Department of Justice has now closed its inquiries into two anti-trust allegations against the company and will be taking no action against it.
The inquiries concerned allegations of violations of anti-trust laws in one radio market and whether it had linked radio airplay or the use of concert venues to the use of the concert promotion services of its former live entertainment division.
The filing (a 121 page PDF - the reference to the lawsuits is on Page 21) says that in terms of its continuing business radio - it has 1,182 stations in the US -accounted for 53% of its total revenues, outdoor for 40% - 18% in the Americas and 22% for International outdoor operations, and its other segment, including 41 TV stations and Katz Media, for the remaining 7%.
Clear Channel has also released details of executive remuneration during 2005 including USD 879,107 in salary in salary to CEO Mark Mays and USD 787,441 in salary to CFO Randall Mays.
Each of them also received restricted stock awards worth USD 5.84 million and options to buy 355,000 more shares but neither received bonuses in 2005, whereas in 2004 they were each paid bonuses of USD 1.7 million.
Their father, chairman L Lowry Mays, was paid USD 750,944 in 2005 and also received USD 1.15 million in restricted stock and options to purchase an additional 505,000 shares.
Clear Channel also listed USD 118,285 for personal use of a company plane by the three but said this was a legitimate expense not an executive perquisite because the plane was used in view of a high public profile and threats made. Chairman Lowry Mays also has protection at his home.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
Clear Channel filing (121 page 94 KB PDF):
2006-03-15: Baltimore news-talk station WBAL-AM has announced that following research that showed demand for more local programming it is to drop the syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show, which it currently airs from noon to 15:00 ET, and include more local programming in its output.
WBAL says it made the change after commissioning a "major research project" that showed "that Marylanders desire even more information and discussion about the events and issues impacting them, and the communities where they live."
"This research project," the station says, "also told us that WBAL Radio listeners absolutely love Dave Durian & the WBAL Morning Team, Chip Franklin and Ron Smith. All of our news elements also received very high scores - off the chart."
It adds, "We also looked at our competition. Without being too critical, listeners believe radio in Baltimore has become less local, has fewer personalities, and is too 'homogenized / vanilla.'"
In its new line-up that commences on June 1, Limbaugh's slot will be taken by expanded offerings from Chip Franklin, who will air from 09:30 to 14:00, and Ron Smith, whose show will air from 14:00 to 18:00.
Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates Limbaugh, has announced that it is "pursuing a developing opportunity" for the Rush Limbaugh Show. In a statement EVP Affiliate Marketing Julie Talbott said, "WBAL has been a great partner to Rush Limbaugh for many years. However at this time, we're excited about a new direction the show will take in Baltimore. We look forward to making an official announcement in the near future."
Premiere says it will make an announcement on Limbaugh's new station "in the near future."
Previous Premiere Networks:
WBAL web site:
2006-03-15: Howard Stern attacked CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves yet again on Monday - on CBS. Appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman", an appearance scheduled before CBS launched a breach of contract lawsuit against him, he wore what he terms an "I hate Leslie Moonves' t-shirt" and accused Moonves of taking the stockholders' money and filing "a frivolous lawsuit to try to cover up what's going on in the radio division."
He also spoke of considering a counter suit against CBS which in a statement said his comments on the show were a "desperate attempt to distract attention from the facts of the case."
"We hope, in subsequent coverage of that appearance, the media is not seduced or fooled in any way," it continued. "Howard Stern has done something wrong and we intend to demonstrate this wrongful conduct in court."
2006-03-14: Hard on the heels of the announcement by the US radio Cross-Industry Evaluation Team that it had narrowed seven original contenders for a new electronic ratings system (See RNW Mar 10), Radio One Inc. and the Media Audit have announced an agreement for tests of the latter's cell-phone based system in Houston.
The Media Audit/Ipsos smart phone system uses two kinds of measurement of broadcast audiences - audio-matching for stations that have not included a "watermark" in their broadcast signals and watermarking a transmission through embedding into the audio signal a watermark that can be detected by the Smart Phone. The Houston tests using encoding will involve Radio One's three stations in the market - CHR/Rhythmic KBXX-FM (The Box), Urban AC KMJQ-FM (Majic 102) and Regional Mexican KROI-FM (La Mera Mera).
Media Audit claims that one benefit of its call-phone system is that it is a good means to reach young males and minorities, since both groups are strong users of such phones, thus allowing its system to address problems with demographic groups where Arbitron's current diary system has known shortcomings.
Arbitron, which has been attempting to address the issues for some time, has now announced that it is to increase payments to diary keepers in 21 cities to "bolster response rate and improve sample representation among young men."
The moves to bolster response rates will include use of pre-placement letters, currently sent to 48% of households, with a one-dollar cash incentive to all its mailable samples by the end of this year and a doubling of the minimum diary incentive from USD 1 to USD 2 per day in all markets by the end of next year: Currently nearly two-thirds o f households receive the USD 1 minimum incentive.
Regarding improvement of young male representation, Arbitron is to offer a USD 5 cash incentive for each person in homes with one or two males age 18 to 24 in all markets, starting from spring this year. This survey treatment will begin in spring 2006 and also to offer a USD 5 thank-you for agreeing to participate, currently offered in 58 markets, in all markets by the end of this year. It is also to start sampling homes that only have cell-phone users starting in 2008.
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2006-03-14: UTV has reported 2005 revenues up 46% on a year earlier at GBP 92.7 million (USD 160.7 million) with pre-tax profit up 19% to GBP 20.8 million (USD 36.1 million) before exceptional costs of GBP 1.2 million (USD 2.1 million - compared to nil in 2004) relating to restructuring, including redundancy costs, after acquisition of the Wireless Group in June for GBP 96.9 million (then USD 180 million- See RNW Jun 8, 2005).
During 2005 UTV also bought Dundalk and Drogheda station LMFM for GBP 7.5 million (USD 13 million ) and the two-thirds it did not own of Juice FM in Liverpool for GBP 2.1 million (USD 3.6 million) and also a 50% holding - the other half is held by the Local Radio Group - of First Radio Sales for GBP 500,000 ( USD 866,000 )
Within the group radio has driven growth with Irish radio operating profit - on revenues up 17% on a like-for-like basis - up 56% to GBP 3.8 million (USD 6.6 million) after taking into account pre operational expenses of GBP 500,000 ( USD866,000 ) and operational losses of GBP 200,000 (USD 350,000) related to its new Belfast licence (the station went on air in November) and GB radio operating profit - on like for like revenues up 5% - was GBP 4.8 million (USD 8.3 million) compared to a USD 200,000 loss (USD 350,000) in 2004. The latter figures include pre-operational expenses of 100,000 (USD 1.7 million) related to UTV's new Edinburgh FM licence (launched last month).
In comparison TV operating profit on revenues down 3.8% was flat at GBP 15.4 million (USD 26.7 million) as was New Media operating profit of GBP 800,000 ( USD 1,39 million ) although Internet revenues were up 54%.
Group Chief Executive John McCann said it had been "another strong year for the Group with solid performance across the business."
"The most significant event of the year," he added, "was the acquisition of the former Wireless Group plc in June. Its integration into UTV Radio (GB) is progressing well and it is enjoying buoyant advertising sales. Although the UK radio market overall is experiencing adverse trading conditions, our stations are bucking the trend."
McCann said UTV was forecasting growth of 9% for the first quarter in 2006 in Great Britain compared to an overall decline in the market of 11% and added, "We are expecting a similarly strong performance in our advertising revenues in Ireland, with an increase of 9% in the first quarter."
In terms of expansion he noted, "In addition to acquiring Wireless, we also launched U105 Belfast during the year and since year end have launched Talk 107 in Edinburgh. Radio is an exceptionally important area for the Group and we are keen to continue growing the business, building on our recent successes."
Regarding TV McCann said first quarter revenues are expected to be down 8% year on year reflecting a combination of a relatively weak market, declining advertising revenue at ITV1 and Easter being in the second quarter but a stronger second quarter was forecast because both the World Cup and Easter fall inside the period.
UTV shares ended Monday up 1.05% at GBP 434.50.
2006-03-14: LBI Media, Inc. has announced that it is seeking to refinance its existing USD220 million senior secured revolving credit facility with new USD260 million senior secured credit facilities, consisting of a USD110 million term loan credit facility and a USD150 million revolving credit facility that would mature in approximately six years from the closing date.
LBI says it intends to use the proceeds of the loans made under the new credit facilities to refinance outstanding borrowings under its existing senior credit facility and that the proceeds from the new credit facilities will also be used to fund capital expenditures, permitted acquisitions, working capital, closing costs and other general corporate purposes.
2006-03-14: Salem has announced new general managers for stations in Orlando and Miami in Florida and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In Orlando, Darren Ryder is to become general manager of the company's cluster of WORL-AM, WTLN-AM and WHIM-AM: he has most recently been Local Advertising Sales Manager for Time Warner Cable in Waco, Texas.
In Miami, Tony Calatayud, who has been operations manager for News Talk WKAT-AM since last year, has been named general manager and in Colorado Springs Henry Tippie, who joins Salem from KKCS-FM, where he was general manager, has been named general manager of Salem's cluster of KBIQ-FM, KGFT-FM and KZNT-AM.
2006-03-13: In view of the Audience 2010 report on public radio listening in the US that we report below, we start this week's look at print comment on radio with comments from Ben Fong-Torres in his latest Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle.
In it he notes that in a recent column he looked at ratings and was "promptly reminded by several readers of something I've long known, but have rarely mentioned: Those ratings don't include the Bay Area's non-commercial stations, one of which is so popular that it would give KGO, KOIT and other market leaders a run for the money."
On reader referred him to the Maryland-based non-profit Radio Research Council that contracts with Arbitron for public radio station ratings and figures he obtained showed that in fall 2005 Bay Area public stations' figures showed KQED - FM with a 4.7 percent share of the overall listening audience, a share that would place it third among all stations, behind market leader, KGO -AM and KOIT-FM: The next most popular public stations in the area were KPFA-FM with a 1.3 share and KCSM-FM with 1.0
Fong-Torres says that an executive at one top-rated local station noted of the figures, "We don't see public radio as a challenge because we're not selling (advertising) against them" and KQED
vice president and general manager Jo Anne Wallace, although RRC rules forbid her from releasing other than overall ratings to the press and from comparing KQED's ratings with those of any commercial stations, noted that since KQED replaced classical music with news and information programming it has tripled its weekly audience from 260,000 to more than 760,000.
Wallace says NPR's "The Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" perform well and the local evening show Michael Krasny's "Forum" is also "very popular and a very successful show."
She also notes that unlike the targeted demographic approach of most commercial stations, KQED targets "all listeners" and has an audience split evenly between men and women that " spans from late teens through ... well, as old as we all get!"
Still with public radio but on the other side of the Atlantic and the BBC: In the UK, commercial radio isn't as relaxed as the executive cited above about losing audience to a public broadcaster, irrespective of the absence of adverts the BBC.
The latest move that has provoked its ire - and also that of many BBC Radio 2 listeners, is the appointment of Chris Evans to take over the station's "Drivetime" show from Johnnie Walker (See RNW Mar 3).
The criticism from the station's listeners, as reported by Tim Luckhurst in the UK Independent, is because they don't perceive him as a suitable choice and many have threatened to switch to other stations when Evans comes on.
The contrast from commercial radio stems from the perception that even if some of them do far more others will in fact tune in for Evans and they want the government, whose White Paper on the corporation's future is to be presented to Parliament tomorrow, to restrict the Corporation in what it may offer that competes with commercial offerings.
Paul Brown, chief executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA), told the paper, "In an incredibly competitive market, commercial radio is now facing two versions of Radio 1. One only has to look at the ratings - the difference between BBC Radio and us is Radio 2."
"In 10 years since it adopted an aggressively commercial approach, the BBC has gained 6 per cent and we have lost 6 per cent," he continued, saying that the BBC's freedom to make appointments such as that of Evans "impoverishes our capacity to build audience".
One wonders therefore how the CCA reacted to Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times. In it Donovan noted that BCB Radio Five Live has for the first time contracted out its coverage of Formula One Grand Prix to independent production company USP (See RNW Mar 9) since presumably any such contracts could potentially bid up the value of independent offerings as they can the cost of talent.
Donovan adds that since 1990 the number of independents providing programming to BBC radio has risen from two to more than 100 and that they range from sole traders to big companies such as Unique whose output includes "Pick of the Pops" and is also behind "The Oneword Countdown", Britain's first Top 40 chart show for books, which next Saturday will help re-launch UK commercial digital speech station "Oneword" that is now controlled by Channel 4 TV.
Commenting on the work of the independents, Donovan says it doesn't fundamentally matter whether a production is from the BBC or an independent - "What matters is the result - the accuracy, originality, skill, passion, brio or humour with which the programme has been made."
He goes on, however, to note that there are benefits to be gained from using independents: "First, because their bosses sometimes have unorthodox backgrounds, they are able to bring something different to their shows. Bruce Hyman, whose firm, "Above the Title", made the remarkable Radio 4 documentary on the Holocaust denier David Irving (broadcast after the Penguin libel trial in 2001, updated and repeated last month after his jailing in Vienna), is a practising barrister, which was instrumental in enabling him to get interviews with all the participants in the original trial, including, most unusually, the judge. Roger Elsgood is a film-maker, and injected some of that background into his Radio 3 and 4 dramas, directed by Mike Hodges, who made "Get Carter". Indian-born Mukti Jain Campion, a one-woman outfit, made the superb "Crossing the Black Waters", which traced the East India Company's history."
Donovan's second comment is more of a criticism, though - of the "sometimes opaque basis on which the BBC " awards the contracts for independent productions and he concludes, "The BBC should take the credit for opening up its airwaves to the limited extent (on Radio 4, 6% or 10% of the airtime, depending on how you measure it) that it has. But a bit more transparency would not be amiss."
Then there are other competitors to existing commercial radio such as podcasts that could potentially take away both audience and advertisers, particularly sponsors who may be attracted by the nature of audience attracted by a particular podcast.
And of course podcasts also need funding which takes us to Scott Colbourne, writing in the Toronto Globe and Mail about the decision to charge (See RNW Feb 23) for the Ricky Gervais podcasts that were initially offered for free on the UK Guardian web site.
Colbourne doesn't go so far as to say that he thinks the change is likely to drastically cut Gervais' audience - there were some three million downloads when it was free but Colbourne comments, "To these ears, the switch also comes just when the Gervais Show shtick was growing thin. The conversations, which were nonsensical in the first place, have started to turn in on themselves, with Pilkington's bizarre popularity and the show itself a frequent topic. But I may continue to tune in -- in the digital, click-the-subscribe-button sense -- just to hear Gervais laugh. Most of the segments end with him saying to Pilkington, "Oh God, you're an idiot," and then genuinely losing it. It's charming somehow."
Colbourne goes on to say hat it's not just one show but the format that attracts him, taking "the randomness and powerlessness out of radio" but then has some good news for broadcasters.." And here's the funny bit -- I have found myself tuning in to conventional radio again, partly for a taste of the randomness and the unexpected that comes from spinning a dial. Why didn't anyone tell me that CBC Radio is really good on Saturday afternoons?"
In the US there's also competition from satellite radio and in the Motley Fool Adrian Rush commented of the recent court ruling that forced XM to allow Clear Channel to run adverts on four channels it supplies that this"may actually bolster the argument for subscription radio in the long run."
Rush comments that "Clear Channel may be trying to undermine XM's business model and/or competitive advantage" and could be "thinking that if it can force XM to carry ads, then subscribers might cool to the notion of paying for the same kind of radio service they can already get for free."
"If that's Clear Channel's intent, it's a strategy sure to fail," he adds and says that, although he subscribed to XM primarily because of its variety, "That said, I wouldn't be surprised if adding commercials makes Clear Channel's XM stations a lot less appealing. As soon as an ad pops up, many listeners will probably scurry off to one of XM's commercial-free music channels."
