December 1999 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
December 21, 1999: In an article in the UK Independent entitled " Is the BBC its own worst enemy", the chairman of the UK Parliament Select Committee into the corporation's funding, says the BBC's own witnesses persuaded committee members to turn against their pleas for extra money.
Gerald Kaufman , the chairman, says he's an admirer of the BBC and the concept of public service broadcasting created by Lord Reith but he opposes extra funding because the BBC management accepted a 1996 licence fee arrangement which was set higher in the earlier years to allow precisely for the costs of digital broadcasting. The BBC chairman said at the time, says Kaufman, that they had a "financial framework" in which they could plan five years ahead. Instead of doing so, he adds, they asked for an extra £700 million but could not explain what it wanted $400 million of that for. Almost all the BBC's figures were unclear says Kaufman and even more telling it did not have a clear strategy or even any strategy for its role in the future. Where it was a pioneer in the early days of radio and television, after satellite television came along it became a laggard with commercial channels supplying dedicated sports and movie channels and 24 hour news. He concludes that the BBC should not give up and withdraw to core channels but should develop in the one area the committee sees them as providing a world class service, BBC Online. This is attracting millions says Kaufman yet only half as much is spent on this as on the News 24 TV Channel. If it takes advertisements, he suggests, it could make a profit to help fund other services although because of EU regulations this should be done my incorporationg it into the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.
Independent News Report
Daily Telegraph Story
Previous BBC Funding
December 20. 1999: As reported yesterday (RNW Dec 19), the BBC has been severely criticised in a report by British MPs.
Their report calls for a scrapping of the proposed 'digital levy' and attacks what it calls waste within the BBC.
There was one dissenting voice, from John Maxton, the Labour MP for Glasgow Cathcart, who published a minority report.
The BBC greeted the report with disappointment but it was welcomed by commercial broadcasters.
Granada Media Group chief executive Steve Morrison said that the digital fee should now be thrown out.
ITV chief executive Richard Eyre said the BBC had not begun to persuade the public of a need for extra funding. The BBC's corporate affairs director, Colin Browne, said that the committee seemed to be guided by a market-driven approach not the public service broadcasting vision put forward by the BBC.
Conclusions & summary
BBC Online report re digital fee
Previous BBC funding
December 20th, 1999: Most British broadsheet newspapers carry obituaries of former BBC broadcaster Robert Dougall who has died at the age of 86.
Although mainly remembered for his TV presenting days, Dougall began his career as a BBC accountant, then became an announcer on the BBC's Empire News service in 1934. Whilst with them he announced the outbreak of the second world war in 1939
UK Guardian obituary
UK Telegraph obituary
December 19, 1999: In its leader column the UK Observer follows its sister paper the Guardian in defence of the BBC (RNW Dec 16th).
In its news pages the paper, with other broadsheets, carries a report on problems looming for the corporation over its licence funding.
The news report says that the UK Parliament Select Committe on Culture will launch a withering attack on BBC bosses accusing them of wastefulness and greed.
Particularly under attack is the BBC TV News 24 round-the-clock news channel which is accused of being a £50 million a year waste of money.
Also criticised is TV channel Digital choice which, like News 24, attracts minimal audiences and managerial costs which the committee would like to see reduced.
BBC funding has been under intense scrutiny since economist Gavyn Davies, aoppointed by the government to examine BBC funding, recommended a £24 per annum 'digital' levy which has been bitterly opposed by commercial broadcasters.
The leader takes up the points, agrees that some of them are telling, but concludes that in the overall picture, it is more important to retain a BBC which remains a successful public enterprise playing a major role in British cultural, social and political life.
Observer news story:
Observer leader :
Sunday Telegraph story
Previous BBC funding
December 19th, 1999: The BBC Radio 4 show, "The |Sunday Format" has won the Best Radio Comedy Award in the British Comedy Awards. The BBC also did well in TV comedy awards.
December 18, 1999: The Los Angeles Times reports on the future of commercial radio shock jocks as seen through the eyes of two National Public Radio veterans, "Morning Edition" host Bob Edwards and correspondent Susan Stamberg .
Ewards, says the paper's report , thinks that things are at the bottom of the cycle and there's now nowhere to go but up whilst Stamberg things will still get worse.
However they have one point of agreement -- that this could be a plus for NPR as people turn to them.
On television in Greecethings have gone pretty far already as reported on TVNewsweb.
There no commercial TV stations seem to be bothering much about international news but Alpha TV - formerly Skai TV - boosted its ratings with amateur video of a pop singer, Stephanos Korkolis, having sex with a teenage girl half his age.
The concensus seemed to be that viewers were far more interested in scandal and gossip than news.
Los Angeles Times report
December 18, 1999: Australian broadcaster John Laws is to stand trial for contacting a juror about a controversial murder case verdict (RNW Nov 23) reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The trial was ordered after a committal hearing which Laws was ordered to attend despite protests from his legal team. Magistrate Mr Hugh Dillon told Laws that after weighing up prosecution evidence he felt there was a 'reasonable prospect' a jury would convict him.
Laws has pleaded not guilty ; He could face up to seven years in jail if convicted. Morning Herald story (Link expires Jan 18)
December 18, 1999:The UK Guardian carries an obituary of BBC veteran, Marjorie Anderson, who has died at the age of 86.
She worked for the BBC during the second World War as an announcer, newsreader and on the armed services request programme Forces Favourite".
Later she was one of the founder presenters of BBC radio's "Woman's Hour". Guardian obituary
December 17, 1999: "Letter from America", the world's longest running radio programme missed a beat on BBC Radio 4 tonight(GMT) because 91-years-old presenter Alistair Cooke was ill in hospital.
In its place the BBC broadcast an episode of the programme from Christmas Eve 1967.
The BBC say they do not know when Cooke will be back on air.
December 17, 1999: British Radio has beaten television to the punch with a £1million prize (approx USD 1.65 million) for a quiz show.
The prize was won by 35 years old training consultant Clare Barwick on Chris Evans's breakfast show for Virgin Radio.
