June 2007 Archive
- May 2007 - July 2007 -
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 June comment - Boycotts and pork or a business approach. We suggest that a single royalty rate for digital - or analogue - audio is nonsense and that the system should be changed to provide tiered charges and a choice of collection agencies.
RNW May comment - Playing to strengths! We suggest radio has to accept the world as it now is and play to its strengths rather than waste effort in attempts to stifle competition.
RNW April comment - Imus's demise - what can be learned from it?
2007-06-30: SoundExchange has announced that it has proposed a voluntary cap USD 500 cap on the minimum fees charged against royalties for sound recordings played on Internet Radio.
The rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board require each webcasting service to pay a USD500 minimum fee "per station or channel" which could cost some companies who stream many channels or provide services to small webcasters millions of dollars.
SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson said of the regulations, "There was a lot of misunderstanding out there about how the minimum fee would apply, and frankly some people were wrongly stating SoundExchange's policy on this matter. We certainly don't want anybody to get unduly hurt by the minimum fee, but there is a value to music and a cost to administering the digital royalty program, and we wanted to ensure that everyone was treated fairly - artists, webcasters and record labels."
SoundExchange General Counsel Michael Huppe added, "The idea that the per-channel minimum might have a disproportionate impact on certain Internet Radio stations was never presented to the Copyright Royalty Judges. Nonetheless, at the request of Congress, we are trying to work with the small subset of affected webcasters, and are offering this proposal in the hopes of addressing those concerns."
SoundExchange adds that it is also currently in active negotiations with small commercial webcasters and non-commercial webcasters such as public radio and college stations to provide below-market rates under terms similar to those they enjoyed in previous years under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act and Simson added, "I've said all along, we are in this together. We want to see artists and labels fairly paid for the music they provide and we want to see Internet radio grow and flourish. There's no question the new rates set by the Copyright Royalty Judges are fair and are reasonable in the current market. In proposing these various accommodations to webcasters (especially small and non-commercial webcasters), SoundExchange has taken the initiative to attempt to address the concerns that have been raised by Congress and affected webcasters."
He also noted that, in yesterday's hearing on webcasting royalty rates before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, the panel's ranking Republican, Steve Chabot of Ohio, concurred with Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, (New York Democrat) when she commented, "I really don't think Congress is the best vehicle to resolve this type of issue."
RNW comment: This to us is the usual half-misleading self-serving twaddle from SoundExchange, which wants to retain the rights to the charges but avoid political fallout in the short term. We suggested in our June comment that a multi-tiered charge system would address the issue much better - and this would be one in which Congress would have to get involved.
In the meantime, the fact that SoundExchange feels it necessary to make the concessions it does should surely send the message that the rates were not properly thought through in which case Congress should extend the current rates for another year, cancel all back payments, and send the deal back for redrafting along the lines that SoundExchange is proposing as part of the agreement, not a concession from SoundExchange that can be withdrawn.
2007-06-30: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which had lobbied against any return of the former Federal Communications Commission "Fairness Doctrine", has welcomed a 309-115 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives in favour of an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Bill.
The amendment, introduced by Indiana Republican Mike Pence bars the FCC from using federal funds to reinstate the doctrine, which was introduced in 1949 of which the FCC said at the time: "The public interest requires ample play for the free and fair competition of opposing views, and the commission believes that the principle applies to all discussion of issues of importance to the public."
NAB Executive Vice President, Government Relations Douglas S. Wiley had written to all representatives "to express our strong opposition to the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine'" and later added, "I write to you today urging you to oppose any attempt to resurrect this long-discarded regulation. Free speech must be just that - free from government influence, interference and censorship...The so-called Fairness Doctrine would stifle the growth of diverse views and, in effect, make free speech less free Bringing back the Fairness Doctrine is unnecessary, unwarranted, and unconstitutional."
Commenting on the vote, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, "Complementing the absolute explosion in alternative media outlets since the Fairness Doctrine was eliminated, broadcast viewers and listeners today enjoy a rich diversity of viewpoints from all sides of the political spectrum. We salute House members who today stood with our nation's Founding Fathers and embraced a robust press that is free and unfettered from government interference."
2007-06-30: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Toronto morning host Andy Barrie has told his colleagues he has early stage Parkinson's disease that so far has affected his gait and handwriting but not produced tremors according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Baltimore-born Barrie trained as a combat medic after being given Conscientious Objector status by his local draft board during the Vietnam War but in 1969 received orders to go to Vietnam and after speaking to his brother, a career officer who had just returned from two years there, decided to move to Canada.
He received a General Discharge from the United States Army and is now a Canadian citizen. Barrie, who is 62, told his colleagues he had Parkinson's in an e-mail, saying of his condition, "I say 'have' as opposed to 'suffering from' or 'afflicted with' because neither is true" and added, "Disabled, but not unable. I love my work, and friends in the know have told me that the PD hasn't affected it. ... But it doesn't go away by itself, and it does get worse. So as optimistic as I want to be, I'm realistic too."
He then referred to an agreement with Metro Morning "go for three more" years and said as regards the immediate future, "Starting next week, I'm taking off for a good chunk of the summer, before I get back behind the mic in August. Till then, thanks for absorbing all this, for any advice you'd care to share or any questions you want to ask, and for being, all of you, such very human beings."
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2007-06-30: The latest Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hearing on localism held in Portland, Maine, heard viewpoints made in similar form in past meetings re-iterated with local media defending their output and public interest commitments whilst activists from various organizations decried the commitment that was exercised. The meeting was the fifth of six such events the FCC has scheduled.
The Portland Press-Herald report on the meeting noted that since 1988 the paper and its sister the Maine Sunday Telegram plus all three network affiliate television stations have been bought by out-of-state companies and radio in Portland is dominated by three conglomerates - Citadel Communications, Saga Communications and Nassau Broadcasting Partners.
Of the commissioners speaking, Democrat Michael J. Copps, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman Kevin J. Martin, who had been due to attend but remained in Washington where his newborn baby is hospitalised, suggested new rules that would specify requirements from broadcasters, commenting, "We have got to find a way in this country to enhance the performance operations of consolidated media I'm not talking about micro-regulation, but there can be some viable standards that are in the public interest
Copps also spoke of the importance of low-power FM stations, currently severely limited because of third-party adjacent restrictions put in by congress after lobbying by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), saying, "I hope there will be some discussion about the future of low-power radio and television, because in an age of consolidation, they are often the last bastions for media diversity and media democracy."
Copps fellow-Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein criticized the actins of the Commission under former chairman Michael K. Powell, saying, "Frankly, the FCC has failed to protect the interests of the American people. The real broadcast license renewal process conducted by the FCC has been dwindled down to a postcard, rubber-stamp process. The end result is that today many stations are unattended and operated from remote locations; residents are discouraged from monitoring a station's performance; and dialogue between the station and its community is too often non-existent."
Copps, who has long been a critic of the effects of media consolidation, said many broadcasters were still motivated to serve the public interest but there were now fewer of them and the owners who remained were "less and less captains of their own fate these days and more and more captives of unforgiving Wall Street and Madison Avenue expectations. "
Adelstein also noted that the FCC had buried its own study on ownership until Sen. Barbara Boxer (California Democrat) demanded the FCC publicly release the document, which showed that locally owned TV stations provided more local news. "And while the commission has failed to complete a similar study of radio, we hear across the country that centralized playlists and payola are shutting out local musicians and unmanned radio stations have replaced local DJs," he added.
Republican Commissioners Robert M McDowell and Deborah Taylor Tate were less outspoken although McDowell did comment of hearing people's opinions, that "Localism is not just a good idea, it's the law. We want to know how we're living up to it."
Amongst media representatives Suzanne Goucher, president of the Maine Association of Broadcasters, defended the commitment of the state's broadcasters to serve communities, saying in a statement that broadcasters' recognition of their responsibilities was displayed by extensive coverage of recent storms.
Chellie Pingree, a former Maine State Senator and former president of lobbying group Common Cause, disagreed and spoke of a decline in local news coverage by radio stations." After the Telecom Act of 1996, half of the radio stations in the Midcoast area became Clear Channel properties -- operated by strangers a long way from Main Street," she said "This story could be repeated across Maine and across the country. Increasingly, there are fewer and fewer reporters covering our state legislature, local governments and local elections. I believe that there is much damage to be undone."
Another opponent of consolidation, Elery Keene of Winslow, Maine, commented, "I can remember when our newspapers, radio and TV stations were locally owned. I could talk to the owners personally, and they had a vested interest in the welfare of our community. The owners of our mega media systems do not. To them, Central Maine where I live is just a small profit centre, something that may show up on the financial statement. I appeal to the FCC to fix this broken system."
Portland Press-Herald report:
2007-06-30: UK media regulator Ofcom says it has received 12 applications for community radio licences in West and South Yorkshire, and the East Riding of Yorkshire and has also posted the reasons for its award of five community licences and the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire digital multiplex earlier this month (See RNW Licence News Jun 17).
The new licence applications are all for Yorkshire licences and have been made by:
Asian Community Radio (Bradford):
Peace Radio (Bradford):
Penistone FM (Penistone, South Yorkshire):
Radio JCom (Leeds):
Radio Paigham (Huddersfield):
RB FM (Barnsley):
Redroad FM (South Rotherham):
SINE FM (Doncaster):
TMCR - Thorne Moorends Community Radio (Doncaster)
Valley Radio (Keighley):
Vixen 87 (Market Weighton & Pocklington):
Wharfedale Radio (Burley in Wharfedale):
In the case of the five community licences awarded earlier in the month - to Drive FM, (Derry/Londonderry); Aldergrove and Antrim FM (Aldergrove and Antrim); Ballykinler FM, (Ballykinler, County Down) ; Holywood FM (Holywood, County Down) ; and Speysound Radio, (Badenoch & Strathspey) - the Ofcom panel listed a variety of reasons including experience. Support from local organizations and communities and the provision of education and training.
In the case of the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire digital multiplex, which was awarded to GCap Media subsidiary NOWdigital against competition from MuxCo Home Counties Limited (See RNW Mar 30), the panel said it considered the business plan to be sustainable, with a strong security of income given that all of the proposed service providers have signed firm agreements and the majority are to be provided by GCap Media.
It also said it considered the proposed multiplex line-up offered a good balance of the largest (in geographical coverage terms) and most popular (in audience terms) existing local services and non-simulcast services designed to appeal to particular tastes and interests, and felt that together these services are likely to have appeal to a broad range of listeners in terms of age and musical tastes.
In particular it noted that NOWdigital provided evidence of a strong local demand for the provision of the Xfm service, while ratings data confirm the popularity of the two Chiltern FM services (for Bedford and Luton) and Horizon Radio, all of which will be available by way of this new local radio multiplex service.
2007-06-29: Clear Channel Radio has announced that Charlie Rahilly, currently an executive vice president for operations with it, has been promoted to the post of president of Premiere Radio Networks.
He takes over on July 11 from Premiere co-founder Kraig Kitchin, who is leaving the company but will remain for a transition period.
Commenting on the appointment, Clear Channel Radio president and CEO John Hogan said of Rahilly, "Charlie is a consummate professional of extraordinary experience, intelligence and talent. His track record is one of the best in the industry. He has led many of Clear Channel Radio's most strategic and successful markets and projects, and I am confident that he will have the same positive effect at Premiere."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
2007-06-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday held the fifth of its localism meetings, this one in Portland, Maine.
It was to have been attended by all five commissioners but FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin whose newborn is in hospital in Washington pulled out. The meeting is still in progress as we publish.
2007-06-29: Bridge Ratings says its survey of Internet listening shows that the "Day of Silence" staged by Internet stations in the US on Tuesday to protest at increased streaming performance rates set buy the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) shows that the campaign had significant success in terms of attracting support from stations.
It initial sample of 3,000 showed 21% saying they listened to Internet radio in a typical week.
On the Day of Action, the 630 who had responded positively were asked if they had listened and 55% of them said they had not and 62% said they had found their primary Internet station was silent on the day.
Of those that found their favourite station was silent, 72% said they tuned to another station that was streaming audio.
On Wednesday when Internet streams were back the percentage who said they listened to Internet radio rose to 89%, nearly double the figure for the day of silence.
The numbers tie in reasonably with an estimate by organizers the SaveNetRadio Coalition that roughly half the 28,000 or so webmasters in the US had taken part in the action. They also estimated that some 40.000 calls were made to lawmakers supporting the Internet radio bill hearings on which are scheduled this week and that would revoke the increases.
SaveNetRadio Coalition said Congress has received around 400,000 emails and 75,000 phone calls from Internet radio listeners over the past two months.
During the protest some sites went completely silent and others aired announcements on the issues. Live365.com featured on its site a photo of a man wearing headphones with tape over his mouth
The campaign has received more media attention than the similar protest in May 2002 in response to a similarly royalty rate ruling from a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) five years ago and that was followed by a rate cut by the Librarian of Congress and the passage of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act for the period 1998-2005.
In its report on the protest the Los Angeles Times noted that the fee of USD 500 per channel that SoundExchange is to levy is as controversial as the copyright increase and noted that Yahoo Music general manager Ian Rogers, estimated the company would have to pay about USD 750 million in that fee alone.
Live365 Chief Executive N. Mark Lam whose company last year made its first profit since launching - of USD 7,000 on revenues of USD 8.7 million - estimates that his company will owe USD 7 million when the new rates come into effect on July 15.
It also quotes one of Live365's customers - Ted Leibowitz, a software engineer who runs BAGeL Radio from his San Francisco apartment, as saying that he estimates under the new rates he would have to pay more than USD 100,000 a year to keep going. He currently pays around USD 1,000 a year for the "indie rock" station.
SoundExchange executive director John Simson noted that the organization can make direct deals with websites and played down fears of a collapse of Internet radio on July 15 , saying that negotiations were continuing and adding, "We're going to be very busy the next two weeks."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Los Angeles Times report:
2007-06-29: XM Satellite Radio and the National Hockey League (NHL) have now formally announced that from the beginning of next month XM will become the NHL's exclusive satellite home.
The deal had already become public earlier this month when XM Canada said it expected a boost from XM becoming the exclusive radio broadcaster of the NHL (See RNW Jun 12).
At the moment XM and Sirius share NHL rights and
2007-06-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now officially called for comment on the application for the transfer of XM and Sirius licences to a new body that would be required were the merger of the two companies to go ahead.
The FCC notes that the transfer is specifically forbidden in its 1997 Order establishing the Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service ("SDARS") - the wording is "one licensee will not be permitted to acquire control of the other remaining satellite DARS license" - and asks for "comment on whether the language in question constitutes a binding Commission rule and, if so, whether the Commission should waive, modify, or repeal the prohibition in the event that the Commission determines that the proposed merger, on balance, would serve the public interest. "
It additionally notes that the "Applicants have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the proposed transaction, on balance, serves the public interest."
Sirius and XM meanwhile have made a further filing with the SEC of their adverts and various articles and documents published in support of their merger, which they say will offer consumers "More choice. Better pricing."
Comments have to be submitted within 30 days of publication of the call in the Federal Register after which there is an additional 15 days for reply comments.
2007-06-28: According to SMG Chief Executive Rob Woodward, the Initial Public Offering of its Virgin Radio business is on track for the autumn (fall). Woodward added that the company had received a number of offers for the business but gave no further details.
In a "100-Day Business Review" SMG says that the IPO is on track; that SMG has a Clear turnaround plan focusing on growing revenues through Broadcast, Content and Ventures; confirms it still regards its Primesight outdoor and Pearl & Dean cinema advertising businesses are still regarded as non-core; and says it has revised 2007 financial projections and that it has reduced senior management from seven to three in number.
Woodward said had had "a very thorough look at the business and taken some short term
remedial actions and reconfigured SMG to deliver sustainable growth" and said that over the next six months SMG would "focus on the disposal of the non-core assets This will result in a content focused business that I am confident will be revived and transformed to become Scotland's most influential, relevant, innovative and trusted media brand."
2007-06-28: German media group ProSiebenSat.1 Media, which was bought earlier this year by funds advised by private equity firms, Permira and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has now taken over European broadcasting group SBS Broadcasting S.àr.l. that was also controlled by the two groups.
The deal - for Euros 3.3 billion (USD 2.5 billion) makes ProSieben the second largest broadcaster in Europe. As well as 48 TV stations it owns radio stations in Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Norway, Romania and Sweden,
Previous SBS Broadcasting S.àr.l:
2007-06-28: In a number of executive changes in Chicago radio, Clear Channel has officially named Derrick Brown, former assistant program director and midday host at adult contemporary WLIT-FM, as program director for its urban adult-contemporary WVAZ-FM.
Brown, who takes up his new duties on July 16 succeeds Elroy Smith who stepped down at the end of last month after 15 years with WVAZ (See RNW May 23).
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder quoted WVAZ-FM vice president of programming and operations Darren Davis as saying of Brown, a Joliet native, "Derrick is a dynamic and creative thinker. His familiarity with Chicago and business acumen will prove very valuable for V103, especially as we head into a new world of electronic audience measurement."
Also changing program directors is Midway Broadcasting's urban news/talk WVON-AM which has dropped Jerry Riles after nine months in the post. Feder quoted Melody Spann Cooper, general manager of WVON and Midway's president, as saying a replacement, likely to be from outside the marker, could be named by the end of the week.
"In order to be more competitive in our niche, we have to bring in somebody who's cut their teeth in a large market," she said.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times Feder columns:
2007-06-28: BBC Radio 5 has announced that Tim Lovejoy, who found fame on Sky TV's anarchic Soccer AM show,, is to join it from the start of the new soccer season and will present the station's football phone-in show "606", the biggest football phone-in show on radio.
His first show will air on August 8 and he will present the regular Wednesday evening show from then on through the season.
Radio Five Live controller Bob Shennan said of the hiring, "Tim has a natural understanding of and rapport with football fans and they respect him. He's a perfect signing for 606."
2007-06-28: Arbitron has now signed an agreement with Clear Channel for the broadcaster to use Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in 46 markets when the former rolls out the service in the markets.
The agreement runs to the end of 2011 and covers all Clear Channel stations in the markets concerned and also extends until that date Clear Channel's contract for diary-based ratings in all the markets that have not been converted to the PPM by the end of 2008 when Clear Channel's current diary ratings agreement expires.
Clear Channel is the single largest radio ratings subscriber for Arbitron and accounted for some 19% of Arbitron's revenues in 2006.
Arbitron has also announced that the PPM is to be used by Danish radio industry for its ratings under a five-year contract awarded to TNS Gallup, an international licensee of the PPM.
Leif Lønsmann, Managing Radio Director for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, and the chairman of the listener study steering group said of the agreement, "We have been working on this for almost ten years, and it becomes increasingly more relevant to have an agreement in place as more and more channels are appearing that cover the entire country. Danish Radio will now have more specific information on the types and numbers of people who are listening to the various programs."
Jim Receveur, General Manager for Radio 100FM and Det Danske Radiobureau added, "Electronic radio measurements will help lift the commercial radio market because the listener statistics will be more accurate, and the commercial stations will also be able to do more accurate campaign supply and evaluation. The advertisers can look forward to radio being planned and developed in the same manner as TV" and Jens Rohde, General Manager for TV 2 Radio said that for commercial radio "it is quite simply an historical breakthrough in making Danish radio more professional."
In a related development, the PPM encoding system will be used by the Danish television industry, beginning in the fall, to identify the programming sources for the set-top push-button people meters operated by TNS in Denmark.
Clear Channel has also agreed the sale of six more stations - WCHV-AM, WCJZ-FM and WKAV-AM, Charlottesville; WCYK-FM, Staunton; WHTE-FM, Ruckersville; and WSUH-FM, Crozet, all in Virginia. They are being bought by Florida-based Sistema 102, LLC but no price has been disclosed.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-06-28: Radio One Inc. has now its first quarter figures which were delayed because of errors it had found in reporting its stock option practices and that it says after a review involved no "fraud or intentional wrongdoing" although the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not yet concluded its investigation: it also re-stated its financial reports from 1999 to the end of 2005 (See RNW Jun 16).
Revenues for the quarter to the end of March were up 1.1% to USD 82.5 million whilst operating expenses were up 4.5% to USD 61.6 million with the result that net income plunged from USD 2.6 million to USD 744,000 (from 3 cents to 1 cent a share).
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-06-27: Salem Communications has announced a senior management restructuring effective from the start of next month that will see President and Chief Executive Officer Edward G. Atsinger III stepping down from the first role but retaining the second; Eric H. Halvorson, currently a member of Salem's Board of Directors and Chairman of its Audit Committee, becoming President and Chief Operating Officer; Executive Vice President and COO Joe D. Davis becoming Division President, Radio ; Executive Vice President--New Business Development and Chief Financial Officer David A.R. Evans becoming Division President, New Business Development, Interactive and Publishing; and Evan D. Masyr, Vice President--Accounting and Finance becoming Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Commenting on the changes, Atsinger said in a news release, "Salem finds itself with opportunities and challenges in both our core broadcasting business and our developing new media businesses, and we have determined that each area requires uniquely-focused leadership. Our Board of Directors and I have analyzed a number of options and have agreed on a restructuring plan that will maximize the talents of our executive team and enhance our overall operational efficiency."
He also announced that he and chairman Stuart Epperson, who will retain his role, have agreed to new three-year employment contracts and said he was "eager to devote my full time to these key Chief Executive Officer responsibilities, both to enhance our current operations and prepare the company for long-term success."
In a 73-page Form 8K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) , Salem revealed details of the remuneration for various executives.
Atsinger will receive a base salary of USD 750,000 in the first year of the term (from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008), USD 850,000 in the second year of the term (from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009) and USD 850,000 in the third year of the term (from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010). He, Epperson and Halvorson will also be eligible for an annual merit bonus in an amount to be determined at the discretion of the Company's Board of Directors and will receive varying health care benefits and the right to a pay-off if employment is terminated because of a "disability" or without "cause".
Epperson will receive a base salary of USD 550,000 in the first year of the term., USD 525,000 in the second year of the term and USD 200,000 in the third year.
Halvorson will receive a base salary of USD 500,000 in the first year of the term, USD 525,000 in the second year of the term and USD 550,000 in the third year. He also received an option to purchase 45,000 shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock, to vest annually in three equal instalments commencing one year from June 25, 2007.
Davis will receive a base salary paid at the rate of USD 415,000 effective as of July 1, 2007, a base salary paid at the rate of USD 430,000 effective as July 1, 2008, and a base salary paid at the rate of USD 450,000 effective as of July 1, 2009 and gets an option to purchase 10,000 shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock, to vest annually in four equal instalments commencing one year from June 25, 2007.
Masyr will see his base salary rise from USD 225,000 per year to USD 250,000 per year and he also gets an option to purchase 20,000 shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock, to vest annually in four equal instalments commencing one year from June 25, 2007.
In the case of Evans, his employment continues on the basis of a three year term employment agreement that he entered into on September 1, 2005.
2007-06-27: An error during what was supposed to be a closed-circuit test of a new satellite emergency warning system led to the existing Emergency Alert System (EAS) being activated in Illinois on Tuesday at around 07:30 local time.
The test was being conducted of a 10-minure presidential alert message following installation of the new system on Monday as part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programme and the error led to several hundred radio and TV stations finding their programming taken over: Some ended up broadcasting alert tones followed by a return to normal programming whilst in some cases dead air followed the alert.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency director Andrew Velasquez said in a news release that he did not know "why the federal government used a 'hot' or active code rather than a test code when they sent out this test message."
WGN-AM, which is the primary station from which emergency alerts are relayed to other stations, was heard on a number of stations for a few minutes and CBS TV in Chicago said that on CBS2 the alert interrupted the audio of Harry Smith's "Early Show" interview with cyclist Floyd Landis. Its broadcast went to EAS attention tones sounded, followed by a radio broadcast in which an announcer said they needed to find out about the "beeping."
2007-06-27: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has accepted formal undertakings from Sydney 2GB licensee Harbour Radio Pty Ltd ( a Macquarie Radio Network subsidiary) concerning new training procedures on vilification put in place following an April ruling that it had breached the country's Commercial Radio Codes in remarks made on Alan Jones' breakfast show after an altercation involving a group allegedly of Middle Eastern or Lebanese origin in which two volunteer surf lifesavers were injured and needed hospital treatment (See RNW Apr 12).
Announcing the move, the ACMA noted that 2GB will introduce a comprehensive training program on vilification intended to ensure its future compliance with the code, supplementing changes introduced in the middle of last year.
The new training is to be provided to all presenters, producers and on-air staff to the satisfaction of ACMA and the 2GB Board of Directors will formally review and approve the compliance program for implementation and the ACMA welcomed what it considered "the considered and constructive approach taken by 2GB" in developing the program.
In addition the licensee will report to ACMA throughout the process on the development and application of the new regime and the Authority says that if it is not satisfied at any time that the new arrangements will ensure compliance with the code, it will revisit the matter to consider the heightened compliance options available to it.
RNW comment: In view of the attack by Alan Jones on the ruling in April, this is a slap in the face for him. Our view is that it is fully deserved and the directors are showing much more sense than their star host.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2007-06-27: Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network has finally toppled Cumulus's ABC Daytime Direction Network from its top ranking in Arbitron's RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience rankings just released by Arbitron.
The RADAR 93 survey, which covers the period from March 30, 2006 - April 4, 2007 rated 55 networks and the sample size was 160,000 diarykeepers compared to 140,000 diary keepers for RADAR 92: The increase is part of a scheduled plan to take the total up to of 200,000 diarykeepers by December this year.
In addition to the 12+ rankings, Arbitron is also now posting ratings for Persons 18-49 and Persons 25-54 and also includes language preference in the demographics.
The overall top five networks in the survey were:
1 - Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, which gained 138,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 6.669 million and an AQH up from 2.6 to 2.7.
2 - ABC Daytime Direction Network, which lost 102,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 6.601 million and an AQH down from 2.7.to 2.6
3 - Westwood WON I Network, which gained 507,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 6.201 million and an AQH up from 2.3 to 2.5.
4 - Dial-Global Complete FM Network, which gained 45 4,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.470 million and an unchanged AQH of 2.2.
5 - ABC Prime Access, which lost 142,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.255 million and AQH down from 2.2 to 2.1.
Premiere's top ranked offering was the Premiere Morning Drive Network in eighth place. It lost 38,000 listeners to end up with 4.752 million and fell a rank.
Also notable was the jump for the ABC Morning News Radio Network, which gained 825,000 listeners to rise from 15th to tenth rank with AQH up from 1.4 to 1.8
Previous Citadel (Formerly Disney)/ABC, America:
Previous Dial Global:
Previous Jones Media:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 92):
Previous Westwood One:
2007-06-27: The BBC, which is in the middle of cost cutting and job reduction programmes, has announced that its most senior managers have collectively decided to waive their bonuses for the 2006-07 adding that the total involved is around GBP 350,000 (USD 700,000).
The BBC failed to get the licence fee increase it had wanted and in a statement the BBC said its ten executive directors, who are eligible for bonuses of up to a tenth of their base salary, noted "the scale of the challenge the BBC faces as it enters the new licence fee period and were mindful of the likely impact of this on all of their colleagues." Also waiving his bonus is BBC Worldwide chief executive, John Smith, whose arrangements are on a different basis as he is part of the corporation's commercial wing.
They also noted that although the BBC has made progress on diversity, they would not meet some specific commitments they had made on workforce numbers by the target date.
Director General Mark Thompson, who waived his bonus the previous year, said in a news release, "Overall this has been a strong year for the BBC both creatively and managerially. All of my colleagues on the BBC Direction Group met the majority of their objectives and were eligible for bonuses as part of their contracts of employment. However, they and I have collectively decided to waive this contractual right on this occasion."