He then continued to note one of the presets on our XM radio is the Nashville channel and writes, "When I told my wife, the country music fan in the house, that Nashville will be one of four XM channels running ads under the arbitration deal (Sunny, Kiss, and Mix will reportedly be the others), she said she probably wouldn't listen to it anymore, because it repeats songs too much anyway. Instead, she says, she'll focus on the ad-free Highway 16 channel; according to her, it already serves up a more varied banquet of Southern-fried music."
One more way in which satellite can affect terrestrial listening was reported on by Tim Blangger in the Philadelphia Inquirer: Apparently improperly installed satellite radios have been converting some cars into transmitting stations that can blot out some frequencies for nearby receivers.
Mike Starling, a technology specialist with National Public Radio, said he's been hearing complaints about interference from member stations in recent months, commenting, "Howard Stern's Sirius broadcast has been mentioned a lot" and Charles Loughery, president and engineering director for several Word FM stations that play contemporary Christian music said, "We've received numerous complaints about this sort of interference. We're concerned about this. As [satellite radio] proliferates, you're going to get more and more of this."
Neil Hever, program director for WDIY-FM 88.1 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said the problem seemed worse at our end of the frequency spectrum, adding, "A lot of the satellite radios are set by default to broadcast on 88.1."
The problem apparently is worst with older after-market satellite radios: These have a switch, which is required by Federal Communications Commission rules designed to limit interference. "Once properly installed and engaged when the satellite radio is in use, the switch prevents the satellite radio signal from transmitting over a car's existing FM antenna," writes Blangger. "Without the switch, the satellite signal is inadvertently transmitted, and reports have indicated the signal can travel a quarter-mile or more."
Finally, in part a cue for our first listening recommendation, a brief reference to the Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly spat courtesy of MSNBC, which as one might expect is running with a line favourable to its host and rather uncomplimentary about O'Reilly. We would have liked to find comment that backed O'Reilly if only to poke fun at whoever wrote it but an online search didn't find any such comment
It carried a transcript of an interview on "Countdown" by Olbermann in which former Connecticut state prosecutor Susan Filan discussed the "legal ramifications" of the row.
For those who haven't followed it, Olbermann has frequently named O'Reilly in his "The worst person in the world" weekly show segment and O'Reilly reacted by saying on his show that anyone who spoke Olbermann's name on the show would hear from Fox security.
We don't know to what extent the spat is a publicity vehicle for both hosts but tend to agree on the basis of published transcripts of O'Reilly's comments that if it is anything more than this Filan had it right when she commented of O'Reilly: "He's lost the plot entirely... It's an abuse of the media, it's an abuse of law enforcement, and he's now the one engaging in threatening behaviour He's crossed the line."
And the cue is for the final segment in last week's "On the Media" that poked fun at the exchange by broadcasting some of the hosts' comments set to a musical backing (Around 48 mines into the MP3/programme). Also taking a cue from an earlier mention, we suggest a dip into Oneword, which carries a mix of readings, old-time radio, drama and comedy.
Then for more drama, we'd suggest last week's Friday play from BBC Radio 4 - a production of Michael Butt's "After the Affair": it had no written script but instead allowed the four actors playing the roles - of a work-obsessed headteacher Sarah, her husband Phil, the headteacher's younger sister Janey who goes to bed with Phil, and Janey's boyfriend Andy- .to improvise on the basis of detailed character notes. It's not clear how much part editing played in the results, of itself a compliment to this production.
And from BBC Radio 3 for those who didn't catch it live, "Drama on Three" yesterday was a production of Shylock by Arnold Wesker (available on listen-again until next Sunday when next week's production (at 18:30 GMT) is Anton Chekhov's "Swan Song"translated by Michael Frayne.
Then documentary and BBC World Service (From 1905 GMT) tonight and "Secret Wars", a two-part series in which the BBC's Security Correspondent, Gordon Corera investigates the CIA's covert operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
From BBC radio 4 in "Profile" on Sunday we recommend the story of Sir John Bond, outgoing chairman of HSBC, certainly an atypical banker: Me takes over as chairman of Vodaphone later this year.
Also from BBC Radio 4 on Sunday we suggest the "Archive Hour" - "20,000 Leagues Under the Ice" in which Charles Wheeler tells the tale of the 1958 voyage of the world's first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, which crossed the North Pole underwater.
And for documentary and song, BBC Radio 2 tonight at 21:00 GMT has the third of the "2006 Radio Ballads", which this week looks at the issue of hunting with hounds, which was recently banned in the UK (Last week's Ballads, available until then, featured stories of people who are living with HIV/Aids).
In similar vein tomorrow, the Music Feature "Soul Music" on BBC Radio 4 at 13:30 GMT tells the story of "Ole' Man River" with contributions from former British Cabinet Minister Tony Benn who heard it sung by Paul Robeson at the House of Lords Tea Room, Cleo Laine and Paul Robeson Jr.
Then music and BBC 6 Music at 21:00GMT on Wednesday with "6@SXSW", the start of cover from the South by Southwest music festival in Texas over ten days.
And in more classical vein, BBC Radio 3's "Performance on 3" this week (19:30 GMT) is a week of concerts marking the 100th anniversary of Shostakovich's birth.
Motley Fool - Rush:
MSNBC - Olbermann:
Philadelphia Inquirer - Blangger:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Colbourne:
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-03-13: US public radio, after 30 years of almost uninterrupted growth is suffering "An historic loss of momentum" according to an Audience 2010 report from Walrus Research, Audio Graphics and the Radio Research Consortium.
In its key findings the report says it's "not lost listening that portends ill for public radio. It's the loss of upward momentum - the absence of growth on which we have traditionally relied - that threatens to ripple through our public service economy."
Noting that revenues had grown in line with audience growth over the period the report says managers could budget on an assumption of financial growth but this may no longer be true, commenting," At many stations, listener-sensitive revenues are poised to level or even decline" and adding, "The projected gap between expectation and reality will approach or exceed the size of their Community Service Grants."
Over the period from 1984 the report notes listening to radio overall in the US has declined - at any time then 18% of all Americans were listening but that figure is now down to 14% although reach if down only 2 points - from 95% to 93% of Americans still listen at leas once a reach. In contract to the overall picture for radio, public radio more than doubled its reach over the period and also retained its listening from its core audience, who although they cut back overall listening more than the average - by about four hours a week as opposed to an overall fall of 2.5 hours - had made the cuts in listening to commercial stations rather than public radio.
More recently, however, says the report, other stations have been clawing back a little in listening share.
As a result it concludes that past practices sustainable in a period of growth may prove unsustainable and that there will be pressures to raise more from listeners that has not proved possible in the past and as a result the "threat of a downward spiral looms."
"The reinvigoration of public service and public support calls for clear foresight and able management."
In this light it says that revenues from both listeners and underwriting are closely linked to audience size sand notes that strategies pursued by some stations of emphasis in local programming face problems because such programming is expensive on the one hand and not seen by the audience as being as important to them as other programming.
"Effective management requires an up-to-date assessment of each station's audience, programming, development, and financial situations," concludes the report.
Audience 2010 report (15-page, 134 KB PDF):
2006-03-13: Looking ahead to SMG results - preliminary results for 2005 are to be published tomorrow - Scotland on Sunday says a "resurgent Virgin Radio" will offset disappointing figures from the company's Pearl and Dean cinema advertising operations, which have been hit by a fall in attendances.
The paper says chief executive Andrew Flanagan will tell the market that Virgin Radio will continue to outperform the radio market and adds that it has been buoyed by digital radio, which has widened its reach, and new DJs.
Concerning other operations it says outdoor division group Primesight saw more growth in 2005 and is expected to perform in line with analyst forecasts but TV operations, where SMG made 59 of 450 TV staff redundant at the end of last year, faces a tough period with other companies reporting falls in advertising revenues.
Overall analysts expect SMG to report revenues up 5% to GBP 211 million (USD 364 million) with pre-tax profit up 12% to GBP 19.6 million (USD 33.8 million).
Also reporting this week is UTV whose full year results are due out today: Numis Securities are forecasting pre-tax profit to be up 14.3% to GBP 20 million (USD 34.5 million).
Scotland on Sunday report:
2006-03-12: Last week was one of steady but generally routine activity amongst the regulators with no major developments anywhere: Perhaps the major issue on the horizon is in the US where pressures are likely to mount for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action regarding payola in the wake of the law suit launched against Entercom by the New York State Attorney General (See RNW Mar 9).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has allocated a new community licence, advised that low-power narrowcasting licences can now be considered for the area around Mount Barrow in Tasmania following the lifting of an exclusion zone for the area, and is also asking for comment on a proposal to make a new high-power open narrowcasting radio service available in Canberra, to operate on 1323 kHz on the AM band.
The community licence has been awarded to Upper Murray Community Radio Inc. (UMCR), which is currently broadcasting to the Upper Murray region of New South Wales and Victoria under a temporary community licence.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week with only a few radio decisions. In order of province they were:
*Approval of application for new 27,000 watts English-language commercial contemporary pop music FM for Newcap in Bonnyville. Newcap had said that if this application were approved it would not proceed with a new transmitter approved in Bonnyville for CKSA-AM, Lloydminster. It was opposed by CKLM-FM, Lloydminster, which has an FM transmitter - CKLM-FM-1 - in Bonnyville, and has filed an application to convert that transmitter into a station to serve the Bonnyville market and questioned whether the market could support both stations.
*Approval of new 2 watts English, Cree, and Beaver language developmental community FM radio in Fort Vermilion.
*Approval of 16.5 watts English-language, low-power tourist FM in Osoyoos.
*Approval of application for a 1,000 watts English-language community-based campus AM radio station in Montréal.
*Approval of application for 250 watts Type B French-language community FM in Montréal.
The CRTC has also published announced that its estimated total broadcasting regulatory costs for the 2006-2007 fiscal year are CAD 26.7 million (USD 23 million).
There were no radio decisions announced from the Republic of Ireland but in the UK Ofcom advertised a new Bristol FM licence and also announced the award of the new Plymouth licence to a bid backed by Macquarie Bank (See RNW Mar 10): On the same day it also announced that it had received seven bids for the new Hull FM licence and two for a new FM for Newry in Northern Ireland.
In the US all was fairly quiet for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apart from its routine regulatory work but as already noted pressures are building for its investigation into payola to be speeded up.
The commission is also getting closer to full strength with a US Senate committee hearing into the nomination as a Republican member of telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell.
Most attention at the hearing was about telecommunications and McDowell said his main priorities would include removing entry barriers for communications companies and encouraging competition. A vote on McDowell's nomination is expected on Thursday.
In Vermont the FCC although holding that arguments presented by White Park Broadcasting, Inc., a subsidiary of Northeast Broadcasting Company, for the assignment to it of the licence of WVAA-AM, Burlington, from Radio Vermont KDR, LLC were not in compliance with its local radio ownership rule opted to grant a waiver and allow the assignment.
White Park had argued that the definition of radio market that should be adopted in this case should be that of Arbitron rather than BIA but the FCC said this was erroneous. It did, however, accept the argument that the transfer in this case would be in the public interest and opted to grant a waiver and approve it.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-03-12: GCap Media's Capital Radio has agreed a six-month six-figure deal for the Thorpe Park entertainment centre to sponsor its Drivetime show, hosted by Richard Bacon: The Surrey theme park last year sponsored rival Emap's Kiss FM drivetime show.
Under the terms of the deal, which also covers Bacon's web pages on the Capital site, the station will run two Thorpe Park promotions and give away tickets.
Previous GCap Media:
2006-03-11: A group of investors including billionaire television producer Haim Saban, Mexican broadcasting company Grupo Televisa, the Cisneros family, which controls Venezuela's biggest broadcaster, Venevision, Providence Equity Partners and Chicago-based Madison Dearborn Partners is reported to be planning a USD 12 billion bid for US Spanish language broadcaster Univision, which has both radio and TV operations.
Televisa, which is involved in a dispute with Univision over the terms of a long-term contract between them running to 2017 under which Televisa supplies programming, and the Cisneros family together already own 24% of Univision, just under the maximum 25% foreign ownership of a broadcaster permitted under US law. Televisa has around 10%, a little under the 11% held by Univision chairman, president and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio.
In all Televisa and Venevision supply nearly a third of Univision's programming and their existing contracts are seen as giving any consortium in which they are involved an advantage in bidding for Univision.
The rumoured price seems likely to rule out a bid by News Corporation whose chairman has said he would take a look at a bid but only at the "right price."
Another potential bidder, CBS Corporation, whose CEO Leslie Moonves, while not ruling out a bid had said one was unlikely because of regulatory issues, is also thought to be out of the running.
In other US radio business Clear Channel's board has authorized the spending of another USD 600 million on purchasing its common stock over the next year.
The company has already bought USD 9809 million worth of stock under a previous authorization of up to USD 1 billion and CEO Mark Mays said the decision provided it with "the flexibility to continue share repurchases as one avenue to satisfy our intention of returning USD1.6 billion in capital to shareholders through either share repurchases, special dividends or a combination of both."
On the deals front, Radio One Inc. has announced agreement to acquire Whitewater Broadcasting's country format WIFE-FM, Connorsville, Indiana, for USD 18 million in cash and says that subject to regulatory approval it will move the station into the Cincinnati metropolitan area, and consolidate the station with its existing Cincinnati operations.
It says it expects to complete the acquisition in the second half of this year and to announce details of format and call sign changes later.
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said, "This is a great deal for Radio One. Cincinnati has been one of the best performing markets for us and this acquisition will further solidify our already strong position in this important Midwest market."
In Philadelphia, WBEB-FM (B101) has announced that President and co-owner Jerry Lee has finalized a deal to secure sole ownership of the adult contemporary station through the purchase of the stake held by his recently deceased partner, David L. Kurtz.
No sum was announced but B101 says analysts value the station as more than USD 180 million: it is the only privately-held FM in a US top-ten market.
In a news release Lee, who joined B1O1, then WDVR-FM after it was founded by Kurtz in 1963, commented, "This deal may change the details on a piece of paper, but the spirit, philosophy and commitment to innovation this station has embodied for more than 40 years remain the same. Dave Kurtz and I shared a vision that our station would provide a model for innovative radio and broadcasting best business practices. As the only privately held station in a top media market, B101 will continue to push the envelope and move the industry forward in any way we can."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2006-03-11: CBS Radio morning host David Lee Roth, who took over from Howard Stern on WFNY-FM (Free FM), New York, and is syndicated to other East Coast stations, has taken a leaf from his predecessor's book and railed on air against a briefing from station executives.
David Hinckley in the New York Daily News reported that Roth said he wasn't willing to adopt their ideas for changes to his low-rating show, commenting, "They want me to copy Howard [Stern]," Roth said. "But I refuse to regiment this show. ... I told them I would quit if they will not let me do what I was hired to do, which is create something unique."
Roth attacked station manager Tom Chiusano and programming vice president Mark Chernoff in strong terms, using words that included social retards," "beige baby-food sissies," "stooge" and "an ugly little dysfunctional worm" according to a report by David Hinckley who notes that both Stern and Don Imus had also made attacks on the duo.
Roth said he had been told he should appeal to "a 35-year-old white male who likes Lynyrd Skynyrd" and asked him to stop using "foreign" and "ethnic" music for soundbeds and also that he will soon have a female newscaster who will read stories he can comment on.
"That's Robin Quivers," he said. "But there's only one Robin Quivers. Just like there's only one Howard and only one David Lee Roth Howard took his old audience. We're after a new one."
In another Daily News report, Richard Huff reports that Roth has suggested that CBS Radio's breach of contract lawsuit against Stern could be "frivolous", noting comments that Roth made to Steve Langford of the Howard 100 Show on Sirius.
Roth said he didn't know details but added, "Now that there's been a clean division, I gotta question ... whether or not these kinds of lawsuits are frivolous."
