February 2000 personalities:
Frank Ahrens- Washington Post writer: Richard Alston - Australian Communications Minister; Sue Arnold - UK Observer columnist; Andrei Babitsky-(4)- (Russian) reporter for Radio Liberty;Oliver Barry -(3) former chief executive of Century Communications Ireland (collapsed 1991); Mary Berry - outgoing chairman Pacifica Foundation (U.S.);Ralph Bernard - chief executive UK radio group GWR; Lord (John) Birt--former BBC Director-General ; Tony Blair - British Prime Minister and website broadcaster; James Boyle- former controller BBC Radio 4; John Brennan - former manager Sydney 2UE; Maggie Brown - UK Guardian writer; Jason Bryant - U.K. TalkSport managing director in charge of new development ; Ray Burke -(4) - former Fianna Fáil (Ireland) minister responsible for communications; Bill Caralis -Australian media magnate; Lynn Chadwick -executive director Pacifica Foundation(departing) ; Bob Collins-(4) Chicago rado broadcaster (deceased); John Conde-( 3 ) -chairman 2UE, Sydney; Marc Cooper -KPFK-FM Los Angeles broadcaster; Anne Davies- Sydney Morning Herald journalist ;Jimmy de Castro- former vice-Chairman of AMFM Inc(retired);Owen Delaney- Sydney 2UE breakfast host; Myles Dungan -RTÉ broadcaster;Jeffrey Dvorkin - US National Public Radio executive; Greg Dyke-BBC Director-General; Alex Frame -(2) vice-president of CBC Radio; John Gordon Fraser- US broadcaster (deceased); John Fordham --agent for John Laws, Sydney broadcaster; Michael Fowler - general manager WJMK Chicago ; Gail Gilmore-WUMB-FM,Boston, broadcaster; Michael Gordon-Smith- Australian cash-for-comment enquiry chairman;Tom Gormley - member of trade union group on the RTÉ Partnership Project. :Bob Greene-Chicago Tribune columnist; Ken Herrera -WBBB-AM,Chicago, broadcaster; Bob Hesketh- former Toronto broadcaster (deceased); Nigel Holmes- former BBC radio producer and author of critical report on religious broadcasting ; Brian Johns- managing director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Catherine Johns- former WJMK, Chicago, broadcaster; Allan Johnson- Chicago Tribune TV writer; Alan Jones -(9 ) Sydney 2UE broadcaster; Tim Jones- Chicago Tribune journalist; Garrison Keillor- U.S. author and broadcaster; Jim Kirk -(3) Chicago Tribune media columnist; John Landecker -Chicago WJMK morning show host; John Laws-(9)- Sydney 2UE broadcaster ; JPMcCarthy -former morning host WJR-AM, Detroit (died 1995) ; Pat McLoughlin - former BBC producer (deceased)Prue MacSween- (2) - Sydney 2UE late-night host; David Mansfield - chief executive Capital Radio, UK; Judith Michaelson - Los Angeles Times writer; Felicia Middlebrooks -WBBB-AM,Chicago, broadcaster; Jim Nayder- WBEZ, Chicago, producer and broadcaster; Mike North -WSCR-AM Chicago host; Spike O'Dell -Chicago broadcaster; Brian O'Donovan-WGBH-FM. Boston, broadcaster; Ken O'Keefe- radio group chief operating officer, AMFM Inc ; Dolly Parton -former owner WDLY, Tennessee; Phil Ponce - Chicago WTTW host; Robert Rabinovitch- president, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Harold Redekopp -English Television vice-president, CBC; Steve Rivers- former Chief Programming Officer AMFM Inc; (Dr) Laura Schlessinger - US talk show host; Robin Scott- former BBC Executive(deceased) ; Dan Schmidt - president and chief executive officer, Window to the World Communications, Chicago; John Singleton -(2) - Sydney 2GB owner; Stephen Smith - Australian Federal Opposition media spokesman; Jeffrey Smulyan-founder and chairman of Emmis Communications Corporation ; Suzy Yates - Sydney 2UE broadcaster ; Stan Zemanek- former Sydney 2UE late-night host now 2GB broadcaster;
Numbers in brackets indicatethe number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once

February 2000 Archive

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February 2000 Archive

January 2000 -
- March 2000

February 18, 2000:Pressures from other airwave users, particularly newer services such as mobile phones, seems likely to start spilling over into licensing for traditional broadcasters.
In the UK there have already been calls for a date to be set to switch-off analogue radio ( RNW Feb 14).
This would free space for digital use of the spectrum (and also fill government coffers with the bids -expected to be in billions -for the licences from telecommunications companies.
The same is also happening in the US where lobbyists for the new companies are trying to get more space and seeing what they might be able to grab from other users such as large industrial complexes, utility and taxi companies which have their own private wireless systems using two-way radios and so on.
These private users cite safety and security amongst reasons for maintaining their networks for immediate communication and traditional broadcasters have obvious needs of the spectrum.
But the financial pressures are growing with governments auctioning spectrum to mobile phone users; the US government has raised some $20 billion this way and has another auction due this year which is expected to raise more than $2 billion more.
RNW comment:We would welcome feedback on pressures building in other areas of the world, particularly calls for the ending of analogue broadcasts.

February 18, 2000: Susquehanna Radio, the largest privately-owned US radio company, has signed a 23-station deal with Internet company Radio Wave of Chicago. The agreement expands an existing two-station deal between the companies.
February 17, 2000:The US National Association of Broadcasters(NAB), which represents commercial stations, has filed suit against the US Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) over its January decision to allow the creation of hundreds of new low power non-commercial FM radio stations. (RNW Jan 21 ).
The NAB claims the new stations will cause interference to existing stations and says that the decision to permit them is ``arbitrary, capricious and otherwise contrary to law.''

February 17, 2000: Jimmy de Castro is to retire tomorrow as vice-Chairman of AMFM Inc and head of its radio division less than six months after the company agreed its purchase by Clear Channel Communications in a $23.5 billion deal..
He's one of a number of departures since the takeover was announced including Chief Programming Officer Steve Rivers.
AMFM radio group chief operating officer, Ken O'Keefe, will now run AMFM's 440 radio stations.
De Castro made his name in Chicago where he moved to run WLUP-FM in 1981 and became co-founder of AMFM predecessor Evergreen media when ownership restrictions were eased in the 1980s.
After expanding during the 1980s Evergreen merged with Chancellor Broadcasting in 1997 to create a group owning 103 stations; the new giant formed by the Clear Channel takeover will have 830.
De Castro, who owns stock worth some $250 million, is taking a Caribbean holiday but is expected to announce the launch his own Internet company.

February 17, 2000: The Irish Times reports that RTÉ presenter Myles Dungan, currently presenting the Five-Seven Live news magazine programme has been approached to succeed Mike Murphy as presenter of Radio One's afternoon arts show which is to be revamped.
Dungan, a graduate of English and History from University College Dublin, has been with RTÉ for almost 20 years.
He was appointed as a continuity announcer in 1980 and has fronted the drivetime news slot on Radio One for 12 years, presenting Today at Five before Five-Seven Live.
Irish Times report

February 16, 2000: The Australian Labor Party has now taken formal steps to refer the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's five year online deal with Telstra to a Senate Committee. The move means the deal will almost certainly face delays until the review.
Previous ABC Online
February 16, 2000: In his media column in the Chicago Tribune, Jim Kirk, reports on a continuing exodus of staff from WMAQ-AM amidst uncertainty as to whether the station is to change its format away from news/sport or be disposed of by Infinity Broadcasting.
Infinity is thought likely to have to sell a Chicago station to meet federal regulations when Viacom merges with its parent, CBS.
Rival news/talk stationWLS-AM is benefiting from the uncertainty.
Its news department is now at full strength with the arrival of new morning news reporter and new anchor, Cisco Cotto from a reporting spot at WMAQ.
Kirk Chicago Tribune column

February 15, 2000: The Sydney Morning Herald reports on conflict building between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the country's oppositon Australian Labor Party over the broadcasters proposed online deal with Telstra (RNW Feb 7).
The opposition has warned the ABC not to sign the deal and called for an enquiry into the ABC's charter after it saw a draft of the details.
These included not only online content and co-production but also suggests that Telstra have first options on bidding for spare ABC digital TV Spectrum and suggestion that the ABC consider reasonable suggestions from Telstra on the mix and variety of content.
Yesterday the Australian reported that ABC News already appears to be filtered before it lands on a Cable & Wireless Optus Web site. The paper monitored the site ( for almost three days and noted that while other sites including Telstra's were carrying in-depth local and international news including that of an Australian textiles dispute, the Optus site had only rudimentary cover.
Sydney Morning Herald report
The Australian report
Previous ABC online
February 15, 2000: CBS-owned Infinity Broadcasting Corp.has reported strong fourth quarter earnings last year with both its radio stations and outdoor advertising doing well.
Profits were £118 million (13cents per share) compared to $69 million(ten cents a share) for the final quarter of 1998.
Revenues were also up enarly a third at $759 million compared to $573 million in 1998, since when it has acquired billboard company Outdoor Systems Inc.
Radio station revenue was up around 17%.

