May 2000 personalities;
Frank Ahrens -(3) -Washington Post media writer; Alfredo Alonso - president of Mega Communications(US); Peter Barnard - (3)-UK Times radio columnist; Ralph Bernard - chief executive UK radio group GWR; Maggie Brown - UK Guardian media writer; George Buschmann -chief executive, 2GB, Sydney; Ron Casey - 2GB, Australia, announcer (fired again); Steve Dahl- Chicago WCKG-FM afternoon host (suspended, quit and then reinstated); Mark Denis - veteran traffic reporter and "image voice" for KFI-AM, Los Angeles (deceased); .;Mike Disney - vice president and general manager, WCKG, Chicago ; Paul Donovan- (3)- U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Myles Dungan -RTÉ (Ireland) broadcaster; Greg Dyke -(3) -Director General British Broadcasting Corporation; Robert Feder -(4)- Chicago Sun-Times columnist; Alan Freeman - veteran UK -bases Australian-born disc-jockey(Sony lifetime achievement award winner); Eddie Fritts - Chief Executive Officer, US National Association of Broadcasters ; Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth - - Commissioner, US FCC; Melvin Gollub - former owner WJMS, Prince Frederick; Al Hart - KCBS, San Francisco, host (retiring); Simon Hoggart - UK Guardian columnist; Richard Hooper- (2) -chairman UK Radio Authority ; Sue Howard - head of regional radio stations ABC, Australia;Don Imus - US syndicated shock-jock; Doug James-(2) -WUBT-FM, Chicago, morning host; Brian Johns- former managing director Australian Broadcasting Corporation (to Mar 2000); Alan Jones -Sydney UE breakfast host; Anne Karpf- (4) UK Guardian columnist; William Kennard -(2) Chairman US Federal Communications Commission ; Dr Column Kenny- (2) member of Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC); Andy Kershaw -(2)- British disc jockey; Jim Kirk -(3) Chicago Tribune media columnist; William Kling -president of Minnesota Public Radio; John Landecker-WJMK ,Chicago, morning host ; Roy Laughlin -General manager, KACD/KBCD-FM & KIIS-FM, Los Angeles ; John Laws - Sydney 2UE morning host; Mark Lawson - UK Guardian columnist; Alfred C. Liggins III - president and chief executive, Radio1 Inc (US); Rush Limbaugh - Conservative US talk-show host; Larry Lujack -(4) -Chicago veteran now returning to WUBT in May; John McCain- Republican Senator for Arizona (proposer of LPFM bill); Kelvin MacKenzie -(2) -head of UK Wireless Group; Prue MacSween - Sydney 2UE late-night host; Bernard McGuirk - Producer of syndicated US show "Imus in the Morning: Mark Mays - Chief Operating Officer, Clear Channel Communications; Conor Maguire - chairman Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC); David Mansfield - chief executive, Capital Radio, UK; Randy Michaels- Chairman and CEO (Designate), Clear Channel Communications ; Mike Murphy- former host RTÉ (Ireland) Radio 1 Arts Show; Kenneth J. O'Keefe - President and Chief Operating Office(designate) of Clear Channel Communications ; Michael O'Keeffe - chief executive Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC); Mike Oxley - Ohio Republican Rep.; Hugh Panero - president and CEO, XM Satellite Radio ; Andy Parfitt - BBC Radio 1 Controller; Roger Phillips - BBC Radio Merseyside broadcaster (Sony award winner); Graham Richardson -Australian (2GB) broadcaster and Olympics Board member; Scott Royster -Chief Financial Officer, Radio One Inc; Nicole Sandler - music director,KACD/KBCD-FM , Los Angeles ; (DR) Laura Schlessinger- (3) -U.S. talk show host; Tim Schoonmaker - head of radio, EMAP (UK); Helen Shaw -RTÉ (Ireland) director of radio;John Singleton -- Sydney 2GB owner; Jeff Smulyan - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Emmis Communications, US; Raymond Snoddy- UK Times media correspondent; David H. Solomon- chief of US Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau; Howard Stern - US radio host; Billy Tauzin- R-La., chairman of the House Commerce telecommunications subcommittee; Paul Thompson - chief executive,GD Ventures Pty Limited (winner of new Sydney commerical radio licence); Pete Tong - BBC Radio 1 broadcaster (Sony award winner); Gloria Tristani - Commissioner, US FCC; Richard Weening -(2) executive chairman, Cumulus Media, US.; Stan Zemanek - former Sydney 2UE late-night host now 2GB morning host; Rod Zimmerman - vice president and general manager of WBBM-AM and WMAQ-AM, Chicago
Numbers in brackets indicatethe number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once
May 2000 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
May 20, 2000: The US Federal Communications Commission 's Enforcement Bureau has upheld a $4000 fine on Infinity-owned WJKF-FM, Washington, for broadcasting a phone conversation without first informing the other party.
However it decided that remarks made during the conversation, although offensive, did not breach the Commission's rules on indecent language nor were they offensive enough to potentially foment violence to the level of a "clear and present danger" as required under current FCC rules before action is taken.
The complaints resulted from a broadcast during the "Don and Mike Show:" on WJFK-FM in August 1999 of a conversation with the city hall in El Cenizo, Texas, where the city had decided to conduct all of its official in Spanish.
The phone happened to be picked up by City Commissioner Flora Barton who then found herself harangued by the hosts of the "Don and Mike" show. Among other things, the complaint from Flora Barton, Jose Armas and the National Latino Media Council about the exchange which followed, dealt with a "Spanish lesson," in which the hosts instructed a woman to repeat graphic sexual terms.
Infinity accepted that the remarks had gone too far and issued two on-air apologies. It had also argued that because it used a digital delay system which could permit dumping the call before it was broadcast, this made the call neither "simultaneously broadcast" nor "recorded" as listed in the FCC rules. This argument was dismissed.
However one commissioner, Gloria Tristani, dissented from the verdict. She reacted to FCC Enforcement Bureau chief David H. Solomon's letter to the complainants by saying that she had in fact found the broadcast not only " hateful, racist, bigoted and demeaning" but also "indecent." Later in her statement she goes on," In sum, my initial view is that this material is actionably indecent, and that the Commission has failed to discharge its obligation to protect our children from indecent material on the public airwaves. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated instance. The Commission appears so averse to indecency cases, and has erected so many barriers to complaints from members of the public, that indecency enforcement has become virtually nonexistent. For instance, if a member of the public wants to file an indecency complaint, the Commission generally requires them to submit tapes, transcripts or significant excerpts of the offending material. This is surely an unreasonable burden to impose on the public. It means that the public cannot be protected from indecency on the public airwaves unless they have the foresight to have a tape recorder running when the offending language is broadcast. "
FCC - Solomon letter;
FCC - Tristani statement.
May 20, 2000: The UK Radio Authority has published its annual report for 1999, setting out its key initiatives during the year.
They include the introduction of "yellow cards" which are issued as a warning to stations when their performance is in possible breach of the spirit of their formats, the issue of lighter touch formats to analogue licencees to replace promises of performance and the publication of the authorities licensing strategy.
The authority, says the report, now has experience of five different bases for licences -evaluation against statutory criteria used for local licences and national digital licences, highest cash bid used for national analogue licences, on demand used for satellite, cable and digital sound services, licence pricing for renewal of national analogue licences and at its own discretion for restricted licence services.
Among the high and low lights of the year singled out are the renewal of Classic Fm's licence and fines of £50,000 against Xfm and Hallam FM (RNW Dec 15) , the highest amounts allowed against local stations.
UK Radio Authority news release.
May 20, 2000: Al Hart, the leading voice at San Francisco news station KCBS for 34 years is to retire on June 2.
Hart, who is aged 72, has been in radio for 52 years, starting in his native Minnesota.
He is leaving to spend more time with his wife Sally, who is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Hart, who in 1991 won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, may continue to do some projects for KCBS and is also likely to continue to be the voice of the station ident.
May 19, 2000: The UK Wireless Group has priced its shares at 190p for its Stock Exchange listing on May 25 , valuing the company at £183 million.
It said its Initial Public Offering yesterday was three times oversubscribed and raised £40 million for expansion and acquisitions.
The group which operates the Talk-Sport all-sports channel, and local commercial stations as well as being a member of the consortium which holds the second London digital multiplex licence, is now the fourth largest radio business in the UK..
Previous Wireless Group
May 19, 2000: Top US radio group Clear Channel, is continuing to expand its radio holdings.
In North Carolina its buying two Charlotte stations , WWMG-FM and & WEND-FM from Bill Dalton for some $60M.
And it's also buying five Georgia stations for some $16 million from Radio Albany Corporation -- WJYZ-AM and WJIZ-FM in Albany , WOBB-FM in Tifton and WMGR-AM and FM in Bainbridge.
Meanwhile some details are beginning to emerge of the situation expected after its takeover of AMFM is completed.
In Milwaukee it has announced that it will keep on Chuck DuCoty as general manager of WISN-AM and WLTQ-FM. The stations will however move from their current home into Clear Channel's West Howard Avenue facility.
In Los Angeles, however, staff at adult alternative station KACD/KBCD-FM are waiting for the axe to fall according to the Los Angeles Times.
The clear Channel station is being sold as part of the AMFM deal and a Spanish-language group is reported to be ready to take over and change the format.
The Times reports that staff are hoping that, even though they lose the frequency, their programming can survive in Los Angeles.
This would be good news for music director Nicole Sandler, the first employee of the station when it was founded in 1998.
She has been through the same mill before when adult alternative predecessor KSCA-FM was also sold and changed to a Spanish music format.
General manager Roy Laughlin who also oversees pop station KIIS-FM and sports-oriented KXTA-FM says there are three possibilities; that the station or part of its programming is incorporated into an existing station, that it moves to another signal in the group's cluster or that it goes to an Internet-only existence.
Clear Channel is also expanding its European outdoor advertising operation by 80% of France Rail Publicite (FRP),a subsidiary of the French national rail company SNCF.
SRP handles outdoor advertising on all railway property in France and also owns France Bus, which leases advertising space on buses.
The other big radio owner involved in a major merger, CBS-Infinity radio still hasn't made any firm decisions about the future of its Chicago stations according to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder.
One of them has to be sold within six months as a condition of regulatory approval of the Viacom-CBS deal. (RNW May 5). Feder reports that Rod Zimmerman, vice president and general manager of Chicago's two all-news stations WBBM-AM and WMAQ-AM, has assured staff informally that no decision has yet been made on changes which could lead to the demise of WMAQ's all-news format.
The most widely rumoured plan is that CBS-Infinity will sell WSCR-AM, the weakest of its 8 frequencies, and move that station's sports format onto the much stronger WMAQ frequency. (RNW May 1).
Feder quotes Zimmerman as agreeing that a disposal of WSCR is the most likely scenario but subsequent format changes might well depend on who bought it.
He also played down the departure of staff to the start-up financial online service WebFN.
Chicago-Sun Times report;
Los Angeles Times Report;
Previous Clear Channel;
May 19, 2000: All non-government broadcasters in Serbia including radio stations B2-92, student radio station Index and Radio Pancevo have been silenced in a crackdown by the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic.
B2-92 was founded by the group which had run the original Radio B92 and whose web site was the most popular Yugoslav information service on the Internet before the radio was taken over by a group close to the government.
Following this latest clampdown, the fourth time the station has been closed, the station has set up emergency satellite and Internet services.
B2-92 website - links to Audio channel ( Serbian)
May 18, 2000: UK Virgin Radio is the world's top ranked Internet audio channel in terms of total listeners in Arbitron's January InfoStream ratings just released.
Virgin, which was the first International webcaster to join InfoStream, had a cumulative total of just under 175,000 listeners in the month.
It was followed by Internet-only channel Christian Pirate Radio with 81,000 cumulative listeners for the month.
KPIG-FM Monterey, which was second in the December ratings, came in third with a cumulative total of 80,800.
Texas Rebel Radio which led the December ratings with a cumulative 57,800 went up in numbers to 70,900 but dropped to fifth position behind kix106 (77500).
ZDTv with 60,400 was again the highest-ranked non-music channel .
In terms of time spent listening the top three were adult contemporary station KPLA-FM with 6hrs30min , Jazz station KPLU-FM with 5hrs 25 min. and country music WWQM-FM with 4 hours 50 min.