He was also asked about Free FM management's reactions to his on-air comments and said, " They took great offence, and [Mark] Chernoff, my program director, says, 'I realize you were trying to make fun of me and perhaps even ruin my day.' I said, 'No, no. My intention was to turn your whole [bleeping] life for the next three weeks into a toilet. Now are we prepared to talk?'"
And Stern's analysis: He sees a similarity with his experiences and said that Roth was being set up so that CBS could dump him without paying him on the basis he had refused to cooperate.
New York Daily News - Hinckley:
New York Daily News - Huff:
2006-03-11: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled by a majority vote of its Quebec regional panel that comments made on the program Fun Radio broadcast on CKOI-FM, Montréal, in which Asians were mocked by host and comedienne Cathy Gauthier were abusive and unduly discriminatory and thus in violation of the Human Rights clause of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics.
In the segment on "things she was a bit ashamed to admit." Gauthier among other things admitted that she was unable to differentiate between Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Thais and went on to make some mocking comments in a pseudo-Asian accent.
Concerning being unable to differentiate she said, "I don't know; it's all the same to me. So, I don't take any chances when I see an Asian on the street that looks like, that is only so tall, I just yell 'Kim! Your mother is looking for you!' [laughter from the hosts]. 'Your modder looking for you! [pseudo-Asian onomatopoeias]' [laughter from the hosts]. There are many Asians in my neighbourhood, and I know why they're small. It's because they have no room to grow. There's like thirteen of them in a studio apartment; it's ridiculous. Four of them have to go out on the balcony just so they can open the fridge door. It's pretty bad. Those Asians, I don't want to take issue with them, but I think they're taking over the world.
She later said, "If you want your kids to have a future, they absolutely must learn to speak Chinese. Because here now, they're coming in via Québec, and they're coming in by way of, um, Vancouver, and they're going to keep chipping away, chipping away, chipping away, because they reproduce quickly those little critters. But, they will keep chipping away, chipping away, chipping away, until they meet up in Saskatchewan. And I swear to you that in a hundred years, the country will be called "Lakanadai" [laughter from the hosts]."
The panel majority in ruling against the station said they acknowledged that the host "may have intended to tickle and not to bludgeon but they do not consider that intention to be material. What matters, after all, is the way the comments are received by members of the audience" and then commented, "The humour in the routine was not, in the view of the Panel majority, trivial or harmless. Unduly discriminatory comments may take many forms. These include derision, stereotyping and mockery, which were all present."
The dissenting members of the panel commented that arguably, the comments reflect, "not on Asians, the broadly identifiable group, but on the person observing that she cannot tell the difference between different Asian nationalities [...]. She laughs at herself but not at the members of the various Asian communities to which she has referred."
2006-03-11: Prostitutes in Salvador, the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, are to set up their own radio station, which they expect to launch in the second half of this year.
The Association of Prostitutes of Bahia State received government permission to set up Radio Zona, which they say will feature programmes about prostitution and also issues such as human rights, social questions, and sexual abuse according to Reuters.
Project coordinator Sandro Correia told the agency, "We are not going to apologise for prostitution but we are going to struggle for the dignity of the profession. The idea is that we have diverse programs that look at health issues, AIDS prevention, and racism, for example."
He said that media professionals as well as prostitutes would staff the station and training would be given for prostitutes to find alternative work. Funding will come from the association, advertising and sponsorship.
2006-03-11: Westwood One has promoted SVP and General Counsel David Hillman to the newly-created post of Executive Vice President, Business Affairs and General Counsel... In his new role he will continue to serve as General Counsel, overseeing all aspects of Westwood One's legal affairs, and will now be responsible for management and oversight of the Company's business development, business affairs and strategic initiatives.
It has also promoted SVP of Sports Sales and Marketing David Halberstam to the newly created role of EVP/General Manager of Westwood One Sports in which he will oversee production, programming, sponsorship sales and strategy related to Westwood One's portfolio of play-by-play sports and sports talk programming.
Both will report directly to Westwood One President and CEO Peter Kosann and will remain in their current bases, Hillman in New York and Halberstam in Miami.
Previous Westwood One:
2006-03-11: BBC Radio Five Live has announced that its Chief Political Correspondent John Pienaar and reporter Lesley Ashmall are to host its Saturday evening Weekend News programme starting on April 22.
Pienaar retains his role as Chief Political Correspondent and Ashmall will retain her reporting duties across the station.
Radio Five Live controller Bob Shennan said of the appointment, "John and Lesley are both outstanding journalists in their own field and will complement each other perfectly."
2006-03-10: The US radio Cross-Industry Evaluation Team set up following Clear Channel's call in June last year for proposals for a state-of-the art electronic radio ratings service (See RNW Jun 14, 2005) has narrowed contenders down from an initial group of seven (See RNW Dec 17, 2005)to a shortlist of three.
They are Arbitron's portable people meter (PPM) system plus the MediaAudit/Ipsos smart cell phone system and MediaMark Research's bid with a system based on parent GfK's Media Watch: In making the announcement the team expressed particular interest in the use of cell-phones as a measuring system.
Making the announcement Clear Channel Radio Senior Vice President of Research Jess Hanson, who chairs the evaluation team said in a news release, "It has been encouraging to find that there are real, potential alternatives and options for radio audience measurement and we are moving forward aggressively to review them. The evaluation team was impressed with the ingenuity and proven track record of several of the finalists and is particularly interested in the cell phone as a measurement device."
The three finalists are to be invited to present their electronic ratings systems in more depth later this month and the evaluation team will then determine how many finalists proceed to a live test stage: No further information will be released about the three proposals for now.
The new evaluation system is being evaluated by most of the large US radio groups including Bonneville, CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Citadel (through ABC Radio, with which it is in the process of a merger) Cox Radio, Cumulus Media - which took over Susquehanna, Emmis,Entercom, Entravision, Radio One and Regent.
For CBS Radio, chairman and CEO Joel Hollander commented, "The work of this evaluation team will ensure that we make the best choice. We must be patient enough to fully evaluate each of our options. A bad choice, made immediately, is the worst possible circumstance for all involved."
Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey commented, "This is a vital process for our industry. We're impressed with the options selected by the evaluation team."
Entercom president and CEO David J. Field added, "Radio is clearly moving towards electronic measurement and we are focused on selecting the best possible vehicle to make the transition. However, it is critically important that we deploy the best technology for the future that will fairly and accurately reflect radio listening levels, not just rubber stamp the incumbent's proposed solution."
Mark A. Kaline, Global Media Manager for Ford Motor Company, which represents advertisers, said he applauded "Clear Channel and the industry for doing its homework before making an important investment in a tool that will be so central to the success of the industry for years to come" adding, "I'm impressed with the speed and thoroughness with which the evaluation team has worked."
RNW comment: The news is bad for Arbitron in that it is now facing real technological competition for the PPM and having to pay for all development itself after Nielsen Media decided not to exercise an option to share in PPM development (See RNW Mar 2).
It is still in the final running in the US and the UK - where RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) last year narrowed its testing to the PPM and the Eurisko Media Monitor, the two systems that performed best in tests a year earlier, plus the Ipsos smart phone system (See RNW Jul 12, 2005) - but would be seriously wounded were one of these to opt for a competitor, particularly if it were to lose in the US. In that case, we would expect the commitments it has already announced from a number of advertising agencies and broadcasters - all contingent on PPM deployment - to evaporate speedily
So far the market has marked Arbitron down only mildly - its shares dropped 0.23% on Thursday to close at USD 34.60 - it was down to USD 34.31 during the day- but if there was a decision to move UK and US radio ratings to a competitor we don't see much of a future for the PPM.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-03-10: Australian Macquarie Bank has finally won a UK radio licence after a number of unsuccessful bids: Ofcom has awarded it the new Plymouth FM licence for Diamond FM, a service offering local news and information plus mainstream classic rock in the day and alternative rock in the evenings: In all there had been five bids for the licence (See RNW Dec 10, 2005).
Its bid was fronted by former EMAP Performance chief executive Tim Schoonmaker who also led the company's other bids: The win is the second for a foreign-owned company since they were allowed to bid - the first was the CanWest winning bid for the new Solent licence with an Adult Alternative bid (See RNW Sep 6, 2005).
Ofcom has also announced that it received seven bids for a new FM licence for Kingston-upon-Hull and two for a new FM licence for Newry in Northern Ireland.
The Hull applications came from:
*Hull Local Radio - offering a "genuinely local station" targeted for 35-64 year olds with significant speech content.
*KCFM - Planet Broadcasting Company Ltd.'s bid with an offering of classic hit music plus local news and information.
*King FM -Radio Hull Ltd's offering of a full service station of melodic adult music plus news and information.
*Soul City - Broadcast North Limited's offering of soul music plus local news and information.
*Trinity FM - targeted at 25-54 year olds with music from the past four decades plus local news and information.
*White Rose Radio - targeted at 45-64 years olds with music from the 50s to the present plus local news and information.
*Wyke FM - targeted at 25-54 year olds with songs from the 1960's to the present day plus local news and information plus community-orientated programming.
The Newry bids came from:
*Five FM - Newry and Mourne FM Ltd's bid of a music and information station.
*Quay 100 - an offering of the best music from the past four decades plus modern country music targeted at a 35 plus audience.
Ofcom has also announced a six months extension of its Community Audio Distribution Systems (CADS) trial period, which will now run March 31, 2007: The system allows use of part of the frequency allocated for Citizens' Band use for local religious and community organizations to transmit services and was introduced in November 2004 following a consultation that year (See Licence News Aug 15, 2004).
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
2006-03-10: Cumulus Media has reported net revenues for the final quarter of 2005 down 1.8% to USD 82.9 million and station operating income down 11.9% to USD 28.6 million a station operating expenses, including non-cash contract termination costs, rose by 4.5%to USD 54.3 million. Overall Cumulus reported a net loss for the quarter of USD 218.4 million (USD 3.45 per share) compared to a final quarter 2004 net income of USD 9.85 million (14 cents a share).
The figures include an impairment charge of USD 264.1 million "to reduce the carrying value of certain broadcast licenses and goodwill to their respective fair values" and also an income tax benefit of USD 34.5 million, as compared with income tax expense of USD 6.3 million a year earlier.
Pro-forma revenues for the quarter, excluding of Broadcast Software International net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2005, were down 1.8% to USD 82.4 million and pro-forma station operating expenses were up 4.5% to USD 53.9 million, taking pro-forma station operating income down 11.8% to USD 28.5 million for the quarter.
For the full year, net revenues were up 2.4% on 2004 to USD 327.8 million, station operating expenses were up 11.6% to USD 226.0 million - including a USD 13.6 million charge related to moving national sales representation from Interep to Katz Media - and station operating income was down 2% to USD 115.4 million. Overall
Overall, after the same impairment charge, Cumulus had a net loss of USD 213.4 million (USD 3.19 per share) compared to net income of USD 30.4 million (44 cents a share) in 2004.
Pro-forma revenues for the year, excluding Broadcast Software International revenues, were up 1% to USD 325.9 million, pro forma station operating expenses were up 2.9% to USD 210.7 million, and pro-forma station operating income was down 2.5% to USD 115.2 million.
Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) reported final quarter 2005 net revenues from continuing operations up 2% to USD 46.9 million with operating income down 21% to USD 12.4 million, a fall it put down primarily due to increased expenses related to its new TV segment. Overall for the quarter SBS reported a net loss of USD 4.8 million (seven cents per common and diluted share)) compared to a 2004 loss of USD 10.4 million (16 cents per common and diluted share).
For the full year net revenues from continuing operations were up 9% to USD 169.8 million but operating income from before Depreciation and Amortization and Loss (Gain) on the Sale of Assets was down 5% to USD 54.9 million and Loss Income from Continuing Operations before Income Taxes and Discontinued Operations was USD 18.2 million compared to income of USD 16.1 million a year earlier. SBS said the decrease resulted mainly from the Loss on Early Extinguishment of Debt and a decrease in Operating Income from Continuing Operations.
Overall for 2005, SBS reported a loss of USD 44.8 million (62 cents per common and diluted share) compared to net income in 2004 of USD 8.0 million (13 cents per common and diluted share).
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr. commented, "During 2005, we made notable progress in pursuing our strategic goals. We closed the year with our stations further garnering leading Hispanic audience shares in the major markets we serve and we successfully converted these market share gains into revenue increases well ahead of the radio industry. SBS commands the sector with the leading individual station revenue rankings in Los Angeles, New York and Miami, the nation's three largest Hispanic markets. Further, our San Francisco station's rating has surpassed our expectations and now ranks among the top-three stations overall in the market. We remain focused on strengthening our audience shares, while maximizing our exceptional, proprietary content through the development of new branded entertainment platforms."
2006-03-10: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which was a pioneer of podcasting and MP3 downloads - it offers a range of programming, mainly speech, online for up to a month after transmission, says that it hit a new record at the end of last month.
In all says the ABC more than 175,000 MP3s of its Radio National programmes were downloaded in the week to the end of February with twice that number of downloads for the ABC as a whole.
Currently the ABC has 26 programmes on offer as downloads/podcasts and it is to add 12 more over the next few months.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2006-03-09: New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has announced a lawsuit against Entercom, the fifth-largest US radio company, in connection with payola investigations that have already led to settlements by Sony-BMG of USD 10 million (See RNW Jul 26, 2005) and Warner Music of USD 5 million ( See RNW Nov 23, 2005).
In the suit, which names Entercom as the parent plus Entercom Radio and Entercom companies in Buffalo, New York, and Rochester, Spitzer also named Entercom President and CEO David J. Field, its Senior VP of Programming Pat Paxton, former WKSE-FM, Buffalo Program Director Dave Universal and "his supervisor" Lawrence Robb.
In his suit Spitzer says the payola of the 1950s that involved bribing individual DJs has "evolved into a corporate pay-for-play business strategy, developed and managed at the highest levels of radio broadcasting companies and major record labels."
"The primary loser," it adds, "is the music listener, the consumer, who is unaware of the deception and manipulation that corrupts radio station programming, and ultimately, record sales."
The suit says Entercom has "been an active participant in this deception of its listeners" and its stations "traded airplay for revenue with the knowledge and encouragement of Entercom's corporate leadership in two ways", some soliciting funds directly from recording companies and others through intermediary independent promoters.
"In addition to the pay-for-play schemes carried out at local level," it says, "Entercom has instituted corporate programs, supported and directed by its most senior management, that have amounted to little more than the direct sale of airplay on Entercom stations for the purpose of manipulating the music charts. Under its 'CD preview' programme, Entercom has made its airtime available in exchange for cash payments, for the explicit purpose of deceiving record monitoring services More recently Entercom has developed another corporate program - "CD Challenge" - which similarly serves as a vehicle for selling 'detections'by the charting services."
Spitzer says that in October 2001 VP of Programming Pat Paxton sent memoranda to Entercom stations, listing the amount that each station 'seems to be worth' and lists amounts totalling just under USD 2 million a year from 28 stations -seven Top 40 stations, three rhythmic top 40 ones, seven Hot AC, four Mainstream AC, two AAA, and five Alternative rock. The highest sum listed is of USD 150,000 from WEZB-FM, New Orleans, and the lowest USD 10,000 for each of the five mainstream AC stations on Paxton's list.
Paxton it says, paid "lip-service" to the need to avoid using airplay to obtain the funds but expected stations to use "whatever vehicle would - in the words of one station manager 'get the most bang for our buck'" and Entercom demanded that stations obtain the expected revenues or "suffer a concomitant reduction in their budgets."
Regarding WKSE, Spitzer says, "The cash and in-kind promotional support generated by Universal for WKSE was substantial. According to records maintained by Universal, he negotiated in excess of USD 93,000 from record labels for adds to the WKSE playlist in 2004 alone, a figure that does not take into account the value of artist performances that Universal negotiated."
Entercom has responded to the law suit by saying that it "believes in playing by the rules and does so." It adds that it has "firm policies prohibiting payola and requiring compliance with the federal sponsor identification rules and we enforce them" and notes that it has co-operated fully with the Attorney General's office in the investigation.