The prize beats TV show 'Who wants to be a millionaire?" to the punch although the TV show's US version has already had a million dollar winner.
December 17, 1999:The Australian Broadcasting Authority has confirmed plans to grant new radio licences for the Sydney area.
They include two new FM Commercial stations for Sydney, three new Sydney community radio licences and three narrowcast licences for such services as tourist radio.
December 17, 1999: The UK Guardian obituaries column carries an obit of George Elrick, who was an early disc jockey and set the pattern for many current middle-of the-road DJs.
Elrick, who was 95, presented BBC's Housewives Choice for 21 years from 1946-67.
December 17, 1999: Canadian broadcasting authorities are taking a more liberal view of what is allowable on air than those in Britain (see RNW below and December 15th) .
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has said that comments in the Jerry Springer TV show in which a man talked of his pleasure in vomiting during sexual intercourse did not violate its codes.
The council did not support them but said that in the conflict between "bad taste" and free speech, it had to come down in favour of the latter.
December 16, 1999: Britain's Broadcasting Standards Commission has criticised the BBC and U2 pop star and third-world debt relief activist Bono over his use of a four-letter expletive during an interview in September. After the show a listener had complained over the language used in an interview about the state of the world with BBC Radio disc jockey Simon Mayo
December 16, 1999: The Australian reports that John Singleton, owner through Macquarie Radio Network, of Sydney radio stations 2GB and 2CH, now wants to sue rival station 2UE which was at the heart of the cash-for-comment Australian talk radio enquiry.
Singleton says that the actions of 2UE presenters John Laws and Alan Jones deprived other broadcasting companies of their fair share of advertising revenues.
Macquarie is also involved in action against 2UE over its intention to broadcast the National Rugby League Competition games despite having lost the rights to 2GB and in addition wants copies of 2UE's Olympic rights contract so it can challenge the deal.
Previous Laws ; Previous Jones : Previous Singleton
Previous cash for comment
December 16, 1996: In its main leader, on the future of the BBC, the UK Guardian calls for Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to make a bold decision of support for the Corporation.
Arguing that the BBC's demands are in effect justified, it calls for him to resist the calls of its commercial opponents and public opinion against the licence fee and fund the organisation properly.
Otherwise, says the Guardian, the next decade could see the BBC reduced from being a big player and setter of standards into a minority niche like the American Public Broadcasting Service.
Guardian leader ; Previous BBC funding
December 16, 1999: UK mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse has bought into Kelvin MacKenzie's Switchdigital which is amongs the bidders for the digital radio licence for greater London
December 15, 1999: Britain's Radio Authority has imposed maximum fines of £50,000 each on two local radio stations for broadcasts which 'demeaned' the radio medium.
London station XFM, owned by Capital Radio, was penalised over a discussion about bestiality during a breakfast show and warned it risked losing its licence if it did not take firm measures to prevent further offences.
The other station, Hallam FM in Yorkshire was fined over two late night programmes which the authority felt condoned and encouraged rape and which contained descriptions of paedophilia.
Radio Hallam was criticised by Radio Authority chairman Sir Peter Gibbings as being irresponsible in its treatment of the topics which he considered 'wholly unacceptable'.
Both stations said offences would not be repeated.
December 15th, 1999: The FCC is to allow WQED, Pittsburght, to sell of its second channel to get out of debt. Under the deal, delayed because the FCC would not allow the outright sale of the reserved channel three years ago, there will be a sales chain. WQED will sell reserved channel 16 to religious broadcasters Cornerstone TV which will sell its unreserved channel to Paxson Communications. WQED and Cornerstone will split the proceeds.
Current org report and links to WQED woes background
December 14, 1999: Britain's radio regulator has given Kelvin MacKenzie's Wireless Group a tentative go-ahead to buy Independent Radio Group stations in the north west of England and central Scotland. The deal is subject to conditions imposed by the Radio Authority in terms of the local emphasis programming of 1548 Lite Am in Manchester and Signal FM in Stockport as well as maintaining separate newsrooms at the two stations. In central Scotland, the authority said the deal to take over Scotland FM and 96.3 QFM based in Paisley.
December 14, 1999: Sydney 2GB owner John Singleton has confirmed that Stan Zemanek (RNW Nov 27) is to join 2 GB from 2UE where he had the late spot. Now the plan is for him to compete against John Laws who is staying at 2UE.
Singleton also went on his own station to bait 2UE over rights to the Sydney Olympics, causing a potential conflict of interests for breakfast announcer Graham Richardson
Richardson is a SOCOG board member and opted to let someone else interview his boss.
SMH report (link expires Jan 14)
Previous Laws ; Previous Singleton
December 13, 1999: As forcast earlier ( RNW Dec 12th ; RNW Dec 11th) , Australian broadcaster John Laws has told listeners to the John Laws Morning Show that he'll stay with radio 2UE.
He added that the period of enquiry into his sponsorship deals was the loneliest time of his life with 'vicious' media coverage but he'd stay on, mainly because of the loyalty of his listeners.
In a statement reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, 2UE's chairman, John Conde said the decision was"terrific news for John's loyal listeners, and all of us here at 2UE 2UE, being Australia's number-one talk station, is John Laws's natural home ."
Laws staying (link expires Jan 13th)
Previous Conde ; Previous Laws
Previous cash for comment
December 12, 1999: The Sunday Telegraph reports that Radio 2UE star John Laws, one of two broadcasters at the heart of the cash-for-comment talk radio enquiry in Australia, has told his friends he intends to stay at the station until at least 2002. It adds that he will announce this on Monday's John Laws Morning Show. Laws is also reported as telling friends that, apart from his binding contract, he has been motivated to stay by the support of his listeners, his sponsors and 2UE management. Laws, who would then be in his 50th year in radio, and his lawyers met 2UE chairman John Conde on Thursday to work out a deal and the paper reports that it will not prohibit outside sponsorships so long as they are declared.