The total remuneration of the group, including bonuses, is published in the BBC's Annual Report covering the year to the end of March, which is due to be released on July 3.
Members of the group include Thomson's deputy Mark Byford and Director of audio and music, Jenny Abramsky. The five non-executive directors do not receive bonuses and are not affected.
2007-06-26: Early indications are that many US webcasters today are streaming either silence or announcements concerning the increased performance rates set by the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to apply from July 15th with backdating of payments to 2005.
The action is part of a "Day of Silence" protest organized by savenetradio and is intended to give a flavour of what could happen to Internet radio if the rates remain unchanged...
The rates apply only in the US (RNW comment: Which makes it difficult for us outside the US to check on larger sites who stream inside and outside the US) and participants in the action include not only many small webcasters but also larger webcasters and aggregators such as Iceberg Radio's US streams, Launch, Live365, Pandora, Rhapsody and Yahoo! and some commercial broadcasters as well as college stations.
The event follows a similar event staged in May 2002 in response to a similarly royalty rate ruling from a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) five years ago and that was followed by a rate cut by the Librarian of Congress and the passage of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act for the period 1998-2005.
Savenetradio web site:
2007-06-26: Veteran Australian broadcaster John Laws, now 71 and who began his broadcasting career in 1953 at 3BO in Bendigo has announced that he is to retire probably in November but certainly no later, prompting tributes and calls from leading politicians including Prime Minister John Howard and fellow broadcasters.
Laws, nicknamed "Golden Tonsils" with reference to his voice- albeit he is also said to be worth around AUD 100 million (USD 85million) made from it - announced his plans to retire on Monday on his morning show on Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE, Sydney, which has been his home for the past 18 years.
He had first joined the station in 1957 after working at a number of rural radio stations and was one of the first Australian DJs to play rock'n'roll. He is also credited with pioneering a practice of using contacts in the airline industry to bring him the latest pop releases from overseas, thus giving him an edge because they were not released in Australia for weeks or even months after their initial release.
Laws left 2UE for the first time after two years and ran a farm until moving back to Sydney in 1962 and joining 2GB where he worked for two years before rejoining 2UE. He left after five years to join 2UW, returning to 2UE in 1979 for another five-year spell before being lured away by 2GB in a bidding war in 1984 that made him the country's highest paid radio host.
He was lured back to 2UE in 1988 at which time the station was eighth in the ratings, and is credited with taking it back to the top rank. In 1993 the then-Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating termed Laws the "broadcaster of the century" at a dinner celebrating his 40th year in radio and after he had announced on air that he was going to retire the current Prime Minister John Howard phoned in to congratulate him for his work and say of his retirement, "I know you've given a lot of thought to this and the momentous decision - you'll be very greatly missed."
Laws responded by thanking the PM and adding, "I knew it was time to quit last week when I talked to you and you called me 'mate'." The two also talked about Prime Ministers Laws had interviewed and settled on a total of nine - Sir Robert Menzies, followed by Harold Holt, John Gorton, Billy McMahon, Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard. Laws termed Howard one of the "most enjoyable" and certainly the "trickiest" he had interviewed...
Federal Health Minister Tony Abbot, who was the first caller to be put on the air following Laws' announcement, said he had just been given what he regarded as "bad news", termed Laws a "mighty contributor" to society and added that although he suspected it might not be an absolute retirement. it made him wonder who would retire next
Federal Opposition leader Kevin Rudd also called in to say he'd hear the news and add, "You can't retire. Institutions don't retire. They go on for ever" to which Laws responded, "If only. I don't want to retire. I just feel that I owe to family, and maybe to myself, to take it a bit easier than I've been taking it" and added that five AM does "get a bit wearying after 55 years."
When Rudd referred to the Federal Elections in October/November, Laws said he wanted to "wait around for that."
Another caller was actor Russell Crowe, a neighbour in the exclusive Finger Wharf development in Sydney's Woolloomooloo where Laws' home is valued at around AUD 30 million (USD 26 million).
Southern Cross Broadcasting managing director Tony Bell said in a report on the 2UE website, "John Laws has been the undisputed king of radio in Australia over the last 54 years, entertaining more people than any other broadcaster in the country's history."
His company's shares rose slightly after the announcement - Laws is said to get AUD 4.0 to 4.5 million ( USD 3.4 to 3.8 million) a year and whoever replaces him will get much less but the company is not expected to pay the remainder of his contract, which runs to 2010.
Although Laws is expensive, and his ratings have fallen in recent years following the move of then 2UE breakfast host Alan Jones and Laws' former understudy Tony Hadley to Macquarie Radio Network competitor 2GB - which can target a Sydney audience without tailoring its programming to include regional affiliates, Laws has both attracted an advertisers' premium and income from syndication of his show to those regional affiliates.
That syndication is expected to continue whoever succeeds Laws with names touted including his regular fill-in - Channel Ten sports broadcaster Tim Webster and Ian 'Macca' McNamara, host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's weekend radio program, "Australia All Over".
Previous Tony Bell:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2007-06-26: UK Chrysalis Group has announced agreement for a GBP 170 million (USD 340 million) sale of its radio operations, which include the Heart, Galaxy and LBC stations and its share in regional DAB digital radio multiplex operator MXR Holdings Limited, to Global Radio, a newly-formed investment vehicle leaving the company only operating its Chrysalis Music business.
Chrysalis is to convene an extraordinary general meeting to gain shareholders approval for the sale and says that in the meantime both the radio and music operations continue to trade in line with the Board's expectations for the 2007 financial year.
It notes that the sale represents a multiple of 16.7x Chrysalis Radio's reported EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortization of intangible assets) for the financial year ended 31 August 2006 and will result in net proceeds of an estimated GBP 163 million (USD 326 million) with a profit of around GBP 95 million (USD 190 million).
The return of capital to shareholders it says will be between 54 pence and 60 pence a share before tax - between GBP 90 million and GBP 100 million (USD 180-200 million) - depending on the amount to be used to reduce the continuing group's debt and a payment into Chrysalis's pension plan to take account of the change to the employer covenant.
Chrysalis adds that "In light of the simplified structure of the Continuing Group" it will no longer need its current Group management structure and expects to save around GBP 3.5 million a year in corporate overheads, to be achieved in a staged manner over the next 12 to 18 months.
Chrysalis said its Radio Chief Executive Phil Riley is expected to continue running Chrysalis Radio after the sale and is expected to resign from the Chrysalis Board when the sale goes through and it will announce details regarding the composition of the remainder of the board in due course. Other radio executives including commercial director, Don Thompson are also expected to stay on after the sale goes through.
Group chief executive Richard Huntingford, said in a release, "We believe that the sale of Chrysalis Radio as a complete entity meets the objectives of our strategic review of facilitating its participation in the longer term development of UK commercial radio and deriving good value for shareholders. This has been a thorough review process which has delivered a good result."
He later told the UK Guardian that he would be leaving the group and would be stepping down in the autumn (fall) once the deal had gone through but said radio group executives including chief executive, Phil Riley, and the commercial director, Don Thompson, will stay on after the sale is completed.
The paper quoted Huntingford as saying, "Chrysalis had TV, radio, books and music - now it's just a music business. It won't need a group plc management structure and it won't need a group chief executive or group finance people. We've got to get this transaction concluded and execute the return of capital to shareholders, which won't take place until autumn. But I will be leaving some time later in the autumn."
He added that the radio business, which he built up after joining Chrysalis in 1987 - it won its first licence in 1993, the start with a Birmingham station of its Heart brand which now also has stations in London and Nottingham - would be better off in private hands, saying, "Consolidation led by private groups is definitely the way forward for the commercial radio industry."
Chrysalis Chairman, Chris Wright said, "Chrysalis Music is well placed to build upon and exploit its position as a leading international, independent music business. It operates in a growing market and has valuable positions within it. As with Chrysalis Radio, we will continue to monitor the performance and positioning of this business, for the benefit of all stakeholders."
Global Radio plans to use Chrysalis Radio - currently the UK's third largest commercial radio operator, with eight major market FM licences, one AM licence and 31 DAB digital radio licences - as a platform for further expansion in UK commercial radio.
It is incorporated in Jersey with a wholly-owned subsidiary Global Radio UK Limited and was formed for the transaction.
Its chairman will be Charles Allen, the former Chief Executive of ITV plc. and directors are Ashley Tabor, son of betting entrepreneur Michael Tabor who is expected to become CEO and is currently Chief Executive of music publishing, artist management and rights ownership business Global Talent Group but also with a radio background; and Owen McGartoll, an executive director of companies in the Barchester group: Global Radio investors overlap with Barchester Healthcare, the group backed by Irish entrepreneur Denis Brosnan.
UK Guardian report:
2007-06-26: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now posted further details of its localism hearing to be held in Portland, Maine, on Thursday from 16:00 to 23:00 local (21:00 -04:00 GMT) at Portland High School with various panel sessions followed by public comment.
Sessions will commence with a panel "Perspectives on Localism "with members including C. Edwin Baker, Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Ben Haskell, Executive Vice President and Academic Dean, New England School of Communications, Bangor, Maine; various local broadcasting and newspaper executives and staff; Katharine Heintz, Ph.D., Consultant, Children Now; Chellie Pingree, Former President of Common Cause; Dennis Ross, Owner/Manager, WJZP Community Radio Station; and Shelby Scott, Former President, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
This will be followed with a second panel at 20:00 (01:00 GMT/29th) on the same topic with members including more media executives and staff and Spencer Albee, Portland-area Musician and Promoter; Cynthia Finney, Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1837; Reverend Peter Panagore, First Radio Church of Maine; Daniel Panici, Professor, University of Southern Maine; James B. Shaffer, Dean & Professor of Business, University of Southern Maine School of Business; Tim Stone, Trustee, WSCA- LP, Portsmouth, New Hampshire Community Radio Station; and Anthony Vigue, Manager, South Portland Community Television.
2007-06-25: Issues of talk and fairness form the core of our look at print comment on radio this week, issues that have come to the fore because of the publication of a report from the Center for American Progress and Free Press that comments on the overwhelming dominance of talk radio by conservatives.
The report says that of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, "91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative, and only nine percent was progressive" and the response from some quarters had been to call for the return of the Federal Communications Commission's "Fairness Doctrine."
Writing in the Orlando Sentinel under the headline "Talk radio doesn't need Fairness Doctrine", George Diaz - fairly obviously - does not go for the idea of fairness in this context and centres his column on the theme of people hearing what they want to hear and "filtering out any piece of information that does not suit our agenda."
He terms the "doctrine" archaic and notes that it goes back to 1934 and called for stations to offer "equal opportunity" to all legally qualified political candidates running for office The intent was to ensure even-handedness during a time of limited radio frequencies."
Diaz says the dumping of the practice during the Eagan administration "has helped spawn some of the talk-show insanity that thrives today, but that does not mean the beast needs to be tamed"
Diaz then continues - in a descriptive digression before going back to the point - "If anything, the beast grows stronger with the Internet explosion and the boundless stream of blogs that come with the package deal If you don't like what you hear or read, you can simply click it off with no worries."
He then draws a parallel with music stations, commenting, "If 91 percent of radio stations in America chose to play Celine Dion, I would look for the 9 percent solution elsewhere on the dial, hoping to find something palatable to my ears Talk radio pushes more hot buttons than music because of the content. But once you start trying to homogenize and balance content to extremes, we lose the essence of free speech."
Diaz then comments on the limitations on what can be said, citing the example of Imus, and ends by noting comment from Sean Hannity that "The Fairness Doctrine would kill talk radio as we know it."
"Finally," he ends, "something liberals and conservatives should agree on."
In CSNNews.com Randy Hall says of the report- "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio" - that the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Free Press call not for re-instating the Fairness Doctrine but more diverse ownership with Free Press research director Derek Turner saying the "potential one-sidedness on the radio dial in terms of political programming is strongly and directly related to ownership and market structure" and arguing that "increasing diversity and localism in ownership will produce more diverse speech [and] more choice for listeners."
Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott said they wanted "not less speech, but more speech. We want more voices on the radio" and suggested that the way to achieve this was to restore national and local caps on ownership. Scott also noted that "Verizon Wireless pays USD5 billion or more to be able to use the public airwaves however they like" but by contrast, "the broadcasters pay zero, and therefore, we need that billion dollars' worth of public service. Right now, they're not giving it to us."
Tim Graham, director of media analysis with the conservative Media Research Center - the parent organization of Cybercast News Service - said the study had "huge holes in it" the biggest of which "is excluding public radio talk shows. It's simply inaccurate to argue there's little or no progressive talk in major markets with National Public Radio affiliates airing Diane Rehm's show, or 'Fresh Air with Terry Gross,' or the other national and local left-leaning talk programs."
Graham said that "for CAP and Free Press to argue that commercial broadcasters should pay fees to public broadcasting for a lack of balance - and then raising no question whatsoever about the tilt or the need for balance within public broadcasting - shows amazing liberal hypocrisy.
"In fact, Free Press has vociferously opposed any congressional attempt to question the balance of public broadcasting as 'partisan meddling,'" he added. "So what do they call their lobbying?"
After comments on talk radio, on to the Washington Post for a report that on its surface has little if any link. It concerns the ratings success of Washington D.C. public station WETA-FM following its return to classical after two years airing news and talk.
"The station," reports the Post, "saw its audience more than double in the first Arbitron report since the format change. And, equally important for perennially cash-strapped public radio, the size and number of listener donations to the station soared with the switch back to classical.
What is also significant is the age of the audience - two-thirds are 55 or older according to the ratings and, maybe more surprising, the station has doubled the proportion of black and Hispanic listeners compared to its news and talk incarnation.
Station General manager Dan DeVany says he is not concerned about the audience and can point to a jump in listener donations - from 3,000 during the last pledge drive under the news-talk format to 6,150 pledges during the first classical fundraiser - as more than making up for the concern about listener age.
RNW comment: And there in our view is the crucial link. Commercial stations tend to want a younger demographic because that's what the advertisers in general want whereas WETA needs pledges rather than advertising. This inevitably skews US commercial radio albeit when it comes to talk we suspect that this will also tend to have an older audience.
The equation therefore when it comes to serving the public interest - which in our lexicon means the public of all ages - also skews commercial radio to attracting specific younger groups rather than maximizing overall audience.
Maybe the arguments over radio in all its forms and formats needs to be considered in an overall context and just maybe the current balance - of public support for NPR on the one hand and allowing fairly free rein to commercial talk on the other - is a reasonable compromise.
The main area of concern to us is not the nature of the radio so much as the ignorance of an audience who listen primarily to that which re-enforces their existing prejudices and the absence of sufficient concern about getting the facts correct when building opinion that depends largely for its force on the "presumed facts" on which that opinion is based.
Which takes us on to differing perceptions and inaccuracies, starting with last week's "On the Media" from WNYC. This focussed on Russian media and as well as being reasonably illuminating about the various pressures that exist in Russia to prevent media from reporting too freely also contained some pertinent and in our view quite well made arguments from Vladimir Mamontov, editor-in-chief of- Izvestia who in defending the Kremlin's view of the relationship between a free press and political stability (not one we share) made some quote coherent comments on US media as not being as different as many would like to think.
Still on the theme, we next suggest the BBC Radio 4 "Sunday Supplement" that aired within Sunday's "Westminster Hour."
In it Simon Hoggart considered various famous comments that weren't, specifically the "Yo! Blair" comment supposedly made by President Bush to British PM Tony Blair.
Except that, as proven by the tape played, Bush said "Yeah" not "Yo!", and the meaning is thus completely changed. Unfortunately the Yo! Fitted many preconceptions rather better and will probably now never be corrected in the minds of most people.
After that we suggest the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "All in the Mind" from Saturday. This looked at the use in US courts of brain scans and asked whether the technology is half-baked and whether people can be categorized as criminals on the basis of innate qualities rather than on the basis of actions and the meaning for such concepts as free will, privacy, and personal responsibility for actions.
Changing tack slightly we next suggest BBC Radio 3's regular Monday to Thursday series "The Essay" - which airs at 22:00GM. This week the topic is "Conflict and Culture" and it features Prof Julian Jackson of Queen Mary, University of London, looking at the impact of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 both in terms of the distress and hardship it caused and also its impact as a catalyst for artistic and cultural development.
Until tonight last week's Essay in which Professor Justin Champion considers the question "What Are Friends For?" is on the web site.
After those we suggest some slightly oddball programmes from BBC Radio 4 - first a quartet from Sunday's output -"Something Understood: Sent to Spy" in which Mark Tully explores the psychology of spying; "Miss Buttolph's Marvellous ...", the tale of the collection of menus owned by the New York Public Library that was started just over a century ago by a Miss Frank A Buttolph; "Oh! Dad" in which Lloyd Robson explores the poetry of the late Robert Mitchum; and "Feedback", in particular for its look at the BBC Trust report critical of the Corporation's coverage of single issue campaigns and its impartiality.
From today (10:00 GMT) we suggest "Endangered Sounds" in which Simon Fanshawe explores how familiar sounds have changed with the times and considers some that have gone such as the sound of a police car bell.
Also from BBC Radio 4 we suggest next Thursday's "In Business: Car Crash" (19:30 GMT) on the US auto industry.
Then we suggest BBC Radio 2 for "Revelations - The Genesis Story", the first of a two-part series that began last Saturday and Thursday at 21:30 GMT for "Well Met in Woolton", a programme marking the time when John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time at a Quarrymen gig at a sunny garden fete in Woolton, Liverpool, on 6 July 1957.
After this we suggest some comedy to provide relief - from Radio 4 last Saturday's "The Joke Book" in which Barry Cryer explores the history of the joke book; also from Saturday BBC Radio 2's lunchtime comedy hour "Out to Lunch " ; this Thursday's Radio 4 and "US Comics Confidential" at 10:30 GMT including an interview with Phyllis Diller, who turns 90 this year and the Friday evening Radio 4 comedy slot (17:30 GMT) where the "Now Show" is back, although this is only available as a stream not also an MP3 as previously.
Cnsnews - Hall:
Orlando Sentinel - Diaz:
Washington Post on WETA:
2007-06-25: Britain's commercial radio companies are lobbying for a switch-off of analogue radio and industry body the RadioCentre is to call for media regulator Ofcom to set a date for this according to the UK Sunday Telegraph.
The paper says GMG Radio chief executive John Myers thinks the move should be made as early as 2015 - three years after TV has made the move and quotes RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison as saying, "If you've got every home wired up to broadband, every home with a digital TV, everyone with a 3G phone and an iPod, the traditional analogue radio is going to look very old-fashioned. In five years' time Britain will be a digital economy, and radio should play its role in that."
On the other side of the coin, the paper says the move is likely to spark a debate about whether listeners should be forced to junk their old radios and upgrade to a technology many see as unnecessary, or even inferior. It also notes that the BBC is not pushing for a date and will tell Ofcom's consultation on the future of radio that it wants a cross industry working party and a review in 2010.
RNW comment: This seems yet another case where those who have much to gain and little to lose are quite happy to shift costs onto others - in this case the cost of purchasing new radio receivers and scrapping old ones.
We doubt, were the government to propose - quite fairly, we would suggest, that commercial radio companies have to pay through their licences a quarter - not even half - the cost of a new radio receiver for every old analogue one handed in, after analogue switch-off the companies back-tracking would see them heading into space in reverse.
Harrison's comments are the usual claptrap unless and until people en masse all choose to buy broadband, digital TV, 3G phones and iPods or their equivalents.
In the case of digital TV, we suspect that, even though the spectrum released is much more valuable for telecommunications, were the government to agree to a similar funding of a quarter of the cost to individuals (including a new aerial in many cases or a satellite receiver in some districts) of switching over it might have been less keen but here we would point out in terms of reception that it is possible to purchase a digibox to convert digital signals to analogue for use of existing TV's and other equipment such as a video recorder for less than is charged for a DAB radio receiver.
As far as switching off analogue radio is concerned, we remain of the view that in worldwide terms benefits from the universal nature of short-wave, AM, and FM will remain for many years.
If commercial radio companies wish to hand back analogue licences bearing in mind the potential for gaining more from them through the use of technology such as DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) they should make the decision on a sound business basis without any indirect subsidy through forcing mass purchase of new equipment by the public at large.
The best way forward for the commercial companies in our view would be to jointly commission the design and manufacture of a suitably cheap receiver - we think la basic portable model could fairly easily be put on sale for GBP 15 (USD 30) if the commitment were large enough - with a discount of around a third of this to anyone sending in their old analogue receiver.
Until then, Ofcom should politely thank them for their suggestions; note that last week it said it will start charging for both analogue or digital spectrum (See RNW Jun ) and thus allow the market to determine the efficient use of spectrum; and then put the RadioCentre submission in a suitable dust-gathering file.
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2007-06-24: Last week saw a steady run of announcements from all the regulators with the most significant coming from the UK with an announcement that broadcasters are to be charged fees relating to the amount of spectrum used and that the BBC will be charged for the analogue spectrum it uses for its radio services.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has decided not to renew one community licence and is proposing to impose additional licence conditions before it renews another (See RNW Jun 22).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a steady week that included the following radio-related postings (In order of province):
*Renewal of Burns Lake & District Rebroadcasting Society's radiocommunication distribution undertaking that distributes, in non-encrypted mode, the programs of Open Learning Agency (Knowledge Network), CHAN-TV, Vancouver, CBU-FM, Vancouver and CHFI-FM, Toronto.
*Short-term renewal 31 August 2009 of licence of CKEY-FM, Fort Erie and its transmitter CKEY-FM-1, St. Catharines.
In relation to the short-term, the Commission says it considers that the main issue to be dealt with is the licensee's apparent non-compliance with its condition of licence related to the provision of local programming.
This followed an analysis of the station broadcasts during the week of 29 May to 4 June 2005 that showed only 1 hour and 22 minutes of news programming broadcast whereas the licence requires a minimum of three hours.
The licensee subsequently hired additional news and on-air staff and contracted in and also rescheduled news, weather and sports reports and content, on an hourly basis.
A subsequent analysis of the broadcasts of 26 February to 4 March 2006 showed compliance in terms of the total hours of news broadcast but revealed concerns concerning local content - only four stories of 187 broadcast were held to be local and there were no reports on any local sports or local community event that related directly to the local service area of Fort Erie and the Niagara Falls region.
In response to this finding, the licensee said it had taken additional measures including the exclusion of entertainment news and surveillance material from calculation of time devoted to news; programming an additional 10% of news content each week, to reduce the possibility of a shortfall; replacing the news staff with a new morning show team that provides regular local surveillance such as traffic, weather, local school closures as well as two newscasts each hour; development of development of an hourly community calendar focussing on events and activities such as concerts, entertainment and lifestyle information of relevance to the Niagara Peninsula; and development of a policy that requires all on-air staff to ensure that at least 30% of all spoken word content is local.
The licensee did note that it faced particular challenged as a youth-oriented station and that spoken word in general and hard news content in particular is neither a core element for a CHR (contemporary hit radio) format, nor an important element for the format's primary youth and young adult target audience.
The CRTC agreed that there were challenges in developing relevant news and information content for a young audience but noted that a number of successful stations of this type are currently operating in compliance with the relevant licence conditions, partly by providing sufficient levels of local news and information, albeit in non-conventional styles of presentation.
The CRTC also posted notice of a public hearing to be held in Quebec on August 27 for which the deadline for the submission of interventions or comments is 26 July. These included the following radio-related applications.
*Across Canada: Application by Astral Media Radio Inc. to acquire the assets of certain radio and television programming undertakings (two TV and 52 radio) across Canada, from Standard Radio Inc. The transaction value is CAD 1.043 billion (USD 975.2 million) of which USD 1.026 billion (USD 959.3 million) is for radio assets
The CRTC notes that the proposed tangible benefits package for the undertakings involved in the transaction amounts to CAD 61,585,568 (USD 57.6 million) pertaining to its radio assets with an additional CAD 1,666,850 (USD 1.56 million) for its television assets making a total of CAD 63,252,418 ( USD 59.1 million) .
Astral proposes that 50% of its total radio benefits be allocated to the Radio Starmaker Fund and 33% to FACTOR. The remaining amount would be divided between certain initiatives involving: Canadian Music Week, North by Northeast, the Songwriters Association of Canada, the Canadian Songwriters' Hall of Fame, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Dixon Hall Music School and "The Beat" in association with ImagineNATIVE.
Additionally, Astral proposes to fund a self directed radio artist development program, a self directed small market internship program as well as provide funding to the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Radio Enfant and the Canadian Communications Foundation.
*Application by Standard Radio Inc. for licences to operate commercial digital radio programming undertakings associated with CKZZ-FM, Vancouver; CISL-AM, Richmond
These applications were filed to normalize Standard's operations for the purpose of the application by Astral Media Radio Inc. to acquire the assets of certain radio stations from Standard.
*Application by 0759969 B.C. Ltd. for a licence to operate an 8.9 watts English-language low power Special Interest Music and Folk and folk-Oriented music commercial specialty FM in Salt Spring Island.
*Application by Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. for a licence to operate a 340 watts English-language low power Special Interest Music and Concert music commercial specialty FM in Salt Spring Island.
*Application by CHUM Limited to acquire the assets of CFBT-FM, Vancouver, from The Beat Broadcasting Corporation. The value of the transaction is CAD 45 million dollars (USD 42 million) and Tangible benefits of CAD 2.7 million (USD 2.5 million) were proposed by the applicant.
*Application by Rick Sargent for a licence to operate a 32 watts English-language FM tourist radio FM in Caledon and a 50 watts English-language low power Eclectic Adult Contemporary music commercial FM in Bolton.
*Application by Amie du Quartier for a licence to operate a 3,168 watts French-language FM Type B community-based campus radio programming undertaking in St-Jérome.
* Application by RNC MEDIA Inc. (previously known as Radio Nord Communications inc.) to acquire from its wholly owned subsidiary Radio Couleur Jazz inc., the assets of the French language radio programming undertaking CKLX-FM, Montréal, Quebec, as part of an intra-corporate reorganization involving the wind-up of Radio Couleur Jazz inc.
* Application by Messiah Lutheran Church for a licence to operate a 46 watts English-language FM religious (church) FM in Prince Albert.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the signing of ten-year contracts with Digital Radio Limited for the provision of two digital radio services to be broadcast on cable and MMD systems (See RNW Jun 22) and also signed new ten-year contracts with four existing community and community of interest radio services (See RNW Jun 20).
In the UK as already noted, Ofcom has announced that it is to start charging broadcasters an annual fee- "Administered Incentive Pricing" - related to the amount of spectrum used for both digital and analogue broadcasts (See RNW Jun 20).
Ofcom also released its latest Digital Television Progress Report -covering the first quarter of this year - and amongst other things showing not just a high take-up of digital TV -- 80.5% of households now receive digital television services on their primary set - but also provide a boost for radio since the digital TV services also carry digital radio channels.
Ofcom also published its latest broadcast bulletin has upheld one complaint against radio and considered another resolved through action taken by the broadcaster (See RNW Jun 20).
In the US, President Bush has said he is to nominate Republican Deborah Taylor Tate to serve a second term on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Commission has also announced that it is to hold an Open Meeting in Portland, Maine, on June 28th when it is also holding a media ownership hearing in Portland.
It also posted a number of enforcement decisions including (In descending order of amount involved):
*Issued forfeiture of USD 3,200 to Del Rosario Talpa, Inc., licensee of KNCR-AM, Fortuna, California, for operating KNCR at an unauthorized location.
The FCC had found when responding to a complaint that the station had been broadcasting from a transmitter approximately two miles from its authorized location and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 4,000.