Spitzer, as well as the filing against Entercom, expresses disappointment with lack of action on the issue of payola by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), commenting in a release, "Almost a year after payola was exposed in significant detail, the FCC has yet to respond in any meaningful way...The agency's inaction is especially disappointing given the pervasive nature of this problem and its corrosive impact on the entertainment industry."
His comments attracted support from Democrat Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein who said in a statement, The New York Attorney General investigation is piling evidence on top of evidence of the widespread abuse of the public trust. Given the voluminous documents pointing to major, systematic violations of FCC rules, the penalties should be commensurate with the crime. We can't let any violators get away with a slap on the wrist."
So far the markets do not appear to consider the matter a serious threat to Entercom: After being up to USD 29 at one stage its shares ended Wednesday down 0.9% (26 cents) at USD 28.50.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind that the record companies, who paid out money, have settled for millions, it might seem that pressures will be on for significant penalties from Entercom, which took some of the money if Spitzer's filing is correct. In that case any settlement could make a severe dent in its profits, which were USD 78.4 million last year.
New York State Attorney General's Office -
Complaint filed - 28 page 346 KB PDF:
Exhibit of evidence - 67 page 4.16 MB PDF:
2006-03-09: Salem Communications has reported fourth quarter 2005 net broadcasting revenue up 5.1% to USD 51.5 million and operating income up 11.7% to USD 12.0 million but net income was down 10.8% to USD 3.3 million (from 14 cents to 13 cents per diluted share): same station net broadcasting revenue was up 1.3% to USD 47.9 million and same station operating income was up 3.2% to USD 19.5 million.
For the full year, net broadcasting revenue increased 7.9% to USD 201.0 million, operating income increased 13.0% to USD 43.7million and net income increased 72.7% to USD12.7 million from 29 cents to 49 cents per diluted share): Same station full year net broadcasting revenue increased 6.0% to USD 176.0 million with same station operating income up 9.1% to USD 73.1 million.
For the first quarter of this year Salem is forecasting net broadcasting revenue to be between USD 49.0 million and USD 49.5 million, reflecting low single digit growth compared to a year ago with station operating income between USD 16.8 million and USD 17.3 million, reflecting flat to slightly negative growth and net income per diluted share between one and two cents.
Within this it says same station net broadcasting revenue growth is expected in the low single digits compared to a year earlier with same station operating income growing in the low single digits.
Salem has also announced the results of its national block programming rate negotiations, which are carried out annually at the start of each year, and says for 2006 it expects same station national block programming revenues to increase by approximately 5%. It adds that more than 90% of Salem's national block programming business was successfully renewed.
Commenting on the results, president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said, "The fourth quarter was a challenging quarter for the radio broadcast industry, including Salem. While the radio industry experienced a 3% decline in revenue for the quarter, we posted same station revenue growth of 1% and same station operating income growth of 3%."
"Our results," he added, "reflect the absence of almost USD1.0 million of political revenue in the fourth quarter of 2005 that we had in the fourth quarter of 2004. Positives for the quarter include the performance of our News Talk stations, which posted 16% same station revenue growth, and our consistent local and national block programming business, which grew revenue by 8% over last year on a same station basis."
Looking ahead, he said, "The challenging environment for radio at the end of 2005 has continued into the first quarter of 2006 and is reflected in our first quarter guidance; looking further into 2006 and longer term, we are optimistic. Nearly half of our radio stations are in a start-up or early development stage and we are focused on developing these stations to maturity. We successfully finished our national block programming renewal process with a 5% increase in programming rates. Additionally, we continue to build and solidify our position as the leader in Christian content on the Internet."
2006-03-09: Southern Cross Broadcasting has now published its half-yearly reports to the end of 2005 confirming the profit fall and revenue rise it outlined in guidance last month (See RNW Feb 20) but warning of a difficult advertising market in Australia.
Profits on continuing operations (and net profit) attributed to members for the half-year were down 38% to AUD 28.83 million (USD 21.16 million) on revenues up 5.5% to AUD 293.9 million (USD 215.6 million).
Overall profit before tax fell 2.6% to AUD 45.7 million (USD 33.5 million) and after tax by 2.8% to AUD 31.1 million (USD 22.8 million): The difference to the continuing operations figures was primarily due to a net gain in the 2004 half-year of AUD 14.99 million (USD 11.0 million) mainly related to the reversal of the write down of investment and receivable in the associated company, Digital Distribution Australia Pty. Limited.
In divisional terms TV revenues were down 0.6% to AUD 166.8 million ( USD 122.54 million) , reflecting what chairman John Dahlsen termed "the softer advertising market" but radio revenues were up 5.6 per cent to AUD 53.5 million ( USD 39.3 million) - beating the Australian metropolitan overall rise of 4.1%
Commenting on the results Dahlsen said, "The overall impact of the difficult national advertising market and television network ratings performances were alleviated by the diversity of our media assets, with stronger trading conditions in radio operations and local sales in regional television markets throughout this half year."
Managing director Tony Bell added that Southern Cross continued "to find new sources of revenue for all of our broadcasting businesses through our innovative sales initiatives" and said of the radio performance, "Our radio division has performed well with above market revenue growth of 5.6% and contributing earnings growth of 17.4% with all our metropolitan stations performing satisfactorily, and in particular, our 96FM/6PR combination in Perth which achieved revenue growth of more than 10%. 3AW has rated No. 1 in Melbourne in the last three consecutive years and we expect [Sydney talk station] 2UE's trading and rating's performance to continue to improve."
Looking ahead Bell said advertising conditions "remain difficult and reflect short term buying."
"We expect television revenue growth to remain flat and radio to continue to grow in the second
Half," he added, noting, "Having regard to the difficult trading conditions, the company will continue to explore meaningful cost reductions in programming and operations."
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-03-09: BBC Radio Five Live has announced details of the new team for the 2006 Formula One racing season, now contracted out to London-based independent producer USP: The team will be headed by David Croft with Maurice Hamilton as the main summariser and in addition will be joined by a guest summariser from the world of Formula One at each Grand Prix.
For the first race of the season, the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 12 the guest will be former Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert.
In addition former TV Grand Prix commentator Murray Walker, now 82, will contribute special features and interviews across the season. Walker who last commentated on TV five years ago was lured out of retirement in 2003 by USP to present "The Shell Optimax F1 Report With Murray Walker".
For the first week of this season Walker will provide a team-by-team preview to the new season for Five Live Formula One, the weekly F1 show.
2006-03-08: Air America Radio, which recently lost affiliates in Phoenix, Arizona, and Missoula, Montana, has responded to reports that it could be about to lose its flagship New York City station WLIB-AM with a statement saying it planned to be on air in New York for many years to come but refusing to discuss the reports because of "ongoing negotiations."
Air America's WLIB "problems" were first reported by Brian Maloney in his Radio Equalizer blog at the end of last week when he said that "an internal source" had provided documentation pointing to the end of March for WLIB to drop Air America and added that Air America parent Piquant LLC had no firm back-up plan should this happen.
Maloney wrote that under Air America Radio's long-term deal with WLIB owner Inner City Broadcasting Corporation (ICBC) - the former was to pay a fixed annual sum of USD 2.5 million to be paid in quarterly instalments and in addition, after the first USD 2.5 million of WLIB's local advertising revenue, which it would keep, AAR would pay over to WLIB 49%of such revenues thereafter.
He added that according to an internal source ICBS on February 17 exercised a clause to terminate the agreement speculating that this could have been because of a dispute over shared revenues, a missed payment.
Maloney also said a consortium including former Clear Channel executive Randy Michaels, whose empire as well as stations includes syndication including programmes from "liberal talkers Jerry Springer and Ed Schultz, and Boston-based broadcast investment firm Alta Communications could take control of ICBC.
The New York Post has since added to the list of possible replacement programming for WLIB the new Radio One black-focused talk network that includes Rev. Al Sharpton.
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Previous Inner City Broadcasting:
New York Post report:
2006-03-08: Arbitron has announced further positive developments for its Portable People Meter (PPM) audience measurement system with a decision to expand use of the PPM for TV measurement in the Québec Francophone market and another agreement on its use when deployed in the US, this time with Wendy's International, the third-largest quick-service hamburger chain in the world.
Wendy's has entered an agreement to use the system when it is deployed in the US and will gave access to PPM data to enable it to evaluate radio advertising plans in all PPM markets.
In Canada, BBM Board Chairman Greg Mudry said a decision by 23 major broadcasters in the Québec Franco market to increase the Portable People Meter ("PPM") panel to 800 households underscored "steadfast commitment to the PPM technology."
Robert Langlois, Vice-President, Québec, BBM Canada, added, "PPM has more than proved its superiority since becoming the commercial currency in Québec and Montréal Franco. The Québec broadcasters' decision to expand PPM is confirmation that PPM is the right choice for the present and the future. The expansion of PPM to 800 homes will make the data more stable and reliable than ever before for narrow demographic groups and over shorter periods of time."
BBM's Québec Franco meter service started with 365 households in 2001. The panel was converted to PPM technology and expanded to 530 households in 2004.
2006-03-08: Chicago WGN-AM hosts Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey, who had been off the air since Tuesday last week when their previous contract expired, have now returned to the Chicago airwaves after agreeing a new three-year deal with the station according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder does not give any details of the agreement but quotes WGN vice-president and general manager Tom Langmyer as saying that the station is "very pleased that they will continue to be heard on the 'Voice of Chicago.' "
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2006-03-08: Veteran British broadcasters John Junkin, the actor, comedian and script writer, and poet and musician Ivor Cutler have died, aged 76 and 83 respectively.
Junkin, who was born in London, worked as a school teacher before moving into scriptwriting for various British comedians and for TV shows and later appearing in films, TV plays and comedies and game shows. His work on radio included the Hello Cheeky! series, which he wrote with his long-time collaborators Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Denis King.
Cutler, whose fans included The Beatles and the late DJ John Peel, was known for his surreal songs and poetry. He was a regular on Peel's radio shows and was in the Beatles film "Magical Mystery Tour."
Paying tribute to Cutler, broadcaster Andy Kershaw, who first got to know him when booking student concerts at Leeds University, said, "Ivor was exactly in real life what you got on the radio. You just never knew what he was going to come out with. He was a true original."
"I was so thrilled that not only did he do the Peel sessions but when I joined BBC Radio 1 and later Radio 3, he did 20 years of recordings for me," added Kershaw, who commented that Cutler's work "should stand as a reminder to us all about the value of supreme silliness."
He added that on his BBC Radio 3 show on Sunday (22:15-midnight GMT) he intends to play a John Peel session that he did in February 1979 that I can still remember hearing when it was broadcast for the first time and that "captures him at his very best."
BBC online - Kershaw tribute to Cutler:
2006-03-07: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings (CSR) has announced that XM Canada had more than 50,000 subscribers at the end of its first financial quarter on February 28, 44,000 of them "self-paying" and the others on trials, since its launch.
XM Canada President and COO Stephen Tapp said in a news release that the company was "pleased with the strong momentum behind our subscriber growth that started in the 2005 holiday season and has continued in 2006."
"Our subscribers coast-to-coast are choosing XM Canada," he added, "because of XM's award-winning technology and superior signal coverage, the most choice of commercial-free music and - our Home Ice channel with the best in hockey commentary plus the most comprehensive coverage in Canada with 1,000-plus NHL games each season."
XM Canada says subscriber growth so far is being driven primarily through retail sales and notes that neither GM Canada nor Subaru Canada, with which is has exclusive agreements to begin supplying factory-installed XM receivers in 50 and three of their models, are yet contributing self-paying subscribers.
"XM Canada's choice of award-winning radios at retailers has resulted in our winning a greater portion of the Canadian satellite radio market, and when combined with increasing factory installations by our automotive partners, I am confident that these two streams will yield strong year-end results," Tapp commented.
CSR says it will review its guidance when it reports second quarter financial results in April but notes that it is on target to reach its subscriber guidance of 75,000 by the end of August and continues to expect one million subscribers by August 2010.
Previous CSR/XM Canada:
2006-03-07: BBC Radio 2 has been accused of censoring negative comments concerning the appointment of Chris Evans to take over its Drivetime show from Johnnie Walker (See RNW Mar 3) according to the UK Guardian, which says it has been told comments posted on the station's online message boards about Evans' appointment have been 'hidden' from view and even removed entirely.
The paper also says many listeners also say they have contacted the BBC, and controller Lesley Douglas direct, to complain about Evan's Saturday afternoon broadcasts, despite Douglas's assertion that she has received no complaints.
Listener Helen May told MediaGuardian.co.uk she had emailed Ms Douglas to no response and said she thought the station was trying to play down the size of the backlash from listeners about Evans' appointment.
"I've posted on the message boards for almost three years and I've never seen it like this," she said. "The censorship is rife, right across the R2 boards today, with people having posts removed just because they have said they don't like a particular programme. It would seem you just have to mention the name Evans and not being in favour and out you go."
Douglas has responded to the complaints by posting her own response saying, "The decision on who should replace Johnnie at drivetime was never going to be an easy one. Chris has been at Radio 2 for around a year now, and in that time he has increased audiences on Saturday afternoons while also taking on a wide range of programmes across the network. The feedback we have had from listeners during that time has been positive. Chris is also one of the best radio presenters of his generation."
"All change is disruptive," she continues, "and I do not underestimate the effect that such a major change will have on listeners. Once the programme is on air I would be very interested in your reaction and feedback."
RNW note: A quick dip into the "Shows and Music" section of the Radio 2 message board showed many comments critical of Evans and also comments form people who said their postings had been removed - one of them queries whether it's because he used the term "Ginger Whinger" about Evans. Obviously it is not possible to say whether postings that did not breach house rules that are posted openly on the site were in fact removed but the postings left certainly include a lot of criticism of the decision and of Evans.
BBC Radio 2 message boards:
UK Guardian report:
2006-03-07: A new study released by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) says shifting 20% of a products TV advertising budget into radio can increase sales by up to 15% and increase brand awareness by more than 20%.
The study was conducted in Perth and Brisbane last year by Millward Brown in partnership with media planning agency, MindShare Australia and used two Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands - a lesser-known personal hygiene product and a well-known food brand.
CRA notes that the research "Radio's Advantage - Advertising Effectiveness Study" back up research from the UK and US that showed radio to have a strong multiplier effect when used in combination with television and its CEO Joan Warner commented, "Today's advertising climate is highly competitive and very cluttered making it imperative for advertisers to cut through and make an immediate impact on audiences. Advertisers must explore media combinations that generate the most for their dollar and this research shows that combining radio with television is a very effective advertising strategy - from both a cost and impact perspective."
"This research shows that by including radio in your campaign, and spending the same amount on your advertising, you can enjoy significantly enhanced results with greater product awareness and sales," she added.
The research results were released on the same day as a new ad in the radio industry's multi-million dollar advertising campaign was aired, featuring Nestlé and its range of food products and CRA notes that during the past financial year, the FMCG categories of food, toiletries and cosmetics collectively spent AUD 636 million (USD ) on advertising in Australia, of which about 2.5% went to radio and Warner commented that by illustrating how Nestlé effectively uses radio combined with the results of the research may help build on the spend of this important category, which would greatly benefit from using radio as part of an advertising mix.
Commenting on the reasons for the effectiveness of a radio and TV combination, Ralph van Dijk from Eardrum International who is the creator of the radio brand campaign said, "TV will often provide the initial splash, but a radio campaign running concurrently is a way of making the message personal and relevant to the individual. That's why the two work so well together."
2006-03-07: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin partly upholds one radio fairness and privacy complaint and gave details of another not upheld and regarding TV partly upheld one TV standards complaint and one TV fairness and privacy complaint, considered another TV standards complaint resolved, and gave details of a further TV standards case and two TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
This compares to a radio fairness and privacy complaint partly upheld and three resolved plus four TV standards complaints upheld in its previous bulletin.
