March 2001 Personalities:
Frank Ahrens
-Washington Post media writer; Sue Arnold - UK Observer radio columnist; Mathew Bannister- former BBC Director of radio and BBC 1 controller, now Chief Executive and chairman of music talent agency "Trust The DJ"; Oliver Barry -(2) former chief executive of Century Radio Ireland ( went bust); Tony Bell - managing director, Southern Cross Broadcasting Australia); Joaquin F. Blaya - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of US Spanish language network, Radio Unica; Ed Breslin - head of national music radio, Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Bubba the Love Sponge - (4) - Host on Clear Channel's WXTB-FM, Tampa, station - suspended over wild boar killing stunt: Dean Buchanan- DMG group program director, Australia; Ray Burke -(5)- former Fianna Fáil (Ireland) minister responsible for communications; Mark Byford - director , BBC World Service; Gay Byrne -Irish Broadcaster; Fiona Cameron-corporate director, Australian Radio Network; Nicky Campbell - BBC Radio 5 presenter; Jane Christo- general manager WBUR-FM, Boston; Bob Collins - former WGN,Chicago, Morning Host (died in plane crash, February 2000): John Conde -(2) -chairman and chief executive,2UE, Sydney(leaving after takeover); Seán Connolly - former secretary of the Independent Radio and Television Commission, Ireland; Lewis W. Dickey Jr. - President and Chief Executive Officer, Cumulus Media, US; Paul Donovan-(3) -U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; James Duncan - president of Duncan's American Radio; Jeffrey Dvorkin - US National Public Radio ombusdman; Robert Feder -(2)- Chicago Sun-Times media columnist; Gary Fries - President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau,US; Ralph Guild - CEO, Interep; Patrick Hanratty SC -(4)- counsel for Flood Tribunal, Ireland; Terry Jacobs -Chairman and CEO, Regent Communications, US; Dean Johnson - Boston Herald media writer; Alan Jones -(3)-Sydney 2UE breakfast host; Tom Joyner - syndicated US morning host; Jay Kernis - senior vice-president of programming-designate for US National Public Radio; John Laws - (3)-Sydney 2UE morning host; Christopher Lydon -(3)-former host of "The Connection" on US Public Radio; Kelvin MacKenzie - -head of U.K. Wireless Group which owns TalkSport; David Mansfield - chief executive Capital Radio, UK; Brad March - managing director, Austereo; John McCain- Republican Senator for Arizona (proposer of LPFM bill); Gerry McCarthy - UK Sunday Times writer on Irish Radio; William McEntee - CFO, Interep; Mary McGrath - (2)-former senior producer of "The Connection" on US Public Radio; John Mulhern -Century Radio co-founder and son-in law of former Irish Prime Minister, Charles Haughey; Susan Ness-Commissioner, US Federal Communications Commission; Spike O'Dell - WGN,Chicago, morning host; "Ugly" Phil O'Neil - Australian shock-jock (joing new DMG Sydney station); Richard Park - former programme director, UK Capital Radio (resigning to work as creative consultant); Michael Powell - Chairman, US Federal Communications Commission; Tim Ross -Rosso of Australian Triple J "Merrick and Rosso" - joining new DMG Sydney FM station; Dr Laura Schlessinger- Conservative U.S. talk show host; Bob Shennan - Controller, BBC Radio 5 live; Jeff Smulyan - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Emmis Communications, US; James Stafford - co-founder of Century Radio(Ireland); Paul Thompson - chief executive,GD Ventures Pty Limited (DMG owned winner of new Sydney commercial radio licence); Doug "The Greaseman"Tracht -(3)- US DJ attempting comeback 2001 following 1999 firing for racist comments: Gloria Tristani -(5)- Commissioner, US FCC; Buzz Victor - chair of the Colorado Public Radio Board of Directors;Merrick Watts -Merrick of Australian Triple J "Merrick and Rosso" - joining new DMG Sydney FM station; Lawrence R. Wilson - founder, Chairman, President and CEO, Citadel Communications (US):
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once

March 2001 Archive

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March 2001 Archive
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Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the next relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.

2001-03-19: So far so good. XM Satellite Radio's first satellite has now successfully lifted off shortly after 22.30 GMT Sunday.
XM Rock lifted off from the Sea Launch platform at 154 degrees West on the Equator; it is due to be followed in early may by XM "Roll" which was initially to have been the first into space but whose launch was aborted at the last moment (See RNW Jan 10).

Previous XM
web site

2001-03-19: We couldn't resist the temptation this week to start with a brief look back at the Church v State controversy now raging in Italy over the Vatican Radio complex near Rome (RNW Mar 17).
Normally we have to be in favour of radio, even religious radio (see March comment section re censorship), but not if its frying children.
The Vatican is, of course, arguing that there is no proven link between the transmitter complex and a greater incidence of cancer and leukaemia in the nearby area and on Friday, it broadcast an hour-long programme entitled: "Listen to believe" - explaining its position.
As well as claiming that its transmissions are within international standards, which are less strict than those of Italy, the Vatican is claiming extra-territorial immunity.
This last rather sticks in our gullet - if the transmitters are causing deaths the church seems to us to be at risk of justifying a full-blown war on it by the Italian state in defence of its citizens.
Now that would be a story but in the meantime it just has to be unworthy of any organisation with a claim to a moral foundation to use technicalities of this kind in any way as a justification for causing health hazards; the argument has to us to centre on whether there are such hazards not immoral use of technicalities, be they international legal ones or of any kind.
On to less - or more -- serious matters in the form of BBC attempt to resurrect The Goon Show, dealt with in Paul Donovan's radio column in the UK Sunday Times.
The last Goon Show was made in 1953 but next week a new trio will try their hand at the task.
Amongst those taking part are:
* Jon Glover, who will play Spike Milligan's roles (including Eccles and Moriarty).
* Andrew Secombe who will try to re-create the funny voices of his father, Harry (including leek-chewing Neddy Seagoon).
* Jeffrey Holland, who will take on the Peter Sellers roles (Bluebottle, Major Bloodnok).
* Christopher Timothy who will be reprising the contribution of his father, Andrew, who was a Goons announce.
* and Lance Ellington who will perform one of the songs that his late father, Ray, sang on the show.
Donovan says the BBC is making "itself a hostage to fortune in this way" because the golden jubilee of the birth of The Goon Show is on May 28.
To mark it, the Corporation is mounting a special evening on Radio 2 the next day whose finale will be the re-creation of the 1953 episode, which is being called Goon Again.
So for any fans, the Internet or the radio on May 29 it is.
And finally a start to a column we couldn't resist, this time from Donovan's colleague Gerry McCarthy, writing on Irish state radio.
"RTÉ producers should be a protected species. They are, after all, in the business of proper radio."
"They are not computerised product shifters, half flow charts, and half vampires, haunting the boardrooms of commercial radio and applying the death penalty to DJs who deviate from the script."
"RTÉ producers come from a kinder, gentler era and they should be cherished." Caveats are entered later but for once we'll forego them.
Previous Columnists:
Previous Donovan:
Previous McCarthy:
Previous Vatican Radio:
UK Sunday Times-Donovan:
UK Sunday Times-McCarthy:

2001-03-19: BBC Radio 4 has chosen "Go 4 It" as the title for its new weekly Sunday children's programme which it hopes will entice a new generation to listen to radio for more than just pop music.
The title was selected from some 1850 sent in by children response to requests for a name for the new series that will mix reviews and gossip with educational segments plus a reading from a children's novel.
The name selected came from an eight-year-old boy who said he wanted "an exciting name to make children do things."
The programme will begin on Easter Sunday and will be broadcast on Sundays at 1915 London time (1815GMT) for at least a year.
Its predecessor in spirit, Children's Hour, ran from 1922 to 1964, attracting widespread calls for its return at that time.
Three year's later the BBC dropped all its children's programming after audience research showed they only attracted a few thousand listeners.
In January the BBC claimed significant support for a children's programming in a report on support for its digital plans (RNW Jan 19); it also claimed around a million children tuned in for its Boxing Day Harry Potter marathon broadcast (See RNW Dec 18 ).
Commercial broadcasters in the UK have also been showing more interest in children's radio and a "Fun" children's channel from UK Capital Radio has been part of the offerings of MXR, which have been singled out by the UK Radio Authority in its recent digital multiplex licence awards to the consortium.
Of the three bidders for the third London digital multiplex, both MXR and The Digital Radio Group (London ) Ltd (DRG) are both proposing children's channels.
Children's radio is also part of the planned offerings by the US satellite radio companies Sirius and XM.
Previous BBC:
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous DRG:
Previous MXR:
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM.

2001-03-18: Advertisers have been pulling their spots from Tampa, Florida, station WXTB-FM in protest at the castration and killing of a wild boar in the station's parking lot during Bubba The Love Sponge's morning show at the end of February according to the St Petersburg Times.
Some have pulled them from just the show the show but others from the Clear Channel-owned station itself. Tampa police are investigating whether the slaughter constitutes animal cruelty and animal rights groups have been putting pressure on advertisers to boycott the station.
The incident happened as part of a "Roadkill Barbecue" promotion during the programme although Clear Channel's attorneys insist the actual killing was not broadcast.
"Bubba the Love Sponge had some animal noises" that he played from the studio, said lawyer Brian Albritton.
"He came out after the entire event was over."
Albritton said a hunter took the boar to the radio station as part of the promotion and once there it was restrained, castrated and its spinal cord was severed.
"It was killed swiftly and instantly," he said. "It's castrated first because often when the animal gets excited it gets a surge of testosterone and the testosterone spoils the meat," he said.
Animal experts have contested the statement concerning the effects of castration.
Last week, WXTB's general manager apologized to the staff of Clear Channel Communications' eight Tampa stations last week, saying the stunt, which included the airing of animal noises, was "far too graphic."
The host himself has been off the air this week, said to be "on vacation."
Previous Clear Channel:
St Petersburg Times site (Search archive for "Bubba".)

2001-03-18: Licence news this week is split between 3G spectrum and radio as such.
In Australia the 3G spectrum auctions got off to a slow start and so far bids have not yet reached the reserve total set by the government (RNW March 16).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced three new licences for Calgary in Alberta.
The announcement follows hearings in October last year when six competing applications were put forward for Calgary services as well as an application proposing a new FM radio station to serve the Okotoks and High River, communities south of Calgary.
Five of the Calgary applications were for mainstream commercial services using the 98.5 MHz frequency - from Standard Radio Inc, Telemedia Radio (West) Inc., CHUM Limited, NewCap Inc and Craig Broadcast Systems Inc.
Of these the Commission approved that of Standard 's application for a new English language Urban Rhythm format.
In addition the Commission said that it was satisfied that the market could support two new commercial stations and has by a majority vote conditionally approved Telemedia's application for a new English-language New Adult Contemporary (NAC)/ Smooth Jazz forma.
Telemedia now has 12 months to come up with an alternative acceptable frequency.
In addition to the commercial applications, the Commission has approved a not-for-profit application for a new, Aboriginal-language station which will in the main broadcast programming originating with the FM radio station licensed to Aboriginal Voices Radio in Toronto (See RNW June 18 ).
The new Calgary station has been allocated the 88.1 MHz frequency which was listed by Golden West in its application for a new FM station at High River/Okotoks.
The Commission has therefore turned down this application but has suggested that Golden West should investigate the availability for its use of a frequency better suited to providing a local radio service to these smaller communities.
All was quiet in Ireland but in the UK, the Radio Authority has been busy on the analogue and digital fronts.
On the analogue side, the Radio Authority has announced that it will advertise a new FM licence for Pembrokeshire in West Wales as well as announcing that there were four applicants for the new Omagh and Enniskillen licence in Northern Ireland (RNW Mar 14).
On the digital side, it has announced that it has received three applications for the third London digital multiplex (also RNW Mar 14)and advertising the new digital multiplex for Dundee and Perth in Scotland.
In the US, the main news has been the clearing up of most of the backlog of deals which the Federal Communications Commission "red-flagged" for ownership concentration reasons. (See RNW Mar 13 ).
Previous ACA:
Previous AVRN:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ACA web site:
CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-03-18: The Baltimore Sun reports that Johns Hopkins University officials intend to sell WJHU-FM, the city's primary public radio news station.
It says the decision was made after the University concluded that the cash-strapped station would fare better with an owner willing to spend more money on its future.
James McGill, the university's senior vice president for finance and administration, told the paper that any would be purchaser would have to persuade the university that it would highlight issues and events specific to the Greater Baltimore region.
He added, "The radio station has never been a money-maker for Hopkins, nor perhaps was it ever set up to be one."
Currently the station airs National Public Radio programmes as well as four shows of its own. It has put on hold plans to create a local news organisation and cancelled interviews which had been scheduled for a general manager to fill the currently-vacant post.
If no buyer emerges, the paper says the University may enter a partnership allowing another organisation to operate the station.
WJHU, which was founded in 1986, has 13 full-time employees, 11,000 members and a $2 million annual budget.
It has been in surplus on its budget recently but is still paying back a long-term loan from the university. No price has been suggested for the station but the Sun says Maryland Public Television expressed strong interest in acquiring WJHU.
Previous NPR:
Baltimore Sun report:

2001-03-17: Ray Burke, the minister responsible for communications when Century Radio was awarded Ireland's first national commercial radio licence, has told the Flood Tribunal that he personally took no decision to cap the advertising revenues of state broadcaster RTÉ.
Pat Hanratty SC, for the tribunal, said Century Radio and its bankers knew about Mr Burke's intention to introduce a cap in December 1989, before the Minister instructed his departmental secretary and before the Cabinet considered the matter in March 1990.
He said Burke had even indicated the extent of the cap proposed.
Burke said that the "decision at all stages was a government decision"; he had offered Century his support but was not legally in a position to make commitments to Century regarding a cap.
He also said that he never had the "slightest intention" of cutting RTÉ's advertising by half, as Century co-founder James Stafford had claimed.
"I would have never had discussed a 50 per cent cut because of the dramatic effect this would have on RTÉ and because it would never have been contemplated by the Government," he said.
Previous Ray Burke:
Previous Century:
Previous Flood Tribunal;
Previous Hanratty:
Previous RTÉ:
Previous Stafford:

RNW note
: Most of our report is culled from The Irish Times which has been carrying full reports on the Flood Tribunal. For their reports follow the link below: Look for Flood Tribunal
Irish Times
--search page

2001-03-17: More news and results from US radio.
In a report "Reinventing Radio", Chicago-based financial services firm William Blair and Company is upbeat about the future for the radio industry which it says is at a watershed because of the proliferation of new mediums for audio broadcasting.
Analyst Alissa Graham looks at satellite radio, Internet radio, and digital audio broadcasting and focuses on ways in which digital technology will affect the radio industry, and how it can withstand competition.
The report looks at how radio re-invented itself after the advent of television and looks at how it can "buttress its competitive position by harnessing digital technology and by addressing the changing needs of listeners and advertisers."
The report says that because broadcast radio is ubiquitous, free, has an extensive audience reach, and has "blunt" targeting capabilities-- it will stand up to the competition of satellite and Internet radio, for at least the short term.
It also says that if radio improves on its existing services and invests in new technologies and develops new revenue opportunities, it will continue to produce excellent cash flow.
And on the results front, Oregon-based NBG Radio Network, a leading US independent creator, producer, and distributor of nationally syndicated radio programs has reported its best year ever in 2000.
For the year to November 30, its consolidated revenues were up 226% over the same period in 1999 to $11,785,831 and net income was up 165% to $826,112 compared to a consolidated net loss of $1,264,275 for the same period in 1999.
NBG attributes the increase to more top market affiliates and available inventory.
William Blair web site:
NBG web site:

2001-03-17: The Australian 3G spectrum auction attracted only another Aus$38 million in bids on its second, taking the total so far made to the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) to Aus$842 million.
The government has set a reserve price of Aus$1.08 billion, although it had hoped to make up to Aus$2.6 billion, and the ACA has now announced that it will increase the number of bidding rounds a day from two to four starting on Monday.
The only bids on the second day were for the national one licence, where Vodafone Pacific has outbid Optus Mobile Pty Ltd which was the highest bidder for the licence on the first day.
Vdafone has offered Aus
$223.5, some Aus$40 million above the reserve price.
The national one and national two are the only licences on offer which cover all metropolitan and regional areas of Australia although two other national licences could be put together through bids for separate spectrum.
The highest bidder for the national two licence is Telstra, which has Aus$198.4 million on the table.
Previous ACA
Previous Australian 3G auction:
ACA web site:

2001-03-17: Italy's Environment Minister has threatened to cut the electricity supply to Vatican Radio following a dispute about electromagnetic emissions from the site which have registered up to three times Italy's legal limit.
It has been alleged to be the cause of tumours and leukaemia. (See RNW Oct 10).
The Vatican has been claiming extra-territorial immunity under a 1951 agreement with Italy for the radio site which, like the Vatican itself, is considered part of a sovereign state.
It refused to pass on summons issued against three officials: Father Roberto Tucci, who was made a cardinal last month and who is chairman of the radio's management board; Father Pasquale Borgomeo, its director general; and Costantino Pacifici, the deputy technical director.
Earlier this week judge, Andrea Calabria, told prosecutors they made an error in issuing a summons to the defendants through diplomatic channels but he held that his court did have jurisdiction, then adjourned the trial until the autumn.
The case has caused sharp divisions within the Italian government, with the environment minister signing up as a civil party to the trial and the foreign ministry saying the Holy See was justified in invoking the extra-territorial status of the transmitter site.
In the latest development the Environment Minister Willer Bordon on Friday told a news conference, "If within 15 days the broadcaster does not get back down under the limits, I will order the national electricity provider to suspend supply to the transmission centres."
He added, "If the supplier continued to provide electricity, it too would be held responsible for committing a crime."
The transmission centre at Santa Maria di Galeria, a few miles north of Rome, has 58 antennae, some as tall as 300 feet, which beam religious ceremonies and the spiritual messages of the Pope round the world.
When it was first built, the area was open countryside but now it is in a built up area and a recent health service study found children living within one and a half miles of the transmitters were six times more likely to develop leukaemia than children living in Rome.
Residents in the nearby village of Cesano have complained that emission levels in their homes are up to eight times the legally allowed level permitted under a law that was passed in February and say it's like living a microwave oven.
When the investigation began there was no legally established limit for electromagnetic pollution, so prosecutors charged the three Vatican Radio officials with the crime of "throwing dangerous objects".
Previous Vatican Radio:
New York Times/Reuters report:

2001-03-16: Results, format changes and host changes from the US today.
First the results, this time from Cumulus Media, whose third quarter results showed net revenues up 3.2% compared to 1999Q4 to $57.5, Broadcast cash flow (BCF) up 40.4%, to $17.2 million, EBITDA up 24.3% to $11.5 million and After Tax Cash Flow (ATCF) a net loss of $1.6 million, or 5 cents per share compared to a net loss of 22 cents per share for Q4, 1999.
On a same station basis, the net revenues were up only 0.4% compared to Q4 1999 at $33.5 million, and BCF was up 70.3%, to $10.8 million. On a pro forma basis, after all announced acquisitions and divestitures, net revenues for the company's 225 stations in 46 markets decreased $0.1 million, or 0.1%, to $57.1 million for the quarter.
For the full year, net revenues were up 25.5% to $225.9 million, BCF (Including a charge of $20.2 million to bad debt expense in the third quarter) fell by 25.9%, to $34.6 million, EBITDA was down 57.5%, to $16.3 million, and ATCF loss was 84 cents a share compared to 50 cents in 1999. On a same station basis for the for the 160 stations in 30 markets operated for at least a full year, net revenue was up 1.7% on 1999 to $126.5 million and BCF was down 7.8% to $29.6 million.
On a pro forma basis, after all announced acquisitions and divestitures, net revenue for the Company's 225 stations in 46 markets increased 2.2% to $215.3 million but Pro forma BCF dropped 3.2%, to $56.0 million.
Cumulus Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey noted, "During the fourth quarter, we realized meaningful expense reductions across our entire platform as a direct result of actions taken in the second half of 2000."
"Cumulus' expense base is now beginning to align more closely with that of our peers."
On the format front, Bonneville International has finally launched its new format on the former Chicago WNIB-FM classical music outlet that it took over in a $165 million deal and which has been running an "artist-of-the-day" stunt.
The station is now "Timeless Rock" WDRV-FM, "The Drive".
This will feature a hybrid of oldies, classic rock and pop hits from the mid-1960s through the early '80s.
Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times says Bonneville hopes to attract men between 25 and 54, drawing listeners from oldies WJMK-FM and adult rock WXRT-FM as well as complementing Bonneville's own classic rock WLUP-FM.
For a few weeks, while staff is being assembled, it will air without jocks or commercials.
Next hosts. In Baltimore, Randy Dennis local morning host for WWIN-FM has been replaced by syndicated talk show host Tom Joyner.
He has filed a lawsuit against Radio One Inc. over its enforcement of a six-month non-compete clause.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Dennis says that Joyner's former home, Howard University's WHUR-FM, has shown interest in hiring him but negotiations have been stymied by the clause, which prohibits him for six months from taking another radio job within a 50-mile radius.
"For me to work the length of my contract and then say, after that, I can't make a living for six months, is crazy," Dennis told the paper.
"If they force me to wait, I'm going to miss a great opportunity."
In Boston, Christopher Lydon, former host of the WBUR-FM show "The Connection"(See RNW Mar 3) is to run an Internet experimental programme next Tuesday (Mar 20) at the same time as his former show (10.00 Eastern, 1500 GMT).
It will be available on Lydon's site (See below).
The site also contains his version of the dispute that led to him leaving WBUR.
WBUR has its version on its site (See below).
WBUR is continuing to air "The Connection" with a series of hosts whilst it decides on a permanent replacement.
A few stations of the 75 or so to whom it is syndicated by US National Public Radio (NPR) have dropped the show including South Dakota Public Radio and KUOW in Seattle.
Finally the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that US talk-show host Dr Laura Schlessinger did not breach its code in comments she made on the Laura Schlessinger Show broadcast on CJCH-AM, Halifax, Nova Scotia, on June 13 and August 9,11, and 15 last year.
The Council had previously (RNW May 12) ruled that the host made " abusively discriminatory'' comments about gays and lesbians in earlier broadcasts.
In this case it found that the broadcaster had not aired comparable material during any of the episodes in question.
Previous Bonneville:
Previous CBSC:
Previous Cumulus:
Previous Dickey:
Previous Feder:
Previous Joyner:
Previous Lydon:
Previous NPR:
Previous Radio One Inc:
Previous Dr Laura:
Previous WBUR:
Baltimore Sun report:
CBSC web site:
Chicago Sun Times -Feder :
Cumulus web site:
Christopher Lydon web site:
WBUR web site:

2001-03-16: The Irish Times reports that the Flood Tribunal is to hear evidence next week from a retired bank manager, whose London branch handled payments to the offshore accounts of Ray Burke, minister for communications when Ireland's first commercial national radio licence was awarded to Century Radio.
The Tribunal has only just managed to contact Timothy McHale, former manager of the Allied Irish Bank Bruton Street branch in London.
In previous evidence, Burke told the tribunal many of the payments between his accounts in Jersey and the Isle of Man were routed through the branch which has said it has no record of an account in his name.
Burke has now retracted evidence he previous gave about a sum of £15,000, which he originally said was transferred from the Bank in Jersey to the Bruton Street account in 1985 (RNW Mar 15).
In further evidence to the tribunal, Burke admitted that he ignored the advice of the most senior official in his department in issuing a Section 16 directive fixing the amount state broadcaster RTÉ was entitled to charge Century Radio for the use of transmission services. Bernard McDonagh, the then secretary of the Department of Communications, had advised Mr Burke to write back to the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) to indicate Century had "seriously underestimated" the costs involved but Burke did not subsequently enter into any correspondence with the IRTC on the fees and fixed the fees at a figure RTÉ had previously described as "uneconomical".
Burke disputed earlier evidence from Seán Connolly, then chief executive officer of the IRTC, that "Century's promoters felt they could enlist the help of ministers" to intervene on their behalf and said he had taken RTÉ's side on many later issues.
On the question of Century's financial problems in late 1989, Burke said he had been told by Century co-founder Oliver Barry that the station was in financial difficulties because of the transmission coverage RTÉ was providing but it "came like a bolt from the blue" when he was told by Barry on December 19 that year that Century was being closed down.
Previous Barry:
Previous Ray Burke
Previous Century Radio:
Previous Connolly:
Previous Flood Tribunal:
Previous IRTC:
Previous RTÉ

RNW note
: Most of our report is culled from The Irish Times which has been carrying full reports on the Flood Tribunal. For their reports follow the link below: Look for Flood Tribunal
Irish Times
--search page

2001-03-16: Former BBC Radio 1 controller and Director of Radio Matthew Bannister, who quit his then job director of marketing at the corporation in December, is to return for a stint as a Radio 5 live presenter.
He will stand in for three days as host of the current affairs show Late Night Live over Easter weekend and has been approached about doing more work.
Bannister joined music talent agency Trust The DJ, which he joined as chairman and chief executive last month. Bannister first worked for the BBC as a radio reporter and in 1988 was responsible for setting up the BBC's former London station GLR.
Previous Bannister:
Previous BBC:

2001-03-16: After the first two rounds of the Australian 2GHz 3G mobile spectrum auction, the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) had received bids totalling just over Aus$804 million covering 32 of the 58 licences on offer.
All six bidders remain in the auction and the top total bidding so far has come from Telstra 3G Spectrum Holdings Pty Ltd which has bid Aus$221,300,000 including Aus$194.8 million for the national number 2 licence which covers all six state capital cities plus various regional spectrum bids.
Vodafone Pacific Limited had bid some Aus$185 million for the national number 2 licence but ended the day with only a total of Aus$8,000,000 on the table.
Second placed Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd has made bids totalling Aus$196,100,000 for spectrum in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
It was followed by Cable and Wireless owned Optus Mobile Pty Ltd with a bid of Aus$185,501,000 for the national number one licence, just inching above the total bids from 3G Investments (Australia) Pty Ltd (US mobile phone technology group Qualcomm) of Aus$185,500,000 for spectrum in regional Queensland and Western Australia, and for one of the four licences covering capital cities.
The other bidder, CKW Wireless Pty Ltd (US telecom equipment maker Arraycomm) had only Aus$ 7,950,000 on the table.
Previous ACA
Previous Australian 3G auction:
ACA web site:

2001-03-15: More signs of a slowdown in the US radio world: The latest figures from Interep, the largest US independent sales and marketing company specializing in radio, show that, after a strong 2000, this year has been markedly down.
CEO Ralph Guild and CFO William McEntee told investors that business in the first quarter of this year will be down a fifth on 2000 although around a third of this is because there are only 12 weeks in this year's Q1 compared to 13 last year.
Interep expects the second quarter to be down by between 10 and 15% although it is forecasting the year overall will be up by around 7%.
So far Interep has booked 30% of the business it has budgeted, the same percentage as 1999 but way down from the 45% booked in 2000.
For 2000 itself, Interep reported record results with after tax cash flow per share nearly doubling compared to 1999 at $1.60, core EBITDA, which excludes contract termination revenue, Internet activity, and an option re-pricing charge, up 28% to $24.8 million and earnings per share improved to a loss of $0.31 for 2000 compared to a loss of $1.97 in 1999.
For the fourth quarter of 2000 after-tax cash flow per share increased 51% compared to 1999 to $0.80, core EBITDA was up 6% to $9.1million and earnings per share improved to a positive $0.23 from a loss of $0.39 for 1999 Q4.
Radio commission revenue decreased 6% to $26.2 million for the fourth quarter, although on a pro-forma basis excluding the effect of the loss of Clear Channel stations in December 1999 they were up 2%.
Radio station deals also seem slower at the moment.
The largest this week so far is a $19.4 million cash deal under which Citadel is selling to Millennium Radio Group, LLC three stations and the rights to operate another under a local marketing agreement.
Being sold are WFPG-FM, WPUR-FM and WFPG-AM plus the LMA of WKOE-FM in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In another small deal, the Heaven Network Inc. is to spend $650,000 on purchasing North Carolina Black Gospel simulcast duo WHNC-AM Henderson and WCBQ-AM Oxford.
Meanwhile Emmis Communications is offering just over $200 million worth of 10-year discount notes in a private placement through its Emmis Escrow Corp.
They're at a yield-to-maturity of 12.5% and Emmis will make no cash interest payments for the first five years.
The money raised will be used to complete the $160M acquisition of three radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona, from Hearst-Argyle Television Inc.(See RNW June 24) and reduce owings.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Citadel:
Previous Emmis:

2001-03-15: UK Capital Radio's programme director Richard Park has resigned from the company's board and says he wishes to concentrate on the creative side of radio.
He will not be replaced but will continue to work for Capital as a creative consultant and will work on other broadcasting projects, which could include a return to presenting.
Park joined Capital in 1987 and was a major force behind the 1988 launch of Capital Gold.
David Mansfield, chief executive of Capital Radio, said: "Richard's contribution to Capital Radio has been enormous and I am confident this new role will benefit him and us by allowing him to concentrate on what he does the best and enjoys the most.
Previous Capital Radio:

2001-03-15: Australia's 3G mobile spectrum auction starts today and already one major player Telecom Corp of New Zealand has pulled out. This leaves six bidders for the six licences on offer, four existing mobile operators Cable & Wireless Optus, Hutchison Telecommunications Australia, Telstra, and Vodafone Pacific plus US mobile phone technology companies Qualcomm and Arraycomm.
The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has set reserve prices that total Aus$1.08 billion but the government had hoped to raise Aus$2.6 billion (See RNW March 11).
So far there has been no government comment on whether the spectrum will be withdrawn if the reserve price is not met as now seems possible.
Previous ACA:
Previous Australian 3G auction:
ACA web site:

2001-03-15: In what the Tribunal lawyers called an "extraordinary development", the Flood Tribunal into the award of Ireland's first national commercial radio licence to Century Radio is to re-examine evidence by the then minister for communications after he sent a letter retracting evidence he had given concerning a £15000 donation.
The then minister Ray Burke sent the letter directly by courier to Mr Justice Flood, not through his solicitors, and identifies the source of the money although this has not yet been revealed.
Two weeks ago Burke told the tribunal the money was transferred from his bank in Jersey to London, withdrawn in cash in April 1985, and then taken back to Dublin in his hand luggage and put in a safe for "ongoing political expenses."
Burke said he then changed his mind, flew to London with the cash and then gave it to his solicitors who deposited it in his Jersey account again.
Tribunal counsel Patrick Hanratty SC said Burke now "effectively retracts all of that testimony, every word of it, and suggests an alternative thesis as to where the £15,000 came from involving a person or persons named in the letter."
Burke has also given more evidence regarding the fees to be charged by state broadcaster RTÉ, saying that, less than a month after it was made, he "binned" an agreement on charges that his own officials had agreed with RTÉ and that he himself had agreed was "not unreasonable".
Burke said that he introduced a directive requiring RTÉ to reduce its charges because the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) had told him they were not prepared to go on air unless the charge was lowered. He said the figures in the directive were a compromise between what Century wanted to pay and RTÉ wanted to charge and that he had not accepted "lock, stock and barrel what Century were proposing."
Previous Ray Burke
Previous Century Radio:
Previous Flood Tribunal:
Previous Hanratty:
Previous IRTC:
Previous RTÉ

RNW note
: Most of our report is culled from The Irish Times which has been carrying full reports on the Flood Tribunal. For their reports follow the link below: Look for Flood Tribunal
Irish Times
--search page

2001-03-14: Talk radio was finally dethroned from the top spot in the latest weekly Internet ratings by Measurecast and London-based Virgin Radio made its top 25 debut at the number three spot for the week to March 11.
Listener-formatted pushed into second place New York talk radio station WABC, which had held the number One rank in terms of total time spent listening (TTSL)since the ratings were launched last December.
Measurecast reported that MediaAmazing had a 23% increase in TTSL and a 24% increase in Cumulative Persons - CP - (An estimate of the total number of unique listeners who had one or more listening sessions lasting five minutes or longer) compared to the previous week.
The top five were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 88,811 (72,179); CP 23,913 (19,335) - previously 2nd.
2): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 83,864 (91,668); CP 13,931 (14,385) - previously first.
3): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 66,376; CP 9,395 (Previously unplaced);
4): Spanish format La-Mega-WSKQ (New York) TTSL 57,325 (70,179 ); CP 11,125 (12,253 ) - previously 3rd.
5): Classic Rock Internet Only Radio Margaritaville TTSL 42,650 (46,787 ); CP6,894 (7,403 ) - previously 4th.
In Arbitron's latest Internet ratings to be released, those for December, Classical music Internet-only webcaster ranked number one with an ATH (aggregate tuning hours - the sum total of all hours that listeners tune to a given channel.) of 565,700.
(RNW note: which works out as an AQH - Average Quarter Hour - audience as used for broadcast of some 190)
Arbitron's webcast ratings showed two other Classical streaming-audio webcast channels ranked in the top 25 --, Seattle-based KING-FM, which ranked sixth with 199,700 ATH, and Washington, DC-based WGMS-FM, which ranked 23rd with 94,700 ATH.
Arbitron's December Webcast top 5 were:
1:Classical music ATH 565,700 (New entry):
2: News Talk Information format WABC-AM, New York, ATH 294,800 (Also 2nd in November):
3: Listener Formatted MediaAmazing ATH 282,000 (New entry)
4: (Album Oriented Rock) Pure Rock ATH 219,100 (5th in November)
5: Hot Adult Contemporary format Virgin Radio (UK) ATH 203,300 (2nd in October).
Previous Arbitron Webcast Ratings
Previous Measurecast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:

2001-03-14: The UK Radio Authority has received three applications for the third digital multiplex licence for London.
They are from:
*The Digital Radio Group (London) Ltd. whose shareholders include GWR Group plc.; The Wireless Group plc and SMG plc.;
*London Digital Radio Ltd. (LDR) whose shareholders include SCORE Digital Ltd., Saga Regional Digital Radio Ltd., and Forever Broadcasting Digital Radio Ltd.;
and *MXR London Ltd whose shareholders include Chrysalis Group plc.; Soul Media Ltd., Capital Radio plc., and Guardian Media Group.
The Authority has also advertised the digital multiplex licence for the cities of Dundee and Perth and the surrounding area in Scotland.
On the FM front, it has received four applications for the new licence for Omagh and Enniskillen and the surrounding area, in the south-west of Northern Ireland. They are from Fast Fm Ltd.; Southwest Radio (Southwest Fm Ltd.); Radio West Fm (Radio West Ltd.); and Westside 101 (Lisara Ltd.).
Previous Digital Radio Group:
Previous MXR:
Previous UK Radio Authority

UK Radio Authority
web site

2001-03-14: Denver KBPI morning DJ "Willie B" has escaped jail over his chicken-dropping stunt (See RNW Feb 25).
Although the prosecutor had called for jail, "Willie B", real name Steven Meade,was fined $1000 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

