April 2001 Personalities:
Kathleen Abernathy
- likely Bush nomination as Republican FCC Commissioner; Frank Ahrens -Washington Post media writer; Art Bell - US overnight radio host (retired and returned); Tony Bell - managing director, Southern Cross Broadcasting Australia; Tom Birdsey - former Worcester, Massachusetts, DJ; Bubba the Love Sponge -(2) - (Tod Clem ) - Host on Clear Channel's WXTB-FM, Tampa, station - suspended over wild boar killing stunt: Declan Burke -Columnist on Irish Radio for UK Sunday Times; Byron Butler - BBC radio football (soccer) correspondent 1968-1991 (deceased); Justin Case - programme director, WUSN-FM, Chicago; Mike Copps - likely Bush nomination as Democratic FCC commissioner; Jon Culshaw - British mimic and radio prankster; Carson Daly - MTV host, now hosting radio show as well; Paul Donovan -(3) -U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Steve Ennen - vice-president and general manager, WUSN-FM, Chicago; Robert Feder -(3) Chicago Sun-Times media columnist; Gary Fries - President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau,US; Eddie Gallaher - WGAY-AM, Washington, morning host (retired Dec 2000); Peter Harvie -chairman Austereo; Matthew Honey - managing director, Unique Interactive, the technology arm of UBC Media, UK; Don Imus - US syndicated shock-jock; Steve Johnson - Chicago Tribune writer; Tom Joyner - syndicated US morning host; Mel Karmazin - Viacom President & Chairman and CEO Infinity Broadcasting (US); William E. Kennard - former Chairman US Federal Communications Commission; John Kiesewetter - Cincinnati Enquirer writer; Larry Lujack - Chicago veteran disc jockey; Kelvin MacKenzie - -head of U.K. Wireless Group which owns TalkSport; Joe Madison - morning host, WOL-AM,Washington: David Margolese -(2) - chairman and Chief Executive Office,Sirius Satellite Radio; Kevin Martin - likely Bush nomination as Republican FCC Commissioner; Kevin Mayer - Internet Group CEO, Clear Channel; Randy Michaels - Chairman and CEO, Clear Channel Communications; John Monds - morning host at WHUR-FM, Washington , DC, formerly afternoon host at WVAZ-FM, Chicago; Erich "Mancow" Muller - U.S. '"shock-jock"; Susan Ness-(2) -Commissioner, US Federal Communications Commission; Steve Penk - UK Capital Radio host; Bob Phillis- chief executive, Guardian Media Group, UK; Michael Powell -(3)- Chairman, US Federal Communications Commission; Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth -(3) - Commissioner, US Federal Communications Commission(Stepping down June 2001); Dr Laura Schlessinger- (2) -Conservative U.S. talk show host; Dr Feargal Sharkey -member, UK Radio Authority; Robert Struble - President & Chief Executive Officer of iBiquity Digital Corporation, US; Mac Tichenor - President and Chief Executive Officer, Hispanic Broadcasting, US; Gloria Tristani -(3) -Commissioner, US FCC; Sanford Ungar - Director, Voice of America;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once

April 2001 Archive

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April 2001 Archive
Previous month -
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.

2001-04-22: Licence news this week and yet again it was very quiet with the Easter break reducing throughput.
On the radio side there was nothing from Ireland or Australia, where Australian Broadcasting Authority activities primarily comprised its release of its second report on Internet content; this showed 209 complaints in the second half of 2001, a 44% increase on the first part of the year.
Most of the complaints concerned sites not hosted in Australia, mainly in the US.
The Authority has also released details of its Broadcasting Conference to be held next month; amongst the events planned there will be a digital radio session on May 3 to include speeches and presentations on Digital Radio Mondiale, the Geneva-based digital consortium , and iBiquity's IBOC (in-band on-channel) system.
There will also be sessions on the challenges of new media and community broadcasting.
In Canada, it was also very quiet. Radio activity by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included extending the deadlines for the start of radio services at
*Yellowknife, North West Territories, by L'Association Franco-Culturelle de Yellowknife;
*North Battlefore, Saskatchewan, by Northwestern Radio Partnership;
*Matane, Quebec, by Les Communications Matane inc.;
*Christian Island, Ontario. by Chimnising Communications;
*Toronto (digital services) by CHWO Radio Limited.
The CRTC also authorised replacement of the programming obligations currently set out as conditions of licence in the Promise of Performance for CHAI-FM Châteauguay, Quebec, and a transfer of control of CJCA-AM serving Calgary, Alberta.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has re-awarded the licences for Tendring in Essex and Stirling and Falkirk to the existing licence holders after no competing applications were submitted.
The Tendring licence went to Tindle Radio's Audio Management Ltd., broadcasting as Dream 100 and that for Stirling and Falkirk went to Central FM.
The Authority has also advertised the local digital multiplex licence for Exeter and Torbay, to be awarded in September; this is the first of a new series of digital licences on its schedule.
Next month it is scheduled to advertise the Bradford and Huddersfield digital multiplex licence.
It has also announced that, pending a more comprehensive review of analogue licensing plans, it is to add two more areas-- the Isle of Skye; and the Gairloch/Loch Ewe area of coastal Ross-shire - to its "working list" of licences to be advertised in its current developmental phase.
Finally the Authority has decided to use the FM frequency formerly used by Channel Travel Radio whose licence was surrendered in September last year by Eurotunnel (RNW Oct 31 ) to provide a small-scale licence for Ashford in Kent and that an FM frequency available in central England should be used for a West Midlands regional station rather than for an Oxford licence which was its other option.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has been busy with removing limitations on TV ownership but fairly quiet on the radio side although it did fine a Florida station for technical offences (RNW April 18).

Previous ABA:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-04-22: The English woman who sued for a real car instead of the toy she had been given as a prize in a radio station competition (RNW April 21)has won her case against the station and disc jockey concerned.
Derby county court ruled that she was entitled to the car and ordered that she receive £8,000 to cover the cost of the Renault Clio model she expected to win.
However the court has yet to rule on who is to pay.
The DJ concerned was fired for the hoax and the radio station involved, Radio Buxton, which has been censured by the UK regulator for breaching rules on how competitions are run.
It is currently off the air although it has been given a temporary licence for a month from the end of May.
The station manager, who had tried to stave off the lawsuit by offering tickets to the Buxton opera house for a children's performance plus a meal for four, insisted that the woman was misguided in believing the competition was genuine.
He said they only received 23 calls in connection with this competition --and had received 17 for a competition the previous day when the prize was a bag of chips (French fries).

2001-04-21: James L Synder, who, amongst his achievements in 40 years as a broadcast journalist, launched the all-news format at WTOP-AM , Washington, DC, has died aged 76.
Born in Pittsburgh, he began his radio career while student and worked for Pittsburgh stations before moving to Washington in 1959 as the capital's bureau chief for Westinghouse Broadcasting.
After a spell as a producer with CBS News in Washington , he became vice--president for news at Post-Newsweek Stations in 1968 and his first assignment was the WTOP-AM all-news launch.
Washington Post obituary:

2001-04-21: A UK radio listener, given a toy car after she had been told she had won a "car" in a music competition, is asking a court to order theDJ involved or the station, Radio Buxton, to give her the real thing.
The contestant told Derby Crown Court in the English Midlands that she would never have entered the competition if she thought it was a joke. She expected to win a Renault Clio, which is priced at around £8000.
DJ Chris Constantine said that he had run an identical competition during a previous job in Lincolnshire where the prize offered was a Ferrari F50.
That was also a toy but, he said, his show was tongue-in-cheek and his listeners accepted that.

2001-04-21: Chicago WUSN-FM employees won't now have to buy their own tickets for a country music festival sponsored by the station.
Following the publicity given to a memo by programme director Justin Case (see RNW April 14 ), promoters SFX are to give "wristbands" for all the station's staff.
Reporting on the change, Robert Feder, who broke the original story in the Chicago Sun-Times, says that WUSN vice president and general manager Steve Ennen told him that the original memo was "hurriedly written"," poorly worded", and "did not take everything into context."
He added that they had been dealing with a promotion person and the communication was not complete between WUSN and the promotion company.
Ennen apologised to his staff for the misunderstanding and said, "Obviously, anybody working there for us would have gotten tickets to go."
"But Justin just didn't word that very well."
"Justin learned a lot from this process," he said. "He's not used to being in a major market and dealing with press on a day-to-day basis. It's a good experience for him."
RNW comment: Considering the time it took to sort out the matter, the main experience we think Case has gained is that those above drop more ordure downwards when the first load hits the fan.
The lesson may be valuable to him, but if the station really wouldn't have wanted staff to pay for tickets, a quick internal decision could have sorted the matter out immediately.
But then the station might have had to pay for some of the tickets!

Previous Feder;
Previous WUSN:
Sun Times -Feder on turnabout:

2001-04-20: The advertisers can't reach the parts Alan Greenspan can it would seem.
Although analysts predictions for advertisement revenue continue on the gloomy side, US radio stocks leapt on news of the decision to cut US interest rates.
R&R says its composite index jumped up 16.88 - almost 7% - to end Wednesday at 266.81 as investors responded to the cut.
The gains continued Thursday with almost everyone up, even XM Satellite Radio which ended Thursday around $7.14.
The exception was Sirius Satellite Radio, which dropped a little on both Wednesday and Thursday to end at $9.75.
Winners included giant Clear Channel -up nearly 10% over two days to $63.26; Viacom, which owns CBS-Infinity, was also up, ending Thursday around $52.80.
Radio One inc. which issued a profits warning earlier in the week (RNW April 19) jumped by around 16% to end Thursday at $20.55, perfectly timed for its $300 million bond issue.
Up around ten per cent over the two days were Entercom and Hispanic Broadcasting.
R&R web site:

2001-04-20: Moves for radio hosts and personalities both sides of the Atlantic:
In the US, Black American host Tom Joyner, who gave his syndication a major boost last August when he left WHUR-FM in Washington for Radio 1 Inc's WMMJ (RNW Aug 8) - thus adding to Radio One's 50 stations to his potential outlets which had reached a ceiling with the existing ABC Radio stations and affiliates - has now broken into the New York market.
ABC Radio networks, which syndicates his show, and Emmis have announced that The Tom Joyner Morning Show will start on Emmis's WRKS-FM at the end of this month.
Current WRKS morning host Isaac Hayes will remain with the station as local anchor for the show.
Joyner now has an audience of some 8 million and airs on more than 100 stations including outlets in Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta and Miami and Dallas, where he is based.
He has only this month been replaced as morning host at WHUR --by John Monds, former afternoon host at Chicago's WVAZ-FM.
And in the UK, TalkSport is adding London night-club owner and self-proclaimed mass fornicator Peter Stringfellow, who claims to have had sex with more than 2000 women, to its host list.
So far it'll be another one-night stand for Stringfellow who is to stand in on the midnight show on April 30.
Also in the UK, BBC Radio 1 DJ Mark Radcliffe is spreading his reach into television.
He's been signed up by an Independent production company to host "Next" , a talent-spotting show which Sky will air for an initial 13 programmes.
Finally back in the US and Tom Birdsey of the Rocko and Birdsey afternoon team on WAAF-FM, Worcester, Massachussets, is reportedly out of the station.
He's said not to have returned a renewal contract to owners Entercom on time. The duo hit the headlines last October when there were protests after they broadcast two tapes supposedly recorded secretly in a local catholic church. (RNW Oct 30):
Previous ABC, America:
Previous BBC:
Previous Birdsey:
Previous Emmis:
Previous Entercom:
Previous Joyner:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Previous TalkSport:

2001-04-19: More signs of radio revenue gloom from the US, this time with Maryland-based African-American group, Radio 1 Inc.
It has lowered its predictions for the this year and says that its first quarter revenues will be short of its forecast $49.5 million by around $2 million and the second quarter revenues will be around $64 million compared to a forecast $67.5 million.
For the full year it now expects revenues of $248 million compared to a previous forecast of $258 million.
Its cash-flow will also be down over the year to around $132million compared to a forecast $137million, although it says for the first quarter it will hit its target of $21.5 million BCF.
The figures do not include Radio One's pending $190 million cash and shares acquisition of Cincinnati-based African-American group, Blue Chip Broadcasting (RNW Feb 10).
That deal will add 15 stations to Radio One's holdings to give it a total of 63 stations.
Radio One is also to raise $300 million through a ten-year bond issue and says it will use some of the money for early redemption of a 1997 junk bond offering which carries a 12% interest rate and also to give it the power to purchase more stations.
Better news however from syndicator NBG Radio Network which currently produces, syndicates or reps some 35 national radio programs or products and reaches more than 2,700 US stations.
NBG has reported revenues for the quarter to the end of February at $2,92 million, up $990,000 (51%), on the same period last year.
NBG had a loss before provision for tax of $350,000 compared to a net income of $29,000 for the same period of 2000 ands puts this down mainly to the acquisition during the final quarter of 2000 of new programming and services which will not begin to put revenue into its books until the third quarter.
Previous NBG:
Previous Radio 1 Inc:
NBG Networks site:

2001-04-19: A feature in the Irish Times pegged to this year's 75th anniversary of Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ's radio service caught our eye today and is well worth a read.
The paper's radio critic, Harry Browne, describes radio as "a medium that inspires great devotion and commitment among producers and documentarists and has formed an aural accompaniment to the development of the State."
He then spoke to seven people, involved in radio, mainly in off-air roles r, about the "creative potential of radio and the possibilities for `new forms of dialogue'".
Amongst the comments which grabbed our attention were the following:
* John Quinn Producer and presenter of The Open Mind: Radio is boundless, with never-ending possibilities. And yet it's a very intimate medium. As the programme-maker, you're the conversationalist or the storyteller by the fireside - it has extraordinary warmth about it. A woman wrote to me recently and said: "You've given me my third-level education". That's a very humbling thing. I grew up on radio, and I have great regard for traditional radio. I worry about how little reflective radio there is now, when we're we so much in the era of the soundbite. There's little enough time to explore ideas.
* Roger Gregg Actor, radio dramatist and independent producer:
There's a huge amnesia now about radio drama. It's sad - people are forgetting what an uncontested, powerful medium this was. And while in America it was swamped by television, the public broadcasting ethos in this part of the world meant it survived here. It's worth remembering that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started as a radio series. Bookstores in the US have whole shelves full of old-time radio on CD. With dumbed-down crap up and down the dial, a lot of people sitting in their cars would rather listen to a half-hour old-time radio show - they had the biggest stars, the best writers, the slickest production values; and the fierce competition in radio meant there was a premium on keeping the momentum up.
* John MacKenna Senior producer at RTÉ radio:
I love working on my own, setting out to shape a programme from start to finish - from the idea, to the recording, to the editing. You'll never get the perfection you set out for, but when you don't it's not anybody else's fault. Of course there is the danger of getting mesmerised by the subject. I do like to have someone else there, often at the editing stage, when a sound-operator can say to me: "I don't get that, it really doesn't work". I also like the fact that I can remove myself from the programme. I love to hear the subject talking, when you don't hear the presenter, you don't hear the producer. The programmes I've been happiest with have featured just one or two people talking about things that are close to their hearts.
* Tim Lehane Senior producer of features programmes:
We need to think of radio as something other than simply a commercial beast. What bonds readers to a newspaper? Perhaps it's not so much the treatment of international events on the front page; it might be the crossword, or Doonesbury, or Weather Eye, or the chess column. Programmes like the ones I do are part of the variety of "village life". It's so difficult to predict how the future of radio is going to unfold, with digital offering the possibility of much more narrowly targeted programming. I don't think young people have ever spent as much time listening to material as they do today, but who knows what they will listen to in 20 years' time. My own instinct is for all the eccentricities, richness and passion of that village I was talking about.
* Julian Vignoles Now TV producer and formerly producer of live programmes and documentaries on radio:
You can be very creative on live shows, but people tend to remember the times you go out alone with a tape recorder. It's a bit like the baker who is appreciated for the wedding cake prepared for a special Saturday, but not for the everyday bread. There's plenty of creativity in simply knowing that the right person to get to talk about a particular story is so-and-so. Creativity is too often described in an elitist way. The highest praise we get in radio is when someone tells us: "I couldn't get out of the car".
Previous RTÉ:
Irish Times feature:

RNW note: Any thoughts on this. E-mail your comments.
2001-04-19: More signs of radio revenue gloom from the US, this time with Maryland-based African-American group, Radio 1 Inc.
It has lowered its predictions for the this year and says that its first quarter revenues will be short of its forecast $49.5 million by around $2 million and the second quarter revenues will be around $64 million compared to a forecast $67.5 million.
For the full year it now expects revenues of $248 million compared to a previous forecast of $258 million.
Its cash-flow will also be down over the year to around $132million compared to a forecast $137million, although it says for the first quarter it will hit its target of $21.5 million BCF.
The figures do not include Radio One's pending $190 million cash and shares acquisition of Cincinnati-based African-American group, Blue Chip Broadcasting (RNW Feb 10).
That deal will add 15 stations to Radio One's holdings to give it a total of 63 stations.
Radio One is also to raise $300 million through a ten-year bond issue and says it will use some of the money for early redemption of a 1997 junk bond offering which carries a 12% interest rate and also to give it the power to purchase more stations.
Better news however from syndicator NBG Radio Network which currently produces, syndicates or reps some 35 national radio programs or products and reaches more than 2,700 US stations.
NBG has reported revenues for the quarter to the end of February at $2,92 million, up $990,000 (51%), on the same period last year.
NBG had a loss before provision for tax of $350,000 compared to a net income of $29,000 for the same period of 2000 ands puts this down mainly to the acquisition during the final quarter of 2000 of new programming and services which will not begin to put revenue into its books until the third quarter.
Previous NBG:
Previous Radio 1 Inc:
NBG Networks site:

2001-04-19: A feature in the Irish Times pegged to this year's 75th anniversary of Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ's radio service caught our eye today and is well worth a read.
The paper's radio critic, Harry Browne, describes radio as "a medium that inspires great devotion and commitment among producers and documentarists and has formed an aural accompaniment to the development of the State."
He then spoke to seven people, involved in radio, mainly in off-air roles r, about the "creative potential of radio and the possibilities for `new forms of dialogue'".
Amongst the comments which grabbed our attention were the following:
* John Quinn Producer and presenter of The Open Mind: Radio is boundless, with never-ending possibilities. And yet it's a very intimate medium. As the programme-maker, you're the conversationalist or the storyteller by the fireside - it has extraordinary warmth about it. A woman wrote to me recently and said: "You've given me my third-level education". That's a very humbling thing. I grew up on radio, and I have great regard for traditional radio. I worry about how little reflective radio there is now, when we're we so much in the era of the soundbite. There's little enough time to explore ideas.
* Roger Gregg Actor, radio dramatist and independent producer:
There's a huge amnesia now about radio drama. It's sad - people are forgetting what an uncontested, powerful medium this was. And while in America it was swamped by television, the public broadcasting ethos in this part of the world meant it survived here. It's worth remembering that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started as a radio series. Bookstores in the US have whole shelves full of old-time radio on CD. With dumbed-down crap up and down the dial, a lot of people sitting in their cars would rather listen to a half-hour old-time radio show - they had the biggest stars, the best writers, the slickest production values; and the fierce competition in radio meant there was a premium on keeping the momentum up.
* John MacKenna Senior producer at RTÉ radio:
I love working on my own, setting out to shape a programme from start to finish - from the idea, to the recording, to the editing. You'll never get the perfection you set out for, but when you don't it's not anybody else's fault. Of course there is the danger of getting mesmerised by the subject. I do like to have someone else there, often at the editing stage, when a sound-operator can say to me: "I don't get that, it really doesn't work". I also like the fact that I can remove myself from the programme. I love to hear the subject talking, when you don't hear the presenter, you don't hear the producer. The programmes I've been happiest with have featured just one or two people talking about things that are close to their hearts.
* Tim Lehane Senior producer of features programmes:
We need to think of radio as something other than simply a commercial beast. What bonds readers to a newspaper? Perhaps it's not so much the treatment of international events on the front page; it might be the crossword, or Doonesbury, or Weather Eye, or the chess column. Programmes like the ones I do are part of the variety of "village life". It's so difficult to predict how the future of radio is going to unfold, with digital offering the possibility of much more narrowly targeted programming. I don't think young people have ever spent as much time listening to material as they do today, but who knows what they will listen to in 20 years' time. My own instinct is for all the eccentricities, richness and passion of that village I was talking about.
* Julian Vignoles Now TV producer and formerly producer of live programmes and documentaries on radio:
You can be very creative on live shows, but people tend to remember the times you go out alone with a tape recorder. It's a bit like the baker who is appreciated for the wedding cake prepared for a special Saturday, but not for the everyday bread. There's plenty of creativity in simply knowing that the right person to get to talk about a particular story is so-and-so. Creativity is too often described in an elitist way. The highest praise we get in radio is when someone tells us: "I couldn't get out of the car".
Previous RTÉ:
Irish Times feature:

RNW note: Any thoughts on this. E-mail your comments.
2001-04-19: Boston radio host, Christopher Lydon, ousted from WBUR-FM after a dispute over his claim to have an ownership stake in "The Connection" could find an outlet with the Cape Cod stations affiliated to Boston's other public radio station WGBH according to the Boston Herald.
It reports that WGBH's vice-president for communications said that she would be interested if Lydon was producing a radio show that was available.
She ruled out WGBH itself because it is primarily a music station.
Lydon is now doing a weekly talk show, which goes out on the Internet and is aired on a few small radio stations.
Previous Lydon/WBUR:
Christopher Lydon web site
Boston Herald report:

2001-04-18: For the second week running the MeasureCast Internet Radio Index has shown a fall in the time spent listening to Internet audio, this time put down to the effect of the decision of many US broadcast stations to end their streaming because of the dispute over advertisement fees (See RNW April 11and April 17).
The Index for the week to April 15 was down nearly 5% on the previous week to 141 from the 148 for the previous week; it is now at February levels, having fallen more than 13% over the past two weeks.
The lowered presence of some previously high-ranked stations has also let into the top 25, ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL), a number of newcomers.
They include which took the sixth place, and Spanish/Salsa, Merengue Hits format LaMusica's El Zol in 20th place.
In the top 5, the list was largely unchanged, partly because ABC radio kept its streaming up longer than other stations, thus keeping WABC-AM in second place.
Top ranker MeasureCast seems to have benefited with a significant increase in listening but lower down there was a fall for both Internet-only Margaritaville and for Virgin..
The top five stations in the period ranked by TTSL were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP) in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 125,339 (114,447 ); CP 38,957 (34.248) - Position unchanged
2): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 51,039 (68,546); CP 10,957 (13,053 ) - Position unchanged.
3): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 47,804 (49,028); CP 9,521 (7,258) - Previously 4th
4):. Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 45,553 (61,241); CP 9,521 (9,550) - Previously 3rd.
5): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WK Undergroundradio TTSL 41,101 (29,025) CP 12,657 (9,710) - Previously 9th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings
MeasureCast web site:

2001-04-18: More on the digital and satellite radio front again.
First approval by the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of iBiquity Digital Corporation's AM IBOC DAB system as an ITU standard for digital broadcasting in the radio bands below 30 MHz.
The ITU recently also approved the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) system (RNW April 17).
iBiquity says that the ITU is also expected to recommend its FM system later this year.
Tests of the system are well under way and results are expected to be submitted to the US Federal Communications Commission this fall.
Ibitquity recently submitted results of tests in San Francisco to the FCC (RNW April 13).
On the satellite front though, the outlook continues to be less encouraging.
Sirius shares have fallen again after its special conference call (see RNW April 13); at the close yesterday, they were down to $8.98 compared to last week's $10 and a 52-week high of $60. This latest conference call was set up to counter problems after a first conference call early this month sparked of a major share price fall.
The main backstop for the company is its cash position - it has around $400 million in the bank, enough it says to carry it through to the middle of next year or even longer, depending upon its roll-out expenditure.
Rival XM's shares have done a little better -they closed yesterday at $6.21, up from $5.22 a week ago.
On the programme side, Premiere Networks has confirmed that XM is to take Art Bell's syndicated overnight show Coast To Coast AM although neither Premiere or XM has made any formal announcement.
Previous Art Bell:
Previous DRM:
Previous iBiquity:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM:
iBiquity web site:

2001-04-18: A follow up by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder to his item concerning the meanness at Viacom- Infinity's WUSN-FM, Chicago, notes that at least one other station in the city is taking the chance to have a dig at the station.
Greg Solk, programming Vice President at Bonneville International's WLUP-FM, attached a copy of the Feder column to a memo concerning his own station's Loopfest '01 rock festival in June.
He then continued with the memo saying that Bonneville wouldn't think of making their staff pay to get in.
"We have purchased enough tickets to accommodate the entire Loop staff as well as family and some friends," he wrote.
" If you can't make it due to other commitments, we understand, but LoopFest should be a great opportunity to spend time with our listeners and advertisers."
After which it seems slightly churlish to damn with faint praise another initiative involving Bonneville which is worthy in intent but which we found less so in execution so far.
This is the launch of Bonneville's (Bonneville owns WTOP-FM in Washington, DC), the first Local Media Internet Venture, of the partnership initiated by Emmis and also involving amng others Entercom, and Corus.
Maybe we were unlucky but it took a long time loading the site, which has positions for banner sales at the top, in the middle and on the bottom, all currently carrying national not local banners.
We saw only four advertisers and, although there was a variety of news content sections with smaller categories including specifics such as hi-tech, health, and local weather and charities, it was lacking any audio.
Instead, even though it is equipped with ad insertion technology, there is a message saying, "WTOP, like most Radio stations nationwide, has been forced to suspend online streaming due to a dispute between national ad agencies and unions."
"We are working very hard to find a way to legally restore our audio stream during the dispute. Until we do, we offer you the streaming audio of Federal News Radio/WTOP 2."
Previous Bonneville:
Previous Corus:
Previous Emmis:
Previous Entercom:
Previous Feder:
Previous audio streaming dispute:
Previous Viacom-CBS-Infinity:
Feder Sun-Times column:
WTOP web site:

2001-04-18: Full marks for effort but not for results for Panama City, Florida, non-commercial station WJTF-FM and its owners Joy Broadcasting who have been ordered to pay a fine of $3000 by the US Federal Communications Commission.
Joy had argued that the fine should not stand because, although it had violated technical regulations in 1998 a later check found it to be in compliance.
The FCC however ruled that the fine should stand because it related not just to the signal broadcast but also to "Joy's failure to make periodic calibrations of the station's monitoring equipment, to make equipment performance measurements upon the initial installation of a new transmitter, and to designate the station's chief operator in writing and post a copy of the designation with the station license."
Previous FCC:
FCC ruling:

2001-04-17: More digital and satellite radio developments: And first, UK Financial web site Citywire reports that GWR and UBC Media have linked up to launch what they claim is the world's first commercial digital radio data service, which they've called Digizone.
The service is to using digital radio's data capacity to provide a wireless news service from ITN as well as cartoons from the Cartoon Network.
UBC will be handling the design and implementation whilst GWR provides the spectrum.
And in Switzerland, the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) consortium of broadcasters and equipment manufacturers now has International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approval of its on-air system.
Plans are for it to be on the world market some time next year.
Finally, in the US, Sirius Satellite Radio has been holding a special conference call in an attempt to re-assure investors who have recently been dumping satellite radio stock (RNW April 13).
CEO David Margolese said during the call that receivers should be available in the fourth quarter of this year but admitted that only around 20.000 are expected to have gone to consumers by the end of the year.
Sirius now expects to launch its main marketing drive early next year.
Rival XM, which had been behind, now expects to have its receivers on the market in late September.
Previous DRM:
Previous GWR:
Previous Margolese:
Previous Sirius:
Previous UBC:
Previous XM:
DRM web site:
Citywire report:

2001-04-17: The BBC's first interactive radio play, "Wheel of Fortune" is being promoted on the radio 4 web site as a drama that offers "making 90 billion ways of listening from start to finish."
Written by Nick Fisher over a period of four years, it features a professor who specialises in probability, a computer programmer tired of the shoot-em-up games she is asked to create and a gambler.
Together they try to develop a system to win at roulette.
The play is to be broadcast simultaneously in versions on BBC radio 3 and 4 and on the Internet and is split into 23 one-minute segments.
At the end of a segment, the listener can continue to listen to the version they've already chosen or switch to one of the other two versions (thus making 3 to the power 23 choices in all for those with access to all three signals, or 2 to the power 23--some 8.4 million --for those with only a radio).
In his comment on the play, the author says," these characters are no longer under my control - they'll soon be under yours.
"You can gamble with the starting point of the story, the billions of possibilities during the progression of the action and of course with the ending."
"Naturally you'll never know what you're missing elsewhere...unless you come back and spin the wheel a few more times. Have fun."
The play was to have been transmitted this month but has now been held over until after the UK general election --the site invites those interested to "Come back soon for a special trailer of how the play will work on the web site."
Previous BBC
BBC "Wheel of Fortune" site.

2001-04-17: The US streaming audio conflict over extra fees for radio adverts carried on Internet streams has now seen the major broadcast players close ranks and cut off their streaming.
Howevert some stations have moved to advert-insertion technology and are back online.
According to, it has now moved many of its terrestrial broadcast clients onto its ad insertion technology with some of them running commercials and promos produced in-house using non-Union (AFTRA) talent and others running Internet-only promos.
Amongst those it says up and running are 47 Cox stations and Entercom stations in Boston and Seattle.
StreamAudio's site lists amongst its clients Clear Channel - which cut its streaming operations at the outset.
It also comments "Due to the economic issues involved, stations without the StreamAudio solution will likely be forced to abandon their sizable Internet audience." (RNW note - see comment below).
Amongst the major players, ABC Radio, which had continued to stream its talk stations(See RNW April 15), cut them off yesterday.
Its Chicago outlet WLS-AM carries a more comprehensive message than other sites.
It says, "Effective 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 16th, Newstalk 89 WLS -- along with all other ABC radio stations -- will temporarily suspend our live Internet broadcasts."
"ABC is rebuilding its Internet streaming infrastructure in order to handle all of the many Digital Rights Management issues that have emerged as Internet radio has developed."
"We are a leader in this area and take our leadership role very seriously. Our streams will be back when all of these issues have been resolved."
In New York, WABC-AM, which has been amongst the top-rated Internet stations since measurements began by both Arbitron and MeasureCast, carries a briefer note about the streaming dispute, which has the same core wording as KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KGO-AM and KSFO-AM, San Francisco, WBAP-AM Dallas; WJR-AM Detroit; WLS-AM Chicago; and WMAL-AM Washington.
This says, "WABC has temporarily suspended our live Internet broadcast while our streaming infrastructure is being retooled. We apologize for any inconvenience."
The New York site also adds a note about baseball rights (See RNW March 28).
This says, "Important announcement for New York Yankee listeners. Major League Baseball is now charging $9.95 a season, to listen the Yankee's over the Internet."
" will not be allowed to stream these games. If you can't listen to the games over the air on 770, you will have to go to the MLB web site, and sign up for this service, using RealAudio."
On its home pageWABC continues to promote its top ranking as an Internet streamer, with a link to MeasureCast's January rankings (RNW April 4) saying, "WABC still ranks #1 in the world in internet streaming by"
RNW comment: The whole dispute with AFTRA seems to us to be somewhat overblown, particularly as the amount at issue for an advertisement spot is only a tripling of the session fee
(The contract on the AFTRA site shows a fee of $220 for actors, announcers, solos and duos and then goes on, "Industry recognized the Union as exclusive bargaining representative for all performers employed in the production of commercials for use on the Internet.
Some key components of the new Internet provision:
A. Internet use of a commercial made for initial use on broadcast radio
* Producer may initiate Internet use for an initial term of one year for not less than 300% of the applicable session
* Producer may use Internet commercial for an extended 9 month period for an additional 300% but in no event shall use extend beyond the Maximum Period of Use (21 months)"

Our attitude seems to be shared by Radio and Internet Newsletter, which carries a screenshot of an ABC news item headed," Who grabbed my audio stream away from me" and which refers to AFTRA "now making demands for extra fees for the Internet."
In his comment, founder Kurt Hanson writes, "WABC's explanation, as shown in the screenshot above, seems a bit disingenuous."
"AFTRA is not "now making demands." The truth is, they successfully negotiated an increase in talent fees in arms' length negotiations with agencies last summer and signed the contract last fall."
"Perhaps it seems ridiculous that agencies would have agreed to quadruple the talent fees for spots that run on the Internet, but that's what they apparently did. Maybe they traded something else way for it. In any event, it would seem that AFTRA won its increase fair and square."
"It's actually the agencies that are primarily responsible for shutting down radio station streams. They (or their buying services) are the ones that have decided that they don't want to pay that extra one-time $600 expense to increase the reach of their schedules."
"And the secondary culprit might be the radio stations themselves, who for many months now have had the opportunity to acquire the technology that allows spots to be selectively stripped out of the broadcast stream and replaced with Internet-only spots...but chose not to do so."
" (Am I wrong? Am I missing something?")

Previous Audio Streaming dispute:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Cox Radio:
Previous Entercom:
Previous StreamAudio:
AFTRA site (carries links to contract summary):

Radio and Internet Newsletter: StreamAudio site:

2001-04-16: The US Radio Advertising Bureau says its annual NTR (Non-Traditional Revenue) survey shows that for nearly a fifth (18%)of responding US radio stations it accounted for between 11% and 20% of their income; 77% reported it as being less than a tenth of total revenue.
Event marketing was by far the largest NTR source with more than 90 per cent of respondents taking part in some form of event marketing with 95% of those offering sponsorships and nearly 90 per cent offering booth space or signage.
In addition more than two thirds of the stations had explored cause-related marketing activities.
Nearly two thirds of the stations responding were from markets with a population of less that half a million.
Gary Fries, President & CEO of RAB said," Radio stations will find ways to develop even more NTR business, reaching out to clients with innovative marketing solutions."
"The RAB is committed to helping Radio grow its revenue from these new streams."
Previous Fries
Previous RAB (US)
RAB web site:

2001-04-16: For this week's look at radio as seen in various publications, we decided to look at various issues of legality or illegality, indecency and what we might consider indefensible practices, particularly in view of the recent issuing by the US Federal Communications Commission of "guidelines" regarding its indecency regulations (RNW April 7).
The indefensible first and we can't find any "decent" - in the normal sense of that word - excuse for Infinity and their Chicago station WUSN-FM where staff were apparently told they had to turn up and work the crowd for a music fair the station was promoting -- and pay for their tickets. (RNW April 14).
There now seems to be some backing off but the instinctive reaction was to try and find the whistleblower not consider the merits of the original decision itself.
A clear case of behaviour we consider not decent but not one where any real sanctions can be applied apart from bad publicity and station staff with the backbone to do something themselves about the matter.
Next a report of a DJ who did just that.
In this case, as reported by the UK Guardian, breakfast presenter Graham Mack walked out of his programme at BRMB, Birmingham, UK, after an on-air row over an order from the station's controller to play Eminem's track "Stan".
Mack called the track "rubbish" and said, "I'm supposed to play Stan by Eminem. He's a bigot, he's a criminal, and he's on probation." (The US rapper was this week convicted of carrying a concealed weapon.) "
"Here we are playing this song, making him rich... The countryside's in a mess, and it's not looking good for people at places like Marconi (RNW note -UK company instituting large scale redundancies) - so I'm going to play Keeping the Dream Alive instead."
The programme controller Adam Bridge came on the phone and was heard on air saying, "Maybe I'm stupid, but I selected Eminem. I don't pay you for your opinion - just play the bloody song."
Mack let him know the conversation was going out live and then said, "I'm out of here - if you want it played, you bloody play it."
On to another pretty-well indefensible case to us, that of the Florida boar killing and castration case involving "Bubba the Love Sponge" which is due to come to court on April 23rd.
We don't wish to pre-judge the court case of charges of animal cruelty but certainly wouldn't disagree with the host when he spoke of doing "something distasteful"(RNW March 31).
The St Petersburg Times at the start of this month was rather harsher about the criminal side but also brought up the question of regulatory involvement in an editorial which said the Federal Communications Commission should be asking "why Bubba's bosses at Clear Channel Communications failed to stop the slaughter in their own parking lot."
It also comments that the trial, "could serve an educational purpose by giving the community a fuller picture of the inner workings of the lowest forms of the radio industry..... The boar had more dignity than any of the Homo sapiens involved in this outrage."
RNW comment: We'd agree with the second but not necessarily the first comment in the sense that we rather feel a better legal system would be for Clear Channel bosses to face criminal prosecution - and risk jail - as accessories rather than regarding it as a matter for broadcast regulation.
On the issue of regulation, the $14000 fine on Emmis's WKQX-FM, Chicago, over comments made on Erich "Mancow" Muller's show (RNW April 10), aroused comment along the lines of Voltaire's principles of defending not the comment itself but the right to comment.
This came from Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune who spoke of the FCC regulatory cure being worse than the Mancow offence.
"My instinct, " Johnson wrote, " is to support anything that brings trouble to Mancow Muller and morning-radio "zoo crews" everywhere."
" ……. No punishment seems too severe for Muller or the nation's legion of bad Howard Stern imitators, who think sniggering about bodily functions constitutes a radio show."
Thinking further, however, Johnson brings up his doubts. First he notes that Muller's "belligerent and megalomaniacal persona earns him a reported $3 million per year."
he says that in this light, "The $14,000 fine is chump change, about what WKQX pays Muller per broadcast. The sting is more in the notoriety."
Johnson continues, "much as I dislike Muller's show, I can't support the fine because it is based on faulty principles: that the public is incapable of protecting itself and that it somehow can, in a general way, be protected."
"…….. The answer is not the nearly futile gesture of outside regulation but the staggeringly profound one of personal education. It is the duty of citizens in a free society to learn who says stupid, ugly things and avoid that person -- and to teach their kids to do the same."
"I wouldn't tune in Howard Stern while driving a 10-year-old to school. But I'd hate to live in a place that prevented me from listening to Stern -- or Mancow -- on the way home."
RNW Note - as per our April comment,where we end upfavouring fewer but properly enforced regulations brought in after full public discussion we'd welcome feedback on the issue of regulations.
Previous "Bubba":
Previous Columnists
Previous FCC:
Previous Steve Johnson:
Chicago Tribune -Johnson:
St Petersburg Times site (search archive for radio):
UK Guardian report:

2001-04-15: Licence news and another fairly quiet week, with the most significant activity in the US, where the Federal Communications Commission, has levied a larger than usual indecency fine and gone ahead with another Low Power FM filing window after its rule changes concerning LPFM.
There was nothing of import in Australia or Ireland.
In Canada it was very quiet with almost the sole activity by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) relating to a licence amendment that follows Canada's new Community radio policy, which replaces licence conditions with a promise of performance.
In this regard, CFAI-FM Edmundston, in New Brunswick, has been allowed to change its type B community licence in line with the current regulations.
In the UK, the Radio Authority has for once only been active on the analogue radio front.
It has received four applications for the new FM licence for Rugby in Warwickshire.
They are from:
* Fosseway Radio (Jet Fm Ltd.), which proposes a community-oriented news and community information and pop music service.
*The Lion (Lion Radio Ltd.) Which proposes a full-service station mix of news and community information and adult music.
* Rugby Fm (Rugby Broadcasting Company Ltd.), which proposes a mix of news and community information and music, aimed at a 25-54-age range.
*Rugby 1 (Rugby On Air Co. Ltd.) which proposes a mix of news and community information and pop from the past 40 years.
The authority has also pre-advertised the local licences for
*Northampton - where the current FM licence is held by Northamptonshire Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (GWR Group plc), broadcasting as Northants 96 and the current AM licence is held by Classic Gold Digital Ltd., broadcasting as Classic Gold 1557
* Gloucester - where the current FM licence is held by the Cotswold Broadcasting Co. Ltd. (GWR Group plc), broadcasting as Severn Sound and the AM licence is held by Classic Gold Digital Ltd., broadcasting as Classic Gold 774.
In addition the authority has asked for public interest comment concerning the South & West Yorkshire regional FM licence where two of the 16 applicants are subject to a public interest test because the service would overlap with other services for which they already hold a licence.
The stations involved are:-
*106.2 The Rose; this controlled by The Wireless Group plc., which already owns The Pulse broadcasting in the Bradford and Huddersfield area.
*The Arrow, a subsidiary of Chrysalis Group plc. Chrysalis already owns Galaxy 105 in the area.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has combined its last two planned Low Power FM filing windows into one (RNW April 12) and, following its issuance of new guidelines concerning its indecency regulations (RNW April 7) has said it intends to fine Emmis $14,000 over offences concerning two episodes of the Mancow Morning Madhouse" show on WKQX-FM, Chicago (RNW April 10).
The FCC has also come under attack again from a dissenting note by Democrat member Gloria Tristani.
This time the issue was not indecency but the concentration of ownership.
At issue were rejections of three petitions to deny licence transfers and one informal objection to a licence transfer.
They involved stations in the Billings, Montana area; Topeka, Kansas area; Mt. Sterling, Kentucky; and the Parkersburg, West Virginia area.
Tristani accuses the Commission of not obeying its duty to ensure licence transfers serve the public interest but instead to allow transfers and then comfort itself on the basis it's done the same thing before.
In the cases at issue she notes that two of the four rulings cite a previous approval of a AMFM cases involving duopoly concentration of 82.6% of advertising in a market as justifying a decisions including the West Virginia decision which allows 83.7% concentration.
Tristani cites other examples and says that previous decisions to approve high concentrations do not justify allowing even higher ones.
In the Montana case she cites objections by Fisher Broadcasting, not on the basis of concentration, but on the basis that a sale to Clear Channel would result in an anti-competitive market because many of Fisher's top rated programmes are distributed by a Clear Channel subsidiary and it fears the contracts with it will be ended to allow the stations now owned by Clear Channel to air them.
The rulings, she writes," do not reflect a principled public interest analysis, nor is there any numerical limit to the percentage of advertising revenue share a single owner or a duopoly may possess."
"This approach is dangerously close to writing the public interest out of the statute."
Previous CRTC
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News
Previous LPFM:
Previous Tristani
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-04-15: More Internet streaming statistics, this time from Arbitron, which has, just released its January Webcast Ratings.
it has also announced that StreamAudio is now taking its service and has three stations in Arbitron's top 75, albeit the highest is at 43!
Arbitron ranks by Aggregate Tuning Hours (ATH - the sum total listening to a station by all listeners) and says that in January its figures show an ATH 17 million hours
(RNW note: In Average Quarter Hour figures, as used for broadcasting, that's about 5700 listeners in all for more than 2300 stations which allow Arbitron to access their server information).
Arbitron's rankings have some crossover with that of rival MeasureCast but also some striking differences, in particular as regards the ranking of classical music stations.
Its January top five are (December ATH in brackets):
1:Classical music ATH 727,400 (565,700)- Also 1st in December:
2: News Talk Information format WABC-AM, New York, ATH 310,700 (294,800) -Also 2nd in November:
3: Listener Formatted MediaAmazing ATH 251,600 (282,000) - Also 3rd in December: 4: Classical format KING-FM (Seattle) ATH 239,100 (199,700) - 6th in December:
5: Hot Adult Contemporary format Virgin Radio (UK) ATH 232,200 (203,300) - Also 5th in December.
The figures also reflect those of MeasureCast in showing an audience increase although MeasureCast has since shown a fall in its latest weekly figures RNW April 11and the next set of figures will be totally skewed by the decision of many US broadcast stations to stop streaming following a row over payment for advertisement spots ( also RNW April 11).
ABC Radio is the only major player to continue streaming, although it is streaming talk stations not music ones; amongst those who have virtually ended their streaming for the moment are Bonneville, Citadel, Clear Channel, Emmis, and Radio One Inc.
In the latest MeasureCast top 25, 14 stations were broadcasters including seven from ABC and Virgin.
In the Arbitron figures only eight were broadcasters, three of which are still streaming. They are two ABC talk stations plus Virgin from London.
The others, currently not streaming, are two ABC music stations, two Fisher Broadcasting stations and one Bonneville station.
At the heart of the row is an agreement last year with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists which agrees a triple session fee where advertisements made solely for broadcast are subsequently used on the Internet as happens in "passive" streaming of station signals.
Advertisements made for the Internet or both Internet and broadcast are covered by a different clause.
Previous ABC, America:
Previous Audio Streaming dispute:
Previous Arbitron Webcast Ratings
AFTRA site
(carries links to contract summary):

2001-04-14: A Florida Court has set April 23 as the date for the trial of radio host Bubba The Love Sponge, real name Todd Clem, on charges of felony animal cruelty charges, which could carry a sentence of up to five years in jail.
The charge follows a wild boar castration and killing stunt on Clear Channel's WXTB-FM in Tampa at the end of February.
Previous Bubba:
2001-04-14: A look at the end of the week at some of the business side of radio.
In the US, the pace of deals has slowed down but giant Clear Channel showed it was still in acquisition mode with the $17 million purchase of KXEW-AM, KTZR-AM & KOHT-FM in Tucson from Big Broadcast of Arizona.
The deal will give Clear Channel seven stations in Tucson.
In smaller deals, California-based religious radio group L-Love network operator Educational Media Foundation has paid Southern Entertainment Corp. $3.5 million for WKVE-FM, Semora, North Carolina, and Withers Broadcasting is paying $2 million to Union Broadcasting for WKIB-FM in Anna, Illinois.
On the reporting and prediction front, Entercom has lowered its projections for the first half of the year although it said it will still met its first-quarter target of after-tax cash flow of 33 cents a share.
Entercom had forecast first quarter revenues of $73 million and second quarter revenues of $103million; it has reduced the figures to $70 million and $97 million.
In a contrary vein to most broadcasters, however, Sinclair Broadcast Group is forecasting a better performance than previously advised.
It says its first quarter figures will be higher than the guide figure it had given of $148 million, which compared with pro-forma net broadcast revenues of $166 million in the first quarter of 2000.
In the UK, worries about a weaker advertising market continue to put pressure on radio shares.
Shares in Capital Radio , the country's largest radio group, are still well under half their peak of £19.37 and not that much above half their 52-week high of £12.90.
They had plunged to £6.50 in March after a profits warning (RNW Mar 23) and ended this week at £6.77:
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Entercom:
Previous Sinclair:

2001-04-14: Following in the wake of the row about Vatican Radio emissions and where the Italian government backed down on threats to cut power to the transmitters (RNW April 13), it has emerged that the US Navy has had to shut down two of its transmitters which were exceeding limits set under Italy's tough environmental regulations.
The transmitters were shut down in the hills above Naples along with ten other transmitters operated by local Italian stations.
They were used by the American Forces Network which relays US-radio broadcasts to US troops in Europe and were operating within limits set in an original agreement with the Italian Communications Ministry.
The Navy, which has been trying to move its transmitters for more than a year but is still awaiting permits, is to appeal against the closedown.
Previous Vatican Radio:

2001-04-14: From Chicago, an action by a station that RNW feels indecent, even if not in the sense regulated by FCC regulations.
It concerns what we would term "meanness" at the Viacom-owned Infinity Broadcasting top-billing WUSN-FM in Chicago (revenues $46 million last year) and a memo issued by WUSN programme director Justin Case.
According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times, Case has issued a diktat that all on-air employees of the station must attend and work the crowd at the George Strait Country Music Festival on May 26.
Bad enough in a sense if you aren't on duty that day and have something else to do but in addition the memo says the staff have to buy their own tickets although Case suggests staff might buy the cheaper $29.50 tickets.
Feder quotes Case as writing, "I'm sorry, but we are gonna have to buy tickets to see Strait this year. We are going to use all of our free tickets on air. ."
" . . We are still cutting expenses, and the tickets will be our only promotion to close out the spring [ratings] book."
Case's memo concludes, "I would expect most everyone to be up and walking around and NOT just watching the concert the day of this event."
Feder says Case, when called, confirmed the memo's content but then backtracked by saying, "I intend to reimburse anybody on my staff who works the show on behalf of US-99."
He also said of anyone who did not wish to attend, "If one of my staff members comes to me and says they don't want to go to the George Strait Country Music Festival, I understand."
"But I would hope that this being the most important country music event of the year that my staff would want to be there. If somebody doesn't want to work that show, they can talk to me about it."
As Feder says, "this isn't about some dinky little radio station nickel-and-diming its employees. It's a lot scarier."
"Earlier this year, US-99 was forced to fire its veteran morning personality, Ramblin' Ray Stevens, because it couldn't afford to keep his salary in the budget."
"Then, a few weeks later, the station hired him back as afternoon host for considerably less money."
"If that's the way it is at one of Chicago's top radio powerhouses, how much worse can it be at one of the losers?"
And the reaction to reports of the memo from the station?
Feder reports that "bosses called a meeting and angrily threatened to fire the source who leaked a management memo to this column."
Previous Feder
Previous Viacom
Feder Sun Times report:

2001-04-13: The Italian government has backed down for the moment from a confrontation with the Vatican over radiation from its transmitter complex in Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome.
The complex is alleged to have been the source of cancers and leukaemia in the area and Italy's environment minister Willer Bordon had set a deadline of next Tuesday for the Vatican to meet Italian regulations, the most restrictive in Europe, or have power to the complex cut off.
Bordon has now been over-ruled by Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, and the deadline has effectively been extended.
The Vatican had already said it would reduce its AM transmissions from the complex although it is planning to continue short-wave and FM transmissions without change (RNW April 11 ).
Previous Vatican Radio

2001-04-13: US satellite radio companies which a short while ago raised more than $430 million from sales of shares now seem to be able to do nothing right for the shares although their technical problems are being cleared up.
Sirius sold shares in early March for $21 and since then they have fallen to below a third of that although they have since rebounded a little and ended Wednesday approaching $10.
Sirius' woes stemmed in part from their admission that problems with their chip, which had been fading out the signal, meant they would not make their target of going on air by summer of this year.
The problems, which were holding up a $150 million line of credit from Lehman Bros., have been resolved and the credit has been released but the delay has meant a significant loss of confidence in the company.
Amongst those hit as well as shareholders is US National Public Radio, which is to produce two channels specifically for Sirius.
Staff working on the channels have been told that production will be scaled back until Sirius sets a firm date for its service launch and that efforts will be made to place the 17 staff in other positions in NPR. Until the chip problems, Sirius had seemed ahead of rival XM, whose first planned launch was aborted at the last moment (RNW Jan 10 ), well after Sirius satellites were in orbit.
Then Sirius admitted that so far no major automakers have yet ordered any of the receivers, hitting hard confidence in the company's plans which depend on targeting the automobile market as a first step (See RNW April 4).
Sirius has alliances to install three-band (AM/FM/SAT) radios in Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes, Mazda, Jaguar and Volvo vehicles as well as Freightliner and Sterling heavy trucks.
Meanwhile XM, which had seemed behind, has now successfully launched its first satellite (See RNW Mar 19) and its second is due to launch on May 7.
It has also already begun shipping sample chips to manufacturers and says it expects to start its commercial service and have receivers be ready in stores and as an option on some Cadillac models by late September.
XM has additionally just announced a tie-up with custom-truck maker Peterbilt to have receivers in some of their vehicles by the fourth quarter this year.
XM, whose investors include General Motors, American Honda Motor Co. Inc., and Clear Channel Communications, earlier this week it declared a regular quarterly dividend on its 8.25% Series B Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock.
The dividends are payable in shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock at a rate of $1.0313 per share of Series B Preferred Stock.
That stock has fallen nearly as hard as Sirius's -- from the $10 at which it raised $200 million.
It dropped to around 40% of that, although it has again risen and finished Wednesday at $5.22.
Both Sirius and XM plan to charge around $10 a month for subscriptions to 100 channels of commercial-free or mainly commercial-free channels and are into heavy front-end costs.
Estimates are that XM needs some 5.5 million subscribers at that figure to break even, and Sirius, which has spent more, needs around1 to 1.5 million more than that.
Once past the break-even point though, costs go up little but income rises steeply meaning that if they can keep going and if there is a take-off in subscribers, the rewards for both companies will be large.
Previous US NPR
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM:
Sirius web site:
web site
2001-04-13: More digital developments, this time in the US where iBiquity Digital Corporation says San Francisco tests of its system show it to outperform analogue signals there.
Ibiquity has submitted to the Federal Communications Commission the results of the tests of its IBOC digital broadcast system.
It says they demonstrated more reliable reception of better audio quality than current FM broadcasts.
Ibiquity says that San Francisco is the most challenging urban area for radio broadcasts in the US because of the mountains that surround the city and reflect analogue signals.
Ibiquity President and CEO Robert Struble said the tests together with previous tests in Las Vegas (see RNW Jan 9) and Washington, DC, clearly demonstrated, "the superior performance of the IBOC technology in real-world environments."
He added that the tests continued the move "toward the selection of our IBOC system as the digital radio standard for the United States."
Previous Ibiquity:
Previous Struble
iBiquity web site:

2001-04-12: The US Federal Communications Commission has announced its last Low Power FM licence application filing window in which it has consolidated its planned fourth and fifth filing windows.
The new window runs from June 11 through June 15, 2001 and the Commission is giving 60 days notice instead of the 30 days it previously applied because of the joining of the two windows.
The window is for LP100 stations (with 50-100 watts effective radiated power).
It applies to transmitters in the states and territories of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Guam, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
In its notice the FCC notes the changes it has had to make to meet congressional requirements, particularly those of adjacent third channel protection and the prohibition on anyone party to an application having engaged in any unlicensed radio operation in the past (See RNW Dec 19).
In addition the FCC says that it will be opening a "remedial" filing window within the next few months for those applicants in filing windows 1 and 2 whose applications violate the third adjacent channel requirements, which were not applicable when the applications were originally lodged.
Previous FCC:
Previous LPFM:
FCC News release:

2001-04-12: A Thai radio host has been shot and killed by gunmen as he was about to enter his office in Surat Thani, some 300 miles south of Bangkok.
Witayudh Saengsopit had until recently been under police protection following the placing of a hand grenade on the gate of his office.
It was not clear whether this was a threat inked to his reporting on alleged government corruption.
He was the host of a provincial radio station show, "Catch Up With The World, Catch Up With The Man."

