March 2003 Archive
February 2003 -April 2003
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.
RNW March comment - is equipment design promoting form over function and making it too difficult to operate essential controls?
RNW February comment considers what we think copyright should be in the future.
RNW January comment considers our hopes for radio in 2003 with reference to regulatory and technological changes in train.
2003-03-31: The time seems to be coming when the relentlessly upbeat portrayal of war may be tempered by a different reality, a change that renders particularly relevant two US newspaper articles.
First from the Washington Post, an indication of the strong commercial reasons to go with the pro-war stance: It is in an article by Paul Farhi concerning advice from consultants to broadcasters that protest coverage turns off the US audience.
Farhi writes that McVay Media, a Cleveland-based company that describes itself as the largest radio consultant in the world has prepared a "War Manual" memo to its station clients saying, "Get the following production pieces in the studio NOW: . . . Patriotic music that makes you cry, salute, get cold chills! Go for the emotion. Air the National Anthem at a specified time each day as long as the USA is at war."
"Television-news consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates," adds, Farhi, "recently put it in even starker terms: Covering war protests may be harmful to a station's bottom line."
The firm released a survey on the eve of war that showed that war protests were the topic that tested lowest.
"Some of the orientation," reports Farhi, "reflects opinion polls that show upward of 70 percent of Americans in favour of the war. "
"That means, as one local media executive put it yesterday, 'almost everyone wants to be seen as pro-military, if not necessarily pro-war. If one of our guys got on the air and started ranting against the war, it would create an unnecessary controversy. As a business, you don't want half the population hating you. So you plant your flag in the sand.'"
The decision to wrap themselves in the flag may well be sound business at the moment but as Susan Sachs reports from a Cairo dateline in the New York Times it also carries dangers.
The piece is centred on Arab reporting of the conflict rather than US reporting and notes the fact that n the 1967 Six-Day war Arab media trumpeted their successes with a subsequent let-down when the situation was speedily reversed.
Now writes Sachs, "Arab commentators began for the first time to criticize the war reporting of the Arab news media, saying its vainglorious tone does a disservice to the public."
"Since the war on Iraq began," she writes, " nearly all the Arab news media, reflecting their audiences' concern for the welfare of ordinary Iraqis, have concentrated heavily on recounting Iraqi civilian casualties and damage to Iraqi cities."
Sachs is of course writing from a US-oriented perspective and seems oblivious of the fact that many outsiders have similar feelings about the tenor - and possible ultimate accuracy - of US reporting on the war.
Certainly the perception of the war changes as you cross into Canada, a change reflected in a Toronto Globe and Mail article by Roy MacGregor entitled "The bleat goes on and on as U.S. talk-radio becomes a land of stars and gripes."
The article tackles head-on what MacGregor terms the "crass booing of the Star-Spangled Banner at a recent Montreal hockey game" and notes comments from talk host Mike Gallagher about this.
"It makes me sick!" he barks from the car radio. "Those bunch of sissies up in Canada are there booing while our boys are coming home in body bags."
"Canada," adds MacGregor, " it should be noted, gets only the rarest mention, is quickly dismissed as the ranting moves on to, say, the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" of France or the "punks and degenerates" who were marching for peace in San Francisco."
He then moves on to comment on the US radio talk scene from a Canadian viewpoint, commenting, "What is most curious to a Canadian listener is that the hosts call their world 'alternative radio' and claim, endlessly, that the media is controlled by the liberals. It was this conviction that led to the rise of talk radio in the first place."
"And yet, no matter how fast or hard one spins the radio dial, there is no other side to be found apart from, at times, PBS, the public broadcaster, which is always careful to be balanced."
The question of war cover also led Gerry McCarthy's UK Sunday Times column on Irish Radio in which he reviewed an interview with BBC TV reporter Kate Adie by Pat Kenny on Irish radio.
Adie was "embedded" in 1991 when she accompanied British troops to Gulf War 1, she told Kenny but it was not called that at the time. "The Americans, she added, tend to invent a new word for something and then pretend it has never been done before. "
McCarthy writes, "Kenny, like many others, fell back on clichés about the fog of war. Adie's analysis sliced clean through the fog. "
"In a democratic country at war, she said, you have to tell people what is happening in their name. That, in a nutshell, is the role of the media. It had the authentic ring of BBC idealism. "
McCarthy then continues, "There were nuggets among the verbiage.
RTÉ's Carole Coleman, reporting from Washington for This Week, had seen footage of the family of one of the first American servicemen killed in action. She saw them first on the local Baltimore channel, angrily declaring that their son had died in a futile war. An hour later they were on nationwide network television, composed and dignified, speaking only of the pride they felt. "
"This might simply be the contrast between a gut reaction and a considered one, but it felt like manipulation. It felt, in fact, exactly like the kind of thing we're told happens in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Should we be surprised if it happened in America? Adie thought not. The United States, she pointed out, is less used to bad news than Britain; they handle it less confidently and often resort to open propaganda."
New York Times - Sachs:
Toronto Globe and Mail - McGregor:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
Washington Post - Farhi:
2003-03-31: Toronto oldies station CHUM-AM has not removed any songs from its playlist because of sensitivities over the war with Iraq according to its station manager.
There had been reports that it had removed classics such as John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance, War by Edwin Starr and Soldier Boy, a Vietnam-era anthem by the Shirelles, but manager Brad Jones told the Toronto Star there were no songs banned on either CHUM-AM or CHUM-FM.
Reports had said a list of banned titles had been posted on the web site of CP24, CHUM's Toronto-based all-news TV channel but Jones told the paper, "I just can't believe how fast this spread and how misinterpreted that it got."
He suggested the reports had originated in a misunderstanding in a conversation between CHUM and CP24, with the radio station using the term "pulled" to mean a recording had been taken out for use.
In the UK, BBC Radio 1 has also said that it has not banned d any songs, although it has issued guidance in terms of sensitivities to the news context in which a song may be played.
Toronto Star report:
2003-03-31: Veteran British DJ Tony Blackburn returns to national radio in the UK today as co-host with Laura Pittson of "The Sensational Breakfast Show with Tony Blackburn and Danish Bacon" on UBC Media's Classic Gold network.
Blackburn, who began his radio career in 1964 on pirate station Radio Caroline South, joining Radio London 2 years later and then moving to the BBC in 1967 on its "Light Programme."
He was the first DJ on BBC Radio 1 when it was launched in 1967 and hosted the channel's breakfast show until 1974. He then worked on other Radio 1 shows until 1984 before moving to Capital Radio in 1988 to launch their Capital Gold station. He left them in December last year.
Simon Cole, Chief Executive of Classic Gold parent company UBC Media plc said: "We're delighted that Tony is fronting the new Classic Gold breakfast show."
"The team at Classic Gold have steadily built the number of listeners over the past six months and Tony's move to the early morning slot is part of our strategy to continue that growth. Also, as consumer take-up of digital sets increases Classic Gold is an excellent position to become the pre-eminent classic hits service in digital radio."
Previous UBC Media:
2003-03-30: Last week when it was not so much current activity but the setting of a date - early June - as the target for production of new US media regulation rules was the most important regulatory development.
Elsewhere saw mainly more routine work, although in the UK there are rumblings of discontent amongst some peers about details of Britain's planned new regulatory regime.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority has again been involved only in community radio decisions.
In Sydney it has opted not to allocate a new Sydney AM community licence for which it had received 8 applications - from 2AMB - Australian Muslim Broadcasting Radio Inc, Australian-Arabic Unity Inc, Hellenic Australian Radio Inc, Islamic Council of New South Wales Inc, Outfm Inc, Radio Tarana Australian Pty Ltd, Sydney Christian Broadcasters Ltd and Sydney Harbour Radio Inc.
The ABA has also opted not to make the frequency available on a temporary basis; it had been expected to transmit from the Homebush area whose transmission towers are the subject of controversy because of the proximity of new residential developments to the complex (See RNW Feb 27)
The ABA is also calling for submissions on its plans for the Innisfail licence area in Queensland where the ABA is proposing to allocate a frequency that was to have provided an open narrowcasting service be made available to the 4KZ commercial service at Tully.
It is asking for comments before making any final decision.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has been involved in a number of routine licence issues.
*Revocation at the licensee's request of licence for Rogers (Alberta) Ltd. English-language radio network authorized to broadcast the hockey games of the Calgary Flames.
*Extension of deadline for start of operations for a new Native Type B FM radio programming undertaking in Sydney.
*Extension for the second time of deadline for the commencement of a new ethnic Fm station for Ottawa/Gatineau, formerly Ottawa/Hull.
*Approval of an additional 6000 watts transmitter in Trois-Rivières for CIRA-FM Montréal.
*Approval of a power increase from 4,500 watts to 14,450 watts for a new Québec FM for Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc; the station will become a C1 instead of a B.
*Extension of deadline for start of operation of a Type B English-language FM community radio programming undertaking in Okanese Indian Reserve.
The CRTC has also given notice of receipt of applications of a number of applications for licence renewals under its streamlined process; the licences involved expire on August 31 and are:
In state order they include:
*Commercial stations CHRB-AM, High River; CKER-FM Edmonton; and CFMG-FM, Edmonton;
** Tourist/weather/traffic Information, Environment Canada stations:
- British Colombia:
Commercial Stations - CKST-AM, Vancouver;
Tourist/weather/traffic Information, Environment Canada- CBPK-AM, Revelstoke; CBPM Sicamous; CBPZ-AM, Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal:
*Commercial stations CHSC-AM, St. Catharines, CFBG-FM, Bracebridge; and CKLP-FM Parry Sound.
* Tourist/weather/traffic Information, Environment Canada stations:
CKFW-FM Sorrell Lake;
* Community-based Campus- CIUT-FM Toronto;
*Commercial station - CKBR-FM Dillon;
*Tourist/weather/traffic Information, Environment Canada stations:
CBPI-FM-1 Waterton Lakes National Park and CBPJ-FM-1 Waterton Lakes National Park
Yukon Territory: -
Native Type A station CHWA-FM Watson Lake
Ireland was again quiet but in the UK, the Radio Authority has awarded its 400th restricted service licence (See RNW Mar 27) and has also been concerned with commercial analogue licence awards.
The Oxford/Banbury area licence was re-awarded to Fox FM under the special fast-track procedure after no competing application was received.
The Authority also published its assessment of the Yeovil licence award to Ivel FM against competition from Merlin FM Ltd., Mirage FM Ltd., and
Yeovil District Radio (FM) Ltd. (YDR FM)
It said that the applicants had put an impressive amount of effort into their applications. However, Members were concerned that the selected applicant should be fully able to sustain a service in challenging market circumstances.
They noted that there would be competition against the established Yeovil and Taunton station Orchard FM, and considered that, as a subsidiary of Radio Investments Ltd., Ivel FM would "benefit from economies of scale and access to regional and national sales."
They also said the proposals for a mainstream, music-led programme service were "particularly coherent and realistic" but did note, in view of considerable feeling expressed about the award, that "Evidence of direct local support for Ivel FM was at a lower level than for other applicants, not least as the group had not conducted any Restricted Service Licence operations."
In the US, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has indicated an early June date for decisions on future media regulation and Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps has released the agenda for tomorrow's field hearing in Durham, North Carolina (See RNW Mar 29).
The FCC has also commenced its proceedings looking for comment on how more efficient receivers can improve the efficiency spectrum use (See Licence News Mar 16) and noted that its Media Bureau , formed from the merger of the former Mass Media and Cable Bureaus, has marked its first anniversary.
The Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau has released its quarterly report on complaints received for the final quarter of last year; it shows that complaints against broadcasters dropped by nearly 35% but it notes that the figure was distorted because the third quarter had included a one-time time mail- in campaign that inflated Disability complaints.
In all 253 consumer complaints concerning broadcasts were made to the Bureau, 97 of them relating to indecency and obscenity, a37% increase on the third quarter figure. Of the remaining complaints around 60 each concerned other specific programming issues, a similar number were general criticism of programming and 35 related to disability issues.
The FCC has also reduced a number of fines (See RNW Mar 25) and issued a red-flag concerning Susquehanna's purchase from Lancaster-York Broadcasting of WSOX-FM, Red Lion, serving York, location Susquehanna's Corporate HQ.
Susquehanna already has two stations in the market, news talk WSBA-AM and Soft Rock WARM-FM.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-03-30: US National Public Radio (NPR) is to launch a survey net month to examine state-by-state the coverage it has in the country. The survey is part of Project Acorn -- "Acquire, Convert, Organizational Readiness and do it Now" and will be the first such survey since 1988.
The project is part of an initiative linked with public radio's hopes to add 300 new member stations and five million new listeners by 2010 according to Current magazine; it says the project will act as an umbrella project for endeavours such as pinpointing areas underserved by public radio and preparing stations for acquiring new signals.
US public radio currently only reaches around a tenth of the US population and many public broadcasters see room for expansion but are hindered by the absence of new frequencies and the cost of stations.
They want to be ready when the FCC lifts its six-year freeze on applications for new full-power stations, which observers expect could happen this year. They're also concerned about competition from religious broadcasters, whose growth has recently outpaced that of public radio --public radio stations grew by 46 percent from 1992 to 2000, while religious stations grew by 123 percent, according to NPR.
There has also been concern about the 600 plus translators that help many stations expand coverage, particularly in rural areas. In some areas, religious broadcasters have erected full-power signals that have quashed nearby translators, which under FCC rules have no claim to the airwaves.
Preliminary research before the full survey already shows that many US metro areas are underserved by public radio with many top-50 markets only having one NPR outlet, according to NPR's engineering VP Mike Starling.
"We suspect that things will leap off of the page as we compile those results, and that they will inform us of where there are both needs and opportunities we can pursue," Starling says.
Acorn was launched in summer last year after a meeting with A-reps - authorised representatives of NPR member stations - who ranked signal expansion as their top priority. A meeting this month ranked digital broadcasting at the top but signal expansion was second.
When the FCC lifts its filing freeze, NPR will contract an engineering firm to monitor applications and notify stations when a full-power signal might threaten a translator. The network last ran a similar service in the early '90s.
There is also the question of what to do with extra frequencies if acquired and policy to be followed when two public broadcasters; A-reps have already set out guiding principles in such cases urging collaboration on acquisitions and also supporting the idea of unique programming rather than duplication but there are no powers to enforce guidelines
Current Magazine report:
2003-03-30: Capital Radio's Xfm London station has received more nominations than any other UK station for this year's Sony Awards, the British radio industry "Oscars" that will be announced on May 8.
In all it has five nominations in various categories but it is absent from the coveted Station of the Year category where the contenders are Classic FM, BBC Radio 2 (yet again), and BBC Radio 4.
As usual the BBC, by far the largest radio broadcaster in the UK, has most nominations overall and dominates the comedy, drama and speech categories.
The nominations list is:
Station of the year (UK):
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 4
Station of the year (digital terrestrial):
BBC 6 Music
Station of the year (one million plus):
BBC Radio Ulster
Station of the year (300,000 - One million):
BBC Radio Leeds
Station of the year (under 300,000):
BBC Radio Foyle
Music programming award - daily sequence:
Free Radio KISS - KISS 100
Late Junction - BBC Radio 3
Mid Morning With Gideon Coe - BBC 6 Music
Music: Response - Xfm
The Johnnie Walker Show - BBC Radio 2
Music programming award - single programme:
Dominic Mohan - The Who Special - Virgin Radio
The Incomplete And Utter History Of Classical Music With Stephen Fry - Classic FM
The Jonathan Ross Show - BBC Radio 2
The Selector - BFBS
Virgin Superstars - Virgin Radio
The breakfast award - music:
2CR FM's Morning Crew - Lloydie & Meryl - 2CR FM
Christian O'Connell's Breakfast Show - Xfm
The Brian Moore Breakfast Show - Metro Radio
The Kev Seed Breakfast Show - Radio City 96.7
Wake Up To Wogan - BBC Radio 2
The specialist music award:
Bobby Friction & Nihal Presents - BBC Radio 1
Charlie Gillettt - BBC London 94.9
Jazz on 3 - BBC Radio 3
Shortee Blitz & Big Ted - KISS 100
The Remix - Xfm
The entertainment award:
Christian O'Connell's Breakfast Show - Xfm
Jo & Twiggy - 96 Trent FM
Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant - Xfm
The Incomplete And Utter History Of Classical Music With Stephen Fry - Classic FM
The Jonathan Ross Show - BBC Radio 2
The music special award:
Axles, Engines, Music And Motown - BBC Radio 4
Bass Player Wanted - BBC Radio 1
First Hand - BBC Radio Wales
Jazz File - BBC Radio 3
The Musical Side Of The Family: Jamie Bernstein - Radio 4
The music broadcaster award:
Bam Bam - KISS 100
JK & Joel - Key 103
Mark Lamarr - BBC Radio 2
Paul Gambaccini - BBC Radio 2
Tim Westwood - BBC Radio 1
News coverage award:
Today Programme: Ethiopian Famine - BBC Radio 4
Firefighters' Strike - BBC Radio Scotland
Today Programme: Paedophile Priests - BBC Radio 4
The Six O'Clock News: The Queen Mother: A Nation Says Goodbye - BBC Radio 4
The Road To Jenin - BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4 & BBC Five Live
The speech award:
At Her Majesty's Pleasure - BBC Essex
Between Ourselves: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - BBC Radio 4
Mind Games - BBC Radio 4
Stark Talk: Joe Simpson - BBC Radio Scotland
Taking A Stand: Bud Welch - BBC Radio 4
The comedy award:
Just A Minute - BBC Radio 4 & BBC World Service
Little Britain - BBC Radio 4
Night Class - BBC Radio 4
The Incomplete And Utter History Of Classical Music With Stephen Fry - Classic FM
The Mark Steel Lecture: Ludwig Van Beethoven - BBC Radio 4
The drama award:
Autumn Journal - BBC Radio 4
Carandiru - Radio 3
Cross My Heart And Hope To Fly - BBCRadio 4
Milosevic In Black & White - BBC Radio 4
Speech broadcaster award:
Edi Stark - BBC Radio Scotland
Lesley Riddoch - BBC Radio Scotland
Sarah Gorrell - BBC Radio Cornwall
Stephen Rhodes - BBC Three Counties Radio
Stephen Nolan - Belfast City Beat
Previous Sony Awards (2002 Awards):
Sony Awards web site:
2003-03-29: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) has delivered a positive update in advance of its half-year results that says like-for-like radio revenues are expected to be 5% up on the period a year ago. It says this reflects an increase of 8% in national advertising, 3% increase in local advertising and 4% increase in promotions income.
When acquisitions are included, SRH broadcast revenues for the six months to the end of March are nearly a third up on the same period a year ago.
The results are in marked contrast to those released earlier in the week by GWR (See RNW Mar 28) and Capital Radio and better than the other positive results from Emap (See RNW Mar 27).
They also contrast with the situation at its larger Scottish rival SMG, which has been forced to sell of assets to trim its debt burden; the disposal its newspaper and magazine interests to US newspaper giant Gannett for GBP 216 million (USD 338 million) has just been approved by Britain's Department of Trade and Industry.