May 18, 2000: US broadcaster Howard Stern has denied on his show reports which have been appearing in various publications, notably the online Matt Drudge report, that he has been offered a 5-year $100 million dollar deal to keep him with Viacom-CBS-Infinity.
Stern's contract runs out in November and he says he has not met CBS about a renewal although he has heard from different companies which want to hire him, thus suggesting that he is open to an auction.
Among the option suggested should Stern decide to move on are deals with Clear Channel for broadcast or even a move to the Internet.
May 18, 2000: BBC Director-general Greg Dyke has announced that the Corporation is to broadcast highlights of its oral history project, The Century Speaks" on its Radio 4 national network later this year.
He made the announcement at the British Library in London where he presented the entire archive to the library which is to index it and put the catalogue online.
The archives and the 640 programmes compiled from them, also given to the library, will become Europe's largest single oral history collection, to be known as the BBC Millenium Memory Bank.
May 17, 2000:The UK Radio authority has imposed its largest fine ever on Virgin Radio which will have to pay £75,000 for breaches of impartiality rules in comments made by Chris Evans on the Virgin breakfast show in March (RNW Mar 22).
Evans then went on air live supporting Ken Livingston in the London Mayoral Election.
The comments were described by Radio authority chairman Richard Hooper as " a flagrant breach of the long-standing rules surrounding political impartiality, made worse by the fact that the broadcast took place in the run-up to that most sensitive of political events, an election."
Hooper adds that " breach also demonstrated a critical failure of compliance by the licensee, and we are determined that this shall not be repeated."
The authority also says that the attention of all UK radio stations had been drawn to the rules only 11 days before the broadcast and they were concerned that Virgin had not set proper procedures in place to ensure compliance with regulations.
The fine is the fifth imposed on Virgin since it began broadcasts in 1993 and could have been up to 5% of the stations qualifying revenue, some £1 million.
UK Radio authority news release
May 17, 2000: BBC Radio is beginning to wake up to the benefits it can gain from the Internet and all the Corporations' national networks now have web managers, a development which forms the centrepiece of a report by Maggie Brown in the UK Guardian.
The BBC networks have been behind commercial stations like Virgin which has now been webcasting for nearly five years.
The development ties in fortuitously with latest RAJAR audience figures (RNW May 13) which show that radio is probably the medium least likely to be hit by the Internet because you can be on the web and listen at the same time.
As with other Internet related activities web listeners are more likely to be well off because of the cost of UK phone calls as well as of equipment thus leading to a social divide not necessarily bad for commercial radio but less desirable for a public service broadcaster.
UK Guardian report
May 17, 2000: Radio One Inc is consolidating its position as the leading black-owned radio network in the US with further acquisitions.
It is entering the Dallas market with the purchase of KBFB-FM, which it is getting from AMFM as a result of the Clear Channel takeover of AMFM, and also with the purchase for some $16 million of KLUV-AM from Viacom's Infinity subsidiary.
Radio One has also entered a local management agreement with Nash Communications to run WILD-AM in conjunction with WBOT-FM in Boston.
The company is also taking some tentative steps into other media with some $5 million of investments in NetNoir.com, a portal targeting African-Americans and in urban cable and satellite TV programmer NUE-TV.
Previous Radio One
May 16, 2000:The Toronto Globe and Mail carries a response by DR Laura Schlessinger to the recent finding against her by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council over her comments on homosexuals(RNW May 12 ).
She says that her perspective is "informed by a PhD in physiology from Columbia University.... This degree entitles me to state the obvious: Homosexuality is a deviation from the biological norm of heterosexuality"
She then goes on to say that,"as an Orthodox Jew, I believe that same-sex sexual behavior is incompatible with Biblical scripture. This same Bible, however, tells us that every human being is entitled to love and respect. I frequently remind my listeners of this fact, which the CBSC acknowledges.
Since my radio program is about morals, values and ethics based in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it's inevitable that my strongly held beliefs will clash with those of others. But I don't believe that expressing them constitutes discrimination."
Schlessinger then defends her show on the basis of a focus on behalf of children and goes on to say that it is, "among too few that inspire people to behave morally and ethically" and also says that she was "one of the first talk-show hosts on US radio to take calls from gays, calls that usually involved family opposition. I consistently counseled homosexuals to be honest with their families and the families to accept and love them."
Previous DR Laura
May 16, 2000: Britain now has a new national radio station, Primetime Radio which was launched on Monday on the Digital One multiplex..
It's operated by the Saga group and targeted at the over-50's, a growing demographic (RNW Feb 21).
The station's format will be a combination of "easy-listening" music and speech programmes on such issues as leisure and travel, finance and so on.
And in a move that may enrage some of that demographic who still listen to BBC Radio 2, that station is to host a punk rock series according to the UK Independent.
Radio 2, a middle-of -the road station until recent changes targeted it partly towards a younger audience, is now Britain's most-listened to station (RNW May 13 ).
The Independent quotes a BBC Radio 2 spokeswoman in terms we could not resist,"Punk changed the musical landscape of the country. .People who were at the vanguard of punk at its peak more than two decades ago are now squarely in our target audience of over 35s."
UK Independent article
May 16, 2000: The politics of Low Power FM (LPFM) radio in the US are discussed by Washington Post writer Frank Ahrens in his column on Monday.
His article looks at the issue of the kind of coverage partly through the eyes of Amanda Huron who with friends from the Mount Pleasant Broadcasting Club wants to build a low-power station to serve the Spanish-speakers in her neighborhood.
She says it would work through broadcasting the type of programs that most of Washington's radio stations ignore.
She suggests examples such as local children on the radio or tenant's rights.
But, writes Ahrens, ranged against them now is the power of the mighty ranks of members of Congress, lobbyists and sprawling radio corporations, including National Public Radio.
On the surface the issue is the technical one of whether LPFM will cause interference to the signals of existing broadcasters but says Ahrens beneath there is a classic Washington power struggle pitching the FCC with White House backing against Congress and the big broadcasters allied with National Public Radio which has expressed concern that LPFM could interfere with its reading services for the blind.
There's also the undercurrent of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman William Kennard seeing LPFM as a countermeasure to the commercial consolidation which since deregulation has seen the number of station owners drop from 5000 to 4000 and also ruffling feathers by his attitude to Congress questioning the expertise of the FCC.
Washington Post article
May 15, 2000:The World Radio Communications Conference (WRC) opens today in Istanbul, Turkey, at a crucial time for spectrum allocation following increased pressures from new uses such as mobile phones.
In particular some concerns have been voiced about the possibility of public safety being compromised if spectrum is sold off to commercial users without proper safeguards (RNW Mar 25).
To allay these concerns India is to ask for a review of regulations so that radio frequency spectrum from 150Mhz to 5ghz can be allocated for for public safety uses worldwide.
India includes in the category uses in connection with emergency and disaster management uses and law and order.
And while on the subject of spectrum costs, the UK Sunday Times reports a cautionary tale of an Indian auction five years ago which "raised" bids of £3 billion for ten-year mobile phone licences (as well as five times that for 15-year "basic" phone licences) .
The problem was that this made costs so high at around £0.24 (35cents) per minute that many Indians just kept their mobile phones but didn't use them much or even at all for around a sixth of purchasers.
More than a third had monthly bills of less than £7 so the cellular phone companies began to run into massive losses.
In the end the government changed its policy in 1999, scrapped the system and went instead for a basic entrance fee and a percentage of revenues. Call charges are around a third of the former high levels and mobile use has grown rapidly.
May 15, 2000: And a quick look at some of the weekend media columns. In his Chicago Tribune media column, Jim Kirk singles out Infinity-owned oldies station WJMK for review. The station is in the middle of an overhaul to meet the competition introduces last year when AMFM changed hard-rock WRCX-FM to become 'Jammin' Oldies station WUBT.
In the process WUBT went bounding up the ratings from 17th to 9th place amongst all listeners. WJMK fell from ninth to 12th.
WUBT hasn't ignored the new competition and among other things has lured former WLS-AM 890 jock Larry Lujack out of retirement for four shows starting on May 25th. (RNW May 12)
Lujack will be up against WJMK morning host John Landecker, a fellow-veteran of the WLS Top 40 era.
In the UK Times, Peter Barnard brings up the question of the Sony awards (RNW May 4 and RNW May 8) which he says ironically are beginning to get the idea of award ceremonies....." the sense that some of the awards beggared belief, which is always useful in generating controversy." He then goes on to comment that they " will soon be challenging the Turner and the Booker ( art literary awards) as suitable targets for noisy ridicule and ribald mickey taking. "In the UK Sunday Times, columnist Paul Donovan brings up the issue of competing baronies at BBC radio, reminiscent of the days when BBC TV teams would give help opposition channels rather than rival BBC programme teams.
In this case he raises the issue of promotions, or rather cross-channel promotions which he considers in short supply saying, for example that he "has never heard a plug on Radio 2 for any of Radio 4's plays. And so on. "
Donovan says that in effect the attitudes are shortchanging listeners since the BBC radio networks are an "Aladdin's cave of riches" which because they do not promote on another sufficiently are not getting the attention they deserve.
May 14, 2000:Two of the winning bidders in the £22.5 billion UK third-generation mobile phone licence auction are to take legal action against the British government over a delay in payment allowed to another bidder. (RNW May 10).
British Telecom and One2One have been given a date in October for a full hearing on their call for a judicial review of the auction rules but Mr. Justice Morrison who held the preliminary High Court hearing said he thought the companies did not have a winning case.
BT and One2One are objecting to a 180 working day delay in payment for rivals Vodafone and Orange who only have to pay when they have completed their demerger.
During this period they are saving around £2 million per ay in interest charges.
Should the government department responsible, the Department of Trade and Industry, lose the case they are expected to repay to the other three winning bidders ( BT, One2One and TIW) the interest charges which would have accrued until Vodafone and Orange paid.
This could amount to around £500 million.
Previous mobile report
May 14, 2000: Licence news this week. All quiet in Australia but quite busy in Canada and the UK.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, CRTC, has awarded licences for three new commercial FM stations in Ontario, all of which run to 2006.
The most powerful is in Belleville where the CRTC has overridden objections by Quinte Broadcasting Company Limited which operates three FM stations, to approve a new 40,000 watts. English-language FM country music station in Belleville.
It will be operated by Anthony Zwig who currently operates CJOJ-FM in the area.
The licence will be issued only when the station is ready to broadcast.
The commission has also awarded a new 26000 watt FM licence top 40/contemporary hits English language station in Barrie, Ontario to Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd who were competing against Larche Communications (Barrie) Inc and CHUM Limited.
All three have existing stations which broadcast in the area but the commission noted that Rock 95 proposed a minimum 37% of general popular music on the station would be Canadian.
This exceeds the normal regulatory limit of 37%and the CRTC made this higher percentage a condition of the licence. It did the same for a proposal to spend Canadian $47,000 annually on a multi-part new-artist programme to promote and develop Canadian talent.
The Commission has also awarded a new 1880 watt FM licence for an adult contemporary/smooth jazz" musical format station in Hamilton, Ontario, to Douglas Kirk and Rae Roe (OBCI), who beat off Affinity Radio and NewCap Inc.
The commission said that the winners, who have still to set up their company, had presented ," a high quality application that will make a significant contribution to the development of Canadian talent………….(it) will provide exposure for a broad group of Canadian contemporary jazz artists who currently receive little, if any, airplay on Canadian commercial stations."
The company says it will also provide a new local news voice for the community.
In terms of small stations, the CRTC has approved one new low power community station and allowed power increases by two existing stations.
The new station is a 45 watt English-language FM community radio to be operated by the Cole Harbour Community Radio Society at Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Conditions of the licence include a requirement that at least a quarter of content to be spoken word focussed on local community issues.
Power increases were approved for an increase in power from 73 watts to 151 watts for CFPG-FM Prince George, British Columbia, which rebroadcasts the programming of the CBC's Radio Two network, and for an increase from 8 to 102 watts for Radio Communautaire MF Lac Simon inc., Lac Simon (Louvicourt), Quebec.
The Commission has also allowed loss-making Radio Nord in Val d'Or, Quebec to halve the level of spoken word programming broadcast by CHGO-FM Val d'Or, in light of the "station's precarious financial situation."