2001-04-12: UK Capital Radio is selling two of its local stations to Carlisle-based newspaper and radio company CN Group Limited, as part of its strategy of concentrating on large stations in metropolitan areas.
The stations, Centre FM and The Bear, were acquired when Capital bought Fox FM and its subsidiary Bucks Broadcasting Limited.
After payments to shareholders who had minority interests in Bucks Broadcasting, Capital will be left with £3.63 million in cash.
Previous Capital Radio:

2001-04-12: The US Federal Communications Commission budget for 2002 will be increased by some 8% taking it to nearly $250 million for the 2002 fiscal year if Congress accepts President Bush's proposals for the organisation.
The increase totals $18.5 million taking the budget to $248.5 million and the FCC notes that some $7 million or nearly 40% of the additional money will go on mandatory salary and benefit increases or inflationary increases for services provided under outside contracts.
The other $11 million of the increase will go on replacement of computer equipment and various IT related expenditure that the FCC says will "create a more efficient, effective and responsive agency."
Previous FCC:
FCC News release (Links to 9.5Mb zip file - yes Mb - of budget proposals):

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2001-04-11: As if a generally weaker US advertisement scene, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) digital copyright case success, a fall in audiences in the last week (See MeasureCast ratings below) and general Internet woes were not enough, a decision by the AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) to enforce extra payments when adverts are streamed over the Internet has now led to many US radio stations killing their live Internet audio stream.
The AFTRA had negotiated the extra payments clause in their contract that came into force at the end of October last year.
It calls for minimum triple payments when advertisement spots originally recorded for radio are used on the Internet. - for a basic session the minimum union rate is $220 for an actor, announcer, solo or duo, and the triple fee allows use on the Internet for an initial year.
Advertisers and agencies, who would be responsible for paying the fees, told stations to block their spots causing many of them to pull the plug totally on their audio streams.
The action initially affected Los Angeles but has now spread.
Although some stations still streamed on the Internet many did not and those attempting to listen to streamed audio got messages such as the one from KBIG, "Due to recent issues regarding additional fees for the playing of radio commercials over the Internet, we have been forced to temporarily disabled our streaming of KBIG 104."
"We apologize for the inconvenience and we are working to find a solution to the problem as soon as possible, so that we can resume our webcast
Radio Business Report says that Clear Channel has now suspended all its Internet streams.
FMQB says not all are affected but quotes Clear Channel Internet Group CEO Kevin Mayer as telling the Hollywood Reporter, "It was a corporate decision that we're going to stop streaming everywhere, temporarily."
"There's way too much legal and financial uncertainty. For one, the AFTRA contract put very onerous conditions on us… Radio is a $15 billion industry. And Internet streaming is maybe $15 million. That's 1,000-to-1 in favour of traditional media, yet they're trying to have talent paid 300 percent on the Internet."
"And then there is the RIAA music-rights issue, and that's unresolved right now, too. We're going to resolve those issues and put them [the streams] back up, if it makes sense legally and financially."
FMQB also says ABC stations have suspended streaming, primarily for copyright reasons, but that some groups such as Cox are continuing to stream. Those attempting to listen to Clear Channel station audio get an initial message like that from KIIS saying , "Due to issues beyond our control, we have been forced to temporarily disable our streaming of 102.7 KIIS-FM. Click HERE to get more information ". There then follows the "the message, "Due to continuing uncertainty over rights issues related to the streaming of radio broadcast programming over the Internet, including issues regarding demands for additional fees for the streaming of recorded music and radio commercials, we and our advertisers are forced to temporarily disable our streaming. We apologize for the inconvenience of this interruption. We are working with both our advertisers and the Recording Industry Association of America to find a solution to those problems as quickly as possible so that we can resume our streaming."
Trying to listen to an ABC station gets a message such as that from KQRS ,Minneapolis, "92KQRS has temporarily suspended our live Internet broadcast while our streaming infrastructure is being retooled.
"We apologize for any inconvenience.
It then adds, referring to a talk show, which is unaffected, "You can listen to the KQ Morning Show 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via our live stream."
Streaming advertisement insertion companies such as Lightningcast and StreamAudio, whose technology would enable stations with automated advert insertion to change or remove adverts from Internet streams, are offering their systems as a solution to radio stations.
But many analysts suggest that stations who are already losing money on their Internet streams may simply cancel them for the foreseeable future.
Previous ABC, America:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Cox Radio:
AFTRA site (carries links to contract summary):

2001-04-11: After latest tests have confirmed that radiation from the complex exceeds levels permitted in Italy, Vatican Radio has said it will reduce transmissions from its transmitter complex at in Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome.
The complex is alleged to be linked with cancers and leukaemia.
The decision would involve cutting AM transmissions, which mainly go to Europe, from 14 hours a day to seven hours after Easter Sunday, April 15.
It would leave FM and short wave transmissions unaffected and a Vatican radio statement said it was "presumed" that the AM transmissions in horizontal waves were the reason why the broadcaster exceeded Italian limits.
The decision was announced just before Italy's Environment Minister Willer Bordon was to announce today the measures he proposed to take against the suggestion.
He had said that Italy would cut power to the transmitters (RNW Mar 17).
Previous Vatican Radio:

2001-04-11: For the first time since it was launched at the beginning of the year, the MeasureCast Internet Radio Index has shown a fall in the time spent listening to Internet audio.
The Index, which represents the trend in MeasureCast's Total Time Spent Listening measurement (TTSL), fell by 9% from 163 last week to 148 in the week to April 8.
In the top 25 stations ranked by TTSL, MeasureCast reported that ten had an increase in TTSL and 5 in Cumulative Persons, an estimate of the cumulative audience (CP).
In the top 5, the top three positions were unchanged but listening fell for all except Radio Margaritaville, which both moved up one in ranking and slightly increased TTSL although CP was down.
The top five stations in the period ranked by TTSL were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP) in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 114,447 (119,538); CP 34.248 (34,635) - Position unchanged
2): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 68,546 (77,010); CP13, 053 (12,784) - Position unchanged.
3): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 61,241 (64,725); CP 9,550 (10,044 ) - Position unchanged. 4): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 49,028 (46,533); CP 7,258 (7,590) - Previously 5th.
5): Adult contemporary KYSR-FM/Star 98.7, Burbank, California TTSL 36,545 (46,468); CP 3,536 (4,627) --previously 6th.
MeasureCast has also announced another addition to the roster of clients for whom it measures streaming audiences. It is to add WarpRadio Network, which provides streaming audio services for more than 540 terrestrial, and Internet-only radio stations.
Previous MeasureCast ratings
MeasureCast web site:

2001-04-10: Emmis Communications is facing a fine of $14,000 by the US Federal Communications Commission in connection with "indecent" broadcasts on WKQX-FM, Chicago in May of last year.
Emmis has 30 days to appeal or pay the fine, which relates to two broadcasts on Erich "Mancow" Muller's "Mancow Morning Madhouse" programme in March and May of last year.
The March complaint said that the host aired a telephone conversation with an adult-film actress who described in graphic detail the practice of "fisting" in which an entire hand is inserted into a sexual organ.
The May complaint concerned a pre-recorded programme segment in which three women discussed their sex life in general and oral sex practices in particular with the sounds of women moaning in the background.
Emmis had responded by saying that it had neither a tape nor transcript so could not determine whether the statements were actually made.
The FCC comments that, "After carefully considering the record before us, it appears that Emmis has wilfully and repeatedly violated our indecency rule."
"Emmis does not deny that it broadcast the material in question between 6 a. m. and 10 a. m."
"Each segment contains material that apparently describes sexual activities in patently offensive terms."
RNW note: Only last week (RNW April 7 ) the FCC released guidelines on its indecency rules which included examples which some commentators have suggested would not be out of place in a pornographic book or magazine.
Or indeed in a child molester's book of sick jokes in one case!

Previous Emmis:
Previous FCC:
Previous Muller:
FCC text file re fine:

2001-04-10: Australian radio profits in 1999-2000 at Aus$146.3 million (around US$80 million) were 36% up on the previous year according to figures just released by the Australian Broadcasting Authority. Revenues were Aus$737.5, a 16.1% increase and the number of stations operating increased from 226 to 240.
The Authority says that radio revenues are likely to "weather the advertising downturn better than television, whose profits in the same year were up more than 70%. "
It says revenue booked by the industry is already ahead of last year and that Austereo, which owns Triple M and 2-Day, expects to meet its prospectus forecast of a 12 per cent increase in revenue to $261.7 million for the year to June.
Previous ABA:
Previous Austereo:
ABA news release:

2001-04-10: The UK Radio Authority has just held a three-day strategy meeting to redefine commercial radio's social and public obligations, duty to play diverse music, and ensure local radio remains local.
The meeting was preceded by a speech to the Radio Academy's Music Radio 2001 Conference by Authority member Feargal Sharkey, who was formerly in the music business, and who told music industry representatives that their industry and radio, which were interdependent seemed to be doing "a fairly reasonable job of strangling each other. "
He said the radio industry was " currently facing what is likely to be the most radical overhaul of broadcasting legislation since the late 1980s - the new Communications Act," adding that the industry was reasonable in hoping for some relaxation of current ownership rules.
The Radio Authority, he said, had proposed that liberalisation go ahead and suggested what they felt was "a simple, straightforward and transparent principle....... in any local area there should be at least three separate owners of commercial radio stations plus the BBC"
Some operators he said wanted this to be reduced to two. This seemed reasonable on first sight but tit had a critical flaw in that businesses tended for profitability reasons to cluster around the middle ground.
The Authority's submission to the government had noted, "Our own research indicates that in de-regulated markets in the USA, increased concentration of ownership does not yield a genuine increase in diversity beyond mainstream formats, but produces similar formats with only minimal commercial differences."
The UK Guardian says of the Authority strategy meeting that it was "hard not to interpret this as a public body baring its teeth in exasperation at commercial operators."
The exasperation, says the paper, is over such issues as stations plugging their own CDs on air and cheating over "local" news, to the sudden spurt in requests to network programmes nationally - cutting costs overnight, but creating quasi-national computerised services.
The paper quotes Sharkey as saying the conference, "is about where to draw the line."
"Our task, " he says, "is to define local. It's a huge item on our agenda. What is local radio? Does it matter if the man in Glasgow listened to the same record at the same time as a man in London, sometimes it can be the same DJ."
Sharkey says consolidation of ownership does have its effect.
"Every time an independent station is bought up by a bigger operator," he comments, "the new owner is on the line to the authority, wanting to change the format."
He takes the view that, apart from the three national commercial licences, only a very small fee is paid for licences and thus it is reasonable to expect some public good to balance that.
Sharkey is concerned that FM networks are creeping towards acceptance of a situation where they network daily between 10pm and 6am, not just for the Sunday afternoon chart show.
"FM networks," he says, " are pushing to do less and less local programming."
"There's been gentle erosion. The usual request is: 'Can we network our programmes between midnight and 6am, no one's listening?' Are they being unreasonable? My fear is it spreads."
Sharkey also says that nearly three quarters of licence applications received outside London are for mainstream chart-based music so inevitably the licences issued are primarily mainstream.
He says it is an explanation for the growth in pirate radio.
"I think it tells you an awful lot about what people feel is being given to them, " he says.
He also criticised the BBC, particularly Radio 1's daytime pop output, sponsorship of its chart show, and DJs who are also paid by the music industry, commenting on the latter that it should be declared on the Radio 1 web site which DJ is linked with which record. (RNW note: Maybe some lessons to be learned from the Australian cash-for-comment controversy which resulted in the Australian Broadcasting Authority requiring stations to list on their web sites the sponsors of their hosts -- See RNW Mar 28, 2000).
Previous Radio Academy:
Previous Radio Authority:
Sharkey speech to Radio Academy's Conference:
UK Guardian article:

2001-04-09: A mix of the real and the distortion and perceptions of reality in this week's papers.
First a case of what is and isn't, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times which reports on the return to the Southern California local radio scene of MTV's Carson Daly.
Except that, like Larry Lujack when he returned to the Chiicgo airwaves in May of last year (RNW May 12), Daly was rather a long way away.
In the case of Daley, on most days he hosts his show from his New York home studio but his syndicated show is tailored to the stations that use it just as Lujack's show may have had a Chicago flavour but he was in his New Mexico home.
So just as national competitions have in the US in the past been made to seem as if they were local to a station, modern communications can enable the same "spin" to be put on almost anything.
The Los Angeles Times quotes Daly as saying that the emphasis is more about listener comfort than spin.
"We'd befools if we thought anybody believed I was sitting here in L.A. every day when they see me on MTV from New York," he told the paper.
Next a different kind of distortion but distortion nevertheless in a sense. It comes in the column of one of our favourites, Paul Donovan of the UK Sunday Times.
His column starts of by recalling a UK radio prank in 1998 when a mimic from Capital Radio rang the UK Prime Minister's office, mimicking the leader of the opposition so effectively that he was put through to the Prime Minister.
Except that in this case there was some double unreality about as the top-selling UK tabloid newspapers credited the phone call to the show's host, Steve Penk, whom the station was keen to promote.
It was in fact made, says Donovan, by "but a more obscure performer called Jon Culshaw."
The mimic involved is now on the air as various voices in BBC Radio 4's "Dead Ringers" which last month won the Broadcasting Press Guild award for radio programme of the year.
It is also a contender for a Sony award at the end of this month.
(RNW note: Dead Ringers is aired on BBC Radio 4 - see link in side panel - Fridays from 1730-1800 GMT, repeated Saturday's 1130-1200 GMT.
We regret it is not available on-demand on the BBC site although an interview and some impersonations are available on the site --links below)
Finally some perceptions, the reality behind which is yet to be discovered. It comes courtesy of Frank Ahrens "The Listener" column in the Washington Post.
Ahrens looks at the perception of radio amongst US students.
Unsurprisingly their main interest is in music and as the article notes, their sources for discovering new music are no longer just radio.
A small sample of students in a journalism class were polled and it turned out they listened to radio some 10 hours a week, around half the US national average.
As far as music was concerned, just under half of them said they still listened to the radio then bought tapes or CD's; the same number listened then downloaded using Napster-style services with the odd one relying on personal recommendations and another borrowing and copying CDs.
Mike Freedman, the veteran radio newsman and one-time general manager of CBS Radio News in New York who conducts the classes, says his students still value radio but another poll, more worringly for radio, showed a steep decline in student interest in the medium.
It was conducted by University of Southern California music industry professor Ken Lopez and first reported in "Inside Radio."
It showed nearly 20 times as many students, given the choice of Napster or radio, would take the latter, albeit the sample was small and the environment in which it was taken was not typical.
Previous Ahrens:
Previous Donovan:
Previous Columnists:
BBC Radio 4- web site -
Real Player audio of :-
*Culshaw interview
*Culshaw Audio Excerpts
Los Angeles Times report:

UK Sunday Times-Donovan:
Washington Post - Ahrens:

2001-04-09: UK technology group Imagination Technologies in conjunction with the Digital One commercial digital radio network have announced a joint venture, which hopes to bring the cost of receivers down to about a third of their current price.
Currently digital receivers in the UK cost upwards of some £300 ($400) but the new low-power low-cost chip could bring that down to around half that amount initially with a further fall later to under the £100 barrier.
Imagination Technologies web site:

2001-04-08: The main licence news this week concerned the US Federal Communications Commission, which changed rules concerning Low Power FM to meet the decision by the outgoing Congress (See RNW April 3) and issued guidance on its "indecency" policy (RNW April 7).
Elsewhere it was fairly quiet.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has allocated two new community radio licences.
One is for Werribee, Victoria, which has gone to WYN-FM, the sole applicant, which was already broadcasting under a temporary community broadcasting licence which expires on 30 June 2001.
Its service will provide programs on a wide range of local issues, news, information and music.
The other, also going to a sole applicant currently broadcasting under a temporary licence in Gellong, Victoria, has gone to Geelong Gospel Radio Inc.
In Canada, it has been very quiet. The main radio related decision from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was to approve by a majority vote the take over by Newcap Inc of Humber Valley Broadcasting Company Limited.
Newcap already owned a third of Humber Valley which is the licensee of radio stations CFCB Corner Brook and its transmitters CFDL-FM Deer Lake; CFNW Port-aux-Choix, CFNN-FM St. Anthony; CFSX Stephenville; CFGN Channel-Port-aux-Basques and its transmitter CFCV-FM St. Andrew's, Newfoundland; and CFLN Goose Bay and its transmitters CFLW Wabush and CFLC-FM Churchill Falls, Labrador.
Ireland was quiet and in the UK the main decision by the UK Radio Authority was the award of two digital multiplex licences.
That for the Southend & Chelmsford area of Essex went to the sole applicant, Now Digital Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the GWR Group plc. As well as carrying BBC Radio Essex, Now is offering 8 commercial services.
They are:
*Contemporary hit music Essex FM (provider: Essex Radio Ltd.)
*Gold Breeze (provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.)
*Classic and contemporary soul The Rhythm (provider: Digital Programme Services Ltd.)
*Dance music Provider: to be decided
*Easy listening Provider: to be decided
*Country music Ritz (provider: RMG plc)
*Music from the movies Flix (provider: Infinity Media Ltd.)
The other was the digital multiplex for the Aberdeen area of Scotland. This was awarded to Switchdigital (Scotland) Ltd. whose main shareholders are The Wireless Group plc., Clear Channel International Ltd., and Capital Radio plc.
It was competing for the licence against SCORE Digital Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish Radio Holdings plc.
Switchdigital was offering 8 commercial services in addition to carrying existing BBC 'national regional' service, Radio Scotland, and the Gaelic language service, Radio Nan Gaidheal, whilst SCORE was offering six commercial services.
The channels proposed by Switchdigital are:
*Classic soul - The Rhythm (provider: Digital Programme Services)
*Chart and club dance - Ministry of Sound (provider: Ministry of Sound)
* Modern, traditional and pop country - Ritz Country (provider: RMG plc)
*Easy listening - The Lounge (provider: The Wireless Group plc)
*Contemporary hit radio -Programme provider: to be confirmed
*Adult pop, sport, news - Programme - Provider: to be confirmed
*Waves radio - Provider: Waves Radio Peterhead
*NECR Provider: North East Community Radio Ltd.
On the analogue front, the Authority has awarded the new small-scale FM licence for Warminster, in West Wiltshire to Pride FM, which is backed by Salisbury-based Spire FM.
Pride is offering a community-focused, full service station.
It was competing against two other applicants, Warminster Community Radio, and White Horse radio, backed by Bath FM.
The Authority has also set out details of its proposed next steps for its Access Radio plans.
In particular it says pilots should be of as wide a range as practical, some should be directed towards specific communities not just neighbourhoods and they should replicate as much as possible the "approach, patterns and structures which we presently anticipate will govern permanent Access Radio."
"They should be operated as not-for-profit services, in defined neighbourhoods, with clear public service content remits."
They should also test a range of funding models, operate under licences which run only for a temporary fixed period and not interfere with the award of restricted service licences.
Previous ABA:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous GWR
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous Wireless Group:
ABA web site :

CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-04-08: A defamation lawsuit brought against Washington WOL-AM morning host Joe Madison by police officer Wayne Cheney has been dismissed by a Maryland judge.
The suit was instigated a year ago by Cheney, involved in a 1993 fatal shooting of a black driver who had been pulled over and was handcuffed in the front seat of a police car.
Cheney claimed that Madison's on-air comments, in which he was called "functionally illiterate", a "racist" and a "murderer." were meant to damage his income and reputation.
The judge ruled that Cheney could not prove, as required by law, malice in Madison's remarks.
Previous Madison/defamation lawsuit:

2001-04-08: US radio giant Clear Channel has now launched its Washington top 40 station, Hot 99.5, which on Friday evening replaced WJMO, the two years old Jam'n Oldies format.
Clear Channel still has to change the call letters and bring in its DJs.
Its main competitor in the top 40 field is the Bonneville-owned Z104 combo of WWZZ-WWVZ.
Clear Channel is also in the throes of last-minute work on its Monday launch of new talk station WTNT-AM, "Dynamite Talk", which replaces WGAY-AM but is on the former business radio frequency; the change was associated with a frequency swap with the former WGAY frequency now broadcasting WRC-AM business news. (See RNW April 1).
Dynamite Talk will launch with Don Imus in the breakfast slot; he has been switched from WTEM-AM, which is sports oriented.
Previous Bonneville:
Previous Clear Channel:

Previous Imus:
2001-04-07: The US Federal Communications Commission has reacted to criticism that it has not been clear enough about its indecency rules by issuing a policy statement on the matter, seven years after it was mandated to do so.
The 28 page (84kb PDF) statement includes some 13 pages of examples and separate statements on the document by Commissioners Susan Ness, Harold Furchgott-Roth and Gloria Tristani, who has been vociferous in her criticism of the Commission over what she sees as lax enforcement of its rules (See RNW March 29).
In its document, the FCC notes that, unlike obscenity, which the US Supreme Court has ruled not to have protection under the free-speech first amendment to the US constitution, indecency regulations only apply between 6AM to 10PM when children are felt more likely to be in the audience.
The basic definition used by the FCC is that to be considered indecent, broadcasts have - within a context, to both be "patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium" and also "must describe or depict sexual or excretory organs or activities."
The FCC says, "The more explicit or graphic the description or depiction, the greater the likelihood that the material will be considered patently offensive."
"Merely because the material consists of double entendre or innuendo, however, does not preclude an indecency finding if the sexual or excretory import is unmistakable."
Of the three statements, Furchgott-Roth's says that in his judgment "as alternative sources of programming and distribution increase, broadcast content restrictions must be eliminated."
He adds," In my view, the bases for challenging broadcast indecency has been well laid, and the issue is ripe for court review."
Ness, whilst not dissenting from the statement, clearly feels that broadcasters are not currently being responsible enough.
She writes, "Understandably, the public is outraged by the increasingly coarse content aired on radio and television at all hours of the day, including times when children are likely to be listening or watching.
"The flood of letters and e-mails we receive reflect a high degree of anger."
Noting that the FCC has to strike a difficult balance between stopping indecent material and preserving freedom of speech, she later adds, "Release of this Policy Statement alone will not solve the festering problem of indecency on the airwaves."
"However, it is entirely within the power of broadcasters to address it -- and to do so without government intrusion."
"It is not a violation of the First Amendment for broadcasters on their own to take responsibility for the programming they air, and to exercise that power in a manner that celebrates rather than debases humankind."
"It is time for broadcasters to consider reinstating a voluntary code of conduct."
"I encourage broadcasters, the Bush Administration, and Congress swiftly to resolve any antitrust impediments to such action and move ahead."
As would be expected, Tristani dissents from the document and wants firmer action.
She writes that she dissents because "the Statement creates a false impression that it satisfies an obligation assumed by the Commission in 1994"; "perpetuates the myth that broadcast indecency standards are too vague and compliance so difficult that a Policy Statement is necessary to provide further guidance." She adds, "Most importantly, this Statement diverts this Agency's attention and resources away from the ongoing problem of lax enforcement, which is a pressing concern of America's citizens."
She also writes, "No factual basis exists for concluding that confusion about the standards or overreaching enforcement by the FCC requires this Statement."
"Moreover, I am aware of no rush of inquiries by broadcast licensees seeking to learn whether their programs comply with our indecency case law."
"In the absence of such requests, this Policy Statement will likely become instead a "how-to" manual for those licensees who wish to tread the line drawn by our cases."
"It likely may lead to responses to future enforcement actions that cite the Statement as establishing false safe harbours."
Previous FCC:
Previous Ness:
Previous Furchgott-Roth: Previous Tristani:
FCC news release (has links to statements, details of various complaints and full statement):
Full statement (pdf):

2001-04-07: The White House has announced its preferred nominations for the three US Federal Communications Commissioner posts that are vacant.
They are Republicans Kevin Martin, a former aide to outgoing commissioner Harold Furchgott-Roth, Kathleen Abernathy, a lobbyist for the Broadband Office and Democrat Mike Copps, a former assistant secretary of commerce in charge of trade. The nominations will not be sent to the Senate for confirmation until the FBI clears all the names.Another Commissioner Gloria Tristani is due to leave and the House Democratic leadership has backed Andy Levin, counsel to Michigan Democrat Rep. John Dingell for this post.
Previous FCC:

2001-04-07: Two items regarding some of the potential benefits of digital radio, one concerning broadcast digital and the other Internet audio, caught our eye.
First from the UK Daily Telegraph is a strong promo for digital broadcasts, which it says "should banish poor sound quality and limited choice."
It then says "but the radio industry is praying that it will usher in a new era for radio."
Extra choice and better quality is obviously a potential benefit for all listeners but the "new era" does seem to have more to do with marketing and money than what might actually be wanted.
The paper says, "digital radio receivers will have screen displays allowing consumers not just to receive sound, but web pages, games, pictures and MP3 files."
"Digital radio receivers will soon be built with storage too, which will let consumers record, rewind or fast forward programmes. It could even be possible to buy goods from your radio."
RNW comment - and as so much radio is listened to whilst driving we can't quite work out how you can use all these facilities whilst concentrating on driving safely.
The article then asks if digital radio in the UK is finally ready to take-off after six fallow years following the BBC's first digital broadcasts of Radio 5 live in 1995.
The receivers are becoming cheaper, smaller and more powerful, albeit still with a way to go before a real mass take-up.
In addition the roll out of commercial digital licences is going ahead fast as UK regulations give licence renewal preference to analogue stations, which have arranged digital carriage within their region.
In addition many existing stations see digital as a way of offering new services and gaining a new market. In particular the potential for many more channels.
Even if the numbers are more limited than those of Internet audio channels, the distribution channel is much more robust and extra channels mean that there is the possibility to run niche stations which would just not have a chance on the more limited FM spectrum.
Examples given on the commercial radio side are OneWord, a UK literature and arts channel, Core, a station that plays the latest clubbing music aimed at teenage girls, Life Digital Radio, an adult contemporary station that appeals to middle-aged listeners, and two channels on the MXR consortium offerings - Fun, a children's channel and Urban Flava dedicated to hip hop and R'n'B.
On the BBC, all existing channels will be on digital plus new channels such as an arts and literature offering, an Asian channel and a Black station. (See RNW Sep 29).
But for the commercial side, it's not just the extra channels capability which is appealing but also the fact that it broadcasts data and, if linked with a return signal such as that from a mobile phone, can also be interactive.
This means the possibility for the receiver not only to add display screens but also to allow a push-button decision to buy a record just heard on the radio or goods or services being advertised, including the ability to download digital services such as video games.
Matthew Honey, managing director of Unique Interactive, the technology arm of UBC Media, said: "This really is where the opportunity lies."
"Traditional radio broadcasters are suddenly realising the potential of a whole new source of revenue."
Apart from advertising, he argues, radio now has the potential for e-commerce. Like television, it may even have the ability to charge consumers a subscription fee for a package of programming. (RNW note - as the US satellite radio services are planning).
The second report, also linked to the UK but taken from the Los Angeles Times, concerns Virgin's Radio Free Virgin, which has just released a version of its software which can make digital recordings of its webcasts.
The practice of allowing this has been eschewed by most Internet audio players, worried by the potential costs of a lawsuit as Napster has found out in its legal battle with the RIAA - Recording Industry Association of America (RNW Feb 17).
In Virgin's case it has limited the capabilities of its player so that no copies can be made and in effect all that is allowed is a time-shift of the programme.
RFV has a non-interactive Internet broadcasting service licence and its software saves the files in a scrambled form.
They can only be played back on the computer on which they were recorded, will include any "hits" on the signal when it was first recorded and the software only allows a straight replay of the signal - no fast-forward or rewinding and no skipping back or ahead to repeat a particular song.
In addition they are currently recorded in an uncompressed format; they may keep the near-CD quality but they also take up masses of hard drive storage.
Other companies are also taking this scrambled signal route, including some of the music companies.
Three major label groups--Warner Music Group, BMG and EMI--announced this week that they will make most of their songs available soon through subscription radio or downloading services.
Their plan, in association with Real Networks, is to scramble the signal so that there are limits on copying such as burning onto CDs.
The partnership with Real was only one of three Internet and music industry related agreements announced this week, which also saw the launch of MSN Music by Microsoft.
Sony Music and Universal Music have said they plan to make their songs available on a subscription service through Napster.
The Sony-Universal plan is to be launched in the US first then Europe but no date or prices has yet been released.
Songs would at first be available for streaming and eventually for download but not, to start with at least, in a form which would enable copying to a CD.
The companies have also said they may ensure that the downloaded songs are no longer playable when a subscription expires.
In addition, MTVi and VH1, subsidiaries of Viacom Inc., and music distributor,, have said they have licensed thousands of songs from the major record companies to sell for download, for about $1 to $2 for singles and about $12 to $19 for full albums.
Previous BBC:
Previous MXR
Previous RIAA/Napster:
Previous UBC:
Previous Virgin:
Los Angeles Times report:
UK Telegraph report:

2001-04-06: The US Federal Communications Commission has fined Criticasters, (Clear Channel) $25000 for taking control of WBTJ-FM Hubbard-Youngstown, Ohio, without getting regulatory approval. Clear Channel used a state court to enforce a Local Marketing Agreement thus denying the licensee control of programming.
Under a restraining order obtained by Citicasters, the licensee, Stop 26-Riverbend, had to get prior approval of a state court to pre-empt programming which Citicasters provided under a under a time brokerage agreement.
The FCC found that this effectively " precluded the licensee from exercising its right to substitute programming of greater local or national importance or that better addressed the needs and interests of WBTJ" and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability to which there was no response.
RNW comment: Maybe FCC chairman Michael Powell has a point over his suggestion of fewer regulations but more effective penalties.
$25,000 is peanuts to Clear Channel so either the matter is not important enough to be regulated, in which case regulation should be removed or it is important enough for regulations to be applied.
In that case offenders should risk suitably deterrent penalties such as massive fines or removal of licences or both. Or maybe the same kind of penalty as is applied to former pirates under LPFM regulation - not allowed to hold a licence at all. That would be effective!
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous FCC

2001-04-06: An intriguing report in the Boston Globe on Massachusetts Institute of Technology's community radio station WMBR-FM now coming up to its 40th birthday.
It officially began as 10-watt WTBS-FM on April 10, 1961, as the 10-watt mono, although the station had existed since 1946 when it began life as WMIT-AM, a campus only station.
The call letters WMIT were already taken by a North Carolina station so when it sought a licence, it settled for the call sign WTBS - Technology Broadcasting System.
The choice was serendipitous, as some 17 years later in 1978 when it was granted a Class A licence the station did not have the funds to upgrade its transmitter to the permitted 200 watts.
However in Atlanta Ted Turner did and he wanted the call letters for his own station.
Legally they couldn't be sold but two donations, each of $25,000, got him the letters and the station a new transmitter in 1979.
As the paper then reports, it "upped its power and changed its name to WMBR. (Officially ''Walker Memorial Basement Radio,'' where the tiny station is located. Unofficially, it's ''We Make Boston Rock'' or a dozen other acronyms, including ''We Might Be Radio.'').
When it had first started the station was only part time and carried items such as interviews with scientists; As WMBR, though, it is best known for its pioneering rock activities, which it carried through from the output of then WTBS in the mid to late seventies.
Henry Santoro, news director for the WFNX-FM network of stations said, "''WMBR allowed me the opportunity to do news for a rock and'n' roll audience."
During the early 80's as news director for 'MBR's ''Late Riser's Club,'' he covered events ''that were totally geared toward punk rockers: drug-related, sex-related, rock 'n' roll-related stories, and stories of protest.''
Boston Globe report.

2001-04-05: A serious battering hit US satellite radio stocks as investors began to doubt whether either Sirius or XM satellite radio would hit their launch dates (See RNW April 4).
Sirius stock was most headily traded at nearly five times the normal 900000-share trade volume and fell the most, by 35%, albeit on a day when all stocks were being hammered.
XM was also heavily traded at around twice its normal 800000 volume and fell by 29%.
Previous Sirius & XM

2001-04-05: Research commissioned by the UK Radio Academy, a non-profit making body that promotes the radio medium, argues that the current UK audience research practice of setting the lower age cut-off for radio audiences at 15 is now out of date.
The age was set in 1973 by the predecessor to the Radio Joint Audio Research organisation (RAJAR) that currently provides UK radio audience figures.
The research from National Opinion Polls (NOP) points out that 10-15 year olds now often have computers, television sets, and internet access in their bedrooms and says their buying power is poorly understood.
The research was conducted in schools and via the Internet and shows that many "tweenagers" are disappointed by the radio available to them although Clive Dickens, former head of programmes at Capital Radio, says the station has a million listeners under 15.
He thinks the research signals a need for radio to change the "adult" definition to now start at 12 not 15 thus allowing advertisers to target youngsters whereas at the moment the official figures give no indication how many of them are listening.
Some countries already have a younger age definition -- in Australia, radio defines adults as listeners of 10+, and in France the figure is 12+ and the idea has gained widespread support in the UK radio business.
This has come not just from UK stations with high "tweenager" audiences such as Capital and Kiss FM but also from stations associated with older ones such as Jazz FM and Classic FM.
Capital is already making some moves in this field, particularly in Internet radio, which many of the youngsters will seriously challenge, conventional radio in the future.
It has just announced three syndication deals for online radio through Capital Interactive, its online arm.
In each case it has teamed with a partner, and Capital says "stations have been specifically matched to the profiles of the partner sites, combining radio, retail and editorial elements to provide niche music entertainment for the target audiences. " The sites involved go live on April 9th but are already available on Capital's music site.
They are:
* ATK13. com, which offers up-tempo and hard-edged music and is being syndicated to youth e-mail service;
* which offers women's classic pop and is syndicated to women's magazine site;
* and urban R&B and soul which is syndicated to
Previous Capital Interactive:
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous RAJAR:
UK Radio Academy site:

2001-04-05:The Baltimore Sun reports that Friends of Baltimore Public Radio, which includes local talk show host Marc Steiner, furniture-store owner Gary Levine, and Martha Rudzki, WJHU-FM's marketing director, are trying to raise the money to purchase the station from John Hopkin's University.
The University recently said it was interested in getting someone else to purchase or run the station (RNW Mar 18) and likely bidders according to the paper are Maryland Public Television, Minnesota Public Radio's parent company, Boston University's WBUR-FM and WAMU-FM, owned by the American University in Washington.
The last two do not receive subsidies from the universities but have generated more original programming that in turn has brought in greater revenues.
Steiner, who hosts a weekday talk show on WJHU says he does not feel personally threatened by the change but wants to create "a station that is locally controlled by a community-based, non-profit organization."
The likely price for the licence is $5 million or so, according to the paper.
A successful bid by a local organisation would mirror the success of the Friends of KUNC in taking over KUNC-FM in Greeley, Colorado, when the state university there decided to dispose of it. (RNW Mar 3)
Previous WJHU:
Baltimore Sun report:

2001-04-04: More moves on the satellite radio front as Sirius Satellite Radio announces that it has begun shipping samples of the eight chips developed for it to manufacturers.
This leaves it well behind rival XM Satellite radio which at the end of March announced that manufacturer STMicroelectronics N.V. had completed the chipset fabrication process and shipped production design chips to XM's radio manufacturers.
XM now says it is ready for mass supply in time for its launch this summer whilst Sirius expects to ship commercial quantities of its chips in the fall.
At Sirius's first quarterly conference call for Wall Street analysts on Monday, CEO David Margolese did not commit himself to a firm start date for supplying the 100-channel digital audio service to consumers although he noted that analysts had been making 2001 financial predictions based on a September service launch.
Both the satellite radio companies are hoping to have receivers installed in new automobiles as standard equipment but Margolese said Sirius is still negotiating with its automaker partners on this matter.
Sirius has forged links with Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes, Mazda, Jaguar and Volvo vehicles as well as Freightliner and Sterling heavy trucks whilst XM is linked with General Motors.
Both hope to have receivers in some 2002 models but there are potential problems over how far they have reached the standards required by the automobile manufacturers for original equipment as these are usually more demanding than those for receivers sold to be retro-fitted.
Previous Margolese:
Previous Sirius:

Previous XM
Sirius web site:
web site
2001-04-04: Another increase, in the MeasureCast Internet Radio Index in the week to April 1, but only by 1.7% compared to 8% for the previous week, taking the increase in the total time spent listening (TTSL) to the stations measured by the organisation since January to 63%.
In its weekly rankings by TTSL, gospel stations and Spanish format LA Mega fell down the rankings with four music stations plus one talk radio station in the top five. 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 had one or more listening sessions lasting five minutes or longer)- in brackets)
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 119,538 (97,322); CP 34,635 (29,180) - Position unchanged.
2): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 77,010 (76,360); CP 12,784 (12,491) - Position unchanged.
3): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 64,725 (63,650); CP 10,044 (9,410) - Position unchanged.
4): CHR/Top 40 WPLJ-FM, New York TTSL 47,945 (45,681); CP 3,717 (3,627) - Previously 7th.
5): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 46,533 (44,331); CP 7,590 (7,193). Previously 8th.
MeasureCast has also released its monthly top 50 report for March.
The top five were (with February's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP) in brackets where applicable.)
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 429,366 (327,649); CP 34,635 (33,125) - Previously 2nd.
2): Talk Radio WABC-AM (New York) TTSL 344,736 (327,649); CP 35,907 (33,125) - Previously 1st.
3): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 277,652; ; CP 25,613 - Previously not listed.
4): Spanish format La-Mega-WSKO (New York) TTSL 243,821 (236,631); CP 30,470 (31,972) - previously 3rd.
5): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 199,437 (183,524); CP 20,365 (22,389). Previously 4th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:

2001-04-04: The plan by US Major League Baseball to charge for Internet broadcasts of its games (See RNW Mar 28) - and, as it turns out, to prohibit radio stations streaming their own commentaries - is beginning to arouse opposition from both fans and radio stations.
In Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reports that WBAL radio says it still plans to offer its play-by-play cover of the Orioles for free on its web site.
Jeff Beauchamp, vice president and station manager for WBAL told the paper, "You're going to be able to listen to the Orioles on opening day on, come hell or high water."
"This latest deal is just another example of Major League Baseball not being able to get out of its own way when it comes to making decisions."
"In order for them to do what they're saying, it means they're going to just take our signal."
"They want us to just give it to them for nothing." "This is baloney. We pay for play-by-play announcers and pay the production costs."
"If they want to go out and hire a play-by-play crew and put them in 30 Major League Baseball stadiums around the country, then I have no problem with it. But to just take our broadcasts isn't right."
Jim Gallagher, a spokesman for Major League Baseball Advanced Media told the paper radio stations are being treated fairly, commenting," "The local advertising will still be on our feeds, and there are costs associated with audio Webcasts that individual stations will no longer have to bear."
He said MLB had tried to "price what we feel is valuable content in a very affordable way. We're talking about pennies a game. For the price of less than a seat costs, you get all the games."
Both MLB and Real Networks are offering the games but on a different basis and both are including "goodies" to reduce the sting of the charge.
Gallagher said the $9.95 fee will give fans access to roughly 4,000 home and away audio feeds and they will also get a $10 gift certificate from baseball's online store.
"We're looking at it that we're giving away the subscription for free, when you factor in the value of the coupon," he said. "We've been highly sensitive to the pricing."
RealNetworks is charging $4.95 per month for Webcasts of all baseball games, with a minimum commitment of six months, an upfront charge of $29.70.
It is including "synchronized statistics" during the Webcasts, which means fans can watch stats pop up in windows as the game is broadcast, and a copy of the company's RealPlayer Plus software - which retails for $30.
Previous Major League Baseball:
Baltimore Sun report:

2001-04-03: Radio station troubles in Europe have marked the beginning of the month.
In Greece, the government has started to cut off transmitters for many of Athens' private radio stations, which it says could interfere with flight operations at the capital's new international airport.
The power was cut to the transmitters on Mt. Hymettus, above the capital.
In all around 60 of the city's 100 FM stations are to be closed down in connection with Wednesday's start of regular operations of the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.
And in Italy, demonstrators protested on Sunday outside Vatican Radio in opposition to its transmitter complex in Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome, which is alleged to be linked with cancers and leukaemia (See RNW Mar 17).
In all several hundred people took part in the demonstration, carrying an effigy of the Grim Reaper perched on a mock radio tower. The black-robed figure had a crucifix in one hand and a scythe in the other.
Previous Vatican Radio

2001-04-03: The US Federal Communications Commission has now modified its low power FM (LPFM) service rules in accordance with the changes required by Congress (RNW Dec 19).
In particular the changes concern requiring third -adjacent channel protection (+/- 600 kHz to the proposed LPFM station frequency) and the requirement to bar a low power FM licence to any applicant who has been involved in any manner in the unlicensed operation of any station in violation of FCC rules.
The Commission has also begun work on independent testing to determine the impact of LPFM stations that operate without providing third adjacent channel protection to full-service FM and FM translator stations.
The FCC is involved in a five-part national filing window for 100-watt LPFM station applications and has opened three windows, covering thirty states.
The changes ordered by Congress have meant that 653 LPFM applications that would have been acceptable are now ineligible because of the requirement for third adjacent channel protection.
A few of these stations may gain relief under rules introduced governing permissible minor amendments to applications.
These allow transmitter sites to be re-located up to 2 Km for 100 watt and up to 1 Km for 10-watt stations, moves which the FCC says it recognises "will provide little relief to many of the newly short-spaced proposals."
The FCC has ruled out allowing minor frequency changes because it says the technical considerations of so doing would make matters much more complicated and thus delay the introduction of LPFM. As far as non-technical changes are concerned, the Commission is to bar the filing of any amendments that would improve an applicant's comparative position after the close of the pertinent filing window but does not plan other restrictions.
In his statement on the move, FCC chairman Michael Powell says, "This action will enable us to move ahead and grant construction permits to eligible LPFM applicants who meet the standard for protecting third adjacencies, the same level of interference protection currently required for full power stations."
"As these stations are built out, we will work with the new LPFM licensees and broadcasters to ensure the continued integrity of existing broadcast services, while providing new opportunities for community based programming."
The emphasis on moving ahead with LPFM is not fully accepted by all the FCC members.
Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth issued a dissenting statement saying that, although he supported the move to bring rules in line with Congress's requirements, the Commission should not have moved ahead speedily.
He says it should have issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking calling for public comment on the planned changes and should also should have suspended its current LPFM requirements as it examines the meaning of the statute.
Previous FCC:
Previous LPFM :
Previous Powell:
Previous Furchtgott-Roth:
FCC News release (links to order plus Powell and Furchgott-Roth statements).

2001-04-03: The UK Daily Telegraph reports that an English radio station's April Fool joke came too close to a potential disaster for comfort.
The DJ on Southern FM in Brighton said that a replica of the "Titanic", built by a company called AFD (April Fools Day) would be seen off Beachy Head, in West Sussex, and hundreds of listeners went for a look.
While they were on the cliff top, a five-foot (1.5m) crack appeared in the 400-foot (130m) cliff face and local council officials and coastguards ordered them to leave and cordoned off the area.
A coastguard spokesman commented, "This has not only caused us a lot of problems but it has also put the public at risk. "The cliffs at Beachy Head are notoriously dangerous at any time but today they are shrouded in fog and we have identified a large crack in the face of one of the cliffs. Hundreds have been attracted there because of this silly joke. We don't think it's very funny."
UK Telegraph report:

2001-04-02: For our look at the columns this week, we thought two UK Sunday Times items which pointed to radio's "worthy" qualities and its ability to reach, to paraphrase a well-known advert, "the parts that other media fail to reach."
Both elements are in evidence in Paul Donovan's column in the UK Sunday Times.
He draws attention to BBC's Radio 4's "Book of the Week" which airs at 08.45 GMT, and which this week will deal with Belgrade station B92.
Last week the "Crossing Continents" programme reported on small community radio station, Milenia Radio, in Peru which was a stranger-than-fiction look into the revelations of corruption now coming to light following the downfall of former President Fujimori.
Donovan writes, "You do not need to have any great interest in either Yugoslavia or Peru to realise what these two items have in common."
"They serve to show how effective a propaganda tool radio still is."
"Even in this multimedia age, in a 21st century supposedly dominated by the internet and e-mail, radio - born when Queen Victoria was on the throne - is the medium of choice for those who seek to manipulate, proselytise and overthrow." (RNW note: See the story below re Voice of America).
Later Donovan writes, "Whether you agree with Radio Times that B92's output was a "campaign for freedom" (a campaign that eventually secured its objectives last autumn when power changed hands) depends on what you think of the rule of Serbia's former president, Slobodan Milosevic."
"Whether you endorse the feminist agitprop of Milenia Radio depends, at least to some extent, on how you assess the rule of Peru's former president, Alberto Fujimori."
"The broader point is that both B92 and Milenia provide a vivid example of a role that radio often plays but which broadcasters are often too coy to discuss, which is the medium's ability to mould hearts and minds." "
Radio is a brilliant tool because it reaches the poor and illiterate in a way that newspapers never can, and in this way manipulates the masses."
"It is cheap to set up and cheap (sometimes free) to listen to. Even after being raided by police, it can easily get itself on the air again, as Collins shows in his book (on Radio B92) and as pirate broadcasters have proved in Britain on countless occasions from the 1960s onwards."
"And it has a unique ability to affect the heart."
After which we couldn't resist a segment of the column by Donovan's Irish colleague Declan Burke, who wrote," If you know any leaving certificate students who have fallen behind on account of taking part in the occasional demonstration, point them towards the nearest radio."
"They might learn a few things that aren't on the curriculum, such as how magical a poet reading his work can sound, or how poetry can be relevant even when it is relegated to the margins."
A positive view of the medium to start the spring!
Previous B92
Previous Burke:
Previous Columnists:
Previous Donovan:
B2-92 web site
- links to Audio channel ( Serbian)
UK Sunday Times-Burke:

UK Sunday Times-Donovan:
2001-04-02: The Voice of America under a plan awaiting approval wants to completely re-work its Arab-language broadcasts according to the Los Angeles Times.
Currently the audience for the VOA in the Middle East is miniscule compared to its potential, partly because it is all one output in a formal dialect but going to a region with wide linguistic and cultural differences.
The plan follows the VOA's 2000/2001 Strategic Language Service Review, released in January, which proposed an expansion of some services, including Arabic, Indonesian, Hindi, Macedonian, and Spanish to the Americas, and a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) expansion of Arabic and Farsi services.
This was planned through a re-allocation of services, which would trim short-wave services, cut 36 jobs and eliminate the Voice of America (VOA) services in Portuguese to Brazil, Thai, and Uzbek; and reduce VOA broadcasts in Bulgarian, Romanian, Slovak, Armenian, and Turkish.
The paper quotes Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of the broadcast board's Middle East committee, as saying, "What we do now is one-size-fits-all to the entire region. It's broadcast on short-wave, which has minimal or no listeners, as well as on [AM] from Rhodes [in Greece], which is inaudible in daytime and only a little less inaudible in the evening."
The paper says current popular sentiment in the region is threatening US Middle East policy and the expanded presence could reinforce the administration's strategy of re-building US relationships with "moderate Arab governments."
Under the new plan, broadcasts would be available from satellite and on FM and AM as well as short wave and would be divided into five geographic segments.
Pattiz, reflecting upon current radio services in the area, says, " "Clearly, there is a media war taking place in the region. U.S. international broadcasting has little, if any, impact."
"Hate radio, incitement to violence, disinformation, state censorship, journalistic self-censorship are common."
VOA Director Sanford Ungar said, "There is no reason for VOA to behave any differently in Arabic than in any other language. We will tell it straight. The idea is much the same in Arabic as any other language--VOA has something to offer in the free flow of information."
RNW comment: From experience in the Middle East we don't see much chance of any VOA change having much effect unless it pretty well condemns both Israel and current US support for its government.
Our experience is that popular sentiment in the Arab world shares the United Nations view that the Israeli presence is the Occupied Territories is illegal.
Additionally there is widespread feeling that this is compounded by expanded settlement and military activities, which are seen to have led to many more Palestinian deaths than Israeli casualties in a conflict which is between an illegal occupying force and a justified struggle by the Palestinians for their own land.
Equally suggestions that opinion leaders may well listen and thus influence more general feelings seem to us as realistic as those of US policymakers in Iran in the last days of the Shah.
Comment welcomed, but no we do not, and did not, in Tehran at that time feel happy about the qualities of the Iranian revolution, nor about the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan when the US was supporting them (the US view would now seem to have changed).
Nor do we support the killing of children and civilians by snipers, but even less do we support such activities by a regular army and air force!

2001-04-02: Praise for diversity in its offerings from the Sydney Morning Herald for Nova Fm which launched Sunday and which the paper says it offers "a musical selection that brings to mind something most of its target audience of under-30s wouldn't even know."
"That is, '70s AM radio. Before FM music stations and playlists determined by pinheads with marketing degrees, before specialisation and programmers more afraid of turning off one listener than missing out on the next big star, there was a strange beast called diversity."
"You could hear a middle-of-the-road pop song, a guitar-driven rock song and a song whose only aim was to make you dance."
The emphasis was on new or newish material and towards dance with many songs played in dance re-mix form and the Herald says its selections position Nova "somewhere between 2DAY's pop and dance programming, MMM's retro rock and JJJ's relative cutting edge."
It adds, "That you can segue from a banging clubber's track into the very safe rock of Superjesus and then to a dance remix of Savage Garden's Affirmation assumes your listeners can hold more than one thought simultaneously."
"This is the kind of dangerous independent thinking that 2DAY and MMM have never dared indulge and JJJ gave up a decade ago. The paradox, of course, is that while Nova's playlist is hardly groundbreaking - there's nothing that would be classified as genuinely daring - it may well win listeners because it sounds like everyone else and unlike any one." Sydney Morning Herald report:

2001-04-01: Yet another long-time set of US call letters is to die in a format change in Washington DC.
This time it's Clear Channel's easy-listening WGAY-AM which on Monday will start simulcasting Clear's WWRC-AM's business programming for a week.
Then on April 9, WGAY's frequency will be taken by WWRC and the WWRC frequency will become a new talk station, WNT-AM "Dynamite Talk."
The new station will feature issue-oriented talk with a mix of local and national hosts and will be competing with news-talk WMAL-AM, sports-talk WTEM-AM, all news WTOP-AM and guy-talkWJFK-FM. WGAY's demise was on the cards when its long time morning host Eddie Gallaher retired in December. Clear Channel is also changing the format of its Jam'n Oldies station JMO-FM on Monday (See RNW Mar 31).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous WGAY/Gallaher:

2001-04-01: A new commercial licence for Brisbane in Australia and signs that the US Federal Communications Commission will be far less active than in the past are the main features of this week.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has set a reserve price of Aus$500,000 (around $250,000) for the new commercial FM licence for Brisbane which is to be auctioned.
Applications have to be submitted by midnight on April 26
In Canada, there was little going on although three new low power FM stations were approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
They were for English language tourist services at Whistler, British Columbia, and at Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, and a travel and weather information service at Portage La Prairie and Headingley, Manitoba.
There was nothing of note in the UK and Ireland, apart from the UK Radio Authority's publication o fits quarterly bulletin dealing with complaints (RNW Mar 31).
In the US, new FCC chairman William Powell, gave testimony n his planned changes of the Commission.
Testifying to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and The Internet of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said he wanted to minimise regulation and let the marketplace decide much more.
Powell said he saw FCC reform as "a comprehensive retooling and redirection of the Commission's entire mission" with a new business plan based on a substantive vision, a strong, cohesive and efficient organisation, an extensive training and development programme to keep up to date with changes and an organisational re-structuring.
Commenting upon the effects of technological change he said the new vision should "harness competition and market to drive efficient change and resist the temptation, as regulators, to meld markets in our image or the image of any particular industry player."
He also spoke of eliminating cross-ownership restrictions and removing the cap that prohibits on company having more than 35% of the TV market. Powell said he wanted to ensure regulations were valid or eliminate them but at the same time he wanted "strong and effective enforcement of truly necessary ones."
To that end he wants Congress to increase the FCC's available penalties. "If you try to fine a company $75,000 that has net revenues in the millions and billions, that's just the cost of doing business," Powell said. "Our fines are trivial."
Previous ABA:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Powell:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
web site

CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:

2001-04-01: Conservative US Radio Host Dr Laura Schlessinger's attempt to move into TV has now failed as syndicators Paramount TV confirmed the episode taped on Thursday was its last.
The host makes no mention of this on her web site but said in a statement she believed the show could have earned a substantial audience given time but this was precluded by an advertising boycott.
More than 90 companies dropped advertising on the show following a campaign by gay and lesbian organisations who objected to comments made by Dr Laura on her radio show in which she spoke of homosexuality as "deviants" and a "biological error."
The host had twice apologised for her remarks, most recently with an October full-page advertisement in Variety (RNW Oct 12), but the campaign continued and stations taking the show relegated it to the middle of the night timings as ratings slumped.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) hailed the decision on its web site as "a powerful victory against defamation and anti-gay intolerance."
GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry commented," Paramount Domestic Television justified its decision to air Dr. Laura by saying that it would 'let the people decide.'" "Well, the people have decided. Viewers and advertisers alike have decided that when given a choice, they will choose to reject those who advocate intolerance and advance an agenda of exclusion."
"In coalition with thousands of local activists from across the country, we have held Laura Schlessinger accountable for her defamation of our community. And we've sent a strong message that we are no longer an easy target for prejudice."
Previous Dr Laura:

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March 2001 May 2001
RNW April Comment - - follows up on March comment by considering what is necessary for regulations to be effective.
RNW March Comment -- looks at the issue of regulation.
RNW February Comment -- takes a look at the implications of the move to digital technology.

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2001-04-30: A look through the eyes of various radio columnists at some of the good and bad about radio this week.
First some of the good courtesy of Paul Donovan of the UK Sunday Times. Looking forward to this year's Sony Radio Awards, to be presented tonight, he singles out the value of radio in an emergency for comment in the context of the news coverage award.
In particular he notes the value of BBC local radio during flooding which marooned thousands without power in their homes and with only the radio to keep them in touch.
He also praises its value during the foot and mouth epidemic in what he terms "rising to the challenge of informing and helping thousands of isolated and distraught listeners."
BBC Radio Cumbria and Radio Devon in particular, he writes, "are providing a magnificent service in their coverage of the horrors and challenges that foot and mouth has thrown up."
"The epidemic has meant hundreds of families being confined to their farms: radio is a lifeline for them, as, too, are the local-radio websites."
"Radio Devon's website received 8,000 "hits" a week when it began last November and now gets 144,000 a week." "It is full of invaluable factual material, as well as carrying links to the NFU and Ministry of Agriculture sites."
Donovan additionally praises two other BBC programmes, carried nationally on BBC radio 4.
" Farming Today", he says, broke the story in the first place and "has refused to let its absurdly early slot of 5.45am destroy its journalism, even if it has halved its audience."
And of the daily soap, "The Archers", he writes that it has "made a significant contribution in a more subtle way."
"While other programmes have concentrated on information, the world's oldest soap opera has quietly allowed foot and mouth simply to become part of Ambridge, to affect all its occupants in some way. The disease's symptoms, challenges and consequences have become part of the villagers' lives, and thus of ours, too."
A much less positive view however from Canada where Jan Wong, writing in the Toronto Globe and Mail about Toronto's "Mojo Radio" launch as "Talk Radio for Guys" comments," Maybe guys should sue for defamation."
She says the Corus-owned station is branding itself as the world's first 24-hour talk radio station exclusively for men and gives various excerpts from the programme as well as an illuminating (or not, depending on your viewpoint) comment from one listener.
Asked what the morning hosts he'd listened to were on about, he said," Nothing in particular. Guy patter. What guys say around the house. What guys say around the office."
When pressed, he couldn't give any specific examples, although he said he'd listen again.
And of the jokes on the station, Wong commented that the adverts were funnier.
Which may well be the case.
Certainly at a UK Radio Advertising Bureau Conference this week, American radio advertisements were praised as being "much better" than British ones, albeit advertisements in other British media were better than America's.
MT Rainey, the co-chief executive of advertising agency Rainey Kelly Cambell Roalfe told the conference that neither advertisers nor agencies saw radio in the correct strategic light.
She said that radio's uniquely intimate characteristics were not respected by endless repetition of "while stocks last" type of adverts and the too frequent repetition of adverts commissioned by many major advertisers.
Reports also of dissatisfaction from the US but this time on the technical side with the potential of a technological fix.
An AP article extols the potential virtues of a switch to digital audio broadcasting as a means of giving listeners to FM the technical quality they get on CDs and AM sounding like FM.
The article comments on iBiquity's IBOC (In-Band-on-Channel) system which will allow stations to continue broadcasting on their existing frequencies but offer listeners a choice of tuning to either their existing analogue signal or a simulcast digital signal that can also offer data services.
The great benefit of the system is that the audience can change at their own pace to digital. (RNW comment: With the pressures on to maximise use of spectrum, especially for mobile communications, we wouldn't place too large a bet that this situation will continue.
In the UK, there is significant pressure for analogue signals, particularly TV signals, to be switched off to free up space for spectrum which could be worth billions.
In the US, there are lobbying groups who want to remove regulation from the airwaves totally, allowing those who currently hold licences for spectrum to trade the spectrum as they see fit.
Their view is that the marketplace would allow efficient use of the resource! But do you really see the accountants in the US allowing a radio station to remain on air with lower profit margins than they could get from cell phones, however valuable it might be to a community or in an emergency as noted above?
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2001-04-30: Non-compete clauses, which stop broadcasters from moving to another station in the same area or market, should soon become illegal in Illinois.
A bill that would outlaw them has now been passed by the Illinois House 110-3 following a 46-8 March vote in its favour by the Illinois Senate.
It now awaits signature by the state's governor.