February 15, 2000: Camarillo-based Salem Communications Corporation which owns radio stations targeting the Christian audience is making two acquisitions.
In one deal, it is to buy Dallas station KSYK-AM from AMFM Inc in a deal involving payment of $7.5million and giving up KPRZ-FM, one of its three stations in Colorado Springs, Colorado. When the deal, subject to regulatory approval, is concluded Salem will own an AM and an FM station in the Dallas-Forth area and KGFT-FM and KPRZ-FM in Colorado Springs.
In the second deal, Salem will pay $3.1 million for Nashville-based Reach Satellite Network which owns two Nashville radio stations and the Solid Gospel Radio Network with more than 1000 affiliates taking its gospel music programming.

February 15, 2000: A Manchester, UK, truck driver and his accounts clerk wife have divorced on air in a Valentine's Day competition run by radio station Key 103(RNW Jan 22). The station is picking up the tab for the divorce and a five-day separate holiday for the cou;le --but the couple are still in dispute over this because they each want to go to Mexico but don't want there to be any chance of meeting their ex-spouse there.
February 15, 2000: A Church of England report has attacked BBC religious programming both for its quantity and quality.
In a report to the Church's General Synod retired BBC local radio producer Nigel Holmes says the Corporation has replaced serious religious content with 'drivel', particularly on television.
On Radio 4 the Sunday Worship programme has lost a quarter of its audience ---down to 1.2million from 1.6 million after being shortened and moved half an hour earlier to start at 7.10a.m.
The "Prayer for the Day" segment in the Today programme has also lost audience since its time was moved 40 minutes earlier to 5.45a.m.
The Synod will debate BBC religious programming later this month and already a private motion on the topic has won record backing in a decade (RNW Jan 10)

February 14, 2000:Santa Monica public radio station KCRW has now created an interesting (to RNW anyway) live international news channel available 24 hours per day on the Internet.
The channel comprises material from BBC World service and US National Public Radio International.
The station has also had a successful winter pledge drive which raised nearly $1.25 million and brought membership to an all-time high approaching 60,000.
KCRW home page

February 14, 2000:The chief executive of UK Capital Radio has called upon the British government to set a switch-off date for analogue radio to show its commitment to the move to digital.
David Mansfield made the call at a launch reception for "Life", Capital's new national digital station ( RNW Jan 31). Noting that broadcasters had made significant investment in digital he said that they needed concomitant government support both through the release of more digital spectrum and through switching off analogue.
RNW note:Ironically this call comes as two British magazines report that expensive digital receivers can in some cases make music sound worse than FM reception, contrary to the promises that DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) would bring near-CD quality.
The February print issue of Hi-Fi Choice review by concert pianist cum electronics engineer Richard Black found that with music with what he called "busy textures" things went badly wrong. It affected music from rock to classical.
The New Scientist magazine says that the problem appears to be in the encoding design of DAB itself which , after sampling analogue audio, creates a digital stream which is compressed by discarding information which should not affect the way the replayed signal will sound.
Under the internationally agreed standards for DAB this is done at 48khz and the frequency is built into the DAB chips which produce an audio bandwidth of 20 khz, more than the limits of human hearing.
At a meting of the Institute of Broadcast Sound at the BBC's training centre at Wood Norton near Evesham, Worcestershire, BBC engineers showed why the problems occurred.
The BBC had originally planned to use 256kilobits per second to transmit DAB but cut this to 192 kilobits per second so that more channels could be packed in and they found this worked almost perfectly for uncompressed digital recordings.
However if the music had already been copied onto analogue tape or a compressed digital system the dab encoder considered the unwanted noise as music and kept it whilst throwing away musical detail.
The BBC engineers showed one way round the problem for the technically expert; by reducing the sampling rate to a technically lower quality of 32 kilohertz, the audio bandwidth was reduced to 15 Khz, still wider than most people can hear, and ironically the result sounded better.
But for mass produced receivers the sample rate could only be changed by altering the DAB chip and standards.

February 14, 2000:The spread of radio technology has finally killed the jobs of 600 pigeons in India although their lives are not at risk. The birds had been used to carry messages to and from remote polling stations in Orissa State in Eastern India but now they're being replaced by radios although they'll still be used for ceremonial purposes.
February 13, 2000: Radio in general, and BBC radio in particular, comes in for a positive review of their audience success, particularly in grabbing the start-of -the-day audience, from Sue Arnold writing in the UK Observer.
Basing her comments on the latest RAJAR audience ratings ( RNW Feb 3 ) she points out that last year Radio 5 gained half a million new listeners with the Five Live breakfast show winning both a younger audience and ample awards.
There are also positive comments for Radio 4 whose breakfast-time "Today" show delivers more serious politics and has pulled back its audience following 1998 changes made by the then controller James Boyle.(RNW Jan 17)
The show's audience are older -- average age around 54 -- but number six million and are rising. " Above all, " she writes,"the programme operates on the built-in assumption that it is broadcasting to an intelligent audience, so they don't have to say Cairo, Egypt. " The other BBC channels also come out well in audience terms with 5.5 million tuning in to Radio 2 and and seven million to Radio 1, giving the BBC an overall audience considerably greater than all its commercial rivals combined. For TalkSport, Arnold adds, it's too early to say how their ratings will fare but whatever happens it won't be a threat to the BBC breakfast rivals.
UK Observer column

*RNW note: The Observer also carries an item on the BBC governors.
Observer on BBC governors

February 13, 2000: Chicago radio host Bob Collins, killed in a plane crash on Tuesday, was remembered at a service attended by more than a thousand people Holy Name Cathedral on Saturday.
They included the prominent such as Mayor Richard M. Daley and current Illinois governor Gov. George Ryan and his predecessors, former governors Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson as well as colleagues and ordinary listeners.
The Chicago Tribune reports the service and the irony that Collins was about to take delivery ofa new plane with a safety parachute that might have saved his life
It also has a tribute to the WGN broadcaster from one of its columnists Bob Greene who refers to the "voice which could change everything."
He comments on 25 years of working with Collins and the late-broadcasters kindnesses, professionalism and uncalculated friendship.
Chicago Tribune on Service
Chicago Tribune columnist' tribute;
Previous Collins
; Previous WGN

February 13, 2000: Also in Chicago, station WSCRAM has given lunch- to-afternoon slot host Mike North a Valentine's day treat by sending him to London for his broadcasts tomorrow and Tuesday.
North moved to his new slot last summer when the station reorganised its line-up but it's unclear why a sports/talk show has a special reason to move to Europe on these two days.
Chicago Tribune report

February 12, 2000: London station Capital Radio is putting up for sale its radio cafés, the remaining part of an ill-judged venture into the restaurant world three years ago.
Last year it sold most of its restaurants for around £11 million but held on to the four radio café operations which were transferred into the company's radio division and put under the marketing budget.

February 12, 2000:Lanham-based Radio One Inc., which has gone on an expansion spree (RNW Jan 24 ) has reported 1999 income of $1.9million, up from under $1million in 1998. Earnings per share went down from 10 cents to 9 cents and preference share payments were more than profits.
For the fourth quarter its revenue was $28.2 million ($14.6 million in 1998) and same-station revenue rose healthily from $15.9 million to $21.5 million.

February 11, 2000: British Prime Minister Tony Blair has started a weekly audio broadcast to emulate the weekly US Presidential radio bnroadcasts. It's only on the Internet and the first issue - focussed on education - was a straightforward(if not dull) read.
UK Prime Minister's website

MP 3 version of Broadcast on our audio files.
February 11, 2000:Commenting on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's latest job cuts (RNW Feb 10th ) , the Toronto Globe and Mail opines that they were a stop-gap measure by English Television vice-president Harold Redekopp to respond to financial deadlines whilst the big decisions await a report from a special task force review of the CBC's total activities. The paper does not mention the 28 radio jobs axed.
But the cuts, it says could limit future options in particular those relating to regional broadcasting where increases are wanted by the Canadian Radio, television and Telecommunications Commission (RNW Jan 7 ).
Keeping regional output is vital, the Globe and Mail considers, to the long-term future of the CBC.
Globe and Mail report

Previous CBC jobs report
February 11, 2000: Richmond, Virginia radio station WMXB has eased conditions of a St Valentine's day contest under which two total strangers would win a marriage ceremony and a five-night honeymoon in Las Vegas.
Originally the contest involved a legally-binding wedding ceremony but now it's dropped that part of the deal but will still offer the Las Vegas trip.
RNW note: Maybe the station could have considered a twinning deal with the English station offering a divorce as a prize. RNW Jan 22 )

February 11, 2000:The Voice of America (VOA) is cutting 51 jobs, mostly those involved in broadcasting to Central and Eastern Europe with the Polish, Hungarian and Czech language services hardest hit.
The cuts are part of a budget-trimming re-organisation which will see reduced broadcasting to Europe but an increase for some other areas, notably Africa, Indonesia and several Spanish-speaking countries including Colombia.