In the US, Sirius has followed satellite rival XM in releasing results that show a significant growth in subscribers and more secure funding but also increased losses (See RNW Mar 28 XM2). Sirius has completed a USD 1.2 billion recapitalization that eliminated 90% of its debt and raised USD 200 million of new equity. It says it can now cover its needs into the second quarter of next year.
In Sirius' case, it now has 30,000 subscribers, less than a tenth of XM's 350,000 at the end of 2002.
For the final quarter of 2002, Sirius has subscriber revenues of USD727, 000 against which it had to set USD107, 000 of costs associated wit a rebate programme. Overall revenues were USD 685,000 and a net loss to common shareholders of UD134 million (USD1.74 per share) compared to a net loss of USD83.6 million (USD 1.52 per share) a year earlier when it had not commenced commercial operation.
For the full year 2002, revenues were USD 805,000 and losses USD 468.5 million (USD 6.13 per share) compared to a 2001 loss of USD 280 million (USD 5.30 per share). Subscriber revenues in 2002 were USD 1 million, offset by USD 426,000 of rebate-associated costs.
Rival XM, which carried adverts on some of its music channels but whose USD 9.99 per month subscription rate is already USD 3 per month lower than that of Sirius, has now announced a family plan under which subscribers will be able to add subscriptions at USD 6.99 per month.
Spanish language network Radio Unica reported a strong final quarter last year with revenues up 26% to USD13.3 million; broadcasting revenues were up 18% to USD 9.9 million.
EBITDA for the quarter improved from a loss of USD5.1 million in 2001 to a loss of USD 100, 000 and Unica's net loss was trimmed from USD 11.1 million (USD 0.54 per share) to USD 5.9 million (USD 0.28 per share).
For the full year revenues were up 22% to USD45.7 million, with radio revenues up 13% to USD35.8 million. EBITDA improved to a loss of USD 2.4 million compared to a loss of USD14.7 million and Unica's net loss was trimmed from USD 42.6 million (USD 2.04 per share) in 2001 to a loss of USD24.6 million (USD 1.18 per share) in 2002.
Chairman and CEO Joaquin F. Blaya said that during 2002 Unica made "significant progress in improving our financial and operating results Our fundamental trends are all moving in the right direction. As a result, we generated positive EBITDA for the final nine months of the year and reduced our overall 2002 EBITDA loss by 83%. Going forward, we will continue to operate the Company as efficiently as possible, while focusing on leveraging our national network to drive further improvements in our revenues and cash flows."
In other US radio business, First Broadcasting Investments is returning to the Sacramento area with the purchase from Moon Broadcasting of KZSA-FM, licensed to Placerville and serving the greater Sacramento area for an undisclosed amount.
Earlier this month First broadcasting announced a USD 24 million deal to sell KNGT-FM, Jackson, which is currently dark being upgraded to serve eastern Sacramento, to Hispanic Broadcasting (See RNW Mar 4).
2003-03-29: Arbitron's contract with Infinity, renewed only for 12 months last year, ends again on Monday and in an SEC filing the Company says that its future contracts in general may be shorter than the four-to-five years that were previously typical until it has completed the roll out of its Portable People Meter (PPM).
Infinity accounts for around 9% of Arbitron revenues and its stations will continue to receive data until the Spring Survey is released this year. Another large customer ABC networks has a contract worth around a third as much that runs out with the release of the Spring figures.
Arbitron also notes in its filing that consolidation could put pressure on its earnings- Clear Channel and Infinity together account for nearly a third of its income and Arbitron says t would be "materially harmed" should a key customer opt not to renew its contract.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-03-29: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has said that a June 2 date has tentatively been scheduled for adopting new rules on US media ownership.
Powell and Republican commissioners want to ease current rules dating back to 1975 that limit media concentration and Powell told a Media Institute lunch in Washington DC that he favoured easing cross-ownership restrictions, commenting that it was "hard to see how a complete ban on newspapers' owning TV stations serves the public interest."
Current rules said Powell, were mainly were promulgated between 1940 and 1975 and the reasons for many had been rendered more uncertain by technological change and he noted that Congress had no changed the rules so that the FCC had to justify each regulation rather than its opponents having to justify change.
Democrat Commissioners favour more ownership regulation although so far courts have struck down a number of existing FCC rules. One of them, Commissioner Michael Copps, who has said that it is most important to get the right rules rather than just drop regulations, has now published the agenda for the field hearing on media concentration to be held on March 31 at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina.
The hearing will be divided into three panels - on Localism and Community Standards, News, and Diversity - and, as with previous hearings there will be an opportunity for members of the public to make comments after each hearing.
The Durham hearing will be attended by Copp's fellow-Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein as well as North Carolina Congressmen Richard Burr (Republican) and David Price (Democrat).
2003-03-28: US Radio sales and marketing company Interep, which has reported a strong final quarter last year, says that radio advertising in the US is already beginning to return, although it is still warning of uncertainty depending upon the duration of the conflict.
Its Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild commented, "While we are hopeful that there will be a quick resolution to the war with Iraq, the current situation has limited our ability to forecast revenue and Operating EBITDA."
"Due to the uncertain climate, many advertisers are releasing their budgets very close to the start date of their campaigns, reducing our visibility into the second quarter. Therefore, we will continue to update our guidance as needed as the year progresses."
"If the war progresses smoothly and its duration is limited, we believe the remainder of the year will rebound quickly, and we will return to more normal visibility patterns."
"If that is the case, we expect our overall commission revenue to be in the $87 to 90 million range and Operating EBITDA in the $17 to 20 million range for the full year 2003. Internet activity is included in our overall commission revenue and Operating EBITDA projections and should be break even with revenues and expenses of approximately $3 million."
Interrep commission revenues for the final quarter of 2002 were up 1.48% to USD24.0 million, including Internet revenue of $0.7 million, and its operating EBITDA increased 286% to USD16.0 million from USD4.1 million for the same period last year.
Interrep's net loss applicable to common shareholders for the quarter was up from USD9.3 million to USD11.3 million but for the full year it fell from USD19.9 million to USD17.8 million.
Interrep notes that the loss for the quarter and year includes a tax provision adjustment of USD6.6 million to reflect a 100% valuation allowance on the company's net deferred tax assets because the timing of its realization is uncertain.
XM Satellite Radio has also been upbeat in its comments together with the release of its final quarter and full year results, noting that it has closed a USD475 million funding package during the quarter and saying this gives it a "Clear Path to Cash Flow Breakeven".
It added 145,000 subscribers in the quarter to end the year with just fewer than 350,000 subscribers.
Revenues for the quarter were USD 9 million, compared to USD532, 000 a year earlier and EBITDA lass was cut from USD113.2 million in the final quarter of 2001 to USD 97.3 million.
XM's consolidated net loss available to common shareholders for the quarter was USD161.0 million compared to USD 149 million and for the full year was up from USD308 million to USD516 million.
Its operating loss for the quarter was fairly static at USD 141 million compared to USD136 million a year before whilst for the year it was up from USD282 million to USD 439 million.
XM says that in the first quarter of this year it will add more than 130,000 net subscribers and subscriber guidance for the full-year 2003 remains unchanged at 1.2 million at the end of the year.
In other US radio business, the US Department of Justice has now given the go-ahead to the USD2.3 billion Univision takeover of Hispanic Radio, although Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval is still awaited.
To gain the approval, Univision agreed to reduce its stake in Entravision from 30 percent to 10 percent over the next six years; it will also relinquish its rights to two seats on the Entravision board and its right to veto any Entravision business decisions.
In the UK, GWR in a trading update says its revenues in the first quarter of this year will be down 3.9% on a strong first quarter in 2002, in line with expectations; the figure includes a dramatic 18.9% drop in revenues at its Classic FM national station and a lower 4.7% fall in its local revenues.
For the full year to the end of March, GWR says its underlying group revenues will be down 0.6% and total revenues will be down 1.1%.
GWR puts the revenue fall at Classic FM for the quarter down largely to the affect of the Easter break falling a month earlier this year; last year revenues for Classic were up 13$ because of the placement of the break and the group expects to show a corresponding improvement in April this year.
During the year, GWR has re-organised its advertising, allowing its 32 local stations to pool their inventory and it commended that it was "particularly pleased with the ongoing strong performance by our team selling national radio revenues for the Local Radio Group, where revenues for the quarter are forecast to be up 8.7% year on year. "
2003-03-28: The UK High Court case in which former British DJ and radio mogul Chris Evans is suing Virgin Radio owners SMG for GBP8.6 million (USD 13.6 million) over his dismissal and SMG is counter-claiming damages from him has been told that Evans could not accept that he had become an employee.
Bobby Hain, SMG business development director, who had been hired by Virgin Radio in 1997 when Evans controlled the country but later became Evans' boss after SMG bought the company and he returned to Virgin as an SMG director, said that Evans could not accept that he was an employee of Virgin, not its owner.
Hain said he was aware of Evans reputation as very talented but highly strung and demanding when the DJ joined Virgin Radio to host the breakfast show in 1997; Evans Group tool a controlling interest shortly after this and Hain said there were no problems for the first two years.
Hain left the company but returned in 2000 and relations deteriorated.
"Despite Chris's understandable belief in his own considerable talent, his refusal to play well-researched music in the required amounts undoubtedly damaged the overall appeal of the breakfast show," said Hain.
He rebutted Evans allegation that the fault lay with management for not offering assistance on the basis that the DJ refused to talk to station executives and said that, following Evans well-publicised absence from the show in May 2001, he returned with an entirely new format that was very poor.
Later in the day, Evans counsel accused Virgin Radio of covering up a meeting on March 28, 2001, at which, they alleged, the station's programme director Paul Jackson said he did not want to work with the DJ.
The issue of the meeting was brought up as a result of a call from Ian Grace, a consultant to Virgin Radio, to Hain saying he recalled the meeting at which Jackson said he couldn't work with Evans. If substantiated, this would have shown a determination to get rid of Evans by Jackson -at the time on gardening leave from Capital Radio - even before he joined Virgin.
Virgin Radio chief executive John Pearson said he had no recollection of the comment being made and denied that he and co-defendants had "put their heads together" to keep mention of the meeting from their witness statements, He also denied that he had asked Grace not to give evidence in the case.
The case has now been adjourned to next week.
2003-03-28: Virgin Radio and Clear Channel retained their top station and network spots in the latest Arbitron-MeasureCast Internet ratings just released covering the week to March 16.
For the week, Arbitron-Measure Cast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 333,336 (340,545); CP 59,427 (62,800). Same rank but lower listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 330,819 (337,075); CP 64,402 (63,564). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 317,131 (314,908); CP 132,808 (135,992). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 240,597 (237,487); CP 34,246 (35,463). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
5: Jazz format Jazz FM - TTSL 231,713 (190,142); CP 33,305 (28,672): Same rank with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to March 16 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,748,610 (1,619,591): CP 224,486 (226,084)- Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
2: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,569,934 (1,470,531); CP 215,076 (206,637). Same rank with higher listening although reach was slightly down.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,344,795 (1,337,260); CP 380,815 (389,992). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Live365.com - TTSL 805,808 (721,866); CP - 148,872 (143,889) Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 752,711 (661,012); CP 137,036 (131,286) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-03-28: BBC Radio 1 has announced that it has signed up Zane Lowe, currently host of Capital Radio station Xfm's flagship Music-Response chart show and co-host of its All City show, to front its Tuesday through Thursday 8p.m. to 10p.m. slot.
The show replaced Steve Lamacq's Evening Session and is currently being fronted by Colin Murray, who will now focus on the Saturday morning show that he will co-host with Edith Bowman who previously presented a weekend show on Capital FM.
Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt, commented, "Zane is one of the most exciting presenters I've seen or heard in years. He has masses of energy and passion for the music which is infectious - which makes him absolutely the person to connect our listeners to the new bands and the artists that they are really care about."
Lowe described the move as "a great opportunity for me to continue doing what I love but now it is going to be on a national platform."
Xfm has said that Ian Camfield will take over the Music:Response show from next Monday. Ian Baker will take over Camfield's afternoon show and Richard Bacon will host the afternoon show as well as continuing to handle his Sunday afternoon show.
Previous Bowman and Murray:
Previous Capital Radio (Xfm owner):
2003-03-27: UK Virgin Radio revenues were hit by millions of pounds by the behaviour of its breakfast host Chris Evans according to Evidence given in the UK High Court on Wednesday, the sixth day of hearings.
The court is hearing Evans claim for GBP8.6 million (USD 13.6 million) from Virgin owners SMG and Virgin Radio chief executive John Pearson said that the company's revenue and profits were dented by the DJs actions.
Predicted revenues of GBP37.8 million (USD 59.8 million) and a profit of GBP16.2 million (USD25.6 million) for 2001 became actual revenues of GBP27.9 million (USD 44.1 million) and a profit of GBP 9.3 million (USD 14.7 million) said Pearson, who added, "I believe it demonstrates that the decrease in Virgin Radio's sales and profit was caused by more than just market conditions."
"The single factor that effected Virgin Radio and no other commercial radio station during that period was the conduct and subsequent departure of Chris Evans."
Pearson said the station was left with no alternative but to fire Evans and claimed that some advertising agencies refused to deal with Virgin because of Evans unpredictable behaviour.
Pearson referred to a confrontation in a June 11 meeting in 2001 when he tried to talk to Evans about changes to the breakfast show and a subsequent letter that he felt showed Evans conduct to be "childish, cowardly and unprofessional" and written solely because his wishes to broadcast all day when England was in a soccer World Cup qualifying game had been rejected by the SMG radio head Bobby Hain.
Pearson said the situation became intolerable with a poor quality breakfast show, a presenter who refused to talk to station management and demonstrated contempt for it and eventually pushed things "past the point of no return."
In another exchange concerning Evans wedding to pop singer Billie Piper, Evans counsel Christopher Pymont QC, said that Virgin Radio wanted to intrude on the DJs private live to gain publicity for the station and said that the DJ was under no obligation to tell the station about his wedding plans.
Pearson, who said it was obvious to journalists and listeners that the station knew nothing about the activities of its DJ in the US, said that he agreed that there was no issue about solely private activities but there was if it impinged on Evans' job.
Pymont responded that Virgin could have simply said the host was taking a break and his private life was not its business. He also suggested that Virgin overloaded the host by expecting him to handle simultaneously the break-up of his six-year relationship with his original breakfast team, getting married and putting a new show together on his honeymoon.
2003-03-27: Clear Channel has been stung into a response by a New York Times Op-ed article by Paul Krugman that suggested the radio giant was behind pro-war rallies organised by Philadelphia-based syndicated talk host Glen Beck.
Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan issued a statement that said the article was "pure fiction" and continuing, "The truth is Clear Channel radio stations are operated locally by local managers who make their own decisions about programming and community events, including rallies to thank and support the men and women in their communities who serve in the armed forces."
"Many of these local managers believe that showing support for our troops is particularly appropriate during a time of war and, with the encouragement of their listeners, have chosen to have their stations participate in these rallies. For Mr. Krugman to attempt to tie this show of community support on the part of local broadcasters to something more cynical and suspect is shameless and irresponsible."
In the Krugman article, he wrote," The company (Clear Channel) claims that the demonstrations, which go under the name, Rally for America, reflect the initiative of individual stations."
"But this is unlikely: according to Eric Boehlert, who has written revelatory articles about Clear Channel in Salon, the company is notorious - and widely hated - for its iron-fisted centralized control."
Krugman suggested that Clear Channel could be attempting, by taking a stance on the issue, was attempting to benefit its business interests as debate continues on US media regulation and then continued, " Or perhaps the quid pro quo is more narrowly focused. Experienced Bushologists let out a collective 'Aha!' when Clear Channel was revealed to be behind the pro-war rallies, because the company's top management has a history with George W. Bush."
"The vice chairman of Clear Channel is Tom Hicks, whose name may be familiar to readers of this column. When Mr. Bush was governor of Texas, Mr. Hicks was chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, called Utimco, and Clear Channel's chairman, Lowry Mays, was on its board."
"Under Mr. Hicks, Utimco placed much of the university's endowment under the management of companies with strong Republican Party or Bush family ties. In 1998 Mr. Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers in a deal that made Mr. Bush a multimillionaire."
RNW comment: Apart from our instinctive reaction that someone who has to begin a sentence saying "The truth " is probably about to try and mislead, we have to say it would be a very strange large corporation that actually gave the amount of control to local managers that is described by Hogan.
When we first read the Krugman article, we were somewhat sceptical of some of his conclusions but our first thought was not to dismiss as pure fiction the idea that Clear Channel had strong central controls.
Reading the Hogan comment, we'd certainly trust Krugman more than Hogan: Although it may be that in certain areas Clear Channel local managers do indeed have the degree of control suggested we would not like to take gambles on the prospects of a manager who tried to go out on a limb in a way that he or she knew would upset Clear Channel senior corporate management.
Nor, when most corporations have centrally-directed cost-related practices such as centrally controlled purchasing policies as do many major corporations - or voice-tracking at CCU, do we find Hogan's comments ringing true on the overall freedom of Clear Channel managers.
We also note that polls seem to indicate that most Americans, admittedly in general getting most of their international news through TV rather than print or radio, seem to have some dramatically unrealistic or inaccurate perceptions of the situation in the Middle East.
That makes it even more important than usual that a media corporation should behave responsibility.
In this case, to us, a broadcaster using the publicly-regulated airwaves as does Clear Channel should in our view be expected to have some general guidelines as to the degree to which it can be partisan as well as on responsible reporting of facts.
Hogan, who seems to want to exercise corporate power without accepting corporate responsibility, should consider Kipling words on harlots' prerogatives through the ages.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times - Krugman Op-Ed:
2003-03-27: There were mixed forecasts concerning the effects of the war on radio revenues this week from the UK where an update from Emap was more upbeat than that from Capital Radio.
UK Emap has bucked the advertising trend and in an update reported group revenues and underlying revenues each up 2% for the year to the end of March.
Its radio revenues, however, were down 2% on an underlying basis for the full year, although they were up 3% in the second half, offsetting a 7% fall in the first half.
Emap says that radio will be hit but by far less than TV, largely because there is less worry by advertisers that their spots will be aired next to news bulletins associated with the war. UK commercial stations carry comparatively little news cover and that is mostly in short bulletins so there is less chance of an advertisement coming up next to bad news from the war area.
Emap has outperformed the national radio market in the second half of the year after a period of underperformance in the first half; it describes is radio revenues as reasonable, and says it continues to perform well relative to the market as a whole.
It is launching its first sterling bond that it hopes will raise at least GBP 200 million (USD 300 million); it says it intends to use some of the funds to pay down debt - it currently owes banks some GBP220 million (USD 350 million) - and also for acquisitions.
In contrast to Emap, the new from Capital Radio was gloomier. Its update indicated a radio revenue decline of 3% in the first quarter of 2003, which it says "will result in a 5% decline in like for like radio revenue for the six months to 31st March 2003, in line with our expectations."