Laws to stick with 2UE
Previous Conde: Previous Laws
Previous cash for comment
December 11, 1999:It's not only in Australia that Talk Radio is used by sponsors of course, as the reports from Edmonton where Alberta Premier Ralph Klein was on 630 CHED explaining his ideas about surgery in private hospitals.
The CHED announcers had their own spin on the idea as reported by the Globe and Mail : "Announcer No. 1: Good morning. It's the open house today at the Magnetic Resonance Centre of Edmonton, Suite 115, 11910 111th Avenue. I guess a touch of irony that the Premier's on today. We are just talking about the fact that, for instance, in the province of Ontario, if you want to get an MRI done, it has to be done in a hospital and the waiting lists are absolutely horrendous. "We here have a waiting list in Alberta but, of course, the Magnetic Resonance Centre of Edmonton gives you the option, if you don't want to wait in the public queue, you have this available. It's another advantage of being Albertan. "Find out more today and come down and visit the clinic; find out how the technology works, what the technology is all about. Starting Monday, it scans at $499."
And the programme sponsors. Guess which private magnetic resonance imaging clinic?
Toronto Globe and Mail story
December 11, 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that broadcaster John Laws is expected to announce on Monday that he'll stay with radio station 2 UE next year, which is at he heart of the Australian talk radio cash-for-comment enquiry.
Speaking on air on Friday Laws said he would spend the weekend thinking about his future and make an announcement on Monday.
The Herald also reports that Laws' fellow 2UE broadcaster Alan Jones has put on hold plans for his autobiography, to be published by HarpurCollins Australia with whom Jones had a promotional contract . The contract, to promote HarpurCollins titles on air as part of the Alan Jones Book of the Month Club, is among seven of Jones' contracts mentioned at the enquiry. Jones has been told by 2UE to terminate six of the contracts but so far has not done so -- contracts still held include ones for Cable & Wireless Optus mobile phones ($41,000 Australian per month), Colonial State Bank ($433,000 Australian per annum) and Qantas ($100,000 Australian per annum)
Cash-for-comment latest (Link expires Jan 11)
Previous Jones ; Previous Laws
Previous cash for comment
December 11, 1999: Canadian broadcasters are again threatening legal action against IcraveTV.com, a Toronto-based company which is rebroadcasting signals on the Internet without gaining permission from the originators (RNW Dec 3), an issue which could have major importance as Internet quality improves.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that on its first day the organisation had 360,000 hits an hour, more than 8 million in the day. Company president William Craig says he's acting legally but he hasn't paid any copyright fees nor sought permission for his rebroadcasts, unlike www.broadcast.com. from whom he got the idea.
Broadcast com is now owned by Yahoo and is a vehicle used by nearly 500 radio stations and some 65 television stations and cable networks to reach Internet users.
The broadcasters say Craig is breaching both copyright and trademarks. They also point out that they negotiate broadcasting rights on a narrow basis for particular territories and often not for Internet use.
Craig claims that only Canadians should use his site and they have to enter an area code. He hasn't ruled out paying at some time.
Globe and Mail report
Previous Craig ; Previous ICraveTV
December 10, 1999: Pasadena City College trustees have voted unanimously to turn over operation of public radio station KPCC-FM (89.3) to Minnesota Public Radio under a 15-year deal reveiwable after 5 years, reports the Los Angles Times.
The report adds that the new operators intend to triple the station's budget and turn it into an in-depth local news outlet.Programming details are to be ironed out over a six-month transition period from January with up to ten reporters and producers being hired.
Larry Mantle, programme director for KPCC and host of the weekday afternoon show "AirTalk" welcomed the deal saying the emphasis would be on " news and 'intelligent talk'".
James Kossler, president of Pasadena City College, which will retain the licence for the station, also welcomed the agreement.
William Kling, chief executive of Minnesota Public Radio and the interim president of Southern California Public Radio, said in a statement reported by the Times: "Rarely have we seen an opportunity with the potential of this one. KPCC at 89.3 has a first-class signal heard from San Diego County to Santa Barbara County. The talent base of Los Angeles is one of the most creative in the world. The station will be able to provide the kind of depth and analysis that public radio is known for, to both local and state stories as well as national and international stories."
LA Times report
December 10, 1999: Los Angeles radio station KLYY-FM, which broadcasts on the 107.1 frequency is to switch from an English language alternative rock format and rename itself VIVA 107 to begin broadcasting contemporary Spanish hits next week. Disc jockeys have already been fired in advance of Monday's re-launch. The intention to switch formats had been announced in November by station owners, New York-based Big City Radio.
LA Times report
December 9, 1999: The US communications industry is booming according to the latest figures from the US Census Bureau.
Last year revenues were $388 billion, up ten per cent from 1997. Radio and television broadcasting revenues accounted for just over ten per cent of the total at $42 billion, of which some $11 billion came from radio.
December 8, 1999: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reported poor audience figures for all its radio channels except for Radio 4 (news, talk, drama etc )and even there the underlying figure was of gradual decline.
Figures for pop station Radio 1 were the worst the channel has seen, dipping below 10 million, and both Radio 3 (classical music) and Radio 5 live (news, sport etc) disappointed but Radio 2 (light music) held its own.
Radio 3 has lost out largely to Classic FM which now has around 3 times as many listeners. Its diet is mainly excerpts from popular classics as opposed to Radio 3 which broadcasts more full-length fare.
December 8, 1999: The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council has found a Winnipeg rock station in violation of its ethics and sex-portrayal codes after enticing an 18-years-old woman to ride her bicycle in the nude down a Winnipeg road.
The incident took place in near freezing conditions in March when the woman rode down the busy street for a chance to win $10,000 (Can) in a contest Power 97 CJKR FM was running.
While she was riding down the street, dsic jockeys were making comments which the Standards Council termed 'degrading' to her as a woman.