The radio complaints where detail was given both involved Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, community station Isles FM, about which complaints were made by Mr Murdo Maclean and Mr Donald John MacSween.
The complaints related to a retraction broadcast by the station that both men said was unfair to them. Maclean said the retraction, which apologised for an earlier news piece written by him, was inaccurate; caused his personal and professional reputation to suffer; was issued without consultation with him; was not withdrawn during the evening of the day of broadcast; and, was not followed by a broadcast correction, explanation or apology nor any justification.
He also complained that the Chairman of Isles FM removed the news item in spite of a number of conflicts of interest and that Isles FM was unable to provide a recording of either the original news item or the subsequent retraction due to a failure to record output.
The first broadcasts in question contained a news item, written by Maclean, relating to the employment tribunal of MacSween, former chief executive of a Gaelic development agency An Comunn Gaidhealach ("An Comunn") and announced the further postponement of the employment tribunal, stating that the hearing was likely to be "highly critical" of An Comunn's president Angus MacDonald, who is also the Chairman of Isles FM. It also said legal action would focus on An Comunn's "massive cash deficit" caused by the chartering of a cruise liner needed for extra accommodation during the Royal National Mod (Gaelic festival).
Later the station broadcast a retraction of and an apology for the news item saying that the information contained in the earlier news item was "incorrect", that neither An Comunn Gaidhealach nor its president Angus MacDonald, were given an opportunity to respond to the item: The station then apologised to them unreservedly.
Maclean said the station had unfairly suggested the whole news story was wrong when it only disputed two of five points made, that the first retraction - whose wording had been phoned in by the station's managing director and did not indicate that MacDonald was Chairman of Isles FM who had then reworded it after the news editor had pointed out that this should be mentioned.
Ofcom held that the retraction was capable of adversely affecting Maclean's reputation and Isles FM were, therefore, "obliged to take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that all material facts had been considered before transmitting any retraction and, so far as possible, ensure that such a retraction would be fairly presented."
"In the event," he commented, "the retraction was broadcast without any consultation with Mr Maclean and it referred to the whole news piece as being incorrect. In failing to consult Mr Maclean, Isles FM failed to take the necessary steps required by a broadcaster to ensure that unfairness was not caused. The Fairness Committee therefore found that the broadcast of the retraction resulted in unfairness to Mr Maclean in the programmes as broadcast."
Regarding MacSween's complaint the Committee said it would have been good practice for Isles FM to have "taken particular care in broadcasting the retraction of the news story, and to have consulted Mr MacSween before doing so" but concluded that "neither the withdrawal of the report, nor the subsequent broadcast retraction, cast doubt on Mr MacSween's integrity and consequently no unfairness to him resulted in the programmes as broadcast.
Ofcom also listed with details one TV standards cases considered resolved and one TV standards cases held not to be in breach - plus one TV fairness and privacy complaints partly upheld and two not upheld.
In addition Ofcom also listed with no details a further 172 complaints against 146 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 143 complaints against 119 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 35 radio complaints relating to 34 items and 137 TV complaints relating to 112 items compared to 14 radio complaints relating to 13 items and 129 TV complaints relating to 106 items in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2006-03-07: DJ Masterstepz (Ian Thompson) who hosts a weekday evening show on GCap's London urban music station Choice FM has joined Arsenal and England soccer player Ashley Cole in taking legal action against News Group's "News of the World" and "Sun" newspapers following their publication of a series of articles saying a "well known DJ" had taken part with two Premiership players in gay sex romps
Solicitor David Price said in a statement that although his client was not named in the articles "the manner of publication has led to his being identified as the DJ alleged to have been involved" and added a photograph had been published, taken from Choice FM's web site, showing the DJ with Cole that had been pixellated to conceal their identities.
"These proceedings have been brought because the allegations are utterly without foundation," said the statement. "Masterstepz values his reputation as a leading DJ and is not prepared to let his name be tarnished by the claims in these newspapers."
Pink News, which later published an unedited version of the obscured picture that the News of the World printed , reports that Cole may also take action against the search engine "Google" over the way in which it had suggested the alternative search suggestion of "Ashley Cole gay" in searches for Cole's name.
Previous GCap Media:
Pink News web site:
2006-03-06: The conviction of former glam rocker Gary Glitter (real name Paul Francis Gadd) for sexually abusing two girls, aged 11 and 12 brought up a general issue for radio, that of the bans on recordings of stars - Glitter is probably best known for his recording "Rock and Roll, Part Two" that was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic - when they fall foul of the law.
As Paul Donovan noted in his UK Sunday Times Radio Waves column, recordings by Glitter and another former singer Jonathan King, have effectively been banned from British airwaves, bans that Donovan comments are "not a topic the industry likes to talk about, and PPL (the body that collects royalties for performers) refuses to discuss it."
"Many will," writes Donovan, "have no problem with this. One's natural wish is that those who commit repugnant acts do not profit thereafter. Commercial stations, in particular, have to avoid offending their audiences - lest they drift elsewhere, followed by the advertisers."
"But," he continues, "where do you draw the line? Lord Archer is a convicted perjurer, but nobody suggests that shops stop selling his books. James Brown has a record (robbery, drugs, assault) stretching back 50 years, yet he is now being fêted with a four-part celebration on Radio 2. Johnnie Walker has a cocaine conviction, yet has just collected his MBE (and, though sadly leaving his Drivetime show at the end of this month, will continue to enjoy a high profile on Britain's most listened-to station). Pete Doherty and George Michael both have criminal records, but their songs are not banned."
Donovan says that regarding Glitter he had no idea how comprehensive the ban was until he checked and found that "As far as (BBC) Radio 1, Radio 2, GCap, Chrysalis, Emap and GMG are concerned - together, they encompass more than 200 stations - not one of them has played a Gary Glitter record since his conviction in 1999, apart from some bits of Rock & Roll Pt 1 included in a Franz Ferdinand mix on Lamacq Live on April 12, 2004. They have also played no King songs since his conviction "
Different groups have differing attitudes says Donovan - GMG stopped playing King's "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" when he was convicted of indecent assault and more serious sexual offences on schoolboys (the Criminal Cases Review Commission is currently engaged in an urgent review into the safety of his convictions) whilst Capital Gold dropped songs from both men after they were charged.
Donovan then ends by asking a serious question," You do not have to feel sympathy for either man to feel there is something not quite right here. Should artists be expunged because of offences that have nothing to do with their music, and should there not be, at the very least, open discussion about it?"
[RNW comment: Our view on this is that Donovan certainly makes a sound point concerning open discussion and we would take the view that a far more positive way of reacting to such acts as Glitter and King have been found guilty of would be a change in the legal system to impose suitable fines and compensation to individuals who had been harmed in addition to any jail sentence and to allow the distraint of future royalties towards any such fines or compensation.
That way to us, if the music was good enough, its life would continue but the benefits from the airing would go not to the convicted but potentially to their victims]
After the issue of individuals' works being barred because of something the individual has subsequently done, that of the sanction that the marketplace regularly imposes, in the case of radio through low ratings: That is a cue to note the audience falls that have hit CBS Radio now that Howard Stern's show is on Sirius not CBS's terrestrial stations. The general fall has resulted in various comments but what caught our eye last week as specific comment in a reader's letter published in Robert Feder's column in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Commenting on Stern's replacement at "Free FM" /WCKG-FM, reader George Watson said of Shane "Rover" French, "'Rover's Morning Glory' is a reductio ad nauseam of the testosterone formula of morning zoos -- an unwittingly but supremely un-entertaining parody. Mis-working that formula seems to be where 'Rover's Morning Glory' has gone awry. And it is broken from top to bottom."
"The sidekick Dieter plays a stupid -- no, really stupid -- jock whose schtick seems to be a variation on 'Jackass.' Otherwise, he lamely attempts to throw in for the male infantile from time to time. The problem is that the kid just isn't smart. He's got nothing going as a sidekick. He just can't pull off what Turd over at Mancow does, I suppose because the latter still has some brain cells left and is honestly a Neanderthal. (But he knows timing and so good radio.)"
"Duji [Rover's female sidekick, Susan Catanese] is simply too smart for the kind of whipping post they're looking for, but she's also too vanilla. At that, though, she's too strong for both her colleagues. (Maybe Rover should look up the very weak, embarrassingly compliant Wendy Snyder, who seems to be able to take a lot of misogyny. Someone tell me why she's still on Steve Dahl's show being kicked around every day?)."
And summing up devastatingly for the host, "In a nutshell, Rover has no personality and nothing to say. The show's pace is poor, the subject matter -- is there any? -- is worse. 'Rover's Morning Glory' is an unmitigated disaster, which simply shows that what plays in Cleveland should stay in Cleveland. It should be yanked tomorrow."
BBC Radio 2's decision to hire former Virgin breakfast host Chris Evans to present its Drivetime show provoked some similarly blunt responses including a number in a UK Guardian blog about the story.
Some were positive about the move - "George" wrote, "Whatever you think of Evans' erratic behaviour and manic style, you can't deny he's a brilliant broadcaster. Listening to him on Saturday afternoons has been a real treat - he's way more relaxed than in his Radio 1 days, and is tremendous at interacting with live callers and studio guests. More than that though, he has the knack of making Radio 2 sound like the only station you'd ever want to listen to. No wonder Lesley Douglas wants him on a weekday show."
In contrast amongst those strongly opposed to the hiring, Andy Lee wrote, "The current trailers for Chris Evans Radio 2 shows either consist of him laughing at something he's said or done, or of him saying 'this is great', so he's now doing what he previously used to pay his sidekicks to do i.e. make out the show is actually entertaining whereas most people realise it's just an overgrown, overpaid and overrated egomaniac who still thinks its 1996 and his cover's not been blown."
" To give this idiot the Radio 2 drivetime slot is a severe misjudgement on management's part. Look at his track record - he's bullies people he works with (a High Court judge's words, not mine); a very high percentage of people he worked with back in the 1990s are on record as refusing to have anything to do with him again; with nothing talent wise to redeem himself (unless one defines competitions such as 'Honk your horn' as talent); he's totally unsuited to the programme."
After comments relating to individuals one rating to knee-jerk reactions from Gerry McCarthy in his Radio Waves column on Irish radio in the UK Sunday Times.
McCarthy started by noting of rioting in Dublin over a "Live Ulster" march, "The aftermath of the Dublin riot threw up a familiar pattern of denial, as spokesmen for diverse interests distanced themselves from blame. On programmes such as Liveline (RTE R1, Mon-Fri), everyone from the Celtic supporters club to inner-city groups scrambled to point the finger elsewhere."
Expanding on his theme he continued, "Meanwhile, a documentary about a tragedy 60 years ago proved that this kind of denial is nothing new. Whether the event is a fire or a riot, platitudinous reflexes come into play. The Orphans That Never Were (RTE R1) dealt with the burning of St Joseph's industrial school in Cavan in February 1943, in which 35 teenage girls were killed. Produced by Peter Woods and the Cavan native Ciaran Cassidy, it showed how resentments can long simmer on beneath the surface of small-town Ireland."
It also illustrated, as McCarthy pointed out, that actions condemned more recently involving other groups were not exactly new or exclusive to one group, "When the fire took hold, the nuns at first refused to allow male rescuers into the building, thereby echoing a recent case in Saudi Arabia. The locked dormitories in Cavan, meanwhile, brought back inevitable memories of the Stardust disaster [RNW note - a reference to the fire at the Stardust nightclub in Artane, Dublin, on St Valentine's Day 1981 in which 48 people died and 214 were injured: Escape had been rendered impossible for many because some of the main fire exits were locked with padlocks and chains and attempts by others to escape through the men's toilets failed because the windows were blocked with metal plates on the inside and iron bars outside. The safety lessons of fires in overcrowded night clubs it would appear still were not learned much more recently as evidences by the Station Club fire in Rhode Island in which 100 people died after a pyrotechnic display during a Great White concert started a fire.]
On now to the future of radio as seen by John Timpane in an article, "In radio, satellite is gaining ground" in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
His thesis was not so much the success of satellite, although he did note that" speaking in very broad, sloppy terms, at least nine million people (and counting) have decided that they would rather pay for radio they choose than not pay for free broadcast radio that may be 30-40 percent ads" but its impact on terrestrial radio's approach.
"I believe," wrote Timpane, "that in five years, radio, whether satellite, Internet or broadcast (or, in the silly cant of the moment, "terrestrial"), will sound and feel much more like satellite radio than like its 2006 self. Does that mean satellite 'wins'? Maybe not. But it does mean satellite is helping accelerate a wonderful change in the media world."
Timpane concludes his article by writing, "There used to be four Great Remaining Questions about future radio. With portability now with us, there are now three GRQs:
"Can we make this two-way radio? Can I upload my stuff as well as download yours?
"Can we integrate national with local? The FCC has discouraged XM and Sirius from competing with local stations (though this stricture may soon crumble). Yet most listeners still want a local component to whatever radio they use. How do you do that and still be national?
"Can we randomize? Radio - especially radio news - does something no other media do as well, not even the Web. It preserves the random. It gives us things we didn't know we'd like. National Public Radio is a fine example. You're not going to like everything - but you're going to learn something and probably like it."
"It's really important for radio to preserve the sweet random," he comments. "The day someone figures out how to give me what I choose along with what I haven't chosen but still might like - and make money doing it - that's when radio will have changed forever.
"It's not here yet - but it's coming. Satellite radio has nudged us closer to it. I'm loving it. The future is worth a listen."
And finally, as much a cue to our first listening suggestion, a UK Guardian tribute to the late Linda Smith by fellow broadcasters and comedians who were interviewed by Saleem Vaillancourt.
Examples of her style came from BBC Radio 4 News Quiz chairman Simon Hoggart who wrote, "She had done many benefits for the striking miners back in the mid-80s, and loved the story about the pickets who had built a snowman, only to see a police Land Rover deliberately smash into it. 'Next day they built another snowman, and exactly the same thing happened. What the police didn't know was they had built this one round a cast- iron bollard' ; and "People knock Asbos[Anti-social behaviour orders], but you have to bear in mind they're the only qualification some of these kids are ever going to get" and, "I had absolutely no expectations of Tony Blair, and even I have been disappointed."
So the first listening suggestion - last week's News Quiz from BBC Radio 4, which was a tribute to Linda Smith. And second, from the same station a repeat that Smith would probably have got some mileage from: It was the story of the "Bat Bombers" told in Sunday Best - the project to use bats to carry incendiaries into nooks and crannies of Japanese houses and thus start fires that were hard to extinguish. The trials were a success - well the bats burned down a USAF base leading USAF to drop the idea in a huff and the marines took over the project - but the idea fell victim to the success of the atom bomb. Worth a listen for some of the quotes on how the bats could have brought the Second World War to an early end had it not been for the A-bomb's invention.
Still with comedy we suggests BBC Radio 2 for The Powder Room - from the all-female team of Julia Morris, Lucy Porter and Gina Yashere - either on Thursday (22:00 GMT) or Saturday - at 13:30 GMT after the Smith Lectures in the 13:00-14:00 GMT comedy hour: Last week's programmes will be available on the web site until this week's are aired.
After that drama and two strong programmes from BBC Radio 3 - Mike Bartlett's "Not Talking" in "The Wire" from last Thursday and Arnold Wesker's "Shylock" in Drama on Three on Sunday.
The first contrasts the experiences of a Second World War conscientious objector (played by Richard Briers with June Whitfield as his not particularly supportive wife) and a squaddie on his way to Iraq (Carl Prekopp who has many doubts).
The second is Wesker's defence of Shylock and features Ronald Pickup and Henry Goodman: It was originally titled The Merchant - a production in which Zero Mostel starred in the US but he died before the play reached Broadway where it flopped.