In the UK, the Radio Authority has issued details concerning new FM licences, applicants and awards of licences, its schedule for digital radio plans and timetable for applications for existing licences due to expire before the end of 2002. Additionally the authority published its first quarterly bulletin of 2000 and its 1999 annual report on Short-term Restricted Service Licences.
It has also ruled that the Capital Radio takeover of Border TV's radio stations is not against the public interest.
Awards first and the authority has awarded the new Independent Local Radio licence for Bridgwater, in Somerset, to BCR fm LTD which was one of four applicants, the local digital multiplex service licence for the Teesside area to the sole applicant Emap Digital Radio Ltd.
Other licences being offered are the Coventry digital multiplex licence for which only one application has been received, from Now Digital Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the GWR Group plc., the new 8-year local radio licence for the Weymouth and Dorchester area of Dorset, for which only existing licence holder Wessex FM has applied, and a new FM licence which is being advertised for the West Midlands, serving an adult population of around 2.3 million in the conurbations of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall and surrounding areas.
It will run for eight years once the station is on air and is expected to be awarded some time this year.
The Radio Authority is also publishing a notice inviting declarations of intent to apply for the local FM radio licence for the Colchester area, in Essex, for an eight-year period from 17 October 2001.
The present licence, held by East Anglian Radio plc, broadcasting as SGR Colchester, is due to expire on 16 October 2001.
In its quarterly report, the authority says it has dealt with 181 written complaints about commercial radio stations throughout the UK.
117 complaints concerned programming and related matters of which 68 were upheld, 66 of them related to matters of taste or decency, one to a breach of rules relating to accuracy and one to other matters.
The other 64 complaints were about advertising and sponsorship issues, of which ten were upheld. Of those upheld, eight related to misleading advertisements, one to offensive content and one to other matters.
The restricted licence annual report covers the awards of some 400 such licences during 1999, licences the authority chairman Richard Hooper says are," to provide new and innovative radio services to specific localities. … They make a significant contribution to the Government's objective of broadening access." The licences are only valid for 28 days and are issued for such events as local festivals but also for more innovatory purposes.
One singled out by the authority was Justice FM which was set up in the police station in Acton, West London last August.
It gave 60 young people aged 13-17 the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience in broadcasting for 12 days.
The service was not only transmitted terrestrially but was also streamed on the Internet.
Previous licence news.
UK Radio Authority website
May 13, 2000: Time for another look at the battle over Low Power FM in the US.
Republican Senator John McCain has pitched into the issue with a new bill which is much more favourable to the idea than the Oxley bill passed by Congress(RNW Apr 15). McCain proposes to allow LPFM to be introduced with the proviso that if they are found to cause interference, the LPFM station would have to be closed down.
Any full power licensee would be able to bring a claim and it would be up to the LPFM to prove absence of interference with the US National Academy of Sciences being assigned to act as independent arbiter.
Costs would be borne by the losing party.
McCain also wants rules on the transition to digital radio to be set up by June of next year.
The McCain bill is opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters whose president Eddie Fritts said that NAB wanted to be sure there would be no interference before LPFM licences were issued and who also questioned the academy's expertise and resources to investigate the "thousands" of complaints which are expected. Fritts also wants LPFM to be delayed until after rules for digital transmission are set.
US Govt site for legislation (Search for Bill S2518)
May 13, 2000 First quarter figures just released by the British RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research ) group show a significant increase in radio audiences, put down to the Internet not because of streaming audio but because people are listening whilst logged on.
Some 43 million people or 90% of the population listen at some time and on average Britons now listen 24 hours per week, up nearly 10% from the 22.4 hours per week a year ago.
Doing well out of the boom is BBC Radio 2, which lifted its audience by around a million a week to take its share to 13.3% from 12.8% a year ago. This makes it the most-listened to station.
Also doing well was Classic FM which reached a record 4.4% share making it the most listened to national commercial station.
BBC talk and drama channel Radio 4 had a 10.9% share, taking it above pop station Radio 1 with 9.9%.
On the sports front there was bad audience share news for the Wireless Group's TalkSport channel. It dropped to 1.4% from the 1.8% it had a year ago; not good for the group's flotation of a quarter of its shares due on May 25th (RNW Mar 26).
TalkSport actually had some 140,000 more listeners at 2.38 million but the combination of them listening for a shorter period and the increase in total radio listening pulled down the share. Rival BBC Radio 5 Live by comparison put on 100,000 listeners to reach 6.2 million. It had a 4.4% share.
A more positive spin on TalkSport appears in the UK Times where media correspondent Raymond Snoddy says that , barring a collapse of the capital markets, the Wireless Group's chief Kelvin MacKenzie will metamorphose from former tabloid newspaper editor into multimillionaire radio tycoon.
He highlights the increase in listeners but foregoes mention of audience share although he does note a 67% male audience. He also foregoes noting that Times owner, rather wealthier media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, holds rather more shares in the Wireless Group than MacKenzie, some three times MacKenzie's 7%:
Previous Wireless Group:
May 13, 2000: US business and takeover news. Cumulus media, which has just reworked its deal with Clear Channel (RNW May 6) has now announced that it has negotiated a delay until the third or fourth quarter of the year for completing its £254 million purchase of 37 stations from Connoisseur Communications although the rest of the deal is unaltered.
Entercom Communications Corp is selling three Kansas City, Missouri, stations to Susquehanna Radio Corporation for $113 million and is purchasing three more stations in Madison, Wisconsin from Woodward Communications for $14.6 million.
And Triad Broadcasting Company of Monterey, California, is to spend around $15 million on the purchase of three stations from Capital City Radio Partners Inc., of Tallahassee, Florida.
This will take Triad's total station ownership to 25 when all pending deals are completed.
May 12, 2000: US talk show host DR Laura Schlessinger has been found by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) to have breached Canadian broadcast standards in what it termed, " abusively discriminatory'' comments about gays and lesbians.
Around 30 Canadian stations which broadcast her syndicated show will have to make an announcement about the ruling during prime-time.
According to a report on the story in the Toronto Globe and Mail, stations that carry her show may now put in a time-delay so that they can cut out some remarks.
In its ruling, the council states, "her consistent characterization (on the episodes reviewed) of the sexual behavior of gays and lesbians as "abnormal", "aberrant", "deviant", "disordered", "dysfunctional", "an error" or the like constituted abusively discriminatory of those persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.
As a result, Schlessinger's comments were determined to be in violation of the human rights provision of the CAB Code of Ethics.
In addition, the Council found her generalized statements that paedophilia has to do with being gay and is more prevalent among members of the gay community than the heterosexual community, are also abusively discriminatory of those persons on the basis of their sexual orientation."
On other complaints, the CBSC found standards were not breached by her comments on issues including the gay agenda, gay culture, fatherless homes and the issues surrounding the murder of Matthew Shepard.
The Council does also take her to task on her use and emphasis on the term "DR", noting her lack of a medical degree to practice psychiatry or psychology.
It says," She may, by virtue of other training, be qualified to speak to the issues which she regularly addresses; however, it is an exaggerated, if not manipulative or misleading, choice which she makes to underscore the "Dr." association on a constant basis."
Taking up the issue of allowing freedom of speech, the council says it respects it but does not worship it and adds that the council has to focus on a balance of values.
Schlessinger is an Orthodox Jew who has a doctorate in physiology as well as training as a marriage and family counselor; she says her objections to homosexual activities result from her religious beliefs.
The Canadian criticisms follow hostile reactions to her by various gay and lesbian organisations in the US (RNW Feb 19) which have attacked her radio show and are opposing her planned TV show.
Previous DR Laura
Stop DR Laura website
May 12, 2000: Former Chicago veteran, Larry Lujack is to return to the Chicago airwaves from retirement.
He's being hired by WUBT-FM to join Doug James as guest morning co-host for four Thursday shows starting May 25 and will also boost "Lujack Double-flashback" which will highlight his favourite Jammin Oldies hits.
Lujack, who was WLS-Am morning star for years, retired from radio in 1987 and will do the broadcasts live from his home in New Mexico via a data line. Speaking to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder before the announcement, Lujack said," "I did [radio] for 30 years, and I got so burned out that I was more than ready to retire.....
Now several years go by, and I'm getting kind of burned out on being retired, because I've discovered one thing: When you're around the house all the time, your wife expects you to do stuff."
Feder also reports that Lujack is adamantly refusing to consider the idea of a full-time return although WUBT hope to keep him on their airwaves beyond the period already agreed.
Feder Sun-Times column ;
May 11, 2000:The Irish Times reports on a new Irish State broadcaster RTÉ radio service for Ireland's growing immigrant population which is now approaching its second month on air.
Radio One World grew out of a service provided by RTÉ last year for Kosovar refugees; headed by presenters Marcus Connaughton and Paulina Chiwangu from Tanzania, it now broadcasts from 1900-2100 local weekdays from Cork in a number of languages.
Much of the service comes from BBC World Service and its German equivalent Deutsche Welle thus massively expanding the number of languages and overall range.
One Worldt aims at providing a voice and forum for immigrants and refugees as well as advice and help from government departments and non-governmental organisations.
It is also hoping to provide English language classes for various groups as it did for the Kosovars.
As well as speech, One World also carries a broad rang of music from round the world.
Irish Times story
*Radio One World can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. .
May 11, 2000 Yet more strong financial results for radio companies, this time from both the UK and the US.
In the UK, Capital Radio has announced before-tax profits up 21% to £21.7 million on group turnover up 14% to £59.5 million.
The underlying radio margin was up 40% and earnings per share before tax were up 26% to 20.5 pence.
Capital's Chief Executive David Mansfield said that the company had not only produced record revenues and profits but its strategy of developing a national presence had been strengthened by its forthcoming acquisition of Border TV's radio stations (RNW April 21).
In the US, the Radio Advertising Bureau's (RAB)_report on overall radio revenues says the medium continued " its meteoric rise as revenue numbers for first quarter 2000 skyrocket, spurred by growth in all advertising categories."
It goes on," For the first three months of this year, combined local and national sales figures were 21% better than first-quarter 1999 totals. On a year-to-date basis, local advertising revenues were running 17% ahead of last year, while national numbers showed a stunning 35% increase over 1999. "
Among the companies reporting their returns over the past few days are Regent Communications which when current deals are concluded will own, operate or provide services for 40 stations, 28 FM and 12 AM in 10 small to mid-sized US markets.
Compared with the first quarter of last year, its net broadcast revenues were up 68% to $7 million from $4.1 million excluding barter; on a same-station basis they were up 8% but costs were up by less leading to a same station broadcast cash flow increase of 11.2%
Christian-oriented media company, Camarillo-based Salem Communications has also reported record figures with broadcasting revenue up 10.8% to $22.6 million for the quarter . Its net loss for the period, including $2.4 million of losses from acquisitions in the quarter, was $1.7 million or $0.07 per share.
Big City Radio, which owns and operates stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix, and is continuing to expand, announced gross revenues for the first quarter of $5.25 million, up 40% over those for the quarter of 1999 with net revenues of $4.6 million, up 38%.
Same station revenues grew by 47% compared to 1999's first quarter.
Big City had a net loss of $8.7 million, $0.60 per share compared to a loss of $0.44 per share in the first quarter of 1999 and says it expects to generate significant operating and net losses as it continues its expansion both in radio and on the Internet.
Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) also broke records for the first quarter of the year (its second fiscal quarter) with net revenues up 32.5% to £25 million; same station basis revenues were up 17%.
And on the takeover front, SBS is to buy six stations-- in Dallas,Los Angeles,San Antonio and San Francisco, from Rodriguez Communications for $162 million, £43.5 million in SBS stock and the rest in cash.
In a rather larger deal, Las Vegas based Citadel Communications Corporation which after the deal will own more than 200 radio stations in the US, has announced that it has agreed a £300 million cash deal to acquire 11 stations in Nashville, Tennessee., Birmingham, Alabama., and Knoxville, Tennessee, from Dick broadcasting ; one of the Knoxville stations is now operated by Dick under a long term local marketing agreement. And finally another takeover deal. Texas-based American Communications Enterprises (ACE) has announced that it has signed a letter of intent to buy purchase another cluster of ten small stations in Mississippi as part of its plans to build a nationwide network of around 400 stations in small market clusters. ACE currently has issued 25 other Letters of Intent on pending station deals throughout the Southeast and Southwest United States.