Del Rosario Talpa had responded by arguing for a reduction on the basis that its only violation was its failure to notify the Commission within 24 hours of beginning operation with emergency facilities after it had been evicted on short notice from its licensed site - it noted that it had subsequently been given Special Temporary Authorization to operate from the new location- and on the basis of a history of compliance and financial difficulty in paying the amount. The FCC noted no figures had been provided to substantiate the last argument but trimmed the penalty to USD 3,200 on the basis of a history of compliance.
*Issued two forfeitures each of USD 2,400 to KITZ Radio, Inc., licensee of KGTK-AM, Olympia, and KITZ-AM, in Silverdale, Washington.
Both were for failure to maintain a complete public inspection file.
During an inspection at KGTK the FCC had noted that there were no copies of the current FCC authorization to operate the station and no radio issues/programs lists for calendar years 2005 or 2006 and general manager indicated that he did not know why these were missing.
The FCC issued an NAL for the base amount of USD 4,000 to which KITZ responded by saying that the NAL was factually inaccurate and arguing for reduction on the basis of a history of compliance and good faith efforts to comply with the Rules. The FCC reduced the amount on the basis of a history of compliance but rejected all the other arguments.
*In the case of KITZ-AM, an NAL for USD 4,000 had also been issued initially and similar arguments for reduction were made in this case by KITZ.
The FCC responded as it had for KGTK, reducing the penalty on the basis of a history of compliance
In a number of decisions concerning non-commercial educational stations and low-power FMs, the FCC has:
*Dismissed a petition from American Family Association for reconsideration of an Omnibus Order issued in March this year that applied the Commission's non-commercial educational ("NCE") comparative selection criteria to seventy-six groups of mutually exclusive NCE FM applications and tentatively selected one winner in each group. American Family sought reconsideration of 20 of the decisions but the FCC refused, saying that petitions to deny the allocation could be filed in individual cases. The other parties involved in this decision were Billings Community Cable Corporation; Coos Bay School District 9; Henderson State University, Iowa State University, Temple University and the universities of Kentucky, Nevada, Northern Iowa and Wyoming; Lincoln High School; Marshalltown Education Plus, Inc.; Merritt Island Public Radio; Spokane Public Radio; and Southwest Allen County Schools.
*Dismissed a petition from Moody Bible Institute of Chicago contesting the FCC's tentative decision to grant the application of Hyles-Anderson College (HAC) for a permit to construct a new non-commercial educational FM at Crown Point, Indiana.
The two had made mutually exclusive applications for the permit and the FCC had opted for HAC's application because under its points system HAC had five points to Moody's 14. It noted that HAC's governing board, which is elected by the membership of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, had undergone a gradual change in ownership such that the original parties to the application no longer retained more than a fifty percent interest in the application as originally filed. The Commission waived the Rules to avoid the assignment of a new file number, an action that would have resulted in the dismissal of the HAC application for this "major" ownership change.
It also noted that at the time of HAC's initial application in 1989 the Rules contained no definition of attributable interests for NCE stations because attribution was generally immaterial to NCE stations prior to the advent of the point system and rejected Moody's arguments, all of which related to the ownership changes.
*Dismissed a petition from Talking Information Center (TIC) contesting the FCC's tentative decision to grant the application of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) for a new non-commercial educational FM in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
In this case the FCC had awarded UMass five points and TIC three after the Commission excluded two points that it determined TIC had claimed in error.
TIC disputed the Commission's finding that the attributable interest of a TIC board member in another radio station precludes an award of two points for diversity of ownership to TIC and also argued that UMass did not submit sufficient documentation to support receipt of two points for local diversity of ownership.
The FCC quoted the rules regarding the UMass points and found TIC's argument without merit and also rejected TIC's argument that an officer and director who was also the sole principal of WATD-FM, which is licensed to the same community as the proposed new station had said he would resign from TIC if it were granted the CP, noting that TIC never accepted the resignation, and that the positions at TIC and WATD-FM continued beyond the snap shot date. .
*Rejected call from Mount Pisgah Adventist Educational Media for reconsideration of dismissal of Mount Pisgah's application and grant of CP for new low-power FM in Candler, North Carolina, to Montmorenci United Methodist Church (MUMC).
Mount Pisgah had argued that through its relationship to the broader United Methodist Church, MUMC has prohibited attributable interests in at least one LPFM station, as well as in other full-service broadcast stations.
The FCC rejected Mount Pisgah's arguments on this and also re-confirmed its ruling that Mount Pisgah's application was inadmissible, saying that it had offered no evidence to indicate that it was considered by itself or others to be an unincorporated association at the time of its filing.
In addition in Texas, the commission has renewed the licence of Farris Broadcasting, Inc.'s KNEL-AM, Brady, rejecting an objection by H. Clint Low who had claimed that the station "aired a political advertisement that was highly slanderous and false" about him and that the licensee employs a newscaster who frequently broadcasts unverified and erroneous information regarding local government meetings.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-06-24: SMG's plans to float Virgin Radio (See RNW Apr 13) have been dampened by reports that UTV pulled out of a move to buy the station after deciding it was worth no more than GBP 60 million (USD 120million) whilst SMG's then board wanted GBP 100 million (USD 200 million) for it.
The Glasgow Sunday Herald says UTV is understood to have turned its attention to Virgin after merger talks with the whole SMG Group were ended (See RNW Mar 1) and it seems probable that it reduced its valuation after discovering from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group the full extent of restrictions on use of the Virgin brand.
The paper adds that that if "this means Branson's hold over Virgin Radio is even more restrictive than the City currently believes, it could be damaging to SMG's plans to float Virgin Radio" and says that Virgin's Radio's book value is GBP 105 million (USD 210 million) but some sources say the group would settle for between GBP 70 million and GBP 90 million (USD 140-180 million) in a flotation.
It adds that one source commented, "There's not a single human being in the City of London who thinks the IPO(initial public offering) is going to happen" and notes that Glasgow-based SMG is "desperate to offload Virgin, as well as its Primesight and Pearl & Dean advertising businesses, to reduce its debts in order to invest in the STV television business."
Sunday Herald report:
2007-06-24: Clear Channel has agreed to use Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system in the top 50 US markets according to the Associated Press, which cites a "person familiar with the agreement" but adds that they requested anonymity because the deal has not yet been made public.
Clear Channel had resisted using the PPM system on the grounds of cost and the technology used and had led a call for competing systems which were then winnowed down to one rival, the Media Audit/Ipsos system that uses a cell phone: Clear Channel together with Cox, Cumulus, Entercom and Radio One have announced that they are to fund a test of the Media Audit/Ipsos system in Houston from October this year until January 2008 (See RNW Feb 10) but the Arbitron deal could see support for the rival waning. The Media Audit has so far not commented on the reported Clear Channel-Arbitron agreement.
Arbitron already has agreements on varying levels with other major broadcasters including CBS Radio, Cox Radio, Emmis, Radio One Inc, and Spanish Broadcasting.
Cox, Radio One and Clear Channel had all resisted using the PPM and Clear Channel backed down at the last moment down over use of the PPM in Philadelphia, the first city where the PPM ratings replaced the former diary system (See RNW Mar 9) .
Previous Clear Channel:
Houston Chronicle/AP report:
2007-06-23: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)has opposed legislation introduced by Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle and Nevada Republican Lee Terry - both members of the both serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees telecommunications policy - that would repeal the third-adjacent -channel protection currently required under the "Radio Broadcast Preservation Act" after heavy lobbying by NAB.
Identical legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators John McCain (Arizona Republican) and Maria Cantwell (Washington Democrat).
The act also required an independent study of the separation required to prevent interference to existing full-power channels and the study that was conducted in 2003 by the Mitre Corporation and Comsearch concluded that there would not be significant interference but was attacked by the NAB.
Congressman Doyle said the regulation has dramatically restricted "Diverse, informative, thought-provoking, locally-oriented programming" and added of the new legislation, "Enactment of this legislation would improve the quality of life in communities across the country by providing new and different programming - and especially programming addressing local interests and events - to these communities. In addition, the establishment of hundreds of low-power radio stations across the country would also help keep residents better informed during natural disasters and other local emergencies."
Terry commented, "Low-power FM has the potential of making our communities stronger. Low-power FM radio offers the opportunity to broadcast when some might not otherwise be able to afford to do so. This is extremely important for non-commercial groups like schools, churches and neighbourhoods."
For the NAB, spokesman Kristopher Jones said in a news release, "While NAB does not oppose LPFM in areas where low power stations would not cause interference, we will actively oppose today's proposed legislation. The 232 million weekly listeners of local radio should not be inundated with the inevitable interference that would result from shoehorning more stations onto an already overcrowded radio dial."
RNW comment: if not a direct lie, the NAB statement as so often from this organization is misleading to the point that anyone associated with it should normally be greeted with derision and contempt. That in our view can be the only reaction to the suggestion that listeners will be "inundated with inevitable interference", a comment that goes strongly against the evidence.
NAB's policies of gross exaggeration can only have any success where politicians are craven enough to give any credence to them and the sooner they start sending back NAB's missives with the note -"Grossly exaggerated and misleading. Please only send reasonable responses in future- the healthier US democracy will be. The idea could probably be usefully extended to many industries and pressure groups of all persuasions.
2007-06-23: GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard responding to a report in the UK Times that his company was interested in merging with Emap's radio interests (See RNW Jun 22), has insisted he has no such intention and has told the Daily Telegraph that for GCap to get involved in such a merger would be a "massive distraction."
"We never say 'never', obviously, but we've got plenty on our plate and we don't want to get into merger discussions just when we're getting things right,'' he said. Bernard also refused to confirm that discussions had taken place with Emap but the paper says City sources confirmed that GCap had held a brief, exploratory discussion with Emap around six months ago, before Tom Moloney was ousted as chief executive of Emap.
UK Telegraph report:
2007-06-23: CBS has dropped its Free FM broadcasts in San Diego, switching KSCF-FM, San Diego, at 15:00 local on Friday to oldies "K-Surf 103.7."
Under new CEO Dan Mason CBS Radio has now dropped the Free-FM name in Baltimore, Chicago Dallas, New York and Phoenix and moved the format onto an AM frequency in San Francisco although it is still on the Internet- the KSCF-FM web site now has a message saying that although
"FREE FM is no longer being broadcast in San Diego, you can still hear all your favourite FREE FM shows via the internet!"
In New York, where Free FM went back to WXRK (K-Rock) and programme director John Mainelli left last month (See RNW May 25), CBS has appointed former Emmis VP of programming Tracy Flaherty as PD for the re-incarnated K-Rock.. She takes over her new role on Tuesday.
2007-06-23: CTVglobemedia Inc. (CTVgm) has now completed its purchase of CHUM Limited and says all CHUM's assets have now been released from the Voting Trust Agreement with. John D. McKellar, C.M., Q.C. with the exception of the five Citytv stations which will remain in trust with McKellar pending regulatory approval of their sale to Rogers Broadcasting Limited (See RNW Jun 14 ).
In addition CTVgm has confirmed it will go ahead with the sale to Astral Media of CHUM Limited's 50% interest in MusiquePlus and MusiMax.
The announcement followed an internal memorandum from CHUM President and CEO Jay Switzer telling staff that he is stepping down after being with the company for nearly 24 years. Switzer, who said he would leave within a fortnight, said he as sad to be leaving but happy and optimistic about CHUM's new chapter of existence.
2007-06-22: Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB has yet again retained its lead in the Sydney ratings in the fourth survey of the year with both Alan Jones in the breakfast slot and the station losing a little share - down from 13.8 to 13.6 for 2GB and from 17.7 to 16.8 for Jones.
ABC 702 pulled up a little in the 0530-0900 breakfast slot where Adam Spencer (who runs to 08:00 when he is followed by Tony Eastley for half an hour before Virginia Trioli picks up) took his share from 10.7 to 11.0
The main victims of the ratings were in Melbourne where, although Southern Cross Broadcasting's 3AW maintained its top ranking with share down from 13.6 to 13.4, its football ratings were well down - it went from top rank to a distant third behind the ABC and Austereo's Triple M - leading it to fire host Craig Hutchison and producer Ralph Horowitz: It also, reports the Herald Sun, axed the Saturday morning program "Glossing Over" and its announcers Dr Turf and Trevor Marmalade; told Saturday evening special comments man Scott Cummings he was out; and put its prime football commentator Rex Hunt - who last year had no ratings fallout from revelations that he had been paying for sex for years (See RNW Australian Ratings, Jun 22, 2006) - on notice that he had to change his style.
The paper says Hunt conceded he had indulged in too much vaudeville and promised he would get back to basics, commenting, "We dropped the ball. We forgot our strength, alienated those listeners, and will rectify it."
"I've lost two young men who are not only friends but people who have so much to offer football broadcasting," he added. "What we dished up - and I include myself obviously along with Hutchy and Ralph - the listeners didn't like. We have upset our core listeners of 40-plus and they have clearly left us. This isn't the worst thing to happen to me in my life and I remain very positive. To those who think it's all over just wait and see how hard we work. I'm up for the challenge."
Southern Cross Broadcasting general manager Graham Mott said he had concerns for some time and added, "The fans let us know they don't like what we've been giving them and it's about the business of 3AW."
3AW's director of football Graeme Bond said a lot of the theatre of the past two seasons would be dropped and added, "Ralph the barking dog was put down this morning and there will be no more `Listen to the fans'."
Hutchison said he was "really hurt and disappointed and would have liked the chance to correct what they perceived It's a knee-jerk reaction after we delivered them what they wanted last year. I heard nothing prior to this decision and that also disappoints me."
Austereo in its comments on the results highlighted its FM lead in Melbourne and Sydney where Fox FM and 2Day led the FM ranks, and alto gains in Brisbane for B105, up 1.2 points - the biggest ratings increase of any Brisbane station.
CEO Michael Anderson said the close results in the major capitals demonstrated the vibrancy of Australia's radio industry.
"The industry is more competitive than ever before, with strong stations offering good alternatives to listeners," he said. "The fact that we're seeing a lot of networks rating very close to each other is a reflection of the health of the radio market. In such a buoyant sector, only the best products and the best offerings will be competitive and that's where we aim to remain."
B105 is seeing the dividends from having a consistent and differentiated offering. We've had a lot of patience and belief in B105 and the listeners have signalled that's been well placed."
Of the Melbourne football ratings where Triple M topped the ALF ratings he said, "It's a great achievement in a crowded football market to come out on top overall, as well as topping our target 10 to 54 age group."
Austereo chairman Peter Harvie commented, "The Today and Triple M Networks have stood out across the past year, by their consistent, leading performances. This consistency distinguishes Austereo above all."
DMG noted that it had its best results for 2007 in the survey and commented on strong "increases for the Nova and vega networks in overall shares, key demographics and the key breakfast session."
In particular it noted that the vega stations were continuing to increase share p the sixth consecutive increase for vega in Sydney, which took its share up from 3.6% to 4.6% whilst Melbourne vega has gone up in six of the past seven surveys and took its overall share up from 3.6% to 4.4%.
It also noted that the Nova breakfast shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth led the Today network stations and that in Sydney Merrick and Rosso (Merrick Watts, Tim Ross and Sami Lukis) reclaimed their No. 1 FM position in Sydney breakfast, taking their share up from 8.3 to 8.7% leading Kyle & Jackie O (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O).
RNW note: The 2Day and Nova breakfast shows air from 06:00 to 09:00 whereas Nielsen counts 05:30 to 09:00 as the breakfast slot and for this 2Day was ahead with share down from 9.4 to 9.0 followed by Nova in fourth place with 8.7 - up from 8.0).
In the commercial talk fight in Sydney, 2UE remained fifth in the breakfast slot as it increased share from 7.9 to 8.6 and in the morning (09:00 to noon) Nielsen slot it also moved from sixth to fourth as John Laws took its share up from 6.9 to 8.5 alongside an increase by ABC 702 from 8.3 also to 8.5 whilst 2GB lost share from 15.6 to 14.4 although remaining well ahead of second-ranked Nova whose share was up from 8.3 to 8.7.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
Adelaide: 5AA with 18.2 (18.1) - Same rank; Mix with 16.8 (15.2) - Same rank; Nova with 11.3 (11.2) - up from fourth.
*SAFM with 11.0 (12.4) dropped from third to fourth.
Brisbane - Nova with 15.1 (16.2) - Same rank; Triple M with 11.8 (11.3) - same rank; 97.3 FM with 11.1 (10.3) - up from fourth;
*4BH-882 with 8.0 (10.5) dropped from third to sixth behind B105 - fourth with 9.2 (8.0); ABC612 with 8.9 (8.4); and 4BC with 8.6 (9.1).
Melbourne - 3AW with 13.4 (13.6) - same rank; Fox FM with 10.6 (11.3) - same rank; ABC 774 with 10.2 (11.1) - same rank;
Gold with 10.1 (10.9) remained fourth, ahead of Nova, which remained in fifth with 9.7 (9.2).
Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.8 (20.7) - same rank; ABC 720 with 12.1 (10.2) -up from fourth; Nova with 11.6 (10.8) - same rank.
* 96FM with 11.5 (11.4) - fell from second to fourth; and 92.9 remained fifth with 10.7 (9.7).
Sydney: 2GB 13.6 (13.8) - same rank; ABC 702 with 9.3 (9.5) - same rank; 2-DAY with 8.7 (9.2) - same rank;
*2UE with 8.1 (7.0) was up from sixth to fourth, overtaking WSFM which fell from fourth to sixth with 7.2 (8.1) and Nova, which remained fifth with 8.1 (7.5) while Triple-M remained ninth with 5.6 (6.0).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
Herald Sun report:
2007-06-22: Clear Channel has moved to prepare for its purchase by private equity interests by telling the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it is transferring 71 radio stations and four TV stations to the newly created Aloha Station Trust LLC.
The move will enable the company to comply with FCC ownership limits.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-06-22: According to the UK Times, GCap Media, already the largest radio group in the UK, has held merger discussions with Emap in an attempt to create an even larger commercial radio giant.
The paper says the talks collapsed when Emap chief executive Tom Moloney was ousted last month (See RNW May 18) but GCap is keen to restart talks.
It adds that GCap's poor performance is an obstacle but says there are "indications that Ralph Bernard, its chief executive, might be prepared to stand down in order to get a tie-up through.
The paper emphasizes that any deal would only involve Emap's radio interests and says that although any deal would have to be cleared by the Competition Commission, there is a growing belief that the regulatory environment is easing as Ofcom makes it clear that commercial radio may need extra help to allow consolidation down to two big operators.
Previous GCap Media:
UK Times report:
2007-06-22: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it is not renewing Bankstown City Radio Co-Operative Ltd's community licence, saying it has had very significant concerns about the licensee's capacity to represent the interests of the Bankstown/Auburn community and noting that most of the licensee's members are from communities outside of the licence area and a significant proportion of its programs are directed at communities that are largely resident outside the licence area.
Bankstown City Radio has been operating since 1983 and ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said it considered evidence in support of renewal "including a large number of submissions from members of the public supporting particular programs" but "concluded the licensee does not adequately meet the needs of the Bankstown/Auburn area - which is the purpose of the licence."
Chapman added that the ACMA continues to support community broadcasting in the area and "will therefore make the 100.9 MHz spectrum available for temporary community broadcasting It has invited the licensee to apply for a temporary community broadcasting licence to start from the day after the licence expires. However, the licensee may have to share the frequency with other temporary broadcasters."
In the case of New South Wales community broadcasting service 2RBR, Coraki, it has renewed the licence but is adding additional licence conditions to ensure that the licensee "provides both a high quality service to the Coraki community and meets its regulatory obligations."
In the course of renewing the 2RBR licence, ACMA questioned the licensee about the extent to which the service meets the programming needs of the community within the Coraki licence area and it says the two matters of most concern are that the majority of the station's members and sponsors are located outside the planned licence area for the service, and that the licensee has established a second studio in Casino which is also outside the licence area.
2RBR has undertaken to take positive action to ensure that it addresses ACMA's concerns, and ACMA says it took this into account in deciding to renew the licence. It adds that it will consider any submission from the licensee on its proposal to impose the licence conditions before making a final decision on the condition and that it will also closely monitor 2RBR's programs to ensure that it complies with the requirement to present factual material accurately having ruled last year that it had failed to do so (See RNW Licence News Oct 1, 2006).
2007-06-22: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the signing of ten-year contracts with Digital Radio Limited for the provision of two digital radio services to be broadcast on cable and MMD systems serving specific niche audiences.
They are for All 80's Digital Radio, music from the period for the 35-55 demographic and Mocha - Smooth Hits with a Kick, which will be targeted at the 15-34 demographic.
2007-06-21: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has added lobbying against the "Fair Elections Now Act" that was the subject of hearings before the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday.
The bill was introduced in March and is sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (Illinois Democrat) and Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania Republican): It requires broadcasters to offer candidates and political parties fixed advertising rates that are a fifth less than the station's lowest unit charge (LUC) during the 45 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election and NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr comments in a letter sent to committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (California Democrat) and ranking member Sen. Bob Bennett (Utah Republican) that candidates already receive an average discount of around 30% through use of LUC rates and says bill creates a significant price advantage for federal candidates over small business owners who advertise every day on broadcast television and radio.
Rehr then says that mandating a further reduction in rates unconstitutionally favours certain types of speakers-political candidates and political parties-over other speakers. He also complaints that the legislation would bar broadcasters from pre-empting purchased airtime by federal candidates and would also extend LUC concessions to federal party committees, thus greatly expanding them.
"Were these provisions to become law," comments Rehr, "local businesses would be adversely affected by the limited inventory left for their advertising needs. Local advertising would need to get in line behind federal candidates and their political party organizations."
He also complains that broadcasters would have to pay to subsidize these discounted rates through a tax of 2% of their gross advertising revenues to establish a Political Advertising Voucher Account for use by federal candidates and party organizations and says, "It is unfair for government to single out broadcasters to shoulder these burdens."
Finally he comments of the service provided by broadcasters to their communities and says "Local broadcasters very strongly oppose this tax proposal, as it would take away resources from our continued efforts to serve the public."
RNW comment: Stripping the verbiage away it seems to us obvious that NAB and its members are primarily concerned about lost income and the health of the US political system is much lower down on their priorities. Since the business of the broadcasters depends on use of spectrum leased from the public there would seem to be an obvious reason why broadcasters should provide some of that spectrum for free, not just at low rates, during election periods. Our view is that the proposal is indeed flawed - what it should do is set a fairly high level of time that broadcasters have to provide for free to the candidates. NAB, we are certain would find this even more objectionable but US politics would be healthier for such a move.
2007-06-21: Bridge Ratings in its latest report on satellite radio says that, although the impact of Howard Stern's mover to Sirius "has surely been felt", the pool of potential active Stern listeners is now shrinking.
Bridge began its research into the impact of Stern's move in 2004 and notes that after he moved, "CBS Radio saw not only morning ratings topple but full-year 2006 radio revenue for the CBS radio division and its former Stern stations in particular was significantly diminished by Stern's departure."
Sirius, on the other hand, found his acquisition boosted its brand and subscription numbers by the middle of last year the "Stern Effect" was weakening and Bridge estimates that around two million of Stern's former terrestrial listeners subscribed to Sirius specifically because of him.
It adds that "while most Sirius subscribers have an average of 6 satellite radio channels they consistently listen to each week, Stern's listeners spend most of their time with Sirius (45%) listening to the Stern show and on average only 3 channels total."
Bridge says that it estimates that 58% of Stern's core listeners followed him to satellite radio and says the untapped 1.3 million former heavy listeners still represent the greatest growth opportunity for Stern but notes that whereas in fall woo6 15% of those it questioned said they would be "very or somewhat likely" to subscribe because of Stern the figure was down to 12% by spring 2007.
Bridge also reports on the impact of portable players on listening, noting that listening to radio has been helped as much as hurt by consumer use of MP3 players and that Internet listening "appears to be benefiting - not hurting - from MP3 player use with 27% of its listeners indicating they are listening more than they were six months ago."
Satellite listening, it says appears to have seen no significant changes in listening over the period from June last year to this June although 64% of the follow-up group of satellite listeners it talked to said that listening to satellite radio "generally replaces my need to download music via the internet."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2007-06-21: A "Snickers" advert featuring a couple of rednecks singing about eating outrageous things has won the Cannes Lions top award for a radio advert this year.
"Hoedown", the Grand Prix winning advert runs two minutes and is currently on the Lions web site. It features characters Aussie Bill and Johnny May playing a rhyming game called "I'm so hungry..." with May starting by singing he could "eat a horse" and then making it clear that this is not just any horse but a special one that has eaten a chicken that at a cat that ate a frog and so on. Other suggestions include "two full canisters of VX nerve gas" and eventually includes suggestions of eating actor Gary Busey, the Big Brother house and 33 tonnes of chicken Madras.
Aussie Bill then ends the game by saying he was so hungry he "at a Snickers" and the advert with May saying he hates it when Bill kills the "I'm so hungry..." game and accuses him of cheating.
The advert was the winner of Australia's 2007 Siren Awards for radio advertising and was entered into the Cannes Festival by Commercial Radio Australia on this basis. It was written by Paul Reardon and Jonas Peterson from agency, Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said it was fantastic news that the Snickers ad had won the best radio ad in the world and commented, "The two-minute ad is the length of an entire ad break on radio and demonstrates the flexibility of radio with an alternative approach to the tradition of shorter radio spots. To be recognized internationally by some of the best creative minds in the world is a fantastic achievement."
The Sirens prize included a trip to Cannes allowing the two writers to go to Cannes to collect it. In all 47 Australian adverts were entered and 11 made the final shortlist. One other award went to an Australian entry, a Silver Lion for a two adverts in a crime campaign for Foxtel from Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney
Gold Lions went to TBWA\CHIAT\DAY for four adverts for Combos Pretzels (Foods category); to DDB Chicago for five ads for Bud Light Beer (Alcoholic Drinks category); to The Jupiter Drawing Room South Africa for three Laxative adverts and Grey Worldwide South Africa, Johannesburg, for three condom adverts (Pharmacy category); and to JWT Manila, Makati City, for two spa adverts (Travel Entertainment and Leisure category).
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Cannes Lions site:
2007-06-20: Members of the SaveNetRadio coalition, which on Monday evening held an open-air concert on the lawn of the United States Senate, on Tuesday met more than 50 lawmakers to press their case about the threat to Internet radio from the greatly increased performance royalty rates set by the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that are due to come into effect on July 15.
Webcasters are to stage a day of silence next Tuesday to draw attention to their plight: A similar event was organized by small webcasters on May 1, 2002, in response to a similar royalty rate ruling from a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) and on that occasion was followed by a rate cut and passage of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act that covered the period 1998-2005.
The webcasters say that if the rates are left unchanged almost all independent webcasters will be bankrupted and most large webcasters can be expected to shot down their Internet radio divisions.
SaveNetRadio spokesperson, Jake Ward said of the lobbying, which involved more than 30 artists, "The fight to preserve music diversity on the Internet is as much about artists and listeners as it is about webcasters. Artists understand that the future of Net radio is at stake, and they recognize that that if Net radio dies, artists will lose a valuable tool for promoting their music and finding new fans. The only viable solution is to establish a fair system that supports well-earned compensation for artists who create music and a sustainable business model for webcasters playing that music."
"More than 6,000 individual artists and bands," he added, "have joined the SaveNetRadio coalition and the fight to save Internet radio from the unprecedented and illogical March 2nd royalty rate increase imposed by the Copyright Royalty Board."
The Coalition would like to see passage of the Internet Radio Equality Act, that was introduced by Representatives Jay Inslee (Washington Democrat) and Donald Manzullo (Illinois Republican) in the House and Senators Ron Wyden (Oregon Democrat) and Sam Brownback (Kansas Republican) in the Senate.
Under this the CRB decision would be negated and a royalty rate set for the period 2006-10 at the same 7.5% of revenue paid by the satellite radio companies and the standard used in royalty arbitrations would be changed to align it with the standard that is applied to the satellite radio companies.