No Winnipeg Lady Godivas please
December 8, 1999: The former presenter of ABC TV's Media Watch programme, which broke the Australian cash-for-comment story, has accused the Corporation's chairman Donald McDonald and fellow board member Michael Kroger of attacking the programme for political reasons. According to the Australian, Richard Ackland says attacks on Media Watch's handling of another story were in reality more to do with the attacks on Alan Jones whom he called ' the peachy little darling of the Liberal cause."Ackland also told a Melbourne journalism conference he thought 2UE should lose its licence over the scandal
Former presenter says Media Watch attacked for political reasons
Previous cash for comment
December 7, 1999: Sydney radio station 2UE, at the heart of the Australian talk radio cash-for-comment enquiry, has slipped from second to third place in Australia's final ACNielsen ratings for 1999 but Alan Jones, one of the two broadcasters at the heart of the enquiry, remained top in the breakfast period.
Jones recorded only a small loss from 17.7 to 17.4; his colleague John Laws kept his third place in the morning period but dropped from 12.3 to 11.5.
However in Perth, Howard Sattler's Radio 6PR talk show suffered a more significant drop in the ratings, losing 1.3 points to 11.2 per cent( atone time he had around a 15 per cent share).
The Sydney Morning Herald reports 2UE's program director John Brennan, as attributing Jones's drop to his absence for three weeks of the survey period. Brennan said Jones had actually increased his audience for two of his three hours on the air and noted that 2UE was still the top rated talk station in Australia. He said that in view of the enquiry publicity, some of which he described as 'biased and nasty, this was an outstanding result.
In a sidebar on the affair, the Australian, reports that RMIT University is to redesign part of its business degree course to take account of the affair. Its managerial ethics unit will now focus more on the media and advertising industries.
Jones holds his fans
2UE dips in ratings (link expires Jan 7th)
University alters its ethics course
Previous Brennan ; Previous Jones ; Previous Laws
Previous cash for comment
December 7, 1999: Australian radio ratings summary for final period fo 1999:
Adelaide: SAFM stayed top but dropped 1.3 to 23.1% while 5ADFM picked up 1.1 to 22.1%
Brisbane: B105 stayed top but lost 1.4 to end up with 20.6% and 4BH also fell (by 1.1 to 8.7%). Gains were recorded by 4BC (up 1.1 to 8.9%) , 4KQ (up 1.0 to 12.3%) and 4QR (ABC) (up 0.5 to 9.1%)
Melbourne: 3AW dropped by 0.3% but retained top spot with 14.9% and second-placer Fox dropped by the same amount to end up with 14.4%. 3LO (ABC) also fell. but there were gains for Sport 927 (0.7 to 3.1%), TTFM (0.9 to 9.7%).Perth MIX94.5 took over top spot at 17.4% (up 2.9) with PMFM losing its lead with a fall of 4.2 to 16%. Triple J gained 1.2 to 11% with 96FM (up 0.4 to 14.5), 6IX and 6PR also recording gains while 6WF (ABC) dropped 0.4 to end up with 9%
Sydney: 2UE falls most, by 1.4 points to end in third place. Alan Jones Breakfast down to 17.4% from 17.7%; John Laws morning down to 11.5% from 12.3% but afternoons and drive time fell more - from 11% to 9.2% and from 11.3% to 8.8%. 2UE weekends were down from 12.3% to 9.5% (mainly put down to the ending of the football season). 2 DAY was up 0.4% to stay top and Triple M gained 0.7% to become number 2. 2WS fell 0.1% to 6.9% and 2BL (ABC) was up 0.4% to 6.4%. Triple J went up 0.7& to 6.6%.
December 7, 1999: The chief Executive of John Fairfax Holdings, Fred Hilmer, has called for the removal of cross-media restrictions in the Australian radio industry reports the (Fairfax-owned) Sydney Morning Herald.
He told the Australian Productivity Commission, which has recommended that the radio industry should be regulated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, that the cross-media rules prevented the commission from deciding what was the 'relevant market' in making decisions about competition.
He said that allowing radio takeovers would aid the commission to gain experience into the industry and also allowed that Fairfax would be keen to move into radio.
Remove radio restrictions (link expires Jan 7)
December 6, 1999: The Australian Labor Party (ALP) is to push for the cash-for-comment enquiry into Australia's talk radio to be widened to cover investigations of the appearance of a Brisbane lord mayoral candidate on a lifestyle programme, reports The Australian.
Candidate Gail Austen paid to appear on the Seven network's Great South East " programme but viewers were not told of the payment says the newspaper.
During the broadcast she answered questions about her political aspirations and lawyers for the Queensland branch of the ALP allege this breached guidelines relating to political advertising and comment
Ms Austen says she bought time on the programme to promote her surf ship business, not herself, and merely answered questions about her political role but did not invite them.
Cash for cameo
Previous cash for comment
December 4, 1999: This year's highest award in Australian Journalism, the Gold 'Walkley' has gone to ABC TV's Media Watch programme for its revelations of the talk radio cash-for-comment scandal. The award was made in Brisbane at the 44th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.
ABC also scooped the radio awards -- to three women, Suzanne Smith (Radio feature, documentary or broadcast special), Linda Mottram (Radio current affairs reporting) and Katy Cronin (Radio news reporting)
Previous cash for comment
December 4, 1999: Sydney Radio 2UE has started running disclosure announcements on its morning and breakfast shows, but they do not go as far as called for by the counsel at the cash-for-comments enquiry, Julian Burnside QC who wanted both names and amounts spelled out.
The adverts say that the identity of sponsors may be obtained from the register at Radio 2UE's offices and will be on its web site from January.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Radio 2UE withdrew an undertaking to tell people what broadcaster John Laws was paid by sponsors after Laws, on hearing the undertaking read on air, told his listeners ''to hell with that''.
The first announcement on Thursday morning (Dec 2) on Laws' show had said both the sponsors names and the amounts they paid to Laws could be obtained. Immediately afterwards Laws came back on the air with disparaging comments ending, says the Herald , with " to hell with that". Later announcements did not mention the amounts and a spokesman said the wording of the first announcement had been a mistake.