Capital says it expects the advertising market to remain under pressure for the rest of its financial year."
"The short term market," it says, "is very uncertain and we remain cautious regarding future advertising demand. "
The UK short-term situation appears to be similar to that in the US where advertisers have deferred spots much more on TV than on radio. So far the US experience seems to be of comparatively few cutbacks on radio, although overall US broadcast advertising revenues were estimated to be down by around USD100 million during the first few days of the conflict.
In Canada, a similar picture of reasonable prospects for advertising following an initial fall came from a half-day media conference sponsored by BMO Nesbitt Burns that featured presentations from executives of Canada's targets media companies.
2003-03-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD10, 000 to USD 2,000 on grounds of inability to pay, a penalty on a Florida pirate station operator.
The original penalty involved Homere Hyppolite 's operation of the station in the Naples area in May last year and a notice of apparent liability was issued in July that year.
Hyppolite had responded asking for cancellation or reduction of the penalty on the basis that he was only just testing the radio equipment and never intended to operate a radio station from his residence, that he immediately ceased operating the radio equipment at the request of the FCC agents, and was unable to pay the proposed $10,000 forfeiture. He provided financial information in support of his request for reduction of the proposed forfeiture.
The FCC pointed out that the other reasons given did not make an acceptable case for revocation of the penalty bit did accept the financial hardship case.
The FCC has also reduced from USD 5,000 to USD 2,400 penalties for tower offences levied on East Tennessee Radio Group L.P.
The offences concerned failure to post the ASR number on the tower for WSEV- AM, Sevierville, Tennessee and also for failure to notify the FCC immediately of a change in ownership of the antenna structure.
Initially notice had been given of penalties of USD 2,000 for the first offence and USD 3,000 for the second but East Tennessee responded with a statement from its contract engineer that, prior to an FCC inspection in May last year, he noticed the sign was missing and had promptly ordered a replacement sign that he was preparing to post when the FCC agent discovered the violation.
It had also imposed a USD3, 000 penalty because it had not been notified of the change of ownership to which East Tennessee had argued that the forfeiture should be set aside because it believed in good faith that its filing of a notification of consummation of the assignment of license for WSEV (AM) was adequate to notify the Commission of the change in ownership of the antenna structure.
The FCC accepted the arguments for the first offence and revoked the penalty and reduced that for the second to USD 2,000 in view of a past history of compliance.
2003-03-27: The UK Radio Authority has now issued its 400th short-term restricted licence, licences that are issued for up to 28 days for broadcasts within a limited geographical area.
The latest licence went to Sabrang Radio, in Bradford, which will broadcast to the Sikh community of the city to celebrate the Sikh cultural and religious festival of Vaisakhi from 1 to 28 April.
The first such licence was issued to Ski FM, which broadcast, from December 1990 in the Highlands of Scotland.
Commenting on the issue of the latest licence, Tony Stoller, Chief Executive of the Radio Authority, said, "We have always been very proud of this RSL scheme. Short-term licences offer a great opportunity to large numbers of people to make radio for a variety of purposes and, by doing so, they provide a valuable service to their community."
" The popularity of the scheme grows year on year, and we are delighted to have reached this milestone."
Previous Radio Authority:
2003-03-26: Gaylord Entertainment has announced a USD 65 million cash deal to sell its two FMs -- WSM-FM and WWTN-FM - to Cumulus; in addition it is entering into a joint sales agreement for is WSM-AM station.
Gaylord President and CEO Colin Reed said the deal was part of its move to concentrate on its core businesses - Gaylord Hotels and the Grand Ole Opry.
He continued, "The Grand Ole Opry remains our premier entertainment brand, and WSM-AM is an integral component of our strategy to extend the reach of this brand. Our partnership with Cumulus strengthens both of these assets by extending the reach of the Opry over the Cumulus network and providing a more efficient platform for operation of WSM-AM."
The deal is subject to regulator approval but Cumulus is to programme and market the two FMs as soon as the anti-trust waiting periods expire. It is also to carry America's Grand Ole Opry Weekend on the Cumulus country network from April.
Cumulus already has three Nashville stations - WQQK-FM, WNPL-FM, and WEQQ-FM - and its
Cumulus Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey commented, "This acquisition is the most important strategic fill-in that our company could make because it completes our Nashville cluster and solidifies our position in our largest market. The stations have great signals, heritage brands and will put us in a position to challenge for market leadership with broad demographic coverage including: men and women, youth and adults and ethnic as well as general market."
In other US radio business, Pamal Broadcasting is to pay USD 8 million in cash for Western Massachusetts Radio Company's News-talk WPNI-AM and triple-A WRNX-FM, Amherst, in the Springfield market.
In Puerto Rico, Spanish miscellaneous station WGIT-AM is being sold for USD 1.3 million cash to Pedro Roman Collazo who already owns five stations in Puerto Rico.
At Interrep George Pine has been appointed President and COO, reporting to Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild.
In addition Interrep has appointed Kevin Garrity as President of its subsidiary company, ABC Radio Sales in succession to Pine.
2003-03-26: The continuing UK High Court case in which former Virgin Radio breakfast host Chris Evans is claiming GBP8.6 million (USD 13.6 million) from Virgin owners SMG on Tuesday heard Virgin Radio chief executive John Pearson say that Evans failure to turn up for work after a drinking binge at the end of April 2001 had put the station in an "impossible position."
Pearson said no apology was offered for Evans behaviour, adding, "I find it amazing that Chris appears to think it was acceptable In all my years in radio this behaviour was wholly unprecedented, the main presenter disappearing without explanation. We were then told he was ill, which subsequently turned out to be untrue."
He said that Evans was incorrect in saying that he (Pearson) wanted to get rid of the Virgin breakfast team and that he was trying to manage the station's most important talent to the best of his ability.
"Although I was the chief executive I felt powerless. The station was effectively being held to ransom by its star presenter," said Pearson.
Evans counsel Christopher Pymont QC said that it was not Evans fault that Virgin management had no contingency plan it place at two week later, a time at which Virgin had been told Evans would return to work by Evans' agent but no contact had been made with Pearson by Evans himself despite repeated requests.
Pearson said he accepted this but did not see it as relevant and detailed discussions the station had been involved in with Darryl Denham, now the Virgin drivetime host after a spell as its breakfast host (See RNW Jan 6), and Steve Penk for one of them to take over the drive time show and be Evans stand-in.
Denham, he said, was first choice but there were potential problems about Denham getting released from his existing contract and Penk was ultimately appointed as Virgin drivetime host (See RNW May 15, 2001) and took over from Evans.
He in turn walked out of Virgin some seven months later (See RNW Jan 26, 2002).
Penk rejoined Capital in June last year to present a late-evening show (See RNW June 19, 2002).
Penk was subsequently brought in to replace Evans when the latter had another row in June and was fired after failing to turn up for work six days in a row.
Pearson also revealed he agreed a fee for potential promotion to succeed Evans as compensation for Penk's losing the chance of taking over from Chris Tarrant on Capital Radio's breakfast show.
Andrew Mollett, who was Virgin finance director until March 2001, said that the breakfast show had become so bad they had discussed replacing the DJ but SMG counsel Geoffrey Vos suggested Pearson and Virgin were looking for a replacement as a prudent plan because Evans' five-year commitment to the station was drawing to its end.
Mollet said, "The reason was the show was so bad they had to do something about it" but he agreed no decision to fire Evans had been made when he left the company.
2003-03-26: British radio stations are dropping songs that could remind listeners of war according to the UK Times, which details some of the titles removed from playlists.
The BBC it says has told producers to "to play music with a 'light, melodic' feel before and after news bulletins, especially when the reports are likely to detail coalition casualties."
At BBC Radio 1 songs listed as taken off its lists is the Transplants "Diamonds and Guns" and Hard Hot Heat's "Bandages", which has no connection to war with lyrics that go, "These bandages cover more than scrapes, cuts and bruises from regrets and mistakes . . . Bandages on my legs and my arms from you."
Capital Radio has similarly gone for a positive upbeat note at its Capital FM flagship and its XFm station has trimmed back its output of punk and nu-metal.
There was also controversy over the war on Monday night at the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards where several performers made pro-peace protests. The Egyptian pop star Samira Said, who won a Middle East category award, refused to perform in protest at British involvement. The BBC now has to decide how much of the anti-war comment to air in the broadcast.
UK Times report:
2003-03-25: Pictures were painted in the UK High Court on Monday of an atmosphere of fear at SMG-owned Virgin Radio following the arrival of programme controller Paul Jackson and, on the other hand, of its former breakfast host Chris Evans as being not ill but "happy as Larry" drinking with friends when he failed to turn up to host the show just before he was fired.
The portrayal of the atmosphere at Virgin came from Chris Gillett, the general manager of Evans' UMTV Company and former producer of his Virgin breakfast show, testifying at hearings on Evans' claim of GBP 8.6 million (USD13.6 million) claim against Virgin Radio owners, SMG.
Gillette said Jackson tried to "deliberately provoke" Evans and deride his capabilities as a DJ, adding that most of the DJs at the station were scared about losing their jobs.
He said Jackson, a week after arriving at the station "was writing a detailed letter to one of the country's finest entertainment talents, effectively telling him he did not know how to be a DJ."
SMG Counsel Geoffrey Voss QC challenged Gillett's interpretation of the letter, suggesting that its content was that Jackson was seeking talks with Evans about the breakfast show and in another exchange with Evans' agent Michael Foster suggested that the notion that Evans was ill was raised only to protect the DJ in any contract dispute.
Foster agreed in his evidence that he had not spoken personally to Evans before telling Virgin Radio's chief executive John Pearson that the DJ was ill and was going to see a doctor and also that Evans was in good spirits when he later saw him in the Nag's Head public house near the DJ's London flat . He added, however that Evans was not in his opinion "happy or mentally fit to do his show."
He said that he had not put to Evans the suggestion of a GBP 3million (USD 4.75 million) pay-off for the rest of the share options he was due under an agreement with the company, knowing that Evans would reject the offer. Evans was also offered a weekend show but turned that down, saying he only wanted to do the breakfast show.
Foster said that he had subsequently seen Evans at his home and it had been agreed that Evans would not accept the pay-off and that a letter should be sent to Virgin saying the DJ was going to return to work.
Vos then said, "So you knew at that point that Mr Evans was not ill because his reaction was to say, 'Right, I'm going back to work'" and Foster agreed
Pearson did not receive the letter and went to Scotland to discuss the matter with SMG management and on Wednesday June 27 Foster spoke to SMG chief executive Andrew Flanagan who said the point had passed at which Evans could return to work and the only option was to terminate his contact. The case is continuing.
2003-03-25: The RADAR 76 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Report just released by Arbitron shows Disney's ABC Daytime Direction Network again retaining the top rank followed by Westwood CNN Max Radio Network but Premiere Pulse Network took the third spot, displacing ABC Morning News Radio Network.
There were 37 networks in the ratings this time, compared to 33 for the RADAR 75 report (See (See RNW Dec 17) and they again reached three-quarters of US consumers during a typical week.
The ABC Daytime network had a weekly audience of 9.2 million, compared to just under 9 million in the RADAR 75 report, and the same 3.8 AQH rating whilst CNN Max had a reach of 7.4 million, up from just over 7.25 million and the same 3.1 AQH rating.
Premiere Pulse Network had a weekly reach of just over 5.4 million and an AQH of 2.3 compared to 4.4 million and 1.9 in RADAR 75, when it was ranked seventh.
In fourth place was ABC Morning News Radio Network with a reach of 5.36 million and AQH 2.2, compared to 5.6 million and 2.4 in the previous ratings. Fifth again was Premiere Morn Drive AM Network with a reach of just under 5.18 million and AQH of 2.2 compared to 5.11 million and AQH 2.2 in RADAR 75.
The ABC Young Adult Radio Network, fourth in RADAR 75, was down to sixth with a reach of 4.77 million and AQH 2, compared to 5.22 million and AQH 2.2.
The RADAR 76 report is totally diary based with a sample of just fewer than 50,000 and covers the period to December 2002.
As before radio did better with wealthier and better-educated Americans.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
RNW RADAR 75 report:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
Arbitron news release:
2003-03-25: Tennessee radio operator, Radio 810 Nashville, Incorporated , is being fined USD 10,000 by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for offences relating to WMGC- AM, Murfreesboro.
The offences - failure to maintain properly calibrated indicating instruments, to terminate broadcast operation as required when WMGC operated in non- compliance with the technical rules, and exceeding authorized transmitter power by failing to reduce power at sunset - were the subject of a Notice of Apparent Violation in June last year.
No response was received to this notice.
2003-03-25: The US government sponsored Arabic Radio service, Radio Sawa, much hyped before the war with Iraq began is dismissed as a waste of money by the Ibrahim Hilal , editor-in-chief of the al-Jazeera Arab TV station, in a Washington Post report, despite attempts to portray it as a competitor.
The paper quotes Norman J. Pattiz, the Westwood One founder who created Radio Sawa, as saying, "We are competing for attention with al-Jazeera. Our mission is to promote freedom and democracy through the free flow of information."
AL Jazeera claims some 35 million viewers all over the Arab world compared to which Radio Sawa is a minnow with limited and patchy listening and Hilal derided its chances of achieving any significant influence.
"American taxpayers are wasting their money on Radio Sawa," says Hilal. "Arabs understand that it is a tool of the U.S. government."
Radio Sawa's output is mainly Western and Arab pop music interspersed with news bulletins and its editor in chief Mouafac Harb, a Lebanese American who previously worked as Washington bureau chief for the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper, said that in contrast to al-Jazeera, Sawa does not report its news emotively.
"We try to de-emotionalize the news," he commented. "We don't use adjectives."
He and Pattiz dismiss criticisms of the service from internal critics at the Voice of America (VOA), whose Arabic-language service was axed to make way for the new radio station and are dismissive of Sawa's formula of pop music and news headlines.
Tim Shamble, president of the VOA journalists' guild commented. "I don't know what advantage we gain by primarily playing pop music to the Arab world. You may gain a larger audience of teenagers. That's like feeding candy to kids. But I don't think we are following the mission given us by the VOA charter of representing America in a comprehensive way to the rest of the world."
Its protagonists say Sawa has a broader reach than VOA's Arabic service but decline to give figures and Harb responded, "Before Sawa, the U.S. was not part of the media scene in the Middle East," said Harb. "You can have the greatest message there is -- but if nobody is listening to you, it doesn't do you any good."
Even if everybody is, however, it won't necessarily do much good as many Arabs say that unless the US changes its policies toward the Arab world, particularly over the Israeli-Palestinian issue, it will never have much influence.
"The struggle for Arab hearts and minds does not depend on cosmetic changes," says Hassan Ansari, director of Gulf studies at the University of Qatar. "It depends on substance."
Previous Radio Sawa/VOA:
Washington Post report:
2003-03-24: Almost ineluctably, we have been drawn over the past week to comment on how radio has handled the war, in terms of direct reporting, how the lead-up was handled, and some of the complementary output to news cover.
The run-up articles share a common thread in that they are more about attitude and comment than the reporting of fact.
In the Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman, as she writes, "spent the week before the war: driving across the Florida landscape, locked in the alternate universe of talk radio."
"I tuned in," she continues, "as an act of professional penance, and I'm sorry now that I didn't take my hands off the wheel to make notes. But I took away lasting memories of propaganda, a souvenir list of fact-free opinions delivered by a cast of angry baritones."
Among the high - or low- lights, a host between Orlando and Tampa spending the morning "touting the discovery of an Iraqi drone as the smoking gun in the case against Iraq" and a little later a host between Tampa and Fort Myers, "who took antiwar women's groups angrily to task on the grounds that the women of Iraq were bitterly oppressed."
As Goodman accurately notes, "He didn't seem to know that Iraq -- which surely oppresses both genders -- is a secular state where women are more equal than among our friends the Saudis."
Later she notes thinking of the old adage, ''Truth is the first casualty of war.''
"But this time, " she continues, "truth became a casualty before the first shot was fired. Truth was wounded in the pre-war. Half-truth now limps dangerously to the front line."
"In many ways, talk radio seems to have taken up where yellow journalism left off. It bears the trademark disregard for history, casualness about facts, and a penchant for propaganda."
After recalling a little of US newspaper history, Goodman comments, "The old yellow haze has drifted over to the territory of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. In that territory, the best defence of the right-wing media is an offense against the left-wing media. Facts are as fungible as the word 'infotainment.'"
"In that talk-war-world, it doesn't matter if the drones are deadly or comic, if the United States is part of a worldwide ''coalition'' or isolated, if the French simply disagree or are ''cheese-eating surrender monkeys.'' Half a truth is good enough."
Much of the talk radio in the US is carried on Clear Channel stations and before the war began a Chicago Tribune article by Tim Jones considered the sponsorship by Clear Channel stations of pro-war rallies.
"The sponsorship of large rallies by Clear Channel stations," writes Jones, "is unique among major media companies, which have confined their activities in the war debate to reporting and occasionally commenting on the news."
Its involvement he says has "raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic circles" and breaks new ground in the way a large publicly regulated broadcasting company has become involved.
Former Federal Communications Commissioner Glen Robinson commented, "I think this is pretty extraordinary. I can't say that this violates any of a broadcaster's obligations, but it sounds like borderline manufacturing of the news."
Clear Channel spokeswoman Lisa Dollinger said the rallies - called "Rally for America" were the idea of Philadelphia-based syndicated talk host Glen Beck and commented, "They're not intended to be pro-military. It's more of a thank you to the troops. They're just patriotic rallies."
She also said that there was no corporate instruction involved, adding, "Any rallies that our stations have been a part of have been of their own initiative and in response to the expressed desires of their listeners and communities"
Dollinger denied that there was any connection with Clear Channel's lobbying in relation to US media regulation and Rick Morris, an associate professor of communications at Northwestern University, said the actions by Clear Channel stations were a logical extension of changes in the radio industry over the last 20 years, including the blurring of lines between journalism and entertainment.
From a business perspective, Morris said, the rallies were a natural fit for many stations, especially talk-radio stations where hosts usually espouse politically conservative views
When the war began, US radio responded in some cases by going to full-scale cover and in others by almost ignoring the events. Clear Channel went to long reports on News-Talk format stations and many music outlets and Infinity music stations stuck to formats but had frequent updates.
In the UK there was a similar range although the BBC switched Radio London to a rolling news format.
There are also tie-ups between the British Forces Broadcasting Service and the BBC and Virgin.
"BFBS, which runs radio stations for British forces the world over," notes Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times radio column, "began 60 years ago in November, in another desert, that of Algeria. It knows how vital it is that soldiers communicate with home, an unbroken thread through British radio history. It's All Yours, made by the Forces' Programme (now Radio 2), broadcast messages between children and their absent fathers during the Second World War, and gave nine-year-old Petula Clark her radio debut."