2007-06-20: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that it is to start charging the BBC for the analogue spectrum it uses for its radio services next year in the same way that it currently charges commercial broadcasters and at the end of 2014 introduce an annual fee - "Administered Incentive Pricing" - related to the amount of spectrum used for both digital and analogue broadcasts: The analogue charges will only affect radio broadcasters as UK analogue TV is due to be switched off in 2012 under a rolling programme of digitisation that will start in October this year.
The regulator says the measures are being introduced to provide "clear incentives" for the "efficient use" of spectrum by broadcasters, a topic on which it carried out a consultation in July last year.
The plan had led to objections from broadcasters on a number of grounds including the constraints places by licence conditions on operators' ability to pay the charge or tailor their services in relation to the charge; concerns about the effect of the charge on public broadcasters; and concerns about the methodology to be used to set charges and specific policies on their application to particular users.
"Many respondents," commented Ofcom, "were concerned at what they saw as an over-emphasis on our spectrum policy framework, at the expense of our broadcasting responsibilities."
In some cases it said it accepted points made about the "potential effects on broadcasting output" but it felt the right response was not to supply free spectrum but to use specific tools related to broadcasting policy including "not only regulation such as the provisions of the BBC Charter, or the contents of licences, but also decisions as to funding."
Ofcom notes that currently UK terrestrial broadcasting is almost alone among major spectrum users in not currently having to pay AIP and that the spectrum currently of most value to the UK economy and society is that below 1GHz with terrestrial broadcasters the largest single user of this spectrum.
It adds that it has noted the concerns expressed about the apportionment of fees for local digital audio broadcasts (DAB) and also the general concern about the level of charges but regarding the latter said it "it is not currently possible to forecast spectrum demand in 2014 sufficiently well to predict the prices that would reflect the opportunity costs." It says it will "ensure that all stakeholders, in particular the licensees, have the opportunity to make representations before we set the administered prices."
Regarding BBC radio and DAB (and DTT) multiplex operators it notes that so far they have enjoyed the use of free spectrum but adds that the expected charges are not expected to be large in comparison with other costs.
Ofcom document (60 Page 206 Kb PDF):
2007-06-20: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed ten-year contracts with four existing community and community of interest radio services.
They are Castlebar Community Radio, which serves Castlebar town and its environs; Connemara Community Radio, which serves North West Connemara including areas of Cashel, Clifden and Roundstone; Flirt FM, which serves the student population of Galway City and its immediate environs; and Dublin South FM, which serves the community of South Dublin including areas of Dundrum, Churchtown and Rathfarham.
BCI chairperson Conor J. Maguire said of the signing, "The BCI is delighted to have concluded contract negotiations with these community and community of interest radio stations and wish all those involved every success in operating these services in the future. I am confident that the services they deliver will continue to involve and reflect the communities which they serve and will continue to add to the diversity of radio services on offer to the listeners in each area."
2007-06-20: According to the UK Guardian, Lydian Capital Partners, an Irish private equity firm backed by businessmen JP McManus and John Magnier could complete the purchase of Chrysalis Group's radio business by the end of this week.
The paper says it understands the final price for the radio group is likely to be between GBP 175 million and 177 million (USD 350 to 352 million) and a deal could be announced as soon as this Friday.
It adds that Lydian, a Swiss-based investment vehicle chaired by Irish entrepreneur Denis Brosnan, has not so far shown interest in media but its sources suggest the purchase could be the first in a series of such deals in UK and Irish media assets.
Chrysalis's radio division includes the Galaxy, Heart, and LBC stations and the Guardian says there is speculation that Magnier and McManus, who own racehorses and previously owned 29% of Manchester United soccer club, could turn LBC from news into a sports station.
UK Guardian report:
2007-06-20: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest broadcast bulletin has upheld one complaint against radio and considered another resolved through action taken by the broadcaster: It also upheld a TV Standards complaint, considered two others resolved, listed 30 TV stations that had not provided the information required under their licence conditions concerning equal opportunity practices in relation to gender, race, and disability, and gave details of three TV Standards complaints and two TV Fairness and Privacy complaints that it did not uphold.
The radio complaint upheld involved Restricted Service licence station Whitchurch FM, which had allowed sponsorships of news bulletins by a local business in breach of Ofcom rules. The news was supplied by Sky and the broadcaster said it had misunderstood the rules, thinking they applied only to bulletins it produced not those from an external supplier. It apologized and said there would be no recurrence.
The radio complaint considered resolved involved the "Heart Breakfast with Sam and Amy" broadcast by Heart 106 FM in the East Midlands on March 21. It included a competition item "Luck of the Irish" during which "presenters encouraged the audience to call or text the studio with any Irish jokes they knew and to adopt a convincing Irish accent when relaying them.
In the course of the item the presenters also mimicked an Irish accent and told jokes, which relied on the negative stereotype of the 'thick' Irishman."
A listener complained that the item was offensive and racist in nature and the station said that when a complaint was made directly to it, it agreed that the joked were ill-judged; told the presenters that the manner in which the item was handled was unacceptable; and later broadcast an apology.
In addition, the bulletin also lists with no details a further 158 TV complaints involving 113 items and 30 radio complaints involving 29 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 156 TV complaints involving 111 items and 26 radio complaints involving 20items that it were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-06-19: 72 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter sent to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras opposing the Sirius-XM merger.
The letter was written by Texas Democrat Gene Green, vice chair of the Subcommittee on Health, and Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, second highest ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and was posted on its web site by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Sensenbrenner, who also posted the letter as a PDF, notes that in March during a House Judiciary Committee hearing he grilled Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin about the failure of the merger to fulfil the FCC's previous standard, which requires competition between more than one licensee for satellite radio.
The letter itself says those signing it consider that on the face of things they "believe that sanctioning the marriage of only competitors in the satellite radio market would create a monopoly which would be devastating to consumers."
"The FCC," it continues, "demonstrated sound reasoning in its initial decision to licence satellite radio operations" and later it notes that the FCC "specifically agreed with outside parties - including Sirius- that there should be 'more than one satellite DARS licence awarded' Licensing at least two providers will help ensure that subscriptions rates are positive as well as provide for a diversity of voices."
It also noted that the FCC specifically said that "Even after SDARS licences are granted, one licensee will not be permitted to acquire control of the other remaining satellite DARS licence."
The letter then goes on to repeat various arguments made by NAB, saying there was "scant evidence" that a merger would provide any cost savings that a combined Sirius/XM potentially might pass on toe consumers" and notes the satellite companies "numerous long-term expensive arrangements with the most prized talent and programming."
It also takes up points made by NAB about satellite devices that were causing interference to FM radio sources and whose production was halted as a result.
"Present circumstances," the signatures say, "do not warrant the FCC's complete reversal of its conclusions in the satellite licensing decision, or the consumer benefits and protections that have resulted from that decision."
NAB in its release also notes opposition to the merger expressed last month when House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman and Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle sent a letter opposing the merger to the same trio.
Sensenbrenner posted copy of letter (PDF):
2007-06-19: Arbitron has announced another Portable People Meter (PPM) agreement, this time with Crawford Broadcasting Company which is to use the service when the PPM system is deployed in Chicago, starting in January 2008.
Crawford owns four stations in Chicago where Arbitron is to begin use of the PPM in January next year when it will also start to use the system in the Los Angeles and Riverside-San Bernardino markets in California.
In all Arbitron is scheduled to deploy the PPM in the top 50 US markets over the next three years, using it in place of the diary system it has been using since 1965.
Arbitron has also announced preliminary results of its RADAR 93 national networks survey covering the period from March 30, 2006 to April 4, 2007. These show that more than 232 million Americans listen to radio each week including 96% of adults 25-54 who have a college degree and annual household income of USD 50,000 or more listen to radio each week.
The survey also shows a 96% weekly reach for adults 18-49 with a college degree and an annual income of USD 75,000 ; a 95% reach for Hispanics 12 and above and a 94$ each for Black Non-Hispanics and college graduates aged 18-plus.
The sample size for RADAR 93 is now more than 160,000 diary keepers and the survey measures 55 individual US radio networks.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 92):
2007-06-19: CBS Radio News has taken both the "Edward R. Murrow Overall Excellence Award" and the "Continuing Coverage Award" in the series of awards named after the network's celebrated reporter and commentator.
The awards are to be presented to winners by the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) at a ceremony in New York on October 15. In all CBS took three awards and ABC News Radio took six.
The radio winners this year were:
Radio Network/Syndication Service:
Overall Excellence: CBS Radio News.
Continuing Coverage: CBS Radio News - Middle East War.
Feature - Hard News: CBC National Radio News -A North Korea Border Tragic Comedy in One Act.
Feature Reporting: ABC News Radio - 9/11 Remembered: A Firefighter's Story.
Investigative Reporting: ABC News Radio -Brian Ross Investigates: The Mark Foley Scandal.
News Documentary: National Public Radio - Thembi's AIDS Diary.
News Series: Associated Press - Olympic Reports.
Newscast: ABC News Radio- ABC Information Network Newscast.
Sports Reporting: ABC News Radio- Game of Shadows.
Spot News Coverage: ABC News Radio- The Cory Lidle Crash.
Use of Sound: ABC News Radio- A Reporter's Notebook: Fort Hood.
Writing: CBS Radio News- Just a Minute.
Radio Large Market:
Overall Excellence: WBAL-AM, Baltimore
Continuing Coverage: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee - Milwaukee's Missing Boys.
Feature - Hard News: WBUR-FM, Boston - Skin Shock.
Feature Reporting: KGO-AM, San Francisco, Derrill's Legacy
Investigative Reporting: WBAL-AM, Baltimore- Going Around in 9-1-1 Circles.
News Documentary: WBUR-FM, Boston - Boston Medical Center.
News Series: WSB-AM, Atlanta - Atlanta's Top 5 Consumer Scams.
Newscast: KCBS-AM, San Francisco - KCBS 9AM News.
Sports Reporting: WBUR-FM, Boston - Kenya's Fastest Town.
Spot News Coverage: KCBS-AM, San Francisco - Hit and Run.
Use of Sound: KIRO-AM, Seattle -Sound of Movie Music.
Website: KCBS-AM, San Francisco (www.kcbs.com).
Writing: WBZ-AM, Boston- Who's on First.
Radio Small Market:
Overall Excellence: KFDI-FM, Wichita, Kansas.
Continuing Coverage: WCHS-AM, Charleston, West Virginia - The Sago Mine Disaster.
Feature - Hard News: WITF-FM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Remembering Flight 93 Five Years Later.
Feature Reporting: WVPS-FM, Colchester, Vermont - Peace Songs.
Investigative Reporting: KBIA-FM, Columbia, Missouri - Dead Voters.
News Documentary: KHUM-TV, Ferndale, California - Picking Up: Meth on the North Coast.
News Series: WDEL-AM, Wilmington, Delaware- From Fat to Fit: Childhood Obesity in The First State.
Newscast: CKGL-AM, Kitchener, Ontario.
Sports Reporting: WSLU-FM, Canton, New York - Rugby Brings Elegance and Violence to Adirondacks.
Spot News Coverage: KFDI-FM, Wichita, Kansas - Sedgwick County Hailstorm.
Use of Sound: WMSI/WQJQ-FM, Jackson, Mississippi - Theater of War.
Website: WDEL-AM, Wilmington, Delaware (www.wdel.com).
Writing: WVPS-FM, Burlington, VT, Coffin
Previous (2006) Murrow Awards:
RTNDA web site - awards page:
2007-06-18: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a recommendation for last week's "Dust-up" opinion series in the Los Angeles Times. It featured Kurt Hanson of RAIN (which has also posed details) and lawyer Jay Rosenthal debating "the laws and economics of Internet radio."
In essence Hanson argued the webcasters' case and Rosenthal - a partner with the Washington law firm Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, LLP, co-legal counsel to the Recording Artists' Coalition and a SoundExchange Board Member - that of the artists and recording companies (and lawyers of course if only indirectly).
The arguments are in essence from Rosenthal that the recording companies have a legal right to payments sat by the Copyright Board and should therefore collect accordingly whilst Hanson, although conceding the case for payment, argues in terms of the value to the artists and recording companies of the promotion of their work and the level of the fees, which he contends will put many hobbyists and companies out of business to the long term detriment of those artists and recording companies.
Our assessment is that Hanson makes a persuasive case for his point of view whilst Rosenthal's approach compares to that which lead to last week's despicable and mean minded decision by the US Supreme Court majority (the despicable justices are Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito Jr. with Clarence Thomas writing the opinion) that a prisoner who filed his appeal by the date he had been given by a Federal Court judge but -as he found out later - after the deadline by which it was supposed to have been filed -thereby lost the right to his appeal.
From Hanson we suggest the best short passage came in a story on Friday when he illustrated his points concerning the music industry coming to terms with the technology that does exist - he makes a strong point that the intelligent thing to have done regarding Napster, which relied on central servers, was to have recognized that this made things controllable and worked out how best to use the feature rather than by launching a lawsuit that closed it and led "P2P file sharing into an uncontrollable environment".
In the tale (truncated here) a woman is caught in a flood, clinging to a tree and refuses help from two children who pass by floating on a door and a large dog, saying in each case, "No thanks, God will take care of me." She drowns and gets to heaven where she asks why God didn't take care of her to which God replies, What? I sent you a two kids, a door, and a dog!"
Regarding Internet radio in this light, Hanson turns this into: "Now the record industry is complaining that sales are in decline. But God has created MP3 players that hold 20,000 songs. Plus introduced a new form of distribution system-download sales-that removes all of the costs associated with the shipment of physical goods. Plus created thousands of new radio stations in hundreds of "long tail" formats (with vivid "now playing" information and "buy it now" links). Record industry says, "No thanks, I'm a lawyer; I'll litigate." Record industry dies. It gets to heaven (maybe) and asks God, "Why didn't you take care of me?" God says, "What?!? I sent you iPods, download sales, and Internet radio!"
RNW comment: The technology now makes it possible to bypass the large recording companies much more easily than the past and already some classical orchestras have turned, because of lack of interest from the recording companies, into making their own recording and selling them online and at concerts. This suggests to us that in the longer term the sensible approach from Internet companies is for the large ones to take the lead in setting up their own recordings company (ies) and version of Sound Exchange and doing direct deals at what they think are reasonable rates: If they're correct the market will decide, the recording companies and SoundExchange will diminish in importance and have to change their prices. If they have it wrong, then they will at least have potentially remained in business with a niche market and if the recording companies win the battle for terrestrial performance royalties - obviously justified by logic - could end up with a sound business (double-meaning intended).
After the potential woes of Internet (and HD radio, we suspect, since it is also digital and may well end up subject to Copyright Royalty Board fees even if NAB wins the lobbying battle as regards analogue) on to US analogue radio.
In Consumer Affairs it got a real pasting from Martin Bosworth in his "Notes From The Future Of Radio": From the outset the tone was clear, even if there seemed to us a caricature view was then presented, albeit one with too much truth in it: "Let's face it -- radio stinks. It's 40 minutes of commercials, 10 minutes of annoying DJs looking to offend, and maybe 10 minutes of music. And in that 10 minutes, you're bound to hear the same five artists multiple times, and the music will generally be the most inoffensive pablum imaginable. DJs are corrupted by payola and stations are driven by the profit motive to turn as much time over to advertising as possible."
Bosworth then echoes the points about new competition made by many commentators including Hanson, albeit it may be overoptimistic about the future of Internet radio: "This sorry state of affairs comes just as listeners have a broad array of new options -- satellite broadcasting, the iPod-driven culture of user-created playlists, and Internet radio stations like Pandora and Last.FM, raising real doubts about whether broadcast radio will be able to pull out of its slump and find its creative spark."
Bosworth adds some credence to his comments by saying that the consensus at a recent Washington, D.C., panel discussion chaired by Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher was that terrestrial radio could go "the way of Betamax videotapes, cassette players, and laser discs."
Fisher, he reports, having published a book about the current state of radio, joked that he found himself "grounded in three declining industries" and set the tone "by playing a snippet of legendary radio DJ Alan Freed, saying that modern broadcast radio no longer provides "the thrill of discovering something new."
Lee Abrams, XM Chief Programming Officer and another member of the panel, commented that the industry was "beset by terrible conditions creatively...The whole model now is 'revenue comes first', and they're making the same mistakes AM radio made [years] ago" and a third panel member, Harold Feld of the Media Access Project said the that the lack of availability of new music and artists was driving away listeners and killing the industry's business model.
The final panel member Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein agreed with concerns about the absence of local programming but nevertheless thought terrestrial radio far from dead, commenting, "There's a very vibrant market out there for radio stations still."
He also noted in connection with payola that the FCC investigation found that the majority of payoffs were actually done in favour of "established, big-name artists, who were guaranteed to deliver hits and sales," rather than promoting new and underground musicians.
The panel unfortunately ducked when it came to considering issues of Internet royalties and the proposed Sirius-XM merger but all agreed in terms of the success of one area, that of National Public Radio (NPR) "as an example of a new business model that supposedly caters to more discerning tastes."
As a sidebar to the comments by Adelstein we would also note that last week the New York Times printed a letter from National Association of Broadcasters David K Rehr in response to the op-ed "The Price of Free Airwaves," by Adelstein's fellow Democrat, Commissioner Michael J. Copps that we mentioned a fortnight ago (See RNW Jun 4).
It was in our view the usual NAB PR performance - listing all the public services performed by broadcasters and ending, "We will proudly match our public service commitment against that of any business in America" - but as usual did not really answer the criticisms made.
Finally to Chris Campling of the UK Times who on Saturday in his "Radio Head" column expressed a degree of cynicism about the factors behind some BBC programme decisions.
"On July 1 the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces in England comes into force," he began. "The ban already exists in the rest of the United Kingdom [RNW note: Wales and Northern Ireland brought in their bans in April this year; Scotland's ban went into effect in March last year and the Irish Republic introduced a total ban on smoking in workplaces and public spaces in 2004], but only on July 1 will it affect BBC types who live in London, so it stands to reason that that is when it becomes worthy of documentary reflection."
The documentary he refers to is "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette" that will air on BBC Radio 2 tomorrow (21:30 GMT) and Campling says of it: "It's a curious egg, this programme, because although it describes itself as neither a celebration of smoking nor a condemnation of it, it seems to align itself pretty much with those who took up the habit, not because our families were being held hostage by terrorists from the international pro-smoking lobby, but because it made us look cool. There is no smoker who doesn't think he or she looks good with a gasper- even the ones who hold it between the very ends of their fingers, or leave it in their mouths all the time."
The programme is presented by Mariella Frostrup of whom Campling comments that she "she's smoked 40 a day since birth and all it did was give her an alluring voice."
He ends with any equally cynical comment about the message of the anti-=smokers: "Well, what, really? That health is greatly overrated and that you're never alone with a Strand? Has the anti-anti-smoking backlash started so soon? Should this programme - broadcast after the watershed, one notes - come with its own warning: DANGER: Listening to This Could Seriously Make You Think You Did the Wrong Thing by Giving Up?"
So on to listening suggestions starting with BBC Radio 2 - the programme just mentioned; last Friday's "Weekender" for comments made about children's reading just after 90 minutes into the programme by Michael Rosen, the UK's new Children's Laureate and a man who we suspect could engender enthusiasm about reading in most children and who excoriated the teaching of British schools in regard to reading ; last Saturday's second and final part of "Sgt Peppers 40th Anniversary"; and this Friday's "Angry, Sexy and Working Class" (18:00 GMT) in which Christopher Eccleston pays tribute to the working-class heroes and anti-heroes who defined the golden age of British films in the late Fifties and early Sixties.
Movies included "Room at the Top", "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", "A Taste of Honey", "This Sporting Life" and "Billy Liar" and those interviewed include actresses and actors Dora Bryan, Wendy Craig, Shirley Anne Field, Albert Finney, and Rita Tushingham; cinematographer Walter Lassally; composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett; and Ken Loach, and playwright David Storey.
Following on from that we suggest the most recent two weeks Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Background Briefing" - the first on how the Australian military keeps track of its weaponry and the latest - a BBC report, so only available as a stream not an MP3 - on the growth in the use of mercenary armies.
Then sticking with issues related to military force we suggest the four-part BBC World Service documentary series "Winning the Peace" in which Lord Ashdown (the politician Paddy Ashdown who became High Representative of Bosnia) looks at the role of the "International community" [Our quotations since often the "community" part of this phrase is verbiage rather than having meaning] in ending conflicts and rebuilding countries after war.
*Unfortunately as we write the BBC has somewhat stuffed up yet again - the World Service "Documentary" site lists the first programme dealing with Germany after the Second World War (Both stream and MP3 are correct; the second on Bosnia (Stream correct but MP3 is of Germany); does not list the third programme on El Salvador; and the final programme on Iraq is available as a stream but the MP3 is still Germany. The podcast session has the correct links for the first and second MP3s but no further listings. We did message and trust that the links will be fixed (the problem is almost certainly a fault in the automation of the process).
Also from the World Service "Documentary Archive" site are four programmes in the series "Six Days that Changed the Middle East" on the 1967 Six-Day War.
After war and destruction we think a break for comedy could be appropriate and suggest "Quote, Unquote" (22:00 GMT tonight) and "The News Quiz" from BBC Radio 4 (17:30 GMT on Friday).
Finally one to please all but the misanthropes from ABC, Australia, and this time last Saturday's "All in the Mind", which was on the topic "Teaching your brain to be happy". Over to you whether it did or was too earnest.
RNW note: We regret this was posted late and may update listening suggestions if we get a moment to check our files further.
Consumer Affairs - Bosworth:
Los Angeles Times - Dust up (Carries links to each day):
New York Times - Rehr letter:
UK Times - Campling:
2007-06-17: Last week was very much a routine one for the regulators with no major announcements and no radio announcements from Australia.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week: Radio related matters posed included (In order of province):
*Renewal from 1 September 2007 to 31 August 2014 of the licence of Columbia Electoral Area "A" Television Rebroadcasting Society's radiocommunication distribution undertaking, Moberly: The undertaking distributes, in non-encrypted mode, the programmes of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's national English-language network service Radio Two.
* Renewal from 1 September 2007 to 31 August 2014 of the licence of Burns Lake & District Rebroadcasting Society's radiocommunication distribution undertaking serving Ootsa Lake (Tatalrose): The undertaking distributes, in non-encrypted mode the programmes of CFPR-AM, Prince Rupert; CJFW-FM and CFTK-TV Terrace; CHAN-TV, Vancouver, and the Open Learning Agency (Knowledge Network).
*Approval of application by the Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company Limited to decreasing the effective radiated power of CKOT-FM, Tillsonburg, from 50,000 to 26,000 watts change and increase the antenna height.
*Approval of transmitter relocation for Canadian Hellenic Toronto Radio Inc.'s CHTO-AM to a new site in North York.
The CRTC also posted a public notices with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of 17 July that included the following radio matters:
* Application by Standard Radio Inc. to renew the licence of CIBK-FM, Calgary, expiring 31 August 2007. The commission noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to its Canadian talent development contributions for the years 2003 and 2004.
* Application by The Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. to renew the licence of CHMT-FM, Timmins, expiring 31 August 2007. The commission noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to its Canadian talent development contributions for the years 2001, 2002 and 2003.
* Application by The Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. to renew the licence of CHMS-FM, Bancroft, expiring 31 August 2007. The commission noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to its Canadian talent development contributions for 2001.
* Application by The Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. to renew the licence of CKAP-FM, Kapuskasing and its transmitter CKHT-FM, Hearst, expiring 31 August 2007. The commission noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to its Canadian talent development contributions for 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
It also published another public notice, with a deadline for submissions of 13 September asking for comments on its proposed Broadcasting Ownership Information Management System that is designed to provide greater flexibility in the furnishing of ownership information and documents, and to ease the related general administrative burden.
There were no radio announcements as such from Ireland but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) did announced details of a new media research funding scheme, offering individual project grants in the amount of Euros 16,000 (USD 21,000) per grant per annum in the area of media and broadcasting research.
The grants are available to Irish and EU nationals engaged in academic research in a variety of settings and applications have to be submitted by August 10. In the first year the Commission says it intends to fund one short-term, stand-alone project of 3-9 months duration; one medium-term project lasting 12 - 18 months (potentially a Masters); and one longer-term project of 12-36 months (e.g. the first year of a three-year PhD).
Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said," Research and innovation is a key driver of the broadcasting sector as reflected in the recently released BCI Research Policy. By initiating the Media Research Funding Scheme, the Commission is focusing on and delivering strategic research initiatives which will benefit the entire sector."
In the UK, Ofcom has awarded the new digital multiplex licence for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire to GCap Media's Now Digital (See RNW Jun 13).
It also advertised a new digital multiplex to cover North Yorkshire. Ofcom estimates that this licence could achieve coverage of an area with an adult (aged 15+) population of around 695,000 and applications have to be submitted by 15:00 on September 12 along with a fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 10,000).
Ofcom also awarded five more community licences in Northern Ireland and Scotland. They went to
*Drive FM (Derry/Londonderry), which will "act as a voice of the community and aim to forward the cause of good community relations."
*Aldergrove and Antrim FM (Aldergrove and Antrim) - A community radio service for British soldiers, sailors, airmen, officers, and their families as well as associated civilians living and working at RAF Aldergrove and Masereen Barracks and the surrounding Aldergrove and Antrim communities.
*Ballykinler FM (Ballykinler) - A community radio service for British soldiers, sailors, airmen, officers, and their families as well as associated civilians living and working at the Abercorn Barracks and in the surrounding Ballykinler area.
*Holywood FM (Holywood, Co Down) - A community radio service for British soldiers, sailors, airmen, officers, and their families as well as associated civilians living and working at the Palace Barracks and in the Holywood community.
*Speysound (Badenoch & Strathspey) - Speysound Radio will provide a community radio service to the residents of, and visitors to, Badenoch & Strathspey.
In addition Ofcom considered two further applications, but has decided not to award a licence to Riverside FM, Derry/Londonderry and Radio Fyneside, Loch Fyne, Argyll.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced further details of its localism hearing in Portland, Maine on June 28. The meeting will be held at Portland High School
From 16:00 to 23:00 local and a live audio cast of the hearing will be available at the FCC's website on a first-come, first-served basis. The hearing will also be recorded, and the recording will be made available to the public.
It was also involved in a number of enforcement actions including (In descending order of amount involved):
*Issued forfeiture order for USD 10,000 to Multicultural Radio Broadcasting, Inc., owner of tower near Cutler, California, used by KWRU-AM to serve Fresno, California.
Multicultural had argued for a reduction on the basis of its good faith efforts to comply with the Commission's Rules but the argument was rejected and the full penalty confirmed.
*Issued forfeiture order for USD 7,000 to Jason Konarz, licensee of WQMA-AM, Marks, Mississippi, for failure to enclose an antenna tower. Konarz had not responded to the NAL and the penalty was confirmed.
*Issued forfeiture order for USD 3,200 to Gold Coast Radio, LLC, licensee of Station KMLA-FM, El Rio, California, for operating its transmitter at a power level exceeding 105% of that authorized by its license.
The FCC had originally proposed a penalty of USD 4,000 - the base amount - to which Gold Coast responded by arguing that an admonishment, rather than the base forfeiture amount, should be issued for the violation, and that the forfeiture amount should be reduced because Gold Coast has a history of compliance with the Commission's Rules. The FCC accepted only the argument of a previous history of compliance, reducing the penalty by USD 800.