Laws says to "hell" with that (link expires Jan 4)
Previous Burnside; Previous Laws
Previous cash for comment
December 4, 1999: Sydney radio station 2UE has rejected calls for public disclosure of amounts paid directly by advertisers to its stars Alan Jones and John Laws. Counsel for 2UE, Tom Hughes QC, also argued in his final submission to the cash-for-comment enquiry that the two broadcasters had not breached commercial radio codes. Mr Hughes denied the submission by the counsel assisting the enquiry, Julian Burnside ,Q.C., that U2E chairman John Conde was aware that station policy was being ignored but did nothing about it. Alan Jones' counsel, Bret Walker, SC, urged the inquiry to look ahead at how the industry's code might be improved. He added that the inquiry could not show that a single word uttered on air by Jones was not his own opinion.
The hearing was closed for the final time last night by the presiding member of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Michael Gordon-Smith. He said the report on 2UE would be published in February and that the investigation into Perth's Howard Sattler, Melbourne's Steve Price and Adelaide's Jeremy Cordeaux would be carried out separately over the next few months.
In his comment on the matter in The Australian, Errol Simper, says the exposure of commercial radio's "grubby underbelly" has not been pretty nor reassuring both for radio and the companies seeking to enhance their image or affect community perceptions. Theworst elements he calls 'downright disgraceful" and the even the best were a "warning".
U2E says payment details should be secret
Previous Burnside; Previous Conde; Previous Jones ; Previous Laws; Previous Simper
Previous cash for comment
3rd December 1999: UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Smith has announced the new Chair of the Radio Authority.
Richard Hooper, Managing Partner of Hooper Communications will take over the post from 1st January 2000 for a period of five years.
Mr Smith has also appointed Radio Authority member David Witherow as Deputy Chair and Kate O-Rourke as a new member from 1st January.
Both will serve for a period of four years. Richard Hooper takes over from outgoing Chairman Sir Peter Gibbings, whilst David Witherow replaces Michael Moriaty CB.
December 3, 1999:An Internet v broadcasting row in Canada may have major implications.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that major Canadian broadcasters are considering legal action for trademark violations and copyright infringement against a tiny Toronto startup that is sending their television signals over the Internet for free. iCraveTV.com Inc., is offering TV programming from 17 television stations in Canada and the United States over its Web site.
William Craig, President, Chief Executive officer and founder of iCraveTV.com says his advice is that his company fully complies with Canadian law.
He seems to have some backing from the country's regulator, the Canadian Radio, television and Telecommunications Commission. Under their public TV signals may be retransmitted on the Web- provided the signals are unchanged.
December 3, 1999: The BBC is seeking a Newcastle, UK, child to be its last voice of the old millennium. It has announced that the final words will be those of a child reciting the Millennium Resolution, a specially written prayer agreed by Britain's churches and to be read in Newcastle upon Tyne where a spiritual celebration will be held up to midnight.This will be followed by the chimes of Big Ben, the clock on the UK Parliament Building.
December 3, 1999: Kelvin MacKenzie, the head of UK Talk Radio and former editor of the UK 'Sun' tabloid newspaper appeared before the British Parliamentary Culture Committee headed by Gerald Kaufman and poured scorn on the idea of public broadcasting.
He felt the BBC should be privatised,arguing that a whole host of industries had been privatised.
"Why on earth should they be in the television and radio production business? I say we should privatise this business, especially Radios 1, 2 and 4. Why should the Government be in the pop business or the easy listening business?" he said. He also said that not paying the BBC licencefee should no longer carry the risk of a gaol sentence.
McKenzie, whose newspaper was responsible for such feats of journalism(sic) as inventing an interview with Princess Stephanie of Monaco while she was under sedation after her mother's death in a car crash and others with the widow of a Falklands VC, and with Falklands hero Simon Weston amongst many other exploits, seemed to have the same trouble with the idea of culture as his paper often did with facts and taste.
Momentarily he seemed think there was a case for considering BBC Radio 3 as a cultural asset like museums and art galleries but quickly brought up Classic Radio as the answer.
Fortunately for him his questioners lacked charisma. didn't pick up on the idea that a symphony could be better heard as a whole rather than selected segments intersperesed with adverts, and didn't display any significant knowledge of radio. This allowed him to pretty well walk over them.
BBC online report
December 3, 1999: Sydney radio station 2GB, already putting rival 2UE under pressure over the cash-for-comment affair and with its takeover of Australian Rugby league rights (RNW Nov 24 ) has added to the pressure by taking on two long-term U2E commentators.
John Gibbs and Darryl Brohman are to move to the team being assembled by Jon Harker. Their move drew a rebuke from their former chief Ray Hadley who told the Sydney Morning Herald that the two had given a verbal undertaking to him and 2UE programme director John Brennan a week ago that they would stay with 2UE. Hadley confirmed that 2UE had started legal action since losing the rugby rights and 2GB owner John Singleton confirmed receiving writs.
Rugby 2GB v 2UE (link expires Jan 3)
Previous cash for comment
December 3, 1999: With the Australian talk radio cash-for-comment enquiry due to wind up today, there's widespread speculation about the future of Australian talk radio in the press.The enquiry heard its counsel, Julian Burnside, QC, comment that Radio 2UE chairman John Conde was either completely ineffectual as a chief executive or chose not to upset his star broadcasters. He said that Conde could be criticised for leaving 2UE programme director John Brennan to ensure they complied with the industry's voluntary codes of conduct, describing Brennan as genial, trusting and honest and unsuited to the job of policing star broadcasters John Laws and Alan Jones. Assertions that their on-air behaviour was not compromised by the deals ran contrary to human experience added Burnside, dismissing Laws defence that he was loyal to both sponsors and listeners since he only accepted sponsorship if the products met his own criteria. There was, he said, a distorting influence if the deals and their sizewere not publicly declared. Burnside was even more scathing about Alan Jones defence that he had not read his sponsorship contracts properly saying it defied belief that Jones would enter such remunerative deals so casually. Laws' counsel, , Jeff Hilton, SC, told the inquiry that Laws had been open about his relationship with sponsors. It was impossible to have lived in Australia and now know of his association with many best-selling products he answered. The public knew of the deals but did not need to know about their de
The Australian talks of a possible national overhaul of Australian commercial radio.