May 10, 2000: Latest Australian ratings show that 2UE does not appear to have suffered unduly from the cash-for-questions affair and loss of rugby rights. Alan Jones and John Laws remained in top talk slots with their breakfast and morning shows for 2UE, although 2GB breakfast presenter Graham Richardson has upped his share to 7%, doubled since the beginning of the year.
Former 2UE late presenter Stan Zemanek, now in the morning slot for 2GB, dropped 0.7% to 4.9% against a drop of 1.8% to 13.8% for John Laws.
In the late slot, Prue MacSween, who took over from Zemanek at 2UE, hit the number one slot with a 1.3% increase to 13.7%.
On the sports-related front 2UE increased its weekend share by 1.3% to 14.3% compared to 2GB's 0.8% increase to 6.5%
Previous Alan Jones;
Previous John Laws;
Previous Pru MacSween;
Previous Graham Richardson;
May 10, 2000:After our beastly reactions to radio report (RNW May 8 ), one we couldn't miss in the New York Times from the Associated Press about what we think is beastly radio for chickens.
It concerns research at the University of Georgia into implanting tiny radio transmitters into the chickens to give feedback and enable stress to be reduced and maximum growth attained by the birds.
Heat stress is a major cause of death amongst chickens in Georgia, the leading poultry-producing state in the US and the new system would make its control more efficient by producing feedback from the birds before conditions become dangerous rather than current methods which depend upon monitoring their environment.
AP/New York Times article
May 10, 2000: The US Federal Communications Commission latest spectrum auction has raised just over $410 million. It was for 39gigahertz spectrum to be used to provide fixed wireless services for uses including voice and data transmission and Internet access.
In all more 2173 licences were sold in 172 economic areas across the USA. 277 licences remained unsold and will be put into a future auction.
The amount is small compared to the $30 billion plus raised in the recent UK mobile phone spectrum auction (RNW April 28) and indeed smaller than the £360 million( around $500 million) interest charges which winning bidders Vodaphone and Orange will avoid by being permitted to defer their payments for 180 days.
The delay was allowed because Vodaphone has to sell it Orange off after its successful takeover of Mannesman which owns Orange and was given a special exemption to allow the two companies to bid separately.
Other winning bidders, who were scheduled to hand over their billions on Tuesday, are protesting and One-2-One is taking legal action over the matter.
Previous UK Mobile auction
May 9, 2000: Cumulus Media, whose auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers resigned last month (RNW April 26) has now hired KPMP LLC as its new auditors.
The company statement quotes them as saying that Cumulus will " be an excellent addition to our broadcasting client base. We are very pleased to have been chosen for the assignment."
The appointment is set against a background of legal class actions which accuse Cumulus of pumping up its stock price by false or misleading statements. The law firms involved say they are representing buyers of Cumulus between November 1999 and March this year when the company re-stated its financial results for most of 1999 (RNW April 18th report).
Cumulus news release;
May 9, 2000: BBC radio output is responsible for five of the 13 cases where complaints about fairness and accuracy to the Corporation were investigated and upheld in the first quarter of this year.
The complaints involved : derogatory remarks made on the GLR (Greater London Radio) breakfast show about a commercial soft drink which were felt to have gone too far;
comments made by GMR (Greater Manchester Radio) presenter Allan Beswick about the National House-Building Council which were held to have been too forceful;
the identifying of a witness, in a sex offences trial by Radio Ulster despite promises of anonymity which was held to have been a very serious breach of privacy and had independently led to the disciplining of the producer involved;
An episode of the Radio 4 farming soap, The Archers, which was held to have given an unrealistically favourable impression of reactions to government agricultural policies and regarding which the BBC had already acknowledged its error :
The use by the Radio 4 "Today" breakfast show of a Winston Churchill speech excerpt which was used in a context which wrongly suggested he envisaged British membership of a European Union.
In addition to these, the Radio 4 "You and Yours" consumer programme came in for severe criticism for not broadcasting an apology after the Head of Programme complaints had upheld a complaint made about unbalanced reporting on the issue of pesticides in fruit and vegetables and had passed on to the programme editor the request for a correction.
Following an appeal to the Governor's Programme Complaints Appeal Committee an apology was broadcast and the director-general asked to review the BBC practice in broadcasting apologies and corrections.
Reacting to this, director-general Greg Dyke states," 'When a serious factual error does occur it is important to admit it clearly and frankly……there has to be a sense of proportion - not every factual error is significant enough to warrant a broadcast correction. But I want programme-makers to feel that acknowledging important errors and putting them right is a sign of strength, not weakness."
BBC complaints website -foreword with links on to report
May 9, 2000: Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation, which owns 13 FM and 3 AM radio stations in the US with suggestions of further acquisitions, has announced a $562.5 million 15-station TV purchase. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smulyan says this will give the company sufficient size to split its radio and television businesses.
He adds that they are looking at various structural options to do this but stressed that Emmis was " aggressively pursuing radio " adding, " Buying radio remains our top priority, and we expect success in that area soon -- which is why it is important for us to retain significant capacity for upcoming acquisitions.''
May 8, 2000: We can think of plenty of uses for the radio --and indeed recall a herd of cows attracted by Mozart but repelled by the Rolling Stones -- but here's a new one to us.
It's courtesy of the Boston Globe on Sunday carrying a Los Angeles Times report on the NBC TV "Today" show Mr. Fix-it Lou Manfredi.
He got a tip about clearing from a woman who had raccoons in her attic and had tried all the usual deathly remedies from traps to poison without success.
She then put a clock-radio up in the attic tuned to a Latin music station.
Apparently they'd gone within a couple of days. Feedback by E-mail to us welcome on other beastly responses to the radio!
Boston Globe report
May 8, 2000: More on the Sony awards(RNW May 4), indeed on gongs in general, culled from the weekend's British broadsheets.
The Sonys came in for a double hammering in the UK Guardian on Saturday, by columnist Simon Hoggart and radio columnist Anne Karpf.
Hoggart first who comments that the awards ceremony was " the naffest occasion I think I've ever attended" and then goes on add that the " place looked like a bouncers' convention in a Bournemouth nightclub."
A subsequent paragraph is even more acerbic," Every time I'm rude about Radio 1, someone writes to say: "Oh, but you must listen to Mark and Lard in the afternoon, they're hilarious.' So I looked forward to their stint presenting a batch of awards. They began with an eight-minute turn which won not a single titter from the audience. Not one audible voice was raised in laughter. I felt sorry for them. We've all died on our feet - I often have - but to die in front of 1,300 of your colleagues in the trade! If it were a dream, you'd wake up sweating with horror.'"
For more follow the link below but his conclusion was, " Somehow I'd vaguely thought of radio as a last vestige of civilisation, but we seem to have lost that too."
His colleague Anne Karpf shares the sentiments in different words, saying that radio awards used to be different because there were so few and " radio seemed like a small-scale, domestic and creative enterprise whose crafted excellence could do with celebration." She then goes on to add , "radio seemed like a small-scale, domestic and creative enterprise whose crafted excellence could do with celebration. "
BBC radio she says has to make do with prizes not money to make better programmes "and it shows" whilst commercial radio is formatted so that innovation is a foreign word."
"It's a long while , she goes on since " the Sonys played tantalising extracts from winning programmes. No, Sony night is now unequivocally junket night. "
And deprecating them even more, " Where once there were drama awards for best adaptation, best production and best male and female performances, as well as best original script, there is now just one. Not only do the organisers reject the idea of restoring a drama category; they also promise to continue changing the goalposts to help the commercial sector win more prizes, lest it secede from the Sonys and build up the KPMG awards (currently for best jingle, promotion, etc.) as a rival. "
Karpf concludes by proposing new categories such as the "station which attracts the greatest advertising spend."
Again for more follow the link below.
And to complete our trio, Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times column ruminates on illustrious broadcasters who have won awards and much-less illustrious ones who've won them galore.
In his case the column was penned before the Sony awards but when only the shortlist was released -- enough to write, " Late Junction, which won the Broadcasting Press Guild award for radio programme of the year, was not even nominated for the Sonys.
In fact, not one programme on Radio 2, Radio 3 or Classic FM, which between them embrace what is probably the widest range of musical genres anywhere, made the Specialist Music Award shortlist.
Since that shortlist consists of three Radio 1 shows, one on Kiss FM and one on Xfm, it would be more honest if the category was renamed Dance Music Award.
Radio 3 broadcasts a play a week, including last September's production of Hamlet, with Michael Sheen as the Prince.
This, too, was not even nominated in the Sonys.
Nor was any other Radio 3 drama.
Nor was any Radio 3 speech output at all - drama or documentary. It was all ignored.
Despite this, Radio 3 was actually nominated (by a completely different judging panel) for Station of the Year! How can this make any sense?"
For this report, because of the way the Sunday Times generates its pages, you'll have to find it from the website but the sentiments are worth some thought - and maybe a few E-mails to Sony?
We'd welcome feedback too . E-mail us.
Sunday Times website:
Hoggart Guardian column Karp Guardian column ;
Previous Sony Awards
May 7, 2000: Licence news this week.
And the most important decision was the US FCC (Federal Communication Commission) decision to allow the Viacom takeover of CBS to proceed (RNW May 5).
On a side note to this, Infinity Broadcasting will continue trading independently but will now be a subsidiary of Viacom as opposed to CBS.
It's not clear whether executive remuneration will be affected by the deal but we couldn't forego noting that CBS President, Mel Karmazin, who's now Viacom President, took home more than $200 million last year.
Some $195 million of that coming when he cashed in stock options. (Previous Karmazin)
On a different financial scale, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, CRTC, has approved a new English-language FM station in Saskatchewan, a significant takeover of Newfoundland radio stations and a licence for broadcasts to British Forces based at the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield, Alberta.
The Saskatchewan licence is for a 100,000 watt country-music FM station at Prince Albert.
Licencee is the Central Broadcasting Company Limited which already owns two Prince Albert stations, CKBI (middle of the road music) and CFMM-FM (contemporary music)
The commission has also approved the transfer to Newcap of the six Newfoundland stations owned by the Butler family's VOCM Radio network.
This means that Newcap, which already owns CJYQ and CKIX-FM in St John's and four other Newfoundland stations will add the following to its network: VOCM-FM St. John's and VOCM-FM-1 Clarenville; VOCM St. John's; CKVO Clarenville; CKCM Grand Falls and CKIM Baie Verte; CHVO Carbonear (Spaniard's Bay); CHCM Marystown; and CKGA Gander.
Over the past three years VCOM has been loss-making and the CRTC has allowed exemption from the normal cap on station ownership in a market.
This exemption was supported by the other private commercial radio broadcaster in the area, Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Limited, and by a number of individuals, community groups and elected municipal and provincial representatives from across Newfoundland.
Newcap has proposed a "tangible benefits" package of more than a million dollars (Canadian) over seven years with elements going mainly to the Canadian Music Marketing and Promotion Fund, FACTOR, to the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and not-for-profit organisations for the promotion of music from the area.
In addition it has committed itself to re-launching its loss-making CYJQ station as a Newfoundland-oriented music station broadcasting a minimum 40% Canadian content in Category 2 music, at least half of which would by by Newfoundland artists.
The Forces Service licence is for a 1067 watts for an FM service for the benefit of British Armed Forces Personnel and their families. It will be a contemporary hit format operating on a not-for -profit basis and not carrying any commercial announcements. It will broadcast at least 50 hours of locally-produced programmes each week. Other programming will be provided by the British-based Services Sound and Vision Corporation.. The licencee is exempted from normal Canadian requirements about broadcast of Canadian music selections but will have to broadcast at least two Canadian songs during each hour of locally-produced programming that includes musical selections, a weekly "Top 40" Canadian programme featuring Canadian artists and having a Canadian content of more than a quarter. Over the broadcast week it will also have to have at least a quarter of Canadian musical selections in locally produced programming.
Previous Licence news
May 7, 2000: The Irish High Court has reserved judgment on the challenge to the Irish IRTC's (Independent Radio and Television Commission) to award the "youth" radio licence for Dublin to the Spin FM consortium.