After which we'd suggest the most recent Archive Hour from BBC Radio 4 on Sunday - a reminder that US radio at one time produced some very good drama. This programme "An Audience with Norman Corwin" features Corwin, now 95 and still making programmes as well as teaching journalism in California, talking of some of his most significant productions including "We Hold These Truths", which was commissioned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and when broadcast was listened to by 63 million people - the largest audience in recorded history for a dramatic performance and "On a Note of Triumph", the special VE Day (May 8, 1945) broadcast that is arguably one of the best, if not the best, uses of radio as a medium (Both are still available as CDs as is a 7-CD set of "13 by Corwin" from the original CBS broadcasts).
From the US we again go for WNYC's On the Media that last week included consideration of whether Iraq is on the verge of civil war and also looks at the importance of the use of language and the degree to which the choice of words influences discussion (as for example calling one government a "regime" or even, more mundanely we'd suggest although this isn't discussed, using the term "reform" to all changes proposed by a government, thus giving a positive spin to the change for many people.).
Then BBC World Service and Wednesday (Mar 8) sees the start of a three-part series "Europe's Angry Young Muslims" in which Roger Hardy assesses how far fears are justified that alienated young Muslims in Europe could become recruits for extremist organizations.
And on the topic of Muslims we'd suggest last Saturday's "From our own Correspondent" - available as an MP3 as well as streaming audio, which included Frances Harrison commenting on the difficulties of working in Iran for the foreign media, comments that strike a chord - somewhere we've still got a negative of a particularly objectionable Iranian official who insisted - in the same officious manner that Harrison faced - on a thorough search when we left Iran in 1980 , looking into an aspirin pack, confiscating film that the censor had sealed, removing shoes and more but unaware that pressing the button to prove a compact camera was empty in fact took his photograph.
Finally also on Wednesday, for Brass Band fans Performance on 3 on BBC Radio 3 features highlights from the Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass 2006, which had as its themes "Celebrating Mozart" and "Landscapes and Images." The broadcast includes a first performance of "Hommage a WA Mozart" by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen and of "Snake Eyes" by
Chicago Sun Times - Feder:
Norman Corwin web site (Links on to available CDs of his productions):
Philadelphia Inquirer - Timpane:
UK Guardian - Blog comments on Chris Evans:
UK Guardian - Vaillancourt:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2006-03-05: Yet again last week the main regulatory news was more in terms of what is to or may be to come than decisions taken with the US Senate Commerce Committee announcing that it has scheduled a hearing for telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell who has been nominated by President Bush to fill the vacant Republican seat on the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and also a re-emergence of moves to legislate a "broadcast flag" for digital radio so as to prevent unauthorized recordings: Elsewhere there was a steady stream of activity with the UK being particularly busy in terms of publishing reports.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was involved in only one radio-related matter: It is asking for comments for an investigation it is conducting into possible changes to programming rules for remote commercial radio services that would allow such licensees to provide different services to different parts of their licence areas.
ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said of the move, "This is a significant issue because remote commercial radio licence areas are very large and have small, widely scattered populations."
"Under the current rules," he noted, "a licensee may provide only one service under its licence."
Remote licences were introduced as separate category of commercial broadcasting licences in Australia in the late 1980s as part of the then government's policy of equalisation of broadcasting services throughout Australia and had the same licence areas for the then recently established remote commercial television services, but excluding any existing terrestrial radio service licence area.
They were converted to normal commercial broadcasting licences when the Broadcasting Services Act came into effect in 1992 and during the 2004 election campaign, the government gave a commitment that it would ask ACMA's predecessor, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), to consider the feasibility of relaxing programming rules to allow RCRS licensees to provided different services to different parts of their licence areas.
The ACMA has posted on its web site a 29 page 1.38 MB PDF concerning the issues raised.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week regarding radio, publishing only one decision - the approval of two 16-watts low-power tourist FM stations in Québec, Quebec, one English language FM and the other French language.
It also published a notice concerning a public hearing to be held on May 1 to consider various applications with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of April 6.
They include an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to provide an all-hazard, all-channel emergency broadcasting public alert service that would be delivered to CBC's National Alarm Centre in Ottawa and then uplinked for satellite distribution to the CBC's entire radio transmission backbone.
The CBC is seeking funding for the system from the Canadian Government but it would have no control over the alerts, which would be decoded at its transmitter sites and automatically broadcast to relevant geographic areas.
A similar application is to be considered from ExpressVu, which would insert the messages into its TV programmes and services.
The other applications mainly relate to ethnic TV services but there was also a radio application from British Columbia where the District of Kitimat wants to operate a 150 watts FM transmitter to distribute in non-encrypted mode, the programming service of the CBC Radio Two originating from CBU-FM, Vancouver.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced plans to develop a General Advertising Code that will apply to all radio and television broadcasters licensed in the State (See RNW Mar 2) but in the UK, Ofcom was rather busier.
It was involved in issuing a number of reports including its latest look at the state of the British communications industry (See RNW Mar 2) and also its latest report on adult media literacy (An 89-page 1.2MB PDF posted on its site).
In relation to radio, the report notes that the medium is second to TV in terms of people's levels of awareness of regulation and how national commercial stations are mainly funded. It also notes that 27% of adults now say they listen to digital radio services and that more then "two thirds of those who do, say they now listen to more radio stations than they did before."
The report notes the reasons given for buying digital receivers, led by audio quality (42% of those who have receives and 64% of those who say they intend to purchase them); more stations ( 31% and 36% respectively); convenience of listening when they wanted (15% and 5%) and extra BBC stations (5% and 7%). In addition 22% responded in terms of availability to them from digital TV and 10% through the internet.
In terms of time spent listening, Ofcom's survey produced an average UK adult listening from a self-reported survey of 8.6 hours, plus 6.6 hours elsewhere to make a total 15.2 hours per week, a little lower than RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) figures, which it noted are likely to be higher as they are based on diary prompts.
In terms of where listening took place digital receiver owners reported more listening - around 21 hours a week with the proportion of at-home listening for all groups, as might be expected, higher for digital than analogue listening.
Concerns about radio were low with only one in ten adults nominates without prompting any concerns 'about what is on radio': The most common concerns related to bad language (whether spoken or song lyrics) and poor quality content (in terms of advertising breaks, and content being ratings-driven).
Interaction with radio was relatively low for all age groups albeit 27% of those 16-24 reporting some interaction compared to around 20% of those 25-64 and 9% of those above 65: The most common interaction was visiting station web sites followed by making a phone call or sending a text message.
Of the responses 38% related to entering a competition, 36% to responding to a programme feature, 12% to ask for more information, 8% to request a song and 6% to donate to charity and 5% to speak on air.
Ofcom also published the reasons behind its awards of 21 community radio licences last month including some mono FM ones (See RNW Feb 17), mainly in terms of track record, links with the community and realistic financial plans, and also published details of grants made by its Community Radio Fund Panel for the 2005-06 financial year.
In all it has GBP 485,000 (USD 852,000) available for grants and at its meeting last month had received funding applications totalling GBP 771,000 (USD 1.354 million).
The Panel considered 17 eligible applications and awarded grants totalling GBP 444,000 (USD 779,000): They ranged upwards from GBP 10,000 (USD 17,550) - to a Northern Ireland and a Hampshire station for a station manager to five awards above GBP 30,000 (USD 52,650), the highest of which was for £37,539 (USD 65,890) to London station Sound Radio of Hackney (GBP 30,000 for a station manager and the balance for a regional community radio project.)
In the US, apart from the hearing and new proposals for a broadcast flag that we have already noted (See RNW Mar 4), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also received a filing from Connecticut station owner John Fuller, licensee of WBMW-FM and WWRX-FM to deny licences to Citadel Broadcasting because of various breaches of regulations that the petition says makes it unfit to hold licences. The petition asks the FCC to revoke Citadel's licences for its stations serving the New London and Providence markets and for them to be auctioned.
In another case of a petition, the FCC rejected a call to deny renewal of an Alabama AM because of failure to file a renewal on time and maintain a public inspection file but in granting the renewal also proposed a USD 10,500 penalty for the violations (See RNW Mar 3).
The FCC also faced down Kovas Communications of Indiana, Inc. (KCI), which applied to move WMCW-AM, Harvard, Illinois, to Weston, Wisconsin, arguing that Weston "is in particular need of coverage by AM stations."
The filing is part of a larger arrangement in which commonly owned Kovas Communications, Inc. filed an application to move WONX-AM from Evanston, Illinois (where it is a fourth local transmission service) to become a first local service at Carol Stream, Illinois. This application is contingent upon grant of the WMCW-AM application, as the relocated WONX-AM facilities would conflict with WMCW-AM) at its current Harvard location.
KCI threatened to relinquish the WMCW-AM authorization should the commission fail to grant its application and the FCC, which said that a case had not been made for the applications on public interest grounds, commented in relation to this, "We cannot force KCI to retain its WMCW-AM authorization. However, if it should choose to carry out its threat of relinquishing the authorization, other applicants will have the opportunity to seek new or improved service made possible by the relinquished spectrum."
The FCC also issued a USD 10,000 penalty to a Massachusetts pirate operator who had not responded to a notice of apparent liability issued in November last year (See RNW Feb 28).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-03-05: University of Michigan officials say they are investigating the school's public radio and television stations following the sudden resignation of Michigan Public Media director Donovan Reynolds according to the Detroit Free Press.
Michigan Public Media is the umbrella organization for Michigan Radio- WUOM-FM; Michigan Television, the Flint-based public television channel WFUM, and the Michigan Channel, which carries University of Michigan programming on the Comcast cable system
Reynolds, who earned USD 44,000 a year, created controversy when he changed the National Public Radio local affiliate's format from classical music to a news and talk format after taking up his post in 1996. The change led to an increase in listening and fund-and in 1999, WUOM was named the Best Station in America by the Public Radio Program Directors Association.
He said he said he decided to leave the station because it is in "need of fresh leadership" and added, "I am very proud of my work there and proud to have worked with a group of dedicated people" but would not comment on the investigations.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson would not comment on Reynold's departure but said the investigation is focused mainly on Michigan Radio, which has an annual budget of USD 5.1 million and raised USD 923,000 during its fall fund-raising drive.
The University of Michigan Department of Public Safety has also launched its own investigation of the radio station.
Detroit Free Press report:
2006-03-05: Greater Media has announced that its Preston and Steve morning team (Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison) have extended their existing 3-year contract with WMMR-FM by two years to run to 2010.
The duo, formerly with Radio One's alternative rock WPLY-FM were put off the air last February when the station was closed down and in April won their fight against enforcement of a non-compete clause in their contract and were able to join WMMR (See RNW Apr 27, 2005) where they launched their show in May last year.
WMMR noted that the team beat Howard Stern among adults 18-34 years of age in his last ratings in Philadelphia and John Fullam, Vice President and Market Manager of Greater Media Philadelphia commented, "Preston and Steve have not only been a huge hit with long-time MMR listeners but have brought the station new listeners as well. WMMR is very excited to extend our partnership with Preston and Steve so we can continue to entertain Philadelphians with the very best rock and personalities for many years to come."
Preston said, "We're less than a year into our life here at WMMR and are absolutely thrilled to be adding on a few more to our contract. Great radio station, great people! It's amazing that they haven't caught on to our ineptitude yet."
Steve added, "We are thrilled and amazed that WMMR has made this critical error by extending our contracts for another two years. They have been extremely supportive of us and give us everything we ask for despite our past record of committing countless felonies."
Previous Greater Media:
2006-03-04: Morning host Wendy Harmer has left DMG's Vega FM - a further blow to the over-40's targeted station which is struggling to gain an audience according to the latest ratings which showed its Sydney share as 1.7%: Harmer's show was also broadcast on Vega in Melbourne where the station did even worse with only 1% of the audience.
Vega managing director Cathy O'Connor was quoted in an AAP report in The Australian as saying of Harmer's departure, "We have been working with Wendy on the development of her program and it became apparent that we both saw different creative directions for the morning shift."
"Wendy has approached her work at Vega with the passion you would expect from one of Australia's most successful broadcasters," she added. "We thank her for her hard work throughout the Vega launch and we are certainly still talking to Wendy about future contributions to the station."
Harmer, one of Australia's leading comics who hosted 2Day FM's Breakfast Show for 11 years, told the AAP she remained a fan of the station but had had many other projects on the go including an ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) documentary, an animated series based on one of her children's books and her second novel.
"I would have loved to have the show a success... but I have plenty going on," she told AAP." I leave my regular shift with no regrets and remain a real fan of the station."
The Australian/AAP report:
2006-03-04: The US Senate Commerce Committee says it will hold a confirmation hearing on Thursday next week (Mar 9) for telecommunications lawyer Robert McDowell who has been nominated by President Bush to fill the vacant Republican seat on the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
If he is confirmed McDowell will take a seat that runs to the end of June 2009 and break the partisan deadlock on the five-member Commission , giving it a Republican majority that would allow it to move forward on preparing new media ownership regulations progress on which has been stalled.
In an unconnected move, New Jersey Republican Rep. Mike Ferguson, a member of the House Commerce Committee, has put forward a bill to give the commission authority to require the introduction of "broadcast flag" technology to prevent unauthorised recording and distribution of digital radio signals.
A spokesman for Ferguson says that the bill has been drafted to ensure that it does not hold up the rollout of HD digital radio and does not require encryption at source but would rely on licensing agreements to equipment manufacturers to make future receivers so as to restrict recording from them.
The recording companies under the aegis of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been pushing for a "flag" but this has met opposition from the National Association of Broadcasters, which is concerned that introduction of a flag could hold back take-up of HD, and by equipment makers.
RNW comment: Whatever the fears of the RIAA we have seen no evidence so far that the take-up of digital radio in the UK - has led to any major practice of recording and distributing music taken from digital radio nor have we seen any evidence that there has been an large scale of this happening with satellite radio signals in the US.
It seems to us that this is another case of a King Canute approach - except that the King reputedly wasn't trying to hold back the tides but showing that they could not be held back - by the RIAA. It has been possible for many years to record from analogue radio (and in the UK, if not the US about which we have no firm information apart from iBiquity's self serving comparative demonstrations, the transmission standards of FM provide a good quality signal to those with reasonable equipment) without this happing and whatever the RIAA does we suspect that those who want to will find a way round any such restrictions for digital, which in any case would not apply worldwide.
In our view the success of i-Tunes, which recently sold its billionth download, shows that the approach of making it easy for people to get a song legitimately is likely to be much more productive than the punitive negative approach of the RIAA. We'd also suggest that the industry should make a virtue of the quality of CD - which is higher than that likely to be provided by digital broadcasts even though in many listening environments the higher quality may not be distinguishable.
New York Times/CNET report re broadcast flag:
2006-03-04: A UK House of Lords Committee has defended the BBC licence fee but expresses concern that if it "continues to rise steeply it will damage the Corporation by undermining the public support it currently enjoys."
The House of Lords Select Committee on BBC Charter Review in a 59-page report says the BBC's current licence fee bid would result in a fee which will cost about GBP 180 (USD 316) in cash terms by 2014 and indicates that it thinks savings can be made.
It commented, "The Chairman of the BBC told us that the bid was an accurate costing of the proposals that the Government had endorsed for the future of the BBC. However, examination of one part of the bid-the cost of the proposed move to Greater Manchester-has shown that the costs presented could be significantly reduced."
"We are concerned," says the report, "that the BBC has failed to base its bid on the most cost efficient proposals possible" and adds that Parliament and not Government should set the level of the licence fee, proposing that the National Audit Office should be involved in scrutinising the licence fee bid. Its report should be published in full."
Noting that this year for the first time the Office of National Statistics classified the licence fee as a tax the report says the licence fee is rising at an unprecedented rate but emphasis that the BBC is not solely to blame for this, commenting, "The Government are asking the BBC to shoulder costs that previously have been borne out of general taxation. This includes the costs of helping the elderly and disabled with digital switchover. We can see no reason why helping these groups should be borne by the BBC."