February 11, 2000: Commenting on the Australian cash-for-comment affair, the Sydney Morning Herald's Justinian column puts the chances of a regime of disclosure working as slim.
To do so, it says, requires much goodwill from the prime culprits, 2UE broadcasters Alan Jones and John Laws and station chairman John Conde but the evidence to date on the broadcasters are that they still don't "get what the fuss and bother was about."
It quotes an example of Jones' comments following the report when he'd mentioned (Australian airline and sponsor) Qantas and then went on "Oh hang on. I've got to say here now (snorts), this is part of the new rules. If you say there's a fire in the Optus building, you've got to remember to say, 'I've got a contract with Optus'. How I've got a contract with Qantas."
Sydney Morning Herald column
Previous Jones:
Previous Laws;
Previous Conde;
Previous cash-for-comment.

February 11, 2000: Former Century Radio director, Oliver Barry, told the Flood Tribunal in Dublin that he withdrew £35000 in cash from the Bank of Ireland in May 1989 and gave it to the then minister for justice and communications at the time, Ray Burke, to support Fianna Fáil's effort to win a second seat in Dublin North in the general election that year. (RNW note -it didn't win the seat)
He said that he did not get a receipt and that varying references in documents to the sum as a "direct debit", "donation", and "deposit" all referred to the same sum which was handed over in cash.
He accepted that it was a political contribution.
Irish Times report

Previous Barry;
Previous Burke;
Previous Flood Tribunal

February 10, 2000: In his Media Talk column in the Chicago Tribune, Jim Kirk asks who can fill the shoes of WGN-AM morning host Bob Collins who died two days ago in a light plane crash. ( RNW Feb 9).
Kirk answers his rhetorical question by saying that its one station executives and staff aren't ready to deal with yet.
For the moment afternoon host Spike O'Dell is filling Collins slot with midday host filing in for him in the afternoon but the longer term is less certain. A successful succession is crucial to WGN whose advertising from Collins' show was estimated at around $14 million per annum. The show had an audience share of 10.4 in the fall ratings, nearly double that of his nearest competitors at WBBB-AM, Felicia Middlebrooks and Ken Herrera.
In a report on the business implications for WGN, Tim Jones says the challenge is daunting.
He draws a comparison with the fate of WJR-AM in Detroit and ABC owned station which lost its dominant morning voice J.P.McCarthy in 1995 after nearly 30 years broadcasting in the city.
Since then the stations audience share has almost halved.
He also points out that the costs of full-service stations like WGN are much higher than more narrowly based stations resulting in lower profit margins.
As a result many of them have not survived the rounds of consolidation and audience fragmentation which have taken place in the US since regulatory constraints were eased four years ago.
Kirk column, Chicago Tribune

Tim Jones on business implications for WGN
Chicago Tribune -Collins remembered
Chicago Tribune on crash tapes
Previous WGN

February 10, 2000: The Irish row over contributions to former Irish Minister Ray Burke is due to move on a stage today when Oliver Barry, the former director of Century Radio, is scheduled to appear before the Flood tribunal investigating the affair.
Barry gave £35000 in cash to the then minister, who was responsible for broadcasting, shortly before his(subsequently collapsed) company became the successful bidder for the first national Irish commercial radio licence ( RNW Feb 4th).
His lawyers had asked that Barry not be required to give evidence at this stage but tribune chairman Mr Justice Flood said he had acted with "cavalier disrespect" to the tribunal and its orders to provide information.
Irish Times report
Irish Times background report on Barry (Feb 7th)

Previous Flood Tribunal
February 10, 2000: 28 jobs in radio and 145 in television are being axed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in its latest round of job cuts( RNW Feb 7th ).
This is considerably fewer than the 500 plus which had been rumoured.
Most of the cuts are at the main network in Toronto; regional operations are still having their budgets reviewed over the coming few months and CBC Newsworld is not affected as it is financed though subscriber and advertising revenues.
CBC president Robert Rabinovitch has said he won't ask the government for extra funds until the corporation's books are in order and the cuts are seen by many as the first in a round of cuts, timed in this case before the next financial year starts in April.
Other cuts are expected later in the year; they follow some 3000 job cuts since 1995 when public funding was cut by more than Can$400 million.
CBC radio vice-president Alex Frame said in a statement that the cuts had not been easy but radio had managed to fill a Washington correspondent's post and keep Moscow and Bangkok bureaux open.
Previous Frame

Previous CBC job cuts
February 10, 2000: The BBC has accepted criticisms of its Radio 4 soap, The Archers, for carrying a scene in which characters were enthusiastic about comments to farmers by British Prime Minister Tony Blair ( RNW Feb 6). A statement says the scene was "inappropriate".
Previous Archers

February 10, 2000: Rival stations in Australia have called for 2UE to be punished by the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters (FARB) for bringing the industry into disrepute with its involvement in the Australian cash-for-comment affair.
The calls came from the Austereo and Macquarie networks both of whom are concerned that their licences could be restricted in the fall out from the affair, particularly over live reads ( RNW Feb 8 ). Macquarie, whose biggest shareholder is John Singleton, has gone further than other stations in asking that FARB expel 2UE forthwith.
Singleton said that 2UE had to go if the industry's voluntary code was to survive.
FARB restated its its view that all radio stations should disclose the commercial deals and personal endorsements of broadcasters and its board is to meet again in a fortnight to consider the situation further.
The Australian Broadcasting Association report on the affair had proposed conditions to 2UE's licence which require a broadcaster to disclose any agreements each time a sponsor's name is mentioned and FARB said 2UE should comply with the requirements. 2UE chairman John Conde is talking to the ABA about implementing them.
Various organisations have called for the conditions to be applied nationwide and the Sydney Morning Herald reports that advertisers also want an industry-wide system.
It quoted Zenith Media's business development director, Jane Koitka, as saying , "There's a need for consistent, industry-wide regulations to cover personality endorsements. There's no point in singling out one station or a few individuals. If the regulations apply across the industry, everyone knows exactly where they stand. Anything else is a recipe for confusion."
She and other media buyers contacted by the Herald said that advertorials and live reads would not be killed off by the regulations but would have to change.
Whatever comment about the affair may be, politicians still feel they need to get on 2UE and talk to Alan Jones and John Laws. The Australian Opposition Leader was interviewed by Laws on Tuesday and the Prime Minister by Jones on Wednesday.
Laws, who had not reacted strongly about the ABA report, now appears to be not totally serious about it. In his show he commented on the question of distinguishing between what was and was not a commercial and then went on, "When you hear this sound (bell) you will know that this is a commercial arrangement, when you hear (raspberry) that sound, you'll know that that's a non-commercial arrangement. This is going to help us, dramatically, of course, keeping the dream alive."
The Australian report
Sydney Morning Herald report
Herald regarding advertisers.

Previous Conde ;
Previous Jones ;
Previous Laws;
Previous Singleton ;
Previous cash-for-comment
RNW note:For a Boston view on hosts pitching products see today's Boston Globe Page F01

Next columnBack to top

February 9, 2000: Chicago morning radio host "Uncle Bobby" -Bob Collins -was among four people killed after two light planes collided above Zion, Illinois, yesterday.
Collins' Zlin 242, crashed into a hospital and exploded after colliding with a Cessna being flown by a student pilot.
Collins had been the top rated morning host in the Chicago since 1986 when he took over the slot at WGN from Wally Phillips.
He began his radio career aged 14 back home in Lakeland, Florida, and before moving to the WGN, where he build the biggest afternoon audience slot in Chicago, had held the afternoon slot at WOKY in Milwaukee.
Last year he signed a five-year contract for WGN,starting on January 1st this year, reputedly getting a considerable rise from his existing $1million per annum.
For some time as reports of the accident ran on WGN, the stations website was overloaded.
His microphone was manned today by Spike O'Dell for a commercial-free tribute of calls from listeners, archive recordings and anecdotes.
O'Dell said that he was a broadcaster who made people listen to him.
``He was the kind of guy that made you go 'What!' reach down and turn the radio up. That's why he was double above anybody else in the competition in the ratings.''
WGN Website
Collins page at WGN-AM

Chicago Tribune memories of Collins (includes links to other Tribune stories)

February 9, 2000: Following the Australian Broadcasting Authority report on the cash-for-comment affair involving Sydney 2UE, rival station owner John Singleton is threatening to sue 2UE if his Macquarie network which owns the 2GB station is hit by new regulations as a result of 2UE's actions.
The new licence conditions for 2UE would impose requirements for clear delineation between editorial and advertisements which could affect the practice of 'live reads' ( RNW Feb 8) and could be extended to the whole of the Australian radio industry.
Singleton told the Sydney Morning Herald live reads by personality broadcasters were the " bread and butter" of the industry and the most effective form of radio advertising.
He said if they were removed it would do damage and he would call upon other stations to join him in suing 2UE and also to remove them from the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters(FARB) which has a board meeting scheduled today.
The two broadcasters at the heart of the affair have reacted in different tones. On his breakfast show, Alan Jones attacked the ABA and devoted around 15 minutes to comment on the matter.
He said the ABA had failed to find any examples of him changing his views as a result of his contracts.
John Laws who followed Jones did not dwell on the matter. In a comment on the affair in the Herald, Anne Davies, says that the authority has been attacked for being toothless because it did not penalise 2UE but the problem at heart is due to the Broadcasting Services Act which embraced self-regulation. That self-regulation, she writes has not worked. She suggests that the ABA now has an opportunity to press for changes to the Act and should try to use them to get sharp new teeth.
Sydney Morning Herald report