The decision had been challenged by the Storm FM consortium which alleged bias by IRTC member Dr Column Kenny (RNW May 4).
Mr. Justice Ó Caoimh said he expected to announce his decision within three weeks.
Previous Dr Kenny/ IRTC
May 7, 2000: And yet more strong financial results for US radio, this time from Lanham-based Radio 1 Inc.
Its first quarter results showed cash flow more than doubling to $9.6 million, net revenues up 88% to $22 million
After-tax cash flow was $7.5 million ( $0.30 per share) at compared to a loss of $3.9 million ( $0.42 per share) for the first quarter of 1999.
Over the year the group has expanded significantly (RNW Jan 24) and on a same station basis revenues were up 29% and cash flow up 66%.
Previous Radio One Inc.
May 6, 2000: Milwaukee-based Cumulus Media has re-worked its deal with Clear Channel so as to swap more stations but less cash.
Under the new deal it has announced, Cumulus will get 11 stations in four markets whilst Clear Channel gets 25 stations in five markets plus cash.
The total deal is valued at $209 million and reduced Cumulus's cash requirements by $111 million according to a statement by executive chairman Richard Weening. Cumulus had previously announced an asset-swap valued around $62 million involving its five Chattanooga stations and this latest asset swap will leave Cumulus only having to find around £36 million in cash. Clear Channel had to dispose of some 70 stations to get regulatory approval of its takeover of AMFM (RNW Mar 6 - link Clear 1). The 11 stations now going to Cumulus in the deal are in Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa, Florida (where Cumulus recently agreed to purchase two other stations - WOAO-FM and WTMS-AM from the Southern Broadcast Group), Shreveport Louisiana, Cedar Rapids Iowa, and Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Clear Channel acquires its 25 stations in Chattanooga, Tennessee ,McAllen, Texas ,Ann Arbor, Salisbury, Maryland and Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Previous Clear Channel.
May 6, 2000:The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sue Howard , the head of the ABC's regional radio stations, has emerged as the front runner to head the ABC's entire radio network under plans to streamline the management structure to be put in place by new managing director Jonathan Shier. The paper says Shier is expected to abandon the one ABC structure of his predecessor Brian Johns under which Johns tried to bring radio and television together into functional units such as head of news and current affairs, head of national networks and head of regional networks. In the new role she would have charge of the ABC's regional networks, Radio National, Triple J, ABC-FM and the parliamentary and news network.
Sydney Morning Herald report.
May 6, 2000: In an article entitled, " Dahl's `dump button' has mind of its own ", Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder comments upon the "dump button" installed at Chicago WCKG-FM after Steve Dahl returned to the afternoon airwaves following his week's suspension without pay and ensuing has he-hasn't he resigned saga (RNW April 26 to 19). Unlike the dump button featured in the Howard Stern movie "Private Parts" which allowed program director Kenny "Pig Vomit" Rushton to get Stern taken off WNBC's airwaves, there has been no formal use of the dump-Dahl button by Mike Disney, vice president and general manager of WCKG.
However, reports Feder, the dump button has managed to go off a number of times on its own.
The problem's has apparently now been fixed by fixed by rewiring the mechanism directly into Disney's office instead of through a phone line.
In keeping with the low profile he's adopted on the row since returning to work, Dahl makes no mention of the matter on his website.
Chicago Sun Times report.
May 5, 2000: The US Federal Communications Commission has given the go ahead for the $50 billion Viacom takeover of CBS but is only allowing it six months to conform to the local Radio-Television Cross-Ownership rules in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Baltimore and Sacramento markets.
In these markets, where at least 20 independently owned media voices remain in the market after the merger, the rules allow ownership of up to eight outlets, either up to two television and six radio stations, or in some cases, one television and up to seven radio stations.
Up to 12 months will be allowed for the disposal of Viacom's United Paramount Network (UPN) and to meet the National Television Ownership Cap, which limits to 35% the aggregate number of television households reached by the television stations of a group owner.
Dissenting in part from the approval commissioner Gloria Tristani expresses concern about diversity of media voices as regards CBS-Viacom's TV interests and in particular expresses concern over conflicts produced by the radio ownership rules relating to the definition of a "market" under one-to-a-market and local ownership cap rules.
In the case of CBS she notes that in the Sacramento-San Francisco area it seems to be getting the best of all worlds.
In Sacramento, which has 38 stations, CBS has to rely on one of its 5 FM stations being "out of the market" under local ownership cap rules to permit it to keep it as the rule would normally only allow ownership of four stations.
However if signal contours were used CBS could not own the single TV station and seven radio stations it has in the combined San Francisco and Sacramento markets.
Tristani concludes, " the Commission treats the San Francisco and Sacramento stations as being in the same market to permit a level of consolidation that otherwise would not be possible, but then it treats them as being in separate markets when counting them together would limit consolidation under other rules. It's tempting to say that the Commission simply adopts whatever definition of radio market will maximize consolidation, regardless of logic or consistency. One might be able to dismiss such a charge as cynical, but not as inaccurate."
Commissioner Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth also dissents but in his case he argues that the restrictions on radio and television cross ownership are too restrictive not too lax.
One area where the effect of the FCC rulings will be felt soon is Chicago where CBS had been operating under conditional waivers which allowed it to keep a TV station and 8 radio stations. This means that the company is expected to sell off its WSCR-AM 1160 signal and move that station's all-sport format to WMAQ-AM 670 (RNW May 1).
FCC news release;
May 5, 2000: The UK Wireless Group which owns Talk-Sport has gone onto the offensive to talk up the value of its assets prior to flotation of the loss-making group for sums estimated as between £170 million and £200 million.
If the flotation, through a May 17 placing of new shares to raise £35-40 million, goes to plan Chief Executive Kelvin MacKenzie, will see the value of his 7% holding become to £14 million. He is said to have invested £1.5 million in the company.
The other main shareholders in the group are US-based Liberty Media (an AT&T subsidiary) which has nearly 30 per cent and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation with 20%.
MacKenzie led a consortium which paid £23 million for the then Talk Radio in 1988, since when the station's format has changed to all sport and the group has bought two local radio groups for some £70 million. It is also in the consortium which holds the second London digital multiplex which will carry eight stations.(RNW April 8) MacKenzie said that the money raised would be used for more acquisitions, developing websites linked to the stations, purchasing sports rights and reducing debt. He says that TalkSport which lost some £12 million last year should be in to profit within three years. The radio stations overall lost some £15 million last year.
Previous Wireless Group
May 5, 2000: Yet more bumper financial results for US radio companies from the large to the small , led this time by the big one AMFM which had record revenues and operating cash flow. Its consolidated net revenues for the first quarter were up by nearly a half to $521 million from $350 million in the first quarter of 1999. Operating cash flow was up by nearly 60% to $197 million compared to $123 million. Net loss for the first quarter was $161 million ($0.75 per share) compared with $109 million ($0,77 per share) in the first quarter on 1999.
AMFM whose takeover by Clear Channel has been approved by shareholders of both companies, says its focus ," remains on enhancing shareholder value through continued ratings growth, margin improvements and building after tax cash flow." There were also strong results for the largest Spanish-language radio broadcaster in the US. Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation has quarterly net revenues and broadcast cash flow up 23% to $46.5 million and $17 million. After-cash tax flow was up nearly 40 per cent to $14 million ($0.26 per share compared to $0.21 per share for the first quarter of 1999 same station net revenue and broadcast cash flow increased 17.6% and 20.8%, respectively.
Beasley Broadcast Group, the 16th largest radio broadcasting company in the US which when pending acquisitions are completed will own and operate 36 stations, increased its first quarter consolidated net revenue by 13% to $22.8 million and broadcast cash flow by 22% to $6.9 million.
After-tax cash flow doubled to $3.4 million ( $0.16 per diluted share compared to $0.10 per diluted share in the first quarter of 1999).
In February, Beasley completed its initial public offering which generated net proceeds to the Company of approximately $99 million.
Its broadcasting operations were also the stars for Fisher Companies Inc. The group's overall consolidated net income was up 10.5% compared to the first quarter of 1999 but its broadcasting cash flow was up 126%. Much of that increase came from KOMO TV and Seattle Radio (KOMO AM, KVI, and STAR 101.5). KATU Television and Portland Radio (KOTK and KWJJ) and the 21 small market stations of the Fisher Radio Regional group.
May 5, 2000: Sirius Satellite Radio has received another boost with the announcement that Matsushita Communication Industrial Corporation of USA is to install new production operations in its Peach Tree City plant to produce an initial 350,000 Sirius satellite receivers a year under the Panasonic label. Eventually production is expected to go over a million receivers a year. Sirius and rival XM Satellite radio are currently engaged in a battle of alliances for the satellite radio market.
Previous satellite radio;
Previous Sirius Satellite radio
May 4, 2000: Continuing the trend of strong radio results in the first quarter of the year, Atlanta-based Cox Radio Inc. has reported revenues up by 25% over the at $75 million compared to $60 million for the same period in 1999.
Profits were boosted by an after tax-gain of nearly $28 million from the sale for $75 million of KACE-FM and KRTO-FM in Los Angeles and ended up at $32.8 million compared to $3.8 million in the first quarter of 1999.
This was $1.13 per share of which $0.96 was represented by the sale; 1999 profit was $0.13 per share.
On a same-station basis, net revenues were 22.7% up at $54 million compared to $44 million.
Broadcast cash flow was up by nearly half at $18.2 million compared to $12.3 million.
As well as the Los Angeles sale in January, Cox acquired KRTQ-FM (formerly KTFX-FM) in Tulsa, Oklahoma for $3.5 million in the same month, and in March agreed to take over KKBQ-FM, KLDE-FM and KKTL-FM serving the Houston, Texas market, and WKHK-FM, WMXB-FM, WKLR-FM and WTVR-AM serving the Richmond, Virginia market, for approximately $380 million.
Later in March Cox agreed acquire the outstanding capital stock of Marlin Broadcasting, Inc., which owns radio stations WTMI-FM serving Miami, WCCC-FM and WCCC-AM serving Hartford, Connecticut and WBOQ-FM serving Gloucester, Massachusetts, for approximately $125 million.
As part of this deal, Cox Radio will sell WCCC-FM, WCCC-AM and WBOQ-FM to certain principals of Marlin for approximately $25 million. In April it sold KGMZ-FM serving the Honolulu, Hawaii market for approximately $6.6 million but it has also acquired more stations in the same market with the purchase of KINE-FM, KCCN-FM and KCCN-AM for just under $18 million, a purchase completed this month.
Cox Broadcasting website
May 4, 2000: The BBC yet again dominated this year's Sony radio awards for the UK radio industry and veteran disc jockey Alan Freeman, now 72 and still on the airwaves for BBC Radio 2, got the "lifetime achievements award.
Commercial radio fared best in the "Entertainments" award where Jon & Andy took the gold for Power FM and Bam Bam Rewound -took the silver for KISS FM.
Kiss also took the gold - with Bam Bam Breakfast -in the Music Presentation Awards for stations with an audience up to 12 million and XFM took the silver in this category .
In many categories though the BBC was totally dominant, taking all five awards (Gold, Silver and three bronzes) in Comedy, Drama ,Speech, "Music Special" and "News and Talk Broadcaster" sections.
Among the notable awards were those to Roger Phillips of BBC Radio Merseyside who knocked out national heavyweights to take the "News and Talk Broadcaster" award , to Late Night Live on BBC Radio 5 of the News award, to For Your Ears Only on BBC Radio 2 of the "Music Special " award and to Pete Tong of BBC Radio 1 of the Music Broadcaster award.
BBC Radio 4 took four golds - the Speech Award, Short Form Award, the Drama Award and Feature Award.
May 4, 2000: A member of the Irish Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) has strongly denied in an affidavit to the Irish High Court that he was strongly biased against Dublin nightclub owner John Reynolds when considering whether to award the youth radio licence for Dublin to a consortium involving Reynolds.
DR Column Kenny had been accused by unsuccessful bidder Storm FM of bias during discussion of the licence which was eventually awarded to Spin FM.