"Later, there was Family Favourites, Calling the Falklands and Gulf Link. And now this. Virgin-BFBS's show is not jingoistic: it simply connects with, and entertains, and supports at a difficult time, fellow citizens a long way away who are prepared for sacrifice."
But finally, to turn away from the war to a degree, comments from two other UK radio columnists.
In the UK Observer, Sue Arnold, after comments on some phone-in shows, went on, "If there's any truth in that theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in Peru causes an earthquake in China, the bombing should have stopped right then. It didn't, which leaves you wondering what point those phone-ins serve, apart from filling airtime cheaply. I'd rather have martial music."
"Or, better still, Jackie Mason, whose irreverent attitude to all factions - Arabs, Jews, gentiles, Bush, Blair - came as a welcome antidote to the broadcasting blitzkrieg. In The World According to Me, Mason, the rabbi turned stand-up comic, told some breathtakingly un-PC jokes. 'Did you know that Israel has had the hydrogen bomb for 20 years but they've never used it. Why? Because it cost $187 billion. You think we're going to throw this away on an Arab?"
And finally in the UK Sunday Times Gerry McCarthy writes, "There's nothing like an international crisis to highlight the absurdity of life in Ireland. Our tribunals rumble endlessly on: nobody pays much attention; everyone's watching the war."
He does provide some link though and later notes in relation to a re-enactment of the Morris Tribunal, "Nonetheless, the re-enactment opened a window to rampant surrealism. There is a certain irony to the context - whatever the truth turns out to be, these Donegal gardai were acting on the fringes of the conflict in Northern Ireland. As we listened to some of the evidence, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that wars consist of more than rhetoric from leaders and fighting by soldiers: they are also a magnet for opportunists."
(RNW comment: Whoops. Back to US talk radio, where we started!)
Boston Globe - Goodman:
Chicago Tribune - Jones:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2003-03-24: The Boston-headquarters 'FNX Network changes significantly today with the Phoenix Media Communication Group's Massachusetts and New Hampshire stations - WFEX-FM, Manchester and WPHX-FM, Portsmouth --shifting formats but carrying the Boston feed and WWRX-FM, Providence, becoming an independent Modern station, ending its simulcasts of the network out of Boston.
FNX network's Program Director said that they had done really well in Providence but not grown as expected in Boston itself and so were going to focus more specifically on doing the best for each market rather than trying to find something that worked for all markets.
WWRX will still term itself 'FNX and will simulcast the morning show but then its own DJs and a format focused on bands such as Limp Bizkit, Godsmack and Korn.
Storm and Birdsey (Storm Zbel and Tom Birdsey) , who hosted afternoons for the network will do afternoons for WWRX with Brian Slater inked in for evenings.
The Lynn-based Boston flagship WFNX-FM, which has just marked its 20th anniversary, is to tweak its mix and more on bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, U2, The Strokes and Coldplay with some 40 percent of its playlist containing older tracks.
Previous Storm and Birdsey:
2003-03-24: Comedian Jerry Lewis is reported to be considering legal action against Infinity's KROQ-FM following a hoax call last week from the Kevin and Bean Show ( Gene "Bean" Baxter and Kevin Ryder) to French President Jacques Chirac.
The call was made by DJ Ralph Garman posing as Lewis, who is popular in France; he got through to Chirac for a conversation about why France opposed military action against Iraq.
Lewis's lawyer has complained that Lewis' name and voice were unlawfully appropriated to obtain an interview by deception.
Previous Kevin and Bean:
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2003-03-23: Last week saw a regular flow of activity from most regulators but with no major developments, although the UK Radio authority has now published a report on its Access Radio scheme that was generally welcomed and seems to presage a permanent adoption of the idea.
In Australia, radio activity from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABA) included a formal announcement that it had extended the three commercial radio standards it set up in the wake of the cash-for-comment affair (See RNW Mar 18).
In addition it has advertised three new community licences.
One is for the Blackwater area of Queensland with an application deadline of April 14; a second is for the Horsham area of Victoria with a deadline of April 15; and the third is for the Moranbah area of Queensland with a deadline of April 17.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued statistics on the country's commercial radio revenues from 1998-2002 (See RNW Mar 20).
On the licence front, things were fairly quiet in the country. The CRTC extended until June 7 the deadline for Radio CJVR Ltd. To commence operation of a new transmitter for CJVR-FM Melfort at Waskesiu, Saskatchewan, and also issued a public notice concerning a number of applications.
Those involving radio included
*An application for a corporation yet to be incorporated for a new classic rock English language FM in Port Alberni.
* An application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to increase the power of CBUX-FM Vancouver from 287 to 1280 watts.
*An application for a new English language "eclectic" music format FM in Portage La Prairie for Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.
*Amendments of the licence for CKUE-FM, Chatham, to allow addition of a 400 watts transmitter at Windsor and also changing other conditions including that relating to the amount of local programming broadcast. This is to be increased from a minimum 42 hours a week to 84 hours.
In Europe, there was nothing from Ireland but in the UK the Radio Authority published a report on its Access Radio experiment that was generally welcomed (See RNW Mar 22).
Licence activity included the advertisement of the new Glasgow FM licence, the automatic renewal, because they provide or are committed to provide services on the relevant local digital multiplex, of the Manchester licences held by Piccadilly Radio Ltd. and Magic AM, and the announcement of details of the application for the Nottingham digital multiplex (see RNW Mar 19)
In the USA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has slapped red flags on two deals.
One involves 18 of the stations involved in Qantum's purchase of Root Communications' entire 26-station holding (See RNW Mar 6); Markets affected are Brunswick, Georgia, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, and Florence, South Carolina.
The other involves a station swap planned by Clear Channel and Regent Communications involving the swap of four of the latter's Minnesota stations plus cash for five Clear Channel Indiana stations (See RNW Feb 28)
The FCC has also dropped on fine for technical offences and confirmed two more and also dismissed 484 low power FM applications that did not meet third-adjacent channel protection requirements (See RNW Mar 19).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-03-23: Sirius Radio CFO John Scelfo is to leave the company on April 7 and the company has launched a search for his replacement.
Scelfo has been with the satellite radio company since 2001 and commented, "Now that the recapitalization is complete and the company's balance sheet is strong, it's a good time for me to pursue an opportunity that arose."
Sirius President and CEO Joe Clayton commented, "John helped us through significant expense reductions and capital raising efforts including our recent recapitalization. He has indicated a desire to move on to different personal and professional ventures and we wish him well.."
2003-03-23: Clear Channel chairman and CEO Lowry Mays received a USD 2 million bonus for 2002 in addition to his USD 1 million salary according to an SEC filing by the company. The bonus became due after the company met performance targets.
In 2001, Mays did not get a bonus but he did receive options on 750,000 Clear Channel shares; this year he received no new stock options.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
2003-03-22: The third day of High Court hearings in London into former DJ and radio tycoon Chris Evans GBP 8.6 million (USD13.6 million) claim against Virgin Radio owners, SMG, has heard that Evans felt he needed to have a hangover to operate.
The court was told of an attack on the station management during his live breakfast show a fortnight before Evans actual dismissal after a drinking binge and his failure to turn up to host the show.
On the day of England's World Cup soccer qualifying soccer game against Greece on June 6, Evans, who had announced that he would stay on air all day but had been told he could not, ended his show with the words "sod '3m" about Virgin management.
Evans was fired after failing to turn up to host his Virgin breakfast show after a drinking binge, details of which were given to the court by SMG counsel Geoffrey Vos QC, who said the effect had been to give his employers "a very public slap in the face".
The binge began on the morning of June 20, 2001, following his breakfast show, continued through the day and night, and then continued again June 21 at his local public house, the court was told.
It then resumed on June 22 with stories and pictures appearing in newspapers; Evans' agent told the station his client was unable to host his show because he was ill.
Evans himself denied that the reason he failed to turn up was because of his hangover "I've done most of my work hungover," he said. "It was my normal working zone because I like to go to the pub at night and I usually get up with a thick head - not to the extent I had that morning, but I would say I have done more radio shows hungover than not hungover."
Evans said that the real reason was tension with Virgin management.
"I was very, very upset that morning. I thought I was being played around by my employer," he said.
"I was unable to broadcast, in my opinion. To do a show like I was doing you have to be in a good mood and I was as miserable as sin. I was upset. I didn't know what to do."
He said he didn't intend to make it seem that Virgin was unable to exercise control over him or make them seem foolish.
The court was told that Virgin had offered Evans a GBP million pay-off, which had been refused. Evans said he had been willing to return to work the next week.
The case will continue next week.
2003-03-22: Just as the war in Iraq began, news-hungry listeners in the area around Ajiloun in Northern Jordan gained an improved BBC Arabic service through the opening of a new FM transmitter that complements the existing FM service that has been broadcasting from Amman since 1998.
The Head of International Broadcasting Relations at the BBC Arabic Service, Hassan Abu Ala, said." This is a high-power project, carrying the strongest FM signal in the region to complement the Amman FM and to provide an excellent service to listeners in northern Jordan and adjacent areas who are hungry for accurate, objective information."
The BBC Arabic service is also available in the area from FM transmitters in Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain as well as on medium wave and satellite audio services on Arabsat, Nilesat and Orbit.
In the US , the vast majority of Americans want to hear war news updates on music radio stations according to a report from Harker Research. It says that 89% of women respondents and 74% of men wanted such updates.
48% wanted the updates as available , 39% every hour and 11% every other hour. Women were more interested in getting the updates "as available" - 55% to 15%
In terms of the news they get, consolidation may or may not have affected news variety on US radio stations, but contracts clear do as noted by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder.
He notes that WGN-AM, owned by the Tribune Company, and WLS-AM, have been airing the same ABC war reports this week and that WLS-AM sister station, rock-format WZZN-FM, airs its hourly updates from ABC.
2003-03-22: The row over the Dixie Chicks' singer Natalie Maines' comment that she was ashamed that US President Bush came from her Texas home state, has prompted a clash between the country stations in San Diego, where a quarter of the population are associated with the US military according to the Los Angeles Times.
Initially both KSON-FM, owned by Jefferson-Pilot Communications, and XHCR-FM , owned by Mexican company XETRA Comunicaciones S.A. de C.V but whose programming and sales is handled by Clear Channel, took Dixie Chicks' music from their play lists.
The lower rated XHCR-FM, ranked 24 and which had a 1.3 share in the market compared to tenth-ranked KSON's 3.4 in the most recent ratings, is maintaining the ban; its program director Mike O'Brian told the paper, "Every station I'm aware of is charged with getting ratings. Our audience has clearly spoken: 'We don't want to hear their music.' And we're honouring that."
At KSON, however, the Chicks are to be eased back. It began this at the start of the week but received a flood of protest calls and backed off for the moment.
"We feel very, very deeply in her right as an American to say what she feels," said Darrel Goodin, vice president and San Diego market manager for Jefferson-Pilot Communications. "For that reason, we're not going to get into McCarthyism, or blacklisting, or anything like that."
"For the next couple of days, we're probably going to be off their product," he added then continued, "We have every intention of returning their product to the air once emotions cool down. At this moment in our city, it's such a hot topic and people are so emotional."
Goodin said the angry phone calls the station got any time they played the group are already starting to give ground to those saying, "If you don't play the Dixie Chicks, I'll never listen to you again."
Goodin also criticised XHCR for the way it had handled the matter, saying their outright boycott was just a call for attention. He also questioned its sincerity, noting that the station broadcasts from Tijuana.
O'Brian denied the prohibition was a stunt. "We're not trying to play any card, patriotic or otherwise," he said. "It's not about some marketing ploy. It's clearly a numbers game."
"As our research has shown, 85% to 90% of our audience does not want to hear their music today. If 85% to 90% of our audience wanted to hear polka today, that's what I'd do."
(RNW comment: On the basis that you can define principles in relation to sticking to them even when it has a cost, the very idea of principle and business often seems antithetical. In this case O'Brian is being straightforward in terms of expressing business interests and Goodin in linking actions to the same interests, even though his sentiments may be honourable.)
Previous Clear Channel:
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-03-22: A report by Professor Anthony Everitt concerning the UK Radio Authority's Access Radio project has been generally welcomed with some reservations from the commercial radio sector.
UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, said the idea has "has the potential to provide communities with something quite special, a unique radio service which they run themselves. A diverse range of people can work together to improve and regenerate their community, through this new type of radio." The report recommends that Access stations should normally be able to raise up to half of their income from advertising sales and sponsorship but adds that where coverage area is shared with a small commercial radio station, Access licences should only be offered if the applicant can show that it will present little or no advertising sales and sponsorship competition.
The UK Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) generally welcomed the report but expressed concern about commercial funding .
The CRCA says it believes "it would be wrong if public money was used to subsidise advertising rates on access radio, thereby distorting the market and creating unfair competition for commercial radio."
In an echo of US National Association of Broadcasters' similar views about the possible impact on small stations of Low Powered FM stations in the US, the CRCA notes that the report says that access radio could affect the audiences and revenues of small commercial stations and says that the safeguards recommended to protect small commercial stations are inadequate.
CRCA chief executive Paul Brown commented, "The report has done an excellent job at identifying the core social purposes of Access Radio. However, allowing access radio to seek commercial revenue will make it behave and sound like local commercial radio and thus reduce the intended differences between the sectors. Regulating to ensure that this process is somehow controlled as the report suggests will be both expensive and difficult to the point of impossibility."
"Let access radio be free to get on and do what it should, under clear, simple and easily operable rules. The creation of an access radio fund to back up the many non-commercial funds available elsewhere will help achieve this and leave access radio broadcasters to broadcast and interact as they should. Let us minimise the regulation and maximise the inspiration."
Commenting on his report, "New Voices", Professor Everitt , describes Access Radio as "not simply for the people, but by the people."
The pilot projects , he says, gave "hundreds of local volunteers the chance to become broadcasters, and produced real social gains for their communities as well as some lively radio. I have little doubt that, if it is introduced, Access Radio promises to be one of the most important cultural developments in this country for many years."
Previous UK Radio Authority:
UK Radio Authority -Access radio report (1Mb PDF):
2003-03-22: It was change at the top time in the latest Arbitron-MeasureCast Internet ratings just released with Clear Channel back at the top of the network ranks and Virgin FM back as top station after significant times further down for both.
In addition, ABC Radio Networks made it into the top ten for the first time.
For the week to March 9, Arbitron-Measure Cast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 340,545 (304,300); CP 62,800 (58,922). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 337,075 (340,394); CP 63,564 (66,458). Down from first with lower listening and reach.
3: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 314,908 (319,829); CP 135,992 (138,896). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 237,487 (241,959); CP 35,463 (35,965). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz format KPLU-FM - TTSL 190,142 (192,124); CP 28,672 (33,325): Same rank with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to March 9 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,619,591 (1,335,784): CP 226,084 (204,395)- Up from third with higher listening and reach.
2: Chain Cast/StreamAudio TTSL 1,470,531 (1,445,782); CP 206,637 (206,813). Down from first despite higher listening although reach was slightly down.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,337,260 (1,341,246); CP 389,992 (392,661). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: Live365.com - Top 25 TTSL 721,866 (620,247); CP - 143,889 (127,889) Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 661,012 (626,163); CP 131,286 (142,277) - Same rank with higher listening although reach was lower.
*Moontaxi dropped from fourth to sixth with TTSL of 636,901, up from 629,320 and CP of 131,286, up from 88,042.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings (Feb month) :
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast weekly ratings:
2003-03-21: Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone and President and COO Mel Karmazin have now each agreed new contracts with Viacom in deals under which each is paid USD 1million a year according to an SEC filing.
The agreement ends a period of uncertainty as to whether Karmazin might leave Viacom.
In addition to their salaries, each man is entitled to bonus payments of up to USD6.6 million dependant on the achievement of company goals and a further USD 2.9 million in "deferred compensation" for 2003 and will be also be due to further such annual compensation until either leaves Viacom, at which point the entire accumulated deferred compensation will be paid out.
No term was given for Redstone's contract but that for Karmazin runs for three years until May 2006.
In a statement, Redstone said, " 'I am very pleased that Viacom will continue to benefit from Mel's leadership and talent. The CBS merger brought many great assets together under the Viacom name, and Mel has done a masterful job of integrating those businesses and operating them at peak performance. I look forward to continuing our successful partnership and taking Viacom to new heights in the years to come."
Karmazin commented, "Viacom is a great company and is performing at the highest levels in its history. Not only have I had the privilege of working with Sumner, one of the great visionaries and executives in the entertainment industry, but also the privilege of being associated with the most talented and disciplined management team in the media business. I am very excited about the future and working with Sumner to keep Viacom at the forefront of the media industry while building value for our shareholders."
There had been considerable speculation about the future of Karmazin after reports of clashes with Redstone, who is Viacom's controlling shareholder and whose sociable personal style contrasts with that of Karmazin, who keeps his business and personal life separated.
Under changes due to take effect in May, Redstone will have the right to change the composition of the Viacom Board, thus potentially giving him more control.
Viacom shares -which had risen against the trend on Wednesday following the Viacom board meeting - was probably as much a reaction to the ending of uncertainty with the start of war against Iraq as to Viacom's announcement. Clear Channel shares were also up around 5% on Thursday as were those of Radio One.
2003-03-21: Former British radio mogul and Virgin Radio breakfast host Chris Evans broke down and cried at one stage on Thursday during the second day of hearings in the High Court of a case in which he is claiming GB P8.6 million (USD13.6 million) in share options plus other damages for breach of contract from Virgin Radio owners SMG following his dismissal by the company.
Evans told the court that working with the Virgin breakfast team had been a dream come true but then "the fairytale" been fractured.
Evans cracked up during questioning by SMG counsel Geoffrey Vos QC, who asked him about his relations with his co-presenter John Revell and a new programme director, Paul Jackson, hired by SMG.
Evans said that Revell had become tired and no longer spontaneous on air and he felt some tough decisions had to be made about the breakfast show team. He described Jackson, who had forced him to make changes to the show, as a "frightening character" and said that Jackson had stopped him from attending management meetings.
Evans said that contrary to SMG's claims, he was allowed to present his show in the way he wanted until things went wrong.
"They never said a word to me about what should be or not until it got messy. When the show was fine I broke all the rules and nobody said a word," he said.
He added that he talked to John Pearson, the chief executive of Virgin Radio, about the station and also to SMG radio head Bobby Hain, to whom he had made the suggestion that Virgin should get rid of mid-morning host Russ Williams who he felt was out of place at the station.
Vos suggested that even before Evans met Jackson he had unsettled is team and had made his co-host Revell feel extremely small one day when he dried up on air during a game that Evans had devised under which Revell had to guess what was special about the day.
In answer to an enquiry from the judge, Mr Justice Lightman, Evans agreed that he had treated Revell in a cruel way, adding, "We were quite abusive to each other on air. But it wasn't done with malice. I thought it was light-hearted but reading it back, it doesn't look good."
Evans, who said he had been involved in the strategic running of Virgin Radio, not just the production of his breakfast show, admitted in the high court he had never read any contract he has signed but had relied on his agent, Michael Foster.