Sydney Morning Herald comment
Previous Jones;
Previous Laws
Previous cash for comment

February 9, 2000: Reporting on the latest Arbitron figures (to Dec 15, 1999), the Washington Post highlights the rise of talk-station WJFK which aims for a primarily while male audience.
It moved to the number 2 spot cracking the hold on the top three slots of black-orientated stations WPGC and WKYS (hit songs) and WHUR (contemporary).
WJFK's morning show from Howard Stern topped that time slot, Gordon Liddy retained his top midday slot amongst the 25-54 male audience and afternoon-drive hosts Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara topped the all men's ratings categories.
Washington Post report

February 8, 2000: Former BBC executive Robin Scott, who was responsible for the creation of BBC Radio 1 and 2, has died aged 79.
He was born Robin Hugh Scutt, and joined the BBC during the second world war after being invalided out of the Intelligence Corp in 1942.
He worked in the French section at Bush House in London until 1955, changing his name to Scott during this period.
After this spell he worked in Television until the 1967 re-organisation of BBC Radio which saw the disappearance of the Home Service, Light Programme and Third Programme and the start of numbered channels.
Scott was responsible for the setting up of Radio 1 as a pop station to head off pirate competitors and Radio 2 as a music and entertainment channel.
Both stations proved successful and his subsequent career until retiring from the BBC was in television where he was controller of BBC2 and Deputy Managing Director of BBC Television.
After retirement he was a member of a losing franchise consortium and later he was on the board of London Weekend Television for nine years.

February 8, 2000: In another example of the influence the Internet is having on radio stations, KUBE 93 in Seattle has put up two billboards on Interstates near Portland, Oregon, to attract online listeners outside the station's broadcast market.
In this case both the station and the billboard company are owned by the same group, the Ackerley Group, so the costs are internal.

February 8, 2000:Commenting on the row at the Pacifica group of stations ( RNW Jan 9), Washington Post writer Frank Ahrens says that the affair has degenerated into a slow self-immolation process that may kill off an independent news voice.
He criticises the censorship of reporting the affair by the group's management as "cowardly radio and Soviet-style journalism" although accepting they have the right not to allow staff to criticise Pacifica on its own airwaves.
Ahrens goes on to say that finance is at the root of the network's problems --it is banned by its charter from accepting corporate sponsorship unlike the main National Public Radio network,
It relies on donations for 85% of its income, the rest coming from federal funds via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Many of the donors are becoming old and so new sources of funding will be needed so he concludes the organisation needs to rewrite its charter and will have to accept corporate finance

RNW note: We would welcome feedback on the issue raised here; are the benefits of voices independent the commercial mainstream sufficiently great to justify public funding?
Previous Pacifica
February 8, 2000: One of Chicago's best known radio voices,Catherine Johns, is now off the air after more than 20 years in the medium in her native Chicago.
Johns spent 18 years at WLS-AM 890 first as news anchor with Larry Lujack and then as host of her own evening talk show.
Two years ago she moved to WJMK-Fm as morning co-host with John Landecker but her contract has expired and not been renewed.
The station's new general manager Michael Fowler told the Chicago Tribune that ratings were behind his decision not to renew Johns' contract; The show is in 11th place with a 2.9 share, according to last week's release of the Arbitron fall ratings.
WJMK is in a tight ratings battle with newcomer "Jammin' Oldies" station WUBT-FM 103.5.
In the most recent Arbitron ratings, WJMK was flat with a 3.1 overall share of the radio market, while WUBT fell from a 3.5 share to a 2.8 share.
Chicago Tribune radio column

February 8, 2000:The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has reacted to the country's "cash-for-comment" affair by proposing tough new disclosure requirements on Sydney 2UE whose broadcasters Alan Jones and John Laws were at the heart of the scandal.
The Authority has no power to impose sanctions on the broadcasters themselves and at the moment the new rules will only apply to 2UE.
However they may be extended further. The ABA says it may propose national regulations if its investigation shows sponsorship deals are widespread enough to justify this and already the suggestion of national regulation has been supported by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which represents journalists, 2UE's chairman John Conde, and Federal Opposition media spokesman Stephen Smith amongst others.
Under the rules,which the ABA proposes to make a condition of the station's licence, all presenters at 2UE will have to disclose on air their financial tiers with a company every time they interview its executives or mention its products or services.
2UE will also have to clearly distinguish advertisements from other program matter which is likely to affect the current practice of the "live read", a paid advertisement that seamlessly blends into programming. Laws is regarded as particularly skilful in delivering these and charges for his reads are top dollar.
In addition to other requirements, 2UE will have to keep a public register of all the presenters' contracts and put it on its website.
It has escaped having to detail actual amounts but the ABA has proposed payment bands to indicate their size.
In terms of existing rules, the ABA said 2ue breached the industry code on fairness in news and current affairs 60 times and that requiring advertising and news to be distinguishable 30 times.
Australian newspaper report in detail upon the matter and reactions to it. The Sydney Morning Herald suggests 2UE may face additional action, quoting the Communications Minister Richard Alston as saying that the ABA requirements were the "minimum" to be expected of 2UE.
The Australian says 2UE was disappointed by the report and disagreed with some of the findings.
It quotes the station's executive chairman, Mr John Conde as saying, "We will not accept that anyone can disguise as news or comment on 2UE what is really paid promotional material for a third party."
This comment ran contrary to the ABA view expressed by the ABA panel's the presiding member, Mr Michael Gordon-Smith, who said in their view," a commercial arrangement between a presenter and a person whose commercial interests are directly affected by the broadcast is a fact of sufficient relevance to render misleading any broadcast from which it is withheld,". 2UE,Jones and Laws have 30 days to respond to the ABA report; So far neither Jones or Laws have made any public comment.
*In editorial comment, the Sydney Morning Herald comments that the ABA has "precisely and effectively" exposed the "inherent sleaziness" in the industry and says it has acted correctly in imposing conditions on 2UE's licence.
It adds that Jones and Laws tried to defend the indefensible and says there is no conflict between the conditions imposed and free speech.
Previous Jones;
Previous Laws;
Previous cash-for-comment:
ABA Home Page
(ABA Report Index (links to 2UE Enquiry 522 page report in RTF --3492 kb/Adobe PDF 1816kb: HTML version due circa Feb 14th)
The Australian and Daily Telegraph reports (4) are on the Newscom site
Sydney Morning Herald (9 reports)
Sydney Morning Herald editorial

February 8, 2000:The BBC is to return two local radio stations to the airwaves next week. BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Oxford were merged into BBC Thames Valley four years ago.
When they return, the stations will continue to broadcast a mixture of speech-based programming including news, travel and weather information plus entertainment and music.

February 7, 2000:The Australian Broadcasting Authority is to issue its report into the cash-for-comment affair involving Sydney station 2UE and broadcasters Alan Jones and John Laws this morning (11 ayem local:Midnight GMT). It is expected to recommend new regulations of sponsorship deals.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on yet another potential deal involving host John Laws whose agent offered his services to endorse SOCOG's(the Australian Olympics Organisation) ticketing program after the broadcaster attacked Games organisers for their choice of ticket ambassadors.
The agent, John Fordham, said the offer of a deal, which was rejected, was made without Laws' knowledge as he saw when a commercial opportunity after hearing Laws comments.
Laws, according the Sun-Herald, had first criticised the people chosen by SOCOG then added,"If you want to sell tickets, get salesmen to sell it. I'm available - cost you money, but I am available. If you want to flog tickets, do it the right way."
ABA site:
Sydney Morning Herald report

Previous Jones;
Previous Laws:
Previous cash-for comment

February 7, 2000: The Toronto Globe and Mail reports on cutbacks expected soon at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The main CBC unions have said that there'll be significant layoffs starting as soon as mid-February with Toronto particularly hard hit and subsequent effects on programming.
T his has been denied by Alex Frame, the Toronto-based vice-president of CBC Radio who admitted cuts were on the agenda but said the changes would allow the CBC to " provide the best possible radio programming for Canadians."