*Issued forfeiture order for USD 750 to Donald J. Payne of San Diego, California, for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter. It had originally issued a notice of apparent violation (NAL) for USD 10,000 to which Payne had responded admitting that he was the landlord of the garage that the unlicensed station operated from - he received USD 100 per month from the operators of the unlicensed station - but saying that he did not operate the station; that he shut down the station prior to the issuance of the NAL; and that he is unable to pay the proposed forfeiture.
The FCC commented that the fact that Payne finally did shut down the station eight months after receiving an initial Notice showed that he did have control over the station and could have complied with the San Diego Office's warnings much earlier but it reduced the penalty to USD 750 on the grounds of ability to pay.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-06-17: India's private radio industry is to get a boost because of a decision by the country's government is to start placing some of its advertisements with private radio and TV stations.
Under a new policy the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry will do away with a rule that mandated that all Union government ministries and departments, although advertising on privately-owned print media, placed broadcast adverts only on the country's state broadcasting channels.
The government spends some INR 400 crore (INR 4 billion, USD 99 million - a crore is 10 million) a year on advertising but it is not clear how this will be divided up between advertising on state media including All India Radio (AIR) and private broadcasters although it is thought that around a third of the spending will be apportioned to regional as opposed to nationwide advertising.
Previous Indian Radio:
2007-06-16: Radio One Inc., which is still under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in relation to its stock option practices, has re-stated its financial reports from 1999 to the end of 2005 and also published its 2006 figures, which had been delayed by its work on the revised figures.
The filing shows its overall profit in the period to the end of 2005 as around USD 10 million less than the USD 113.6 million had previously filed and that in 2006 it made a loss of USD 7.6 million (7 cents a share) compared to a USD 48,64 million profit (44 cents a share) as re-stated in 2005.
Radio One in the filing says unaudited quarterly financial information and financial statements for the interim periods of 2006 are not restated, and the impact from the restatement was recorded in the three months ended December 31, 2006, as it did not have a material impact on 2006 annual or interim operating results.
It adds that the restatements do not result in a change to our previously reported revenue, cash flow from operations or total cash and cash equivalents shown in our historical consolidated financial statements but the stock-based compensation charges, including the tax effect and other adjustments, reduced net income by approximately USD 9.0 million for the years ended December 31, 1999 through December 31, 2005. For 2006, the stock-based compensation charges, including the tax effect and other adjustments related to the restatement increased the net loss by USD 246,000.
The company says it set up a voluntary internal review of its stock options following numerous headlines about the SEC's investigation into options practices by public companies and after preliminary findings its audit committee retained the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP to assist them in conducting a full investigation.
It adds that the audit committee found "no fraud or intentional wrongdoing" but that the measurement dates it had used for stock option grants did not meet Accounting Principles Board requirements and it subsequently decided for financial accounting purposes to revise the measurement dates in line with APB requirements for nine of the large grants awarded, and six individual grants
This change, with one exception, showed that in all but one case the closing price of Radio One stock at the original stated grant date was lower than the closing price on the revised measurement date, which resulted in additional stock-based compensation expense in each of the years from 1999 through 2006.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-06-16: More than five million digital radio receivers have now been sold in the UK according to latest figures from research body GfK announced by the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), which commented that this equates with nearly 10 million listeners tuning in to DAB, a figure it said "marries well with RAJAR's figure of 19.5% of the adult population living in a DAB household."
UK DRDB also says research has shown that people who have bought the BT Movio mobile TV and DAB radio service to receive TV via mobile phones are in fact using it more to listen to radio.
The research for Movio showed 38% of users listened to DAB daily - 46% of 16 to 24-year-olds - with nearly half of them tuning in for an hour or more per session.
In addition it notes that 70% of 16 to 35-year-olds were happy to recommend DAB and 83% of those with an opinion said DAB was better than analogue, based on sound quality, reliability and user experience. [RNW comment: If the listening is on mobile phones, this strikes us an opinion of little value because they can only be referring to the absence of interference on digital rather than comparing a good quality analogue signal listened to with high quality equipment to a DAB one. The evidence here is that DAB is actually inferior where the broadcaster has high standards, not because DAB is inherently worse but because broadcasters opt to cram more signals into a multiplex rather than going for technical quality.]
The DRDB says that as radio listening continues to grow and functionality increases, it has identified the need to move DAB into more devices including mobile phones, MP3, MP4, docking stations, and plug-in devices. This, it says, will enhance the appeal of radio and deliver richer radio content in more places for consumers, creating a much bigger total market for radio-enabled devices than has existed to date.
The DRDB also announced that its chief executive Ian Dickens is to step down later this year after five years in the role. He is intending to go on a long-planned sailing trip round the world with his wife in the autumn (fall).
Dickens commented, that he had seen DAB digital radio grow from around 135,000 units sold to over five million and the entry level price fall from GBP 99 ( just below USD 200) to GBP 29 ( Just below USD 60).
"I joined the DRDB after 20 years' marketing experience in UK consumer electronics," he added, "and I believe I have met the challenge the board set for me back in 2002. Today, radio has evolved, and I feel the next step in DAB's development requires someone with expertise and knowledge in new target areas. I have enjoyed my tenure with the radio industry, but now feel it is time to pass the baton to someone who can take digital radio into its next phase of development."
2007-06-16: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that commentary by US host Art Bell on the "Coast to Coast AM" programme that was broadcast by CFMJ-AM, Toronto, in September last year in which he read from an essay written by a retired U.S. major general which asserted that Americans did not really understand what was at stake in the war in the Middle East did not breach the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics: One adjudicator dissented.
The broadcast in question had led to a complaint that it "was tantamount to a diatribe directed against all Muslims delivered [...] in a manner intended to incite hate and kindle racism towards the entire Muslim community."
The majority of the panel held however that the broadcast was entitled to contain criticisms of certain groups on the basis of their criminal activities and that it had adequately distinguished between "terrorists" and all Muslims in general.
Dissenting one member of the five-person panel said she was of the view there was a breach and that "all Muslims would suffer in the minds of listeners on the basis of the host's descriptions" adding, "In fact, it does not appear to be an exaggeration that the host's characterizations of Muslims were intended to give rise to fear and animosity on the part of audience members."
The broadcast was made following the appearance by an American, thought to be an AL-Qaeda activist, in a videotape posted on an Islamic web site in which he called for the US to convert to Islam and for US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to switch sides. Bell read commentary on the threat to the US from retired U.S.A.F. Major General Doctor Vernon Chong and at the end said he shared the views
2007-06-15: The US recording and radio industries are now on full collision course following the launch of a campaign by the musicFirst Coalition of recording artists, music companies and recording industry groups to gain payment of performing rights from US radio and a pledge by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to "aggressively fight" the idea.
The NAB got its blow in first with a statement from EVP Dennis Wharton issued before musicFirst Coalition began a conference to make its case.
"NAB will aggressively fight RIAA's (Recording Industry Association of America) proposed performance tax on local radio stations," said Wharton. "Congress has long recognized that radio airplay of music generates millions of dollars in revenue for record labels and artists. Were it not for radio's free promotional airplay of music on stations all over America, most successful recording artists would still be playing in a garage."
The NAB also cited a radio commercial that aired widely in 2005 as part of an NAB campaign promoting radio in which John Legend, then an up-and-coming new artist, praised and thanked a radio station in Chicago for giving him his big break.
musicFIRST - the "FIRST" standing for "Fairness In Radio Starting Today" - at its conference call heard executive director Mark Kadesh in his opening remarks note that performing rights were paid in other countries and continue, "It's time to make sure that when music is played on the radio, people who perform the music are simply being paid fairly to do it."
Recording artist Martha Reeves said the effort to get a performance payment was "long overdue" and also noted that payments were made in other countries, saying, "It's only right and fair that we receive a performance right. Other countries do it. The United States should be included in giving us a fair deal."
She said in response to a question that music she recorded as much as 45 years ago was being played daily but it did not mean extra recording sales.
American Federation of Musicians director of government relations Hal Ponder said the fight wasn't just about the RIAA and NAB but performers were also deeply involved, commenting, "The performance right is a lifeblood for us. We don't get a salary like other workers do. This is the income stream that we need."
RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol asked about the description by NAB of the proposed charge as a "tax" called the description "laughable" and a "diversion."
RNW comment: Our first reaction is that what is visible here are two greedy and short-sighted groups protecting their current interests and business practices but with neither having the public interest in mind whereas copyright and patents were introduced in that interest with the aim of striking a balance so as to encourage innovation through providing reasonable rewards but not stifle it through being protective.
Our view is that in practical terms very few artists would benefit were radio companies to stop playing them as the later plays usually depend upon the initial success of a recording for which marketing to replace radio plays would be very expensive.
In principle, however, we take the point that it is illogical that terrestrial radio be exempt from performance royalties whilst satellite and Internet distributors have to pay them.
What we would like to see is the whole issue debated with public interest as the prime concern and we suspect that on this basis radio would have to pay the same rate as other distributors but that this would be much lower then the Copyright Royalty Board has proposed; that copyright and patent terms would be significantly cut and that this would significantly affect comparatively few artists except a few big names. Now if it weren't for the fact that US politicians in the main appear to be bribed rather than taking decisions on the basis of rational argument and clearly-thought-through principles
2007-06-15: Former BBC Network Radio managing director Sir David Hatch, who was best known for performing alongside John Cleese and the Goodies team in the early Sixties with the Cambridge Footlights revue and his work in light entertainment and performing, has died aged 68.
Hatch joined BBC Radio in 1964 as an actor and writer for "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" and in 1965, he was appointed as Radio Light Entertainment producer, devising and producing programmes such as "Week Ending", "Just A Minute" and the radio versions of "Doctor In The House" and "What Ho! Jeeves".
While at the BBC he was Director of Radio Programmes, Controller of Radios 2 and 4, Head of Radio Light Entertainment, Radio Network Editor in Manchester and Executive Producer of Programme Development before being appointed Managing Director of Network Radio in 1987.
In 1993 he was appointed Adviser to the Director-General.
He left the corporation in 1996 and became Chairman of the National Consumer Council - to 2000; chairman of the SSVC (the Services Sound and Vision Corporation) between 1999 and 2004; and chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales, for which he was knighted in 2003.
Paying tribute to him, Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Audio and Music, said, "Sir David Hatch was one of the greats of BBC Radio. He was a performer, a leader and an inspirer of people. He led the radio Light Entertainment department with verve and joy. He was a terrific Controller of both Radio 2 and Radio 4 and as Managing Director of BBC Radio he modernized and ensured that radio thrived in an increasingly competitive world. No one in BBC Radio has ever had such a wide ranging and successful career."
2007-06-14: The lobbying and public relations war over the proposed merger of US satellite radio companies Sirius and XM continued on Wednesday with the launch by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) of a web site promoting its opposition and the placing of adverts in favour of it by the satellite companies.
The latter placed adverts with Communications Daily, The Hill and Roll Call, and with The Politico in which they proclaimed that "The people who support our merger are as diverse as our programs" and cited support from the League of Rural Voters, National Consumers League, National Black Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Federation, the Latino Coalition, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), New York State Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE).
The Hispanic Federation issued a statement in which its president Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez said it encouraged "actions that will provide our community with the benefits of competition, lower prices and more choices in a fair and equitable manner" and said it believed the merger would achieve these objectives.
She added that mainstream media companies offered very limited music and entertainment programming targeted at Hispanics whilst satellite companies - naming CNN en Espanol, ESPN Deportes and Mexico Canta, Sirius and XM - had provided "an important new source for news, information and entertainment for Hispanic Americans. With an emphasis on Latino programming unheard of on commercial radio [and] Sirius and XM have both shown an innovative and dedicated approach to reaching Hispanic listeners."
The NAB has hung a banner from its headquarters in Washington in opposition to the proposed government-sanctioned monopoly of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio. The banner, which reads "Do the Math: XM + Sirius = Monopoly," directs citizens to the website, which has the same heading underneath which is the line "A merged entity could raise fees, limit programming choices and be harmful to consumers."
It then provides links to its own adverts against the merger plus media comment (against of course - no question of balance here). video of House and Senate testimony by NAB members and various "Presenting the Facts " links that again go to items against the merger.
NAB xmsiriusmonopoly web site:
2007-06-14: The Walt Disney Company and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation have announced completion of the USD 2.7 billion spin-off of Disney subsidiary ABC Radio Holdings, Inc. and its subsequent merger with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citadel.
Before the spin-off Disney transferred to ABC Radio Holdings its ABC Radio Business consisting of 22 large-market radio stations and the ABC Radio Network but it has retained its ESPN Radio and Radio Disney network.
Disney stockholders received a distribution of ABC Radio Holdings stock on the basis of approximately 0.0768 of a share of ABC Radio Holdings common stock for each share and merger Disney shareholders received a share of Citadel common stock in exchange for each whole share of ABC Radio Holdings received in the spin-off - fractional shares had been aggregated and the total whole shareholding was also converted into Citadel shares with these latter shares to be sold and the funds received distributed to Disney shareholders as a cash payment for their fractional shares.
In all some 151,707,199 shares of Citadel common stock were issued to Disney shareholders in the merger.
In addition as part of the transactions, Disney retained USD 1.35 billion of cash, representing all of the proceeds of the debt that ABC Radio Holdings incurred prior to the spin-off and prior to the merger, Citadel paid a special cash distribution of approximately USD2.46 per share to its pre-merger shareholders who held Citadel common stock as of the record date of June 8, 2007.
In other US radio business deals, Radio One, Inc. has announced that it has agreed to sell KTTB-FM, Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Northern Lights Broadcasting, LLC. for around USD 28 million.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year and Radio One President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said it was "another transaction that will help us re-align our strategic priorities, maximize returns and allocate capital in the most efficient manner."
"While this radio station has been a great performer for us, it is our only station in a market with a very small African-American population," he added and continued. "We have enjoyed serving the Minneapolis market for the past six years, but it is time to move on."
Liggins also added a note of thanks to the station's General Manager Steve Woodbury, who had been kept on by Radio One when it bought KTTB and who he said was instrumental in making the transaction happen.
Also in the US, broadcast management software solutions company Wicks Broadcast Solutions, LLC earlier this week announced its merger with Marketron International, Inc.
Wicks is the largest supplier of software products and services in the broadcasting industry with customers at more than 7000 radio, TV, and CATV stations in 19 countries.
In Canada, where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has given CTVGlobemedia the go-ahead to buy CHUM on the condition it sell of CHUM's Citytv stations (See RNW Jun 9), agreement has been announced for them to be sold to Rogers Media subsidiary Rogers Broadcasting for CAD 375 million ( USD 352 million).
CTVGlobemedia had originally agreed to sell its A-Channel stations and certain specialty channels to Rogers Media but the CRTC had not required this and the Citytv sale agreement replaces the previous agreement.
CTVglobemedia President and Chief Executive Officer Ivan Fecan, who is also CEO of CTV Inc., said in a statement, "Rogers came in with a very strong offer on a pre-emptive basis, which will see the Citytv stations in a fine home in a timely manner. This outcome is good for both the businesses and the stations' employees. We know Rogers to be skilled operators of television assets and believe they will be good stewards of these important urban brands."
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-06-14: Reuters, citing a "source familiar with the situation" reports that Chrysalis Group is in talks with an unnamed private equity group over the sale of its radio division, which it indicated in February was on the market when it launched a strategic review.
Last month, following various reports that it was struggling to find a buyer and that both GMG Radio and UTV had ruled out bids (See RNW May 14), chief executive Richard Huntingford denied them and said the sale was "progressing well" (See RNW May 15)
Analysts have valued the radio business between GBP 160 and GBP 200 million (USD 315 to 395 million) and Reuters noted that in a recent note Dresdner Kleinwort said the group could achieve a sale of GBP 170 million pounds (USD 335.5 million)
Chrysalis shares ended Wednesday up 3.8% at 123 pence having touched 125 pence at one point.
Also in the UK, GCap's Classic FM has announced a GBP 1 million (USD 2 million) deal with Ford that includes a 20-week series of one-hour programmes - the "Ford Galaxy of Stories."
The programme is part of one of the biggest multi-media campaigns to be run on the station and will be supported by a microsite providing information about the car and the chance to download audio.
It will air on Sunday afternoons from 1500-1600 GMT starting this weekend and podcasts of the tales will be available through classicfm.com, timesonline.co.uk, iTunes and the Ford Galaxy website.
The tales will be narrated by various celebrities including Richard E. Grant and Harry Enfield and the campaign is being launched by a promotion on classicfm.com giving families the chance to win a trip to London and play a part in a story.
Previous GCap media:
2007-06-14: CBS Radio White House Correspondent Mark Knoller has been inducted into the D.C. Journalism Hall of Fame by the Society of Professional Journalists along with colleagues Terry Hunt, the Associated Press Senior White House Correspondent; Muriel Dobbin, retired Washington Correspondent for the McClatchy newspapers; and Bob Franken, television journalist and former National Correspondent for CNN.
To be eligible for the award journalists have to have 25 years of service in Washington and Knoller has spent more than three decades as a reporter, covering every U.S. President since Gerald Ford.
He was a correspondent for the Associated Press Radio Network from 1975-1988 beginning as an editor and, then, as a general assignment and White House reporter. He joined CBS Radio News in 1992 and was assigned to the White House beat during the last year of the George H.W. Bush Presidency.
2007-06-13: In another sign of the future convergence of devices and lowering of prices, two Taiwanese companies - Future Waves, a designer of RF and mixed-signal semiconductor components and integrated circuit designer and manufacturer SunplusMM - have set up a partnership to launch an MP3 player supporting DAB and FM radio plus plug-in mobile TV (T-DMB) this summer that it says could be retail for as little as as USD 50 and would be targeted at the European and Chinese markets.
Future Waves CEO Glenn Vandevoorde said of the agreement, "SunplusMM has very strong expertise in providing IC solutions for handsets and personal entertainment products. Their product portfolio, combined with our FENIX solution for digital broadcasting solution, now enables our customers to launch portable consumer products with the lowest power consumption and cost, without compromising on functionality or quality. The introduction of such a cost-effective solution will definitely be a breakthrough in the industry and broaden the consumers' adoption."
The new portable FM/DAB/MP3 device receives Band II, III and L-band signals with support for MP2, MP3 and WMA digital audio decoding. There is also a SD/MMC card interface to play back MP3/WMA songs from flash memory, and a USB interface to PC and a software based H.264 video decoder for watching T-DMB programmes.
RNW comment: We note that iBiquity has just appointed former Clear Channel WBIG-FM Promotions Director Kelly Tober as its Broadcast Marketing Manager to promote its HD digital radio in the US. We would suggest that a device like this including HD at a similar price could do in one step as much for take-up of HD as the whole of IBiquity's current marketing.
2007-06-13: The BBC Trust is to carry out an investigation into the sums paid by the corporation to its top talent although it will not be looking at payments to individuals so much as the impact of what it pays more generally.
"Talent costs understandably raise questions for the public," said a spokesman, adding, "So the Trust must ensure it has a proper understanding of how the BBC operates in these markets to satisfy itself that the greatest value is being created for audiences. Later this year the Trust plans to commission an external study about the BBC's major role in the talent market. Terms of reference have yet to be finalized, but these will be published as will the report once completed."
The review will be carried out against a backdrop of budget cuts at the corporation and publicity given to the amounts paid to some big names - Jonathan Ross is said to have a three-year USD 32 million contract and a number of radio names including Sir Terry Wogan of Radio 2 and Chris Moyles of BBC Radio 1 each take home more than USD 1 million a year according to stories, based on leaks that were carried in the UK tabloids last year (See RNW Apr 19, 2006).
The commercial radio industry has complained that the amount paid by the BBC, which is cushioned by its licence fee, pushes up the cost of talent to them.
2007-06-13: Emmis has promoted Rick Balis, currently program director of rock KSHE-FM and classic hits KIHT-FM in St Louis to the new post of VP rock programming for the whole company.
In his new role, Balis, who also oversees the programming for Emmis's other St. Louis stations - talk KFTK-FM and alternative KPNT-FM - will advise the companies alternative WKQX-FM and classis rock WLUP-FM in Chicago; rock KLBJ-FM and alternative KROX-FM in Austin, Texas; and classic rock WWVR-FM in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Emmis VP of programming Jimmy Steal said of the appointment, "Rick Balis has demonstrated time and time again that he possesses one of the premier rock minds in the country. He is rightfully revered for all things rock, and this promotion just affirms what Rick has been contributing to our Emmis rock brands all along."
In Chicago, Robert Feder of the Sun-Times, reports that WLUP - The Loop - has started a search for a new afternoon host, having dropped Zakk Tyler whose contract expired and whose last show aired on Thursday last week.
Feder quotes WLUP brand manager Tisa LaSorte as saying of the search for a replacement, "We have some ideas of candidates for our short list, but our official process is just starting now" and saying that auditions are likely to take all summer.
2007-06-13: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new digital multiplex licence for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire to GCap Media's Now Digital, which was bidding with an offer of eight services plus BBC Three Counties Radio against a rival offering of nine services plus the BBC station from MuxCo Home Counties Limited (See RNW Mar 30).
The award is the first award of a number of new local radio multiplex licences planned to develop DAB coverage for services in those parts of the UK not already served.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-06-12: UK commercial radio on Monday launched its largest-ever listener survey -"The Big Listen" - asking its audience to "Give us five minutes of your time to tell us why radio matters to you": The results of the survey will be fed by the companies into their response to UK media regulator Ofcom's Future of Radio consultation that closes at the end of this month.
The survey, being conducted by You Gov, is being promoted on radio through adverts featuring Kate Thornton, Kim Cattrall, Jamie Cullum, Gail Porter, Peter Snow, and Suzanne Vega and a series of specially commissioned programmes will be aired by GCap Media's Classic FM and UTV's talkSPORT.
The campaign culminates in a live show, called The Big Debate to be broadcast on more than 50 stations on June 17.
The stations taking part will ask listeners to give feedback through a Big Listen web site that asks a number of questions based on "key issues" identified in research by industry body The RadioCentre.
It includes such questions as where listeners would turn if their radio went quiet; the importance of local news and information to them; whether they think radio is becoming more or less stimulating and what changes listeners would make to their favourite radio station is they were in charge.
Other questions include topics such as the importance of where a broadcast is from as opposed to its content; the importance of hearing well-known personalities and celebrities on a local station; how keen listeners are to be able to hear programming at their time of choosing; how the Internet is changing ways of getting news and information; and how listeners compare, trust and value different media - radio, TV, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.
RNW comment: Presumably if the answers make this possible some of this is likely to be part of a future submission to be allowed, as a number of companies clearly want to, to reduce their presence in the license area and carry more networked or remotely sources news and programming.
Big Listen web site:
2007-06-12: XM Canada had topped 270,000 subscribers at the end of May according to its operator Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., which also said it expects a boost from XM becoming the exclusive radio broadcaster of the NHL beginning July 1 for the next eight seasons. XM had previously held equal rights to the NHK with Sirius.
XM Canada chairman and chief executive officer John Bitove, noting the NHL deal, said of the figures, "We continue to focus our efforts on building our subscriber base through diverse channels. XM Canada has built an extensive network of automotive partners that are continually increasing their XM radio installations and we are extending into the retail sector with new and innovative products."
XM Canada says greater deals of its subscriber counts will be filed in conjunction with the company's financial reports for its third quarter t the end of May.
Previous CSR/XM Canada:
2007-06-12: The Guardian Media Group has announced the appointment of Stuart Taylor, currently Commercial Director of sister company Guardian News & Media and General Manager of the Guardian, as Commercial Director of GMG Radio and Managing Director of Smooth Radio in London.
Taylor will report to GMG Radio chief executive John Myers and will be responsible for commercial strategy across the division with a focus on exploiting new opportunities on a range of different platforms - including analogue, digital and online - as well as the future cross-promotional opportunities between GMG brands.
GMG Radio has expanded significantly recently and s on course to become the UK's third largest commercial radio group by listening hours following the purchase of Century and Saga stations last year and a scheduled launch of two more stations this year. It currently operates 11 radio stations under the Real Radio, Smooth Radio, Century FM and Rock Radio brands.
Myers in a release commented of the appointment, "This is a new senior position within GMG Radio to help us unlock the enormous opportunities we see across a variety of different commercial platforms. It needed someone of great experience and stature, and clearly we have found that person in Stuart. The combination of his unique skills across a number of platforms and the strengths of the existing team will mean we are very well placed to drive growth throughout the business."
GMG chief executive Carolyn McCall added, "This is a key role that reflects the increasing importance of GMG Radio within our portfolio and in the wider industry. Having looked at strong candidates from a wide field, we were very pleased to find the right person for the job within the Group."
Previous GMG Radio:
2007-06-12: Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) were back on XM Satellite Radio on Monday, albeit in the form of the "Best of" programmes from their CBS broadcasts that continued whilst they were suspended by XM: They are due to return live on Friday.
XM on its website says, "There's so much speculation on the blogs and fan sites about O&A's return that we thought we'd take a minute to give you the facts directly. During Opie and Anthony's XM suspension, they continued to broadcast on CBS Radio; and, we have compiled the "Best of" O&A's CBS shows from the last few weeks for you."
It says these shows will be aired until 06:00 Friday - when Opie and Anthony return - at multiple times along with "Ron and Fez" live and re-runs of this.
XM also says that up to the end of this month it will waive its usual USD 14.99 re-activation fee for O&A fans who may have cancelled the service because of the suspension and who call a toll-free number.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2007-06-11: Tales of segmentation, prejudice, ignorance and the like form the theme for our look at print comment on radio over the past week starting with Brad Kava's blog from the Mercury News that slates US talk hosts specifically noting the shows (to confirm their prejudices?) of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage albeit the Limbaugh show comments relate to stand-in host Roger Hedgecock.
Were it not a serious matter in the middle of a war to ensure an informed and rational debate on a post like the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the hosts comments would be solely ones for derision and poking fun and maybe Kava overestimates the influence of the irrational and prejudiced and indeed the devotion of the listeners to the hosts involved but they are certainly illuminating.
Kava took up the issue of the topics that US talk show hosts take up - chosen from "newspapers, which they have labelled "liberal media," and, like some fanatical Mullahs, have instructed their "dittohead" (or is it dodo head) listeners not to consult "
The specific story he chose - providing a link to an Associated Press story to get a fuller version - was the resignation of General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The AP put the decision not to retain Pace down to "bitter divisions over the Iraq war", and quoted Defense Secretary Robert Gates as saying, "I think that the events of the last several months have simply created an environment in which I think there would be a confirmation process that would not be in the best interests of the country. I wish it were not necessary to make a decision like this. But I think it's a realistic appraisal of where we are."
So why was the decision made according to Hedgecock and Savage? The former according to Kava explained that "this was a toughening move by the Bush administration, to remove generals who were Clinton appointees, and thus, more into diplomacy than warfare. 'We need real warriors to win this war,' he said."
The latter said it was because "Pace, 'a moral man,' had made a speech condemning homosexuality in the military, Bush was giving in to the "pink hand, the pink Mafia," and removing a strong military man from the position to appease gays, who presumably are soft on war."
He then asks, "Do these guys do any research or do they just pull this stuff out of their own dodo heads and claim it as fact?"
Kava later attacked Hedgecock - relating how he was forced out of office as mayor of San Diego after pleading guilty to money laundering and also mentioned Limbaugh's illegal drug purchases - thus weakening his final question, "Please, I know fans of these hosts are very emotional, but read this story and tell me what you think. Where was the most fair and accurate presentation of the issue?" by allowing the fans to attack back rather than answer that question, not that responses on the other side answered it either, preferring to go on the attack.
The answer, we suggest, is straightforward - MSM or not, the AP sustains the report it makes with quotations and context whilst the hosts reasoning is an appeal to prejudice and relies on ignorance. From the little we have heard of them, we don't find them entertaining either, and are just as puzzled by their success as by that of Paris Hilton.