2001-03-13: The US Federal Communications Commission, acting on instructions from its new chairman Michael Powell, has approved 32 long-pending radio deals, which had been "red-flagged" because of what he termed "genuine concern about increased levels of concentration in local radio markets."
The deals are around three-quarters of those which had been held up, six of them having been delayed by two years or more and 19 by a year or more.
Powell said in a statement that the FCC had struggled in its attempt to "balance the important goals of competition and diversity with the legitimate expectation of parties that their applications will be reviewed in a timely fashion."
He added that, "Congress established quite plainly the number of stations that could be commonly owned in a local market--- and the proposed transfers in all of the flagged cases comply with these numerical caps"
" . … The Bureau found that based on existing rules and Commission precedent, these cases did not warrant further delay. Over the coming weeks, the Bureau will continue this process of backlog reduction with the remaining cases."
Powell concluded by saying," The Commission will have an opportunity in the pending rulemaking on radio market definitions to review its implementation of the numerical limits imposed by the Act."
"To the extent that the Commission's existing rules for determining the size and the number of stations that count toward the cap has led to higher levels of ownership than Congress intended, we will fix that problem."
"If the Commission determines that further competitive analysis is warranted, we will consider such changes consistent with the Act and in a proceeding that affords full and open debate on the issues."
The two Democrats on the Commission, Susan Ness who supported the action but expressed caveats and Gloria Tristani, who dissented strongly, issued separate statements.
Ness said the approvals were necessary to be fair but did not constitute a policy change and she spoke of the applications underscoring the "breathtaking consolidation of the radio industry since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996."
Ness said that Congress's action in eliminating the national cap on ownership and relaxing local ownership rules did not "remove the Commission's obligation to assess whether the transfer is in the public interest."
She commented that," It is instructive that, had the Commission adopted an Arbitron radio market definition, as opposed to the contour-overlap method, as many as 17 out of 32 pending radio mergers would have violated the Commission's local ownership limits."
"This potentially significant impact on our radio merger review emphasizes the critical need for the Commission to act swiftly in adopting a rational radio market definition."
(RNW note: In response to the FCC's notice of proposed rulemaking to change the way local markets are defined for counting stations when applying local ownership limits, 17 of the comments filed were from the National Association of Broadcasters and various broadcasters supporting retention of the current system. The other comment was a call for satellite channels to be counted and called for XM Satellite Radio's channels to be counted in every market where Clear Channel, an XM part owner, operates).
Ness concluded by sounding "the alarm over the growing levels of local radio ownership concentration" and said, "Applicants have pushed the regulatory envelope beyond recognition."
" I urge us now expeditiously to adopt a new radio market definition and clear, reasonable, and sustainable radio merger review guidelines."
Tristani took a much harsher line writing that the approvals relied "on a simplistic antitrust-like analysis of competition and confounds the Commission's primary obligation to implement a federal broadcast communications policy that serves the public interest."
"Each of these license transfers brings about an increase, and in some cases an unprecedented increase, in market power concentration."
"Taken together they exemplify harmful levels of control of advertising revenues by both single owners and duopolies in local radio markets that can hardly lay claim to be supported, much less approved, by prior Commission cases or logic." Tristani added," While I agree the Bureau should act on these applications, some of which have been pending since 1998, most, if not all, of the cases should have been designated for evidentiary hearings under Section 309(e) of the Communications Act."
"Absent a better factual record upon which to base the decision, these approvals appear to flatly contravene the Commission's duty to ensure broadcast license transfers serve the public interest."
"It is not any action that we are obligated to undertake, it is action in the public interest."
Previous FCC:
Previous Ness;
Previous Powell:
Previous Tristani:
Ness statement:
Powell statement:
Tristani statement:

2001-03-13: Former radio reporter and broadcaster Michael Elkins has died aged 84 in Jerusalem following a heart attack.
New York-born Elkins was renowned his scoop about the Israeli destruction of Arab air forces during the six-day-war in 1967 when he was working for the CBS radio and the BBC.
CBS radio refused to broadcast the news, which nobody else had reported at the time.
Elkins later said he had got it from overhearing legislators and military leaders whispering in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) about their country's success in wiping out the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian air forces in bombing raids on the first day of the war.
The BBC aired the report after it cleared military censorship and Elkins resigned from CBS shortly afterwards.
He remained the BBC's correspondent in Israel until he retired in 1982.

2001-03-12: A week when praise for radio in England and Ireland almost tempted us to go off-balance, but was then counterbalanced by some comments from Scotland and the US.
So let's get the bad bits out of the way first, especially as their tenor is similar in some ways.
The first comment is from Allan Brown in the UK Sunday Times.
about BBC plans for radio in Scotland. It's headed, "All we hear on our airwaves is radio ga-ga" and is pegged on BBC plans for radio in Scotland.
It's clear from the beginning that Brown feels that some change is needed and a little later he comments, "Clicking through the dial marked Scotia, however, you would not know that popular radio had undergone any kind of change, let alone a seismic one."
"More than any Scottish media, radio remains resolutely time-warped and provincial."
As he's already said of BBC Radio 1, however, that "The assumption now, of course, is that broadcaster and audience are jointly engaged on a leery stag or hen night in Dublin, led by the likes of Sara Cox, Mark Radcliffe and Emma B, which has to be progress of a sort", it's clear that not any change would be welcome.
Indeed he says that Radio Clyde, the "jewel in the crown" of Scottish Radio Holdings, "is the only British commercial station to have been in profit from the first day of its operation, a state of grace rarely attained by overestimating your audience."
Later he adds, "The dangers are obvious, though, and evident in the lazy, homogenised, mid-Atlantic pap that covers the airwaves."
"To switch in the mornings between Clyde, Beat FM and QFM is truly spirit-sapping."
"In the olden days, when DJs played gigs and chose their own records, there was an intimate knowledge of local audience tastes."
"That has gone, as has virtually all speech-only provision."
"There was a time when even a wildly commercial station like Clyde won awards for its speech content. Now the station broadcasts just under four hours of speech-only programming a week."
And although he holds out hope for BBC Radio Scotland, which he says is moving from modelling itself on "stately Radio 4, the flagship of state-funded radio" to "coveting the shiny, chatty sheen of Radio 5", that hope doesn't seem to burn too bright.
He endsby commenting on commercial radio in Scotland as "the tatty world of Scottish radio, pumped out by the yard with as few overheads as is humanly possible, a mere cash cow that might yield lip-licking revenues for media conglomerates but which degrades the national discourse in the process."
"It would be a tragedy, Brown says, "if Radio Scotland, modest, humble, heart-warming old Radio Scotland, went even part way down the same path." That path, Boston Globe correspondent Donald M Murray, obviously feels is one, which has been followed too far by US National Public Radio as far as music is concerned.
After commenting how his musical education when he was young was enhanced by the radio, and by NPR in particular for classical music, he writes, "there are few musical surprises any more on National Public Radio no matter where I drive."
Murray says that when he complained to New Hampshire's NPR station, WEVO, about its switch to just playing excerpts from compositions, he was "personally told by the station manager, tough luck."
"He said listeners didn't have the attention span - and, he implied, the intelligence - for longer works. Younger people wanted talk."
Murray concludes, "I like Terry Gross's ''Fresh Air,'' Garrison Keillor's ''Lake Wobegon,'' can mostly stand the snorting and guffawing mechanics from Cambridge, and depend on 'All Things Considered.' "
"But chopped-up elevator music? No thanks. I stopped contributing."
"Now the policy is expanded. No music. It is only babble, babble, babble all day long on WEVO. Other National Public Radio stations are becoming round-the-clock talk radio."
"And the more the talk, the less said. I reach for my CDs."
"But I mourn for the young and not-so-young who will never have the opportunity I did to travel from The William Tell Overture to Beethoven's Last Quartets during my serendipitous musical education from National Public Radio."
After which it is some relief to turn to UK papers praising radio output, particularly notable being defence of and praise for BBC Radio 4's farming soap, The Archers.
The defence, from Paul Donovan, in the Sunday Times, relates to criticism of the programme for not mentioning that Kate Archer's South African boyfriend, Lucas is referred to only as "African" not "Black" (See RNW March 5).
Donovan comments, "I have a mother-in-law who was born in South Africa when it was still a British colony, I got married in another former African colony, and, in 22 years of visiting Kenya, I have never heard Africans referred to as "blacks"."
"They are always referred to as "Africans". Similarly, whites are not called whites, but Europeans."
He adds that," in the countryside, where these verbal usages tend to linger longer than in the towns, because the countryside has an older, less cosmopolitan, more conservative populace."
Donovan then praises the "the programme's remarkable achievement in responding with such speed and sympathy to the hideous outbreak of foot and mouth.", praise also given in the UK Guardian by Elisabeth Mahoney.
She writes of, "its daily reflection of the unfolding foot and mouth crisis, sensitively and quite thrillingly handled."
"The feeling we get from news bulletins, of a crisis closing in around rural communities, has been weaving into the Ambridge drama just as stealthily."
"When no television soap even pretends to reflect day-to-day reality, this is to be cherished." In similar vein, she praises BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed for a programme that took up the pros and cons of golf.
Laurie Taylor, bearing a copy of "The Global Anti-Golf Manifesto" said of golfers, "I don't like seeing them wandering around - their clothes, their demeanour, the way they walk even"
Mahoney comments that he mentioned "his credentials as a social scientist in case we thought he was being flagrantly intolerant."
She adds, " He was, actually, but given his target - golfers - who was going to mind?" and then says, "Only Will Hutton minded. Despite damning statistics from a Golf Monthly survey ( (two-thirds of 180 golf clubs surveyed operate a two-tier set of rules based on gender), Hutton extolled "the beauty of the game", its inherent democracy."
(RNW comment - as the programme also showed a remarkably high number of UK gold clubs were obviously racist as well and many in less developed countries or areas were immensely exploitative of local resources, we felt Hutton should look at his definition of "inherently democratic".
We do feel, however, that a case can be made amongst mass media, that radio is the medium which has the best chances of being "democratic" as it allows a direct community and individual voice to get through at comparatively low cost when the environment is suitably regulated to encourage this.)

Finally more praise, this time from Sue Arnold in the UK Observer for BBC Radio 3.
She writes, "Remind me, someone, this time next year, when radio critics are traditionally requested to submit their nominations for best programme and radio personality of the year."
"You need only say one word - Richter."
"On Wednesday night, Radio 3 cleared its schedules and devoted the entire evening to the life and work of Sviatoslav Richter, often described as the greatest pianist of the century. There was no particular peg, no anniversary or centenary ….. The only requirements for a broadcasting marathon on this scale are a fascinating subject and a presenter who can maintain the listener's interest in said subject for five whole hours without repetition, hesitation or deviation."
"Fortunately, in Sviatoslav Richter and Sir John Drummond, we had both."
(RNW Comment: Obviously Murray of the Boston Globe needsa suitable Internet-enabled radio service in his car - or to get a US satellite radio service to put out BBC Radio 3).
Previous Arnold:
Previous columnists:
Previous Donovan:
Boston Globe - Murray:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times -Brown:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:

2001-03-12: As DMG prepares for the launch of its new Sydney and Melbourne FM radio stations on which it has gambled Aus$225 million on the licences alone, the Sydney Morning Herald reports on the atmosphere in Sydney as work goes furiously ahead on the company's Sydney home.
So far virtually nothing is known about the station apart from its frequency (96.9 FM) as DMG remains tight-lipped about its format and even the launch date, which has to be by the end of June to meet the licence requirements.
DMG's sales staff have already been on the road for a fortnight meeting advertisers and their agencies and talent signed up so far includes breakfast duo Merrick and Rosso (Merrick Watts andTim Ross) from the ABC's Triple J and drive shift host"Ugly" Phil O'Neil, the former 2 Day FM shock jock.
This, suggests the Herald, indicates that DMG will target the 18 to 39-year-old listeners who have been "the lifeblood" ofDMG's chief executive Paul Thompson, who was founding chief executive of Austereo, Australia's largest commercial broadcaster.
The paper speculates that Thompson will have a tough job delivering results to justify the licence investment although it quotes ANZ Bank media analyst Bob Peters as saying, "Paul Thompson is a very experienced operator with a good track record."
"I think it is not so much a question of if he can make a profit, but rather how much and how quickly."
Adding to the pressure will be the fact thatUK GWR Group holds a quarter of DMG's interests and has a three-year option, but no obligation, to pick up the remaining 75% and will thus be keeping a very close eye on his performance.
DMG already had 57 regional radio stations in Australia plus an AM in Adelaide, which cost it around Aus$200 million.
In all the paper estimates that if all costs of putting Sydney and Melbourne on air are added to this figure, DMG will have spent around Aus$ 450 million on its Australian radio assets.
It will have to spend another $70-80 million if it is to have a chance to win the upcoming new Brisbane FM auction against tough competition from Australian Radio Network (ARN) - a joint venture between US giant Clear Channel Communications, APN News & Media - and regional broadcaster RG Capital.
The paper says Thompson concedes that an acceptable return on investment may take several years but adds that he thinks DMG is committed to a long-term strategy.
In particular he says that the Sydney licence was essential if a national network was to be built, although he adds that DMG's business plan also allows for a smaller number of stations in key markets.
"We are looking at it with a vision that is very large but with a practical understanding that we can make the smaller pieces work if that is the way it comes to pass," Thompson said.
Previous ARN:
Previous Austereo:
Previous Clear Channel
Previous DMG:
Previous GWR:
Previous Merrick and Rosso:
Previous Thompson:
Sydney Morning Herald report:

Next column

2001-03-11: Licence news this week and in Australia the main focus has been on the upcoming third generation mobile phone 2 GHz spectrum auction for which reserve prices of Aus$1.08 billion have been set by the Australian Communications Agency (ACA).
The Australian government is hoping to raise more than double this sum but the ACA has estimated that it may not sell all the licences and could raise only just over Aus$900 million.
The agency, which last month had to allocate the last two remaining licences in the 800 MHz band to Telstra for the reserve price of Aus$7 million after AAPT withdrew, has set March 15th for the start of the auction.
There are 58 lots on offer and competition limits set for the auction will mean that no bidder can acquire more than 25 per cent of the available spectrum in metropolitan areas and no more than 50 per cent in regional Australia.
There are seven bidders:
*AAPT Spectrum (ACT) Pty Ltd;
*CKW Wireless Pty Ltd;
*Hutchison Telecommunications Australia Limited:
*Optus Mobile Pty Ltd:
*Telstra 3G Spectrum Holdings Pty Ltd;
*Vodafone Pacific Pty Ltd:
*3G Investments (Australia) Pty Ltd.
In Canada, it's also been fairly quiet with radio activity limited to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)C approval of a new French language Christian music station at Rouyn-Noranda and a new type B French language community station at Charlesbourg, both in Quebec.
Ireland was quiet but in the UK the Radio Authority, continued a good run for digital consortium MXR.
As well as awarding the new Northwest England digital multiplex to MXR (RNW March 10), has also published its assessment of its previous digital award, also to MXR, of the West Midlands licence (See licence news Feb 11).
The awards follow recent MXR successes in the South Wales/Severn Estuary region (RNW Jan 24 ) and the North East of England (RNW Dec 17).
In its assessment the authority commented on the format choice and technical quality available from the three West Midlands bidders, saying that the bouquet of programme services offered by MXR included "a large proportion of formats which were not as yet available to digital radio listeners in the West Midlands."
In particular it noted the provision of services for older listeners and the plans for a "well-resourced regional news operation" as well as MXR's plans to enhance its services with ancillary multi-media applications.
In the US, as well as another indecency fine (RNW March 6) the Federal Communication's Commission was involved in a number of issues.
They included launching a partial appeal over a Federal Court's decision to rule unconstitutional agency rules encouraging broadcasters to recruit among women and minorities.
The court had struck out all the rules although it only said some of them were unconstitutional (RNW Jan 18).
Commissioner Gloria Tristani issued a dissenting statement expressing disappointment that the FCC had not sought a review of the entire decision.
The FCC also re-scheduled a planned May auction of 355 FM allocations to December, leading to rumours that the delay might be associated with moving the revenues into the administration's budget for its next fiscal year.
It has also begun a hearing to revoke the Amateur radio operator license of L.D. "Doug" Brewer as a result of his unauthorized use of the FM radio band in Tampa, Florida.
Brewer had allegedly run a pirate FM station since 1996 but he has already been fined $11,000 and his equipment was confiscated in 1997. He says he has not been engaged in pirate operations since then.
Previous CRTC
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous MXR:
Previous Tristani:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ACA web site:
CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-03-10: More digital radio developments in the UK. The UK Financial Times reports that UK pay-TV company, British Sky Broadcasting, is to move further into digital radio by taking a minority stake in Radio First.
Radio First, which was founded by John Aumonier, has exclusive joint venture deals for digital audio rights with a number of UK soccer clubs.
The paper says Radio First will exchange around a fifth of its equity for carriage of its services on Sky digital which has some 4.7 million subscribers, many of whom use Sky's service to gain access to digital audio services.
Sky is already the largest shareholder in Music Choice Europe, which broadcasts 46 digital genre-based radio stations over digital TV networks and is included in Sky's basic package.
Also in the UK, the digital multiplex licence for North West England has been awarded by the Radio Authority to MXR, a consortium created specifically to bid for UK regional digital licences (see RNW July 26).
It won the licence against competition from two other contenders, Digital Radio Group Ltd a consortium including The Wireless Group plc, GWR Group, Emap Digital Radio Ltd. and SMG plc and North West Digital Radio Ltd whose main shareholders include Forever Broadcasting Digital Radio Ltd., Saga Regional Digital Radio Ltd., and SCORE Digital Ltd.
MXR's main shareholders include Chrysalis Group plc, Capital Radio plc, Guardian Media Group plc, Jazz FM plc and UBC Digital Ltd. It is proposing nine services using eight transmission sites.
The planned services are:
*Children's radio - Fun (provider: Capital Radio plc).
*Urban - Urban Flava (provider: Soul Media Ltd.)
*Melodic adult contemporary - Heart (provider: Chrysalis Radio Ltd.).
*Adult rock - The Arrow (provider: Chrysalis Radio Ltd.).
*Easy listening - Smooth (provider: Guardian Media Group plc).
*Rolling regional news - Digital News Network (provider: DNN Ltd.).
*Dance and rhythmic hits - Galaxy 102 (provider: Chrysalis Radio Ltd.).
*Jazz - Jazz FM 100.4 (provider: Jazz FM plc).
*Music and talk -105.4 Century FM (provider: Capital Radio plc).
Previous Aumonier:
Previous Radio First
Previous MXR:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Financial Times web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-03-10: More evidence concerning transmission charges to be levied by Ireland's state broadcaster RTÉ has been given to the Flood inquiry into the award of Ireland's first national commercial radio licence to Century Radio.
Ray Burke , the minister responsible for communications at the time, accused the state broadcaster of "massaging" and "puffing up" its proposed charges.
He said, "The figures were not based on true costs - they were at that stage massaging figures to come to a bottom line that suited themselves."
Burke added that figures put forward were not based on actual costs but were an attempt by RTÉ to get the new station to subsidise its own costs.
RTÉ initially wanted £1 million for providing transmission facilities but these were then reduced, first to £914,000, then £691,000 in January 1989 and finally, after a letter from the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) was sent to RTÉ asking for lower charges, a figure of £614,000 was agreed.
Burke said in a letter to the IRTC that this amount was not "unreasonable" but in March 1989 he issued a directive reducing the charge to £375,000.
Lawyers for the tribunal have queried the legality of this directive and Tribunal counsel Patrick Hanratty SC, said Burke did not receive a request to issue a directive from the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) and had not consulted RTÉ on the issue.
As a result, he said, the directive did not comply with Ireland's 1988 Radio and Television Act.
Burke received a letter on February 20th, 1989, from Mr Justice Henchy, then IRTC chairman, saying that Century Communications had requested a ministerial directive be issued under section 16, requiring RTÉ to allow access to its transmission equipment.
Hanratty suggested that he letter was not asking for a decision but drew attention to the fact that Century had asked for a decision but Burke responded, "As far as I was concerned when I received it, it was a legitimate request from the chairman of the IRTC passing on a request from the company they had given the licence to. The legal strength of that letter never arose."
Previous Ray Burke:
Previous Century Radio:
Previous Flood Tribunal:
Previous Hanratty:
Previous IRTC:
Previous RTÉ