Globe and Mail report
February 7, 2000:The Boston Globe reports today on Chicagoan Jim Nayder's 4-minute "The Annoying Music Show" on US public radio. The show, which Nayder founded, produces and hosts grew out of his work for ''Magnificent Obsession,'' a weekly 30-minute documentary about recovering substance abusers on Chicago National Public Radio outlet, WBEZ.
Nayder was asked to fill in when the following show wasn't ready, and announced, ''Welcome to The Annoying Music Show,'' as he played a song of Slim Whitman yodeling ''It's a Small World.''
There was an immediate response and now the show airs weekly on more than 200 outlets with mus he digs up from various sources including such gems as US Navy Steel Drum Band's ''Blowin' in the Wind,'' William Shatner's ''Mr. Tambourine Man,'' and Kate Smith's ''Battle of the Green Berets.''
Boston Globe report

February 7, 2000:The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is aiming to have a major presence on the Internet says a report in the Australian.
The deals would be similar, says the paper, to the proposed Telstra deal (RNW Feb 5). The report adds that in addition to the content the ABC is already supplying to internet groups it is also in discussion with all major players already on the Internet or seeking to be.
ABC managing director Brian Johns said none of the deals were exclusive and that the corporation needed to get access to new delivery systems or it would become isolated. The Telstra deal still has to be approved by the ABC board but Johns, writing in the Australian, said, "Media convergence is a reality. We want it to have an Australian, not an American, accent."
The Australian report
Sydney Morning Herald report
Previous ABC online
RNW note: The ABC Online sites are amongst Australia's most popular with overall hits of around 2.5 million a week.
See RNW Radio Stations section regarding Australia
February 6, 2000:The Chicago Tribune reports on acquisition plans of the Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation which created the all-sports-talk radio format and was a pioneer in the urban contemporary music format.
Emmis owns 15 large-market radio stations, seven TV stations and five magazines but has languished in recent years compared to the broadcasting giants.
Now Emmis founder and Chairman Jeffrey Smulyan is signalling that he wants to expand to around five times the group's current size and is prepared to spend up to $2 billion to do it.
He's already bidding for L.A. radio station KKBT-FM, and is said to be willing to spend more than $400 million for the station.
Already the aggressive stance combined with the purchase by Liberty Media Corp. of around 12% of Emmis has boosted the share price.
Smulyan, the junk-bond-driven radio whiz kid of the 1980s once made Emmis the fastest-growing radio company in the US but then he hit hard times after spending $75 million on the Seattle Mariners.
When things turned sour on him he not only had to sell the Mariners but also other holdings including WFAN-AM, the New York sports-talk radio station.
Chicago Tribune report

February 6, 2000:The UK Telegraph reports on accusations from opposition MPs and some farming organisations that the BBC Radio 4 farming soap, The Archers, has peddled "'Blairite propaganda" in one of its episodes.
The episode followed a speech by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to farmers and the critics complained about an exchange between two of the characters, Pat and Tony Archer, where Pat lists the proposals announced to the farmers enthusiastically and Tony agrees that they are all good.
Critics say the programme gave an over-positive view of farmers' responses to the proposals.
RNW note: The issue of governments trying to use soap operas and other programmes to get over their message has recently aroused controversy both in the UK and the US. In the UK, government spokesman have said they wanted policy to be reflected in soap opera scripts to "inform listeners". In the US the White House has tried to influence programme makers to introduce messages against taking drugs and so on into soaps.

UK Telegraph report

February 6, 2000:The Boston Globe reports today on broadcaster Gail Gilmore who has hosted the Saturday evening "Celtic Twilight" programme on WUMB-FM since 1986.
She took over the show from Brian O'Donovan, who hosted it until he had an opportunity to originate ''Celtic Sojourn,'' which airs Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. on the more powerful WGBH-FM.
During her time as host, Celtic Twilight has doubled its on-air time to five hours and among the top three slots for fund-raising during the pledge drives for the public station.
WUMB-FM, run by the University of Massachussets, is the only full-time folk and roots music station in the US.
Boston Globe report

February 5, 2000:Radio stations in Mali, one of Africa's poorest nations, have been asked to go off the air this weekend as part of a campaign to undermine the region's thriving duplication and cassette piracy industry according to a report in the UK Independent. Around a hundred performers had demonstrated outside the Prime Minister's office earlier in the week and the Prime Minister responded with the call for the radio silence and a promise to destroy some 60,000 impounded cassettes.
The artists say it's a publicity ploy.

UK Independent report

February 5, 2000: Concern is mounting over the fate of radio reporter Andrei Babitsky who had infuriated the Russian governments with his reports on the Chechen war for the American station Radio Liberty which had often contradicted the Russian government line.
Russian television has reported that Babitsky, a Russian national, was handed over the Chechen rebels in return for the release of three Russian soldiers and showed video said to have been of him escorted to the exchange.
The Chechens deny knowledge of the handover and there is suspicion that the video was fake and he may have been killed or held by Russian intelligence services.
The handover was condemned by the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists, the worlds largest journalists organisation.
In a statement it said it was " outrageous that a professional journalist should be used as a pawn in this manner by the Russian government.''
Before news of the 'handover', the World Press Freedom Committee, which represents 44 news organizations on six continents, has accused Russian authorities of exerting a ``high -- and unacceptable -- level of control over journalistic reporting of events'' in Chechnya and specifically criticised Babitsky's detention.

February 5, 2000: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation seems close to reaching a five-year-deal worth around Aus$65 million with communications giant Telstra to supply online news in return for a share in advertising revenue and e-commerce income.
If the deal goes through it will be the first time a non-commercial Australian broadcaster and corporate giant have shared the latter's revenues.
The broadcaster's news service would be re-packaged for use on Telstra's website and, alkthough no adverts are currently slated for the service, some concern has been expressed about the effect upon the broadcasters independence from commercial influence.
The ABC already has licensing deals to provide its news to spme ten internet organisations such as AOL and Yahoo but these do not give the latter any say in content
. Last year the ABC board rejected a plan to 'float' its online operations and the current plan could be a compromise to attract significant revenue from the internet.

Sydney Morning Herald report
The Australian report

February 4, 2000:The Irish Times reports that the chief executive of Century Communications, which mad the successful bid for the country's first national commercial radio licence had donated £35,000 (Irish punts) to the minister responsible for broadcasting policy at the time.
Century went out of business with large debts in 1991 but the donations are being investigated by the Flood Tribunal.
Oliver Barry paid the money to then Fianna Fáil minister Ray Burke in May 1989, two weeks before an Irish general election. Century went on air three months later. The donation was revealed yesterday as one of three major donations made in the period during which Burke accepts receiving £117,000.
Another of them was for £30,000 from Joseph Murphy Structural Engineering, part of the Murphy group whose then chief executive Liam Conroy was involved in the successful bid by Capital Radio for one of the Dublin radio licences.
In 1997, Mr Burke's told the Dáil (Irish Parliament) that the largest donation he had received was £30,000.
Irish Times report

February 4, 2000:The first US radio stations publicised as centred on Internet-related news (RNW Jan 4th) have now gone on air on KNEW-AM in San Francisco and the CNET website.
At the moment the station's meaning of internet-related is broad as it covers new technology, 'new' economy and lifestyle during its internet-related broadcasts. These only run from 0530-1900 Pacific time during the week.
CNET radio

February 4, 2000: Business figures for British commercial radio were strong in 1999, with revenues up 11% reports the UK Radio Magazine quoting figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau.
In the last quarter they were a record £131 million, more than a fifth above the same period of 1998

February 4, 2000: Two UK broadsheets, the Guardian and The Independent, carry reports on the implications of latest RAJAR audience figures ( RNW Feb 3) .
The Independent highlights a rise in BBC figures, particularly on Radio 1 and 2 compared to Virgin whose share dropped but says the commercial stations will find consolation in increasing their share of young listeners.
The Guardian also highlights the BBC rise with a particular note of the success of Zoe Ball.
UK Independent report
UK Guardian report

February 4, 2000:Reporting on the Australian cash-for-comment affair, the Sydney Morning Herald says that 2UE host Alan Jones is still receiving some AUD 75,000 a month from Cable and Wireless Optus Communications and the Colonial State Bank even though 2UE has asked him to end or rewrite his sponsorship deals.
His fellow presenter John Laws is reported to have ended or renegotiated his sponsorships which were not approved by 2UE.
The station has already set up a register of its presenter's contracts although attempts by former station manager John Brennan were dropped after the presenters reacted with hostility. It has not yet, however, put the sponsors list on its website although it still says it is committed to doing this.
Another 2UE presenter, late-night host Prue MacSween has released a list of clients of her publicity company, Prue MacSween and Associates (PMA).
They include British Airways, Cranswick Wines, EnergyAustralia, For Dummies, the Gay Games, George Patterson Bates, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Lotto, Nestle, Norwegian Capricorn Line, Roses Only, 2UE and Ralston Purina.
** The Australian Broadcasting Commission report on the affair is due shortly but it only has the powers to exercise sanctions on the licence holders not the presenters themselves.
Sydney Morning Herald report

Previous Jones;
Previous Laws;
Previous Brennan ;
Previous cash-for-comment
February 3, 2000: The chief executive of Britain's largest radio group has called for restrictions on the ownership of radio stations to be lifted before the next general election.
Speaking to the Parliamentary All-Party Media Group, Ralph Bernard of GWR said that unless restrictions under the 1990 Broadcasting Act were lifted, Britain's broadcasting industry was at risk from foreign predators.
Citing the takeover of Time-Warner and EMI music by America Online, he asked rhetorically what chance commercial radio had against an unregulated new media world.
He contrasted the comparative lack of regulation for digital radio (GWR is a leading shareholder in Digital One, the UK National Commercial digital radio transmission company--RNW Jan 31st ) with existing analogue licences.
These he said were subject to " restrictive ownership rules and a regulator that levies fines for the most minor misdemeanour."
He added that his view was that there were both cultural and economic reasons for easing regulation, saying that it was wrong to think that plurality of ownership brought diversity; rather the opposite he said as owning a few channels meant you planned to avoid overlap and thus maximise audience .
In America he claimed there had been a significant increase of choice under consolidation of ownership with large stations supporting smaller community-based stations which could not exist on their own.
He also argued that his company , which owns Classic FM as well as 37 local stations had always worked in the public service whether in terms of serving a local community or one that had common interests as with Classic FM.
He also said that the commercial imperative of gaining an audience worked in the public interest citing Classic FM in terms of attracting new audiences for classical music with an audience of six million, three times that of the BBC Radio 3.
RNW note- we would welcome feedback on the dual topic of industry consolidation and diversity. Have any readers/listeners in America and other countries found takeovers have increased their choices? How do choices compare --should Classic FM's choice of the popular bits of classical music interspersed with adverts really be compared to running a full concert uninterrupted on Radio 3. Do you prefer your sports commentaries to be interrupted by commercial breaks?