DR Kenny said he had made enquiries of police regarding drug taking in Dublin nightclubs in the course of which he asked about a judge's description of Reynold's club as a "place of drugs" but denied any bias. IRTC Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe in his affidavit said that DR Kenny had told him about his concern about drug taking as a parent, lecturer and IRTC member and that Kenny had only made a single reference to Mr Reynolds in the context of the club and said the police had endorsed the manner in which Reynolds was conducting his business.
Kenny was also in contact with IRTC chairman Conor Maguire about the matter and was told, he said, that he should not raise or challenge Storm's character in the absence of any evidence to link them with drug taking.
May 3, 2000: Supporters of the US Federal Communications Commission's Low Power FM (LPFM) plans have been placing prominent pro-LPFM adverts in prominent US newspapers including the New York Times and Washington Post .
The adverts criticise the lobbying against LPFM by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and contain coupons supporting LPFM which can be cut out and mailed to legislators.
The adverts were paid for by the Public Media Centre and the Media Access Project (MAP), anon-profit, public interest law firm which promotes public access to media.
The MAP website also carried information on LPFM along with invitations to "Contact your Senators in Support of Low Power Radio".
Comment in support of LPFM also forms part of an article by Frank Ahrens in the Washington Post which looks at the implications of current radio changes in the Washington area through the eyes of some winners and losers. The winners are Spanish -speakers in the capital, who have gained two powerful-Fm stations.
The losers are the audience of WPLC in Warrenton and WMJS, a community station in Prince Frederick which were each bought by Mega Communications for $5.25 million from local owners.
The acquisition of WMJS from Melvin Gollub who'd run the station for 27 years has left Calvert County without a community radio station but possibly, a combination of local initiative, LPFM and the generosity of Alfredo Alonso, president of Mega Communications, all may not be lost.
The initiative came from a local churchwarden Bill Santiff who wrote to Alonso asking if he might have redundant equipment the church could use to set up a local community station. Alonso said they'd be happy to help and did have equipment they wouldn't use.
So if the FCC plans aren't hit too hard by the anti-LPFM lobby, Calvert county could be one of the first locations to demonstrate what a local community can do and also illustrate practically the idea behind LPFM plans in the first place.
On the other side of the coin Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La) has now asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether FCC staffers violated the law by lobbying against the bill to cut back the FCC's LPFM plan. Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio), the author of the bill has also written to US Attorney General Janet Reno about the matter.
FCC Chairman Bill Kennard insists his staff did not breach anti-lobbying laws (RNW April 15 );
Media Access Project Website;
Washington Post article.
May 3, 2000: Another US radio company, Entercom Communications, has reported record results for the first quarter of the year. Its net revenues rose by nearly 80% to $7.1 million and broadcast cash flow increased 130% to $25 million
On a same station basis revenues were up nearly 20 % and cash flow by nearly 50%. Net losses per share for the quarter were nil compared to $2.48 per share in the first quarter of 1999 when there was a deferred tax liability charge of some $80 million.
Following recent acquisitions the company is now the fourth largest radio broadcaster in the US with some 90 stations under its control.
Amongst deals this year were the February purchase of five stations in the Wichita area and agreement to acquire two more as well as an agreement to purchase four stations in the Kansas City area.
Entercom will have to dispose of three stations in Kansas City to meet regulatory requirements. Entercom website.
May 3, 2000: US Spanish-language network Radio Unica is adding KQTL AM, Tucson, to its list of stations in a deal with Cima broadcasting.
The purchase is subject to FCC approval and follows acquisitions this year of KZDC-AM 1250 in San Antonio from Texas Lotus, Ltd. in April, KVJY-AM 840 in McAllen, Texas from El Pistolon Investments L.P. in March, and KURS-AM 1040, the only AM Spanish-language station to serve the San Diego market, from Quetzal Bilingual Communications, Inc. in January.
May 3, 2000: Leading US DAB (digital audio broadcasting) technology company USA Digital Radio has announced that is has raised another $41 million from its private equity financing round last month.
The company, which is developing In-Band On-Channel Digital Audio Broadcasting (IBOC DAB technology is owned by some 15 US radio broadcaster, who operate more than 2000 stations between them as well as by investment, technology and new media companies.
USA Digital Radio website
May 2, 2000:The US Federal Communications Commission has gone ahead with its Low Power Fm plans despite a Congress vote which would severely curtail them (RNW April 15 ) by announcing a "filing window" from May 30-June 5 for applications for Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mariana Islands, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah.
The FCC warns would-be applicants that " petitions for reconsideration of the LPFM Report and Order are pending . It say applicants must be community-based non-profit educational organizations or institutions or propose a non-commercial public safety radio service.
The applicants are told that questions of eligibility, interference and the impact of LPFM stations on audio information services( radio reading services, for blind and low-vision listeners) are still to be settled and may affect the availability of frequencies.
FCC LPFM website;
May 2, 2000: One of Los Angeles' golden voices, Mark Denis who was both traffic reporter and "image voice" for KFI-AM has died suddenly aged 59.
Glendale-born Denis, had been on the southern California airwaves for forty years, starting off as a disc jockey on KHSJ in Hemet in 1961.
He then worked in San Bernadino and after a spell in the US Air Force, to San Diego before moving back home to Los Angeles where in the early 1980's he developed radio traffic reporting with KHJ and then later with KFI.
Los Angeles Times obituary.
May 2, 2000: US Public Radio International(PRI) has gone to court to prevent the takeover of Marketplace Productions by Minnesota Public Radio(MPR) (RNW April 22 ) which is both one of its largest suppliers and largest customers.
The actual suit, filed in St Paul, Minnesota, is against the University of Southern California (USC) which is Marketplace's producer but at the root of it is the threat that the takeover would force PRI to become party to contracts with MPR which it sees as an organisation that is moving towards being a competitor.
PRI is scheduled to go to court on May 12th to argue for a preliminary injunction against the sale.
All three parties involved in the affair have given assurances that Marketplace, a weekday financial programme, will continue to be produced without interruption although it could affect investment in the programme.
PRI, which was founded as American Public Radio by current MPR president , Bill Kling, says it has already invested more than a million dollars in developing Marketplace and $20 million more to keep it going.
PRI has a seven-year distribution deal with USC radio which prohibits either party from sale or transfer of rights under the agreement without the consent of the other party.
USC says it did ask for consent on February 28th and then waited a "reasonable time" for an answer. When it did not get one, it went ahead with the deal on April 11 and then sent a letter to PRI two days later.
PRI claims that USC had been asked for details of the sale in September when it was told of negotiations with MPR but USC had refused to provide them.
Current magazine report.
May 1, 2000:In his media column in the Chicago Tribune, Jim Kirk praises local station WMAQ-AM 670 for changes it is making amidst turmoil as the station's format remains in doubt and staff leave amidst the uncertainty.
Currently WMAQ is a hybrid of news, discussion, analysis and sport but rumour suggests it could be a casualty of the Viacom takeover of CBS which means it is likely that CBS/Infinity will have to sell off one of their Chicago radio stations to satisfy the Federal Communication Commission .
The most widely discussed scenario has all-sports station WSCR-AM 1160 taking over WMAQ's more powerful signal and selling off the 1160 frequency.
This is despite WMAQ billing around double WSCR's 9-10million dollars annually which looks healthy until compared with the kind of money a big all-sports station can pull in.
CBS has its example with WFAN-Am, the top ad-billing station in the US which pulled in nearly $70 million in New York in 1999.
Chicago Tribune report
May 1, 2000: The BBC restructuring through which director-general Greg Dyke was to have diverted millions into programmes rather than bureaucracy (RNW April 4) seems to be getting nowhere at the moment according to the UK Independent on Sunday.
Apparently on of the most publicised elements - -removing chauffeur-driven cars --hasn't got rid of one single car yet.
Furthermore executives have been demonstrating considerable skill at dealing with the projected cull by either keeping their salaries in downgraded posts or retaining them whilst on "gardening leave."
Previous Dyke/BBC restructuring
UK Independent article
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem. Regarding external links, we give links where we can but some newspapers and stations only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA). Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
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May 31, 2000: Australian advertising millionaire John Singleton is planning to sell hi privately owned Macquarie Radio Network, which owns Sydney stations 2 CH and 2GB into his listed advertising company Singleton Group, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper says the sale, for around Australian $60 million, would net Singleton and his fellow investor Mark Carnegie substantial profits but is being questioned by institutional investors in Singleton Group both in general and because of possible conflicts of interest which could arise.
Morning Herald story.
May 31, 2000: The New York Times carries a defence of shock-jock Don Imus's show, which recently came under attack from political advocacy TomPaine.com (RNW May 29), by Bernard McGuirk, for 13 years producer of "Imus in the Morning".
McGuirk has been accused of glorying in the role of "resident bigot" on the show by CBS's veteran correspondent Mike Wallace as well as suffering in the TomPaine.com attack.
The paper says that McGuirk, who describes himself and Imus as equal opportunity satirists and their subjects as fair game for verbal evisceration, begs to differ.
McGuirk says that a defanged and declawed Imus show would pack all the punch of National Public Radio and alienate Imus listeners: "They don't want to hear nice guys: Nice guys are a dime a dozen."
McGuirk in turn attacks Wallace as part of the "humor Gestapo" and says he and Imus are equal opportunity satirists although they do draw the line at some things such as "Overt racism, making fun of cripples or people with cancer, Christopher Reeve jokes."
NY Times report :
May 31, 2000: Two BIG success stories which contrast markedly are featured in in Los Angeles Times reports on the city's radio scene.
In the world of hip-hop, the paper marks the contribution to the success of Emmis-owned KPWR-FM, Power-106, from its morning drive-time host, 400-pound "Big Boy" (no real name is being revealed).
Big Boy is being promoted heavily in a billboard campaign and Power 106's director of marketing and promotions Dianna Obermeyer, who describes herself as big woman, says she decided to celebrate the host's "bigness" because everybody else in Los Angeles is "so thin."
The host and the promotion have certainly helped the station which in recent Arbitron ratings was second rated in its prime target demographic of 18 to 34-year-olds.
The other BIG is Glendale KBIG-FM which targets itself at women in their thirties and recently featured disc jockey Leigh Anne Adam giving birth to her son during the station's morning show.
This attracted the audience, resulting in 6.4 million hits on the station's website according to station manager Ed Krampf.
KBIG at one time battled it out with KOST-FM for the adult contemporary audience but that changed last year after KBIG owner AMFM Inc , which also owns Burbank-based KYSR which targets younger women, took over KOST.
With the three stations under the same ownership competition tactics were changed, although the Clear Channel takeover of AMFM will change things yet again since Clear owns another adult contemporary major, KIIs-FM.
The changes, however, seem unlikely to threaten KBIG with its success in an audience popular with advertisers; more threatening are two other factors.
First is the Internet, although audiences are so far sticking with local content for the bonus of local news and traffic.
Even more serious a threat is the demographic change in the city which has seen Spanish-language stations move up to the top of the ratings.
Los Angeles Times reports:
On Power 106 ;
May 30, 2000: The UK Culture Secretary Chris Smith is to head a radio summit next month in an attempt to boost the UK digital radio according to a report in the UK Times.
Media correspondent Raymond Snoddy says that leading UK radio groups , who are fast introducing digital broadcasts, are now prepared to consider investment in the development of digital radio receivers because sales of them have been held back because of their expense.
The summit will bring together broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and automakers. Snoddy quotes GWR chief executive Ralph Bernard and Capital radio chief executive David Mansfield as both being prepared to contribute their share if necessary but says that EMAP head of radio Tim Schoonmaker believes that no special subsidies are needed because there will be a move to digital anyway. The Radio Advertising Bureau is to launch a digital radio marketing campaign this week.
UK Times article;
May 30, 2000: The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has announced a filing window running from today to June 5th for low power FM (LPFM) station construction permit applications
.It covers stations located in Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mariana Islands, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Utah.
Although the FCC is pressing ahead, the whole LPFM issue is still mired in controversy as we have previously reported.(RNW May 13)
The latest issue of Current, the US Public Broadcasting newspaper, carries a number of articles on the issue.
In one of them, Mike Janssen refers to would-be LPFM broadcasters as a "positively Whitmanesque gaggle of hopefuls, mostly unfazed by the war against LPFM waged by lawmakers and big broadcasters.