Also in the Australian, Errol Simper, notes that it seems to have taken a lawyer to draw attention to what most people always knew, that ' He who pays the piper calls the tune'. Simper adds that it was rather sad that it took enquiry counsel Julian Burnside QC to call for disclosure of payments and their amounts. "It's like telling a taxi driver he's supposed to stop at red lights or reminding a dairy farmer the cows require milking daily," he adds saying Burnside's conclusions could, "drive the cynicism of listeners to commercial radio so deep as to infect just about every on-air remark anybody makes forever and a day."
Radio Boss not 'switched on' (link expires Jan. 3)
Radio overhaul .
To earn is human (link expires Jan. 3)
You get what they pay for
Previous Brennan ; Previous Burnside: Previous Conde ; Previous Jones ; Previous Laws;
Previous cash for comment
December 2, 1999: Sydney radio station 2UE presenters, including Alan Jones and John Laws whose sponsorship deals are being investigated by the Australian cash-for-comment inquiry, should have to broadcast details of their sponsorship deals the enquiry has been told.
Julian Burnside, QC, counsel assisting the enquiry, says the Australian Broadcasting Authority should impose conditions on Sydney Radio 2UE's licence, including a requirement for its presenters to disclose on air any endorsement agreements they had including the amounts paid. Making his final submission to the hearing, Mr Burnside also called for all stations, including 2UE, to be required to maintain a register of any such agreements available for public inspection at the station on its website. Mr Burnside criticised 2UE for failing to monitor the industry's code of conduct but gave program director a glowing reference whilst criticising other members of the management.
Burnside final submission
Previous cash for comment
December 1, 1999: Radio was a strong factor in the growth of Border Television, the Carlisle (UK)-based company whose turnover rose to £11.5 million in the half-year to October 31st.This was up more than 20 per cent and included a full six months' revenues from Century radio which radio which broadcasts in the north-west of England. Radio contributed nearly forty per cent of the group's revenue compared with under 30 per cent last year and chairman James Graham said the second half of the year had also started well with radio revenues up by nearly 30 per cent.. Overall pre-tax profits for the first half were £1.51 million.
December 1, 1999: John Brennan, programme director at embattled Sydney station 2 UE is to retire before March after more than 50 years in radio. The move was announced by station chairman John Conde and the position is to be advertised with an appointment made to allow 69-year-old Mr Brennan to give his successor several months of guidance before retiring. Mr Brennan told the Sydney Morning Herald that he rejected suggestions he was being made a fall guy for 2UE over the cash-for-comment inquiry into Australian talk radio and said he was being asked to stay on as a programme consultant. Mr Brennan took two stations with totally different formats to the top of Sydney radio - rack-and roll station 2SM in the 1960s and talk and information station 2UE in the '80s and '90s. His awards include three as best program director in Australia, and silver medal and a bronze medal at the New York Radio Festival
SMH-Brennan says he not 'fall guy' (link expires Jan 1)
The Australian on Brennan retirement
Daily Telegraph on Brennan
The Australian -U2e dumps radio kingmaker
| December 31,
1999: Reports that Yahoo Inc had planned to switch to using Microsoft
Windows Media on its broadcast site appear to have been premature.
Currently Yahoo uses software from Real Networks which is the dominant player in the market for Internet broadcast audio and video but has recently lost some large contracts to Microsoft.
Real's shares had dropped by more than ten per cent because of reports of the switch, said to have been planned to take effect on January 1st.
So far public pronouncements have been limited to Yahoo saying it has not cancelled its contracts with Real but a number of radio stations are reported to have queried the suggestion of a switch.
December 30th, 1999: In the Los Angeles Times summary of 1999, Judith Michaelson and Steve Hochman term it the year of the big deal referring to a rush of acquisitions, consolidations and swaps.
Among the features highlighted are the move to Spanish oriented output at KLYY-FM ( RNW Dec 10) and the impending changes at West Covina where KACE-FM and simulcast partner KRTO-FM are being sold by Cox Radio Inc of Atlanta to Dallas-based Hispanic Broadcasting.
In general California ratings stayed firm but Spanish-language music station KBUE-FM jumped to seventh place (from 26th) in the Arbitron October rankings for Los Angeles and Orange County.
Mexican regional music station KSCA-FM (101.9) and adult contemporary music station KLVE-FM (107.5) continue to hold the top slots.
Richard Heftel, vice president of Hispanic Broadcasting and general manager of both stations says he thinks they'll stay there but Roy Laughlin, president and general manager of KIIS-FM (102.7), the English-language station says he hopes the addition of more Spanish stations may fragment their market and give his station a chance to move up.
Already nearly a quarter of the area's station are Spanish broadcasters and his KIIS has jumped to a 4.8% audience share, nearly a full percentage point ahead of fourth-place rock station KROQ-FM. KIIS, which was owned by Jacor, is now under Clear Channel Communications Inc., following a merger earlier this year.
Upon completion of yet another deal with AMFM Inc., Clear Channel, based in San Antonio, Texas, will own a dozen radio stations in California, including talk station KFI-AM (640), KCMG (Mega 100) and rock station KYSR-FM (98.7).
Federal Communications Commission rules allow ownership of no more than eight stations in a major market, however, so Clear Channel likely will have to sell four stations.
Another disposal forced by the rules will result from the CBS-Viacom merger which means that, because of its TV station ownership, CBS-owned Infinity Broadcasting might have to lose at least one, and perhaps two, Los Angeles radio stations.
Currently Infinity owns eight stations, including five FMs--KROQ, KRTH, KTWV (94.7), classic-rock KCBS (93.1) and talk station KLSX (98.7). Infinity also owns three AMs--news competitors KNX (1070) and KFWB (980), and year-old talk station KRLA (1110). One move which isn't happening is the departure of Kevin and Bean from KORQ (RNW Nov 25th ); They're staying put.