He accepted that it was a good point that, if he had not read his contracts, he could not perform his contractual obligations but said that allegations that he had unilaterally changed promotions was untrue as he had always consulted station management before making changes.
Asked about changes to records on the show, Evans said this was done to reflect the day and added that this was called "spontaneous broadcasting."
The case is continuing.
2003-03-21: Comments made by Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines have led to a drop of around a fifth in airplay of the group's music an analysis by Mediabase; the fall at country stations was higher at nearly a third.
Leading the anti-Maines action is Cumulus Broadcasting, which has stage anti-Chicks demonstrations at which their CDs were destroyed and banned the group from its 42 country format stations until Maines makes a further and personal public apology. It is also considering whether to put in a ban at stations with other formats.
Cumulus says that the singer brought the action on herself and let her fans down.
The row has also led to Cox country format stations giving notice to Jones Radio Networks that is intends to drop the Lia show. Cox wanted Dixie Chicks songs to be dropped from its network but Jones, around 150 of whose 185 affiliates had said they were going to continue airing the group's music, refused.
They had issued details of where the Chicks' music was scheduled on Monday and on Tuesday offered a Chicks-free variant of Lia and the Danny Wright All Night program.
Cox says the offer came too late and adds that the ban is a programming decision because of their listener feedback and that they would bring the group back when listeners asked.
There have been suggestions that political or agenda groups have been fuelling the protest with an e-mail and phone campaign but no broadcaster admits that this has influenced them, all citing listener feedback as the reason for their decisions to drop the Chicks.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the strongest feeling against Maines comes from her Texas home state - she had said that she was ashamed that US President George Bush was from Texas but later apologised for being disrespectful.
At Cox's country format KKBQ-FM in Houston, a 26,000-listener poll indicated 72 percent of the participants wanted the band off the station.
Program director Michael Cruise told the Times, "No one has said that Natalie did not have the right to express her opinion, but people here agree that they have a right not to want to listen to her too."
"People think she could not have picked a worse time or a worse place to express that opinion.... I think her apology did not ring true to a lot of people as well."
A statement on the station's web site by Cruise ends, "We have been asked if, and when the Dixie Chicks will return to the play list. That decision also lies with our listeners. We will soon poll the audience again, and simply follow their wishes."
In Los Angeles, country music leader KZLA-FM assistant program director Tonya Campos said the fans want entertainment, not politics.
"People tune in to hear music and we're trying to keep the whole political thing out of it," Campos said. "Natalie expressed her opinion, but the last time we checked, the music of the Dixie Chicks was not political. We just want to play country music."
That view was shared by the majority of respondents to a RatetheMusic.com poll. 46% of the respondents said the Chicks were entitled to their opinion, another 22% said they were upset but the apology should be accepted, and 23% said they never wanted to hear the group again. Most of the rest were not familiar with the issue or had no opinion.
War attitudes have also had an unexpected fallout in Florida, where, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Englewood talk station WENG-AM, has cancelled "Canada Calling", a daily five minute digest of Canadian news produced six months of the year for snowbirds (Canadians) on vacation in warmer climes.
WENG airs hosts such as Bill O'Reilly and G. Gordon Liddy and has aired for 25 years the Canadian show, broadcast by host Prior Smith from his log cabin in Clear Lake, Ontario.
It was dropped after Smith reported the Canadian government decision to call for a wait for UN approval before military action and Smith said the decision, "This reflects very, very badly on the radio news business that something like this could happen. They're shooting the messenger."
WENG news director Ryan Rafferdy said the station received almost 200 calls yesterday, most in favour of pulling the show. "Basically, the common thread of the calls is American pride," he said.
A statement on the station web site by general manager, Ken Birdsong, said: "We will continue to provide our listeners with the best programming possible, but we will also continue to insist that our programming supports the United States of America."
(RNW comment: But he didn't add - " and don't tell us anything we don't want to hear. We prefer the Ostrich approach! And we don't see how censorship of news can provide "the best programming possible.")
Previous Jones Radio Networks:
Los Angeles Times report:
RatetheMusic.com web site:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2003-03-20: Many US radio stocks fell on Wednesday as fears of the affects of a war on advertising took effect; major advertisers are expected to postpone future purchases and in addition the initial rush of news may take some advertisements off air.
There were some exceptions- Viacom rose 0.78% and Cox was up 1.79% - but in general falls were 2-4%, although Westwood One fell 4.78% after its warning (below) and Entravision was also down 4.78%,
Cumulus was down 4.03%, Radio One was down 3.57%, Salem was down 3.03%, Hispanic was down 2.06%, Clear Channel was down 2.04%, and Spanish Broadcasting was down 0.44%.
Westwood One had issued a warning about the possible effects of conflict, saying that for the first quarter it now anticipates revenue and Operating Cash Flow to come in slightly down versus prior-year results, compared with prior guidance of low to mid-single digit revenue growth and double-digit growth in Operating Cash Flow.
For the full year 2003 rather than guidance of mid-single digit revenue growth and double-digit growth in Operating Cash Flow in the range of $210 million to $215 million it now expects low to mid-single digit revenue growth and high-single digit Operating Cash Flow growth
President and CEO Joel Hollander commented, "In light of the extraordinary uncertainty surrounding an imminent war with Iraq, we have been experiencing a softening of advertising sales over the past four weeks as advertisers try to ascertain the duration of the conflict and its possible effect on their business. Therefore, we wanted to take this opportunity to update our shareholders on our outlook for 2003 as we currently see it."
"Our advertisers are telling us that they believe they will return to normal advertising levels but are uncertain about the timing."
Westwood One has also announced further news syndication agreements in light of the situation.
It offers CBS Radio News, CNNRadio News and NBC News Radio, all of whom will expand coverage in the event of war in Iraq.
Cumulus Media is to take NBC News Radio, currently scheduled to launch on March 31, 2003, to air on over 50 Cumulus Media radio stations nationwide and Saga Communications is to take all Westwood's news for 30 of its FM stations.
The imminent conflict has also led Chicago public station WBEZ-FM to postpone its spring pledge drive; its president and general manager Torey Malatia said the events had presented them "with the decision of whether to ask you for your financial help to sustain public radio or to forgo the pledge drive to bring you full and uninterrupted coverage,"
"We decided to postpone the pledge drive. This is what we know you would want us to do."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Radio One Inc:
Previous Westwood One:
2003-03-20: Former UK DJ and radio mogul Chris Evans' High Court action in which he is claiming GBP8.6 million (USD13.6 million) from Virgin Radio owners SMG (the former Scottish Media Group) has heard his lawyer say he was put under so much stress that he was too ill to work; SMG says he breached his contract of employment and accused him of "overbearing arrogance and conceit" that gave it no option but to fire him in June 2001 after he failed to turn up for work (See RNW June 29, 2001).
Evans is claiming he is entitled to 4,981,420 shares in SMG , Virgin Radio's owners, and a further 1,245,355 shares in SMG TV that would have been due to him had he remained with the station.
He is also claiming damages for breach of his breakfast show contract.
Evans sold his Ginger Media Group, which owned Virgin Radio, to SMG for £225 million (USD355 million) in January 2000 in a deal that made him personally some GBP70 million on top of which he was given the share options at issue in the case; He personally made GBP 70 million (USD110 million) on the deal (See RNW Jan 13, 2000)
His counsel, Christopher Pymont QC, told the court that Evans and Virgin management had disagreed in June 2001 about a suggestion he made that he should stay on air all day when England played its World Cup qualifying soccer game against Greece, something that was "exactly the sort of thing that would excite the station's core audience," The idea was rejected and relations between the parties began to break down.
Pymont said that on June 20, 2001, Evans had stayed on after finishing his breakfast show, believing that a meeting had been arranged with management. Nobody came to see him and he took it hard and went out and got drunk, with the result that he was unable to host his show the next day.
He added that when Evans agent contacted the station a few days later, he was told the station wanted Evans to leave the breakfast show. A GBP3 million (USD 4.7 million) payoff was offered but rejected and Foster asked for GBP6 million to GBP 7 million (USD 9.5 to 11 million) but no agreement was reached.
SMG's counsel, Geoffrey Vos QC, said that Evans had wilfully damaged the company's business by behaviour that amounted to gross negligence and misconduct and that his public attacks on Virgin Radio's management had affected the station's ratings and advertising, causing its share price to fall.
He said Evans had breached his contract with Virgin Radio and also the agreement his holding company had with Virgin. He also said Evans actions made it hard to sell sponsorships and promotions because Virgin had to agree details with clients and Evans would then change promotions on air saying that he knew best and was permitted to do this.
Vos suggested that Evans, despite making millions from the sale of his company, had forgotten he was no longer the boss, did not want to do as he was told by management, and gave Virgin no choice but to fire him.
The case is continuing and Evans is expected to testify today.
2003-03-20: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a contest run by CFRQ-FM, Halifax, Nova Scotia, that encouraged listeners to call in and fake an orgasm on the air to win a prize did not breach its codes.
A listener had complained that the calls broadcast - two from men and one from a woman - were not acceptable at a time when children were likely to be listening.
The Council in its ruling said that the content, which followed a comment by the hosts that it was Second Annual National Orgasm Day" and that 80% of women fake orgasms, was not sexually explicit and hence did not breach codes; it also noted that the callers all provided a comedic element to their presentations.
"Not only was there no suggestion of reality, but there was also no detail or description of an explicit sexual act," it said in its ruling. "All the callers seemed to be providing their own take on the sexual silliness that characterized the 'contest'."
"At worst, the Panel finds that the material may be juvenile, tasteless or inappropriate, but there is nothing about the content that moves it from the inappropriate to the unacceptable. In other words, even if children might have been listening (and the station's demographics do not suggest that this might have been the case), the subject matter would not have presented a problem. "
2003-03-20: The European long wave frequency formerly used by TEAMtalk, which paid GBP 2 million (USD 3.2 million) for 80% of Radio Tara, the organisation that operates the former music station Atlantic 252, seems likely to revert to a pop service to be broadcast by Irish state broadcaster RTÉ
Atlantic 252, which at its peak had a 6% share of the UK audience, ceased broadcasts at the end of 2001 after it was sold to TEAMtalk, which launched its sports station using the frequency in March 2001 (See RNW March 3, 2001).
The TEAMtalk station lost most of its audience - it was down to an 0.2% share in its last ratings before close (See RNW Aug 2, 2002) --- and its parent company was eventually taken over by UK online bookmaker UKBetting, which closed down the radio operation after failing to find a buyer (See RNW Aug 1, 2002).
UK Betting subsequently disposed of its holding in the station to RTÉ, which is now considering the use it should make of the frequency. The transmitter in County Meath has been running tests in advance of the launch of the new service. It has still not indicated whether it will broadcast one of its existing channels or a new service nor given a start date for the launch.
2003-03-20: Statistics just released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on the performance of Canada's commercial radio industry between 1998 and 2002 show total radio revenues overall rising by 17% to CAD1.1 billion (USD 750 million) a year over the period; spending by stations rose 13.4% to CAD 885 million (USD 596 million) in 2002.
The biggest growth was in FM radio whose revenues were up 31.4% over the five years, fuelled primarily by a 39.5% increase in local revenues. Anglophone stations outperformed Francophone ones, with revenues up 32/5% and 27.1 % respectively.
In 2002, Canadian FM stations spent 23.5 percent of their revenues on programming. The year also saw 15 new FM stations go on air.
AM radio fell back over the period with overall revenues down 9.8%, that for Anglophone stations decreasing by 8.8% whilst for Francophone ones the decline was 19%. AM stations spent just over 40% of their revenues on programming in 2002, a year in which only one new AM went on air.
CRTC web site (links to PDF of report 3.3 Mb)
2003-03-20: Arbitron has announced "enhancements" to its RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) network ratings service including new software reporting capabilities, increased sample size, improved sample balancing that will introduce balancing for Hispanic respondents, improve sample balancing for black Non-Hispanic respondents, and ensure the proper weighting for a number of demographic and geographic characteristics.
Arbitron says the Network Radio Research Council (NRRC ) agreed with the use of the new sample balancing methods, after reviewing a test that showed, in all instances, the new methods produced a balanced diary sample consistent with population projections.
Len Klatt, chairman of the NRRC and senior vice president/director of Research, Premiere Radio Networks commented, "From our research perspective, we're comfortable with what Arbitron has done. The new sample balancing methods reflect Arbitron's commitment to maintaining and improving the RADAR service. The NRRC looks forward to working with Arbitron over the long term to maintain the consistency that's been associated with the RADAR product for a long time."
Arbitron is to release its complete RADAR 76 Radio Network Audience Report next week but has announced some findings in advance.
It says that in a typical week, radio reaches more than 224 million people, or 95% of US adults 12 and older, with the top demographic being 25-34 year olds, 97% of whom listen to radio. The top listening location is the automobile with 80% of US listeners 12 and above tuning whilst travelling.
Morning drive is the top daytime slot, taking 78% of listeners followed by midday with 76%.
Previous RADAR Ratings (RADAR 75)
2003-03-20: UK Capital Radio has appointed Mark Findlay, programme controller of its Beat 106 station in Scotland, as its new head of music.
The company has started to broaden the range of music it plays following a drop in the audience for its London flagship station; its former programme head Jeff Smith left in January by "mutual agreement" (See RNW Jan 21).
Findlay will be in charge of music policy for Capital FM and the other seven stations in the Capital FM network, working with Ric Blaxill, Capital FM's programme controller, and group programme director Keith Pringle.
He will report to John O'Hara, the director of programming for the Capital FM Network.
2003-03-19: Veteran British broadcaster Alan Keith, who at 94 was believed to be the oldest regular voice on British airwaves, has died following a short illness.
Keith, who was born on 19 October 1908 - a month before Alistair Cooke - had a BBC broadcasting career spanning 70 years.
He started in 1933 working in various radio dramas after winning a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art and then appearing in a West End production of George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara but is best known for the weekend Radio 2 show Your Hundred Best Tunes that he hosted for 44 years; it developed from a suggestion he made in 1959.
Keith had already decided to step down from the programme and his place was to be taken by Richard Baker, who will now present a special programme on Keith's career on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday. The programme, which was originally broadcast in 1998, includes an interview with Keith on his 90th birthday.
Keith had already recorded a farewell programme, which is to be broadcast on Radio 2 on Sunday, March 30: Baker's first Hundred Best Tunes will air on April 6.
Paying tribute, BBC Radio 2 controller James Moir said, "I was very sad to learn of Alan's death. For over 40 years his programme, Your Hundred Best Tunes, was an appointment to listen for millions and he will be sorely missed. His death marks the end of a 70-year association with the BBC, an achievement unlikely to be equalled. He will have an honoured place in broadcasting history."
2003-03-19: Clear Channel's New York Adult Contemporary WKTW-FM has displaced its sister Clear Channel Los Angeles Top 40 station KIIS-FM to become the top billing US radio station last year compared to 2001 according to BIA Financial Networks.
BIA says the New York station took USD 65.1 million compared to the USD60.5 million of KIIS; In third place, moving up from fifth rank, was Infinity's modern rock KROQ-FM, Los Angeles, which billed UD53.9 million followed by Infinity's News format WINS-AM, New York in fourth place, as before, with USD53.6 million billed.
In the fifth spot was another Infinity station, sports-talk WFAN-AM, New York, down from third; it billed USD52.3 million.
The others in the top ten were:
Sixth - Emmis's Urban/CHR KPWR-FM, Los Angeles. Billed USD 49 million. Up from eighth.
Seventh - Clear Channel's Adult Contemporary KOST-FM, Los Angeles. Billed USD46.9 million. Up from tenth.
Eighth - Infinity's Modern rock WXRK-FM, New York. Billed USD 46,200 million. Down from sixth.
Ninth - Clear Channel's Modern AC KYSR-FM, Los Angeles. Billed USD 45 million. Down from seventh.
Tenth - Radio One's Urban KKBT-FM, Los Angeles. Billed USD44 million. Up from 18th.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Radio One Inc:
2003-03-19: Although Hispanic Broadcasting Company is still saying that it expects its purchase by Univision to go through soon it's still in the purchasing mode.
It is paying USD16 million to Simmons Media for Alternative KTND-FM, Austin and is to start operating the station, which will be its first in the market, through a time brokerage agreement from mid April.
Hispanic says it expects the deal to close in the third quarter of this year.
The takeover deal is being held up by queries about Univision's holding in Entravision and the National Hispanic Policy Institute (NHPI) (See RNW Mar 13).
NHPI, which is opposing the deal, is calling for an evidential hearing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
NHPI is concerned not only about the Entravision link but the links between Hispanic and Clear Channel.
In Georgia, Small Town Radio, seems to be in line to turn a quick profit with the sale of WDGR-AM in Dahlonega for USD 500,000 to USK Broadcasting Inc.
Small Town only paid USD 200,000 for the station in June last year when it bought it from Greenwood Communications Corp.
2003-03-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revoked one penalty for technical offences but confirmed two others.
The largest was of USD USD 21,000 issued to Ramh Corporation , licensee of KDEF-AM, Albuquerque, New Mexico, relating to failure to maintain a main studio management and staff presence, and its failure to establish monitoring procedures to ensure compliance with authorized operating power, mode of operation, and AM directional system parameters and also exceeding night time power levels and operating with an improper mode of operation.
Ramh was issued with a notice of apparent liability in June last year but did not respond.
The second penalty confirmed was of USD 7,000 on Wilson Broadcasting Co., Inc, licensee of WAGF-AM, Dothan, Alabama, for failure to provide an effective locked fence enclosure for the station's antenna structure.
The original notice was issued in June last year following two inspections in April; Wilson had claimed that the penalty should not be levied for various reasons including statements that there was a fence around the site, that the site abutted onto swampland, and that the front gate to it was locked at all times when the site, at which work was being done on construction of a second tower.
The agent who carried out the inspection said that he was able to drive unimpeded to the site and then walk up to the tower, which was radiating, and touch it.
The FCC did not accept Wilson's arguments and confirmed the penalty.
Revoked was a penalty of USD12, 000 on the Madison Broadcasting Group, Inc, former licensee of station WLVA- AM and former owner of five antenna structures in Lynchburg, Virginia.
A notice was originally issued last year after a February inspection of the antenna during which it was noted none of the five antenna structures had the ASR numbers posted on or near the base of the structures and that the requisite painting on each antenna structure was faded and chipped such that it failed to provide good visibility.
Madison has subsequently Madison has assigned the license of WLVA- AM and is no longer a broadcast licensee and the five antenna structures at issue gave been dismantled leaving it owning no towers. In the circumstances, the FCC decided to forego the penalty.
The FCC has also dismissed 484 low power FM licence applications because they did not meet the third-adjacent channel protection requirements that were mandated by the US Congress after heavy lobbying by US commercial radio operators. All those involved had not filed amendments to bring their applications into compliance by the deadline of November 1 last year; they now have 30 days to file petitions for reconsideration.