RNW note
: Most of our report is culled from The Irish Times which has been carrying full reports on the Flood Tribunal. For their reports follow the link below: Look for Flood Tribunal
Irish Times
--search page

2001-03-09: Some good news for Spanish stations in the US; several years earlier than anticipated, an early analysis from the 2000 census shows that Hispanics now number 35.3 million. 12.5% of the US population, and have now become the largest minority group in the US.
They now outnumber the country's 34.6 million African-Americans although the figures are not totally clear-cut since another 1.8 million blacks indicated at least one other race on the form, thus reducing the "black" total.
Had they chosen only "black" would have been 36.4 million.
The Census Bureau estimated that by 2050 Hispanic will total a quarter of the US population.
Another report showed that nearly 45% of the population in Western States of the US are already Hispanic.
Shares that stand to benefit include those of Entercom, Entravision, Hispanic Broadcasting Corp.,Spanish Broadcasting System and Radio Unica.
Previous Entercom:
Previous Entravision:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Previous Spanish Broadcasting System:
Previous Radio Unica

2001-03-09: US Christian-oriented media company Salem Communications Corporation has reported record results for the final quarter and full year of 2000 with its radio division reporting same station fourth quarter revenues up 14% and broadcast cash flow up 22%.
Overall Salem lost $3.6 million during the quarter ($0.15 loss per share) compared to a $0.5 million profit ($0.2 per share) for the final quarter of 1999.
The losses included an extraordinary loss (net of income tax benefit) of $1.2 million from the early repayment of the Company's bridge loan and another $1.4 million, before depreciation and amortization, from Salem's non-broadcast media businesses, and CCM Communications.
Overall in the quarter net broadcasting revenue increased 47.7% compared to 1999 Q4 to $35.0 million and broadcast cash flow (BCF) increased 47.3% compared to 1999 Q4 to $16.2 million.
Broadcast EBITDA, excluding the company's non-broadcast media businesses, increased 53.4% to $13.5 million compared to 1999 Q4.
For the full year net broadcasting revenue increased 26.4% to $110.1 million and BCF was up 20.8% to $49.4 million whilst broadcast EBITDA, excluding the company's non-broadcast media businesses, increased 20.7% to $39.0 million.
Despite losses of $7 million in its non broadcasting activities, Salem had a net income of $10.1 million ($0.43 per share) for 2000, compared with a net loss of $8.0 million ($0.40 loss per share) in 1999.
The 1999 figures included an extraordinary loss (net of income tax benefit) of $3.6 million, resulting from the early retirement of $50 million of the Company's Senior Subordinated Notes.
This 2000 positive net income includes a gain on the sale of assets of $29.6 million consisting of a gain on the sale of KLTX-AM Los Angeles and KPRZ-FM Colorado Springs offset by the loss on the sale of certain assets of the company's non-broadcast media businesses.
Looking at 2001 so far and projecting ahead CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said, "Salem's core broadcasting revenues are stable, and we believe, recession resilient due to the loyalty of our listening audience and the inherent long-term nature of block programming."
"In addition, we have been very satisfied with the early ratings performance of our recently launched music formats and we look forward to translating our early ratings success into financial results in 2001 and beyond."
Salem reported same station revenue growth of 12% for January 2001 and 11% for February 2001, slightly higher than previous projections and as of March 1, had already achieved same station revenue growth for March 2001 of 4% with four weeks to go.
Based on current pacings, Salem expects net broadcast revenues and broadcast cash flow for the first quarter of 2001 to be approximately $29.5 million and $9.5 million respectively, also up on previous projections.
For the whole of this year Salem is keeping its projections unchanged with forecasts of net broadcasting revenue up 25.3% on 2000 to $138 million and BCF up 13.4% on 2000 to $56 million.
It says projected broadcast cash flow is negatively impacted by start-up costs associated with WYGY-FM Cincinnati, WFSH-FM Atlanta, KFSH-FM Los Angeles, WCLV-FM Cleveland, and WZFS-FM Chicago whose launches in the fourth quarter of 2000 and first half of 2001 are expected to favourably impact both revenues and broadcast cash flow in the second half of 2001 and in 2002.
Same station net broadcasting revenue and broadcast cash flow are each projected to increase by 10% and 12% compared to 2000.
Salem has also just announced the launch of contemporary Christian music radio station, WZFS-FM, The Fish, in Chicago.
The station, whose signal covers the whole of Chicago, was formerly Salem's Christian talk format WYLL-FM.
Salem switched the talk format to WYLL-AM after acquiring the frequency used by WXRT-AM in Chicago last November for $29 million (RNW Nov 14).
The frequency had been used to carry WSCR-AM, the Infinity sports station, which was moved to the former WMAQ frequency by Infinity which had to divest a station in Chicago as a result of the Viacom takeover (see RNW Aug 1)
Other deals during the fourth quarter of last year were
*a three-way asset exchange agreement with Radio Seaway and Clear Channel Communications involving the Cleveland market.
Salem is acquiring the transmitting facility of WCLV-FM in exchange for WHK-AM, WHK-FM and $10.5 million.
*The acquisition of WWTC-AM in Minneapolis and WZER-AM in Milwaukee from Catholic Radio Network for $7 million.
*The acquisition of WGTK-AM and WFIA-AM in Louisville from Truth Broadcasting Corporation and Blue Chip Broadcasting, Ltd. for $1.7 and $1.75 million respectively.
*The acquisition of WROL-AM in Boston from Carter Broadcasting for $11 million.
In addition, in January of 2001, the company completed the sale of KALC-FM in Denver to Emmis Communications for approximately $98 million. (See RNW Jan 23)
Previous Atsinger:
Previous Salem:
Salem web site:

2001-03-09: Peterborough , UK, station Lite-FM has been sold to Forward Media which has bought all of its shares.
The station had been expected to come under the control of GWR which bid some £1.24 million for 62% of its owner GP Broadcasting last August (RNW Aug 23) but the deal had been held up awaiting approval from the UK Radio Authority.
Previous GWR:
Previous UK Radio Authority:

2001-03-08: Just over a year after the death of then top-rated Chicago morning host Bob Collins, killed when his plane was in collision with another light plane piloted by a student (See RNW Feb 9, 2000), WGN has signed a 3-year deal with his replacement Spike O'Dell.
No terms have been published but O'Dell is now Chicago's top rated host, although his figures are about a point down from those Collins managed.
O'Dell told Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times that he thought the hit on his ratings would have come earlier than it did.
"I don't think there's any question that change is different, people are different, and I'm sure [the ratings decline] from what Bob had is due partly to change," O'Dell said.
Previous Collins:
Previous Feder:
Previous O'Dell:
Feder Sun-Times report:

2001-03-08: Ray Burke, the Minister responsible for Telecommunications when Ireland's first national commercial licence was awarded to Century Radio, has been giving evidence to the Flood Tribunal inquiry into the award, denying that he has discussed setting up a national radio station with Century co-founder Oliver Barry when the issue was first raised.
Burke also said that licensing a rival national commercial station to state broadcaster RTÉ was only to provide an alternative voice.
The Tribunal heard that the Century bid followed a meeting between Barry, another future Century co-founder John Mulhern and broadcaster Gay Byrne on November 6, 1987, at which the issue of a national radio licence was raised but Burke denied that he had discussed the matter with Barry, who he described as a political supporter, friend and constituent.
Burke said that the idea of a national licence had been kicked around for some time although the tribunal was told there was no reference to it in radio plans which dealt only with local and community radio and were well under way when Burke first took office in March 1987.
Burke said that the idea of a national licence was first raised informally with the government on October 28. 1987, and a memo on the matter was presented on November 16.
Patrick Hanratty, SC, Counsel for the Tribunal drew attention to government papers regarding local licences which were drawn up July 1987 and carried no reference to a national licence and also said no record existed of any consultation before the November 16 memo from Burke.
Hanratty suggested the meeting on November 16th was just "window dressing" and a "charade" but Burke denied this and said in government issues were discussed informally and then presented formally.
Asked why the proposal was made without research from civil servants, Burke said, "Because it was an idea that I had and that's what ministers are supposed to do."
"The only source of news and current affairs in particular and entertainment generally at a national level was coming from just RTÉ. They'd been doing an excellent job - don't get me wrong. But was it time to move into the other area of an alternative source of news and current affairs and entertainment, etc, from an Irish base?"
Burke also said in reference to minutes of the Barry meeting which referred to a national radio licence that if the idea was known about the information had not come from him. He did say that plans for the licence were speeded up by RTÉ's "attitude" and referred to strike action by RTÉ unions and successful opposition to efforts by a previous government to introduce legislation for local radio.
The government of 1987-89 would not be "dictated to", Burke said.
Previous Barry:
Previous Ray Burke:
Previous Byrne:
Previous Century Radio:
Previous Flood Tribunal: Previous Hanratty:
Previous Mulhern:
Previous RTÉ:

RNW note
: Most of our report is culled from The Irish Times which has been carrying full reports on the Flood Tribunal. For their reports follow the link below: Look for Flood Tribunal
Irish Times
--search page

2001-03-08: Scottish Media Group (SMG) has raised its stake in Scottish Radio Holdings yet again.
It now holds 27.7% after purchasing a further 275,000 shares, some 2.8% of |SRH, for £14.6 million.
Under UK stock exchange rules SMG can only take its stake to 29.9% before it must make a full bid but current regulatory roles prohibit it controlling SMH because it has overlapping TV franchises.
The current market value of the two companies is around £527 million for SRH and £730 million for SMG.
SMG initially took around 15% of SRH in December (RNW Dec 9 ) and has already increased this three times.
Previous SMG/SRH:

2001-03-08: XM Satellite Radio's "Rock" satellite is now on its way on Sea Launch's Odyssey Launch Platform from Long Beach, California, to its launch position on the equator at 154 degrees West.
Its launch, announced in January as scheduled for February 28, is now scheduled for March 18th.
XM's second satellite, XM "Roll", whose launch was to have been the first and but was aborted at the last moment on January 8 (See RNW Jan 10) is now due to launch in early May rather than mid April as announced in January (RNW Jan 11).
A spare third satellite is in its final testing phase. All three satellites are Boeing 702 models.
Rival Sirius Satellite Radio has already successfully launched its three satellites.
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM
web site
XM web site:

2001-03-07: The latest Internet audio ratings from Measurecast show a 13.5% increase in total time spent listening (TTSL) for the week to March 4 compared to the previous week and its monthly report shows a 12% increase in TTSL in February compared to April after adjustment is made for the number of days in the month.
Most listening is at work and during the lunch hour, which may well account for some of the month on month increase.
It's also mainly male, with men forming 72% of Internet listeners.
Within the monthly report the most notable increase in listening time was for which streams Christian audio; its Solid Gospel station had a TTSL increase more than six fold and its Black Gospel Network more than doubled its TTSL.
The monthly report also shows some changes in the top ten formats ranked by Cumulative Persons (CP), an estimate of the total number of unique listeners who had one or more listening sessions lasting five minutes or longer in the period.
They were (January rank in brackets)
1. Talk Radio (1);
2. Spanish (6);
3. News/Talk (2);
4. Classic Rock (3);
5. Listener Formatted (4);
6. Contemporary Hit Radio / Top 40 (5);
7. Contemporary Christian Music (7);
8. Salsa / Latin (20);
9. Blues (8);
10. Alternative Rock (11).
For the month the top five stations were (January rank in brackets):
1:Talk Radio WABC-AM, New York (1) ;
2: Listener Formatted Internet-only MediaAmazing (2) ;
3:Spanish format LaMega, New York(Unplaced);
4: Classic Rock format Internet only Margaritaville(4) ;
5: Contemporary hits/Top 40 WPLJ-FM, New York (3):
For the most recent week the only change in TTSL ranking in the top five stations was a position flip between MediAmazing and LaMega..
The top five were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons in brackets):
1): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 91,668 (83,787 ); CP 14,385 (14,196) - position unchanged.
2): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 72,179 (61,578); CP 19,335 (16,020) - previously 3rd.
3): Spanish format La-Mega-WSKO (New York) TTSL 70,179 (65,686 ); CP 12,253 (12,554) - previously 2nd. 4): Classic Rock Internet Only Radio Margaritaville TTSL 46,787 (48.557); CP 7,403 (10,005) - position unchanged.
5): CHR Top 40 WPLJ-FM (New York) TTSL 44,864 (36, 653); CP 3,571 (3, 315) - position unchanged.
Previous Measurecast ratings
MeasureCast web site:

2001-03-07: The return of Doug "Greaseman" Tracht to the Washington airwaves is featured in a Washington Post report by Frank Ahrens which reports on his 6 AM debut on 5000-watt WZHF-AM.
WZHF-AM, which has sold time and facilitites to Tracht, normally broadcasts brokered programming selling time to Spanish- and Asian-speaking clients who broadcast music and news to an audience so small that the station never shows up in the ratings.
Ahrens estimates that Tracht, would have been luck to get two thousand listeners, a tiny fraction of those he was attracting before being fired in 1999 as morning man for classic rock station WARW-FM after making on-air racist comments relating to a Texas 'dragging death" case in which James Byrd Jr. was murdered when dragged behind a truck in Jasper.
Tracht had also been in trouble for racist remarks three years earlier.
Then, working for another station, he reacted to theannouncement of a national holiday commemorations Martin Luther King Jr. by saying, "Kill four more, and we can take a whole week off."
Tracht's previous attempted comeback at US Virgin Islands oldies rock radio station WMNG-FM didn't even make it to air as the offer of work was rescinded as a result of protests made before he even got to the islands. (See RNW Feb 26, 2000).
This time he has, reports Ahrens, made an "extensive, careful and private apology tour of several minority leaders over the past couple of months."
The return came about after a meeting with an old acquaintance who with Tracht formed "Dime-One" to syndicate the show.
The name came because, says Tracht, "as in "we won't make dime one."
Certainly at the moment it's a far stage from the $1 million a year Tracht made 15 years ago: The figures at the moment are that will pay $18,000-$20,000 a month for daily WZHF studio time, plus satellite fees to beam the new Greaseman show to its first two affiliates, stations in Binghamton, N.Y., and Portland, Ore.
They each pay Dime One about $2,000 a month for the show weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m.
Tracht is quoted as saying," "There's no way I'm ever going to make the money again I was making, but if, at this point in my life, I can still have fun on the air and pay my bills, I win."
Previous Ahrens:
Previous Tracht:
Washington Post report:

2001-03-06: Monday's market debut for Australian radio network Austereo has proved a disappointment for Village Roadshow which had been talking of an issue price between Au$2.00 and AU$2.40 for the 47% of the business it was spinning off (See RNW Jan 26).
Village Voice had to settle for an issue price of $1.85 but even at this price there was a shortage of takers with the shares dropping to $1.66 at one point and ending at $1.72.
One reason suggested for the poor showing was market concern about the likely impact on the group of DMG's new Sydney and Melbourne FM stations.
At the closing price Village Roadshow would stand to raise around Au$327 million for the 43.7% of Austereo it plans to sell.
Previous Austereo:
Previous DMG:

2001-03-06: The US Federal Communications Commission has fined Infinity, now owned by Viacom, $7000 for indecency over two excerpts from a live rap and hip hop concert, "The Last Damn Show," broadcast in November 1999 on WLLD-FM, Tampa, Florida.
Infinity had argued that the first excerpt had no sexual meaning and the FCC mistakenly construed the slang used in the second as sexual.
It said it was "is consistent with contemporary community standards, and...was so fleeting and isolated that no sanction is warranted."
The Commission found the language used "patently offensive" due to its references to oral sex and sexual intercourse and rejected the arguments concerning the second excerpt, which it ruled "actionably indecent."
Previous FCC:
Previous Viacom-CBS-Infinity:

2001-03-05: We make no apologies this weekend for biasing our look at the columnists towards issues we also deal with in some ways in our March comment.
They relate to the role of radio in society - or to quote Robert Worth in the New York Times "the role that radio plays in a free society."
The article commences by saying, "These are dark days for local radio. The number of independent stations falls every year, and in December Congress all but killed a federal plan to license hundreds of new non commercial low-power (LPFM) stations throughout the country."
It then says there is more at stake than diversity in the low-power debate and that the action has revived the debate over "which promotes democracy better: a government guarantee of broader public access to the airwaves or letting free market forces reign?
" The article points out that radio is the cheapest way to be heard by friends and neighbours and cites the impact of radio in bringing democracy to the former communist bloc.
It quotes Peter Molnar, a former member of the Hungarian Parliament, who wrote that, if the LPFM decision were final, opponents of free radio "will point to the United States with a dark smile and ask why idealists are talking about civic access to radio and television frequencies when the leading democracy in the world fails to guarantee that opportunity to its own citizens."
It also quotes University of Illinois professor Robert W. McChesney, who noted that when radio first developed the broadcast spectrum was considered a natural resource to which all citizens had a claim and that 1922 a conservative like Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover could say of radio: "It is inconceivable that we should allow so great a possibility for service to be drowned in advertising chatter."
That view was killed off by the commercial broadcasters whose power by the mid 1930s was such that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was reluctant to fight them and reserve significant parts of the spectrum for non-commercial uses.
Some conservatives now argue says the report that less, not more, government protection is the way to free up the airwaves.
Worth quotes Thomas Hazlett, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, as saying, "If you want to advance democratic values through policy, the way to get there is opening markets to additional competition."
The spectrum, of course, is no longer considered a free natural resource to citizens but something of massive commercial value to governments although the boom in bidding for it has subsided significantly since its peak.
Nevertheless, as the Washington Post reports, the big US wireless companies are "now in the midst of a fierce lobbying campaign for new frequencies, while also calling for lifting federal limits on how much spectrum they may own in a single market."
The paper says that massive expansion in mobile communications has created potential spectrum shortages.
It adds that many analysts expect the major players to win the spectrum cap debate but the companies could find it tougher going in their bid to pry parts of the airwaves away from other owners, specifically the Pentagon, which controls much spectrum most suitable for mobile communications.
The other most suitable spectrum, used for TV channels 60 to 69 is to be sold off but broadcasters have been allowed to retain it until 2006 as they move from analogue to digital transmissions.
The US has also seen, over the past two weeks, a battle over not who should control the spectrum but who should control the programme, this time in the form of the WBUR-FM's The Connection, which is syndicated on the National Public Radio Network.
Host Christopher Lydon and senior producer Mary McGrath have demanded that they should be "Venture Broadcasters" and own half the programme.
They and the station have now parted company(RNW Mar 3).
This has led to opposing views on e-mails to the station and Lydon's web site and also in the Boston newspapers.
In the Boston Globe, independent documentary producer for public radio Sandy Tolan argued (before the split became final) that "Venture broadcasting and quarter-million-plus salaries strike me as commercial things."
The article continues, "Alas, Lydon and McGrath's demands are but a natural, if extreme, outgrowth of the increasing hybrid of commercial and public broadcasting."
"In recent years, public broadcasters have turned to corporate sponsorship, prompted both by federal budget cuts and by what one former public radio executive calls a ''killer demographic'' of Volvo-buying, home-decorating, Pouilly-Fuisse drinking listeners."
"Now the public air waves are choked with advertising disguised as ''enhanced underwriting.''
Tolan argues that if the commercials become too prominent, listener support may die away and says "if WBUR is willing to pay Christopher Lydon $330,000, what does that tell its listeners?"
"And what does it say about Lydon if this is not enough?"
"Listeners have the right to expect their contributions are fuelling solid and innovative programming, not empires and personal schemes of wealth."
A contrary view is published in the Boston Herald where Monica Collins writes, "the dispute is not founded in loony egotism. Lydon has every right to demand ownership of his program. It's not entirely about the money; it's about the power."
"With ownership of the show he hosts, ``The Connection'' - and all the possibilities thereof - Christopher Lydon could preside over a minimedia empire. He would appropriate all rights to ``The Connection'' - the licensing, the Web site, the staffing. He would work at 'BUR, but not be a subject of 'BUR."
She notes that Tom and Ray Magliozzi, whose "Car Talk'' is a public radio hit may operate out of WBUR but they own the show through their company "Dewey, Cheetham and Howe" even if WBUR may regret handing them ownership of the show.
(RNW note: And we thought we read her saying it wasn't about money before praising them as astute businessmen. And to call the company title "a wink at their private enterprise on public radio" does indicate she has other problems with language as well as logic and consistency!).
Previous Columnists:
Previous LPFM:
Previous Lydon:
Previous McGrath:
Previous WBUR:
Boston Globe on WBUR:
Boston Herald on WBUR:
New York Times on radio's role:
Washington Post on spectrum:
Lydon web site:
WBUR web site:

2001-03-05: The BBC Radio 4 farming soap, The Archers, which last month celebrated its 50th anniversary, gaining praise from Prince Charles, heir to the British throne who recently hosted a party for the occasion, has come under attack for being religiously and politically incorrect.
It has recently included in its programme storylines about the friendship between Janet Fisher, the fictional vicar of Ambridge, and Tim Hathaway, the married local GP, which have included them sharing a kiss and her accepting the gift of a scarf.
This has upset the Rev Jeremy Martineau, a rural affairs officer for the Church of England who has advised the programme on religious and moral issues for 15 years.
He told the UK Sunday Times that a woman vicar would never have accepted such a gift which would "have compromised her as a priest" and added, "….the BBC ignored my advice. Nor is it the first time they have ignored me. I wonder why I bother to advise them. I don't even get paid."
In another episode, following the receipt of Valentine's Day cards, which turned out to have been sent by practical jokers, the vicar was summoned to see her bishop and denied that anything improper had happened although she admitted a mutual attraction.
This also angered Martineau who commented, "I accept she's single, but she's a mature woman and so she would not have acted this way. I checked it out with three female single clergy I know. All of them said the arousal of feelings would simply not have happened." (RNW note-and UK Sunday papers in part of the market are obviously totally inaccurate in every one of their married priests' stories??).
The programme also came under attack from Country Life magazine for ignoring the activities of the Countryside Alliance in 1998 which the magazine attributes to "politically correct editors" who it says have "metropolitan minds.
It has also been attacked in a number of British papers for not mentioning the fact that Lucas, the boyrfiend of Kate Archer, who comes from South Africa is obviously black.
The papers say this would be sure to be a topic of conversation in the fictional Ambridge.
Previous BBC:
Previous Archers:
UK Sunday Times report:
BBC Archers site:
2001-03-04: Licence news this week and a busy week of licence renewals for community services in Canada, a new Cork licence in Ireland, fairly quiet in the UK and nothing on the radio side in Australia.
In Ireland, the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) awarded Red Hot FM the new Cork licence and announced shortlists for the new Dublin licences (RNW Feb 27) and in the US Commissioner Gloria Tristani was again on the warpath over indecency complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (See RNW Mar 1).
Canada was again busy with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issuing campus and community radio licence renewals.
These all now come under a new policy, which removes the promises of performance and substitutes conditions on each license.
Also issued were a number of FM licences to replace current AM services.
Licences renewed, all for six years unless otherwise noted, were (In order of the state involved):
Ontario: CKOL-FM, Campbellford (Type B community licence): CHUO-FM, Ottawa (Campus radio community licence);
Quebec: Campus radio CFOU-FM Trois-Rivières (administrative renewal for six months); CFMF-FM, Fermont (Type A community licence); CKRL-FM Québec (Type B community licence); CIEU-FM Carleton and its transmitter CIEU-FM-1 Paspébiac (Type B community licence until Aug 31, 2004); CFIN-FM Lac Etchemin and its transmitter CFIN-FM-1 Armagh (Type B community licence until Aug 31, 2004); CHGA-FM Maniwaki (Type B community licence until Aug 31, 2004);
New FM licences issued were for: New Brunswick: New English-language FM radio station at Woodstock to replace Telemedia Radio Atlantic Inc.'s CJCJ-AM:
Nova Scotia: New English-language FM radio station at Truro to replace Telemedia Radio Atlantic Inc.'s CKCL-AM:
Ontario: English-language FM radio station at Bancroft to replace Haliburton Broadcasting Group's CJNH-AM; New English-language FM radio station at Timmins to replace Telemedia Radio Atlantic Inc.'s CKGB-AM:
The CRTC also approved a new low-power English-language FM radio station at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; a new transmitter for the CBC at Shelburne, Ontario; a small power decrease to 3000 watts for CBCV-FM Victoria, British Columbia and the acquisition by CHCD Inc., of the assets of CHCD-FM Simcoe from Redmond Broadcasting Inc.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has published its assessment of the decision to conditionally award the new FM licence covering the Kendal and Windermere area of Cumbria to Mint FM (Westmorland Radio Ltd.).
The award was made against against competition from Lakes FM (Carlisle Radio Ltd.).
The authority felt that the relevant criteria of the Broadcasting Act were best fulfilled by the Westmorland application and Westmorland Radio Ltd subsequently agreed to make certain undertakings to the Authority, which enabled a positive public interest determination to be made.
This was necessary because Mint will be run by Westmorland Radio Ltd, a company whose controlling shareholder is CN Group Ltd.
CN owns The Bay radio station, Morecambe Bay, whose service overlaps the new licence area.
The authority has also re-advertised the Stockport licence in Cheshire following receipt of a competing application along with that from current holder KFM Radio Ltd., broadcasting as Imagine FM.
Finally the Authority has also published its proposals for a new "access Radio" sector as outlined in its submission for the British Government's White Paper on Communications (RNW July 5).
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Haliburton:
Previous IRTC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Telemedia, Canada:
Previous Tristani
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
IRTC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-03-04: With the launch of Sydney's new FM station still to come, the war for talent in the Australian radio business is at its fiercest for years according to the Sydney Sun Herald.
UK-owned DMG paid Au$155 million for the licence and has to have the station on air by the end of June this year and the existing players in the market are doing their best to blunt that launch.
DMG has already snapped up names from the ABC's Triple J and, says the paper, when the head of ABC national music radio Ed Breslin approached others he thought could take their place he found time and again that they'd already been snapped up, although some were only occasionally getting on the airwaves.
"I've been looking around for talent or possible replacements, but Austereo [owners of FM market leaders 2DayFM and 2MMM] have been trying to anticipate the people that DMG might be interested in and are warehousing them," Breslin told the paper.
"For instance, Mikey Robins. They're getting comic talent to do a small amount of work for them, paying them a pretty decent salary to put them out of the league of Triple J, and then warehousing them to keep them out of the clutches of DMG. What do you do?"
On the commercial network's side, comment was varied. Austereo managing director Brad March told the paper, "I would really rather not comment on them coming into the market."
"We are just focusing our radio stations on what we do best. We are making them as good as possible and they are successful, but we aren't about to rest on our laurels, and we'll be improving things as we always do."
At Australian Radio Network (ARN), which owns MixFM and 2WS, corporate director Fiona Cameron said that radio only had 9% of the advertising pie and should have 15% so the real battle should be with other media and that the battle might raise radio's profile to the point where this began to happen.
She also sounded concern though.
"There's only a certain share of advertising pie out there and this is going to eat into it. It's going to be extremely competitive, obviously. "
"There are enough radio wars on at the moment, without a new one starting," she said.
DMG itself is keeping tight lipped about its plans, even to the extent of not revealing the name it will use, with the only clues coming from the names it has signed.
Outsiders see the potential for a bloody fight for revenues although some feel that there can only be a benefit to the audience.
As Associate professor Chris Nash at University of Technology Sydney's Centre for Independent Journalism pointed out, there has been major consolidation in the Australian industry so a new player could increase choice.
DMG group program director Dean Buchanan said Sydney badly needed more variety and pointed out that Philadelphia, with a similar population to Sydney, has 35 commercial radio stations.
" This is hardly a market that's over-choiced," he told the paper.
"What we will offer is a new choice. It's a very exciting time. We're focused on our audience and clients, not on beating the shit out of the other guy."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous ARN:
Previous Austereo:
Previous Breslin:
Previous DMG:
Sydney Sun-Herald report:

2001-03-04: US radio revenues dropped in January this year ccompared to 2000 according to the latest figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau, although it has also initiated a new index comparing revenues with pre-dot com boom time.
The sales index, instead of the standard year on year comparison, this sets a base of 100 units for the comparable period in 1998 and compares with that base, thus making current figures look much better.
In January this year, for example local and national combined revenues were down 3% compared to January 2000 but up to an index of 132.1 compared with January 1998.
The totals mask a sharp difference between national and local advertising sales; local sales were still up-by 1% --in January this year compared to January 2000 and the index was up to 134.5 whilst national sales were down 15% compared to January 2000 but the index was up to 125.2.
Previous RAB:

2001-03-03: Ida "Maxie" Wells, the former Democratic National Committee secretary whose $5 million lawsuit against US talk-show host and convicted Watergate criminal C Gordon Liddy was dismissed last month (RNW Feb 2) is to appeal against the dismissal of the lawsuit.
Her lawyer claims that U.S. District Chief Judge J. Frederick Motz, who dismissed the case after jurors deadlocked, should have ordered a new trial.
The case centres around Liddy's claim that the Watergate burglary was to remove photographs linking then- White House counsel John Dean's future wife to a call-girl ring, and not to obtain political intelligence to help re-elect President Nixon.
Liddy also said the burglars were searching Wells' desk for a package of call-girl photos believed to include a picture of Maureen Biner, then girlfriend and now wife of Dean.
The appeal also claims Motz wrongly excluded testimony and evidence offered by Wells and others, including the publishers of Silent Coup, a book about the theory, who said they published in ignorance of the mental condition of a key source.
Previous Liddy
Baltimore Sun/AP report:

2001-03-03: Boston US public station WBUR-FM and Christopher Lydon, who had been in dispute over The Connection, the 10 am to noon talk show hosted by the latter and syndicated to some 75 NPR stations, have parted company.
The two sides issued conflicting statements about the departure, which followed conflict over the host's desire to take an ownership stake in the show (See RNW Feb 17).
The WBUR statement said that Lydon and Mary McGrath, senior producer of The Connection had "informed WBUR that they are leaving their employment to pursue careers in a for-profit, independent production company.''
Lydon's statement said, "WBUR broke The Connection instead of negotiating the future of the program with the people who created it. . . ."
"To the end we were willing to return to WBUR and do the same program under any reasonable contractual terms. . ."
" WBUR walked away from the discussion entirely.''
Lydon's statement ended, "we intend, as we have since the lockout, to continue this remarkable conversation on the air."
His site carries a survey asking for feedback where people would be most likely to listen to a new show.
WBUR's spokesperson said that Lydon's statement was "absolutely not true'' and WBUR general manager Jane Christo told the Boston Globe that she and the station couldn't reconcile Lydon and McGrath's ambition for ownership with the mission of public broadcasting.
She told the Boston Herald that The Connection would "air with a series of guests in the host's chair until a decision is made for a new permanent host in the late spring."
Christo also said that if Lydon's new company were to offer WBUR a show, "we have a process here to review ideas of that sort that includes input from our programmers and producers. We would include that show in that process. We give everything a fair look.''
Previous Christo:
Previous Lydon:
Previous McGrath:
Previous WBUR:
Boston Globe report:
Boston Herald report:
Lydon web site:
WBUR web site (links to audio of interviews with Lydon and WBUR):
WBUR statement: .

2001-03-03: Still with US public radio, the University of Northern Colorado has agreed to transfer the licence of its KUNC-FM station in Greeley to the Friends of KUNC, a group of supporters who organized a crash fundraising drive to maintain local control of the station.
They say they paid "nearly $2 million" for the station, although the Denver-based Colorado Public Radio network had announced that it was increasing its bid for the station from $2 million to $2.6 million.
The CPR bid was raised from an earlier $2 million offer in response to a report that Educational Media Foundation, which owns the K-LOVE Christian radio network, had also started discussions with university officials about acquiring KUNC.
The University had planned to sell the station in 1999 but relented then, although it did cut its financial support for the station.
In 1998 the University supported the 100,000-watt station to the tune of $240,000 a year plus support in kind valued at $147,000.
It cut the cash support by $95,000 in 1999 and in 2000 only gave support in kind.
Colorado Public Radio network had planned to change KUNC's mix of music and NPR programming to a 24-hour news and information format which it operates as part of its 2-channel network development; it's other channel is a classical music format.
The deal with Colorado Public Radio had seemed settled in early February after talks with the University but there was a public outcry when the news came out and the trustees agreed on February 9 to postpone the decision until the end of the month and allow other bidders.
The then- KUNC advisory board met the next day and dissolved itself to set up "Friends of KUNC" who have promised that they will continue KUNC's existing format. Buzz Victor, chair of the Colorado Public Radio Board of Directors they knew many northern Colorado listeners had been looking forward to hearing Colorado Public Radio's new service but they wished the Friends of KUNC well and commended them for a job well done.
He added that CPR would soon announce a plan for the expansion of its new two-channel service in other areas served by its existing statewide network.
Colorado Public Radio
Friends of KUNC web site:

2001-03-02: The BBC is to spend around £500,000 on a radio sequel to The Century Speaks, its millennium oral documentary series on the lives of people during the 20th century which totalled 640 programmes and featured more than 6000 contributors. (See RNW May 18 ).
Some 300 programmes will be made for the sequel, A Sense of Place, which is being billed as "a hard-nosed " look at the forces which have shaped UK regional identities.
The programmes will be broadcast by the BBC's local radio stations.
The BBC has also announced that the Bee Gees are to record their only concert of 2001 exclusively for BBC Radio 2.
The recording will be made at the BBC's Radio Theatre, London, on March 20th and broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on March 31st from 8-9pm local time (1900-2000gmt).
Previous BBC:

2001-03-02: While on the subject of the BBC, we just couldn't resist an item in the UK Independent by Liz Kershaw, which points out that the Corporation is capable of broadcasting "gung-ho claptrap."
In an item headed, "The curious case of Esther's sidekick, the BBC, the RAF and the bombing of Baghdad" she comments on a story broadcast on the BBC World Service around 0400 GMT on February 27th.
The intro is worth a full quote: "This is a tale from the twilight zone, involving a dictator and a radio commentator, surgical strikes and Esther Rantzen, the Pentagon and the Babes in the Wood."
"And it all began when most of us were safely tucked up and sleeping soundly in our beds."
"At 4am last Thursday, the most unbelievable Boy's Own-style account of the bombing of Baghdad was broadcast around the globe on From Our Own Correspondent (FOOC) by the Foreign Office-funded World Service."
The programme, says the report, contained a resumé of the region's history and recent action by Saddam Hussein but went on to an eyewitness report by one Howard Leader.
This is where the clap-trap seems to have proliferated and the article then details some of it such as the description of allied attack as having pin-point accuracy (so described at the time but the Pentagon later admitted that more than half its missiles missed their targets) and the dismissal of Iraqi "claims" of civilian injuries (RNW note: They happened then and are happening now).
The item was re-broadcast in the BBC Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent without the benefit of Mr Leader of whom apparently virtually nobody knew much at the time.
Checks revealed that he was working on a BBC Radio 4 documentary on fire-engines, had worked for BBC Radio Kent and on the TV That's Life programme (he is described as "the insipid, baldy one who could play the accordion, who didn't own a TV set, who had a party piece that involved woodlice doing tricks.") .
Leader made contact with the paper and after denials of suggestions that he worked for the "RAF press corps" he said he now belonged to "the Volunteer PR Unit now, which is a little interface between the RAF and the media."
"And before you say anything, I know what you're thinking, and let me just pre-empt you by stating that it's by no means a propaganda machine for the RAF."
"It's only like being in the TA(RNW note:Territorial Army - a UK volunteer force).
"I'm first and foremost a jobbing journalist. I told them I'd really like to tell the story from a personal perspective."
"…….it's just what I saw. From where I was sitting, to a layman like myself the targets were right on the nose. To my eyes they were spot on. But, of course, I'm not a weapons analyst."
RNW comment: Nor much good as a reporter either it would seem.
The question for us, however, is how World Service programme editor Mike Popham could have let the report slip through however much of a "scoop" it was and however "tight" time was, to use his terms.
Still it's not quite as bad as getting a US presidential election call wrong - or is it?
By now any good journalist should be aware that people with motives to lie often do so.
In the case of the military the motives may seem both justified honourable to them but that doesn't make their tales true.
Anyone remember the famed accuracy of the "Norden" bombsight??