Concern is also expressed that Ofcom may decide to charge the BBC for its use of spectrum and recommends that the Government should use its power of direction to instruct Ofcom to exempt the BBC and Channel 4 from spectrum charging, saying, "We do not believe it is justifiable to raise the licence fee in order to pay the Treasury for a resource that has always been supplied to the
BBC free of charge and that the BBC has always used efficiently."
Regarding the BBC World Service, which is financed by the government through the Foreign Office, the report comments, "The World Service is one of the undoubted successes of the BBC" and adds that that success "comes from being seen as a politically independent and trustworthy news source."
"The World Service," it adds, "is not, and must never become, a tool of the UK Government. We are therefore concerned by a recent report to the Foreign Secretary that suggests that the BBC World Service should operate in a manner 'consistent with UK governmental medium and long term goals'."
"The BBC World Service," says the report, "is a UK national asset not a Government asset" and adds that it supports recent proposals to reprioritise BBC World Service services and launch an Arabic language television channel but is concerned that the Government are not providing the modest marginal extra financial support to launch this channel on a 24 hour basis as the BBC and other experts have suggested.
The BBC has responded to the report, which was published along with a 542 page appendix of evidence given to the committee, by saying it believes it has "put forward a well thought-through licence fee bid which represents good value for money and meets the objectives set by the Government for building a digital Britain."
It adds, "The licence fee itself is still declining steadily as a proportion of disposable income, and will continue to do so even with the settlement the BBC has requested. We have tested our proposals and their costs with licence fee payers and are clear that they have public support" and then continues, "However, we have made it clear to Government that our agreement to fund the cost of helping the neediest in digital switchover is subject to a number of conditions: this cost should not be at the expense of existing services; and it should not undermine long-term support for the licence fee."
Select Committee report (59 Page 694kb PDF):
Evidence to Committee (542 page 3.786 Mb PDF):
2006-03-04: Univision, which has put itself up for possible sale, has reported fourth quarter net revenue up 11% to USD 513.5 million pro forma operating income up 19% to USD 189.6 million, and pro forma net income up 24% to USD 83.1 million ( per share), all exceeding its guidance but net income was down after one-time charges - a USD 30.3 million cost reduction plan charge, a USD 6 million charge for payments to be made to Televisa under protest and a USD 33.6 million charge for the non temporary decline in the fair value of certain investments (primarily related to Univision's investment in Entravision ) - that were excluded from the pro forma figures.
The charges took final quarter reported operating income down to USD 129.9 million and net income down to USD 27.4 million (eight cents a share compared to pro forma figures of 25 cents a share); full year pro forma operating income down from USD 576 million to USD 540 million -- pro-forma operating income before depreciation and amortization was up 13% to USD 669.3 million; and pro forma net income down from USD 291.2 million to USD 187.2 million (from 85 cents a share to 54 cents).
For the full year revenues were up 9% to USD 1.953 billion, and pro forma net income was up 14% to USD 291.2 million ( from per share), again exceeding its guidance.
In divisional terms, fourth quarter TV revenue was up 13.4% to USD 368.4 million, radio was up 8.8% to USD 91.5 million and Internet was up 65.5% to USD 9.1 million but music was down 5.1% to USD 44.5 million whilst for the full year TV revenues were up 7.8% to USD 1.36 billion, radio was up 9.3% to USD 359.1 million, Internet was up 45.3% to USD 26.3 million; and music was up 15.6% to USD 206.4 million.
For the first quarter of this year, Univision says it expects consolidated net revenues to increase by mid single digit percentages and Operating income before depreciation and amortization to increase by low double digit percentages with earnings per share between 14 cents and 16 cents compared to 13 cents in 2005.
Commenting on the results and a possible sale, Chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio said, "Univision achieved record operating results in the fourth quarter and is in an unprecedented position to capitalize on its leading media assets."
"Our strong momentum and positive growth prospects, the scarcity value of our assets, favourable market conditions and increasing interest in Spanish-language media," he said, "led us to conclude that now was the right time to evaluate our options for maximizing shareholder value."
In other US radio business, Salem has announced that its board has authorized a USD 25 million increase in the company's stock repurchase programme. Commenting on the increase, president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said, "Since January 3, 2006, our stock price has fallen by 20%, compared to a decline of 11% for the other radio broadcasting stocks. Given the significant growth potential and underlying asset value at our developing News Talk and music stations, our consistent block programming business, and our rapidly growing Internet platform, we consider this stock price weakness an excellent opportunity to create value for our shareholders by investing in our own stock."
2006-03-04: Radio New Zealand has told a the country's Commerce Committee that it has spent NZD 411,000 (USD 273,000) so far in legal services relating to the case of its former head of news Lynne Snowdon who was fired last year following two years of dispute (See RNW Apr 17, 2005)): Snowdon had been on extended sick leave since 2003.
The figures were given during the broadcaster's financial review by its Chief executive Peter Cavanagh, who also revealed that as well as setting aside more funds for this case Radio New Zealand had also set aside up to NZD 1.1 million (USD 732, 00) in relation to five defamation cases - all relating to employment of which three were new and two carried over from 2004 with "some" of them related to Ms Snowdon
Cavanagh said that although Radio New Zealand had set out the contingent liability it was confident about its Human Resources and legal advice concerning the cases and didn't expect to have to pay out "any money on any [of them]"
The committee was also told that Radio New Zealand's reach was down to 592,000 in 2005 from 606,100 in 2004 with National Radio reaching 517,400 - down from 518,100 - and Concert FM 159,300 - down from 168,000:
Previous Radio New Zealand:
2006-03-03: A USD 20.8 million non-cash impairment charge related to an annual review of its intangible assets took Regent Communications into a loss for the final quarter and full year 2005, turning 2004 net income of USD 13.2 million (29 cents a share) into a loss of USD 6.6 million (15 cents a share) and fourth quarter net income of USD 2.5 million (6 cents s share) in 2004 to a net loss of USD 10.7 million (26 cents a share).
Revenues were also off 3.6% to USD 21.3 million in the fourth quarter although for the full year they were up 1.7% to USD 85.6 million: Station operating expenses were up 2.8% to USD 14.5 million for the quarter and up 3.7% to USD 57.6 million for the full year.
Same station broadcast revenues were down 4.6% to USD 20.2 million for the quarter and same station operating income was down 15.1% to USD 6.7 million and are forecast to fall further in the first quarter of this year when net broadcast revenues are expected to be between USD 18.0 million and USD 18.4 million and operating income is expected to be between USD 3.8 to 4.1 million with earnings per share flat to a one cent loss.
President and CEO Bill Stakelin said the company had achieved its final quarter revenue and cash flow guidance despite a weaker than expected radio advertising environment and noted that if political advertising, which benefited the company in 2004, was taken out revenues were down by only 1.1% rather then 3.6%.
He added that Regent has made "significant operational progress in 2005" and noted, "We experienced broad based ratings improvements, invested in original, quality programming and strengthened our relationships with local advertisers and our communities."
"We also continued to make improvements in our start-up and developing stations, which will increasingly contribute to our future growth as a result of the investments we made in 2005," he said, adding, "By operating market leading stations in the nation's middle and small-sized markets we are able to offer local communities a value proposition that is unique in the ever-changing media landscape. Combined with our ongoing focus on execution and improving our operations, we are very well positioned for long-term growth."
Of the current quarter Stakelin said Regent was "facing difficult comparisons as 2005 first quarter revenues grew 7%" and added, "As a result, revenues for the first quarter are expected to decline in the low-single digit range. Longer-term, Regent is very well positioned to benefit from any improvements in the local radio advertising environment."
Regent stock was down 4.7% on Thursday to USD 4.45
2006-03-03: BBC Radio 2 has formally announced that Chris Evans, who currently hosts a Saturday afternoon show on the station will take over the Drivetime weekday show from Johnnie Walker from Tuesday, April 18th: Walker announced last month that he was to stand down from the Drivetime show after seven years (See RNW Feb 28).
Evans has not had a daily show since he walked out of his breakfast show on Virgin radio five years ago after a drinking binge and was fired (See RNW Jun 29, 2001): He subsequently lost a GBP 8.6 million (USD 14.2 million) claim against his former employer, SMG's Virgin Radio, and was ordered to pay costs, estimated at up to GBP 4 million (USD 6.6 million) plus damages to SMG and branded a "petulant prima donna" by High Court Judge Mr Justice Lightman who also commented, " where it suited his purposes, he had resort to lies."- (See RNW June 27, 2003).
He commented on his new role, "To take over the Drivetime time show from Johnnie Walker is an absolute honour. The guy is a legend, he's also very special to me as he helped get me my first job at the BBC way back in 1990 As for the show itself Drivetime is hugely important. In many ways it mirrors the breakfast show as a transition for people between work and home. It's our job to help that journey be less of a thing to dread and more of a thing to look forward to."
BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas added, "Johnnie Walker is a hard act to follow. Chris Evans is a brilliant radio talent who has already scored a hit with his weekend show and I know he will give the audience a great new show for weekdays."
2006-03-03: The Australian commercial radio industry is strongly disputed reports of findings from Roy Morgan Research that indicate an 8.6% fall in commercial radio listeners since 1995, pointing to official ratings date that showed the numbers of Australians listening to commercial radio rose by nearly 14% over the past decade.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) chief executive Joan Warner said the CRA had "written to Roy Morgan to query the reasons for the large discrepancy between their data and the accepted method for measuring commercial radio audiences used by Nielsen Media."
The official survey method samples more than 55,000 Australians in metropolitan areas annually using a diary system which requires people to record their day-to-day radio listening and has provided very consistent and comprehensive data since 1952," she added.
Of the reported figures from Morgan she commented, "We strongly disagree. The fact is, commercial radio has been extremely resilient in the face of emerging technology, and has gone against the trend. We have seen strong growth in audience numbers over the past decade and this appears to be continuing into 2006. The first radio survey of 2006 released last week showed metropolitan commercial radio reached over 8.7 million Australians, representing the largest commercial radio reach figure for a single survey period in at least three years.
2006-03-03: Arbitron President and CEO Stephen Morris has told a conference call following Nielsen's decision not to pursue a joint venture introduction of the Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system (See RNW Mar 2) that he was "disappointed but not completely surprised " by the decision.
Morris added that Arbitron had put considerable effort into making the joint venture work, seeing benefit in spreading the costs and also noting that advertising agencies wanted to get the benefit of multimedia measurement.
He also confirmed that contract increases of 45% to 65% would be proposed to pay for the PPM but added that the pricing for Arbitron's "Radio First" strategy had been fixed and put to the radio industry since the summer of last year, adding that although it would be hard to get radio to pay more in a soft advertising environment the introduction of the PPM could more than pay for itself by allowing radio to attract advertising that was going to other media at the moment because of the problems perceived by the agencies with the diary system.
2006-03-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected a call to deny renewal of the licence of WYNI-AM, Monroeville, Alabama because of failure of licensee McKissick Enterprises to file a license renewal in a timely fashion and to maintain a public inspection file but is proposing a penalty of USD 10,500 for the violations.
In rejecting the call for denial of renewal, the FCC said precedent was that a forfeiture was the appropriate sanction for late filing - McKissick should have filed the application four months before the licence was due to expire on April 1, 2004 but filed on March 31 - and also for the public file violations, which were admitted in the renewal application.
It proposed a penalty of USD 1,500 - half the base forfeiture of USD 3,000 - for the late renewal filing because it had been made before the licence expired and of USD 9,000 for the public file violations for which the base forfeiture is USD 10,000, noting the licensee's voluntary disclosure of the violation.
2006-03-02: US radio made a good start to 2006 after a flat 2005 according to figures just released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) that show an overall year-on-year revenue rise in traditional and combined traditional and non-traditional revenues of 1% spurred by a 6% rise in national revenues and 10% rise in non-spot revenues but also counterbalanced by a 1% fall in local revenues.
RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 was 146.7 for January total combined local and national revenues with the local index 141.8, and the national index 170.9:
Previous RAB: and RAB Revenues:
2006-03-02: Arbitron has announced that it is to go it alone and launch its Portable People Meter (PPM) as a radio measuring system following a decision by Nielsen Media Research not to exercise its option to participate in the development of the PPM for radio and TV ratings services in the US.
Nielsen was granted the option to participate in May 2000 and Arbitron president and CEO Stephen Morris commented following the decision not to exercise it that his company now had "complete flexibility to meet the needs of our customers in terms of when and at what speed we deploy the Portable People Meter as an audience ratings system in the United States" although it had lost some of the financial benefits of a joint venture.
The move does not exclude Nielsen from making use of PPM technology and Arbitron says the effort by Arbitron and VNU to develop a national marketing research service based on Arbitron's Portable People Meter system and ACNielsen's Homescan technology will continue.
Morris also noted that Nielsen had expressed its "desire to use the Arbitron Portable People Meter as one component in their portfolio of solutions for television ratings", adding, "Nielsen is particularly interested in using the PPM to add a measure of out-of-home television viewing to their existing television ratings services."
Arbitron has recently announced agreements with a number of advertising agencies and radio companies to use the PPM system when it is deployed and Morris said in a statement, "Now that we no longer have the obligations that came with the Nielsen option agreement, we are free to focus our resources on the best PPM ratings services possible for the U.S. radio industry... Our goal is to secure a critical mass of stations and agencies to allow us to go forward rapidly with the deployment of the Portable People Meter system for radio audience measurement in the United States."
The Arbitron-Nielsen announcement came only hours after dmr, which provides strategic marketing consulting and services for the broadcast industry, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research, unveiled the industry's first-ever independent White Paper on the impact of the PPM on radio programming and marketing.
This said the PPM would provide never-before-available insight into station switching patterns and loyalty and dmr's president, Tripp Eldredge commented, "When we set out to investigate the PPM's impact, we didn't realize what valuable new insights into diary keepers we would find. Whether the PPM is months or years away, the insight from this research is a must read for every broadcaster because it sheds new light on how consumers really use radio. That understanding can have a major impact on your programming and marketing efforts right now."
2006-03-02: Coverage reports in preparation for the introduction of digital radio in Australia have now been completed for 11 commercial radio areas - the five major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and the key population centres of Canberra, Hobart, Darwin, Newcastle, Geelong and Wollongong - according to industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).
It adds that a 12th report for the Gold Coast licence area will be finished by April and says the it is "optimistic" about a rollout of digital in metropolitan areas in two to three years.
Each report identifies requirements for digital radio to cover at least 95% of the population of each area and will assist in developing detailed costing according to CRA.
Its chief executive Joan Warner said the "focus over the next 12 to 18 months will be on four key areas - technical and resource planning for the digital network; investigating a more spectrum efficient audio coding for Australia; cooperating with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on spectrum planning; and working with the Federal Government on the development of legislation."
In terms of digital radio systems Australia seems almost certain to introduce the Eureka 147 DAB system but is hoping to do so with more efficient coding than the MP2 codec used in UK DAB and the industry, following a request from Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan, is investigating the use of Advanced Audio Coding (AAC/AAC+), which would allow the broadcast of more and better service within the same bandwidth and Commercial Radio Australia, Austereo and the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) have joined an international working party investigating the development of AAC+. .
DAB receivers currently on the market could not receive broadcasts in AAC and Warner commented, "As Australia is a relatively small market, we need international support for the new coding to ensure there is a large enough market to support the development of a wide range of attractively priced receivers. Getting the technology platform right will impact on spectrum planning and will be crucial to our ability to deliver value added services to listeners. "
"We remain extremely optimistic about the potential of digital radio and on track with the rollout of metropolitan digital radio networks in two to three years time," she added. "The growing popularity of mp3 players, radio podcasts and digital music downloads to personal computers and mobile phones shows that listeners are ready to embrace change in the way they experience entertainment. We're at the start of this new era, and digital radio will position radio as a key player in the future media environment."