On a more bureaucratic note, the FFC has also now mandated electronic filing for its new Equality of Employment Opportunity (EEO) form 396-A, although it is still permitting waivers upon written requests.
2003-03-19: In the UK, strong competition appears to be building up for the new Glasgow FM licence to be advertised next month by the UK Radio Authority (See RNW Mar 5).
Amongst those who are firmly expected to bid are three Scottish groups, SMG (the former Scottish Media Group), which is to offer a version of its national Virgin Radio format, Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) and a consortium, Go FM, backed by a group of Glasgow business people.
In addition, Chrysalis Group is expected to get its first Scottish station with a bid with its Arrow rock format, currently on digital, Emap which would offer a hits format, and Guardian Media Group's Jazz FM.
Less interest, however is being shown in digital licences: The Radio Authority has announced that it received only one application for the Nottingham digital multiplex.
This came from Now Digital (East Midlands) Ltd. whose shareholders are GWR's Now Digital Ltd. (52.5%), Sabras Sound Ltd. (20.0%), Capital Radio plc (20.0%), and Chrysalis Radio Ltd. (7.5%).
In addition to carrying BBC Radio Nottingham, eight commercial services are being proposed. They are:
Contemporary hit radio - 96 Trent FM - Provider: Radio Trent Ltd.
Gold - Classic Gold GEM - Provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.
Talk and predominantly AC music - 106 Century FM - Provider: Capital Radio plc.
Easy listening - Saga 106.6 FM - Provider: Saga Group Ltd.
Dance - Galaxy - Provider: Chrysalis Radio Ltd.
Music for today's teenagers and pre-teens - Capital Disney - Provider: Capital Radio plc.
Modern rock - The Storm - Provider: GWR Group plc
Young Asian and community - A Plus - Provider: Sabras Sound Ltd.
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous Radio Authority:
2003-03-19: In Arbitron-MeasureCast's monthly ratings for February, Radioio and MUSICMATCH lost top station and network rankings to MUSICMATCH ArtistMatch and Stream Audio respectively; Jazz FM dropped out of the top five station ranks, overtaken by Pacific Lutheran University's Jazz station, KPLU-FM. Clear Channel was back up the network ratings, followng the restructuring of its streaming.
The top five stations for February were (January figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 1,229,273 (1,290,320); CP 438,432 (467,283). Up from second despite lower listening and reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 1,221,180 (1,308,720); CP 195,559 (196,355). Down from first with lower listening and reach
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 977,718 (1,210,684); CP 156,470 (157,001). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM - TTSL 926,525 (994,230); CP 96,725 (101,489). Up from fifth despite lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz format KPLU-FM - TTSL 670,185 (557,944); CP 85,183 (65,707). Up from seventh with higher listening and reach.
* Jazz format Jazz FM fell from fifth with TTSL of 668,809 and CP of 77,478, down from TTSL 1,026,071 and CP 92,177.
The top five networks for February were (January figures in brackets):
1: ChainCast/StreamAudio TTSL 5,237,580 (4,236,623); CP 483,100 (418,552). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 5,189,443 (5,441,003); CP 1,218,661 (1,290,302). Down from first with lower listening and reach.
3: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 5,009,959 (1,494,550); CP 480,424 (254,370). Up from tenth with higher listening and reach.
4: WARP Radio TTSL 2,359,369 (2,727,654); CP 426,607 (305,978). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: Moontaxi TTSL 2,338,877 (2,213,001); CP 226,123 (226,321). Down from fourth despite higher listening but reach was marginally down.
*Stream Guys fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL of 2,151,230 and CP of 410,394 compared to TTSL 2,166,512 and CP 391,016.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast monthly ratings:
2003-03-18: According to the UK Times, Disney is planning to create a national network of radio stations for children in Britain in conjunction with Capital Radio.
Disney, which already runs the Radio Disney format in the US with some 50 stations and around 2.5 million child listeners weekly, would broadcasts a mix of pop music and entertainment news mixed with educational content on the Capital-Disney franchises; it is to apply for the West Midlands regional licence for the format.
The plan .would cost some GBP50 million (USD 80 million) and would enable advertisers such as McDonald's, Pepsi-Cola and toy manufacturers, to gain direct access to their target children's market. It is dependent upon approval by the regulatory authorities for the format and concern has been expressed by parents.
Paul Robinson, managing director of Disney UK, did not duck the issue but argued that children were badly served by radio in the UK.
"The BBC's analogue radio stations do very little for children," he said. "Even Radio 1 is moving away from pure pop to adult dance music. Commercial radio has failed to target children."
Regarding advertising, he commented, "We cannot cocoon children from the commercial world but we will listen to parents' concerns."
In the US, Radio Disney is gaining another outlet with a USD5.6 million purchase by ABC of WXIR-FM, Plainfield, Indianapolis, from Radio 1500: In all ABC will own 73 stations when the deal is concluded.
Also in Indianapolis, Wilkins Communications Network is paying USD1.5 million for Radio 1500's Religious format WBRI-AM.
RNW Comment: In view of the health concerns about -and indeed significant death toll currently being linked to obesity in the US - there seems to us a reasonable arguments that advertisers like McDonald's and Pepsi-Cola should not be allowed to target children.
We fully accept that children will come across the adverts, as they will across toys for which they will pester their parents; the latter won't damage their health but on balance we tend to the view that allowing unhealthy food and drink to be promoted directly to children, who often seem pre-disposed to junk foods with excess sweeteners and salt content, is not desirable.
The decision is obviously one for a society to make about the balance, but our view would be that we would prefer to keep the format out of the UK entirely (indeed, we rather think the US would be a more healthy place if it advertising had been more restricted there and note the contrast between the incredibly severe restrictions on smoking in some states and the latitude permitted to advertising food and other drugs.
If radio for children is considered desirable for the UK, and we think it is, we should push the BBC as a public broadcaster to do more on analogue rather than leave their offerings on digital.
UK Times report:
2003-03-18: Apologies, it would seem, are not enough for those Americans angered by the comments about US President George Bush made in London, UK, by Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, who comes from Lubbock. Texas.
Although she since apologized for being "disrespectful", stations around the US are boycotting the group and in some cases going further.
In Missouri, WDAF-AM, Kansas City, put a trashcan outside its offices for listeners to use for their Dixie Chicks CDs and its website displays hundred of e-mails on the matter, largely in support of the station boycott of the group.
In Louisiana, protesters in Bossier City calling themselves as backers of President Bush and Barksdale Air Force Base destroyed a number of CDs.
Many seem not so much upset about the attacks on the President as about the group's anti-war stance.
New York Times/AP report:
2003-03-18: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has now formally extended indefinitely the commercial radio standards that it introduced in the wake of the country's cash-for-comment row concerning talk radio.
It had said last month (RNW Licence News, Feb 9) that it was proposing the extension because of ongoing investigations.
The standards relate to disclosure of commercial agreements by presenters of current affairs programs, the need to distinguish advertisements from other programs and the establishment of compliance programs by commercial radio licensees.
The current standards were due to expire on April 2 and the Authority had said it expected the Australian commercial radio industry to come up suitable codes of practice on these matters.
2003-03-18: The Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications has now completed the purchase of its new venue, a four-story garage that is to be converted into a 30,000 square-foot museum cum archive complex.
The Museum, housed at the Chicago Cultural Centre for the past decade, is scheduled to move to its new home next year; its founder and president Bruce DuMont said the Museum is hoping that Illinois State and Chicago City will help it in raising the USD 12 million needed for the project.
The Museum has raised more than USD18 million, most of it from small donations, since it opened in 1982 with only USD250 in start-up money.
Last year, it attracted a quarter of a million visitors and was ranked Chicago's 15th most visited tourist attraction by the Chicago Office of Tourism.
Its new premises will double its size and, says DuMont, "will allow us to display many more items in our collection, increase our archive accessibility for the numerous school groups who visit, and provide us the opportunity to house many more of the larger, more popular travelling exhibits that attract visitors, not only from the Chicago metro area, but neighbouring states as well."
Previous Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago:
2003-03-18: Liverpool commercial station Radio City called in police last weekend after listeners attending a "weekend of madness" it had organised at an off-season holiday camp in North Wales became too wild.
In all some 30 people were arrested following an incident in which bar staff were attacked by four men who stole cash from the till and a later fight in which three men were stabbed. Others arrested are suspected of drug dealing.
Similar events have been held at the site in Prestatyn without incident and the station's programme director said they were upset that an unruly element went out of their way to cause trouble.
2003-03-17: With war with Iraq seeming imminent and inevitable as we write this, the impact that it has had on US commitment to freedom of speech - or airplay for those who dissent from the US administration's view -- appears a reasonable start for our look at print comment on radio over the past week.
In the US, there has been a divide over the issue with some broadcasters refusing anti-war adverts, some having a policy of refusing all such issue adverts, and in some cases individuals banding together to place, or attempt to place advertisements.
The issue of airplay mirrors the differences in attitudes to advertisements and the songs popular in the US and elsewhere also mirror differences in popular attitudes.
Opinion amongst those who have bothered to contact stations seems to be in favour of boycotts with more than three-quarters of listeners who responded to a poll on Cox's country format WKHK-FM, Richmond, in favour of dropping the Dixie Chicks' music and also responding to another poll concerning singer Natalie Maines later apology for being disrespectful by saying it wasn't enough.
The question in the poll assumed she was in the wrong, asking, "How do you feel about what Natalie has said in the above statement?" and then giving only the responses, "Apology accepted; all is forgiven (5%)"; "Not good enough. She needs to do and say more (78%); and "Who cares? I think the whole thing was blown out of proportion from the beginning (17%)."
Country fans also seem to be voting for war as opposed to against those who have a different viewpoint if Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times has his facts correct in a report we spotted in the San Francisco Chronicle.
He says that Tennessean Darryl Worley has country's "hottest radio hit with his "Have You Forgotten?" which starts off with the line, "I hear people saying we don't need this war" and includes the lyrics: "Have you forgotten how it felt that day/To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away/Have you forgotten when those towers fell/We had neighbours still inside go through a living hell/And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden/Have you forgotten?"
RNW comment: All of which would be fine were there any evidence close to definitive of Saddam Hussein having links with Osama bin Laden, but we would suggest that much of the general world disquiet about this particular war results from the changing rationale of the war's protagonists and the degree to which the US administration and its supporters seems to have played as loosely with facts that bolster their case as some of the war's opponents.
There are, of course, some anti-war songs as well but these do not seem to be getting airplay according to reports we have seen. One song, "In a World Gone Mad" by the Beastie Boys was released without advance fanfare and is not commercially available although it is on the group's site for free according to Neil Strauss in the New York Times.
Group member Adam Yauch said, "I think a big part of wanting to do the song was just hearing Bush make these speeches, seeing how the rest of the world was reacting to it, and feeling like Bush doesn't represent us."
"One of the purposes is to let people in other parts of the world know that the messages he's sending out aren't necessarily the view of all Americans. And it's also to say to people in the United States who might be uncomfortable protesting that it's all right to do that. One thing that the U.S. administration has been trying to do is give the feeling that it's un-American to protest."
Their song, writes Strauss, mixes lyrics advocating non-violence and multilateral disarmament with the band's sense of whimsy. Thus a deep thought is followed immediately by a rhyme like "They're layin' on the syrup thick/We ain't waffles, we ain't havin' it."
RNW comment: There seems to be a missing part here, which is the issue of when a war can be justified.
For those who are interested in a more intelligent discussion of this than we have seen from any leading politicians may we suggest a visit to the web site of the US Army War College magazine.
Suitable starting points are articles in the Spring 2000 and Winter 2000 issue concerning the legality of humanitarian interventions as in Kosovo, a Spring 2002 issue on the "Moral Limits of Strategic Attack", a Summer 2002 article on the battle over the laws of war, and Pax Americana, and an Autumn 2003 issue article, "Jus Post Bellum: The Importance of War Crimes Trials."
Unsurprisingly, in the Arab world the hot song is anti-war.
Featured in a Toronto Globe and Mail report by Mark MacKinnon ,"The Attack on Iraq" by Egyptian pop star Shaaban Abdul Rehim is getting wide play on radio in the area and is available as an audio and video cassettes.
"Leave Iraq in peace; you inspected it; it has no arms of mass destruction, but they are still bombing it," sings Rehim over a beat mixing traditional Arabic sounds with modern instruments. "Go inspect Israel instead; there are lots of arms of mass destruction there."
"Chechnya! Afghanistan! Palestine! Southern Lebanon! The Golan Heights! And now Iraq, too? And now Iraq, too? It's too much for people. Shame on you! Enough, enough, enough!"
It's not just country that has been affected by pro and anti-war feelings: Clea Simon in the Boston Globe in a column "Politics of war reach rock radio", dealt with a decision by Entercom-owned WAAF-FM's morning host Greg Hill to stop playing music by Mudvayne because its singer, Chad ''Kud'' Gray, made antiwar statements when the heavy metal band played a station-sponsored concert.
Hill said he made the decision not because of anti-war comments but because Gray was disrespectful to US President Bush.
Hill missed the concert at which, according to people at the station, Gray linked Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and President Bush and said. "''Anyone who kills innocent people is a terrorist.''
The final result of a poll by the station is to be released today but early reports had around 60% of respondents calling for a ban on the group to continue for another week.
Entercom itself has not banned the group and still plays its recordings on other shows and program director Keith Hastings noted that other on-air staff have been vocal in their support of the band and said the action raised some "very interesting issues.''
After all that, back to traditional country, a sound that, according to Lynette Holloway in the New York Times, is enjoying a revival on US radio.
She quotes Sean Ross, executive editor of Billboard's Airplay Monitor as saying that in the last four months, a half-dozen stations have changed their formats to classic country.
"There have been complaints by older country music fans and consumer music trades that there was no place for country legends like George Jones to be heard," Ross said, adding, "Country stations have to acknowledge the demand."
Those that have include Citadel's KVLO-FM in Little Rock, Arkansas, that switched from pop, Cox's KTHT-FM in Houston, Texas, that switched from Top 40 dance music and Cumulus's KAYD-FM in Beaumont, Texas, that switched from contemporary country.
KTHT program director Michael Cruise commented that modern country was pop oriented compared to traditional country, which uses steel guitars, fiddles and slide guitars.
"Today's stuff is produced so that it can be considered pop music," he said.
Jeff Davis, program director of Archway Broadcasting Group's WGPM- in Greenville, North Carolina, which switched from adult contemporary expects country radio to grow.
"The twangy country that goes, `I lost my dog, I lost my wife, I'm gonna sit on the porch and drink a beer,' is the misconception about country," he said. "Today's country artists have evolved into pop. It is cool. It is hip. Look at all of the songs that have crossed over to the pop charts."
And of course, if you really want to know how to get a hit, the answer has to involve a computer as noted in the second half of the Neil Strauss article from the New York Times that we have already mentioned.
In this case, a piece of software called Hit Song Science that was originally developed by Grupo AIA, a Spanish artificial-intelligence company, is being used to considered by a number of major record labels to analyse a song and determine its hit potential.
Tracie Reed, the vice president of the North American office of Polyphonic, said that the application, which analyses the song's melody, beat, harmony, pitch, octave, timbre and other patterns in songs and plots them on a chart, enables the identification of the "something in common" that a hit song has with other hits.
Not everybody is so confident: Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist and musician who coined the term "virtual reality," said that the science side of the application seemed sloppy.
"As for the music side of things," he continued, "I doubt pop music could get any worse, so using even a meaningless tool like this might result in some improvement."
Boston Globe - Simon:
San Francisco Chronicle - Boucher:
New York Times - Holloway:
New York Times - Strauss:
Toronto Globe and Mail - MacKinnon:
2003-03-17: This year's Reith Lectures, named after Lord Reith, the first general manager of the British Broadcasting Company and first Director General of its successor, the British Broadcasting Corporation, are to be on the human mind and will be given by Professor V S Ramachandran, one of the world's foremost neuroscientists.
Ramachandran, who Professor and Director of The Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego and adjunct Professor of the Salk Institute, La Jolla, will deliver five lectures on successive Wednesdays at 2000 British time from April 2.
The first will deal with current research on the human brain, the second on the way humans get a sense of self from the brain, the third on how the brain understands and responds to art, the fourth on synesthaesia- the mingling of the senses - that leads one person, for example, some people to literally see "red" when he sees the number five, and in the final lecture Professor Ramachandran proposes a neurological and evolutionary approach to the phenomena that were traditionally labelled "mental illness".
2003-03-16: Yet again, the US Federal Communications Commission dealt with the most significant regulatory issue last week, this time when it issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) relating to the conversion to digital TV that suggested considering the design of receivers as being essential to the efficient use of spectrum rather than just considering transmission factors (see below).
Elsewhere the regulators were concerned mainly with routine matters.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has invited applications for a new community licence for the Blacktown Area of Sydney; the licence was previously advertised in 2000 but then none of the applicants met all of the required criteria.
In Canada, there were again a number of licence renewals and amendments by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC): In order of the province involved they included:
*Renewal of the licence of CKKX-FM Peace River and its transmitters CFKX-FM High Level and CFFC-FM Fox Creek, from September.
* Approval of second extension, this time to September 12, for Aboriginal Voices Radio to commence operations of its approved new service in Calgary.
*Approval of a power increase from Christian music CIXN-FM, Fredericton, from 23 watts to 27 watts.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Extension until November 20 of the deadline for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to start operating extra transmitters for VOAR-AM, Mount Pearl, that have been approved at Grand Falls, Port aux Basques, Springdale, Wabush, and Goose Bay.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) says it has only received one application for each of the licences in the sixth and final group of local commercial licences it has been advertising.
They came from Radio Kerry for the County Kerry Broadbased local FM radio service and from County Sound for the licences for the Cork City and County 1 and 2 areas.
In the UK the Radio Authority has advertised a new FM licence for the county of Carmarthenshire, in Wales, and has also announced that two are to be re-advertised, one under its fast track procedure after the only response came from the existing licence holders.
The latter licence was for the Borders area where the only interest came from Radio Borders Ltd.
In the case of the other licence, for the Dumfries & Galloway area of South-West Scotland, declarations of intent to apply were received from current licence holder South West Sound Ltd. and also from a second applicant.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Spectrum Task Force has suggested a number of ideas for "refining the FCC's approach to interference and developing better metrics for describing and quantifying the interference environment in particular bands."
FCC chairman Michael Powell commented that spectrum is "too critical a resource in our digital economy to allow interference avoidance to be addressed on an ad hoc incremental basis" and adds that all factors related to the ability of users to receive clear radio signals should be taken into account "as early in the process as possible."
In connection with this, it has suggested that "technological advancements in the ability to reject unwanted signals and the filtering capacity of radio receivers present the Commission with an opportunity" and goes on to suggest guidelines be developed for receivers.
"Such guidelines," it says, "will promote more efficient use of the radio spectrum, increasing opportunities for innovation and the delivery of new services to the American public."