2001-04-30: The UK Wireless Group whose flagship national station is TalkSport, has reported a £12.3 million loss last year excluding costs of investing in digital technology and other one-offs, a reduction in losses of £1.6 million.
However if these are included the losses increased to £34.2 million for the financial year compared to £27.5 million the previous financial year.
Its chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie says the station should break even towards the end of 2002.
The group owns regional and local stations and a number of digital licences, including the new Aberdeen licence, which was awarded this month ( See Licence News April 8), as well as flagship national station TalkSport.
The latter, re-branded from its former existence as Talk Radio, now has an audience of some 2.2 million, three quarters of whom are men.
In its former guise it had a significant number of older women who are less attractive to advertisers since, as MacKenzie commented, they "are hard to sell to."
TalkSports revenues were up 15% over the year to £10.6 million whilst group turnover, partly fuelled by acquisitions, was up 95% to £29.4 million.
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2001-04-29: Former BBC radio football (soccer) correspondent Byron Butler has died aged 66.
Butler belonged to the old school of working up from provincial newspapers also adhered to the tradition of understatement and abjuring strident comment.
He was offered the post of football correspondent in 1968 after it had been turned down by the Daily Mail's Brian James.
He remained in the post until retiring in 1991 after which he wrote books and was a freelance for the UK Daily Telegraph.

2001-04-29: The main licence news this week is from the US,where further ownership concentration seems likely, and UK where the main action has been on the digital front in Scotland.
Elsewhere it was fairly quiet although in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has awarded its first two international licences.
Both are to in-part proselytising Christian stations, although Australia's International Broadcasting Guidelines which apply give wide-ranging guidance on programmes on such matters as accuracy, fair representation, balance, distinguishing between fact, simulation, commentary and analysis and so on.
The two stations granted licences, Christian Voice (Australia) Ltd and HCJB Australia intend to transmit short wave services from Northern Australia.
Christian Voice (Australia) Ltd proposes a service including music, entertainment, news, health, education and general-interest programs alongside Christian training and teaching.
It will reach Southeast Asia, India and China and broadcasts will be in Hindi, Mandarin Chinese and English.
HCJB Australia will broadcast Christian services alongside a variety of news, music, lifestyle and documentary programming covering South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and the South Pacific (Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and 'other island states') with possible expansion to East and Southeast Asia later.
In Canada, things were quiet although the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved two new FM stations.
They are an English language station at Estevan, Saskatchewan, for Golden West Broadcasting Ltd, which already runs CJSL-AM serving the area, and a French language station at Saint-Pamphile, Quebec, to serve the regional municipality of l'Islet.
In the Estevan case, Golden West is planning to broadcast a variety of music including pop, folk, dance, rock, country and easy listening plus local news, weather and information under a joint AM-FM operation.
The service proposed for Saint-Pamphile is a middle of the road music format plus local and regional programming.
The application in this case was opposed unsuccessfully by, among others, CHOX-FM La Pocatière and CFEL-FM Montmagny, who argued that they already served the needs of the area.
There was also opposition on the basis that he local advertising market could not sustain a new station.
The applicant argued that the existing stations had a poor signal in the area and only reached a small fraction of the population.
The CRTC has also authorised low power additional transmitters for two other Quebec stations .They are a 16 watt transmitter at transmitter at Sainte-Perpétue for CHOX-FM La Pocatière and an 8 watt transmitter at Gros Morne for CJMC-FM Saint-Anne-des-Monts.
There was nothing of note in Ireland and in the UK most of the attention was on the digital side although the UK Radio Authority has now published its assessment of the award of the new Warminster Licence to Pride FM ( See Licence News April 8).
Pride's application was chosen against those of WCR Community Radio and White Horse Radio Ltd.
The authority commented that it had difficulty comparing the proposals of a not-for-profit community radio organisation with those of commercial radio organisations.
It said that it considered Pride would best be able to meet statutory criteria and also provide "a genuinely locally-focused service for the people of Warminster."
The authority has also published its assessment fore award of the Aberdeen digital multiplex licence to Switchdigital (Scotland) Ltd, whose shareholders include The Wireless Group plc, Clear Channel International Ltd., Capital Radio plc (See Licence News April 8).
In this case the other applicant was SCORE Digital, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Scottish Radio Holdings plc., and the authority said that both companies met the criteria on establishing an d maintaining their service but Switchdigital's coverage proposed at the outset was by far the greater of the two and remained better even after full networks were completed.
The winning bid also proposed a more rapid rollout of coverage.
The Authority also noted its intention to offer digital accommodation to the existing Aberdeen ILR services, Northsound 1 and 2, and the fact that , with the smaller ILR stations in Aberdeenshire - NECR (Inverurie) and Waves Radio (Peterhead) - also to be carried, Switchdigital offered digital 'simulcasts' of all four of the existing local services.
On the programming front Switchdigital was commended for services of appeal to listeners with a variety of tastes in music across the full demographic range and in particular for the definite inclusion of a dance music channel (Ministry of Sound), specifically offering a stream of programming which was primarily attractive to younger listeners
Switchdigital and SCORE Digital are again competing for the new digital multiplex licence for Ayr in Scotland.
Here, in addition to the two BBC services Radio Scotland, and the Gaelic language service, Radio Nan Gaidheal, which both have to carry, SCORE and Switchdigital each propose seven services.
For Score they are:
*Ayr contemporary music radio -- West FM (provider: West Sound Radio Ltd.)
*Ayr popular music and talk -- West Sound (provider: West Sound Radio Ltd.)
*Pop country --3C (provider: SCORE Digital Ltd.)
* Modern rock -- Provider: to be advertised
*Gold -- Provider: to be advertised * Soul -- Provider: to be advertised
*Student radio -- UCA Radio (provider: University of Paisley, university campus, Ayr)
For Switchdigital they are:
*Classic soul -- The Rhythm (provider: Digital Programme Services Ltd.)
*Chart and club dance -- Ministry of Sound (provider: Ministry of Sound/Clear Channel International Ltd.)
*Modern, traditional and pop country -- Ritz Country (provider: RMG plc)
*Access channel - Provider: University of Paisley (Ayr campus.
*Adult contemporary music and speech mix -- Scot FM (provider: The Wireless Group plc)
*Contemporary hit radio -- West FM (provider: West Sound Radio Ltd.)
*Easy listening and sport -- West Sound AM (provider: West Sound Radio Ltd.)
In the US, there were signs of the further relaxing of ownership limits by the Federal Communications Commission with more deals being allowed through involving high local ownership concentrations - and also attracting criticism from Democrat Commissioner Gloria Tristani (See RNW April 26 and Licence News April 15). The FCC has also started issuing Low Power FM licences (See RNW April 26).

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2001-04-28: Susan Ness, one of two Democrat Commissioners on the US Federal Communications Commission, has announced that she is to step down by the beginning of June after seven years with the Commission.
Her departure will leave only one Democrat, Gloria Tristani, on the Commission and there have been strong rumours that she is likely to resign to seek political office.
No confirmation hearings have yet been scheduled for President George W. Bush's nominees to fill the three seats of Ness, former FCC chairman William Kennard, and Republican Harold Furchtgott-Roth who has said he will not seek re-election (See RNW April 7).
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Previous Ness
Previous Furchtgott-Roth;
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2001-04-28: A busy week for radio in the US has seen not only the activities of NAB 2001 in Las Vegas but a number of quarterly reports.
They include those of the giants Clear Channel, ABC radio owner Disney and Infinity-owner Viacom; although the latter two do not spell out full details, neither broke the chain of recent fallbacks.
Disney's Media Networks Division, which includes radio and TV operations, suffered an 8% revenue loss to $2.2 billion for the quarter.
Viacom, whose overall revenues for the quarter were a record (up 6% on a pro-forma basis), said Infinity revenues were down 4% to $835 million for the first quarter of this year compared to Q1 2000.
Infinity pro-forma EBITDA (operating cash flow less corporate expenses) was down 5% to $322 million.
Viacom did not list Infinity's reported revenues for 2000.
Mel Karmazin, Viacom President and Infinity Chairman & CEO, told analysts that this was largely because of the effect of the dot com boom in 2000.
Stripping this effect out, he said, Infinity's radio and outdoor businesses would have had annual growth of around 8% over the past two years.
Clear Channel reported pro-forma net revenues down 8% at £1.66 billion for the first quarter this year compared to 2000; EBITDA on the same basis was down 12% to $411000.
The company had a net loss of $309 million, 53 cents per share, compared with a loss of $39 million, or 12 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2000.
Thanks to cost cutting, particularly in corporate expenses, it managed to keep After Tax Cash Flow (ATCF) up; this was $324 million, or 52 cents per share, compared to $192 million, or 51 cents per share for the same period a year ago.
Fisher Communications, which is selling its flour mills division to concentrate on broadcasting, had a fairly slim time, partly because its two main stations are in Seattle and Portland and have been hit by the dot com cut backs.
Its revenues were down everywhere, and particularly down in these locations, falling for Q1 revenues by 17.3% to $39.6M.
Net income, which was a positive $2.2 million for Q1 2000, became a Q1 2001 loss of $2.3M.
Doing rather better was Citadel Communications whose results came out just before shareholders voted to accept the $ 2 billion ($26 a share) offer for the company from Forstmann Little.
Citadel's net revenues for Q1 this year were up 58.6% to $73.1 million, broadcast cash was up 50.4% to $20M.
Athough revenues were down on a same-station basis it was only by 0.7%; same-station cash flow was up 4.8%.
Saga Communications, which like Citadel, had gained less from the dot coms, also showed up reasonably well although net revenues were down just over 1% on a same station basis and ATCF dipped nearly 4% to 20 cents a share compared to 21 cents in Q1, 2000.
Q1 net revenues rose 3.4% to $22.8 million, BCF was up 2% to $6.9 million.
Also showing up fairly well was Arbitron, which put out its first quarterly figures since it was split out of Ceridian into a stand-alone company.
Net revenues for Q1 were up 8.4% to $60.2 million, earnings before interest and taxes were up 12.2% to $27.3M, EBITDA was up 11.7% to $28.4M and net income was up 10.8% to $16.3M.
Arbitron however is in the middle of a battle with Clear Channel which has threatened to take its ratings business elsewhere.
The two are still negotiating although Clear Channel has contacted other companies.
At stake is around a fifth of Arbitron's revenue.
Spanish Broadcasting System did less well with same-station revenues down 14.1% and BCF down 26% with overall net revenues up less than 1% to $25.1 million but overall BCF down nearly 50% to $6.6 million.
Finally XM Satellite Radio, which still has no revenues, reported a Q1 consolidated operating loss of $42 million, a consolidated net loss of $37 million and a consolidated net loss available to common shareholders of $43 million (80 cents a share); in 2000 the losses were $17million, $13 million and $14 million (30 cents a share) respectively.
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2001-04-27: After US radio stations' problems with copyright for streaming music in their broadcasts and advertisements made for radio and the Napster court case, the latest potential target for the music companies may be companies that allow users to download popular music as ringing tones for mobile phones.
A UK Internet monitoring company, Envisional, says that it found more than 1400 sites providing music downloads for mobile phone users.
Few make any payment to the record companies which Envision says should be around 5p/ 10cents a tune and it estimates that this could be costing the UK music industry up to a potential £700.000 ($1 million) a day in lost royalty payments.
It says that one site alone has seen more than 30,000 copies of the "Mission Impossible" tune downloaded in two months.
The next generation of mobile phones will allow better quality downloads and the music industry is considering legal action.
UK mobile phone operators and phone makers have applied for licences allowing them to supply tunes and payment is made from the charge for text messages used to transfer the tones to mobiles.
The mobile phone industry, however, has other problems, both technical and financial.
Some analysts suggest European operators are at risk of defaulting on their debts.
They spent some $140 billion last year with UK 3G mobile licences alone fetching some $30 billion(RNW April 28, 2000)and those in Germany (RNW Aug. 19, 2000)some $45 billion.
Since then, he interest in mobile spectrum has eased dramatically with the Australian auction only just going above the reserve price (RNW Mar 23).
On top of the licences, the cost of building their networks will be around $140 billion in Europe alone and share prices have plummeted as fears grow about the debt and profitability problems.
One major player, Deutsche Telekom had first-quarter losses this year of 400m euros ($360 million), compared with a 500m euros ($450 million) profit in the same period last year.
Pressure is mounting in some countries for a government bail out, possibly by government loans of "licence money" to help pay for building the networks or through financing from the European Investment Bank.
In addition there are suggestions that the mobile manufacturers may also make loans to help build networks; Finnish manufacturer Nokia has already been involved in an $11.8 billion loan to Orange for building a network.
However other manufacturers have troubles of their own with both Ericsson and Motorola announcing substantial lay-offs this week.
On the technical side, there have been problems with 3G and with GPRS (General Packet Radio Services) technology that allows use of e-mail, audio and video and which the companies wanted to use as a step on the road to third-generation.
Companies had been hoping to have GPRS available this summer and Japanese company NTT DoCoMo was to have introduced its 3G service in Tokyo at the end of May.
Now GPRS in the UK looks as if it will be delayed, maybe for up to a year, and DoCoMo has postponed its full-scale launch.
It is now is offering only a limited test service until October.
Vodafone, which already has a corporate GPRS service, says it will be on the mass market this summer but BT Cellnet was publicly embarrassed when a high-profile demonstration of its system showed up a number of problems.
However BT's subsidiary in the Isle of Man, a self-governing island between Liverpool in England and Belfast in Northern Ireland, says it should now be the first company in the World to launch third generation services.
It intends to launch, although with only around 200 phones, in late May.

2001-04-27: Public relations consultant Ken Davis who acted for the Austereo radio group has admitted he wrote letters attacking DMG, the subsidiary of the UK Daily Mail group, which won the bidding for the new Sydney FM licence (Nova-FM) and which led to a parliamentary inquiry into the Australian radio industry.
DMG is suing Austereo, its executive chairman Peter Harvie, Davis and his employers at the time, Australia's largest public relations firm, Turnbull Porter Novelli (see RNW Dec 13) for defamation and for misleading and deceptive conduct over the matter.
All had denied knowledge of the letters but Davis has now admitted using false names to write letters critical of DMG.
In an amended defence Davis says he wrote the letters, which he says were not defamatory, in a private capacity and they had absolutely no connection with Austereo.
In an unusual procedure, the trial which was due to be held next week has now been set down for a mini-trial on May 21 to determine who wrote the letters.
Austereo is objecting to this procedure and this could lead to further delays.
Previous Austereo
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Previous Harvie:

2001-04-27: A man who last August bluffed his way onto Irish radio claiming to be Galway hurler Joe Rabbitte, and then said wmen should not take part in many sports has been fined £100 with £100 costs.
Part-time street trader Pádraig Walsh also said it was not very feminine or healthy for women to play soccer, Gaelic football, hurling or camogie.
He also said he had "no interest in going to watch a bunch of girls running around trying to lose weight in Croke Park."
Galway District Court also ordered Walsh to make a £250 contribution to the Galway camogie team.
He was convicted under an Irish law, which bars "making a phone call for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to others."
Walsh apologised on local radio the following day and Irish state broadcaster RTÉ also broadcast an apology on national radio (RNW Sept 2).
The court was told that after the broadcast there were phone calls to the garage where Rabbitte works by people who said they would no longer do business there and also to his mother.
Walsh said he did not know he was live on air and was mystified about the reaction to what he meant as a joke.
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2001-04-27: Conservative US radio talk-show host Dr Laura Schlessinger, whose TV show was recently cancelled (See RNW April 1) has told the US National Religious Broadcasters at a meeting in San Francisco that they should use the airwaves to gain support for initiatives such as fighting online pornography.
She cited the success of special interest groups in organising to further their interests and said that the religious broadcasters could have an impact.
Among pressure groups who have had an impact are gay and lesbian activists who promoted a boycott of her Tv show by advertisers after she called homosexuality "deviant" and a biological "error."
Previous Dr Laura:

2001-04-27: Radio gets off scot-free in the latest monthly bulletin from British Broadcasting watchdog, the Broadcasting Standards Commission.
Of the seven complaints about fairness, radio only features in one, which was not upheld: Two TV complaints concerning fairness were upheld.
There were 62 other complaints, one about a TV advert and the rest on matters of standards such as inappropriate or offensive remarks and racist comments.
Eight of these concerned radio shows but none were upheld.
In March, two complaints against radio stations were upheld (See RNW March 3).
Previous BSC:

BSC web site
(Note:This is a Flash 5 site:It links to the report in PDF format-60kb):

2001-04-26: More deals and consolidation in US radio including an agreement for an $80 million takeover by Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation of the frequency of KQQK-FM, Houston from a subsidiary of Houston-based El Dorado Communications Inc.
Under the deal, which it will finance with cash in hand, Hispanic gains a stronger signal and El Dorado gains cash plus an option to enter into a time brokerage and acquisition deal for the frequency now used by Hispanic's KRTX-FM.
Hispanic's president and CEO Mac. Tichenor said, "The acquisition of 106.5 FM will allow us to move one of our successful formats to a technically-superior radio station facility, significantly increasing the number of Hispanics who can reliably receive the signal."
He did not say what format will be put on the frequency.
The deal is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval but this looks to be a formality. At a breakfast speech at NAB 2001, FCC chairman Michael Powell spoke in terms of rolling back regulation in moves that could allow yet another wave of consolidation in US broadcasting.
In particular the moves are likely to remove the national 35% audience cap on TV ownership and restrictions on newspaper-broadcasting cross-ownership.
Powell also said that the FCC has no good way to measure whether concentration of media has affected diversity and therefore has had to resort to economic measures that are better left to antitrust departments.
These comments came as the FCC allowed another group of licence transfers in Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi, sparking another protect from Democrat FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, who particularly commented that the transfer in Erie, Pennsylvania, created a situation where two owners now controlled nearly 95% of the radio advertising market.
Earlier this month Tristani also dissented over an FCC decision not to step in over other licence transfers she felt concentrated ownership too much (see RNW April 15).
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Previous Hispanic
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FCC web site(Links to Tristani statement):