Los Angeles Times report
December 30, 1999: Canadian shock-jock Andre Arthur has been given leave to appeal against a ruling condemning him for using coarse language on air, reports the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Arthur, who now works for CJMF,Quebec City, is arguing that his freedom of speech was wrongly limited by the ruling that his comments violated Canada's broadcasting regulations.
December 29, 1999: The UK Guardian carries a belated obituary of BBC Radio's first arts correspondent Gerry Forsey who died last month aged 68.
Forsey, who was born in Bristol, began his journalistic career on the Western Daily Mail and then worked for The Guardian before moving to the BBC in 1968 as a sub-editor.
He moved into arts reporting after writing obituaries including those of Maria Callas (1977) , Mary Pickford (1979) and Alfred Hitchcock (1980).
He was made Arts Correspondent in 1981 for an experimental period but this was ot a success and he was moved to the press and publicity office before returning to the BBC newsroom.
December 28, 1999: Minnesota Public Radio is being sued for sharing its donor lists with, amongst around a hundred organisations, the Democratic National Committee. In the suit, Minnesota Attorney-General Mike Hatch alleges that the radio broke laws governing charitable organisations and disclosed some details of some 3 million donors. The action follows revelations in the summer that around two dozen public television stations, including flagship WGBH Boston, had exchanged membership lists with political groups. Subsequently two Minnesota Republicans asked Hatch to investigate Minnesota Public Radio which like other non-profit organisations is prohibited from contributing to political campaigns.
*RNW Dec 10 Minnesota Public Radio takes over Pasadena station.
December 28, 1999: In a commentary in the Los Angeles Times, Susan J Douglas, professor of communications studies at the University of Maryland, reminisces on the way radio once drew people into a shared sense of community.
Noting that this year is the centenary of radio in the United States, she sees its importance as all but forgotten even though it was the dominant mass medium for a qurter of the period.
She writes that ," Back before the rise of FM and the constant expectation of clear stereophonic sound, we tuned in at night and heard 50,000-watt AM stations several states away. We vaulted over regional boundaries yet felt that we were part of a community--even if only of radio listeners--bigger than ourselves."
Douglas adds however that it is easy to romanticize radio and forget that it carried dire commercials, was a national platform for demagogues like Father Coughlin and Huey Long and in shows like "Amos 'n' Andy" helped perpetuate racial and gender stereotypes and by the 30's was controlled by a corporate oligopoly with generating profits their main aim. Nevertheless she attributes to radio a powerful nostalgia because of the the power of listening--as opposed to reading or viewing--and of the crucial ways that listening to the same thing at exactly the same time forges people into a common audience even when their reactions to what they hear are different.
Los Angeles Times article
December 28, 1999: The Toronto Globe and Mail reports another move into the field of internet broadcasting; Halifax broadcaster Newfoundland Capital Corp has taken a 46% stake in Toronto-based IcebergMedia.com. with a right to increase its interest above 50%
Iceberg, whose chief executive is now Robert Templeton, president of Newfoundland Capital's broadcasting division, hopes to open up a new web niche market in alternative music on the web.
Fronting promotion of the new company is alternative radio icon David Marsden who developed a large following to radio CFNY-AM in Toronto in the 1980s.
Now Marsden and his backers are using a similar formula to draw audiences to music and concerts on its websites including 1groove.com and 2kool4radio.com .
Marsden says only half the music currently bought in stores is ever currently played on radio and adds that because of the global nature of the internet audience a very small percentage share would make a service viable.
His company intends to focus on a tightly-targeted audience to attract advertisers and face-off competition from existing Net radio broadcasts from companies such as Yahoo and Netradio.com which is in partnership with Microsoft Corporation.
Iceberg president Jim Hardy said the company hopes to boost its annual revenue from about Can $250,000 now to around Can$4-million next year through Web site advertising, content redistribution and event sponsorships.
Globe and Mail Report
December 27, 1999: Summing up the past year in British radio, Anne Karpf in the UK Guardian starts by commenting that this year it became more like TV with the emphasis on money rather than programmes.
In particular she refers to Talk Radio's purchase of test cricket rights, later noting that the channel is losing listeners with non-sports enthusiasts deserting its afternoon and early evening Sportszone.
Commenting on the forthcoming changes on BBC Radio 1 (where Zoe Ball is retiring from the Breakfast how to be replaced by Sara Cox) she notes that its main competition is from big commercial stations like Capital Radio rather than the national Virgin network where Chris Evans is discovering that one star isn't enough.
The rest of the review is mainly devoted to BBC channels with positive mentions to Radio 2, the best station of the year in the Sony Awards, Radio 3 with more live music and arts programming including some particularly strong drama with Kate Rowlands' "Frozen Images" and Radio 5 for its energy.
Radio 4 gets a more lukewarm response but praise for the unpromoted talk series John Gray's analysis of globalisation, "Now That History Hasn't Ended" and the drama "Vanilla" where Lesley Bruce is described as having "exploited radio's skill with the grotesque but never over-egged it."
Also in the Guardian, in his comments on television John Willis amongst other comments bemoans what he sees as a trend for television to turn in on itself and neglect the wider world. In contrast he praises British radio for its wider perspective, noting that a Radio 4 programme "So near yet so far" which compared transport systems in Bristol and Bordeaux was one of seven such programmes broadcast in a week by the channel.
December 26, 1999: In what may be a sign of things to come, Australia's Sunday Telegraph reports on Sydney's newest 'radio' stars, Tash Rick and Nance Flaherty, whose Radio Cool is the country's newest Internet Station.
The pair are on the Internet only and caused a stir at the Fox Studios opening and the ARIA awards when they fronted Australia's biggest celebrities with the world's tiniest microphone.
The pair were discovered by former INXS manager C. M. Murphy, whose new Digital One enterprise includes several Internet radio stations.
Sunday Telegraph report
December 25, 1999: Former Victoria premier Jeff Kennett has weighed into the row over gifts to announcers at Melbourne radio station 3AW. The Australian reports Kennett as saying kickbacks were an almost universal aspect of the radio industry.