Powell's comments were backed up by other Commissioners with Kathleen Q. Abernathy calling the move "an important step toward improving the Commission's spectrum management policy" and saying that the Notice of Inquiry "moves the FCC in the right direction by promoting a more flexible and market- oriented approach to setting interference immunity performance standards for radio receivers."
Democrat Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein also welcomed the review; Copps called it "important and forward looking" and added, "The Commission usually focuses on transmitters in
Interference disputes. This, potentially, is a mistake. We must understand whether there are actions that industry and the Commission can take to ensure that unreasonably fragile receivers do not undermine the efficient use of our spectrum resource. But we must also understand the costs of designing more robust receivers."
Adelstein said he believed that "our proceeding on receiver performance standards will turn out to be one of the most significant spectrum management proceedings that the Commission initiates in the near future I fully support this inquiry into receiver performance standards because it takes an important first step improving our country's access to spectrum. This in turn should provide for improved radio communications services to the public. When it comes to spectrum, doing more with less is essential because the wireless industry thrives on innovation and engineering."
RNW comment: Noting the difference in excluding interference from other stations between a very cheap "tranny" and even a moderately priced portable, it is amazing that little seems to have been done on this front before, despite the obvious squawks that would come from some manufacturers.
Add in the benefits that some of the modern chip technology (that converts a signal to digital, thus allowing complex processing and much improved AM and FM reception - see RNW Oct 3, 2002 ) can offer, and there is the potential for a very significant improvement in the way spectrum is used even if analogue technology is retained -as we would prefer - rather than a complete switch to incompatible digital systems round the world).
The FCC has also affirmed the forfeiture of a New Mexico FM licence. It involved A-O Broadcasting, licensee of KTMN-FM, Cloudcroft, which suspended operations on November 7 2001 because of a "computer failure" and subsequently lost its transmitter site.
The FCC allowed the station to remain silent until November 7 last year and allowed an A-O request to move its tower to Wofford Peak.
AO however only broadcast test transmissions, triggering automatic forfeiture of the licence since they were ruled not "broadcast signals." AO had argued for reconsideration because the station is one of only two FMs allocated to Cloudcroft but the FCC said that KTMN will remain allocated to Cloudcroft whoever owns it.
In Alabama, the FCC has ordered Citadel Broadcasting Company, licensee of WYSF- FM, Birmingham, to show cause why it should not be downgraded from Class C to Class Co to allow SSR Communications Incorporated to start a new commercial FM service at Calhoun, Georgia.
The reclassification is necessary to maintain minimum distance separation requirements - a separation is required of 226 km and the distance between the proposed new transmitters and that of WYSF is only 220.3 km.
WYSF is currently operating with a power of 100Kw from a height above average terrain (HAAT) of 309 metres compared to the minimum Class C requirement of 451 metres. Citadel has until April 28 to respond.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-03-16: Harry Harrison, known as the "Morning Mayor" is to retire from New York radio next Wednesday (March 19); his final show for Infinity's oldies WCBS-FM will be broadcast live from the Museum of Television & Radio in New York that day.
Harrison, who has now spent 44 years in New York radio, began his broadcasting career in his Chicago hometown; after a spell as program director and morning host at WPEO-AM in Peoria, Illinois, Harrison moved to then top 40 station WMCA in New York in 1959. He moved to WABC, then the biggest top 40 station in the city as early morning personality in 1968, gaining his "Morning Mayor" nickname at the station. He joined WCBS-FM in 1980 and has been its morning drive host since then.
On the station web site, Harrison says he has always considered his listeners "as my radio friends, and I thank them for letting me be a part of their lives all these years".
He adds that the looks forward to a new chapter in his life, adding, "for now, Harry Harrison, The Morning Mayor signing off with, I wish you all the very best, because that's exactly what you deserve".
WCBS-FM web site:
2003-03-16: Texas group Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines, who told a London audience on March 12 "Just so you know," we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas" has now backed off and says she was sorry she made the comment.
In a statement she said, "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect.''
A number of US radio stations had stopped playing music by the group, who last month won three Grammys for their multi-platinum recording "Home" and there were protest calls to many stations when news of Maines' comment got round.
On March 13 she had responded by defending her comments, saying, "I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view.''
She has now, as well as apologising, backtracked a little and commented, "While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American.''
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the comments made by many US conservatives about President Clinton, the idea that a US president must always be shown respect because of the office is obviously not one universally shared in the US.
The comments made by Maines on March 13 are accurate as a perusal of newspapers round the world would clearly show and while Americans may be free to voice their own point of view, a similar perusal of US history would show that the idea that this is without significant cost to an individual is just one of many US myths.
Perhaps Maines should have commented on the diplomatic skills of an administration that has turned near-universal feeling for the US after the September 11 attacks to widespread opposition to the idea of ridding the world of one of its nastiest tyrants and significant dislike of US policy combined with revulsion at its hypocrisy, especially at the idea that an administration including Donald Rumsfeld has much moral standing in any attacks on the use of poison gas (or depleted uranium,which is not that different from a dirty bomb, or cluster bombs , or ?).
New York Times/AP report:
2003-03-15: A new clause to protect "localness" that has been inserted into the British government's Communications Bill has led to a row with the country's commercial radio operators according to the UK Times.
It quotes Paul Brown, chief executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA), as saying that the move was "completely unnecessary regulation" that had been sprung on the industry without consultation.
"The market already controls such things as local and national advertising. This is just jobs for the regulatory boys," he said.
The Bill gives the new UK media regulator OFCOM, a duty to promote and protect local content and it has to draw up a code of practice for radio stations.
OFCOM can range widely in doing this and the brief allows the code to offer guidance as to the extent to which a station should include locally made programmes and advertisements in its services.
The paper says the government is concerned that, if local stations are bought by large groups under the consolidation that will be allowed, national advertising might squeeze out local adverts.
Last month the CRCA released a report it had commissioned by "independent research company Hallet Arendt that looked at the clauses relating to the "local content and character of local sound broadcasting services"; it found them to be largely unnecessary and misdirected."
It said the "tone of the legislation is directed towards the needs of the older BBC local radio audience, rather than the younger more music-focused listeners to commercial radio" and added that audiences were more concerned with the content broadcast by a station than the way it was produced. It also concluded that radio takeovers were "much more likely to improve the popularity of services delivered to local audiences" and that increased regulation was unnecessary.
At the time, Brown commented, "CRCA contends that the local radio content clause in the Communications Bill, which was sprung on the industry without consultation, is based on subjective, muddled thinking. That is why we commissioned independent evidence. I am glad but not surprised that it supports our views. Existing format restrictions, together with commercial radio operators' desire to succeed mean that local commercial radio's valuable news and information output is already adequately served and protected."
UK Times report
2003-03-15: As expected, the call from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for more information on Univision's holding in Entravision (See RNW Mar 13) has delayed the closing of Univision's purchase of Hispanic Broadcasting.
Univision has now formally said it will not be able to close as planned although the request is expected not expected to affect the deal itself.
Univision has told the FCC that keeping control of affiliate station sales is "fully consistent" with previous regulatory rulings.
2003-03-15: The Public's View 2002, the 32nd in a series of annual surveys that has mapped changes in UK public in-home entertainment and attitudes to broadcasting, just released shows that among eldest children of primary school age 55% had a TV in their bedroom, 46% a radio, 30% a VCR and 26% a games console with the figures for secondary (high school) children going up to 78%, 69%, 45% and 40% respectively with 22% of the latter having their own PC.
The survey, conducted by British Market Research Bureau International (BRMBI) for the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) and Independent Television Commission (ITC) is mainly concerned with TV but there are some comparisons with other media including radio.
It shows the greatest growth is in access to personal computers, the Internet and WAP mobile phones; it also shows a social divide with access to most new technology more common in people of higher incomes except for satellite TV and video games where the reverse was true.
A similar divide was shown in terms of readers of broadsheet newspapers; for this group there was greater ownership of a personal computer and access to the Internet but the reverse was true for almost all other examples of new technology, where ownership was higher amongst readers of tabloids.
In terms of news, which was thought to be the highest priority for a public broadcaster, 79% of respondents said they relied on TV as their main source of world news compared to 9% - a record low - relying on newspapers and 8% -- a steady figure - on radio.
For local news, the TV figure was at an all-time high of 48% compared to around 12% for radio and 32% for newspapers; the 30 year trend is upward for TV, down for newspapers and reasonably steady for radio.
In terms of a news source for the UK, radio was cited as a main source of UK news by 11% (TV 72%, newspapers 13% but the figure was higher in England for radio - 12% compared to 10% for people in Scotland and Wales and only 3% in Northern Ireland).
For news of their own country, 9% chose radio as a main source in Scotland (TV was 69%, newspapers 18%), 8% in Wales (TV 68%, newspapers 14%) and 17% in Northern Ireland (TV 69%, newspapers 8%).
In terms of trusting the news about the UK as fair and unbiased, 70% favoured TV, 14% radio and only 6% newspapers, although the newspaper figures were markedly different for tabloid newspaper readers - only 5% felt they were fair and unbiased - and those of the broadsheets where 19% thought them fair and unbiased.
Some 57% of the sample claimed to listen to the radio every day (60% for men, 54% for women and 57% for white, 51% for non-white with radio and listening was higher for the older age group (49% for 16-24; 57% for 25-44 and 45-54; and 68% for 65-74 then 53% for 75 plus) and also amongst higher income groups (64% for ABC1 and 51% for C2DE).
58% of respondents said they had not been personally offended by anything on TV but the figure for those who had not been offended by anything on radio went up to 87%.
Of those who had been offended by material on radio, the most common responses were to do nothing (38%) followed by switching off (36%) and 24% changing channel: 6% said they made a formal complaint.
One new entry concerned digital radio, with 7% of respondents saying they had equipment in their home.
(RNW comment: This compares to 87% with a VCR and, although the report suggest the figure could be for those listening to digital radio by any means - which would include the Internet and via satellite TV, the most common source of digital radio in the UK last year-it still seems high to us. The Digital Radio Development Bureau gave a 1% figure last year -- and we wonder whether some respondents confused radios with digital displays and digital radio itself.)
The digital radio figure was highest for the 16-24 year demographic (13%) and lowest amongst those over 65 (3%) but much the same for lower and higher income groups and for broadsheet and tabloid newspaper readers.
For eldest children, the possession of a radio in a bedroom varied remarkably according to age: For the pre-school group it was 15% of boys, 7% of girls, at primary school age it was 33% of boys and 58% of girls and at secondary school 67% of boys and 71% of girls.
BSC web site (Links to report - 239 Kb PDF)
2003-03-15: Gaylord Entertainment is to spend USD7.5 million on the Grand Ole Opry House, home of the eponymous radio show that has now been running for 77 years; it has been aired on WSM-AM since 1925.
The work on the building, which was only opened in 1974, will include a new gift shop and box office and will not affect performances according to Gaylord.
2003-03-15: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that some of the content of the morning show on CIRK-FM (97.3 K-Rock, Edmonton) was " too sexually explicit" for broadcast at a time when children might be listening but it has concluded that the segments about which it received complaints were not exploitative or degrading towards men or women.
It also ruled that the "Dirti Lori" segment of the show featuring a sex expert answering listeners' letters, subject of a specific complaint, were not in breach of its codes as regarded a topic on penis shape.
The segments of the show that were felt to have breached the CBSC codes related to the host's description of how to masturbate with a washing machine, the joke songs "Dear Penthouse" and "Prison Bitch" as well as a mock commercial for a "Solo Sex" exercise machine; these it ruled "were sexually explicit and thus in violation of the Code."
A second complainant objected, on the basis it was offensive to women, to a joke song "Tits" that told the story of a man who buys his wife breast implants only to be unsettled by the fact that she shows the result to everybody. The CBC Panel noted that that the program also contained similar material dealing with men, including on the same show as the "Tits" song another joke song called "Circumcision" about a man who had a circumcision performed by a barber.
The Panel commented that the portrayal of neither women nor men was particularly flattering but that there was no breach of the Code provisions regarding sex-role stereotyping or exploitation.
CBSC web site:
2003-03-14: Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild told the Kagan Radio Summit in New York yesterdaythat US radio is on track for high to mid-single digit gains this year despite concerns about war with Iraq.
Such a war he said was not likely to disrupt advertising significantly and most advertisers planned to reschedule rather than cancel advertising to accommodate special war coverage.
Such gains would give radio its highest-ever gross revenue in a year and Guild noted that that among national radio's traditional top categories, all are pacing at or over 10% for the 1st quarter this year.
The summit also heard Entercom president and CEO David Field say that before the 1996 Telecommunications Act ownership regulations had prevented radio from competing effectively against other media. Consolidation, he said, had allowed radio to mount a better challenge for its share of the advertising pie with clusters giving radio a reach that enabled it to compete fairly.
Giant Clear Channel came in for some low grading of its practices from Vox Radio Group's Jeffrey Shapiro who said that its practice of bring in market managers unfamiliar with their markets created opportunities for small companies. The Clear Channel policy, said Shapiro, resulted in a series of managers whose combined efforts slowed down the developments of local focus that companies like his used to their advantage.
In other US radio business, Clear Channel has announced that it is to issue USD200 million of Senior Notes in addition to the notes it issued in January (See RNW Jan 8).
The proceeds will be used to finance the redemption of Liquid Yield Option Notes due 2018 (the "LYONs") that were assumed by Clear Channel Communications as part of its merger with Jacor Communications in 1999.
On the deals front, Atlanta-based Archway Broadcasting Group LLC has completed its USD6.5 million purchase of four North Carolina stations from Eastern Carolina Broadcasting Co.
They are WRHT-FM, WCBZ-FM, WNBR-FM, and WZBR-FM, serving the tri-city market of Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville; last month Archway completed the acquisition of two other stations in the market -- WGPM-FM and WCZI-FM- that it bought from New East Communications Inc. for USD3 million.
Archway, which was founded in July last year, has also announced that it has completed its USD 8 million acquisition of KLEC-FM and KHTE-FM, Little Rock, Arkansas, from Equity Broadcasting Corporation.
It is still in the process of another acquisition in Little Rock and four in Columbus, Georgia.
On the syndication front, Westwood One has announced that it has now signed up 100 affiliate stations for its previously announced NBC News Radio service that will launch on March 31.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Westwood One:
2003-03-14: The US Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), whose campaign two years ago helped bring about the demise of Dr Laura Schlessinger's TV Show (See RNW April 1, 2001) seems on track to cause similar problems for conservative radio host Michael Savage.
It says that it has now persuaded all six national sponsors of his TV show that launched on MSNBC on Saturday, to withdraw their support.
GLAAD says this sends a clear message to NBC News that the sponsors "refuse to support Michael Savage's attacks on women, people of colour, immigrants and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."
GLAAD has approached each of the advertisers and, in its words, "made them aware -- if they weren't already -- of Savage's homophobic, racist and sexist attacks."
Joan M. Garry, GLAAD's executive director commented. "They get that Michael Savage's racism, sexism and homophobia do not reflect the attitudes and beliefs of fair-minded corporations and consumers. We applaud these companies' swift, decisive response and their stand against the divisive, intolerant diatribes of Michael Savage."
Savage's radio show is syndicated by Talk Radio Networks to around 300 shows and he says he is to mount a legal fight against the protesters.
He told the New York Post that the action was "interfering with business" and termed it a "restraint of trade issue" adding that the action violated Federal Law and GLAAD would find that out very soon.
RNW comment: Whilst we would personally think it a plus for America if Savage attracted no listeners and couldn't care a jot about any "restraint of trade" involved, we do see an issue of freedom of speech here.
We have expressed concern before at the withdrawal of support from Boston National Public Radio affiliate WBUR-FM by various businesses because of NPR's cover of stories concerning Israel (See RNW Sept 30, 2002) and have some similar but very much lesser concerns here.
In the case of NPR we see the action as censoring reporting in a way we find highly undesirable; in the case of Savage, who we haven't noted rushing to the defence of the rights of WBUR or the rights to airtime of organisations with a different view to him, there is still a cause for concern but to a much lesser degree.
However in neither case do we think the law can reasonably force advertisers to support an organisation or a show (and we note that the call for action has not been against MSNBC as a whole).
Overall we think a comparison of the cases should make it obvious it would be odious if the law could take action against GLAAD that would be a restriction of GLAAD's freedomof speech but not those who have withdrawn support of WBUR.
We wish Savage the highest ;ossible legal costs and total legal failure.
Previous Dr Laura Schlessinger:
GLAAD web site:
2003-03-14: Chicago DJ Big John Howell, ousted this week from his morning slot at Infinity's Country WUSN-FM (See RNW March 13) is to move to afternoons on the company's oldies WJMK-FM, which is housed in the same building.
Howell got his start in Chicago at WCKG-FM when it was a classic rock station; there he co-hosted mornings for 18 months before switching to WUSN in 1989 as afternoon host and moving to mornings in 2001.
He retains his weekend "Country Gold" show and commented to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times that the move meant," With one push of an elevator button, I go from being the oldest on staff to the youngest. Amazing!"
2003-03-14: Radioio was back to the top station rank in the latest Arbitron MeasureCast Ratings covering the week to March 2 pushing MUSICMATCH's artist match into second place but Stream Audio retained the top network rank.
For the week to March 2, Arbitron-Measure Cast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 340,394 (287,033); CP 66,458 (65,217). Up from second with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 319,829 (306,154); CP 138,896 (138,751). Down from first despite higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 304,300 (252,793); CP 58,922 (54,299). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 241,959 (209,829); CP 35,965 (35,244). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Jazz format KPLU-FM - TTSL 192,124 (167,330); CP 33,325 (33,727): Same rank with higher listening but slightly lower reach.
The top five networks for the week to March 2 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: StreamAudio TTSL 1,445,782 (1,326,802); CP 206,813 (195,810). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,341,246 (1,287,571); CP 392,661 (397,702). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
3: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,335,784 (1,122,429): CP 204,395 (187,622)- Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Moontaxi TTSL 629,320 (549,820); CP 88,042 (84,899) - Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio TTSL 626,163 (590,618); CP142,277 (148,233) - Down from fourth despite higher listening although reach was lower.
*Live365.com - Top 25 dropped from fifth to sixth with TTSL of 620,247, up from 575,409 and CP of 127,889, up from 126,657.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-03-13: In a move will delay Univision's takeover of and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked both companies for more information about the influence Univision's "non-attributable" interest in Entravision could have on the latter's operations.
The FCC notes that almost all of Entravision's TV stations are affiliated with a Univision network and says it is concerned that right to approve sales of stations affiliated with a Univision network would give it excessive interest in Entravision's normal business decisions.
The National Hispanic Policy Institute raised the concerns with the FCC; Univision and Hispanic have five days from receipt of the letter to replay and NHPI will then have three days to respond. The two companies had said they hoped to close on their deal by the end of this week.
In other US radio business, Triad Communications has now closed on its USD27 million purchase of JMP Media's four stations in Peoria, Illinois, that was announced last year (See RNW Dec 25, 2002).