February 3, 2000: Some parts of the world may have predictable weather but others don't including England and New England but the latter seems to be one up on radio weather forecasts at Boston station WBZ-AM.
There, says a report in the Boston Globe, the AccuWeather forecast gets updates every ten minutes when the weather's bad.
The forecasts-- handled daily for 20 stations over the US -- come from satellite data and computer modelling and are updated more frequently when the weather is unsettled or a storm is due.

Boston Globe radio report
February 3, 2000:The Chicago Arbitron ratings just delivered after a delay due to software problems (RNW Jan 5th ) show AMFM Inc's WGCI-FM topping the fall ratings with a 6.8 share and the biggest ratings jump amongst the top ten.
Overall however the biggest gains went to WLEY-FM which features Mexican regional music and is up from 14th to tie for 11th place with a 3.1 share.
It did even better with the 25-50 year old listeners for whom its in the top ten with a 3.7 share, a massive jump from 17th and 2.8 in the summer.

Chicago Tribune ratings report
February 3, 2000: The latest RAJAR figures for British listening, covering the period to mid-December, show pluses for the BBC and Classic FM.
Classic FM had its highest ever rating of just over six million per week, 52.3per cent of national commercial radio listeners.
BBC figures were up overall and Radio Five live had record audience figures of more than six million compared to under 2.5 million for the then Talk Radio (now TalkSport).

On Radio 1, Zoe Ball, increased her audience by 600,000 to more than 7 million.
February 2, 2000:The Australian station which spawned the Tamworth Country Music Festival and was a driving force behind Australian country music for 35 years is to change its emphasis in moves which will drop night-time country programmes.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Tamworth 2TM owned by Bill Caralis will now source most programmes from Sydney's 2SM ,flagship of a network of 27 New South Wales country stations.
It adds that some local advertisers are talking of boycotting the station although 2TM says there'll be no reduction in the quality or content of local programming.

Sydney Morning Herald report
February 2, 2000: The Los Angeles Times reports on a demonstration outside Los Angeles station KPFK-FM in protest at what they alleged was censorship over the Pacifica radio row ( RNW Jan 9th ) and about comments by late afternoon host Marc Cooper on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal who is on death row in Pennsylvania for killing a policeman.
The protest was organised by the Los Angeles Coalition for Free Speech Radio and timed to coincide with the opening day of an on-air fund-raising drive at the Los Angeles Pacifica outlet.
Cooper had written an article which opposed the death penalty on principle but expressing exasperation with Amu-Jabal supporters.

Los Angeles Times report
February 2, 2000: Automaker DaimlerChrysler AG is to invest $100 million in Sirius Satellite Radio.
It plans to use satellite radio technology to develop such services as navigation and security systems and is to equip vehicles to receive satellite radio broadcasts next year.
Sirius will provide around 100 channels of satellite radio broadcasts and has already set up deals for satellite radio with Ford and BMW whilst rival XM Satellite Radio has made a deal with General Motors.

RNW Jan 18 , Sirius launch delay
February 1, 2000:Addressing BBC staff on his first day as the Corporation's Director-General, Greg Dyke has told staff critics to leave not stay and moan since that would only damage internal morale and the BBC's reputation.
His predecessor John (now Lord) Birt had been publicly criticised by prominent BBC staff who said he'd undermined the corporations creativity and public service ethos.
Dyke also seemed to presage significant changes in BBC policy. He spoke of reducing the use of consultants on which he reckoned he could save £10 million per annum and cutting back the corporation's "internal-market". He said that this had become counter-productive at times, leading to BBC resources being idle whilst producers hires the same resources from outside the BBC.
Previous Dyke:

UK Guardian Report
UK Independent report
UK Telegraph report

February 1, 2000: US broadcast pioneer John Gordon Fraser has died in Florida aged 91.
His career spanned presidents from Roosevelt (he was the announcer when President Roosevelt presided over a television demonstration at the 1939 New York World's Fair) to George Bush ( Fraser was 82 when he retired as general manager of the Rollins College Radio station).
Fraser reported the second World War for ABC Radio and in 1955 was on the launch team for NBC radio's Monitor weekend news and features programme, staying with it for nearly 20 years as a writer, producer and editor

February 1, 2000: The Sydney Morning Herald today reports on the return to the airwaves. straight after a Christmas break in Hawaii. of 2UE broadcaster John Laws who still has to hear the results of the Australian cash-for-comment enquiry ( RNW Dec 14th ).
Later this month Laws and his fellow-broadcaster Alan Jones will hear the result of the enquiry and also the latest ratings.
They may be affected by a new rival, Stan Zemanek who moved away from the midnight hours at 2UE to the morning at 2GB ( RNW Dec 14th)
Sydney Morning Herald on Laws.
Sydney Morning Herald on Zemanek

February 1, 2000:American singer Dolly Parton is selling to the East Tennessee Radio Group her Tennessee radio station on which she sang as a child aged ten. She had bought WSEV-AM and its sister FM station, which she renamed WDLY, in 1991.

February 29, 2000: U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman William Kennard has warned that the growth of wireless communications is rapidly eating up the available spectrum(See RNW Feb 18 ). Speaking on the opening day of Wireless 2000 in New Orleans he warned that the very success of the communication companies, and wireless Internet services in particular, could be the greatest challenge to the industry unless it can improve its performance in sharing and managing the spectrum resources.
February 29, 2000: The Pacifica Foundation is to lose its two top executives. Chairman Mary Berry is coming to the end of her term and Lynn Chadwick is quitting as executive director of the embattled organisation( RNW Feb 8 and earlier). The move is apparently unrelated to the organisation's problems and policy is not expected to change.
February 29, 2000: Clear Channels Communications is acquiring SFX Entertainment, which provides live entertainment shows and owns and operates more than 100 venues in the U. S., in a share deal worth around $3 billion.
The deal will bring potential benefits to Clear Channels radio stations in terms of event broadcasts and offer opportunities for broadcasting concerts over the internet.
SFX will benefit from cross-promotion on the radio stations of its music, theatrical and sports shows.

February 28, 2000 :In an opinion item in the Irish Times concerning the furute of state broadcaster RTÉ, Tom Gormley, takes up the issue of the best yardstick for determining future broadcasting needs and argues that it is not necessarily the marketplace.
Taking food as an example, he says that the tomatoes he finds in the supermarkets may be so described but to him they are not the real thing, but an almost perfect copy which looks right but lacks the flavour he remembers ad requires of a tomato.
Similarly, he says, although the marketplace is a useful mechanism for identifying what will make a programme superficially attractive, " qualities like authenticity and creativity seem to be beyond the grasp of market forces."

Irish Times article.
RNW comment:What are your views regarding the best mix of public and private broadcasting?
Comment welcome.

January 28, 2000: Veteran Toronto radio broadcaster Bob Hesketh has died aged 76. Hesketh, who moved from newspapers to CFRB, Toronto, in 1959 was best known for his syndicated programme "The Way I See It" which ran for 19 years.
Toronto Globe and Mail obituary

February 28, 2000: A U.S. Federal appeals court has upheld a 1998 ruling that St Louis public radio station KWMU does not have to accept an underwriting message from the Ku Klux Klan.
The Klan had wanted a message broadcast with the stations "All Thing's Considered" programme saying that it was brought to the audience in part by "The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a white Christian organization, standing up for the rights and values of white Christian America since 1865."
When it was rejected the Klan claimed that the station was denying its First Amendment rights because public bodies were not permitted to discriminate against particular viewpoints.
The court supported the station, operated by the University of Missouri. It said that underwriting credits were not advertisements in which the client put forward a message but acknowledgements by the station of funds received. These were not a forum for free speech.

PDF file of court ruling
February 27, 2000: Chicago's second largest supplier of news, sports and traffic news to rado and TV stations, Metro Networks, has fired 13 on-air staff as part of a consolidation with its larger sister Shadow Broadcast Services which bought Metro last year.
Metro's operations have been moved into Shadow's headquarters.