On then to annoy Savage with another blog, this time that of Marc Fisher in the Washington Post that was headed, "Gay Radio: The Next Big Format?" The blog in general would not please him, one of the responses certainly wouldn't, however seriously it was, or wasn't, meant to be taken - "I like closeted gays in AM talk radio like Michael Savage, that guy isn't fooling anyone."
The Fisher blog starts by giving details of some of the shows involved -on Sirius's OutQ and Pride Radio, which Clear Channel is promoting its "Pride Radio" format that is currently aired on a number of HD stations and comprised mainly of music - "delivered without DJs -- like almost all HD stations in this early phase of the new technology, Pride Radio airs without ads. The tunes are not the hard-edged dance numbers often heard on OutQ, but rather a more rhythmic version of the upbeat pop that might be heard on an FM pop station."
Fisher quotes Jared Cohen, who "created Pride Radio as part of the radio giant's Format Lab project" as saying, "I thought about the music my friends and I listen to and what we hear in the clubs. It's music that's always a little bit ahead of the mainstream."
Cohen adds that Clear Channel executives are eager to expand Pride Radio, especially in the face of market research in which about six in 10 gays said they identify more with their sexual orientation than with their ethnicity. "This has the potential to be as big as Latino or urban radio," he says.
Of the Sirius Channel, which is primarily talk, vice president for talk and entertainment, Jeremy Coleman says, "The biggest benefit I hear people say they get from OutQ is that if you're a gay person, here is a place you can go to hear people who speak honestly and passionately about what it's like to be gay. So whether the topic is depression or gay porn, there's a tremendous relief we have in being able to speak very openly."
The Sirius channel has attracted some large sponsors but, according to Coleman who says it draws a large audience that is a third to a quarter heterosexual, few protests.
"OutQ is insanely popular with people who are gay," he says, "and while I do get calls from subscribers who say they're offended that we have a gay channel, I don't know of anyone who has dropped a subscription because of it. I talk to them and they realize there's 130 stations and they can take their pick."
On then from segmented programming to the issue of what's suitable to air and the court ruling overturning a Federal Communications Commission indecency ruling related to the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards broadcasts (See RNW Jun 5).
Unsurprisingly some might think editorial comment from leading newspapers has been to favour the court.
The New York Times in its editorial comments, "For years, the F.C.C. had a reasonable, practical approach to live broadcasts. It recognized that coarse language sometimes slips in and if the offensive words were relatively isolated events, stations could carry them without fear of punishment. But in recent years, the F.C.C. decided to go after broadcasters that carry programs with even "fleeting expletives," like Cher's and Ms. Richie's."
It later commented, "One of the commission's rationales was that the expletives could not be separated from their "sexual or excretory" meaning. But the court noted that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have both used the words the commission objected to in public in ways that clearly did not have any 'sexual or excretory' meaning."
It concludes: "The Second Circuit did not need to reach the constitutional issues in the case. But it rightly pointed out that the F.C.C.'s "fleeting expletives" policy also raises serious First Amendment concerns. That suggests that even if the commission tried to improve its reasoning, the policy would still be struck down. The F.C.C. should return to the more reasonable approach it once took to regulating live broadcasts and focus on more important issues than Cher's and Ms. Richie's colourful language."
The Los Angeles Times in its editorial comments: "The court's decision, which dealt with several cases of isolated cusswords, prompted FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin to warn of a "significant impact on our ability to enforce our indecency regime." But it is the FCC that has crossed a line - by arbitrarily redefining its standards and taking an unrealistic view of barnyard epithets whose meanings and conjugations are familiar to most Americans."
It notes the wording used in the past by the FCC when making its rulings - " airing explicit and graphic material that 'dwells on or repeats at length descriptions of sexual or excretory organs or activities' or 'appears to pander or is used to titillate.'"
"That began to change" it continues, "in 2003, after U2 frontman Bono blurted out the "f word" (gerundive form) during a live broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards on NBC. The FCC initially declined to pursue this offence but later reversed itself (under fire from politicians and pressure groups), declaring the word 'one of the most vulgar, graphic and explicit descriptions of sexual activity in the English language.'"
Then coming straight to the point, the paper continues: "At least two of those adjectives are patently false: There are many more graphic and explicit ways to describe the act of sexual congress. More to the point, as the court noted, 'in recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced 'sexual or excretory organs or activities.' "
It concludes: "An interesting public interest argument went unexplored. If politicians use dirty language in public (as both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have), don't the voters have a right to know that? The reality, of course, is that we do know despite the best efforts of the broadcast regulator. The share of media subject to FCC oversight continues to shrink as consumers enjoy more choices in cable, satellite and Internet programming. But the commission may extend its dwindling usefulness by accepting the court's common-sense decision."
Also common sense, one might think, is to get the product right rather than concentrate all the effort on marketing but in his "radiOpinion" blog - which covers a period up to last week - Gary Allyn obviously doesn't think the quality is all that common amongst many in radio management. In one comment, "What are we here for:" he states the obvious that in radio "the first appeal is to the EAR" and then goes on the nub of the issue for a station.
"If you agree with that thought, then one must decide WHOSE 'ear' are we really talking about? Whose 'ear' are we to do the appealing? You, the programmer? You, the air-talent? You, the General Manager? You, the Music Director? Or is it the ear of the listener? In many cases, it's a little of each. This is probably the wrong approach. As I said at the out-set, we're to connect with
the listener's 'ears' in order to communicate our 'product'."
Allyn then goes on to argue that all to often for the past 20-25 years radio has opted for "complicated research methodology, which has been skewed to fit the "corporate" or "company" philosophy. If the ultimate goal is the most listenership, i.e. listeners, then it's that market's listeners who should be "telling" you what THEY want to hear not the other way around!
He then argues that in radio there are too many intangibles for this approach and concludes, "Today, Broadcasting and communication has become too difficult, confusing, and un-necessary for even those in this business to understand. No wonder the poor listener is drowned in a 'sea of mediocrity'. No wonder rating shares are down (along with revenues). No wonder Satellite
Radio is poised for a "golden opportunity" to take over what was once-in Marshall McCluhan's words-a 'Hot Medium'. A medium that has now 'cooled' due to improper management dictates and diluted federal regulation."
In his latest comment Allyn asks "Where Have All The Good Programmers Gone?" and says that today "more than ever, programmers are sitting at home listening to poorly programmed stations, and wishing they could just get their hands on them. Trouble is, radio ownership and/or management don't really want good programmers. They want people with the title of "Program
Director", but they really want people who'll follow the corporate or company policy."
He argues that where programme people have been in control stations have flourished, doing well in ratings and revenue" whereas nowadays most management is from "sales or bottom line thinking. Not programming. He who controls the purse strings, controls the station."
And putting down the breed he later writes, "anyone with more than fifteen minutes in the business knows where our bread is buttered. Sales, revenue, commercials, air time. We know that, AND we know programming too. The reverse, however, isn't necessarily the case. Few sales oriented GM's rarely know programming. There are scores of programmers and Disc Jockies who have become successful time salesmen, but I know of no sales person who has become a programmer. Moral? Time sales is relatively easy, Programming is hard!"
Allyn argues for the good product fist and then the selling, ending up with a quotation: "Jon Bentley once said: 'Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization.'"
Finally taking our cue from Allyn's recognition of the importance of the purse we go to Gillian Reynolds' radio column in the UK Telegraph. Writing in the context of looming BBC budget and staff cuts, she comments, "Unreliable Evidence, Clive Anderson's Wednesday-night programme on Radio 4, is an excellent example of how to have a civilized conversation. Matters of great importance and some subtlety are discussed thoughtfully and in depth. Such programmes are rare, although less rare on radio than on TV. They are, however, likely to get much rarer as the impact of the licence fee settlement is felt across the BBC and those 30 per cent budget cuts are made."
"This round of cuts," she opines, "is going to be bigger than anything BBC radio has faced before. Economies, where they can be made, will help. They won't avert the hard choices ahead. Radio, let me remind you, makes many more programmes for much less money than television. Cuts in radio budgets, therefore, always go deeper. BBC radio is the only consistent supplier of programmes that take time and expertise to produce: drama, documentary, features, discussion programmes
Traditionally, such programmes were made in-house. Over the past two decades, an independent production sector has grown up. Its main market remains BBC radio."
After then detailing some of the content of the programme, Reynolds commented, "Such things don't happen on BBC news programmes, even the most serious (The World Tonight, for instance). There isn't time, the context is different, the spin-doctors are at hand. This was a 45-minute conversation, expertly steered, before which the chairman and producer had thought through the arguments they wished to cover. The participants addressed each one therefore briskly, with candour and from experience, according each other due respect, challenging."
"This," she concludes, "is not the kind of programme that gets a network into the news. Instead, it feeds minds, opens matters up, talks with authority but quietly. If the day ever comes when Radio 4 cannot afford to make or to house such programmes, I shall personally impale on my inky nib whichever director-general brings about such ruin."
After which recommendation where to start this week's listening suggestion but with "Reliable Evidence". - The last of the current series - Reynolds referred to the penultimate programme - will be on the Radio 4 web site until Jun 13.
Sticking with longer BBC documentary programmes we would also suggest "File on 4", which last week features Julian O' Halloran looking at Carbon Trading: The programme argued that the E.U.'s carbon trading plan succeeded in raising electricity prices but failed to cut greenhouse gases because of the base levels set for the companies' carbon emissions as power generators received their allowances free of charge but were allowed to reflect the value of those in increased prices to customers, as if they had actually had to buy the allowances. This week's programme - tomorrow at 19:00 GMT - features Gerry Northam taking a similarly sceptical look at the British government's Private Finance Initiative in which private funding rather than taxpayers money is used for such purposes as new schools and hospitals. The sceptics doubt that the vaunted benefits of the system.
In similar vein we would also suggest Radio 4 on Thursdays for "In our Time" - this week's edition at 08:00 GMT features discussion of Renaissance astrology - and "In Business" that at 20:30 GMT is on the use of the Internet to deliver computer services on demand. Both of these are available as MP3s cum podcasts or streams and last week's programmes - respectively on Siegfried Sassoon and how well-being is becoming a big individual and corporate concern - are available until then.
Preceding "In Business" next Thursday is another worthy half- hour -"Paradise Lost" in which Jonathan Charles tells the story of how to make room for a US air base the British governments expelled the residents of Diego Garcia- some 2,000 people from families that has settled there as long ago as the 18th century- telling lies to make their deportation as "migrant workers" to Mauritius seem legal. The reason was to build an air base for the US and the dishonourable conduct of both governments continues to this day despite various British court rulings on the matter.
Moving from dishonourable governments to a man who certainly was dishonourable, we would recommend yesterday's "Something Understood" from BBC Radio 4.
Entitled "Emerging from the Ruins" it featured Mark Tully considering life after downfall, personal, emotional or financial and included a quite illuminating conversation with jailed former Conservative cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken about his "conversion" in prison to what he considers deep religious belief as opposed to having a "bank manager" view of God beforehand - available, helpful, and someone to visit every so often but no a significant part of life in general.
Also with religion in mind but this time not from the perspective of an individual changing but from those with religious commitments changing the rules for all, yesterday's "Amsterdam Forum" reported on the decision by Holland's coalition government - dominated by Christian parties - deciding to put an end to speedy divorces on the basis that children are better off if their parents are married, a decision that prompted the programme to bring together a panel with diverse views to discuss the pros and cons of the institution of marriage.
Then to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for two programmes in its "All in the Mind" series entitled "Writing in the Brain." The first programme (On May 26 - it will be on the site for another fortnight) - "Into the Silent Land with Paul Broks" had neuropsychologist, playwright and author Dr Paul Broks talking about human conscious selves whilst in the second "Neuroscience and creativity with Sue Woolfe" (On June 2) featured the author talking about her writer's psyche.
Also from the ABC we suggest last Saturday's "Ockham's Razor", which featured Emeritus Professor Roger Rees from Disability and Research at Flinders University discussing the importance of humour for people with disabilities and illnesses.
After that we return to the BBC for a run of weekday programmes starting with BBC Radio 3 and various recordings from last month's Manchester Cello Festival (13:00 GMT today after the "Lunchtime Concert" and then in the same slot at 13:30 GMT) for the rest of the week) and then at 15:00 GMT and hour of the music about which James Naughtie has commented in his "The Making of Music" series on the history of music that airs on BBC Radio 4 at 14:45 GMT in the afternoon (Providing a dilemma as to whether to listen to the music on Radio 3 and then pick up the Radio 4 from the listen again facility or to leave the Cello music early for the commentary to precede the music).
Also from BBC Radio 3 we suggest "Performance on 3" on Wednesday at 18:30 GMT when the re-opening of London's Royal Festival Hall after major refurbishment is marked by a celebratory concert in which 250 musicians will play together for the first time in a programme that explores 300 years of classical music, including a specially commissioned work from British composer Julian Anderson.
Later that evening on BBC Radio 2, the station as part of its "60's Season" airs another "Classic Singles" programme, this one - the first of six in the series - featuring Glen Campbell and songwriter Jimmy Webb discussing the writing and recording of the 1968 hit, "Wichita Lineman".
Also from BBC Radio 2 on Saturday we suggest at 19:00 GMT the second and final programme on "Sgt Peppers 40th Anniversary."
For those who prefer jazz, classical music and drama, BBC Radio 3 that evening has the "BBC Jazz Awards 2007" nominations at 15:00 GMT followed by the "BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize 2007" at 17:30 GMT and in the "Between the Ears" slot at 20:00 GMT "The Sleepover" - Judith Kampfner's drama on Jackson Pollock's domestic world.
Earlier on Saturday BBC Radio 4 has "Speak on the Dotted Line" at 09:30 GMT with impressionist Rory Bremner seeing if he can fool computer technology designed to recognise speakers and verify voices and at 13:30 GMT in the "Afternoon Play" slot, Stephen Poliakoff's modern classic "Breaking the Silence."
And finally for those who prefer documentary in the evening to either of the other BBC choices above "The Archive Hour" on BBC Radio 4 at 19:00GMT has Adam Hart Davies looking at some of the predictions made in the past by scientists, programme-makers and politicians about how future society and technology would develop.
Gary Allyn blog:
Los Angeles Times - FCC indecency editorial:
Mercury News - Kava blog:
New York Times - FCC indecency editorial:
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2007-06-11: Whatever faith the markets may have in the future of GCap Media, its chief executive Ralph Bernard has shown faith in the group by topping up his holding.
The UK Sunday Times in its Directors Deals feature notes that Bernard last week bought some 6,000 shares for around GBP 13,000 and then a further 50,000 shares at 194 pence, taking the total spent to around GBP 110,000 (USD 217,000).
The paper notes that GCap shares slumped 26% after it announced poor results at the end of last month and adds that directors' deals are rate in the group and the purchase is one of the most significant over the past three years.
Previous GCap Media:
UK Sunday Times report:
2007-06-10: Last week the main regulatory stories came from Australia, where digital radio trials were extended, and the US where a court overturned a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 2006 ruling that the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards broadcasts were indecent and profane. The FCC also set the clock ticking on its review of the Sirius-XM application to merge.
In addition there was a steady flow of more routine licensing postings.
In Australia, as noted, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has extended the digital broadcasting trials currently being conducted in Melbourne and Sydney to allow it to gauge the effects of advances in Eureka DAB technology on potential services (See RNW Jun 7).
It has also proposed changes to Hobart's radio services where community service 7THE is being required to vacate its existing site at Mt Nelson. In this connection it is proposing that 7THE swap the FM frequencies on its main and translator services and operate from new sites, at Mt Faulkner and Droughty Hill.
In addition it is proposing that the ABC News Radio service 7PB-AM implement day/night switching using a directional radiation pattern a change that will allow the 7PB service to improve its coverage in the Hobart area during daylight hours without causing interference to other co-channelled AM services at night.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has given the go-ahead to CTVglobemedia Inc.'s takeover of CHUM Limited subject to the divestiture of CHUM's Citytv stations (See RNW Jun 9). It has been also made a number of other radio postings that included (In order of province):
*Approval of application by CAB-K Broadcasting Limited for a 12,000 watts English language commercial Rock/Pop music format FM.
It also issued a public notice concerning various applications with a deadline for comment or intervention of July 10 that included the following radio items:
*Application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited to renew the licence of CHBW-FM. Rocky Mountain House. and its transmitter CHBW-FM-1, Nordegg. The Commission says it appears the licensee may have failed to comply with the requirements regarding the contributions to Canadian content development for 2001 and 2002.
* Application by B.C.I.T. Radio Society to renew the licence of the campus station CFML-FM, Burnaby.
*Application by CKMW Radio Ltd. to renew the licence of the commercial ethnic radio programming undertaking CIAO-FM, Brampton. The Commission says it appears the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to its Canadian talent development contribution for the year 2001.
In the UK, Ofcom had a fairly quiet week as regards radio announcements. It upheld one radio complaint in its latest bulletin (See RNW Jun 6) and issued a further "sampling Report", this time on Isle of Wight Radio. The station was found to be operating within its format and was given a positive report for local programming.
It also announced that it had received two applications for the Herefordshire & Worcestershire local digital radio multiplex licence.
They are from MuxCo Hereford & Worcester whose shareholders are Murfin Media Limited, Town & Country Broadcasting Limited, and MuxCo Limited, each holding a third; and GCap Media's wholly-owned subsidiary Now Digital Limited.
Muxco is offering eight local digital sound programme services, in addition to BBC Hereford & Worcester, although it would commence with only seven. Being offered are:
Wyvern FM - Contemporary Hit Radio from GCap Media plc.
Sunshine 954/1530 - Gold format from Classic Hits Radio Ltd.
Smithy Rock - Classic Rock from Murfin Media Ltd.
Shuffle - Youth service from MuxCo Hereford & Worcester Ltd.
Local Live - Full Service from Town & Country Broadcasting Ltd.
Easy Radio - Easy Listening from Easy Radio Limited.
UCB UK - Religious service from United Christian Broadcasters Ltd.
Traffic Radio - Traffic and Travel from the Highways Agency.
Now Digital Limited is proposing six local digital sound programme services, in addition to BBC Hereford & Worcester They are:
Wyvern FM - Contemporary and Chart Music from GCap Media plc.
Sunshine - Classic Pop from Laser Broadcasting Ltd.
Xfm - Modern Rock from GCap Media plc.
Chill - Chill-out from GCap Media plc.
UCB UK - Religious service from UCB Limited.
Traffic Radio - Local Traffic and Travel from the Highways Agency.
Ofcom is also introducing changes to the way it provide business radio licences and from the end of next month will centralize all licensing. This will now be dealt with by the Ofcom Licensing Centre in London, removing the National Offices in Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast from the process.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has been rebuffed by the courts over its 2006 ruling that the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards broadcasts were indecent and profane (See RNW Jun 5) and has started the clock ticking on its review of the Sirius-XM merger plan (See below).
It has also announced that it is to hold its next localism public hearing in Portland, Maine, on Thursday, June 28.
On the enforcement front it rejected as unsubstantiated complaints from Florida-based lawyer John B. (Jack) Thompson that Beasley Broadcasting had harassed him because of indecency complaints he had made against it (See RNW Jun 7).
In Mississippi it confirmed a USD 7,000 penalty on M.R.S. Ventures, Inc., licensee of WDSK-AM, Cleveland, for failure to enclose its tower within an effective locked fence.
In California, it granted a petition from Southern California Public Radio and denied one from Maranatha Ministries of Hemet in relation to the of vacant FM Channel 273A at Hemet, California for non-commercial educational ("NCE") use.
Southern California had filed a supplement demonstrating that the reservation of Channel 273A at Hemet would provide a first and/or second NCE service to 40,880 persons (30.9 percent) of the total population (132,362 persons) and also California demonstrated that it has reasonable assurance of site availability for its proposed transmitter site,
Regarding Maranatha Ministries' proposed station the FCC said its staff engineering analysis determined that a NCE reservation of vacant Channel 273A at Hemet would provide a first and/or second NCE service to only 2.5 percent of the total population within the 60 dBu contour of Maranatha Ministries' proposed station.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-06-10: The South African government, which has been holding public hearings concerning a subscription licence for a competitor to DStv operator MultiChoice, seems likely to allow international satellite radio operator World Space an exemption from the need for a licence to operate in the country.
A report in the Mail & Guardian profiling the 18 applicants for TV subscription licences notes that the hearings started with WorldSpace SA's withdrawal from the process following a determination from the Minister of Communication Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, who asked Icasa -the country's media and telecommunications regulator "The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa" - to allow WorldSpace to continue broadcasting until a long-term solution to their lack of a licence had been found.
The paper quotes Icasa spokesperson Jubie Matlou as denying that the ministers intervention eroded the agency's independence and adding that WorldSpace is not a true broadcast since it just relays content: It adds that the same applies to some other applicants such as Deukom, who relay German television for German-speaking South Africans.
WorldSpace SA is a wholly owned subsidiary of US parent WorldSpace and South Africa requires applicants for licences to be at least 80% South African-owned.
Mail and Guardian report:
2007-06-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called for comments, which have to be submitted by July 24, on the proposal from Sirius and XM Satellite Radio to merge.
The plan is being strongly opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which is lobbying hard against it and which has produced or sponsored a number of comments opposed to the idea, mainly on the grounds of reduced competition and breach of the conditions that amongst other things forbade a merger under which the two companies' licences were originally granted. It's most recent stunt was a letter from President and CEO David K. Rehr calling on Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin to withdraw the merger proposal (See RNW Jun 8).
The satellite companies, which recently hired a high-powered lobby group (See RNW Jun 6), have by comparison produced only a few groups in support. Sirius and XM claim that other audio sources such as online streams and downloads now provide competition that did not exist when their licences were granted in 1997.
The proposal also needs Justice Department approval with particular reference to whether it would be anti-competitive. The FCC normally aims to complete its reviews within 180 days, which would mean a decision by the end of the year.
2007-06-09: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has given the go-ahead to CTVglobemedia Inc.'s takeover of CHUM Limited subject to the divestiture of CHUM's Citytv stations - CKVU-TV, Vancouver; CKAL-TV, Calgary; CKEM-TV, Edmonton, CHMI-TV, Portage La Prairie/Winnipeg; and CITY-TV and CITY-DT, Toronto.
CTVgm - formerly Bell Globemedia Inc. - controls CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster and the Globe and Mail including 25 analogue TV stations plus two transitional digital TV stations and various specialty TV services but has no radio holdings.
CHUM owns 13 analogue TV stations including the Citytv stations, has interests in 20 specialty TV services four of which it is proposing to divest, and 14 AM and 20 FM radio stations.
Had the deal been allowed unaltered the Commission would have had to grant exceptions to its Common Ownership Policy in relation to the Citytv stations and it did not consider that persuasive arguments had been put forward to allow this.
CTVgm has also said it would divest of CHUM's CBC-affiliated television station CKX-TV, Brandon, ACCESS Alberta - The Educational Station, and CHUM's A-Channel group of conventional television stations if the application were approved. It would also divest of the specialty services known as Canadian Learning Television and Sex-TV: The Channel, as well as the shares currently held in MusiquePlus Inc. The Commission said it took of the view that any or all of these undertakings could be retained at CTVgm's discretion.
CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., said of the decision, "The purpose of this policy is to maintain diversity of voices within the Canadian broadcasting system. Some exceptions to the policy were granted in the past for failing stations in secondary markets. CTVgm asked for the exception using arguments based upon competitive equality and the impact of new media. However, the Commission was not convinced by CTVgm's arguments."
Not all the Commissioners were in favour of requiring the Citytv sale and Commissioners Elizabeth Duncan and Stuart Langford issued notes of dissent on this.
Duncan commented, "I believe CTVgm is the best purchaser of these stations. Currently CTVgm says it is forced by U.S. program suppliers to purchase more programming then it can air. Purchasing the Citytv stations would allow CTVgm to better spend its programming dollars increasing the efficiency of both CTVgm and the Citytv stations. Instead of purchasing surplus programming that sits on a shelf, these funds would be directed towards the purchase of programming for Citytv. I can not think of a potential purchaser that would be able to capitalize on this economy of scale."
"CTVgm," she added, "committed to revitalize the Citytv stations and to restore their original programming philosophy. CTVgm also committed to developing a truly distinct service - one that would appeal to a younger urban audience. Viewers would have benefited from true diversity. I am concerned that another purchaser will find itself in the same position as CHUM. As we heard during this process, even CHUM's flagship station CITY-TV Toronto was forced to compromise its original programming objectives and air middle of the road programming in order to shore up the financial situation at CHUM's television operations."
Langford in similar vein said that by refusing to allow the Citytv purchase the majority had "fettered its discretion unnecessarily by adopting an overly rigid interpretation of a Commission policy directive rather than relying upon the far more flexible approach made available to it by Parliament" and added that in its application "used its imagination and, in my view, devised a different but equally acceptable means of attaining the "diversity of voices" goal in the Act."
Previous CTVglobemedia/Bell Globemedia:
Previous von Finckenstein:
2007-06-09: Lincoln Financial Group has hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to advise it on options including a sale of its media business, Lincoln Financial Media, which owns and operates three television stations, 18 radio stations, and the Lincoln Financial Sports production and syndication business; and Lincoln UK.
In its announcement the company said there should be no assumption that the review would "result in any type of transaction" and added that it would be saying nothing further "until and unless a definitive course of action is reached."
The company's chairman and CEO Jon A. Boscia said in a release, "Lincoln Financial Media is a well run business unit and widely respected within the broadcast industry. As we begin our evaluation of strategic options for this business we look forward to determining a favourable course of action to benefit our key stakeholders."
Rumours of a possible sale of the media arm, which includes the Jefferson Pilot Communications' stations that Lincoln acquired when it took over the latter's parent Jefferson-Pilot Corporation in 2005 (See RNW Oct 11, 2005), were current in April at which time the Wall Street Journal estimated the value of Lincoln Financial Media at around USD 1.5 billion.
Previous Lincoln Financial:
2007-06-09: An Italian court has overturned the 2005 convictions of two former Vatican Radio officials who were found guilty of polluting the atmosphere through electromagnetic emissions from Vatican Radio's transmission complex at Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome (See RNW May 10, 2005).
Cardinal Roberto Tucci, former president of Vatican Radio's management committee, and Jesuit Father Pasquale Borgomeo, formerly the general director had been given suspended prison sentences but the Rome appellate court overturned the conviction.
Catholic News quoted Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, general director of Vatican Radio and head of the Vatican press office, as saying the management naturally was pleased with the ruling.
"It restores our faith in Italian justice," he said, because Vatican Radio has "always been convinced we were acting responsibly both from the point of view of respecting the law as well as respecting the good and the health of everyone, beginning with the Vatican Radio workers and the nearby population."
Catholic News says a group of local residents and environmental groups already have announced they will appeal the decision to the Italian Supreme Court, and that a separate civil procedure claiming Vatican Radio damaged the health of local residents is to continue.
Lombardi added in relation to this that what was most important was "not the absolution ... but truly establishing the facts. We always have been careful to observe the most serious precautionary norms in our activity."
Previous Vatican Radio:
Catholic News report:
2007-06-08: In the latest act of the National Association of Broadcasters' campaign against the proposed Sirius-XM merger its President and CEO David Rehr has written to Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin asking him to withdraw the application for what he terms the "proposed government-sanctioned monopoly of XM and Sirius."
Rehr starts off the latter with a sentence that makes it clear the suggestion is intended simply as propaganda and is not a serious proposal, writing that he was disappointed to hear Karmazin refer to NAB's lobbying against the merger as "disgraceful".
He then pontificates about the good NAB's members have done before continuing to say, "Your indictment of NAB's advocacy efforts is misguided." He then defends NAB's efforts saying that it freely admits hiring experts who said the merger would harm consumers and competition but noting that many others have come to the same conclusions independently and then goes on to attack Sirius's supporters.