Kennett spoke out after 3AW sacked Bruce Mansfield but cleared his co-announcer Philip Brady of wrongdoing. He said that he was sorry for Mansfield because he thought most radio personalities had accepted some kind of gift.
Concerning Brady, the Herald-Sun reports a clash between Channel Ten (TV) and 3AW over free overseas trips taken by Brady.
3AW general manager Graham Mott says Brady, who had shown home video of his travels on Channel Ten's Good Morning Australia show, took Lauda Air flights on behalf of Ten.
A Ten spokeswoman said: "The ball is in 3AW's court. It's nothing to do with us."
Mott also said he saw no problem with someone accepting a gift as opposed to asking for things in return for free airtime.
Australian Broadcasting Authority spokesman Donald Robertson said consideration was still being given to including Mansfield in its cash for comments inquiry and added that the ABA might possibly approach airlines for lists of celebrities invited to travel free.
Herald Sun report
Previous Mansfield ; Previous Mott ;
Previous cash for comment
December 24, 1999: Veteran Melbourne broadcaster Bruce Mansfield has been fired following newspaper reports that he arranged a free holiday and a real estate deal in return for offering favourable comment on station 3AW.
Mansfield, co-host of the Nightline programme, said he's being made a scapegoat for a practice which is common practice in commercial radio.
He alleged that station manager Graham Mott knew about some of his deals as early as July.
Mansfield said he'd told Mott and program director (and drive-time host) Steve Price of his travel arrangements said to include tickets from Lauda Air for a holiday trip to Europe for him and his wife.
Price has been named in the Australian Broadcasting Authority cash for comment enquiry but not Mansfield, although the Authority has now said it may extend its enquiry to include Mansfield.
Mansfield said he did not mention to Mott the real estate deal which involved a firm selling his flat for no fee.
Mott says he was told about a January flight which 3AW accepted but not about the arrangement at issue for a trip in May.
He added that this issue was not the same as the cash-for-comment inquiry matters because opinions had not been changed; what had happened was that the broadcaster had enriched himself by using 3AW air time.
The Australian report
Sydney Morning Herald (link expires Jan 24th)
Previous cash for comment
December 23, 1999: Los Angeles-based Entravision Communications has agreed to buy Latino Communications Group for $250 million. The deal will add 17 radio stations to Entravision's existing empire of 9 radio stations. The purchase also includes El Diario, the largets Spanish-language newspaper in the New York Area . Entravision's empire will also include 17 TV stations which are affiliated to Univision, the largest US Spanish language TV Network.
December 23, 1999: Telemedia in Canada is to drop 73-years-old Jim Hunt as co-host of its national show Prime Time Sports although he will still co-host the show once a week and retain his morning spot on Telemedia's flagship station the FAN.
Instead of sharing the hosting with Hunt, Bob McCown will now share with rotating co-hosts ommencing in January with Scott Taylor of the Winnepeg Free Press.
December 22, 1999: The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that major changes seem to lie ahead at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as new CBC president Robert Rabinovitch starts to get a grip on the reins of office.
All four services -- radio and television in English and French --are to report directly to him.
Rabinovitch has assigned CBC executive vice-president and chief operating officer James McCoubrey to head what he calls a "re-engineering" task force for the corporation. Rabinovitch has already axed plans for a third CBC radio network for youth programming (RNW Nov 26) The task force will initially examine four areas, English Television, property management, transmission and distribution and sport. Among the considerations will be whether the Corporation should own its own buildings, operate its own transmitters or transmit sports at all. Commercial sports broadcasters say they can provide these services and the CBC sports presence simply pushes up the price of sports rights.
The CBC is mandated to reach all of the Canadian population and spends a large proportion of its $Canadian 1.1 billion budget on transmissions, property and local stations.
Rabinovitch has hinted he might like to close down the CBC transmission network.
This view, reports the Globe and Mail, was shared by former CBC President Patrick Watson who once suggested it would be cheaper to give satellite dishes to Canadians who didn't receive cable and then switch to cable and satellite transmission.
Globe and Mail report
Globe and Mail facilities report.
December 22, 1999: The Los Angeles Times reports the death of yet another radio old timer.
Bill Carlson, who has died at 80, was an announcer for thirty years from 1953 on Los Angeles classic radio station KFAC-FM (which later became KKBT-FM with a hip-hop and rhythm and blues output).
The paper reports that he credited his hiring to being fluent in French, German and Italian which he learnt while working in army intelligence in the second World War. His first radio experience was on the campus station at the University of Wisconsin whilst a a journalism student and he later worked for KMBC Kansas City, and then after leaving the army at WTMJ Milwaukee before his move to Los Angeles.
December 22, 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald reports the death aged 90 of Australian radio pioneer Eric Bessemer, known as 'Sunrise Sam' during his breakfast announcer days.
Bessemer, a grandson of the steel pioneer Henry Bessemer, was born in England .
He got his first radio job as a technician in Sydney for the state broadcasting service which was amalgamated into 2BL and 2FC.
One day he was the only one person in the station so took over the microphone as well as the controls. His on-air success resulted in his transfer to the broadcasting staff.
He moved to Brisbane in 1931 and joined 4BC there, starting the breakfast show as "Sunrise Sam" in 1932. He was voted Queensland's most popular male announcer for eight successive years.
Morning Herald story (Link expires Jan 21)
December 21, 1999: The Los Angeles Times reports the death aged 72 of former radio host Ronald McKoy who abandoned radio in 1987 to become minister of the Sherman Oaks Church of Religious Science.
McKoy landed his first radio post at a local station in his native Denver when he was 12. He hosted KFI's " Night Owl Show" for 17 years from 1961.
After conflict over KFI's policies on controversial subjects, he moved on to host other talk shows on KGIL,KPRZ(later K!!S-AM) and KIEV.
Memorial services are scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 2 at the Hollywood Church for Today, 7677 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles Times Story
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