RNW comment: As we have commented in the past, we would be very reluctant to lose the benefits of the international standards we already have with AM and FM analogue signals in the switch to digital but also recognize that there would be significant benefits in using a more advanced coding than is currently the case with UK DAB. That thus poses a dilemma, of making existing DAB receivers - in our case some USD 500 worth of purchases - redundant but we feel it would be worth it in the long run for a truly universal and more advanced system. Ideally therefore we'd like to see pressure in all receiver development worldwide for the use of a standard "slot" system enabling existing receivers to be upgraded very simply should there ever be pressure for another change: It would also potentially if agreed internationally be valuable for worldwide use including the US in that it could allow a simple way of enabling receivers to be changed from receiving DAB/DRM to receiving HD or Sirius or XM or WorldSpace signals to the benefit of everyone.
Regrettably we doubt that there will be much pressure for this from the US but if the rest of the world could develop such a system and lower receiver prices sufficiently because of economies of mass production it would help since we cannot but see some pressures eventually arising there if the rest of the world is getting more with receivers around a third the price of those for HD.
2006-03-02: A presentation released by the UK Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), which is soon to merge with the UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) - See RNW Feb 28 - says that analysis of UK listening by demographics from the most recent ratings shows that commercial radio is much more successful at reaching youthful audiences than the BBC
Nationally it says the BBC's listening share only exceeds that of commercial radio for the 15-64 demographic when BBC radio has a 50% share compared to 48% for commercial radio and 2% of other listening. Even for this demographic, it adds, London listening is greater for commercial radio (56%) than for BBC radio (41%, with other listening totalling 3%).
For the 15-44 demographic, says RAB, commercial radio has a 54% share of listening nationally compared to 44% for the BBC (and 2% other) whilst in London the figures are 63% for commercial radio, 34% for the BBC and 3% other: In the 15-54 demographic the national figures are 52% commercial, 46% BBC and 2% other nationally and 61% commercial, 36% BBC and 3% other in London.
In terms of reach commercial radio is shown as outperforming the BBC for all the three demographics listed - 73.3% for those 15-44 compared to 50.5% for the BBC; 73.7% for commercial and 52.1% for the BBC in those 15-54 and 72% commercial and 54.8% BBC for those 15-64.
RNW comment: After reading this presentation and noting comments by the CRCA that the figures show commercial radio to be doing its job well, we have even more problems taking seriously the "Licence to Kill" report released at the start of the week (See RNW Feb 28) that called for capping BBC radio spending. Not only would it seem that the CRCA and its chief executive were adopting a "petty and mean minded" approach as we have already commented but they couldn't even be bothered to get their facts right.
If the RAB figures are correct, the BBC service gains in overall ratings because more pensioners - not exactly the demographic the commercial radio industry has targeted with the notable exception of Saga - listen to its service and they listen for longer periods. They also mean that the BBC ratings in general do not bear down heavily on commercial radio revenues through taking away its audience but, as we have already suggested, the problem for the commercial companies lies elsewhere with changing habits and technology.
Summarising the CRCA paper it would seem that its attitude is that the BBC should find its spending gutted for serving an audience generally neglected by the commercial sector - probably because they're not as foolish with their spending as younger people - and serving it well: We saw no mentions in the report published by the CRCA to indicate it had even bothered thinking about pensioners. Our view that the "British public would be much better served by protection of the BBC service than seriously hurt by the failure of most of the commercial network", expressed when news first broke of the "Licence to Kill" report (See RNW Feb 27) now seems to be backed up even more by the facts than we were aware of (See also comments regarding increases in revenue per listener and hour in laters communications industry report from Ofcom - below)..
We can only hope on this basis that staff cuts in the planned combined body, which will surely come, concentrate on those employed by the CRCA starting at the top, especially at the top since the new body will do a much better job for the commercial industry if it gathers facts before spouting propaganda that is later exposed as rooted in fallacy.
Previous UK RAB:
UK RAB presentation (416KB PowerPoint):
2006-03-02: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced plans to develop a General Advertising Code that will apply to all radio and television broadcasters licensed in the State.
The development will be in two phases starting with a first phase of liaison with relevant organizations and representative bodies, production of a research report into existing international practice - already published - and finally a public consultation that has just been launched.
BCI Chairperson Conor Maguire said of the plans, "We believe that the development of the General Advertising Code is timely. The existing framework for statutory regulation of general advertising in Ireland has been in place for eleven years."
"Considerable change has taken place in the interim," he continued, "both to advertising and sponsorship techniques and in the range of products and services now available to the consumer. We are keen to see the development of a statutory General Advertising Code which reflects the Commission's own regulatory principles and which enshrine the principle of protecting the citizen and consumer."
2006-03-02: In its latest look at the UK "Communications Market", UK media regulator Ofcom highlights total sales of DAB receivers as having reached around 2.7 million by the end of 2005 and noted that a RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) survey last year (See RNW Nov 22, 2005) had shown almost a fifth of 15-24 year-olds had said they were likely to buy a DAB (digital Audio Broadcasting) receiver within the next six months, the highest for any age group surveyed.
It also noted high satisfaction with radio in the UK saying its latest consumer survey showed 86% were satisfied with radio choice and 93% were satisfied with content
Ofcom also said it had continued to award new commercial and community licences , with the latter receiving a particular boost with the number of awards tripling in the second half of 2005 to a total of 62 - there have been a further 22 awards since then to take the total to 84.
In terms of commercial radio it noted that overall commercial radio's listening share continued to lag behind that of the BBC but said that despite this and difficult market conditions, revenue per listener and revenue per listener hour in commercial radio both rose slightly over the past five years (by 5% and 8% respectively)
"Over the same period," it added, "the revenue split between stations of different styles has changed significantly, with chart-led mainstream stations' share of revenue falling from 55% of all commercial revenue in Q3 2000 to 42% in Q3 2005", commenting, "Perhaps surprisingly, the stations that have the highest revenue per listener tend to be those that cover smaller populations London stations have the lowest average revenue per listener, despite the fact that these stations tend to generate the highest total revenues."
In the context of radio advertising the regulator also highlighted GCap's change in advertising policy - it is to run fewer adverts.
Ofcom also commented on radio consolidation in the second half of 2005, following a period of widespread merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and added that strategic changes announced by groups including GCap Media and Chrysalis are likely to lead to further M&A activity, particularly GCap's decision to divest a number of stations.
In terms of technological change it said new ways of listening had increased popularity, particularly digital listening and commented, "The radio industry underwent a period of internal consolidation over the A number of the larger radio groups including GCap and Chrysalis announced strategic changes. Some of these, for example, are likely to lead to further M&A activity. However, a number of new initiatives will alter the way that the companies do business (for example the Virgin radio station launches and GCap's change in advertising policy). The effect of these internal changes on the industry as a whole will become clearer over time.
Ofcom "The Communications Market- Interim report" (117 page 1.2 MB PDF):
2006-03-01: CBS Radio has filed a 43-page lawsuit against Howard Stern, his company One Twelve, Inc., his agent Don Buchwald, his agent's firm Don Buchwald & Associates, Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. claiming compensatory and punitive damages for multiple breaches of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and misappropriation of CBS Radio's broadcast time.
It is also seeking damages from Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. for unfair competition and tortuous interference with Stern's CBS contract.
The lawsuit followed reports earlier in the day in the New York Post that CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves (the Post called him CBS/Infinity chairman ) was about to launch a USD 500 million lawsuit against Stern.
Stern then called a news conference in New York he said he met Moonves and CBS Radio chairman and CEO Joel Hollander about three weeks ago to discuss their complaints and went on to say he thought this was a "personal vendetta" by Moonves who has said "has had it in for me for a long time."
Stern, who three years ago, Stern called Moonves "a snake in the grass and a guy you can't trust. You could just see it with the fake capped teeth and the phony hairdo and everything else", said he thought the law suit was meant to distract attention from CBS Radio's problems: Latest ratings just released show poor performances at CBS's former Stern stations with WFNY (formerly WXRK) in New York down from 3.2 to 2.7 and David Lee Roth getting a 1.8% share in January compared to 7.9 for Stern in December; KLSX-FM in Los Angeles down from a 2.2 share in fall 2005 to a 1.8 share in the winter 2006 Arbitrons and Adam Carolla's show having an 0.7 share in its first month; and WCKG-FM in Chicago down from 1.4 to 1.3 but Shane "Rover" French gaining only an 0.4 share compared to 2.7 for Stern.
Stern said CBS had used the media attention his move was getting and taken part in it through booking him on "60 Minutes" and the "Late Show with David Letterman": Stern argued that he had made "millions" for CBS and they had kept him on air.
CBS made no comment but issued a news release in which it said Stern "repeatedly and wilfully breached his written contract with CBS Radio over the last 22 months of that contract, misappropriated millions of dollars worth of CBS Radio airtime for his own financial benefit, and fraudulently concealed his interest in hundreds of millions of dollars of Sirius stock while promoting it on the air."
CBS says that the contract with Sirius, which knew "that Stern had a contractual obligation to maximize the prospects for the success of the CBS Radio program" provided a compelling incentive for Stern to do all he could to enable Sirius to reach the subscriber targets and that by taking action "on CBS Radio's airtime in 2004 and 2005, Stern assured himself of immediate access to USD200 million in assets that could be readily converted to cash."
It goes on to say that "engaging in continuous promotion of Sirius on CBS Radio airtime without any payment by Sirius to CBS for these advertisements" Stern " misappropriated millions of dollars worth of CBS Radio airtime for his own financial benefit and the financial benefit of Don Buchwald, his agent, and Sirius in contravention of repeated directives by CBS Radio."
The CBS suit also alleges Stern "breached his contractual obligation to inform CBS Radio of plans that might have a bearing on his future", adding that "Under the Agreement, Stern had the obligation to give CBS Radio the first opportunity to discuss participation in radio projects that are conceived during the term of the Agreement, even if the concept or project was launched or implemented after the term. Stern ignored that responsibility, and negotiated and concluded his agreement with Sirius in secret."
Finally it alleges that Stern continues to breach his contract by refusing to CBS Radio -- the recordings of his CBS radio program that, under his Agreement with CBS Radio, belong to the company.
RNW comment: This seems to be a case of six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. Stern does have a limited argument in terms of Infinity/CBS keeping him on the air but hey might reasonably have taken the view that they would lose more by forcing him off early (as subsequent ratings seem to show) even if he was breaching his contract.
Thus it would seem to us that any damages done to CBS cannot be reasonably held to exceed the profits CBS made from Stern's Show during the period at issue.
As to exact details of culpability of the various parties, they depend on the full details of Stern's contracts with Infinity/CBS, which will presumably come out in court.
On the final matter however, if CBS has a contract under which it has the rights to the programmes it should surely be a fairly simple matter to get that enforced speedily since if a court issues an order to hand over the recordings, Stern either has to comply or risk imprisonment for contempt, something we assume he and Sirius would be loathe to see happening.
New York Post report:
2006-03-01: Australian Macquarie Media Group (MMG) has reported what it terms an "excellent first half" to the end of 2005 for its Macquarie Regional Radioworks (MRR) operations that takes in the former RG Capital Radio and DMG Regional Radio but says that it is to concentrate on foreign investments although it will continue to explore both Australian and global investments with a "bias towards OECD Countries (UK/Europe and North America)."
Macquarie says this decision was taken because of an "uncertain regulatory environment and internationally high multiples" in Australia.
Commenting on its performance it noted that "Strong sales growth and cost controls mean EBIDA targets should be achieved" and says it expected further benefits from the "structural change which occurred with the merger of RG Capital and DMG Regional Radio" and adds that MRR is generating larger audiences, new programming and a better product.
In the six months it says local revenues were up 4% on a year earlier to AUD 54.1 million ( USD 40.2 million) - this compares to an industry average of 1.5% - and national revenues rose 14.5% to AUD 17.0 million (USD 12.6 million) - this compares to an industry average of .5%. It adds that its EBITDA operating margin, excluding base fees, was up from 28.6% in the ten months to June last year to 35.7& in the six months to the end of the year with a pro forma EBITDA for the half year of AUD 26.1 million (USD 19.4 million) that it says is in line with its full-year prospectus forecast of AUD 46.0 million (USD 34.2 million).
MMG executive chairman Tim Hughes said the MRR results were "very pleasing and in line with expectations for the group" and noted that since the merger the company had " benefited from operating economies of scale" and that "National Sales growth had been underwritten by a successful national sales strategy and the rollout of new programmes." He noted that the group could borrow around AUD 300 million (USD 223 million) to expand if it found suitable acquisitions.
Managing director Alex Harvey said the six months had been a "period of significant achievement" with a successful listing in November, pro forma result broadly in line with prospectus full-year forecast and a strong MRR performance.
As well as its radio operations MMG highlighted its AUD 1.19 billion ( USD 884,000) agreement to purchase 60% of Taiwan Broadband Communications - a TV broadcaster and provider of internet, telephone and other services", a deal expected to close in April this year.
The Australian reported Harvey as saying that Macquarie is prepared to widen its investment in Taiwan to consolidate the local cable TV market after closure of the TBC deal.
"We're sitting with a great management team and a great platform so if there's some movement of the deck chairs, we're ideally positioned to play a role in that," he said.
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
The Australian report:
2006-03-01: Saga Communications has reported operating revenues for the final quarter of 2005 down 1.8% on a year earlier to USD 35.5 million with operating income down 40% to USD 5.2 million and net income down 54.3% to USD 1.9 million (from 20 cents to nine cents per diluted share),
For the full year it had revenues up 4.6% to USD 140.8 million but operating income was down 13.9% to USD 27.0 million and net income was down was 33.3% to USD 106 million (from 51 cents per diluted share to 75% and net income was down 54.3% to USD 1.9 million (from 20 cents to nine cents per fully diluted stock.
2006-03-01: Mexican radio company Grupo Radio Centro, which operates 14 radio stations, 11 of them in Mexico City, has reported fourth quarter 2005 revenues down 3.5% on a year earlier to MXN 182.94 million (USD 17.2 million) but full year 2005 revenues were up 3.7% on 2004 to MXN 591.1 million (USD 55.7 million) with the main reason for the final quarter's shortfall put down to lower airtime sales.
Broadcasting expenses increased at a faster rate - by 11.6% -in the final quarter to MXN 92.5 million (USD 8.7 million) but were down by 3.6% for the full year to MXN 385.1 million ( USD 36.3 million) and overall net income for the for the quarter was down 17.5% to before provisions for income tax and employee profit sharing to MXN 43.0 million ( USD 4.1 million) and for the full year 2005 Grupo Radio turned a loss of MXN 39.6 million ( USD 3.7 million) into net income of MXN 64.9 million ( USD 6.1 million).
Previous Grupo Radio:
2006-03-01: British broadcaster, comedian and writer Linda Smith, who in 2002 topped a BBC Radio 4 listeners' poll to find the "wittiest person on radio" has died of cancer aged 49.
Educated in Kent and at Sheffield University she made her name on the stage - her one-woman show sold out for seven successive years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and on radio, where she was a regular on BBC Radio's 4's "News Quiz" and also wrote and starred in two series of her situation comedy "Linda Smith's A Brief History Of Time Wasting" and TV, appearing on such programmes as "Have I Got News For You" and "Mock The Week".
BBC Radio 4 is to broadcast a special tribute edition of the News Quiz this Friday (3 March) presented by friend and fellow News Quiz panellist Andy Hamilton: The station's controller Mark Damazer describer Smith as a "Radio 4 giant" and "incredibly funny."
"She generated an energy and warmth in every programme she ever did that made her fellow comedians and millions of listeners love her" he added. "It's a terrible loss."
Another News Quiz regular, the comedian Jeremy Hardy, said, "I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful friend. Working with someone so funny always reminded me of what comedy is all about."
"Her banter and flights of fancy were amazing," he commented. "In a second, she could summon up the perfect word, the daftest English expression, the most appropriate literary quotation or line of movie dialogue, or the most savage put-down of any fraud, bully or tyrant in the news. "She was the wittiest and brightest person working on TV or radio panel games. And it was impossible to be in her company for more than a few minutes without laughing."
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