He lists a number of would be contenders including a Latino group in Iowa, an Arizona retirement community,Haitians in New York .
All of them are eager to reach small audiences who may be neglected by the big broadcasters and Janssen details some of the plans of various hopefuls and gives details of some of the groups hat have been formed to aid them on their way in the hope that LPFM will indeed come to be.
In another article Janssen focusses on 8-watt Chicago station WRTE as an example of the kind of station the FCC may want to create -and also as a possible warning to other hopefuls of the problems that could come as they want to grow from small signals and budgets.
WRTE is licenced to the Mexican Fine Arts Centre Museum which paid $12000 four years ago to acquire it from Chicago's Boys and Girls Clubs.
It's a holdover from the time when the FCC licenced 10-watt stations and it stuck to its weaker signal when the FCC encouraged such licence holders to upgrade to 100 watts.
The station serves Latino residents of the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhood's of Chicago and trains young people to host and produce its shows.
But, says Janssen, it struggles to raise the $320,000 annual budget it needs for its activities especially because its small reach limits its potential for sponsors.
WRTE wants to upgrade to 100 watts, which would cost around $100,000, and fears that if it has to stick with its current signal strength it will eventually die out.
WRTE's problems, says the article, do not bode well for ambitious LPFM stations although it concedes that many organisations do not want to expand but to stick to less ambitious - and much less costly - plans.
May 30, 2000: An oddball from the UK Guardian on Monday about the tribulations which can face broadcasters for the BBC.
In this case columnist Mark Lawson ruminates about a complaint received some two weeks after a transmission from an elderly female listener "appalled" at the use of an f-word at nine in the morning.
After much searching of the transmission tape a reference was found in an anecdote from a female journalist regarding an incident at the Henley Regatta while she was ,"forking my smoked salmon".
As Lawson comments, "Curiously, the listener had been less shocked by the mental image of a Fleet Street grande dame having sex with cured at Henley than by the use of a word she still considered taboo."
Perhaps, to amend an Australian term, one could refer to the complainant as something of a forkwit, providing one was not on duty at the BBC of course.
UK Guardian article
May 29, 2000:A fairly wide range of columnists' topics this weekend Anne Karpf writing her last column for the UK Guardian on Internet stations (RNW May 28), praise for the value of BBC World Service radio and Larry Lujack's return performance on the Chicago airwaves , but less glowing comment from the US on Don Imus, on Irish state radio dropping its arts show and of the amount of time the BBC is devoting to ball-by-ball cover of test cricket.
The praise for World service comes in the UK Times where Peter Barnard's column contains the stirring line that ," 'Few would argue with the contention that the World Service is one of the glories of broadcasting."
He then goes on," In many parts of the world it is the only conduit between oppressed people and objective news about the state of their country", a comment he's already stood up with an anecdote about a call from Sierra Leone rebel leader Foday Sankoh to the Service's Focus on Africa programme.
Barnard stands it up further and then points out that in Africa alone the service has some 18 million listeners to its English services, some 40 million in other languages, and a cost of about a tenth as much per listener as the domestic radio 4 service. (RNW note- See links to World service on our Radio Stations page).
Larry Lujack gets his praise from Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times where Feder says Lujack ," proved he's still as witty and acerbic as ever in his Chicago radio comeback." (See RNW May 26).
Don Imus gets a less fulsome review by Frank Ahrens who's Washington Post column raises the issue of whether Imus is encouraging bigotry on his syndicated morning show or is the satirist who simply wants to get laughs as he claims.
Imus has been attacked by some for years but the attack was stepped up earlier this month when political advocacy site TomPaine.com paid for an adverts "Animus in the Morning" which charged the show with targeting various minorities with degrading racial and sexual slurs.
Irish state broadcaster RTÉ's Radio 1 is criticised in the UK Sunday Times following the ending of it's weekday Arts Show,which was hosted by Mike Murphy.
Writer Michael Ross says that when it emerged that Murphy would be retiring, RTÉ director of radio Helen Shaw , has an opportunity to revive the station's arts coverage but instead of seizing the initiative has, in appointing Myles Dungan to take over the slot, raised," raises the possibility of it turning into a patronising smarmfest."
And finally a less than enthusiastic welcome for the move of cricket programme Test Match Special to BBC Radio 4 longwave which the Sunday Times' Paul Donovan says severely disrupts schedules although it may be the least worst option.
Washington Post article.
Tom Paine website.
Imus page (links on to advert, another which was rejected and readers letters).
Chicago Sun-Times item .
May 29, 2000: The removal of Andy Kershaw's show from BBC Radio One (RNW May 26) is arousing protests from the music world according to the UK Observer.
It says Kershaw's late Thursday nights show, which championed world music, was one of the few on the flagship pop station which went beyond the normal fare from commercial stations.
Kershaw had attracted a cult following amongst followers of African stars and included blues, R&B and alternative rock.
His departure is put down to a determination to focus on the station's core audience of 15-24 year olds and the paper quotes station controller Andy Parfitt as saying that the station has a special role as the one BBC channel that attracts a young audience.
The critics accuse him of being naïve about the nature of audiences and reducing the variety of music that young people come across.
UK Observer article.
May 28, 2000: Farewell to UK Guardian radio critic Anne Karpf whose last column was in Saturday's paper.
She uses it to muse on the increasing influence of the Internet (also the subject of our May comment) and gives links to an eclectic selection.
There's news in Latin on Radio Finland , "sound-art" made up from glitches on radioqualia , journalism- linked sites hearingvoices.com and thislife.org , existing stations like Berkeley public radio kpfa , a net radio station gaialive.co.uk where the Dj's pay to host undeground music and even what she terms dross in drama from www.shoestring.org.
Some of the guide sites are also listed (they're on our Radio Stations page) and she ends with the thought, " So will net radio rival traditional stations? Will we ever listen to net radio while doing the washing-up?" We'd like to know as well. E-mail us any comments.
UK Guardian article.
May 28, 2000: Licence news this week. And the biggest story came from Australia where the new Sydney commercial FM licence went to a UK media consortium for a record Australian $155 million (RNW May 25) After that it was all fairly small beer.
In Canada all was very quiet although the Canadian Radio and Television Commission issued a number of public notices asking for submissions regarding licence changes; most were for TV but one was for a new digital radio transmitter in Windsor, Ontario for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBS and CBE-FM licence. The new transmitter would be approximately 4400 watts and would be located at CHUM's CIMX-FM/CIDR-FM site.
In the UK the Radio Authority has continued its rollout of digital services. The local digital multiplex service for Teeside was awarded to Emap Digital Radio Ltd. It will run for 12 years from the start of the service, scheduled for June next year.
The authority has also published its assessment of the award of the 8-year Bridgewater, Somerset, local licence to BCR-FM Limited against competition from Bridge FM Ltd, Riverside Radio and Riverside Radio.
BCR, which has run six restricted service licence (RSL) trials in the area , is partly owned by Chrysalis Radio and Newscom, which owns the local newspaper The Bridgewater Mercury at whose premises the station will be located.
And being advertised is a new small-scale Independent Local Radio FM licence to serve the towns of Grimsby and Cleethorpes in North-East Lincolnshire, and the immediately surrounding area.
Previous licence news.
UK Radio Authority website
May 27, 2000:Britain's GWR group, whose flagship is the national Classic FM channel, has reported pretax profits up by 37.5% to ,24.9 million with Classic FM itself performing especially well.
Chief Executive Ralph Bernard credited the increase in profitability to buoyant advertising market for radio in general and a particularly strong performance from GWR with Classic FM showing significant increases in audience and revenues.
Bernard added that the company expected to see continued improvements and scope for closer integration between digital radio and the Internet.
GWR is looking at the prospects of collaboration with the Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns 18% of GWR and is allied with GWR in the successful bid for the new commercial licence for Sydney, Australia (RNW May 25), on the development of local Internet portals.
May 27, 2000:New Irish station Lite FM started broadcasting this week playing John Lennon's Imagine and Robbie William's Angels, both in keeping with its format of easy-listening targeted at 35-54 year olds.
Lite is hoping to take about a tenth of listeners in Dublin by the end of the year.
May 27, 2000: Black Enterprise Magazine has named Lanham-based Radio One Inc. as its "Company of the Year" in its June issue which lists the magazines top hundred black owned or controlled businesses. The Maryland company is also featured in an article in the Washington Post, linked to the award, and in which the paper says Radio One is " by any standard, America's company of the year."
Radio One Inc, founded by Catherine Hughes (RNW Jan 24) has jumped from 40th to 29th place in the magazine's list on the back of its acquisition programme(RNW Mar 13), large jump in revenue( RNW May 7) and a strong Initial Public Offering.
The magazine says," It's not every day that a mom-and-pop enterprise--especially one in the cutthroat, multibillion-dollar radio industry--steps out of the familiar, local terrain to try its hand at the big leagues. Just securing the financial means necessary to take a company public is a battle few win. For a black company, making the leap from privately owned to publicly held is an even rarer occurrence."
Radio One's strength is in the African American and urban markets and including pending acquisitions it should soon own or operate some 50 stations.
It's also in partnership with Black Entertainment Television in a project to run six African American talk and music channels on XM Satellite Radio's network.
As the Post article reports, the climb has not been easy saying in connection with a 1998 development loan to enable it to move to its Lanham premises that the "company's story is one of triumph over bigotry, demagoguery and political skullduggery."
At the time critics accused Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) of striking a deal with Hughes to use her radio stations to deliver the black vote in that year's gubernatorial election but following an ethics committee's call for the expulsion of a friend from the Maryland Senate, Catherine Hughes rejected the loan.
It hasn't held back the company, now headed by her son Radio One President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins III together with Chief Financial Officer Scott Royster. As the Post says, " Not only is Radio One now one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, but it is contributing much more in jobs and taxes to Maryland than the controversial loan was worth."
Previous Radio One Inc.
Previous Catherine Hughes;
Previous Alfred Liggins;
Washington Post article
Black Enterprise website (has short article on Radio 1)
May 26, 2000: On the technology front the battle for the satellite radio market continues but in slightly expanded technical mode with XM Satellite Radio announcing that it has agreed deals with Honda and GM subsidiary Onstar to offer Onstar's mobile communications services in Honda and Acura vehicles.
Ultimately the idea is to develop a package of radio ,information satellite navigation and security services for drivers.
There are also more moves on the Internet radio front with Yahoo beta testing its own player to compete with current market leaders RealNetworks and Microsoft.
The Yahoo player is reported to support not only streaming audio but other formats such as MP3 and like rivals will lead to the portal's own listings and content.
Previous satellite radio;
Previous XM satellite radio:
May 26, 2000: British disc jockey Andy Kershaw broadcast the last of his BBC Radio 1 Thursday night shows last night and is now leaving the station after more than 14 years.
His contract expired a week ago and was not renewed although Kershaw will still do freelance work for the BBC.
His shows will be replaced by one-off specials until a new series goes on air in autumn.
May 26, 2000: Veteran Chicago broadcaster Larry Lujack was back on the city's airwaves on Thursday for the first of four sessions on Jammin Oldies station WUBT, co-hosting with Doug James from his New Mexico home (RNW May 12).
The show was also on the Internet through Compuone.net which has an archived version using Windows MediaPlayer on its site.
May 25, 2000: A joint venture between two British media groups, the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMG) and GWR plc, has bid a record Australian $155 million for the new Sydney commercial radio licence.
GD Ventures Pty Limited, a joint venture between DMG Radio Investments Pty Ltd and GWR International Limited bid more than three times the forecast amount for the licence, the first new one in Sydney for 20 years.
The winning company's chief executive Paul Thompson said the bid is the first stage of a planned national radio network in Australia.
This would break the current domination of the Australian national radio scene by AusStereo and the Australian Radio Network .
For Thompson, it's the second time he's led a record breaking bid in Australia.
The last time was when he was head Austereo which paid then record Australian $80 million bid by for 2-Day FM in Sydney.
ABA news release
May 25, 2000: In further signs of the development of radio on the Internet, Arbitron the producer of the InfoStream webcast ratings service, has announced further expansion of the services.
It's tied up a deal under which Californina-based Kerbango Inc, developer of the world's first stand-alone Internet radio, will provide Arbitron with data from its Internet audio tuning service and forthcoming Internet radio.