UK Independent article.

Previous BBC

2001-03-02: More money for satellite radio in the US: Sirius has now raised $230 million net from its offer of shares at $21 as Lehman Brothers picked up its option to take 1.5 million shares above the 10 million for sale to investors (See RNW Feb 24).
Sirius still has a muting problem with receivers but all three of its satellites are in orbit.
Rival XM, whose first launch is due on March 18 after it had to abort its planned Jan 8 launch at the last minute (See RNW Jan 10), is also raising more money from an issue of stocks and bonds.
In its case it's getting $201 million from the combination of a public offering of 7,500,000 shares of its Class A Common Stock at a per share price of $10.1875 and a $125 million offering of 7.75% Convertible Subordinated Notes due 2006.
The notes will be convertible into shares of Class A common stock at a conversion price of approximately $12.22 per share.
In addition underwriters Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc have the option to purchase up to an additional 1,125,000 shares of Class A common stock and up to an additional $18.75 million of 7.75% convertible subordinated notes to cover over-allotments.
XM-ready radios produced by Pioneer are already on sale at retailers.
Previous Sirius
Previous XM;
Sirius web site:
XM Web site:

2001-03-01: Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has introduced a new bill, the Low Power Radio Act of 2001, which would revoke the Low Power FM measure passed late last year (RNW Dec 19) to maintain third adjacent co-channel protection, thus significantly reducing the possible number of stations.
McCain commented, "Last Congress, special interest forces opposed to low-power FM radio, most notably the National Association of Broadcasters and National public Radio, mounted a successful behind-the-scenes campaign to kill low-power FM radio without a single debate on the Senate floor. This bill would reverse that language."
So far there appears to be little or no support for his bill.
Previous LPFM:
Previous McCain:

2001-03-01: Two new entries from North Carolina-based stations were reported in the top 25 in the latest Internet audio ratings by Portland-based Measurecast.
They were 19th ranked Greensboro-based, an Internet-only broadcaster of Latin music and 20th ranked Wake Forest-based WCPE/89.7 FM, a non-commercial listener-supported station dedicated to classical music,
The top ten formats saw some changes.
They were (previous week's ranking in brackets:
1: Talk Radio (1);
2: News/Talk (3);
3: Spanish (2);
4: Classic Rock (5);
5: Contemporary Hit Radio/Top 40 (4);
6:Contemporary Christian (7);
7: Listener Formatted (7);
8: Alternative Rock (9);
9: Adult Contemporary (8);
10: Country (Not in top ten).
There were no changes in the top five stations ranked by total time spent listening.
They were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP- an estimate of the total number of unique listeners who were listening for five minutes or more during the week in brackets):
1): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 83,787 (76,458); CP 14,196 (12, 200) - position unchanged.
2): Spanish format La-Mega-WSKO (New York) TTSL 65,686 (65,209); CP 12,554 (11,641) - position unchanged.
3): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 61,578 (59,431); CP 16,020 (18,590) - position unchanged.
4): Classic Rock Internet Only Radio Margaritaville TTSL 48.557 (46,464); CP 10,005 (9,393) - position unchanged.
5): CHR Top 40 WPLJ-FM (New York) TTSL36, 653 (40,520); CP3, 315 (3,356) - position unchanged.
Previous Measurecast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:

2001-03-01: Commissioner Gloria Tristani has again criticised the US Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau for its dismissal of an indecency complaint against WGR-AM, Buffalo.
The complaint concerned a station campaign lasting a month that featured urinal splash guards with National Hockey League Emblems on them, which were distributed to bars and restaurants.
During the campaign the hosts of the "Bauerle and the Bull Dog" show regularly talked about who they would like to "piss on" and also repeatedly used the word " prick" to describe people.
The bureau dismissed the complaint because the comments did not "describe sexual or excretory activities or organs in a patently offensive manner."
Tristani dissented, saying there was "a prima facie case" for an indecency complaint.
Previous FCC:
Previous Tristani:
Tristani statement:

2001-03-01: More radio business news and first Scottish Media Group has increased its holding in Scottish Radio Holdings yet again in what it termed "positioning move ahead of legislative change".
It now holds 24.9% but under current legislation would not be able to take over SRH because it has a TV franchise in the same area.
In the US more warnings concerning a revenue slowdown.
Perhaps most significant is a change in forecast from US analyst James Duncan.
He was predicting a flat start followed by an improvement to see the year ending around 7% up.
Duncan now sees a maximum 4% growth with the first quarter negative and possible the second quarter as well.
On the results front, Saga Communications, which operates some 50 radio stations, has reported a strong end to 2000 but it has also sounded a warning about expectations for this year, which it expects to be flat or slightly down in the first six months.
For the final quarter is net revenue was up 14.9% to $28.1 million and broadcast cash flow was up 22.9% to $11.3 million.
For the full year, Net revenue was up 13.9% to $101.8 million but would have been up by 16% had it not been for its sale of Icelandic radio interests, which impacted by nearly $10 million. (RNW July 12 ).
Saga's broadcast cash flow for the year was up 17.3% to $39.3 million.
On a same station basis net revenue for the year was up 6.8% and BCF was up 13.5%.
Also reporting was loss-maker Radio Unica for whom the best news was that it reduced its EBITDA loss for the final quarter from $2.8 million to $2.1 million and for the year from a 1999 loss of $14.6 million to a 2000 loss of $9.3 million.
Revenues were up 86% for the year to $30.1 million and CEO Joaquin Blaya rejected a suggestion from an investor that he consider selling Unica's stations, insisting that the company will become profitable.
Previous Blaya:
Previous Duncan:
Previous Saga Communications (US):
Previous SMG
Previous SRH:
Previous Unica:
Saga web site:

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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Feb 2001 April 2001
RNW March Comment -- looks at the issue of regulation.
RNW February Comment -- takes a look at the implications of the move to digital technology.

RNW January Comment -- our 2001 Wish List.
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2001-03-31: . Tampa, Florida, radio host "Bubba the Love Sponge" has now been charged with felony animal cruelty charges, which could carry a sentence of up to five years in jail, in connection with the wild boar castration and killing stunt on WXTB-FM at the end of February.
Charged with Bubba, real name Todd Clem were Brent Hatley, a producer at the station, the listener who brought the boar to the station and performed the castration and slaughter and another listener who helped hold it.
"Bubba", who told reporters "This is something new. I've never been arrested before," was released on $10,000 bail shortly after he had turned himself in.
He says he intends to fight the charges and told the St Petersburg Times, "They've made this the largest dog-and-pony show ever. It's really sad."
"I may have done something distasteful, but I certainly didn't do anything illegal. I am so ready to leave this town."
His sister Tara told the paper," I understand my brother's a shock jock, and a lot of people may not agree with his opinions," she said. "But it is theatre of the mind, and it's freedom of speech. If you don't agree, turn off the channel. Don't listen, and don't judge."
(RNW note: She is a marketing director, which perhaps explains her confusion about the meanings of words and confusing them with actions, never mind her other problems with logic, whatever you think of this case).
Bubba's attorney said people were most upset by the playing of recorded pig squeals from the studio as though they were live as the animal was killed in the station car park.
Another Tampa lawyer told the paper, he did not think the case could be proved.
He said, "conviction of animal cruelty requires that someone have "specific intent to cause a cruel death or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering." "We've already gotten two veterinarians to say that's typically how it's done. While one could argue that this might be distasteful, this is not a crime,"
"Bubba" was back on air Friday morning, talking about the incident and blaming politicians and the media who he said wanted him jailed because it would give them a story.
Previous "Bubba".
St Petersburg Times report:

2001-03-31: The UK Radio Authority has released its Quarterly Bulletin dealing with complaints received in the final quarter of 2000.
In all it dealt with 65 complains compared to 74 in the same quarter of 1999.
13 were linked to accuracy, 10 to balance and fairness, 23 with taste and decency, seven to do with promise of performance or format and 12 in other categories.
It also dealt with 59 advertising complaints, the same number as in 1999.
Of these three were in the harmful category, 28 in the misleading category, 22 in the offensive category and six in other categories.
Upheld were two complaints over accuracy; none of fairness although in two cases the matter was resolved after the complaint; seven of taste and decency; two of promise of performance with two more complaints resolved following their lodging; and one "other" category
The complaints upheld were:
* 2CR FM, Bournemouth, over misleading rules for their 'Big Money Vault' competition.
*TalkSport over their cover of the fuel blockade in September, which allowed ill informed and false rumours on air without challenge.
*Leicester Sound over the use of a listener's voice message without her permission as part of a feature on personal adverts.
*Key 103 (Manchester) over comments made by a presenter concerning the Jewish faith.
*Rock FM (Preston and Blackpool) over comments made by presenters calling the Queen "a silly old cow", saying she might have been pretty "in the womb" and making other disparaging remarks.
*Century Radio (North East) over complaints about an interview with a foreign football manager including bad language and about a joke feature including racist jokes.
*Xfm (Greater London) over repeated use of two expletives.
*Dream FM (Tendring) over a joke about a car being pulled from a railway track, aired after the Hatfield rail disaster which was caused by a broken rail but was ironically followed by another fatal crash caused by a car veering from a motorway onto a railway line as trains aproached from different directions.
*Aire FM (Leeds) over comments made about Nigella Lawson and her then husband john Diamond's throat cancer (He subsequently died of it).
Also upheld was a complaint against restricted service licence holder Nerve FM - a Bournemouth University student station which can be received by residents of the adjoining areas- over language aired by it.
Promise of Performance
*Radio XL 1296 AM (Birmingham) over absence of Asian news bulletins for five days and the quality of the bulletins transmitted.
*Asian Sound Radio (East Lancashire) over its suspension of Gujerati output for two weeks.
*TalkSport over a presenter unnecessarily using the brand name of golf clubs and breaching rules on indirect advertising. Advertising complaints upheld were 1 in the harmful category; 11 misleading or partially misleading with another resolved after the complaint; 2 in the offensive category because of the time of day at which adverts were run.
Thise upheld were:
*Capital FM (Greater London) over advertising for a new film without regard for the content being unsuitable for some times of the day.
*Kiss 100 FM (Greater London) -partially upheld complaint over motor insurance advertisement which was upheld in that it gave the incorrect impression that the advertiser only insured women.
*BRMB (Birmingham) over a "free digital TV connection" advertisement when some customers of the company concerned could not be connected.
*Beat FM (Central Scotland) over advertisement which did not indicate limitations on debit or credit cards which could be used when in fact there were such limitations.
*Heart FM (Greater London) over mobile phone advert which did not make fair comparisons.
*Virgin FM (Greater London) over "fastest growing" claim in insurance breakdown service advert which was unprovable. *The Beach (Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft) over home improvements company advert which gave impression firm had been in existence for 30 years not the few months it had actually been trading.
*Invicta FM (Maidstone, Medway & East Kent) over "lowest priced" digital TV advert (partially upheld)
*Forth AM (Edinburgh) over unclear price comparisons.
*Heart FM (West Midlands) over advert which omitted a qualifying line which had been in the approved script.
*Gemini FM (Exeter/Torbay) over railway company advert which was held to be partially misleading. * QFM (Paisley) over private hire firm misrepresenting itself as a taxi service.
* Capital FM (Greater London) over time scheduling of advert for a film.
*Heart FM & Capital FM (Greater London)- over magazine advert concerning Londoners' sex lives. Upheld in the case of Heart because of the time scheduled for it to run. Capital after listening had restricted the times themselves.
Other categories:
*Asian Sound Radio (East Lancashire) over premium rate phone competition which did not make likely costs clear.
* Radio XL 1296 AM (Birmingham) over sponsorship and rules concerning product placement for sponsors.
Also upheld was a complaint against restricted service licence holder Malibu Surf FM (Newquay) over advert in which contained untrue "first and only " of a kind claim but which continued to be run after a competitor business opened.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
News Release- links to report (690kb PDF)

2001-03-31: More format changes in the US including the loss of yet another classical music station.
This time it's KMZT-AM in San Francisco which, after a year as a classical station, is reverting to its old call letters KJQI (K-Joy) and switching to a Christian-themed format.
Owner Saul Levine, whose Mt Wilson Broadcasters Inc also runs Los Angeles based LMZT-FM (on the Internet as said he had to switch because the classical format was not financially viable.
And in Washington, DC, "Jamm'n Oldies" WJMO-FM will change formats on Monday although its new format has not yet been announced.
For the first week the Clear Channel station will alternate five different music formats, one each hour. On Friday the station's new name, call letters and format will be announced.
Previous Clear Channel:

2001-03-30: The UK Broadcasting Standards Commission has upheld complaints against Capital Radio and BRMB Radio in its latest monthly bulletin.
In the report, the Commission says that comments made about bullying on the Steve Penk Breakfast Show on Capital FM "exceeded acceptable boundaries for broadcast."
Penk had given advice from a "spoof bullying helpline" which said, "Pull yourself together or get a damned good thump."
And in Birmingham, the Commission upheld one complaint against BRMB's "Barmy Brummies" afternoon show but rejected another about the same show, both concerning sexual innuendo.
Upheld was a complaint about a show on October 31 last year. In this case they held that a skit about Desmond Lynham and a local building firm contained "strong sexual Innuendo" that "exceeded acceptable boundaries for the time of transmission."
The second case, concerning a show on December 6, included a skit about Desmond Lynham and female employees of a local garden centre.
In this case, the commission held that the sexual innuendo was mild and did not uphold the complaint.
Previous BSC:
BSC web site(Note:This is a Flash 5 site:It links to the report in PDF format-66kb):

2001-03-30: More short-term woes but longer term hopes from radio.
First from Scottish Radio Holdings which has said in a trading statement that its first half advertising income from radio will be down 4% for the six months to March this year compared to the same period a year ago.
Overall revenues were up 19% to £40 million following the acquisition of two Irish newspapers.
SRH also hinted that it expects to settle speculation about its future before the first-half results are published on May 18; SRH has been seen as a takeover target after rival Scottish Media Group took a surprise holding which it has subsequently increased to almost the maximum 30% it is permitted before it has to make a full bid under UK market regulations (See RNW Mar 8).
SRH is seeking alternative bidders to SMG, which cannot make a full bid under current cross-ownership regulations.
And in the US, Emmis Communications says its advertisement revenues for March is worse than February and it isn't expecting much improvement in April and May.
However Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan was fairly upbeat, saying, "February and March were the bottom of the trough."
"We are seeing pretty good signs. While we are not absolutely certain, there are signs of spring on the horizon".
In its current financial year that began at the start of this month, Emmis is forecasting 2% radio revenue growth but a 10% gain in radio cash flow because of cost cutting.
In its figures for the previous year, Emmis reported fourth quarter radio revenues up 25.2% to $54 million, net revenues up 46.5% to $117.4 million and Broadcast Cash low up 12.3% to $28.8 million.
For the full year radio revenues were up 26.8% to $239.6million, net revenues were up 44.7% to $470.6 million, BCF was up 38.9% to $174.2 million and After Tax Cash Flow was up 32 cents to $1.96 per share.
On a same station basis radio revenues were up 9% and BCF was up 16%.
Previous Emmis
Previous SMG:
Previous Smulyan:
Previous SRH

2001-03-30: Doug "The Greaseman" Tracht has now signed up his fifth deal with WKHZ-AM/Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland, following his Baltimore debut at the beginning of the week (RNW Mar 26).
Dime One Productions, which is handling Tracht's syndication, also says it is less than a week away from signing a major network deal.
Previous Tracht:

2001-03-29: US National Public Radio has decided to ban underwriting by governments after controversy over an on-air funding credit for Kuwait, which aired from Feb 12 to March 4 this year.
The credit said, "Support for NPR comes from the state of Kuwait, in memory of the tenth anniversary of Kuwait's liberation. On the Web at"
NPR's ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin, received more than 100 comments about the issue and in his "Media Matters" column on the NPR website he published several of them and came down against the practice.
He said, however, that it never created an actual conflict of interest although it might be thought to do so.
Two of the letters published criticised Kuwait over its treatment of women and another went to the nub of a potential reporting conflict, saying," I would think that, in order to remain an objective and impartial source of news, NPR would not allow foreign governments to fund any of its programs (particularly news programs) ...Are you sure this is the route that NPR wants to take?"
In his comment, Dvorkin writes, "Kuwait remains in the news. NPR reports from time to time from Iraq. Because of the public trust that exists between NPR and its listeners, every effort should be made to ensure that trust is never doubted. NPR in my opinion, made an error in judgement, in this case, by accepting underwriting from Kuwait."
Previous Dvorkin:
Previous NPR:
Dvorkin column:

2001-03-29: 153 million people a week now listen to the BBC World Service, up from 151 million last year, according to latest audience figures.
The largest increases were in Africa, the Middle East and Asia but there were also audience fallss in Russia and Pakistan..
There was a record 42 million weekly audience for World Service's English language network and a doubling of use of its Internet site which now records 40 million page views a month.
BBC World Service Director Mark Byford commented, "It is a truly outstanding achievement, in a world of exploding competition, to increase our role as the world's reference point for news and information to millions of people around the globe."
"Figures improve because audiences appreciate our programmes and we're extremely proud of our landmark radio series this year about the international drugs trade, AIDS, and human rights which have had a resonance with communities everywhere."
"We've also offered strong coverage of President Putin's first year; the American presidency, the Middle East Peace process, the fall of Milosevic and the way forward for Yugoslavia, as well as some courageous reporting from Indonesia and West Africa."
In all the world services, which is funded to the tune of £175 million a year by the British government, broadcasts in 43 languages; it is available on short wave, FM services in more than 117 capital cities, and via satellite in Europe and North America.
It is also carried on a selective basis on some 2000 AM and FM stations.
Previous BBC
Previous Byford:
BBC News Release:

2001-03-29: The US Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau has again come under attack from Commissioner Gloria Tristani for dismissing an indecency complaint.
This case relates to a complaint against WXQR-FM in Jacksonville, North Carolina, which was dismissed because the bureau said the complainant W.T Schmidt "did not provide sufficient context to enable us to determine that the material is obscene or whether the material meets the Commission's definition of indecency."
It then suggested that he again try complaining to the station management.
According to the complainant, he was driving on a Sunday afternoon and heard on his car radio," "So then I dropped my pants and showed Stacy my penis. … That was it. We were showing off our genitalia."
He said he then turned off the radio.
Later, he called the station and spoke to the DJ involved who told him that the language was part of a promo for the station's morning show.
Schmidt said the DJ was "very aggressive" and that the language was not obscene because it was medical language and was within FCC guidelines.
He said that if Schmidt didn't like it, he could turn off (RNW Note: Which he did, but this could then preclude a complainant being able to provide sufficient information to give a context Catch 22?.)
Schmidt said in his complaint that he did not receive a promised return call from the station manager and he believed the station would continue to broadcast inappropriate content until the FCC intervened.
Tristani comments that," The Bureau once again dismissed a complaint without seeking the information needed to answer the context question and construed the facts alleged in the complaint in the light most favourable to the broadcaster rather than the complainant."
"This conflicts with well-settled principles of civil law where dismissal of civil complaints is permissible only if "it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations."
Previous FCC:
Previous Tristani:
Tristani statement:

2001-03-28: More gloomy revenue figures from the US where the Radio Advertising Bureau reports revenues down 6% for February this year compared to a year ago.
Local revenues fell by 2% but national revenues, hit particularly by the cut back in advertising, were down a fifth.
For the first two months of this year total revenues are now down 5%, local down 1% and national down 18%.
And on the front, where more and more problems are being reported in garnering revenue, the US Major League Baseball has entered into agreement with Real Networks, to provide its online content including audio webcasts, on a subscription only basis.
Fans had previous been able to listen to games free on the Internet, now it will cost $9.95 a season for the full MLB package, including searchable video highlights archives, available from and
RealNetworks will charge $4.95 a month for the baseball broadcasts and $9.95 a month for its GoldPass network, which also includes National Basketball Association (N.B.A.).
The announcement does not make it clear if fans will have to pay both Real and MLB nor if radio stations with MLB rights will be allowed to continue to stream their broadcasts on their own sites.
The audio service is to start in April, with video following in May.
Previous RAB:
MLB site:
RAB site:
Real Networks site:

2001-03-28: Internet audio rating organisation Measurecast, which has just fired 13 of its 35 staff, says that its Internet Radio Index, which represents the trend for Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL), increased by 8% in the week to March 25th, taking it to a 60% increase since January.
It adds that during the week 21 of the top 25 stations had an increase in TTSL and Cume (an estimate of the total number of unique listeners who had one or more listening sessions lasting five minutes or longer).
In the top 5 Listener-formatted Media Amazing again retained the top spot leaving WABC-AM, in second place but Virgin Radio jumped back up into the third spot pushing LA Mega, which lost audience, down one.
The top five were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP) in brackets)
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 97,322 (94,919); CP 29,180 (28,063) - Position unchanged.
2): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 76,360 (73,660); CP 12,491 (12,713) - Position unchanged.
3): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 63,650 (58,478); CP 9,410 (9,089) - Previously 4th.
4): Spanish format La-Mega-WSKQ (New York) TTSL 54,763 (59,719); CP 9,575 (10,146) - Previously 3rd.
5): Gospel Black Gospel Network TTSL 49,594 (45,114); CP 6,907 (6,393) - Position unchanged.
Previous Measurecast ratings
MeasureCast web site:

2001-03-28: The St Petersburg Times reports that Bubba the Love Sponge was back on the air at WXTB-FM Tampa on Tuesday after a 15-day suspension.
The host has been widely criticised over the castration and killing of a wild boar during a stunt on the Bubba the Love Sponge Show on February 27 and a number of advertisers have withdrawn from the station (RNW Mar 18).
During his broadcast, he said management of the Clear Channel-owned station asked him not to talk about the event.
Previous Bubba:
Previous Clear Channel:
St Petersburg Times:

2001-03-27: A BBC survey shows that when asked to name a selection of radio stations at random, less than half those questions mentioned its news and speech channel Radio 4 and two thirds failed to mention the rolling news and sports channel, Radio 5 Live.
Even worse for Radio 5, a third of those specifically asked if they were aware of the channel said no and some of the rest thought it was a music station.
As a result Radio 5 under controller Bob Shennan, who puts down the lack of recognition partly due to a lack of distinctive personalities, is to try to recruit big names to complement Nicky Campbell whose daily phone-in has attracted participation from the Prime Minister.
Shennan says the listeners the channel has like its current presenters but the channel needs to stand out more.
In some contrast to the audience research, a UK Guardian article on Radio 5 terms it a success story, "praised inside and outside the corporation" and with "steadily rising audience figures." (RNW note-this latter does not seem to be fully borne out by the latest UK figures-see RNW Feb 2 ).
The article then says he trouble is "that the BBC has been completely taken aback by this success, and doesn't really know what to do next."
"Seven years after its launch there is a sense that Radio 5 Live is still unsure of its identity. Apart from Campbell and Richard Littlejohn, its presenters are still unknowns."
The BBC, it says, "has never really quite decided what Radio 5 is for" but now under Shennan, a former BBC head of sport, an image is becoming clear.
Shennan, it says, has cleared out the anomalies and devoted most of his attention to sport and every weeknight is now a sports night from 7pm resulting in concern from the news side of the channel. There have also been attacks from Kelvin MacKenzie, head of TalkSport, the UK commercial radio sports channel, who claims the BBC is wasting money on amassing sports rights to drive out competition.
"In America, where there are anti-trust laws to curb predatory behaviour, (BBC Director General)Greg Dyke would be in jail, as would a number of radio executives."
"Here in Britain they're on the loose, ripping off the taxpayer and squandering his money, crushing the competition, cheating the sports fan and openly bragging about it," MacKenzie told the Broadcasting Press Guild recently.
Shennan responds," I've heard all this before. I think his argument is pretty transparent. What is the BBC supposed to do? It's criticised for being the dozy old BBC, losing the plot if we lose sports rights; if we go for them, we are killing the competition."
"Sport is hugely important for us. It makes us the key player in football on radio. We are being commercially astute but we are not bludgeoning anybody by overpaying. The record is stuck, Kelvin has lost."
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Previous MacKenzie:
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2001-03-26: Technology, trade, and the public interest sums up the themes of the radio-related items that caught our eye this week.
Technology first and three items concerning Internet audio, one from the UK Independent and two from the Boston Herald.
In the latter, Dean Johnson, looks at the web cast put out by Christopher Lydon, former host of the Boston WBUR-FM public radio show "The Connection".
Lydon, who parted company with the station earlier this month (Mar 3 ), put out the web cast on Tuesday using the facilities of the Christian Science Monitor; Another is planned from his site next Tuesday at 10 AM EDT (1500GMT) and the first show is archived on the site.
Reviewing the web cast, Johnson says "was just like listening to the better moments of ``The Connection''
Later in the week, Johnson returned to the subject of the web cast with some more details.
It attracted around 1200 hits (RNW comment - good going but hardly a broadcast-radio size audience), around half from Massachusetts and the others from further afield.
Johnson comments that the importance to Lydon of the web cast is that "until he lands a shift on a more mainstream medium, his show can at least continue to function."
"That will satiate his hard-core fans and provide ongoing audition samples for prospective partners/employers/buyers. ……. for now, the Web casts keep Lydon's talk show viable and alive, and if he connects with another station or syndicator, then the Web cast can be a powerful supplement."
The UK Independent article by Matt Ford is more upbeat about web casts, saying they are creating a boom for voices free from licences and regulation.
It cites Jonathan More, one half of DJ duo Coldcut and co-founder of the Ninja Tunes record label as saying, "The internet probably saved us" with reference to the value of their site
Matt Black, the other half of Coldcut and Ninja Tunes said," "I set up and just so a friend and I could broadcast all our old funk records and ambient mix tapes."
Black adds that the "comparative ease and low cost of setting up an online station provides an unparalleled opportunity for breaking new radio talent, and arguably some of the most imaginative interpretations of the new medium have come from first-time broadcasters."
The article also notes the importance the Internet has in the thinking of mainstream channels like BBC Radio 1 and gives examples of the way it can offer extra choice such as which is backed by the UK Arts Council and offers audio recordings including readings, interviews and musical performances.
Unlike mainstream radio, no Internet station is yet much of a money spinner, but on the other hand, according to a Chicago Tribune article, it's money not programming which is at the heart of much mainstream radio.
In an article entitled, WRDV attuned to the cash register" Lou Carlozo, looks at the new Bonneville station, The Drive, which took over the former WNIB classical frequency.
He says listeners got a new catchphrase, new call letters and "the same old classic rock with a slick new spin."
" 'Timeless rock!' proclaimed a smug voice. 'Different? Yeah. This radio station is all about you. Your life. Your times.'" But mostly, he writes it's "about your money."
Later he quotes Kal Rudman, publisher of the radio industry trade magazine Friday Morning Quarterback, who says what has changed radio the most over his six decades in the business is
"Wall Street. And the other big one: De-reg-u-lation."
Rudman says Bonneville will succeed financially but Carlozo laments the ending of the stations transitional phase in which it aired a pop music artist or genre of the day.
"It played deep album cuts that hadn't enjoyed FM radio exposure in years, he writes, adding later, "whatever hope the "artist of the day" held for some fresh new format is gone."
Which takes us to the BBC political reality game show The Magnificent Seven - which operates like the TV "Big Brother" show (See RNW Feb 17 ).
It began on Radio 5 live on Sunday and features seven people discussing politics with one a day being eliminated.
The programme forms the centre of Paul Donovan's UK Sunday Times radio column.
Donovan notes the rate for calls means no profit is made from them (RNW note unlike so many broadcast programmes and competitions nowadays), the contestants are only receiving expenses but no fee, and they age from 28 to 58 and wall only be revealing political arguments.
The programme continues daily until next Sunday
Previous Columnists:
Previous Donovan:
Previous Johnson:
Previous Lydon:
Boston Herald - Johnson 1:
Boston Herald -Johnson 2:
Chicago Tribune -Carlozo:
Christopher Lydon web site
UK Independent- Ford:

UK Sunday Times-Donovan:
2001-03-26: Singapore Telecom is reported to have agreed a deal with Cable and Wireless to take over its 52% of Australian mobile operator Optus for around Aus$20 billion (around US$9 billion), against competition from Vodafone and Telecom Corp of New Zealand.
Vodafone already has a mobile operation in Australia and would have controlled more than half the Australian market if it had taken over Optus.
A formal announcement is expected today confirming the deal which prices Optus shares at around Aus45.50 compared to a Friday close of Aus$3.99.
The offer was originally half cash, half scrip deal, but it is understood SingTel has now increased the cash component and will be offering Optus shareholders with varying cash and scrip components.

2001-03-26: US shock-jock Doug "The Greaseman" Tracht , who is attempting a comeback following his firing for making racially inflammatory remarks (See RNW Mar 7), adds another station to his outlets today as he debuts on Baltimore WNST-AM.
So far Tracht is being taken by stations in Washington, DC, Portland, Oregon, and Binghampton, New York.
Previous Tracht:

2001-03-26: One-on-One Sports becomes "The Sporting News Radio Network" today, three months after being bought by the Sporting News and Vulcan Ventures, the investment company of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. (RNW Nov 30).
It's launching with 430 affiliates and is also changing the call letters of two of its three owned and operated stations: WJWR-AM NY is becoming WSNR, "Sporting News Radio 620," and WNRB-AM Boston is becoming WWZN, "Sporting News Radio 1510-The Zone."

2001-03-25: A fairly busy week in spectrum terms in Australia but quiet elsewhere.
The Australian 3G spectrum raised more than the reserve but only about half of the Aus$2.6 billion the government had hoped for (RNW Mar 23).
Also in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has invited applications for two new community radio licences in Brisbane, and three new community radio licences in the Gold Coast area of Queensland.
In Melbourne, however,a court ruling has led it to defer a public hearing concerning its plans for new Melbourne licences.
These comprise three new Melbourne-wide community radio licences, two FM and one AM, plus a 'sub-metropolitan' licence for the Melbourne City area.
In connection with the plans, the authority had planned to move current commercial broadcaster 3AK to 1116 kHz, making 1503 kHz available for a new community radio licence but this has now been successfully challenged in the Federal Court by two open narrowcast licensees, one of whom had operated a service on 1116 kHz.
Court orders on this are expected on Monday and because of the uncertainty the ABA has decided to defer the public hearing it had planned for early May.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation's application for a new English language FM station for Owen Sound in Ontario.
The new station, which will feature a country music format complemented by news and information, and will be the third Bayshore station in Owen Sound.
Bayshore already operates the two existing commercial stations there, CFOS and CIXK-FM.
Also in Ontario, the CRTC has approved a power increase from 17 watts to 1,600 watts for CJJB-FM, the only commercial station Englehart.
It rejected opposition from Connelly Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of CJTT-FM New Liskeard and CJKL-FM Kirkland Lake, which had expressed concern that the signal might affect its stations.
On a smaller scale, it has approved an application by non-commercial station CHIM-FM Timmins (the originating station), to add 1.3-watt transmitters at Chapleau, Elliot Lake and Wawa
It rejected opposition including that from Superior Broadcasting Ltd., licensee of CJWA-FM Wawa, and North Channel Broadcasters Inc., licensee of CKNR-FM Elliot Lake who said their stations could be affected.
And in British Colombia, it has approved a new English language FM station at Vernon to replace Rogers Broadcasting Limited's CJIB-AM. The station will offer a gold-based adult contemporary music format.
There was nothing of note in Ireland and in the UK, the Radio Authority's activity was limited to publishing its assessment of the award earlier this month of the new North-West region digital multiplex to MXR. (RNW Mar 10).
In the assessment, the authority singles out for mention MXR's planned rolling regional news service and plans for a children's channel.
The US was also fairly quiet on the radio side apart from various penalties imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (See RNW Mar 24).
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Previous CRTC
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority
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UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-03-25: In an article entitled "Are John Laws and Alan Jones the hairy mammoths of radio?" the Sydney Morning Herald speculates that the takeover of top rated Sydney station 2UE by Southern Cross Broadcasting (RNW Mar 23) may spell the end of the road for its two stars.
SCB, the paper says, is well known for running tight ships and keeping costs down to a minimum and there is little doubt it will try to slash the broadcasters' salaries, while bidding to retain their services.
Its Melbourne top-rated host is paid well below his Sydney peers and ANZ analyst Bob Peters noted that the station spent some Aus$25 million of the Aus$30 million it generated, around Aus$15 million of that going on talent.
"There's probably only around $5 million left in profit," Peters said.
"Over time, Southern Cross will change that - 3AW in Melbourne also rates very well, but its talent isn't paid nearly that much."
"According to surveys I've seen, their top-paid employee is Neil Mitchell and he probably makes less than a million."
Another analyst, Steve Allen of Fusion Strategy, told the paper, "I think 2UE will be streamlined. Southern Cross is a very disciplined operator."
"They have managed to restructure everything they've bought so far and made it more effective and profitable."
Both broadcasters have around six months of their contracts left so are not likely to make a sudden move but Allen says now is the time for rival owners to pounce if they want to.
Laws did leave 2UE before to move to 2GB for a spell in the 1970s and 2UE ratings slumped and only recovered after his return.
Chris Nash at the University of Technology Sydney's Centre for Independent Journalism, commented, "I see them as the big hairy mammoths of commercial radio, because that's what they are."
"It's as if they are from a previous age, an era that's already nearly gone because radio has moved on."
He added that SCB's idea of re-inventing their network through their Sydney presence was interesting but "not as interesting as the question about whether Jones and Laws are coming to the end of their professional lives."
"Laws is of an age where he might be thinking of retiring, and Jones has indicated that he's not particularly keen to keep going with that shift."
"They have no obvious successors coming through, so it may well be that radio has moved on from that time… the sort of pull they have had with a certain age group has been quite unique."
". ... But it will be a much more competitive market with second-order personalities. No one is going to stand astride the stage as they have. This could well be the end of the era."
Previous 2UE
Previous Jones
Previous Laws:
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:

2001-03-24: There could only be one economic story to end this week, that of the bear market.
Although there was a rebound on Friday, shares in general continue on their downward slide and a number of radio shares have been particularly hard hit.
In the UK
* Capital Radio ranged during the week from a high of £10 to end at £6.65;
* Chrysalis ranged from more than £3 to end at £2.60;
* GWR ranged from £5.25, dropped below £4.25 but then rallied after the group said it expected 10% revenue growth, to end at £4.425;
* Scottish Media Group started at £2.10 and dropped below £1.90 but then rallied to end at £1.95;
* and Scottish Radio holdings ranged from £15 to end at £13.50. In the US, the big groups fared better than some of the smaller ones, which were hit by analysts' downward revision of forecasts.
* Clear Channel dropped from a high of $57 to below $50, and
* Viacom dropped from a high of $47.50 to below $42.
* Cumulus had more of a yo-yo ride than others, topping $5.50, dropping on Thursday to below $4.75 but then rising on Friday to nearly $5.50 before dropping back again to $5.25. * Emmis began at $26, dropped below $21 then edged back above $22 and
* Entercom which topped $42.50 on Tuesday, dropped to $32.50 after an analysts warning Thursday but then bounced back above $36.
* Radio One had a similar ride, starting the week at $16.50, dropping below $14.50 but then heading back to $15.50.
* Hispanic Broadcasting topped $22 on Tuesday but dropped to $18 and then headed back a little towards $18.75

2001-03-24: A technologically positive report about a radio talk show host from Associated Press intrigues us. Bill Wattenburg, a former professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, who hosts a weekend call-in show on KGO-AM, Livermore, has come up with an idea which could help relieve California's current energy crisis.
Wattenburg and researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have come up with a device which would leave live power supplies to lights and small appliances such as radios but cut it from heavy consumption equipment such as air conditioning and heating or cooking equipment
. The device would have to be installed on power supplies and could shut off the 240 v supply but leave the 120 volt line live; it has been rested successfully at the Laboratory and by Wattenburg in his own home.