February 27, 2000: Andrei Babitsky, the Russian reporter for Radio Liberty, who has surfaced in Dagestan after going missing in Chechnya (RNW Feb 5) is being held by Russian Interior Ministry officials and may face charges of using a false passport after officials said he was seized bearing had a Russian passport in someone else's name.
Russian Television has shown Babitsky being questioned by officials and acknowledging carrying a false passport because he had no other documents and was afraid of revealing himself and saying who he was.
Previous Babitsky

February 27, 2000:Reporting on Chicago public broadcaster WTTW's ambitions Network Chicago Plan (RNW Feb 20 ), Chicago Tribune columnist James Kirk says president and chief executive Dan Schmidt is "swimming in risky waters."
The first test of the venture comprised an expanded "Chicago Tonight" programme starting with half an hour on health issues with a second half-hour "Chicago Tomorrow" featuring a few stories and some new faces mainly from Northwestern University.
Kirk says host Phil Ponce delivered his usual solid performance but to produce the new show every weeknight starting in July will impose severe pressures not only in finding content, producers and talent but also the money to pay for it.
WTTW's Trustees have put in around $6 million in seed money but,says Kirk, needs some $25 million over the next five years; the worry amongst some at Channel 11 and WFMT, he adds, is that in a rush to remain "relevant" in the Internet age they make pick up some of the consultant-driven habits plaguing commercial stations and lose sight of their purpose.

Next Kirk: Next Schmidt; Next WTTW

February 26, 2000: U.S.Virgin Islands oldies rock radio station WMNG-FM has rescinded its try-out offer to former Washington DJ Doug "Greasman" Tracht after protests from islands even before he went on air, reports the Washington Post.
Tracht was fired from classic rock station WARW-FM in Rockville a year ago after making on-air racist comments relating to a Texas 'dragging death" case in which James Byrd Jr was murdered when dragged behind a truck in Jasper.
Washington Post report

February 26, 2000: Missing Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky who had been feared dead after disappearing in Chechnya (RNW Feb 5) has resurfaced in neighbouring Dagestan just after his bosses in Washington complained that the White House was not doing enough to help. He spoke to his wife by telephone but the circumstances of his re-appearance are still unclear. Babitsky had upset the Russian authorities with his reports from Chechnya.
Previous Babitsky

February 25, 2000:The Toronto Globe and Mail gives praise to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation over the initiative of Vancouver radio producer Jon Siddall.
Siddal had requested studio time with British band Oasis, duein Canada on a low-key promotional visit, but got the answer that he could only have time in Toronto and only two songs could be played.
Instead of settling for the minimum he booked a full studio in Toronto and apparently so impressed lead guitarist Noel Gallagher that they got not only the agreed two songs but an additional three.
Then he had the bonus of a further boost when Oasis management set up an agreement to use the tapes for promotional purposes in Europe in connection with the release of the new Oasis album.

Toronto Globe and Mail report
February 25, 2000: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ is to seek an urgent meeting with the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Ms de Valera to discuss suggestions that she may consider selling its transmission network and prohibit it from participation in a digital television joint venture, Digico.
The RTÉ Authority is to meet about the idea butaccording to the Irish Times. private sector interests are delighted at the idea and some have said that RTÉ should not be allowed to compete as broadcaster and provider of transmission services.
RTÉ would be providing transmission services for the joint television venture and part of the problem is the valuation of these since accepting the broadcasters valuation, higher than the governments, could be seen as covert state aid.
RTÉ already provides transmission services for the commercial TV3 channel plus some local radio stations and Today FM.

Irish Times report

February 25, 2000: Former BBC radio producer Pat McLoughlin has died aged 66.
She worked on the Woman's Hour programme for 25 years and was particularly linked to productions of the classics.
Her output resulted in 21 commercial recordings of readings for the BBC Radio Collection, including the whole Jane Austen novels.
After retiring from the BBC six years ago she took a law degree and then studied for the bar, achieving a distinction.
UK Guardian obituary

February 24, 2000:Los Angeles Times writer Margot Kaufman has a somewhat quirky article on weekend radio shows which she describes as "thriving on edgy, sometimes surreal specialisation."
The flavour of the article is captures in some comments by Merril Shindler, host of of "Feed Your Face With Merrill Shindler." Shindler says, "There are no businessmen and suits hanging out at the station; it's like they've given the keys to the inmates. So it's got this wacky, zany edge.
It's amazing how primitive it is. You've got a guy with the sniffles talking into a microphone to a caller out in the desert who wants to tell you about a fabulous neighborhood place that makes the best spaghetti and meatballs. It's not planned and it's not saved."
Los Angeles Times article

February 24, 2000:The The Boston Globe reports today on fears by newsroom staff at National Public Radio station WBUR-FM that sponsorship of the station's series on a local school could be seen to encroach on journalistic independence.
The series on the John Marshall Elementary School in Dorchester is the station's first specific series to be sponsored, in this case by the Boston Foundation and MathWorks.
There was further controversy after the broadcast of the initial instalment was immediately followed by announcements linking the sponsors to educational activities.
After the second instalment the announcement was separated by around 40 seconds from the report.
Boston Globe report

February 24, 2000: A Liverpool, U.K., radio station is developing a niche in odd contest. Radio City FM, which last year gave a car as a prize to a bar worker who lived in it for 18 days, is now offering £10,000 and a holiday in Canada to a couple who stay in bed longest.
Four couples will be chosen for the contest to be staged in March in Cavern Walks near the Cavern Club.
They will have a radio and each other for company and will be fed in their beds. There will be some luxuries though; the sheets will be changed regularly and there'll be a ten-minute-break every two hours with a shower and toilets to hand.

February 24, 2000:The Irish Times reports on a £30,000 donation to Ray Burke, the then Irish minister for justice and communications by a businessman involved in one of the successful bids for two commercial radio licences in Dublin.
Paul Power, then managing director of a refrigeration company Novum and Robin Rennicks of the eponymous manufacturing company handed a cheque for the amount on behalf of Fitzwilton, parent company of Novum and Rennicks, to Burke at his home in 1989.
Fitzwilton says the money was a political donation to the then ruling Fianna Fáil party .
Power had a 12% share in Radio 2000, which broadcasts today as 98 FM.
The Flood Tribunal in Ireland has been looking into gifts to Mr Burke which included £35,000 from a businessman involved in another bidder for a national radio licence (RNW Feb 11) and of £30,000 from the Murphy group, whose former chief executive, the late Liam Connoy, held nearly 10 per cent of the other bidder for a Dublin commercial radio licence, Capital Radio Productions. All commercial licences were awarded by the Independent Radio and Television Commission, which operated independently of the Minister and which says Burke had no say in the selection process.
Previous Burke
Previous Flood Tribunal

February 23, 2000: The latest Sydney ratings show that 2UE listeners have stayed loyal to the station despite the cash-for-comment report. They have pushed the station back up from third place to second, behind 2-Day FM and ahead of Triple M.
2UE's breakfast show which starts with Owen Delaney and is then hosted by Alan Jones was up in the ratings and clearly in the number 1 spot whilst John Laws shared his number one spot with Ron E Sparks of 2-Day FM.
The ABC has also done well as a result of Australian cricket successes which gave their commentary audiences a big boost
Previous Jones :
Previous Laws;
Previous cash-for-comment.

February 23, 2000: Latest Irish radio ratings show state broadcaster RTÉ losing ground with its Radio 1 losing ground although it is still the nation's most popular station. Myles Dungan, who is to move slots at RTÉ departs with his current drive-time programme losing listeners, apparently to 2FM's Tony Fenton programme. New RTÉ classic station Lyric FM shows up better with Eamonn Lawlor's drive-time programme having a healthy 42,000 listeners, three quarters in the ABC! Social category.
Irish Times reports:
Ratings report;
RTE losing ground
Radio 1 still leads

February 23, 2000: TalkSport has outbid the BBC for the commentary rights to the 2002-2003 winter England cricket tour of Australia.
It is understood to have bid around £500,000 for the rights to the series compared to the £20,000 the BBC paid for the last Ashes series in Australia.

February 23, 2000:The Los Angeles Times reports that Rancho Cucamonga Quakes who had faces an Internet -only reports future (RNW Jan 14) have finally set up their radio deal for the coming season.
It's with KWRM-1370, a Corona-based AM station that primarily transmits Chinese programming.
The signal strength will be 5,000 watts during the evening hours, five times stronger than the team's previous radio home, KMSL-1510, a former all-sports station which Quakes owner Hank Stickney sold to Astor Broadcasting last year.
KIKK, now airs a country music format.
Los Angeles Times report

February 23,2000: Sydney radio station 2UE which was at the heart of the cash-for-comment enquiry in Australia, has been banned by the country's National Rugby League which last year signed a deal for exclusive lice rights with rival station 2GB (RNW Nov 24 ).
Accreditation has been withdrawn from all 2UE's staff and the Sydney Morning Herald reports that 2UE is considering renewing its threats to report games from television and from reporters on the stands using mobile phones.
Previous cash for comment :
Sydney Morning Herald report
February 22, 2000:The Radio and Internet Magazine includes a report on the announcement by Chicago-based Magnitude Network of a new lower prices streaming audio deal for radio broadcasters.
Under its proffered deal, Magnitude retains a fifteen second advertisement gateway at the start of each stream accessed but only charges $500 per month for unlimited streams
RAIN site.

February 22, 2000: The UK Guardian reports today on Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" programme which is to be recorded this Friday and Saturday in Edinburgh, Scotland, instead of its usual home base at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul
The show has aired Saturdays on U.S. National Public Radio since 1974 and to mark its silver jubilee is taping episodes in Scotland and Ireland.
The recordings of the Edinburgh show, will be aired on the BBC's Radio 4 on April 1 and 8 and Irish recordings will be transmitted by Irish state broadcaster RTÉ.