2001-04-26: Problems of success and late information in Australia; The first concerns WILD-FM, the Sydney dance music station set up using temporary community broadcasting licences.
Last August (RNW Aug 6) the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) announced that it was to investigate whether WILD and Free-Fm, run by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Broadcasting Inc, were suitable organisations to hold community broadcasting licences.
Such licences are issued only to not-for-profit organisations.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the ABA has determined that, although Sydney Youth Radio, the company behind WILD-FM, is a not-for-profit organisation, it is part of a profit-making enterprise owned by entrepreneur Anthony Gherghetta.
The problem, says the paper, is not the station itself but its profitable CD sales operation; Wild has sold some 1.2 million dance music CDs branded Wild FM, grossing around Aus$40 million, since it went on air in 1996 using the first of a number of temporary licences.
This aroused opposition from commercial broadcasters and caused comment by other community licence holders.
Free also sold some 5000 CDs but the ABA found these to be mainly promotional.
WILD and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Broadcasting Inc are amongst 18 applicants for three Sydney-wide community licences (See RNW July 23).
The paper says that front-runners for the licences are now Gadigal, an Aboriginal community broadcaster, a long-running community group, Free Broadcast Incorporated, Free FM and one of the numerous Muslim and Chinese groups, which have applied.
Suffering from late information is Sydney's new DMG commercial station Nova-FM, which went on air in March.
It had hoped to get ratings in the June/July Nielsen survey but has now been told it will have to wait until August because Nielsen uses rolling survey periods.
In these half of the previous survey is rolled into a month, thus smoothing out the results.
Nova says its internal figures show a steady rise in audience.
The delay could significantly affect the finances of Nova since advertisers have no audited figures to go on, a problem which faces many new stations as with Dublin's Lite FM last year (see RNW Aug 25)
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2001-04-26: US radio analyst Drew Marcus of DeutscheBank Alex. Brown has told a panel on satellite radio at NAB 2001 he thought it unlikely Sirius and XM Satellite Radio would survive in their present form.
Another analyst, Bishop Cheen of First Union, said that thinking was that a larger media conglomerate would acquire the companies when they had become established.
He added that advertisers were rooting for satellite radio; based on receivers in around a fifth of US automobiles, satellite could take around 2% of advertising revenue, mainly in national sales and major markets.
The analysts also said that the technology would have to be flawless to attract consumers to pay for a service they now need for free; both companies are expecting most of their finance from a subscription fee of around $10 a month.
At the companies themselves, XM has announced that its second satellite, "XM Roll" satellite is now aboard the Sea Launch platform on its way to the equatorial Pacific Ocean, where it is scheduled to launch into orbit May 7.
"XM Roll" had been scheduled to go into space first but its launch was aborted after a last-moment technical hitch and "XMRock" was launched first instead on March 18.
XM has also announced the appointment of 25 more staff including 8 programme directors and nine production directors.
Both XM and Sirius, as well as their satellites, also want to set up terrestrial repeater stations for use in areas where there could be interference to the satellite signal as in skyscraper districts or hilly terrain. These plans could face opposition from existing terrestrial stations and Federal Communications Commission staffer Bruce Romano told a session on the future of radio that the matter was currently under discussion between the parties.
The intention was to have issues such as any possible use for local advert insertion and repeater power could be resolved before the satellite companies came to the commission for repeater transmitter licences.
Romano has also spoken about testing of stations for Low Power FM licensing, as required by Congress.
Around a dozen LPFM stations will operate without third adjacent channel protections to other stations and temporary testing facilities will be used to see if the signals do interfere with those of existing more powerful broadcasters.
The FCC will call for bids from independent contractors to carry out some of the tests, perform analysis and prepare information on a report, which should go to Congress around the middle of next year.
As well as interference checks, the FCC will also look at LPFM's impact on audiences and its economic impact on existing small-market and minority broadcasters.
Meanwhile the FCC has granted its first 25 LPFM licences. They are in seven states--California (10 stations), Georgia (7), Maryland (3), Indiana (2) and Louisiana, Maine and Oklahoma (1 each).
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2001-04-25: More problems for radio station streaming on the Internet have come with an amendment by the US Copyright Office of its regulations concerning the re-transmission of programming on the Internet.
The amendments re-affirm the office's decision in December (RNW Dec 9) that, under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), such streaming is subject to both copyright regulations and additional royalty payments.
Legal action by the US National Association of Broadcasters in conjunction with major US radio groups to get the Copyright Office overturned is still making its way through the courts.
In the meantime, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is now at loggerheads with advocates of academic freedom.
According to the New York Times, the RIAA has threatened legal action against a Princeton computer scientist if his research group goes ahead and presents a paper at an academic conference saying how it is possible to circumvent a music industry copyright protection scheme which "watermarks" digital signals.
Under the DMCA, it is a criminal offence it a crime to manufacture or "offer to the public" means of getting unauthorized access to copyright-protected work that has been secured by such techniques as data encryption.
In a previous court ruling concerning distribution of software enabling decrypting of DVD movies, the judge said that he DMCA did not violate the First Amendment right to free speech and ruled out a "fair use" defence.
That case is also being appealed in the courts.
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2001-04-25: In its latest Internet audio ratings, MeasureCast skates over the streaming audio problems at US broadcast stations (RNW April 11) to accentuate the positive for the week to April 15.
It says that of 24 comparable stations from the previous week's ratings, 14 showed an increase in the estimated cumulative audience (CP) and 22 had increases in total time spent listening(TTSL).
Perhaps surprisingly the TTSL for each the top five stations was up and summing TTSL for them produced a total of 361,445 hours compared to 329,807 hours two weeks ago, when TTSL had dropped 9% from its peak.
This would indicate that Internet listening overall has not been reduced by the lack of streaming of broadcast signals, although the total may have been skewed by the 51,156-hour total for Sports-Talk ESPN.
This was, a 43% increase over last week, the week ESPN entered the rankings, and figures may have been linked to the NFL draft over the weekend.
Unsurprisingly, however, the rankings were affected by the streaming dispute with four of the top five stations being Internet-only. The other was UK station Virgin.
In addition the formats in the top ranks were affected and talk radio was virtually out of the rankings as all the main broadcast stations had pulled their streams.
The top five stations in the period ranked by TTSL were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP) in brackets) were:
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 146,895 (125,339); CP 41,705 (38,957) - Position unchanged
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 61,436 (45,553); CP 9,290 (9,521) - Previously 2nd.
3): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 55,004 (47,804); CP 6,993 (9,521) - Position unchanged.
4): Internet only Sports Talks ESPN Radio TTSL 51,156 (35,783); CP 7,187 (5,834) -Previously 6th.
5): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WK Undergroundradio TTSL 46,954 (41,101) CP 13,150 (12,657) - Previously 9th.
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2001-04-24: Six staff at top rated Sydney talk station, 2UE, have been made redundant, including the station's programme director and sports director.
The redundancies are the first at the station since it was taken over for Aus$90 million by Southern Cross Broadcasting (RNW March 23).
The Sydney Morning Herald says that Southern Cross managing director Tony Bell refused to comment on why programme director Michael Hibbard had been replaced but said the other five posts had gone for "efficiency reasons."
The sports job went because sports was integrated with the station's news service, two jobs went in information technology following its merger with engineering, and two secretarial staff were laid off.
The Herald added that Bell had said that if any more jobs were to be cut, they wouldn't make a "significant impact." Concerning possible changes to presenters, Bell said that in most programmes Southern Cross was delighted with the strength of their production and personalities.
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2001-04-24: Bob Fitzgerald has left KNBR-AM, San Francisco after nearly ten years at the station according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
It says that Fitzgerald, who had hosted the noon to 3pm slot for the past two years, issued a statement saying the departure followed a dispute after negotiations for him to work on the morning show and concerned issues of his continuing to do play-by-play work on radio and television.
Fitzgerald wrote, "Once it was determined we couldn't reach an agreement, I was asked to resign despite the fact that I was under contract to co-host the 'Fitz and Brooks' show (Brooks was Fitzgerald's partner until he was moved to the morning show some two months ago) from noon- 3 p.m. until June 2002."
"I wanted to honour that agreement. KNBR did not. But rather than resolve the matter via litigation, I chose to take the high road and resigned as requested."
The station's only comment has been to confirm that it had accepted Fitzgerald's resignation and Gary Radnich, the host of KNBR's morning show, said he did not know if Fitzgerald had been offered the morning slot.

2001-04-24: US broadcasters have gathered in Las Vegas for this year's NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) conference in a less upbeat mood than last year as advertising revenues slow and disputes arrive or loom.
The disputes include, on the radio side, potential problems arising from the US Copyright Office ruling against radio stations over payments for streamed music under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (See RNW Dec 12) and the more recent dispute about paying extra for advertisements made for radio when they are streamed over the Internet.
As already reported this has led many stations including those of giant Clear Channel to stop streaming (see RNW April 11), although some are moving to use advert-insertion technology, a number of vendors of which have stands at the show.
( The outlook on the TV side is also fraught with a possible Hollywood writers and performers strike on the horizon and a conflict of interests between the TV networks and their affiliates over ownership limitation regulations which the networks want to end.
NAB has supported a cap of 35% of the US national television audience and this has led to the withdrawal of all the major networks except ABC.
The most recent to jump ship was Viacom-CBS-Infinity earlier this month
On the technology side, iBiquity Digital Corporation has chosen the start of NAB 2001 to announce tie-ups with Impulse Radio and Harris Corporation.
Impulse Radio is developing applications for iBiquity's IBOC (In-Band On-Channel) AM and FM digital broadcasting technology and the two staged a demonstration of new services including content from AccuWeather, Associated Press and Smartroute (a division of WestWood One).
The other tie-up with Harris, a Leading Digital Transmission Equipment Manufacturer, involves a licensing deal for Harris to integrate iBiquity Digital's technology into a new line of IBOC transmitters and exciters, scheduled for launch at NAB 2002.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous iBiquity:
Previous NAB:
Harris web site:
iBiquity web site:

NAB web site:

2001-04-23: A digression to earlier in the year to start off this week's look at radio as seen in various publications; It comes courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer but concerns two themes we've dealt with before.
They are the consolidation of US radio and the way in which this and technological change has changed radio -and more specifically relates to this week's theme of the value of humans in radio.
In the Enquirer article, the changes detailed have certainly ensured that maximum value is extracted from the humans but, as John Kiesewetter's article makes clear, there's a wide divergence of views on the ultimate value of this.
In one comment, Randy Michaels, president of Clear Channel Radio, says that stations that once had limited money and manpower now offer listeners major-league sounds.
"We're going to do what works," he says.
"If it doesn't work, we're going to stop doing it. I hear how this big company-ownership has killed radio - except when you look at the way listeners vote. They're listening to us."
In the opposition camp, Bruce Drushel, a Miami University broadcasting professor terms Clear Channel "the company that made radio unlistenable."
He says the consolidation of ownership has made stations less adventurous, adding, "True competition is when you have 10 or 20 different owners in a city "Now it's more like a chessboard."
"If you own eight stations, you'll view them as chess pieces and use them to protect the king or queen."
"You program heavy metal or something not because you think it has more appeal in the market, but because you want to protect WEBN-FM." Whilst the comments may be a matter for debate, the crux of the report concerns computer technology, which allows DJ's at one location to appear as if they are presenting local shows simultaneously in a number of locations.
Kiesewetter cites various examples including one of a KISS DJ simultaneously
*talking about winning Ricky Martin concert tickets to an audience in Rochester, N.Y.;
*talking about winning Britney Spears tickets to an audience in Louisville;
*chatting with a caller to her Toledo show;
*promoting a lunch giveaway in Charleston, South Carolina;
*promoting a free "spring break" trip to her fans in Des Moines;
*and hosting the mid-morning show on Cincinnati's WKFS-FM from the KISS107 studios in Mount Auburn.
All this is posible thanks to a digital computer network linking the six Clear Channel stations.
Using a computer programme termed "Prophet", DJs, who have checked for local news items from local papers, Internet sites and looked at details of promotions and contests at stations, digitally record comments about local news, events, weather of concerts.
They then mix them with chat about show business and so on.
These segments are inserted between music and commercials to produce a programme that appears to be local although it's coming from a long distance away.
The same "economies of scale" are also used by Clear Channel for news and weather reporting, although they are most effective in music-intensive formats where the DJ only has to fill a few minutes and hour to go between the music and commercials.
They're also effective in prize contests where Clear Channel has been criticised for misleading audiences by making what are national prizes seem as if they are local to a station and where the odds on winning have fallen greatly.
The practice has not hurt ratings, nor the bottom line, and Clear Channel's executives defend the system as being more productive and producing better results for the audience.
"People sometimes make the erroneous assumption that they're in touch just because they're standing in the studio," says Brad Ellis, MIX94.1 program director and a Clear Channel manager for a dozen Midwest stations, commenting that some of the remote DJ's beat locals in terms of topicality.
Regarding prizes, he commented, "The bottom line is, it enables us to offer bigger, better prizes more often."
Joe Gillespie, morning-drive DJ on Lexington's WLAP-AM, that feeds local news to Louisville's WHAS-AM, which in turn acts as a regional newsroom, says, "This allows us to cover more news, not just national news on the hour."
On the contrary say critics.
"It's all headlines, and very little substance," comments Mark Neeley, 56, former news director at Cincinnati's WCKY-AM.
At its peak, "News Talk WCKY" had a 15-person news staff and Neeley adds, "The change is related to a shift in journalism values, with much more of an emphasis on the entertainment element and away from the information element."
"If people want more detail, they can do as I do - pick up a newspaper or find it on the Net."
After which to a technological development courtesy of the Washington Post: this is the fact that the voice on the US National Weather Service's Weather Radio is in fact a robot voice.
Again this has its benefits in that it is quicker than having a human voice the information but it has, so far, had a downside in that listeners think the voice, nicknamed "Igor" is monotonous, annoying, has a thick accent and is hard to understand.
Now reports the paper, the Weather Service is auditioning five new voices -- Linda, Paul, Donna, Art and Craig - which are available for sampling an comment on the weather service's web site.
(RNW comment: And if the technology can be developed enough, there'll be no need for humans on broadcast stations either as the computer versions don't demand pay, sleep or food.
On the other hand, as Henry Ford was once told when promoting the virtues of robots over humans for auto making, they don't buy many automobiles -- or much else.
And finally yet another example of humans, or some of them, being considered of little value; To quote Frank Ahrens, also in the Washington Post, "Hey, you there -- music fan over 50 years old. Here's something you should know: Commercial radio hates you."
"Oh, you'll be tolerated as a talk-radio listener. Radio knows that you're interested in news, you're more patient than younger listeners and you'll call in to shows."
"Many radio stations actually target listeners as old as -- hold on to your hats -- 64! Of course, if you're older than that, you simply don't exist. You see, you're just not a useful audience member."
Ahrens develops his theme by referring to the killing by Clear Channel of WGAY-AM (See RNW April 1) and says the low ratings of WGAY could be either because no one wanted to listen or that they didn't know it existed.
It had a weak signal, no sales staff, and didn't advertise much, he says.
Ahrens then notes that the only live local programme was "Eddie Gallaher's morning show."
"When the deejay retired in December at age 85, the station went completely automated, airing syndicated "Music of Your Life" programming piped in from the company's New York headquarters."
Listeners to the station, Ahrens says, were typically aged 50 upwards and they see the death as another sign of the way in which older Americans are pushed aside.
This is despite the fact that they account for half the country's discretionary income, buy nearly half the luxury cars sold in the US and four fifths of high-end travel services, and also control around four fifths of the country's wealth.
Ahrens says he received dozens of calls, Clear Channel hundreds, all sounding angry.
But the bottom line says Ahrens is the shareholder pressure for profits, which mean both audience share and the right kind of audience - the younger person who is more easily swayed between brands and has rather more "big-ticket purchases (cars, televisions, computers) left in his lifetime"
At the same time, he notes that the 45 plus age group is the fastest-growing demographic in the country and cites the launch last week of WZEZ-FM in Richmond, Virginia, by a privately held company as evidence that some businesses feel differently (RNW comment: We would note here the success of UK Saga radio in winning the new West Midland licence (See RNW April 4) because the UK regulatory system allows the regulator to consider the format of a station and the breadth of choice available in an area when deciding who gets the licence).
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Previous Michaels
Cincinnati Enquirer - Kiesewetter:
Washington Post - Ahrens:
Washington Post -weather service voice report:
Weather service web site:

2001-04-23: The Guardian Media Group in the UK is switching its investment attention to the purchase of more radio stations according to the UK Sunday Times, which points out that is has a cash pile of some £200 million and no debt and is also competing for acquisitions against radio groups which have been hard hit by a change of sentiment in the stock market.
Guardian Media Group is owned by the Scott Trust, set up by CP Scott, proprietor of what was then The Manchester Guardian.
Its main task is to ensure the Guardian's independence; hence it has to concern itself about profits but not about returns to shareholders.
The paper quotes GMG chief executive Bob Phillis, the former deputy director-general of the BBC, as saying, "We can afford to take long-term plays in new opportunities in things like digital radio because we are not driven solely by earnings per share or share price as some of our competitors are."
Since Phillis took up his post, the group has sold most of its TV interests, seeing this as an area where it could not compete against the big players.
He comments, "If GMG missed the boat in terms of UK television it was in danger of doing it again when I joined."
"We had a 14% stake in Jazz FM and 7% in Radio Investments and no executive within the group with any experience of radio other than me."
Now it has brought in John Myers, the radio head, from Border Radio Holdings, where he launched the Century brand.
Myers is working to expand in both digital and analogue radio. In digital, he says the group will have a presence in most major cities and hasn't paid "daft prices", adding, "Digital is about choice. For the past 10 years radio has been about businesses doing deals and right now it is about consolidation."
"But when this period is over it will finally be about programming. When you have so many more stations you have to offer something different."
"It is easy to lose sight of the important point and that is about what comes out of the speakers. Data services are going to be very important but this will be the behind-the-scenes stuff. The content of the show is going to be centre stage."
In analogue, the group has built up a range of interests including 20% of Jazz FM, a third of Oneword Radio, a digital broadcaster dedicated to books, plays and comedy, and, along with Caledonian Investments and GWR, 40% of Radio Investments, which has stakes in nearly 30 stations.
The group is also involved in bidding for the last analogue licences on offer, and now operates Real Radio in South Wales, although Saga defeated it for the new West Midlands licence (RNW Jan 24 ).
Two more licences, in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, are coming up and Phillis says, "I will be bitterly disappointed if we don't win one."
In previous attempts to compete for acquisitions, the group was held back by the ability of competitors to offer shares as part of the deal as with Scottish Media Group's £225million acquisition of Virgin Radio (RNW Jan 13, 2000) and Capital's £151 million purchase of Border TV including its radio assets (It later sold Border TV itself for £500 million - see RNW April 21, 2000 ).
Those shares are now worth much less, evening-up things, and the Sunday Times speculates that GMG could sell other assets to enhance its bidding power or develop partnerships such as that with US giant Clear Channel, which also owns part of Jazz FM, and was also a partner in the unsuccessful bid for Virgin.
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