2001-03-24: A story of three US Federal Communications Commission actions over various rule breaches, starting with the lowest penalty, of $2000.
In this case the FCC has denied Infinity a reconsideration of the $2000 fine it imposed over a March 1997 broadcast by KROQ-FM, Los Angeles, of "You Suck" by the group Consolidated.
Infinity had accepted that it played the song but said it was unable to determine whether this was the edited or unedited version.
It argued that it would have expected more than one complaint if the unedited version had been aired and also that the FCC was instituting a new policy by levying a fine since the complainant had not filed a tape or transcript of the actual broadcast.
The FCC said the complainant had sent in CD of the unedited song and when it sent her an edited copy, asking if this could have been what she heard on air, her written reply said she recalled hearing in the broadcast the words "pubic," "dick," "pussy," and "clit".
Next a $6500 fine. This time it concerned WACR-AM Columbus, MS, which was visited by an Enforcement Bureau agent who found the station antenna was not registered or enclosed by a locked fence.
The station had accepted that it committed the offences, said it had subsequently remedied things, and argued that it could not afford to pay. The FCC looked at financial statements and decided that the fine should stand.
Finally the decision, which would potentially be the most costly.
This involved WSTX-AM & FM Christiansted, US Virgin Islands, whose licences are threatened with revocation. G.Luz and Asta James are asking for reconsideration and that it allow them to transfer their 93% of licensee Family Broadcasting Inc to their four adult children, none of whom they say were involved in any offences.
Luz James has admitted that he gave incorrect information about the location of WSTX-FM's transmitter but says this was because he was embarrassed that he had been evicted from the authorised site for non-payment of rent.
The FCC's reply was that the James's petition does not respond to all the issues and it is asking that the petition be denied.
Previous FCC

2001-03-23: Southern Cross Broadcasting has confirmed that it has bought the Lamb family's radio interests including top-rated Sydney station 2UE for Aus$90 million.
Included in the deal is 4BC in Brisbane and the Sydney Morning Herald reported Southern Cross managing director Tony Bell as saying they were a natural fit with Southern Cross's 3AW in Melbourne and 6PR.
"The national talk network will provide many synergies, including ease of selling national sales packages to clients, programming synergies and resource sharing," he said.
The Herald notes that 2UE'S star hosts Alan Jones and John Laws, whose contracts are up for renewal later this year, pull in 70% of the station's estimated Aus$30 million a year advertising revenue.
Following the deal, 2UE Chairman and Chief Executive John Conde, who is married to a Lamb, is leaving and general manager Tony Moltzen has retired.
Conde said the decision had been hard for the family, adding "But we felt that it made great sense for 2UE and everyone associated with the station to be part of a strong national group."
Laws told the paper, "I hope everybody's happy with it(the sale)."
Jones, who was in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup horse-racing event, said he had not yet spoken with the new owners and added, "I am just a worker, a little humble worker. It's a bosses world, isn't it?"
Asked about suggestions he was tiring of breakfast radio, he said, "I have been doing it for a long time. It's a lot of getting up at half past two. You know, I will be thinking about things but it wouldn't be proper for me to be doing anything now that would destabilise the troops there."
The deal comes as Sydney radio remains in a flurry of anticipation of the arrival of the new DMG Sydney FM station.
DMG paid Aus$155 million for the licence and is still keeping details of its plans secret, including the date it will go on air (It has to be broadcasting by the end of June under the licence terms) and its planned format or name.
It says it has identified 8 "format holes" in Sydney radio bit it isn't necessarily going to go with one of those although it will be "fresh" and will have a strong local news content.
Previous 2UE
Previous Conde
Previous DMG:
Previous Jones
Previous Laws:
Previous Moltzen
Previous Southern Cross
Sydney Morning Herald report:

2001-03-23: Radio shares in the UK and US have taken a hammering this week as fears of an advertising recession mount.
In the UK shares in Capital Radio fell by more than a fifth on Thursday to a two-year low after the group issued a warning that its profits were expected to be down by 10% on last year if current conditions continued.
The statement said Capital expected expect revenue for the six months to March 2001 to show an increase of 8%, principally reflecting last year's acquisitions with like for like revenues only up by 2%.
The company said it was increasing investment in digital radio and strategic marketing and still regarded the long-term future as positive.
Other UK shares also fell with GWR down 10%.
Chrysalis was down by less - just over 3% - and according to the UK Financial Times, NJR, Europe's largest commercial radio group, which owns four national networks in France and has interests in Germany and Scandinavia, has made an approach to it about a potential alliance.
Chrysalis has rebuffed the approach, saying that a deal at this time, when expected regulatory changes could allow more consolidation in UK radio, is not in it shareholders interests.
Also in the UK, Scottish Media Group (SMG) has yet again increased its holding in Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH). It has bought another 150,600 shares to take its holding to 28.5%.
Under current UK stock market rules, it has to make an all-out bid if its holding touches 30%.
In the US, shares were also down as the Dow index dropped.
Giant Clear Channel dropped some 7% to below $50 a share (its 52 week low is $44) and Entercom dropped by 18% after an analysts downgrade.
Previous Capital Radio
Previous Chrysalis:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Entercom:
Previous GWR:
Previous SMG:
Previous SRH:
Financial Times (Search for Chrysalis):

2001-03-23: Australia's third generation mobile spectrum auction has now ended after 19 rounds having attracted bids on 48 of the 58 lots on offer and raised a total of Aus$ 1,168,993,500, just over the Aus$1.08 billion reserve price the government had put on all the spectrum on offer.
The Australia Communications Authority had received no further bids in round 19 and the amounts bid by the six companies in the auction were (in descending order):
* Telstra 3G Spectrum Holdings Pty Ltd - total bids Aus$302,023,500 mainly for licences in major cities and regions.
* Vodafone Pacific Limited - total bids Aus$253,550,000 mainly for the National 2 licence.
* Optus Mobile Pty Ltd - total bids Aus$248,870,000 mainly for the National 1 licence.
* Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd - Aus$196,100,000 for licences in major cities.
* 3G Investments (Australia) Pty Ltd - Aus$159,000,000 for the Capital City 4 licence
* CKW Wireless Pty Ltd - Aus$9,450,000 for the capital city 2 licence.
Previous ACA
Previous Australian 3G auction:
ACA web site:

2001-03-22: The Kagan Radio Summit in New York has been bullish about prospects for the medium with Gary Fries, President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau saying radio could increase its share of total advertising spend from its current 8% to 12% in the long term.
Fries also stuck to his prediction that radio revenue, which was down by 3% in the first quarter of this year, will grow by 8% over the year.
Other predictions included a 6% growth from Kagan senior analyst Robin Flynn and Morgan Stanley Principal David Allen.
The long-term consensus was that radio would continue its 8-10% growth pattern barring a recession.
Station owners also said there was still room for more deals.
Citadel CEO Larry Wilson said new owners Forstmann Little want to grow the group and Regent Communications CEO Terry Jacobs, who's said he wants to double the size of the company, gave a run-down on the state of consolidation in radio markets.
Jacobs said that it was as shown below:
Markets 1-50: 100% consolidated:
Markets 51-100: 75% consolidated:
Markets 100-150: less than 50%:
Markets 150-200: less than 35%:
Markets 200-283 less than 10% consolidated:
The gathering also saw a clash of opinions over the prospects for satellite radio with Fries saying they were "overly optimistic" and would have to find new advertisers and new types of revenue to succeed.
He said he didn't see them having a major impact on current radio stations.
Other radio executives said they did not think local radio was under threat from satellite radio. Notable absentees from the conference were repesentatives of the two US radio giants, Clear Channel and Viacom-CBS-Infinity:
Previous Citadel
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Regent:
Previous Fries:
Previous Jacobs
Previous RAB (US):
Previous Regent:

Previous Viacom-CBS-Infinity:

Previous Wilson:
Kagan web site:

2001-03-22: Total bids in the Australian 3G spectrum auction total, have now reached Aus$1.168 billion, going above the reserve of Aus$1,08 billion set by the government.
After 16 rounds, the Australian Communications Authority says all six bidders are still in the auction and bids have now been made for 48 of the 58 lots on offer.
The totals of high bids on offer from the bidders (in descending order) going into round 17 are:
* Telstra 3G Spectrum Holdings Pty Ltd -Aus$302,023,500:
* Vodafone Pacific Limited -Aus$253,550,000:
* Optus Mobile Pty Ltd - Aus$ 250,175,000:
* HutchisonTelecommunications (Australia) Ltd - Aus$203,520,000:
* 3G Investments (Australia) Pty Ltd - Aus$ 159,000,000:
* CKW Wireless Pty Ltd (US telecom equipment maker Arraycomm )- nil:
Previous ACA
Previous Australian 3G auction:
ACA web site:

2001-03-22: The St Petersburg Times reports that the US Federal Communications Commission is now investigating the wild boar killing incident on WXTB-FM, Tampa. Florida, which has led to the suspension of host Bubba the Love Sponge.
A spokesman for Clear Channel, which owns the station, said the indefinite suspension was not only for the incident but also for comments made on air afterwards.
The FCC, which has previously fined Bubba for stunts, is to see if this stunt is "indecent" under its guidelines.
The paper also reports that more advertisers are dropping the show or station.
Amongst those who have dumped it so far are Disney, Denny's, Universal Studios and Auto Nation.
Previous "boar killing":
Previous Bubba:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous FCC:
St Petersburg Times site (Search for "Bubba".)

2001-03-22: The "world's first standalone "Internet radio Kerbango is to be discontinued by US network equipment manufacturer 3-Com.
3-Com , which posted a worse than expected third quarter loss of $246 million, is closing its Internet appliance business, which includes Kerbango and web surfing appliance Audrey.
3-Com paid $80 million for California-based Kerbango last June (RNW June 28).
At the moment Kerbango's site is still up and running, including a specification page for its Internet Radio, model 100E.
Previous Kerbango:
3-Com web site:
Kerbango web site:

2001-03-21: Sydney's top rated radio station 2UE is close to being sold off according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The report says that Southern Cross Broadcasting, the owner of Melbourne talk radio station 3AW and Perth's 6PR, is the most likely buyer of 2UE together with 4BC in Brisbane and the Sky Radio Network, which relays John Laws' 2UE morning show throughout Australia.
Both 2UE and Southern Cross refused comment but the paper says, "it is well known in the industry that 2UE is for sale at the right price, and sources said that its chairman and chief executive, Mr John Conde, who is married to a Lamb (the Lamb family own 2UE), has been asking about $80 million for the station."
The paper also says that there are uncertainties about the future of Alan Jones, 2UE's Breakfast host, and John Laws, who were at the centre of the 1999 "cash-for-comment" affair (See RNW April 3, 2000 for details of sponsorship of the hosts).
The paper says Jones has publicly aired the possibility that he may not wish to continue his breakfast shifts when his current contract expires and noted that Laws is in his 60s.
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Previous cash-for-comment:
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Previous Jones:
Previous Laws:
Sydney Morning Herald

2001-03-21: After more than 70 years on air at Hammond, Indiana, financial pressures have finally killed off a Polish radio show, which aired first as the Polish Musical Varieties Program and then became Wally Skibinski's Polish Cavalcade of Music.
Host Wally Skibinski, whose day job was that of maintenance clerk, joined the programme as an announcer in 1952 when the show had already been on air for 22 years.
Now 76, he was told last week that the show was being cancelled because the station needed to sell the time slot.
In his final broadcast, Skibinski told his audience the station had carried the show as long as they could and should be thanked not condemned.
A less philosophical reaction, however, from a pirate station in Eugene, Oregon, which has been closed down by the Federal Communications Commission and equipment confiscated after an early-morning raid which the station says involved "8 U.S. Marshals, 3 local cops, and other agents" arriving "with a search warrant, battering ram, and drawn guns."
Radio Free Cascadia on its web site says, "Radio Free Cascadia has been providing an alternative to corporate radio for over three years to the Eugene community."
"This was an obvious attack on free speech and autonomy."
In its mission statement the organization writes of the FCC's "economically biased regulatory process - hopelessly skewed in favour of corporate interests."
It continues, "RFC believes that to allow profit-driven corporate entities to elbow out grassroots media channels is to mock the notion of free speech, and suppress the possibility of deeper social interactions in our daily lives."
"Radio Free Cascadia is prepared to confront this threat to the survival of our civil liberties through constitutionally-based legal defence."
Previous FCC:
AP/New York Times on Skibinski:
Radio Free Cascadia site:

2001-03-21: Australia's third generation spectrum auction now looks as it may end today.
On Tuesday, the fourth day, it barely moved forward with neither of the biggest players, Vodafone Pacific and Telstra, increasing their bids.
In all only another Aus$7.79 million more was added to take the total now bid at the end of the 12th round to Aus$$1,077,995,000, just short of the reserve price of Aus$1.08 billion.
In the final round on Tuesday, Optus outbid ArrayComm on the only spectrum that the US group is eligible to bid for, leaving the possibility that the latter may not bid further and thus allow the auction to end after today's first round.
Of the bidders, Optus and Vodafone are not eligible to bid for more spectrum than they currently hold and, although Telstra could bid for more spectrum in capital cities it already has enough to build a network.
The Australian Communications Authority says so far, there have been no bids on 19 of the 58 lots on offer.

Previous ACA
Previous Australian 3G auction:
ACA web site:

2001-03-21: Internet audio listening has increased by nearly a half since the beginning of the year according to a new "Internet Radio Index" released by Measurecast, the Oregon-based Internet audio ratings company.
The index starts at a base 100 compiled for a ten-week period from October 30, 2000 to January 7, 2001 and was at 148 for the week ending March 18, having peaked at 155 earlier this month.
Measurecast also reports a 35% increase in total time spent listening (TTSL) for Contemporary Christian Music format during this week compared to the previous week's figures.
Nearly 90 per cent of listening is said to be on weekdays and nearly 85% during "office hours".
In the top 5 Listener-formatted Media Amazing has retained the top spot which it took over last week from WABC-AM, whose listening again fell back although it still retains second place.
Spanish format La Mega moved up to third, displacing Virgin Radio to fourth and Internet-only Black Gospel Network pushed Internet-only Radio Maragaritaville down to sixth.
The top five were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons --an estimate of the total number of unique listeners who had one or more listening sessions lasting five minutes or longer - in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 94,919 (88,811); CP 28,063 (23,913) - Position unchanged.
2): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 73,660 (83,864); CP 12,713 (13,931) - Position unchanged.
3): Spanish format La-Mega-WSKQ (New York) TTSL 59,719 (57,325); CP 10,146 (11,125) - Previously 4th.
4): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 58,478 (66,376); CP 9,089 (9,395) - Previously 3rd.
5): Gospel Black Gospel Network TTSL 45,114 (33,068); CP 6,393 (6,584)- Previously 10th.
Previous Measurecast ratings
MeasureCast web site:

2001-03-20: Still so far, so good, for XM Satellite Radio whose first satellite "Rock"is functioning normally after its Sunday launch.
It should be moved into its permanent geo-synchronous orbit at 115 degrees West in a few days.
The first signals from the satellite were received at a ground station in Perth, Australia, at 23.43 GMT (18:43 EST) Sunday as planned.

Previous XM
web site

2001-03-20: Jay Kernis, a central figure in the creation of US National Public Radio's morning news magazine shows, is to return to the network in May as senior vice-president of programming.
Kernis who has been with CBS News for the last 14 years, started in public radio 32 years ago at the age of 16 when he worked for a station licensed to New York City's Riverside Church.
He joined NPR in 1974 and was a founding producer of Morning Edition some five years later.
He also started NPR's Weekend editions.
Previous NPR

2001-03-20: As worldwide concern mounts about how companies that have bid high for third generation mobile spectrum will recoup their money -in the UK, One2One has said it does not expect to see a return on its third-generation (3G) licence investment for ten years - the current Australian Auction looks as if it may limp to an early close.
There were no new bids in the final rounds on Monday but the Australian Communications Agency (ACA) can only end the auction after it has moved on to its second stage.
So far the total bid for licences is Aus$1.07 billion but some licences have not attracted any bids; the amount is just short of the reserve price set by the government for all the licences on offer.
Vodafone Pacific now tops the contenders with bids totalling Aus$252.8 million including the top bid of just over Aus$244 million for the National Two licence whilst Optus is top bidder for the National One licence with just over Aus$240 million bid.
Three of the remaining four bidders - Hutchison Telecommunications, Qualcomm, and Telstra, which was active in bids for regional spectrum the seventh round- now have sufficient spectrum to build a network so are not under pressure to bid for more.
The remaining bidder CKW Wireless Pty Ltd (US telecom equipment maker Arraycomm has not made any further bids since its initial Aus$ 7,950,000 offer for the Capital City 2 spectrum.
RNW note: Despite Japan's economic woes, Japanese mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo looks as if it is on target to launch the world's first 3G service at the end of May.
It has also hinted that it is [planning to bring forward the launch of its fourth generations service to 2006 instead of 2010.
4G phones will be able to transmit data at around 20 megabits per second compared to the 2 megabits of 3G which in turn is some 200 times faster than current mobile phones.

Previous ACA
Previous Australian 3G auction:
ACA web site:

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