UK Guardian report
The Guardian also carries reports on the BBC's funding--it has been refused a special digital licence fee but is given increaseof £3 then inflation-linked increases on its TV licence fee.
News story on funding
Editorial on funding

February 21, 2000: Amidst the recent publicity for the US approval (contested by commercial broadcasters : RNW Feb 17 ) for new low power radio stations, existing low power stations have been somewhat neglected.
The Los Angeles Times remedies this for public radio KSSN-FM in the San Fernando Valley which is just about to boost its power sixfold with a new antenna on Oat Mountain which will transmit 320 watts compared to the station's current 52 watt output.
37-year old KCSN has some 2500 members and puts out a wide mix of music programming, National Public Radio programmes (although not an NPR affiliate) and a student-run news output from its base at Cal State, Northridge.
With its boosted power it should now reach to the west side of Los Angeles although it's dwarfed there by Santa Monica College station KCRW-FM with 7500 watts output.
There's also concern about possible interference with its 88.5 wavelength from Pasadena City College public radio station KPCC-FM at 89.3. KPCC, now owned by Minnesota Public Radio ( RNW Dec 10 ) could also compete for audience since it airs NPR programming

Los Angeles Times report
February 21, 2000: Liberty Media, the cable television arm of AT&T, has spend around US $135 million to buy 20 per cent of the non-voting shares in Corus Entertainment Inc., the Canadian radio and specialty TV company.
Corus owns 14 radio stations plus cable television channels including youth channel YTV and Teletoon, and a ten per cent stake in the CTV Canadian Television network.
It plans to increase its Internet operations as well as developing its radio and television activities.

February 21, 2000:In an article entitled "Meet your new listeners (and yes, they are old), UK Guardian writer Maggie Brown comments on implications of changing demographics for radio in the UK where more than 40% of the population will be 45 or older within a decade or so ( RNW note:most 'Western' countries' populations are also aging demographically) .Suggesting that the days of commercial radio concentrating on the under 44's and especially young men, as required by advertisers in the 90's, may soon be over, she notes that if it doesn't it could be stranded with a shrinking audience.
She points out that the Radio Advertising Bureau says the BBC with its broad output is serving the older audience best and that this is shown by the latest RAJAR figures for UK audiences ( RNW Feb 3_).
In addition the UK Radio Authority, responsible for licensing commercial stations, is to start a major study of taste and decency standards after cracking down hard on some offensive broadcasts ( RNW Dec 15th ). Jason Bryant, TalkSport's managing director in charge of new development says older audiences, "want quality news and information, not inane banter, or lists of who's shagging who around the world. There's no doubt that there's a strong market opportunity among the 45-plus age group. Commercial radio doesn't serve that audience."
This, says Brown. Is why a number of digital radio projects are courting Saga, a company which caters for the over-50's but didn't win an commercial licences in the 1990s, and why other groups are launching formats targeted at women and older audiences rather than younger listeners as in the past.

UK Guardian report
The Guardian also carries stories on Radio Liberty reporter Andrei Babitsky, missing in Chechnya, (RNW Feb 5), on education broadcasting and its commercial implications, and Maggie Brown's diary including an item which suggests that one UK government minister somehow has access to BBC news scripts direct from the Corporation's computers sicne a complaint was made about an item as written but which wasn't aired!
Missing reporter;
Education broadcasts report;
Maggie Brown's diary

February 20, 2000: Although strictly not within our self-imposed brief, some reader responses to the Los Angeles Times today struck us as raising wider issues on media responsibility.
In this case the responses were to a story on science reporting which led to a response from a biology lecturer severely critical of media reporting of medical issues.
The general media are criticised for hyping when articles in scientific outlets are, rightly, full of 'ifs' and 'buts' and the writer also calls for hard work to be done in looking critically at reporting of science and industry.
Another writer brings up the issue of financial self-interest in reporting the medical industry when the advertising spend by it is so massive in all media.

RNW note: We remember the massive financial cost to the UK Sunday Times over its reporting of the Thalidomide disaster (Distillers withdrew advertising worth more than a million dollarsand the editor was very fortunate in having Lord Thomson as then proprietor).
We would welcome feedback how far you think media cover of complicated issues becomes irresponsible either through not covering some things at all, through the need to grab an audience with sensational headlines, through the cost of following up stories properly, or through financial pressures, direct or indirect.

February 20, 2000: Nearly two weeks after the February 8 death of WGN-AM morning star Bob Collins after a light aircraft collision (RNW Feb 9 ), Chicago Tribune columnist Jim Kirk picks up the return to business of the station.
So far no decision has been made on his replacement but Kirk says the station wants to make a decision soon and adds that iit would be shocking if Steve O'Dell isn't named the replacement "after doing remarkable work filling in for Collins.".
Kirk quotes WGN general manager Stve Carver as saying that at a station like WGN," it is really hard to take an unknown from another market and thrust him into morning drive."
He also says it is unlikely for the Tribune-owned station to go outside its ranks for the afternoon slot where John Williams is the in-house favourite

Kirk Chicago Tribune column
Previous Collins:
Also in the Tribune is an article by television writer Allan Johnson concerning a multimedia initiative by Network Chicago.
Under this Window to the World Communications, the parent company of public broadcasting station WTTW-Channel 11 and radio WFMT, will provide its programme information in a variety of media. Including broadcast, print and the Internet.
The Tribune quotes Dan Schmidt, the company's president and chief executive officer, as saying they're going to have to think of themselves less as broadcasters and " and start to think of ourselves as producers and distributors and assemblers and editors and linkers of quality public service content that crosses as many media platforms as (possible)."
The first test is on Feb 24th and will tie together a TV programme, internet cover with streaming video from the show, some community-related functions, with the stations other outlets including its magazine promoting the initiative and carrying linked items.
wttw site
RNW note. We would welcome feedback on how far you think multi-media initiatives of this sort are satisfactory. We have already noted deficiencies in the quality of radio and TV items in the UK under BBC bi-media policies. These led to weaker radio where information, carried by pictures in a TV version, was missing or TV where pictures were being described rather than information given to allow a viewer to put the picture information in context Does multi-media lead to too much weaking of material through compromises to meet all demands or are the benefits greater than the losses?

February 19, 2000: The Toronto Globe and Mail compares the fates of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and U.S. National Public Radio through a feature on Jeffrey Dvorkin.
Dvorkin moved in 1997 from his post as, managing editor and chief journalist at CBC radio news to head of NPR's news division but is now its vice-president of news and information but in the process of moving to be its ombudsman.
When me moved after 21 years with the CBC, it had been hit badly by cutbacks.
NPR also had its problems at the times, but comments the paper, it is now thriving and has tripled its audience over the past six years whilst the CBC is still mired in cutbacks and facing an uncertain future amidst debate about the future of public broadcasting in Canada.
The paper sees the difference in terms of attitudes, one of expecting things to be provided in Canada as opposed to being more self-reliant, if reliant on sponsors, in the case of NPR
Globe and Mail report
February 19, 2000: Writing in the Los Angeles Times about ratings shifts in the region, Judith Michaelson singles out a decline in the ratings of (Dr) Laura Schlessinger whose afternoon show on KFI-AM whose advice show has posted its lowest audience figures for a year according the end of 1999 Arbitron ratings.
Dr Laura now rates seventh compared to fourth in the previous ratings period but her spokeswoman put the fall down to good performances from music stations and noted that she is still in third position amongst English speaking hosts in Los Angeles.
She added that the fall was not related to recent disputes between the host and the homosexual community over her views.
Schlessinger is preparing to launch a TV version of her radio show and had enraged members of the Gay and Lesbian Allaince against Discrimination (GLAAD) with comments that a huge proportion of male homosexuals preyed on young boys and that same-sex marriage would be destructive to Western civilisation.
A truce seems to have been agreed after a meeting between GLAAD and Paramount Television which is to syndicate the TV show.

Los Angeles Times Arbitron report

February 19, 2000: The Australian reports that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has pledged a dramatic extension of TV, radio and online services in rural areas if the federal government will reverse funding cuts imposed three years ago.
Under its rural plans it would extend coverage of radio stations JJJ and News radio to all towns with a population of 10,000 or more.
The Australian report

Sydney Morning Herald report

February 18, 2000: Sydney radio station 2UE has now posted on its website a list of sponsors of four of its presenters but it has not posted any idea of the amounts they received.
It has been given until April 3 to do this by the Australian Broadcasting Authority which conducted the cash-for-comment enquiry.
As well as Alan Jones and John Laws, the two broadcasters at the heart of the cash-for-comment affair, Prue McSween and Suzy Yates have publicised the deals of clients for their public relations companies.
Jones lists amongst his sponsors Australian airline Qantas, communications company Optus, the Colonial State Bank , Walsh Bay Finance and music companies Sony Music and Warner Music.
Laws' sponsors include John Laws: Qantas, Toyota and Valvoline. Foxtel, Hanimex, Norwegian Capricorn Line Australia, NRMA, Penrith Rugby League, Qantas, Toyota, Valvoline.
Sponsors - 2UE site
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