Arbitron will use Kerbango's data to enhance the InfoStream service whilst Kerbango will be able to use Arbitron information to help it develop strategies for the intergration of broadcast and Internet media.
Arbitron has also announced an alliance with Minneapolis-based NetRadio.com under which all of NetRadio.com's 100 plus channels will be included in the InfoStream service.
May 24, 2000: Glasgow-based Scottish Radio Holdings, which is still sitting on around £26 million in cash from its £75 million rights issue (RNW Jan 20), has reported a 21% increase in operating profits in the six months to the end of March and says it is still on the acquisition trail in all areas of its business, radio, outdoor advertising and newspapers.
Operating profits for the period were £9.1 million on revenues of £34 million, around half of which is from its radio interests.
Pre-tax profit fell from £7.21 million to £6.43 million because of the interest which had to be paid on the £48 million of debt the company ran up before the rights issue in acquiring outdoor advertising businesses.
The rights issue was set in train to fund the group's bid for Border TV, eventually lost to Capital Radio (RNW April 21).
And on the subject of Capital radio, the UK Telegraph has an intriguing item on Capital's prospects, and indeed those of commercial radio in general, as advertisers flock to the medium.
Capital, it says, is riding an advertising boom with the Radio Advertising Bureau reporting radio advertising revenues up a sixth in the first quarter of this year and over a decade tripling its share of the total advertising pie to around 6%.
Prime reason given is audience growth, helped by the Internet (RNW May 13) with secondary boosts from an attitude change by major advertisers helped along by consolidation which makes booking campaigns much easier.
Previous Capital Radio;
Previous Scottish Radio;
UK Telegraph Report;
May 24, 2000: Conservative US talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, who last month (RNW April 16) advertised on air his interest in hosting "Monday Night Football" on ABC TV has now confirmed an audition for the show with current play-by-play host Al Michaels.
Limbaugh told Tim Brant and Andy Parks, morning show hosts on Disney/ABC owned Washington DC News and talk station WMAL-AM. that the thought the audition " was excellent."
He added," the thing that I came away with after it was over was how much I really dug it. It was even more fun than I thought it would be.''
ABC TV has refused comment, saying it will make its announcement next month.
May 24, 2000: As someone who worked on BBC Radio Merseyside for a short while many eons ago, it was gratifying to see the station still remains as lively as ever and its lunchtime host Roger Phillip's win the Sony Award as the UK's "News and Talk Broadcaster of the Year" (RNW May 4).
The UK Independent has a feature on him and the station, the most-listened -to BBC local Radio station in Britain.
It says his show owes much to his ability to play Merseysiders and tread the line judiciously between being well informed and superior --he's a Manchester-born Cambridge graduate both of which qualities could be risky in Liverpool and environs.
Phillips even gets away with an apparent ignorance on the subject of football - slightly odd then that he has two Sony's for programmes linked to the game, one a production with BBC Radio Sheffield on the 10th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster which won the station a Sony silver award, and his winning submission for best broadcaster which was an investigation of street violence following a Liverpool v Manchester United game.
UK Independent article
May 23, 2000: US radio giant Clear Channel has announced details of the top management team who will be in control when the takeover of AMFM radio is completed later this year. Chief Operating Officer Mark Mays announced that Randy Michaels, former President of Clear Channel Radio, is to be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
He will be joined by Kenneth J. O'Keefe, currently chairman and CEO of AMFM Radio, who will become President and Chief Operating Office of Clear Channel when the merger is complete.
In his announcement Mays commented," It is a unique opportunity to combine the radio genius of Randy Michaels with the operating and financial savvy of Kenny O'Keefe. Randy and Kenny make a formidable team that is unparalleled in the radio industry today. Under their combined leadership we believe the radio division of Clear Channel will shatter industry records.''
Previous Clear Channel;
Clear Channel website
May 23, 2000: Australian radio announcer Ron Casey has got himself fired yet again, maybe for good this time, following on-air remarks about Aboriginals made at the weekend on 2GB.
In an interview with Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Marr, about the disadvantaged state of Australian aboriginals, Casey commented that this was," because they won't get off their black arses and do some work".
Casey had only returned to 2GB in March after 18 months off the air following a previous dismissal by 2GB. That was for anti -Japanese comments made in 1997.
2 GB is owned by the Macquarie Radio Network whose chief executive George Buschmann told the Sydney Morning Herald that he'd only returned on the proviso that a further slip would mean automatic dismissal, adding, " he was very well aware that his time with us was finished, because we had discussed this issue with him before."
Sydney Morning Herald report.
May 23, 2000: More moving and stirring on the US Radio scene.
Atlanta-based Cox Radio's three-for-one stock split went into operation on Monday, some ten days after being approved by shareholders.
Its path is being followed by Maryland-based Radio One Inc which is also to set up a three-for-one stock split through the issue of new non-voting D-stock.
Holders of current voting A-stock will get an additional two shared of the D-stock for each A-class share held. Chief Executive Alfred Liggins said the idea was to" enhance the company's future financing options while potentially preserving the company's minority ownership."
Radio One Inc., the largest black-owned radio network in the US, has also announced that it has arranged a $750 million credit facility through a consortium led by the Bank of America.
Radio One is involved in deals totaling around $1.3 billion to acquire stations which Clear Channel and AMFM have to sell to get regulatory approval of their merger.
In Nebraska, Triad broadcasting has completed its acquisition of five stations from JC Acquisition (RNW Mar 4).
And in a further move to prepare the ground for satellite radio services, XM Satellite Radio has announced a sales, marketing and distribution agreement for the sales of its service and XM-capable radios with Best Buy which is currently the largest seller of car stereo systems in the US where it operates more than 350 retail outlets. Initial efforts will be concentrated on car radio sales which XM Satellite Radio President and CEO Hugh Panero believes critical to building its customer base.
Previous Cox Radio;
Previous Radio One Inc;
Previous satellite radio;
Previous XM satellite radio:
Cox Radio Website;
May 22, 2000: The UK Independent reports on the launch of a new radio drama series, Child of Our Time series, based on the lives of children round the world and which has been produced with the help of the United Nations.
It will air on BBC Radio 4 domestically from early June and on BBC World Service later.
For the series of 45-minute plays, the BBC commissioned playwrights to interview children from a wide range of backgrounds including some from war zones such as Sierra Leone and Rwanda but also from less strife-ridden countries such as Britain and Finland.
The resulting dramas are based on the playwright's observations and audio diaries kept by the children.
There are five plays in the series ranging from one about an orphaned girl in a Sierra Leone refugee camp through the tale of a mobile-phone-toting Finnish boy who follows the reindeer herd to the tale of a Korean mathematical prodigy.
UK Independent article.
May 22, 2000: The Chicago Tribune reports on the tribulations of Milwaukee-based Cumulus Media Inc., currently the third largest owner of radio stations in the US ( 7th in revenues).
The article says that in riding the wave of deregulation which removed the ownership limit of 40 stations, it bought too much too fast and lost business control of its empire.
Cumulus has had to face accounting errors covering more than nine months of last year, lawsuits over its earnings statements and the resignation of its auditors (RNW April 26), a first quarter loss this year and the departure of two top-level executives plus the loss of , some 80 per cent of its share price.
As a result it's had to delay acquisitions (RNW May 13) and RNW May 6) and is also preparing to sell some $450 million of assets to help finance its $450 million 's worth of pending acquisitions.
The Tribune quotes Cumulus founder and chief executive Richard Weening as admitting they "grew too fast,"
Cumulus' strategy has been to build stakes in smaller markets which by the end of 1999 had given it , if pending acquisitions are included, some 320 stations combined with mounting debt and small profits but a share price of $55.
Following its recent woes and the resignations of chief financial officer Richard Bonick and President William Bungeroth that share price has dropped to under $12.
After the Clear Channel-AMFM merger it will be the second largest station owner in the US but unlike that giant and Infinity, which has some 160 stations, it's not making healthy profits.
The stations are still strong assets but the company itself is likely to remain under pressure unless the shares pick up.
Weening remains outwardly confident saying the company will turn the corner in the third quarter and turn profitable in 2001.
Chicago Tribune article.
May 22, 2000: And a quick look at some of the weekend media columns. In her radio column in the UK Guardian (no link; we couldn't find the item on the website either in the story list or via their search engine!), Anne Karpf brings up a subject close to our hearts --access to radio archives.
Describing them as " a mess" in Britain she says that you can purchase from BBC Worldwide only programmes it thinks will sell more than 10,000 copies , such as old comedies.
She then deprecates the facilities of the National Sound Archives where you can only make notes but not take away any audio.
Yet she says, the BBC is keeping more of its output although commercial radio has kept little , and the National Sound Archive has access to most of it.
The problem is cataloguing and access , something where she suggests the future inevitably lies online, perhaps with a small charge to cover rights.
(We agree fully See our first "Comment" in November 1999)
In the US, Jim Kirk in his Chicago Tribune media column, takes up the implications of Procter & Gamble's decision to pull its advertising from radio hosts Dr Laura Schlessinger's forthcoming TV show in the wake of attacks by the US 's gay community. It's also dropping support for her radio show as are a number of other advertisers.
The article itself concludes that what will be the ultimate arbiter is the ratings; we'd like to see some discussion of the wider implications of the decision in terms of free speech, not that we're supporting the views expressed by her.
Indeed we're more concerned with the absence of views from sides of the spectrum far removed from DR Laura. Do E-mail us with your views!
And back to the UK again, where Peter Barnard in his Saturday radio column in the UK Times also calls for a wider perspective but in a different context. In his case he's talking about the return to BBC Radio 4 of two established programmes, Test Match Special and The Moral Maze. They're produced by different teams, in different cities (London and Manchester" but says Barnard "share the same problem: a corporate complacency that is death to excitement."
His Sunday Times colleague Paul Donovan takes up the cudgels on a different yet linked beat. This time it's the issue of the BBC trying to rectify weaknesses which have been shown up in various geographical areas by its research department.
It's doing this he says by broadcasting from various of these locations but Donovan sees this as a flawed response based on ," a false premise at work…………same, which is that it always matters where a programme physically comes from."
" This is seldom true," continues Donovan.
" It is what is said (and not said) on a programme that counts, not where it comes from."
Previous DR Laura Schlessinger
Previous weekend columns.
May 21, 2000: Licence news this week. And the main news this week was the record fine of £75,000 imposed on Virgin FM by the UK Radio Authority (RNW May 17), an amount which contrasts markedly with fines imposed by the US FCC.
They fined WJKF-FM Washington , $4000 (RNW May 20 ) for phone related offences but took no action on other offences not that markedly better or worse than some for which the Radio authority levied fines of £50,000 on English local radio stations (RNW May 20).
They also reduced to $4,000 because of the licencee's financial difficulties an initial fine of $10,000 on KWGL-FM Ouray, Colorado, for failing to keep a public inspection file from February to August 1999.
Apart from fines, it was fairly quiet all around with nothing significant happening in Australia and very little elsewhere.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission authorised CBSI-FM Sept-Îles to add a new 225 watts FM transmitter at Fermont, Quebec allowing it to offer its programming there.
It also authorised a new English-language FM campus radio at the University of Saint John, Saint John, New Brunswick.
In the UK, the Radio Authority invited applications for a digital multiplex licence to serve the Humberside area under its programming of advertising a digital licence per month over the next two years.
Previous licence news;
UK Radio Authority website :
May 21, 2000: The UK Guardian in its jobs-related section has an article upbeat about the future of radio but less so about the ease of getting jobs in the industry with many stations cutting jobs in the face of industry consolidation (RNW note - and increasing profits!).
Based on the work of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council it puts itself forward as a guide to those who want to work in the medium.
It concentrates on the route in through academic qualifications in radio journalism although it does commend experience as the best precondition for work behind the microphone and quotes one editor as saying he might take someone on if talent really shone through. No names there though; the examples given are only of people who have obtained some qualifications.
UK Guardian item;
May 21, 2000: A postscript this week to the row last year about the Pacifica Foundation's dispute with the staff of KPFA, Berkeley, California (See RNW Jan 9).
Teacher Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, the sole protester from around 100 people arrested who was brought to trial after demonstrations outside the station was found not guilty of obstructing the police.
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