" a careful reading of the few comments filed by organizations in favour of the merger", writes Rehr, "reveals that such support is largely based on empty promises. For example, Sirius and XM have apparently pledge to offer more programming opportunities to particular ethnic groups post-merger. However, no mention is made of the structural obstacles of Sirius and XM that will hinder if not totally prevent them from fulfilling these promises."
In relation to this, he refers to the use of incompatible systems that means the satellite companies cannot add channels to offer a "best of both" deal without dropping some existing channels, thus meaning that they cannot free up channels for niche programming while keeping promises to continue protect existing programming.
Rehr also derides suggestions that satellite rates will decrease post-merger, saying that many of the costs of the companies will be "fixed for many years given their huge sunk costs in satellites and long term contracts with Stern, NASCAR, and the like."
The proposed merger, Rehr concludes, " is simply a request for a government bailout for operational and financial missteps that have depressed stock prices and in turn, investors."
"Any gains resulting from a merger of Sirius and XM," he continues, "will largely accrue to Wall Street and the companies executives and not Africa American, Latino or other programmers or consumers. Accordingly we respectfully urge Sirius and XM to withdraw their application in the best interest of consumers and competition."
2007-06-08: According to a C-Net report, Sound Exchange, the body tasked with collecting performance royalties for US recording companies, the fees set by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board that are due to come into effect on July 15 unless legislators override the board, could potentially mean payments of USD 1 billion a year from three services for administrative fees - a sum that compares with a total of USD 20 million collected by the body for Internet royalties last year.
CNet says the amount was calculated by the companies, who are lobbying against the new rates, on the basis of the effect of a minimum annual fee of USD 500 per Internet radio "channel" on Yahoo, RealNetworks and Pandora and cited in a letter distributed to various Capitol Hill offices on Thursday from the CEO's of the three companies plus Live365.
The companies offer many streams - more than 400,000 on RealNetworks' Rhapsody last year - and the companies say that they would have to multiply the annual minimum fee accordingly.
CNet says it was told by RealNetworks spokesman Matt Graves "While we don't imagine SoundExchange would keep this $1 billion all to itself, this lack of clarity is absurd." SoundExchange did not respond to requests for comment it adds.
RNW comment: If the wording as laid down could even permit this, it seems to us the webcasters are a pretty dumb lot not pushing this point earlier.
At the same time our view is that such rates mean that lawmakers would be entitled to view the whole proceedings of the CRB as incompetent and inept and if so should then hold hearings to find out how the sum was determined, particularly if there was any input from SoundExchange.
In any case we feel that if SoundExchange is even remotely efficient a reasonable maximum would be 50 dollar maximum per stream (all those concerned have to be online and thus the process can be automated - maybe it should be contracted out to Pay Pal) and 250 dollar maximum per organization unless there are specific unusual features in a aprticular case. In such a case, SoundExchange should be allowed to apply for an extra amount on a case by case basis and have to bear all the cost of doing so, thus giving it an incentive to negotiate reasonable and set up efficient systems.
In addition lawmakers should re-institute the current rates until at least the start of next year, remove any issue of back-payments and set up hearings to review the whole agreement making it clear to all concerned that attempt to be greedy or miserly are likely to result in significant extra scrutiny and requirement for line-by-line justification.
2007-06-08: Award-winning British film director Ken Loach will make his radio debut with a BBC Radio 3 documentary about the north-western British holiday resort of Blackpool later this month.
70-year-old Loach- winner of last year's Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for "The Wind that Shakes" is best known in the UK for his 1965 TV programme "Cathy Comes Home" about the problems of the homeless and the 1969 award-winning cinema movie "Kes" - the story pf young, English working-class boy spends his free time caring for and training his pet falcon.
His documentary "Blackpool - The Greatest Show Town" will be broadcast on June 23 by Radio 3 in its "Between the Ears" series whose summer season begins the previous Saturday (20:00 GMT) with Judith Kampfner's "The Sleepover" that explores Jackson Pollock's domestic world and ends on August 4.
In it he will take a nostalgic look at the seaside resort of his childhood holidays, recalling its peak period of the 40s and meeting people who like him went on holiday there and those who worked in its theatres. Amongst acts that will be discussed are those of many comedians who worked in the resort including George Formby, Jewell and Wariss, Norman Evans, Arthur Lucan, and Tessie O'Shea.
Commenting on the programme Loach said, "My earliest memories of theatre are from the music halls and theatres in Blackpool. The programme will be a mixture of my memories and songs from the time."
Radio 3 Head of Speech Abigail Appleton added, "Radio 3 has a strong track record in attracting major artists from other creative fields to work in radio and we're delighted that Ken Loach has chosen to make his first radio programme for this series.
"At a time when so much creative innovation comes from crossing artistic boundaries we hope Between The Ears offers both artists and audiences some memorable adventures in radio."
Other programmes coming up in Between The Ears include Sleepover, Judith Kampfner's personal account of a night spent alone in Jackson Pollock's Long Island studio, and Communicating Underwater in which classically-trained musician Lisa Walker takes her music out onto Pacific waters to collaborate with the musicians of the underwater world - humpback whales."
2007-06-08: Arbitron says that listening to US terrestrial station streams recorded by its diary keepers in 30 markets in Fall 2006 showed a significant increase on Spring 2006 figures but was still miniscule.
In all in the entries showed listening up from 4,684 unweighted quarter-hours in the Spring survey to 20,331 unweighted quarter-hours in the Fall one.
Arbitron notes that the increase in entries coincided with implementation of new diary instructions (effective Fall 2006) that identify Internet and satellite radio as sources of listening for respondents to note in their diary in addition to AM/FM radio.
It adds that the listening was less than 1% of that to terrestrial stations in the markets for the period and that the dairy keepers who recorded Internet listening tended to be "older, male and Other (not black, not Hispanic)."
Two-thirds on the quarter-hours where a station stream was identified the station concerned was that of a local station and that nearly four fifths also reported listening to the station over the air. It also noted that those recording Internet listening tended to identify stations by call letters more than frequency.
2007-06-08: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (CSR) has announced that Stephen Tapp, president and chief operating officer of XM Canada, which distributes the XM service in the country, will be leaving the company on June 15, 2007 to pursue other opportunities.
In a news release, CSR chairman and CEO John Bitove thanked Tapp for his "contributions during our major milestones including the licensing, creation of our programming line-up, launch of our service, development of our studios, build-out of our repeater network and our launch" and added that his "skills in business start-up ensured that XM Canada was launched successfully."
Tapp commented, "This has been one of the greatest adventures of my career and as my fourth start-up project, it was one that I truly enjoyed. Now that we have successfully launched the business, it is my time to move on to new media projects of my own."
Previous XM Canada:
2007-06-07: Auction giant eBay has begun offering offer radio advertising on its Media Marketplace, a move that allows it to compete with Google's Audio Ads service that it developed after purchasing dMarc in January last year (See RNW Jan 18, 2006)
The new service employs Bid4Spots technology - in use by the Encino, California, company for weekly auctions of radio adverts since 2005 - to broker the spots and EBay says it will make "prime" inventory available from more than 2,300 US radio stations.
It is listing Clear Channel as among station owners who are taking part.
eBay launched its Media Marketplace for cable TV adverts in March in conjunction with a consortium of major advertisers but it has had comparatively little success in this form.
Under the Bid4Spots "reverse auction" system, advertisers say what they are prepared to pay for spots and radio stations with available airtime can then bid for the business. The eBay service will function by allowing advertisers to create auctions on Media Marketplace and registered radio stations can then make their offers. The Bid4 Spots service will continue and advertisers can choose to remain with it.
Google's service has a head start with its service. Its customers also include Clear Channel with whom it struck a deal in April and it also offers adverts for satellite channels on EchoStar's Dish network.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-06-07: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has extended the Eureka 147 DAB trials currently conducted in the country to allow for testing of advances including the introduction of the more advanced AAC+ coding rather than MP2 that was used in the original DAB system.
The Melbourne trial- being conducted by Broadcast Australia- has been extended until 30 June 2008 and the Sydney trial being conducted by Commercial Radio Australia until 31 December 2008.
Giles Tanner, General Manager of ACMA's Inputs to Industry Division, said of the extension, "Information gathered in relation to the digital radio trials has been important in informing the development of the Australian Government's digital radio policy. The extension of the trials will enable the testing of recent technological advancements which, if successful, will allow for significantly improved spectrum efficiency and quality of sound. These trials will provide further valuable information for both government and industry."
The trials are using VHF Band III spectrum and began in Melbourne in November 2003 and in Sydney in November 2004 and this spectrum has been earmarked for digital radio use with permanent services due to start in January 2009.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has said it hopes to expand its radio and TV networks through the introduction of digital broadcasting with proposals including a doubling of its radio networks.
Managing Director Mark Scott commented that the fragmentation of the media market through new technology like podcasting, is putting pressure on the commercial media sector to survive and said the ABC had the advantage of a product that people could trust.
"That source of unimpeachable news that's independent, that's impartial, that's credible, that people can turn to," he said. I think there are real advantages because if there's so much media out there now, rather than relatively few choices, I think the question will still be 'who do I believe, who do I trust, who can I rely on to tell the truth'."
Previous ABC, Australia:
2007-06-07: Arbitron has announced that it has retained former US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) president and CEO Gary Fries to provide it with insights and recommendations about the needs of radio station owners and operators in smaller markets.
Among his early duties will be facilitating a meeting between Arbitron and small market customers at an Owner Operator Caucus to be held in Chicago on June 20th in addition to which he and Arbitron will host a variety of "town-hall meetings" where small market broadcasters will be encouraged to share their needs.
Announcing the appointment, Arbitron's president of sales and marketing Pierre Bouvard said, "Gary Fries is the perfect choice for helping Arbitron understand the needs of small market broadcasters. "His advice was invaluable while he was a member of Arbitron's Radio Advisory Council and we look forward to hearing his straightforward advice about small markets."
2007-06-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied a complaint of harassment against Beasley Broadcasting by Coral Gables. Florida-based lawyer John B. (Jack) Thompson, commenting that Thompson "has failed to present evidence sufficient to demonstrate that Beasley has engaged in intimidation or abuse" and ruling that his "allegations are therefore without merit."
Thompson, who has campaigned against broadcast "indecency" for more than a decade, gained national publicity in 2004 when complaints he filed against Howard Stern, then under contract to Infinity (now CBS Radio) resulted in a record USD 500,000 fine against Clear Channel, which had aired his syndicated show but subsequently cancelled it (See RNW Apr 4, 2004).
He launched complaints against other broadcasters including Beasley against whom a fine of USD 55,000 was levied over a broadcast on its WQAM-AM that included graphic descriptions of rape, sodomy and child molestation during the now-defunct Scott Ferrall Show (See RNW Nov 24, 2004).
Thompson alleged that following this Beasley "engaged in threats, abuse and intimidation against him in retaliation for filing these complaints."
In its ruling, the FCC notes that Thompson's complaints have to be viewed in the light of his own conduct - he has characterized Beasley as a "criminal enterprise" - thus meaning that there "are legitimate reasons other than impermissible retaliation" for lawsuits filed against him by Beasley's counsel.
2007-06-06: US radio revenues for April were up 2% on a year earlier, boosted by a 16% rise in non-spot revenues according to the latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Within the figures, local revenues and national revenues were each up 1% as was the combined local and national figure.
Previous RAB & RAB revenue figures (March & Q1):
2007-06-06: British media regulator Ofcom has come under attack for its attitude to radio regulation at the Westminster Media Forum event on the future of radio.
Amongst those on the attack was RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison who said proposals outlined by Ofcom's director of radio and multimedia Peter Davies were little more than tinkering with the current regulations.
Ofcom is proposing to significantly reduce the amount of locally-produced programming that smaller stations but the UK Guardian quoted Harrison as saying its proposals are "half hearted and insufficient ... [Ofcom] needs to go much further, be more imaginative and more flexible It has far more room for manoeuvre than it is proposing to take."
Harrison also wanted the removal of radio-specific ownership regulation and said the move to digital was "costly and will put many stations further into the red We are having to run fast to stand still with an analogue business model in a digital age. We urgently need a new business model."
Davies had said that 40% of local stations were losing money with small stations hard hit and commented, "A number of local analogue stations may not be sustainable in the long term. It may mean accepting a reduced amount of local provision rather than no local provision at all. Regulation is only one part of the mix but relaxing regulation may help and we will do what we can."
Also attacking Ofcom was UKRD Chief executive William Rogers who described Ofcom's approach as inflexible and said it had resulted in the closure of two stations including his company's Star Radio in Stroud, whose licence was handed back last year, the first licence ever so surrendered (See RNW Sep 23, 2006).
Ofcom, he said, had a "Nero approach to regulating commercial radio - fiddling at the edges while the sector singes and in some cases burns".
"Ofcom simply fails to grasp that the present regulatory regime is part of the problem and the problem exists now," he said. "The licence need not have been handed back. We presented a proposal that would have increased local content and secured the future of the station. They could have been responded by being flexible, but they chose not to act and the closure of the station resulted."
Davies promised that Ofcom would listen to commercial radio representations but said that matters of ownership rules were for parliament not the regulator.
"The future for radio is very positive if you invest in innovation," said Davies. "If stations want to be local that is great. If they don't then they can hand back their licence and we can do something different. Operators are still queuing up for local licences."
UK Guardian on Radio Centre comments:
UK Guardian on UKRD attack
2007-06-06: Sirius and XM satellite radio have hired high-profile public affairs firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates LLC to lobby on behalf of their proposed merger according to a federal disclosure form that was filed on Tuesday.
The Washington Post in an Associated Press article notes that Quinn Gillespie was founded by Jack Quinn, who served as counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1997, and Ed Gillespie, a Republican Party strategist who served as the Republican National Committee chairman during the 2004 election cycle.
Others mentioned in the disclosure according to the report include Jeff Connaughton, who worked as special assistant to the counsel to President Clinton in 1994 to 1995; Kevin D. Kayes, who most recently served as chief counsel to Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid; Allison Giles, who served as chief of staff to the House Ways and Means Committee under then Chairman Californian Republican Bill Thomas; Elizabeth Hogan, who worked as special assistant to the Commerce Department; and, Christopher McCannell, who was chief of staff to New York Democrat Rep. Joseph Crowley.
RNW comment: Apart from any matters of principle we rather think it is a little late for the companies to be hiring lobbyists.
We also suspect that in terms of pressure the fact that there are radio stations in every lawmaker's constituency rather tilts the playing field towards the lobbying against the merger from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Washington Post/AP report:
2007-06-06: A DJ at The Local Radio Company's Portsmouth station The Quay has quit her GBP 15,000 (USD 30,000) a year job so that she can watch the TV programme Big Brother according to UK tabloid newspapers the Sun and Daily Express.
The later quoted Hannah Clarkson as saying, "You're supposed to enjoy the summer months and I just got fed up with the thought of working while Big Brother is on telly 24/7. It is the best programme around and I cannot bear to be without it. My career can wait a few months."
Regarding the attitudes of others she commented, "Loads of people pretend they do not like it but watch it anyway. I'm not ashamed to admit I am obsessed with it. All my friends think I am incredibly sad but they will be coming to me asking me what is going on - I can guarantee it."
Her boss Sam Matterface, who had refused her time off, said, "It is an absolute disgrace. I don't understand why anyone would give up their career to sit in front of the TV for three months. Especially to watch a load of mindless idiots who everyone will forget about after the summer. Hannah was one of our longest- serving DJs and she will be hard to replace but if that is her attitude then so be it."
Reactions posted by Sun readers ranged from the technological - "Anyone ever heard of a personal video recorder?" to the condemnatory "What an absolute LOOOOSER."
And the final word from Hannah, who according to the Express has kitted out her front room with Big Brother memorabilia and stocked up on snacks to keep going through the marathon: "None of my friends are having birthdays so that means I have no reason to go out. Luckily I have a bit of money put away so I do not need to worry about that side of things . I would love to go on there myself but I do not think I could put up with the thought of not being able to watch it."
RNW query: So is this just a stunt? If so it has gained the station publicity.
Also leaving The Local Radio Company is its Northwest Regional Managing Director Mark Matthews, who is to join GMG Radio as Group Head of Presentation.
Matthews was managing director of Burnley & Pendle station 2BR 99.8 FM until the station was bought by the Local Radio Company in 2004
Previous GMG Radio:
Previous Local Radio Company:
Daily Express report:
2007-06-06: Bridge Ratings and Ando Media have announced an agreement that will allow the former to offer
Ando's three Internet Radio products - advert injection service "Ad Injector"; audience measurement system "Webcast Metrics"; and podcast listening measurement service "Podloc" - through its new division "Net Radio Data".
Commenting on the agreement in a release, Bridge Ratings President & CEO Dave Van Dyke commented, "We've wanted to offer Internet Radio metrics for a while and Internet radio needs credibility for sales campaigns and audience trending. The power of the Internet is its ability to measure impressions and our research has shown that Internet Radio will continue to offer ever-widening audiences for advertisers and programmers alike."
He added, "Ando's products are the most reliable I've seen. It'll be a pleasure to offer Internet Radio clients of all sizes the ability to have real-time measurement of their Internet Radio audiences."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Previous van Dyke:
2007-06-06: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest broadcast bulletin has upheld just one complaint against radio: It concerned an advert for the City and County of Swansea on Swansea Sound.
The advert, about the transfer of council tenants to a new housing organization, required approval for broadcast by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC), and a complainant said this had not been obtained.
Swansea Sound admitted that it had not sought RACC clearance but added that the advertising agency concerned had told it that "the legal department in Swansea Council had already vetted and cleared the advertisement" and gave assurances that it would seek RACC clearance for any future advertising by a Council.
Ofcom noted the assurances but also that the broadcaster was responsible for the clearance and upheld the complaint.
As well as the radio complaints upheld, Ofcom upheld two standards complaints against TV- one involving a sanction against Channel 4 TV over Big Brother, considered another resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and gave details of another not upheld. It also gave details of a TV fairness and privacy complaint against TV not upheld.
In addition, the bulletin also lists with no details a further 156 TV complaints involving 111 items and 26 radio complaints involving 20 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 270 TV complaints involving 222 items and 30 radio complaints involving 30 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Broadcasting bulletin:
2007-06-05: The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has overruled the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 2006 ruling that the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards broadcasts were indecent and profane, terming the Commission "arbitrary and capricious" for the way it changed its standards on indecency.
The court, in a divided decision, sent the issue back to the Commission for further proceedings to clarify its indecency policies: The FCC, which is still studying the decision, says it may appeal and both its chairman Kevin J. Martin and Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps issued statements expressing disappointment about the decision.
Copps in a brief statement said the ruling was "disappointing to me and to millions of parents and concerned citizens across the land. But it doesn't change the FCC's legal obligation to enforce the indecency statute. So any broadcaster who sees this decision as a green light to send more gratuitous sex and violence into our homes would be making a huge mistake. The FCC has a duty to find a way to breathe life into the laws that protect our kids. That may entail an appeal of this decision. Certainly it includes strong enforcement action of the many indecency complaints before us that are untouched by today's decision. Enforcing the laws against indecency, profanity and obscenity must remain a Commission priority-America's families and children expect and deserve no less."
Martin in his statement cut right to the chase at the start, writing, "Today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the use of the words 'fuck' and 'shit' by Cher and Nicole Richie was not indecent. I completely disagree with the Court's ruling and am disappointed for American families. I find it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that "shit" and "fuck" are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience. "
He then continued, "The court even says the Commission is 'divorced from reality.' It is the New York court, not the Commission, that is divorced from reality in concluding that the word 'fuck' does not invoke a sexual connotation."
Regarding comments in the ruling in relation to blocking technology he added, "Ironically, the court implies that the existence of blocking technologies is one reason the FCC shouldn't be so concerned. But even a vigilant parent using current blocking technologies such as the V-Chip couldn't have avoided this language, because they rely on the program's rating, and in this case the programs were rated appropriate for family viewing. If ever there was an appropriate time for Commission action, this was it. If we can't restrict the use of the words 'fuck' and 'shit' during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want. "
He also lists the text of the relevant passages.
During the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, Cher commented: "I've had unbelievable support in my life, and I've worked really hard. I've had great people to work with. Oh, yeah, you know what? I've also had critics for the last 40 years saying that I was on my way out every year. Right. So fuck 'em. I still have a job and they don't."
The following year during an exchange between Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie, the latter - after being told by Hilton "This is a live show, watch the bad language" - said, "Yeah, instead of standing in mud and [audio blocked]. Why do they even call it 'The Simple Life?' Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple."
Martin goes on to suggest that giving more choice in the channels they receive - the Billboard ceremonies were carried by Fox and it was joined in its appeal by ABC, NBC, and CBS and the ruling also related to the use of expletives on "N.Y.P.D. Blue," and a comment on "The Early Show" by a contestant on CBS's reality show "Survivor." - could be a solution since an a la carte system would provide consumers with the choice of what they felt appropriate and avoid First Amendment Concerns about content regulation.
RNW comment: Much of the issue here has seemed to us all along to be the wording used by the FCC in relation to its definitions of indecency and as we have commented a number of times, it seemed to us that the Networks had a strong case on this basis, irrespective of any feelings about what should be permitted.
The FCC had not imposed any financial penalties in the cases involved but the principle that rulings should be made according to published criteria was and remains important. It seems to us that the logic here is that the FCC should get its rules set down clearly - and in wording the courts will accept - and then enforce them. It should not because of controversy and a change in public attitudes change the way in which it applies regulations it has set down so as to create penalties when the wording suggests they are not applicable.
2007-06-05: The New Wave Media start-up that was launched by former Radio Forth managing director Adam Findlay and his father, SMG chairman Richard Findlay, has pulled out of deals to purchase Wave 102, Dundee, from UTV and Kingdom FM, Fife, according to the Sunday Herald.
The paper says that the Kingdom deal is said to have fallen through because of valuation - the two sides were said to be some GBP 1 million (USD 2 million) apart on the issue - and that for Wave over the time that it was taking to do a deal.
The Wave deal says the paper had been under negotiation for several months during which it collapsed and was then revived and it quoted Adam Findlay as saying, "We continue to have a good relationship with UTV and are disappointed that both parties haven't managed to conclude this deal. We remain very interested in Wave 102 and open to buying it in future."
The paper also reports an attack by Billy Anderson, the managing director of GMG Radio Scotland, on plans by CanWest for its Original FM station in Aberdeen.
GMG, which owns Real Radio, was defeated by CanWest in the bidding for the licence (See RNW Jan 12), and Anderson told the paper that running a 24-7 local news service would be very expensive for majority owner CanWest and not possible with only five journalists.
"How will they sustain that?" he asked. "It's a huge cost. We provide a similar service at Real and we have 15 journalists. It isn't as if it can rely on its sister station, which is in Bristol."
Original says the service is "entirely deliverable".
Previous GMG Radio:
Previous Richard Findlay:
Sunday Herald report:
2007-06-05: WorldSpace has announced the successful refinancing of its USD 155 million in convertible notes, for which it redeemed USD 50 million of the existing notes for cash and issued new notes and warrants in exchange for the remaining existing convertible notes.
The refinancing eliminated the right of the note holders to require WorldSpace to redeem the existing convertible notes on December 30, 2007. The notes remaining after the cash redemption were exchanged for USD 45 million in senior secured notes paying interest at LIBOR plus 6.5% per annum (with repayments due of USD 27.5 million on the first anniversary of issuance and USD 17.5 million on the third anniversary of issuance); USD 60 million in amended and restated secured convertible notes paying interest at 8% per annum (With repayments due on the third anniversary of issuance and convertible into shares of Class A Common Stock at USD 4.25 per share); and warrants to acquire an aggregate amount of 2,647,059 shares of Class A Common Stock at USD 4.25 per share.
The senior notes held a first priority lien on the assets of WorldSpace but the new convertible notes hold a second priority lien. .
Chairman and CEO Noah Samara said of the completion of the deal on June 1, "We now have the runway to execute our streamlined 2007 plan. The Company is determined to make the most of our opportunities, particularly in Europe, where we continue to focus on readying the Italian business, and India, and hope to return to the markets with significant business achievements."
2007-06-04: Last week various scenarios concerning the future of radio caught our eye, one to do with technology and the way it could change things and the other to do with people and the way they may already be changing things.
The first came from Mark Ramsey of Hear 2.0 following the announcement that CBS was buying Last.fm for USD 280 million. He begins by noting the Los Angeles Times description of Last.fm as a "social network built around musical tastes "but then says that "what it really is personalized online radio. It's radio that learns what you like and gets better - for you personally."
Building on this Ramsey speculated: "Fast-forward two years and you'll see Last.fm integrated in all of CBS's radio websites which, for the first time, will enable customized versions of the analogue stations you love - and whatever else your heart desires. Stations that could ultimately be available via mobile technologies. Stations that could theoretically include advertising...It is inevitable that radio - or aspects of radio - will become personalized."
He then emphasizes that this is all theoretical but says it's where he thinks things are heading with the result that "Instantly, the value of a huge "variety" of channels or stations will be obliterated. Because ultimately nobody wants a hundred diverse channels or stations. They want THEIR one or two or three diverse channels or stations."
And if he's right, he concludes, its "Bad news for HD. Bad news for satellite. And bad news for you if you expect your station's future to be strictly tied to terrestrial broadcast."
Last.fm, at the moment anyway, is of course primarily for a younger demographic, whereas populations in most of the Western world are aging and this it would appear could be having its effects on listening according to Kent Burkhart on his blog.
Commenting on reports about strong ratings for National Public Radio, Burkhart comments, "Twenty years ago I would not have given public radio a chance to compete with their commercial brothers/sisters. However, a lot of things have changed in twenty years which might benefit public radio listenership.
1. As listeners become older they are inclined to be more interested in current events and historical items such as public radio broadcasts.
2. As listeners grow older they seem to not like as many on air contests or promotional hype.
3. As listeners grow older they like a reduced announcers pace and pitch. Instead they like a more informative personality.
He then goes on to comment more on NPR and now listening frequently, adding, "They really are doing a really nice job particularly with the back ground sounds creating the REAL environment of an interview/subject, something that terrestrial radio doesn't have time to do because of our brevity of news reports."
After radio of the future, back to radio of the present and first from Denver Westword the story of a host who seems rather sensitive about his own "image" and insensitive about the reactions of others to crass comments.
Under the title "Post-Imus Radio", Michael Roberts tells the tale of the reaction of Craig Silverman of Clear Channel's KHOW-AM to objections made by a 63-years-old child provider Kitty Stark to an "offhand joke about "Vietnamese hookers" from the host.
She and Roberts, it would appear got under Silverman's skin to the extent that after a phone interview in which he spent "several heated minutes fulminating about Stark, whom he charged with calling him a liar, among other things" on the following day Silverman "spent more than an hour ardently expanding upon these points and expressing exasperation that he'd been put in the position of responding to what he saw as 'a big nothing'."
Roberts uses the incident to illustrate a point relating to the effect of political atmosphere and campaigns on hosts, in this case a campaign by ProgressNow Action against another Clear Channel host - Bob Newman of KOA-AM for suggesting that "every Muslim immigrant to America who holds a green card, a visa, or who is a naturalized citizen [should] be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times" to prevent prospective terrorist activities.
Other organizations including local offices of the Anti-Defamation League, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Friends Service Committee had already condemned the remarks but ProgressNow Action went in harder. They monitored the broadcast and noted a list of eleven advertisers then sent out an email to 6,000 of their most active members requesting that they contact the businesses to make their displeasure known.
Of them, reports Roberts, at least four have asked that their adverts not be aired during Newman's programme and the host, who had at first responded to condemnations in typically combative fashion has now gone silent about the matter and posted a "non-apology" saying the intention was not to offend.
Another host - Jay Marvin who works for Clear Channel's "progressive talk" station AM-760 - had raised the issue but had now dropped the subject although he says this was not under instructions from management and praised Kris Olinger, head of AM programming for Clear Channel-Denver, for defending Newman.
Then a note of caution about non-profits from Rebecca Walsh of the Salt Lake Tribune about the meaning of the term that reminds us of a colleague who once commented of a British organization that no wonder it had retained no profits in view of what it paid its top staff.
The comment, it would seem, could also apply various people in Salt Lake City including Blair Feulner, who launched community radio station KPCW-FM 27 years ago with the help of just USD 8,000 and a free room in City Hall.
For the first nine years, reports Walsh, Feulner took only an "ash and sackcloth" USD 13,000 a year [RNW note - the average teacher's salary in the US in 1987, towards the end of this low pay period, was just above USD 26,000 a year] but later "Feulner and his wife eventually were bumped to six-figure salaries" and "when the station sold an unused Coalville radio license for USD 3.6 million three years ago, the Feulners collected a 'finder's fee' of USD 895,000."
Last year says the paper, the stations reported a USD 600,000 loss but Feulner took home a salary of USD 180,000 [RNW note: US census figures for 2005 indicate a US median household income in 2005 of just above USD 46,000 and that the bottom fifth of households had an income of less than USD 20,000].
And finally an Op-Ed in the New York Times from Federal Communications Commissioner Michael J. Copps. In it he adopts the point of view he has frequently enunciated about the nature of media - "Too much "if it bleeds it leads" on the evening news and not enough real coverage of local issues. Too little high-quality entertainment and too many people eating bugs."
From what is being done he moves on to what he thinks ought to be, commenting, "Using the public airwaves is a privilege - a lucrative one - not a right, and I fear the F.C.C. has not done enough to stand up for the public interest. Our policies should reward broadcasters that honour their pledge to serve that interest and penalize those that don't."
That, he comments, could be done albeit it isn't being: "The F.C.C. already has powerful leverage to hold broadcasters to their end of the bargain. Every eight years, broadcasters must prove that they have served the public interest in order to get license renewal. If they can't, the license goes to someone else who will. It's a tough but fair system - if the commission does its job. ..The problem is that, under pressure from media conglomerates, previous commissions have eviscerated the renewal process. Now we have what big broadcasters lovingly call "postcard renewal" - the agency typically rubber-stamps an application without any substantive review. Denials on public interest grounds are extraordinarily rare."
Copps goes on to note criteria for renewal that the FCC considered but did not take action about and ends up by commenting on one statistic from TV - that "only about 8 percent of local TV newscasts in the month before the last presidential election contained any coverage whatsoever of local races, including those for the House of Representatives."
And now listening suggestions starting with BBC Radio 2 from Saturday and the first part of a two-part Sgt Peppers 40th Anniversary - the second part is to air on Saturday 16 June from 19:00-20:00 GMT.
BBC Radio 4 at 14:30 GMT is also marking the anniversary, this time in its weekday "Afternoon Reading" slot that this week is filled with short stories by writers with Liverpudlian connections, each of whom takes the title of a track from the album as inspiration.
Also from BBC Radio 2 is another anniversary report in the form of a special edition of "The Music Club" at 22:30 GMT tonight. This programme marks the 30th anniversary of Bob Marley's "Exodus" and includes Simon Mayo talking to Island Records' Chris Blackwell about the making of the album.
And to complete a trio from the station we suggest tomorrow at 21:30 GMT and "Mr Simon's Big Trip" that looks at Paul Simon's gap year bumming around England and playing tiny folk club venues. After the period he went back to the US where he and Art Garfunkel had a hit on their hands with "The Sounds of Silence".
After that we move to a two-channel suggestion from BBC Radio's 4 and 3. The former is "The Making of Music" series on Radio 4 at 14:45 GMT weekdays - a 60 part series hosted by James Naughtie that chronicles the historical influences that affected the course of classical music.
It's tied in to Radio 3, which at 15:00 GMT broadcasts under the same title an hour of music referred to in the Radio 4 programme that preceded it.
Then we suggest last week's "On the Media" from WNYC - one of our regular stops that last week had a strong programme including a look at the Six Day War of 1967 in which Israel overwhelmed Arab armies but then started its policy of settlement on occupied land.
Other reports included comment from former State Department media affairs director Price Floyd who quit in protest at efforts being made under Bush protégé Karen Hughes to sell American Policies, a practice that Price thought misguided.
It also had historian David Everitt commenting on the broadcast blacklist, a lesser-known companion to the Hollywood Ten blacklist of prominent names allegedly communists or in sympathy with them. If nothing else it indicates that being a big name was a handy defence - where little people were dumped by a craven industry the situation was a little different when it came to the big names (A practice Rush Limbaugh, for example, may yet have cause to be thankful for).
After that we suggest going back to the BBC for last week's "In our Time" from BBC Radio 4 (available as an MP3 or stream), which looked at the medieval philosopher William of Ockham.
That ties in to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Ockham's Razor" programme that airs on Sundays - the most recent four weeks are available as streams or MP3 downloads - and last Sunday featured visiting Scholar Dr June Marks from the Department of Sociology at Flinders University in Adelaide talking about recycling water for use in households and industry.
And finally for Elgar fans, the BBC is this week marking the 150th anniversary of his birth with programmes on multiple stations including Radio 2 where this Friday "Friday Night Is Music Night" becomes "Friday Night Is Elgar Night" and BBC Radio 3, whose 22:00 GMT Essay (Monday through Thursday) has four commentators reflecting on aspects of Elgar as well as (at 13:00 GMT ); a series of four concerts featuring Elgar's chamber music recorded at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall; and a number of Elgar works in the "Performance on 3" slot (from last Saturday and Sunday, and at 18:00 GMT tonight and tomorrow
Kent Burkhart blog:
Denver Westworld - Roberts:
Hear 2.0 - Ramsey:
New York Times - Copps:
Salt Lake Tribune - Walsh:
2007-06-04: KPIG co-founder and on-air personality Laura Ellen Hopper, who was also a manager at its forebear KFAT and program director at both stations, has died of cancer aged 57.
Describing her as "a charter member of the smallest club in the radio business, defenders of eccentric, free-form 1970s-style radio" the Vera Cruz Sentinel quotes long-time KPIG morning man Bill Goldsmith - "Wild Bill" - as saying she represented the last line of defence of creative programming in the radio industry.
"She was convinced that KPIG could not be successful in a business sense, unless it was successful on an artistic level," Goldsmith said. "A lot of people in the radio business have believed that was true for a long time, but gradually every one of them has lost that fight, except for her"
Gilbert Klein, former host of KFAT talk show, "Chewin' the Fat with Gilbert," said of her time there, "Laura was what passed for discipline at KFAT. She'd always be there with her list of fill-ins in case one of her DJs was too drunk, stoned, far away or in need of bail"
He said she had to earn respect from a dubious staff whom he termed "misfits" and added, "Everyone gradually got what she was talking about as her tastes in music were demonstrated as spot-on."
Hopper became a minority owner at KFAT but sold her share and left the station before it changed format and then spent several years at the classical radio station KBOQ-FM (K-Bach) before joining fellow radio veteran Leo Kesselman to start KPIG in 1988.
Friend Amy Bianco, known on the air at KFAT as Amy Airheart, told the paper, "She felt terribly alone sometimes. As time went on, the great creative stations fell one by one and here she was, still fighting the fight The Monterey Bay is so lucky to have had her and KPIG. But she had to fight tooth and nail to keep that sound that so many people love. And I'll respect her for that till the day I die"
KPIG's web site says memorial services for Hopper are pending and that it will provide update information.
KPIG web site:.
Vera Cruz Sentinel report:
2007-06-04: Radio City, Bangalore, has taken the Best Station of the Year Award at The India Radio Forum 2007 but the highest number of Golds gained by any station went to Adlabs Films' Big 92.7 FM, which took five awards - RJ Of The Year (Tamil), which went to RJ Dheena (Speed); RJ Of The Year (Kannada) , which went to Secret Shalani; Best Radio Promo -In House (Tamil) for Moustache (Meesai) ; Best Radio Promo -In House (Tamil) for BIG 92.7 FM Chennai's entry "Speed"; and Best Use Of Advertising, which went to BIG 92.7 FM Bangalore for its Adult Launch.
Taking three awards each were
*Digital Radio's Red FM , which took Best Programme/Show (Hindi) for Red FM Mumbai's Malishka Rocks; Best Interactive Idea for Red FM Delhi's Band Bajega; and Best Radio Promo -In House (Hindi) for Red FM Mumbai's Kamala ka Hamala.
* Radio City Music Broadcast, which took Station Of The Year as already noted; RJ Of The Year (English), which went to RJ Vasanthi; and RJ Of The Year (Hindi), which went to Love Guru:
*93.5 SFM which took Best Programme/Show (Tamil) with Blade No 1; Best Programme/Show (Telegu) with Guru Ho Ja Shuru; and Best Radio Promo - In House (Telegu) with Thellarindoi Mama.
Taking two awards each were:
*Radio One which took Most Innovative Show with BBC Ek Mulaqaat (Mumbai) and Best Community Service Award with Bomblast Promo and sangam show.
*HT Music & Entertainment Co 's Fever 104 FM which took Best Cross Platform Communication Campaign with Fever 104 FM Mumbai Launch and Best New Launch for Fever 104 FM Mumbai Launch.
Other winners were:
WorldSpace India which took Best Programme/Show (Kannada) with Suvarna Samputa.
Radio Indigo which took Best Radio Promo -In House (English) with Time Tunnel.
Radio Mirchi Bangalore which took Best Radio Promo - In House (Kannada) with Chill Maadi.
No Golds were awarded for Best Programme/Show (Bengali); Best Programme/Show (English); RJ Of the Year (Bengali); RJ Of The Year (Telegu); and Best Radio Promo -In House (Bengali);
Earlier the forum was told by Broadcast Architecture president Allen Kepler that Indian stations would have to invest in quality research for creating niche positioning.
Indiantelevison.com notes that at the moment the focus is on stations with a broad appeal and quotes Kepler as saying, "Everybody wants to be on the widest lane. But as more stations launch they need to find their niche. Otherwise, they will simply be stacked one on top of the other."
Commenting on finding listeners for music other than Hindi film and pop, Kepler added, "They can create a niche and find their unique lane."
His company conducts various kinds of survey and he quoted as an example the Strategic Perceptual Study hat looks at life styles and how they affect musical taste: "It was using this method that the smooth jazz station came up in the US in the 1980s," said Kepler.
The forum also heard from UK GCap Media digital content manager Nick Piggot about the complementary nature of radio and mobile phones - radio on mobile phones is said to have 40% penetration in Indian metros like Delhi and Mumbai - and how companies could use this. As an example he said text messages can provide a database of the listeners, their profile and a list of their most preferred songs and requests sent via text messages could be returned with a sponsored "thank you" message.
Stations said Piggot could earn revenues through advertising-supported services such as sports, traffic and weather updates via text message.
Previous Gcap Media:
Previous Indian Radio:
India Radio Forum web site:
Indiantelevision.com report on niche positioning:
Indiantelevision.com report on radio and mobile devices:
2007-06-03: Last week the main regulatory news came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as we have already reported, moved forward on digital, issuing rules relating to both iBiquity's HD in-band on-channel (IBOC) system that is has authorized; refusing to reconsider this decision and consider other systems; and also issuing regulations relating to Emergency Alert Systems where digital is introduced. Elsewhere things were quiet or routine.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been in publishing mode but only posted two radio decisions.
One was a finding that New South Wales community station 2YYY, Young, licensed to Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc under a temporary community broadcasting licence to provide a radio service for the general community of Young, had failed to encourage members of the community it serves to participate in the operations and programming and had also exceeded the time limit for sponsorship announcements by broadcasting more than the five minutes per hour in two hours reviewed - 7.00 am-8.00 am and 8.00 am-9.00 am on 14 January 2007.
The ACMA said it is considering action it will take to ensure 2YYY's future compliance with the relevant licence conditions.
It also sought comment on draft proposals for changes to transmitters for three radio services in the Innisfail region of Queensland - the 4KZ and 4ZKZ commercial radio services at Hinchinbrook and the high power open narrowcasting service licensed to United Christian Broadcasters at Tully.
The Authority has also published a number of its registers maintained under the country's Broadcasting Services Act including its Register of Controlled Media Groups; Register of Notices and Approvals under Part 5 of the BSA; Recent Control Notifications; Associated Newspaper Register; and its Media Diversity Reports - one a supplementary publication to the Register of Controlled Media G and the other a cross-reference report that identifies the media operations within each radio licence area that each person is in a position to control.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), as well as routine renewals, granted six new FM licences - two each in Medicine Hat, Alberta; Regina, Saskatchewan ; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (See RNW May 29).
Other radio related postings included:
*Approval of application by University of Toronto Community Radio Inc. (UTCR), licensee of CIUT-FM, Toronto, to use a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel1 to broadcast a predominantly Korean-language radio service.
*Renewal of licence of English-language Type B community station CKOL-FM, Campbellford, and its transmitter CKOL-FM-1, Madoc, from 1 September 2007 to 31 August 2011.
The CRTC says the short-term renewal will permit the Commission to review, at an earlier date, the licensee's compliance with Radio Regulations and noted that an analysis of programming broadcast in January 2005 had shown that only 24.9% of all category 2 musical selections broadcast by the licensee during that period were Canadian musical selections as opposed to the required 35%.
Ontario and Quebec:
*Approval of application by Cogeco Cable Canada Inc. and its subsidiary Cogeco Câble Québec inc. to be allowed to distribute subscription satellite services on its cable distribution undertakings.
*Renewal of licence of French-language commercial station CKOD-FM, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, from 1 June 2007 to 31 August 2009.
In addition, the Commission issued a Broadcasting Mandatory Order requiring the station to comply throughout the licence term with regulations concerning submission of annual reports. It said this order is to be filed with Canada's Federal Court and warned that failure to comply could lead to contempt of court charges on top of which the CRTC could take additional measures up to and including non-renewal or revocation of the licence should licensee Radio Express inc. again breach Canadian Regulations or any of the conditions of its licence. The decision was made against a background of a previous short-term renewal and the issuing of four mandatory orders relating to financial contributions to Canadian talent development, the broadcasting of French-language vocal music, the submission of logger tapes and the submission of annual reports.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland or the UK but in the US, as already noted, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has moved forward on digital with the publication of orders relating to iBiquity's HD in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio system and also in regulating Emergency Alert Systems where digital services are introduced (See RNW Jun 1). Otherwise it was a matter of routines.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2007-06-03: Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) has fined MediaCorp Radio SGD 15,000 (USD 9.800) in connection with three segments "No Bra Days With The Muttons"aired by 98.7FM's morning show in March, holding that they breached the country's Radio Programme Code.
This says broadcasters must "exercise sensitivity and avoid humour which offends against good taste and decency" and the segments involved ten women, who were taking part in (men's magazine) FHM's "Girl Next Door" competition being asked to remove their bras in the shortest time, without exposing themselves.
Video clips were posted on the station web site and ended up on You Tube. A MediaCorp Radio spokesman said they accepted the decision and recognised "that the segments could be seen as being controversial. We sincerely apologise to those offended by the segment." No action is to be taken against the DJs - Justin Ang, and Vernon Keith Anthonisz (Vernon A).
The station, then going under the name Perfect 10 was fined SGD 30,000 (then USD 17.500) in 2004 for airing suggestive segments. After that breach part-time DJ Sheikh Haikel was fired and staffer Daniel Ong was suspended (See RNW Sep 3, 2004).
2007-06-02: US radio revenues in the first quarter were up 1% on a year ago to USD 4.728 billion according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) which notes increases in all areas except national revenues.
Local revenues were up 1% to USD 3.224 million, Network revenue was up 9% to USD 257 million and non-spot revenue was up 10% to USD 302 million but national figures were down 1% to USD 945 million.
RAB notes that non-spot revenues, which it has only been measuring from 2004, presents significant opportunities for growth and now accounts for 6.4% of total radio revenues. In terms of advertising breakdown it says leading the growth were adverts for Communications/Cellular/ Public Utilities - up 17.3% on a year ago, when they were down 6.2% on 2005; Concerts/Theater/Movies - also up 17.3% on a year ago when they were up 12.1% on 2005; and Health Care - up 9.5% on a year ago when they were also up 9.5%.
Auto advertising, which remained by far the biggest category of advertising, was down 2.6% on a year ago when it had been 10% down on 2005, but the sector still accounted for more than double the amount of Communications, the second ranked category, Within the category, American manufacturers increased spending by 40% whilst Asian makes trimmed it by 10% and European makers spend 46% fewer dollars. Toyota dealers were the largest spenders followed by DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Lexus Dealer Association, Chevrolet Motor Corporation and Chevrolet Dealer Association but the largest increase came from Honda Dealer Associations (up 144%) followed by Saturn Motor Corporation (up 140%) and Daimler Chrysler Corporation (Up 74%).
Previous RAB and RAB figures (March 2007 & Q1):
2007-06-02: BBC Chinese has teamed up with its key partner in China, Shanghai East Radio News Channel, for three special joint programmes to raise awareness of climate change in London and Shanghai.
The programmes, being launched today to coincide with the United Nations' World Environment Day, will take the form of phone link-ups co-presented by the BBC Chinese senior producer, Paul Crook, and Shanghai East Radio News Channel's presenter, Shang Hong.
The presenters will focus on green transport, green offices, green homes and food miles and they will be joined by Xiangyu Sheng, an environmental expert from Cambridge University, plus Fuchsia Dunlop, a leading authority on Western and Oriental food, who will be with Crook, and Professor Chunjiang Zhao of Shanghai University of Electric Power, who will be with Shang Hong.
The programmes will also feature an interview with Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of UN Environment Programme, in which he assesses Shanghai's environmental situation.
The initiative is the second between the two organizations focussing on green issues and BBC World Service's Business Development Manager for China and North Asia, Raymond Li said he was "confident that, just like the previous one on 'green cities', this new co-production will engage our audiences in the increasingly important conversation about climate change. "
Also jumping on the environmental bandwagon, albeit with a more limited geographic remit, is GCap's Capital FM in London which is staging a "Lights-out London" event on June 21, the longest day of the year.
It is calling for Londoners to turn off all lights and non-essential appliances between 9 and 10pm on the day.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-06-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Second Report and Order, First Order on Reconsideration, and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that re-confirms its decision to use iBiquity's in-band on-channel (IBOC) HD digital radio system and dismisses petitions for it to reconsider the decision to adopt the iBiquity system.
It also extends current requirements to free digital audio programming streams; allows FM stations to make their own decisions concerning multicasting but does not impose any mandatory conversion schedule; authorizes night time HD AM services; and will also allow stations to time broker unused digital bandwidth to third parties
It has deferred discussion about requiring content controls that would prevent listeners from "archiving and redistributing " music broadcast by digital stations and regarding subscription services and possible public interest requirements for digital audio broadcasters it is seeking further comment, a move that has led to notes of dissent by the two Democrats on the Commission.
One of them Michael J. Copps, whilst welcoming digital audio broadcasts and going along with technical decisions expressed disappointment over decisions to allow multicast without any regulation. He notes that some broadcasters including National Public Radio (NPR) are "making creative and local uses of their spectrum dividend" but then says, "But by adopting a blanket authorization for all digital radio, this decision confers a free pass on others to take their spectrum, bypass local communities and run more of the canned and nationalized programming that is all too common on our consolidated analogue system today and which is, truth be told, responsible for many of broadcast radio's current problems. So I am disappointed that we move ahead without answering important questions about how this spectrum-spectrum that belongs to the people-will be used to benefit local communities. The item sidesteps what I believe is a fundamental responsibility of the Commission: to determine what the public interest means in the digital age."
Copps also says he hopes the commission will consider the effects on competition of multicasts in a market "before anyone suggests loosening our ownership limits" and continues, "Does a company really need to own eight radio stations in a market when it has the ability to multicast? How about making sure some of these multi-streams are used for more local news and information, for local music and other creative talent, for minority and non-English language audiences? These are the kinds of questions we have to answer if we are really serious about promoting localism, competition and diversity in the digital era."
"There are other questions raised by this item," adds Copps. "For instance, the Commission permits the use of digital radio spectrum for ancillary and supplementary services, including subscription services. What public interest obligations attach to the use of this public spectrum when it is used for subscription services?"
Regarding the last he noted that TV broadcasters had to pay 5% of revenues if they used the spectrum for subscription services but "Here we allow such uses-but with no such payback to the American people. Shouldn't the people being compensated for this private use of a public resource? Couldn't we move to make that happen? The list goes on. My point is: wouldn't it be a good idea to figure some of this out before moving ahead?"
"My hope going into this proceeding<" said Copps, "was that we would not only authorize an exciting new technology, but we would also help ensure that it reaps the promise of enhanced localism and diversity that it is so capable of providing. Because we stopped short of completing this mission, I must respectfully dissent in part to the item. "
In similar vein, his fellow Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein says he could not "fully support today's item because it is another missed opportunity for Commission to promote diversity, another dream deferred."
" After years of ignoring the issue, punting the question, and delaying a constructive dialogue to develop meaningful solutions," writes Adelstein, "it is really disappointing that the Commission has once again failed to step up to the plate. There is no justification for the Commission's outright refusal to "encourage digital audio broadcasters to enter into time brokerage agreements with women and minority broadcasters or new entrants." It is not asking a lot for us to simply encourage positive action, but apparently it was too much for a majority of the Commission."
In contrast the statements from the Republicans on the Commission were in favour without dissent: Chairman Kevin J. Martin welcomed the action, which he said would "promote radio's transition from the analogue world to the digital one" and noted the opportunity to multicast and the requirement that digital stations meet the same public obligations as analogue ones.
Martin said he supported enhanced disclosure requirements under which broadcasts would have to say "exactly how much time they devote to, for example, local programming, news and current affairs, political campaigns, or even local sports."
"I am not comfortable, however, "added Martin, "telling broadcasters exactly how much time they must spend on each of these areas. In addition, I believe mandatory minimums too often become ceilings on what broadcasters provide, not floors."
The action was also welcomed by Republic Commissioners Deborah T. Tate and Robert M. McDowell both of whom supported the idea of market determination of what was done with bandwidth Tate commented "I am pleased that, in doing so, we allow the market to determine the pace of the transition and the stations to determine how to use their digital bandwidth. The flexibility to offer multicast programming of all kinds, develop varied datacasting applications, and enter into time brokerage agreements for digital bandwidth will unleash the creativity of the market and, hopefully, provide opportunities to new entrants, resulting in improved radio service for all Americans."
McDowell said the "flexible bandwidth policy adopted today will give radio stations the discretion to use multiple program streams and datacasting services as they see fit to best serve their listeners and, therefore, their communities. The benefit to the public interest will be immeasurable. "
" In fact, " he continued, "these new multicast stations are inherently public-interest oriented, and may change the public interest dynamic, for the better, in the long run. But let's study how multicasting evolves on its own and under existing public interest obligations before we try to anticipate or micromanage the market. My guess is my dissenting colleagues will be pleasantly surprised.
The FCC also adopted an order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it said "strengthens the nation's Emergency Alert System (EAS)" and "promotes the development of fully digital Next Generation technologies and delivery systems that will better serve the American public."
The FCC order requires "EAS participants to accept messages using Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), the groundwork for Next Generation EAS delivery systems, no later than 180 days after FEMA announces its adoption of standards in each case" and the commission says "One result of these developments will be enhanced access to EAS alerts and warnings for persons with disabilities and for non-English speakers. The Further Notice seeks comment on how best to deliver EAS alerts as well as broader emergency and public safety information to these groups, and commits to adoption of a final order within six months. "
There were no dissenting notes in the case of this order although all the commissioners issued comments including Adelstein who noted that the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins today (June 1).
He added, "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 2007 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates a very high 75 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a five percent chance of a below-normal season. Taken together, this means that the Commission should not be bashful about using its authority to execute our public safety mandate because it is just a matter of time before we experience another emergency and people's lives literally depend upon our actions."
2007-06-01: The BBC Trust has given a definite go-ahead for the move of five departments from London to Salford Quays following agreement with the developer on the terms for the buildings it will occupy.
The departments to move will be BBC Children's (including CBBC and CBeebies television and radio); BBC Children's Learning; parts of BBC Future Media & Technology (including BBC Research & Development); BBC Radio Five Live (including Five Live Sports Extra);and BBC Sport.
In all some 1,500 staff posts will be moved from London in addition to which some 800 staff from BBC Manchester will also move into the new site.
BBC Chief Operating Officer Caroline Thomson will be the Executive Director with responsibility for the move to Salford and said she was delighted that terms had now been finalized.
Director-General, Mark Thompson said of the move that the "modern, multimedia broadcast and production centre in Salford will shift the BBC's centre of gravity away from London, bringing a range of creative benefits to us and, I hope, helping us to better reflect and represent the whole of the UK. "
2007-06-01: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has sponsored yet another report opposing the proposed Sirius-XM merger, in this case a report from international law firm Crowell & Moring, which specializes in antitrust law and in this case concludes that the merger would breach anti-trust law.
Regarding one of the main arguments from the satellite companies, namely that they would "submit to price regulation that temporarily locks in the current rates", says the report, "completely disregards the very reason the antitrust laws apply to mergers - to ensure that markets are structured in a way to encourage competition."
It also dismisses arguments that other audio services now available provide competition by sating that the satellite companies have failed to explain why portable players are "meaningfully different from the pre-recorded media playback devices in " when the FCC authorized satellite services as a duopoly and notes concerning Internet audio that this is "generally unavailable in automobiles both today and in the foreseeable future", adding that satellite radio offered via Internet is supplied to "an entirely different audience" than that to satellite subscribers.
It concludes by saying that the proposed merger would "eliminate the only effective competition among the two providers of satellite DARS and is clearly anticompetitive", commenting that "the only restraint on the ability of either firm to charge supra-competitive prices, offer less-than-competitive quality of service or output, or purchase content for less-than-competitive prices, is the very existence of the other firm as its only competitor.."
"The proposed merger," it says, "would replace this duopoly market structure, set up specifically by the FCC to ensure at least some level of price and service competition, with a monopolist in the downstream subscription market (and a monopsonist in the upstream content market) that is unrestrained in its ability to harm competition. There simply is no "fix" that will restore the competitive structure of this marketplace, and thus DOJ should challenge the transaction to preserve existing and future competition."
2007-06-01: UK commercial radio body The RadioCentre has launched an online commercial radio player that they are touting as a potential desk-top standard for people with an industry interest in UK radio.
The player, available on the RadioCentre web site, gives priority to UK commercial radio web sites but also allows access to some 10,000 stations from round the world, including BBC station sites.
It has been designed by Somerville , Massachusetts -based, Ressen Design whose founder Paul Cosway has been working for some time on a device to make Internet radio available without a computer - he has made prototypes that can receive Internet radio stations using a wireless network or by plugging into a network.
The RadioCentre system is based on his Radeo system and RadioCentre CEO Andrew Harrison said of the system, "The RadioCentre Player makes it easy for marketers, media agencies, city analysts and industry stakeholders to access online the full range of UK Commercial Radio stations available on the internet. Listeners can easily find, play, maintain, and share their personal interests and preferences. Although priority is given to 'linear' Commercial Radio - regular programming with presenters - there's a full range of content, including podcasts and we even also facilitate listeners' access to audio from the BBC."
Ressen Design "Radeo" site:
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Regarding external links, we give links where we can but an ever-increasing number of newspapers and stations either require registration or only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA).
Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
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