The deal was red-flagged by the FCC on ownership concentration grounds in January (See RNW Jan 7) but has now been accepted.
Triad has been operating the stations -- WSWT-FM, WPBG-FM, WMBD-AM, and WWFS-AM - since the start of this year under a local marketing agreement and the stations will now be operated under the name JMP Radio Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Triad.
In other deals this week, Baldwin Broadcasting is paying Southwest Ohio Broadcasting Services USD 1.2 million for Gospel WKFI-AM and Country WSWO-FM, Wilmington, Ohio. They are Baldwin's first stations in the market.
2003-03-13: BBC Radio 1 breakfast show host Sara Cox has been named Radio Personality of the Year award for the second year running at the UK Television and Radio Industries Club Awards.
Cox is on holiday but her spokesperson said, "Winning the TRIC Award meant a great deal to her last year, and so she will be absolutely thrilled to learn that she's won it again when she gets back from holiday next week."
RNW Comment: What? It means a great deal but she's uncontactable to be told before she returns?
2003-03-13: Tom Rivers, who joins Infinity's country format WUSN-FM, Chicago, as operations manager from its Tampa, Florida, operations next week is to double up as the station's morning personality according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder says that Rivers is expected to replace WUSN-FM veteran Big John Howell in the morning slot, working with co-hosts Trish Biondo and Ramblin' Ray Stevens.
Feder says Howell is expected to continue as host of the nationally syndicated weekend show "Country Gold" and to be reassigned to a weekday afternoon drive time position at one of Infinity's other Chicago stations.
Feder Sun-Times column:
2003-03-12: Digital radio using the InternationalEureka-147 standard could get yet another boost from a development announced by British company RadioScape; it has built a complete radio receiver module that can handle both FM and digital signals as well as data including the ability to download Internet pages.
The DRE2000 is the first in a planned new series of products developed in collaboration with Psion and Texas Instruments (TI); it uses RadioaScape's own tuner and TI's readily available DRE200 DSP (Digital signal processing) chip in conjunction with other off-the-shelf components.
RadioScape says the module is a "platform on which to create truly affordable and portable digital radio consumer receivers."
The module has low power consumption and can be used for portable or automobile receivers; it will cost around USD40 in mass production and is to be supplied to manufacturers to add their own amplifier, speakers, screen and casing.
The module can also be used in conjunction with MP3 recorders and players and with hard disks for those who want large storage capabilities.
RadioScape professional equipment is already in use in digital broadcasting and its software approach uses internet technology to allow customers to benefit from mass-market solutions supporting IP data network design, installation, monitoring and redundancy. This Internet capable solution enables the control of radio transmissions using industrial grade PC platforms which are co-located with the broadcast equipment or can be located remotely anywhere over a network.
RadioScape web site:
2003-03-12: A second lawsuit filed on behalf of families of the victims of the fire at The Station nightclub in Providence has added two major US Corporations, Anheuser-Busch and Clear Channel Communications, to the list of people and organisations named as allegedly bearing responsibility for the tragedy.
The first suit named club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, surviving members of the band Great White, and various others but they are not expected to have the funds to cover the damages that might be awarded, assessed by legal specialists at up to USD1 billion.
The second suit, filed on behalf of Zoe Jean Kingsley, the 6-year-old daughter of Lisa Kelly who suffocated under a pile of bodies, says 18 individuals or corporations bore responsibility including the surviving four members of the band and various individuals associated with their recordings and promotion.
Lawyer Stefanie DiMaio Larivee said Annheiser-Bush and Clear Channel were promoters and sponsors of the event; the brewer and Clear Channel's WHJY-FM stood to gain monetarily and through awareness of their products said Larivee.
WHJY advertised the Great White concert in some 15 commercials, and its DJ Michael "The Doctor" Gonsalves introduced the band shortly before pyrotechnics set off by the groupstarted the fire in the roadside club in which Gonsalves and the Nicholas O'Neill, the 20-year-old son of WHJY talk show host David Kane, were among 99 people killed.
Others named in the lawsuit include the supplier of the (flammable) foam used as soundproofing in the club and the maker of the fireworks used by the band; Larivee also said she expects to add the town of West Warwick.
Clear Channel has denied any responsibility and its senior vice president of marketing and communications Lisa Dollinger commented, "We are deeply saddened that plaintiffs' lawyers are looking for deep pockets to pick, rather than allowing people the requisite time to grieve for those whom we have lost."
She added that the company was not the promoter, sponsor or promoter of the event, did not hire the band, sell tickets, build the building, or look at the contract for the event. It simply accepted advertising for the event from the club owners.
Annheiser-Busch said it did not sponsor or promote Great White's appearance at the club and "should not have been named in this lawsuit.'' It pointed out that it had no direct connection and that Budweiser being supplied came from a local distributor, who had the right to use its name in its advertising.
RNW Comment: Regular readers will not see us as Clear Channel fans but in this case the facts as set out so far would not get this kind of lawsuit very far in the UK where such cases are heard by a judge as opposed to the US where emotive appeals to a jury seem to produce some very different verdicts.
If Clear Channel or any other Corporation is to be penalised simply for a combination of accepting advertising and mentioning an event by an independent organisation, the potential victims become any small organisation trying to stage an event in the future and the logic would extend a lawsuit to the makers of ink on which a flysheet was produced.
Without it affecting in any way our sympathy for the victims and concern at the mentality that could even consider indoor fireworks in such a venue, we cannot see that Clear Channel should in any way be expected to carry out its own checks of such events; indeed it should have every right to expect federal, local or state authorities to enact and enforce statutes that ensure safety at them.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-03-12: The Heywire community initiative launched five years ago to give a voice to young Australians from regional or rural areas is featured n the latest newsletter of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Under the scheme, people aged from 16-22 are invited to write a non-fiction story of around 400 words about anything that is important to them relating to life in a rural or regional area and the ABC then produces for radio and online use the winning story from each of 40 regions into which it has divided the country.
The stories get airtime on ABC Local Radio stations around the country, as well as its Triple J, Radio National and Radio Australia networks.
The stories singled out for mention range from one about the way the only take-away in a small New South Wales town acts as a communal focal point to the feelings of a visit from Darwin to her Melville Island home of a teenage Aboriginal girl.
The winners, as well as getting on air, are also all invited to Canberra, the Australian capital, for the five-day Heywire Youth Issues Forum held at the Australian Institute of Sport. Its aim is to increase the capabilities of the participants in the areas of goal setting, communications, leadership, teamwork skills and idea generation as well as explore the ideas raised by their contributions.
Previous ABC Australia:
ABC, Australia, Newsletter (1.20Mb PDF)
2003-03-11: UK digital radio could end up providing a cheaper and more efficient way of providing streams of broadcast services than the 3G spectrum for which telecommunications paid GBP22.5 billion (USD35.6 billion) according to a report in the UK Independent.
It says that talks are understood to be underway between digital radio companies and 3G network companies about the possibilities of combining a 3G phone and digital radio but that the latter, which has much lower costs, could end up as an alternative and competing technology.
UBC Media chief executive Simon Cole told the paper, "We provide an opportunity to them [mobile operators] to broaden their offering.... [but] if someone wanted to go to war with telecoms companies, they could. If telco's do not sit up and have this conversation, radio people will go ahead [with services] anyhow."
The digital radio signal, which can deliver data at up to 240 kilobits a second, compared with a maximum of around half that for typical 3G services, has the advantage that it can simultaneously broadcast to any number of receivers compared to a few hundred at a time for rich video on 3G services.
However it has no return loop or charging mechanism, precluding on-demand services unless linked to some form of telecoms service although this need not be high-tech.
RNW comment: As memory has become much cheaper the idea of building into a phone not only its own video and audio capabilities but the capability to both receive a broadcast signal such as digital radio and provide a virtual on-demand video service combined with e-mail would seem likely to spur take-up.
The memory could be used, for example, to allow a "phone" to automatically record the latest pre-specified video (such as goals in a soccer game or crucial match endings in tennis) when it is broadcast and be available -with an automatic charge logged by the operator through the return signal - for instant play or re-play when wanted.
The interesting element to us is how much the telecommunications companies might spend to buy up radio operators should the latter seem to pose any threat -and whether competition and regulatory authorities would allow them to so do.
We would also note that the idea would seem far more practicable in those countries where separate spectrum has been allocated for digital radio rather than the in-band-on-channel system being adopted in the US utilising part of analogue frequency for the digital signal.
UK Independent report:
2003-03-11: Wisconsin radio group Magnum Communications has agreed the sale of six of its stations to Mid-West Family Broadcast Group of Madison according to its owner Dave Magnum.
The planned sale is of three stations in Magnum's Tomah hometown - WBOG- FM) WXYM-FM and WTMB-AM - plus WBKY- FM in Portage, WNNO-FM in the Wisconsin Dells and WIBU-AM in Madison/Poynette.
A report in the La Crosse Tribune notes that Magnum has been selling stations since his late wife Lynn was diagnosed with the cancer from which she died in December last year, aged 33. He said he wished to spend time with his two sons Reid and Ty.
Magnum retains three broadcasting operations - WDLS-TV, a new low-power television station in Tomah that so far has broadcast only program tests, plus WSRG- FM in Sturgeon Bay and WAUN- FM in Kewaunee.
Magnum said he hadn't decided whether to keep hold of the three stations.
Jolene Neis, Mid-West Family Broadcasting corporate controller, said no decision had been made about any format changes but she told the Tribune that Family Radio Inc. in La Crosse would operate some of the stations and its Madison operation Mid-West Management Inc. would operate the others. Family Radio has four radio stations in La Crosse - WIZM-AM, WIZM-FM, WKTY-AM and WRQT-FM.
In Massachusetts Marlin Broadcasting is selling classical WBOQ-FM to Westport Communications for USD5.8 million; Marlin is owned by Woody Tanger and Westport by his son Todd.
Marlin, which will take an equity share in Westport, also owns rock format WCCC-FM and classical WTMI-AM in Hartford, Connecticut.
La Crosse Tribune report:
2003-03-11: Although the US is providing the vast majority of the military effort in the Mid East as it prepares for a probable war on Iraq, a UK Times article singles out one Kuwait base where the entertainment is being provided by the British.
At Camp Arifjan, Daniel McGrory reports, two British DJs working for the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), broadcast from a makeshift studio in a cargo container; their American counterparts it says are "holed up in a safe, air-conditioned complex thousands of miles from the front line."
It quotes station manager Chris Pratt as saying, "When we bump into Americans in the queue to dinner or to the toilet, they tell us they listen to us rather their own American Forces Network because they not only prefer the music we play, but they respect the fact we are out here mucking in with them."
Pratt, a former civil servant from Anglesey, co-host the shows with former Army officer Sean Ridley, and added, "We're not being foolhardy or trying to prove how brave we are. It's just that British forces out in the field regard us as a way of staying in touch with home."
McGrory reports that Americans asked why their broadcasters are not present change the subject and also adds that the services of BFBS and American Forces Network (AFN) are poles apart.
AFN, he writes, "laces all its programmes with a liberal assortment of propaganda and embarrassing tips about personal cleanliness" whilst the BFBS output adds to its music messages from families, friends and pets, and soccer results.
He also noted that the American output is censored by the generals; the British output is not.
Pratt commented that he and his co-host were civilians not enlisted as are the AFN staff, adding, " while we work closely with our military, they don't give us orders because they trust us to do and say the right thing. We inform but we should also entertain."
UK Times report:
2003-03-11: The UK National Union of Journalists is to ballot its BBC members next week about strike action over the dismissal of two BBC World Service Producers, Adli Hawwari and Dr Abdul Hadji Jiad, who were fired last month following complaints made over five years that the Corporation had said were rejected by tribunals as "frivolous" and "vexatious" and has cost it GBP1 million (USD1.5 million) in legal fees.(See RNW Feb 21)
The Union says the BBC failed to follow its own procedures in ordering the dismissals and members of its chapels (union office branches) have voted for the ballot.
A resolution passed said the decision, taken by Director-General Greg Dyke and the top World Service and Personnel managers, was "in flagrant breach of long established BBC agreements with the unions on the conduct of the disciplinary process. It sends a chilling warning to all BBC staff that from now on, anyone can be summarily dismissed in a similar fashion."
The BBC has rejected a union request for a top-level national meeting to discuss the sackings and NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said, "The BBC have simply thrown some of our agreements out of the window. "
"That's why this issue is so important not just to our two members, not just to their chapel, not all the BBC chapels but to our whole union, and why we will make the necessary resources available to win this campaign."
"It is the ultimate betrayal - the betrayal of our reps, our members and our agreements as well as a betrayal of the values of the BBC."
2003-03-10: The hearing on US media regulation in Seattle last Friday proved a spur for cover of the issues involved in the areas' papers and a start for this week's look at comment about radio.
First, from the Seattle Times, comes comment from Democrat Representative Jay Inslee, who, as we've already noted (See RNW Mar 9), called upon Thomas Jefferson in support of his views that consolidation has to be limited.
After briefly delineating the current situation, Inslee continued, "Though media consolidation could obviously benefit corporate interests, it is hard to see how this scenario could benefit the public."
"Let there be no mistake about it, our media are central to our democracy. Our Founding Fathers recognized and valued the role of the press in politics and government when they wrote the First Amendment. Centuries later, we still count on independent news organizations to tell us about the events and issues of the day."
"Heated competition for viewers and subscribers helps to keep the news organizations producing the best, most reliable news reports possible."
Public interest, wrote Inslee, had to be the foremost concern of any new rules; he noted that the public owned the airwaves and chose to allow their use by broadcasters and commented on the degree of consolidation in US radio since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Allowing that there were more forms of media than ever, Inslee nevertheless concluded, "The proliferation of different communication technologies, from cable to broadband, has not lessened the need for public scrutiny of consolidation in the broadcasting industry."
"At one time, the myth developed that the expansion of different methods of communication would remove the need to protect the public air waves," he said. "In fact, consolidation has outstripped the creation of new channels of communication."
Over at rival Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Michael Reisch, president of California-based child research and action organization Children Now, concentrated his comments on TV with the theme that already consolidation had already cut the number of organisations producing programming for children.
"In 1970, 20 studios or production houses supplied 68 percent of all prime time programming," he wrote. "By 2002, just 10 studios programmed 88 percent of prime time, according to a recent study conducted by the FCC."
Although Reisch's comments were directed at TV, many would apply equally to radio, as in his comment," It is clear that we must adjust our media policies to the changing technological and economic realities of the 21st century. If these policies are to be socially responsible, we must not only consider the implications for media corporations, broadcasters and adult viewers but for children as well."
Reisch commented that, while there might be more outlets, the repeats of children's programming that had already aired on cable on broadcast stations or vice versa, combined with the practice of cable and broadcasting networks sharing programming especially where they had the same corporate owner (Nickelodeon and CBS; Disney and ABC; Cartoon Network and Kids WB owned by AOL Time Warner) had "already significantly diminished the diversity of programs available."
"FCC Chairman Powell," he wrote, "claims that viewers have more choices and control than ever. But much of this "overflow" is in fact the same programming repeated multiple times."
And in comments that impinge directly on the argument that market forces are sufficient to ensure diversity, he wrote, "Commercial broadcasters have historically neglected the needs of children unless required to do so by law. In other words, when broadcasters are left to their own devices, kids lose out. (Remember when broadcasters claimed "The Jetsons" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" were "educational" programs?)"
Arguing on the other side, a Chicago Tribune editorial, which made it clear that the paper's owners had an interest in the ending of current cross-ownership limitations, said," This newspaper's view is guided by a belief that government restrictions on newspaper and television ownership smack of an infringement on freedom of the press. It is guided by a belief that markets should be as free as possible from government interference. It is guided by the evidence that lifting cross-ownership rules would promote more financially sound media firms without limiting public access to information."
FCC research that looked at the journalism produced by television stations owned by companies that also own newspapers, it said, showed "noticeably greater success under our measures of quality and quantity of local news programming than other network affiliates."
It also said that an FCC study of news coverage of the 2000 election in 10 markets where one company owns a newspaper and TV station, showed that in half the markets there was "meaningfully different cover" in newspaper and TV and in half no significant difference.
(RNW comment: We're not quite sure how much meaning there is in this finding, since it could mean that in half the markets the owners ensured all their media stuck to a party line, which would be a very good public interest argument for keeping cross-ownership restrictions).
The editorial also cited a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism that found that TV stations owned by companies that also owned a newspaper in the market, "were more likely to do stories that focused on important community issues, more likely to provide a wide mix of opinions and less likely to do celebrity and human-interest features."
"When a newspaper ceases publishing, when a television or radio station can't afford to hire a reporter, it can't serve the public interest," concluded the Tribune. "News organizations must be financially healthy to survive."
"Lifting the FCC rules will promote that financial health and freedom of the press without sacrificing the rich diversity of news and information and the intense competition waged by TV, radio, newspapers, and Internet sites."
(RNW comment: Although much of the comment is targeted specifically at the TV big brother rather than radio, the comments made by Reisch concerning children's programming seem to us to have resonance in other areas where there is a minority interest, especially where it relates to perceived value of the audience to advertisers.
We would also note that his comments about recycling the same or similar material on an organisation's various outlets also applies to news with the requirement for network TV correspondents to do work for its radio outlet and cable outlet or vice versa; often the only difference is one sentence and a sign-off, or even just the sign-off.
Add in the fact that many reports are in effect largely compiled from news agency content and that often the reporter's "live" from the field is regurgitating information just passed over by corporate headquarters or from agency wires and that even this is subject to script approval, and we feel that the much touted "diversity" in US media is largely mythical.
It could also be argued it is more pernicious in many ways than the centralised output of the old Soviet Union where many in the audience largely tested all information to a degree by reference to how likely it was to be true based on their own experiences.).
We also noted the comparative neglect of radio in the argument, particularly when in the UK radio now has a larger audience than TV.)
On now to a technological development that almost certainly will offer more diversity in the UK, where frequencies are already virtually fully utilised, although probably less so in the US; it's digital again and it was back in the news in the UK last week following a Social Market Foundation seminar on digital radio (See RNW Mar 8).
Amongst the articles that appeared was one from former Chrysalis Group director of corporate development Lisa Gordon in the UK Guardian.
She received a digital receiver at Christmas last year and has changed her views about its value.
"Digital radio," she wrote, "became a feature on the radio landscape in my latter years at Chrysalis and, while I could appreciate the arguments in favour of digital radio, I was somewhat sceptical about levels of consumer demand for such services, given the quality of analogue FM stations."
"I am now the proud owner of a digital radio receiver The sound quality is far better than analogue. You can crank up the volume with confidence, knowing that there will be no hissing or fading."
"The choice of stations is the other big attraction. I may be a thirty-something working mother but I'm still a clubber at heart and the fact that I can now listen to Galaxy in the south-east is a bonus."
Gordon notes that when doing shareholder presentations at Chrysalis they talked about take-up of digital radio happening over five to six years; now, she says, she expects that timeframe to be significantly shortened with the price and availability of receivers the key factor.
Noting that the UK has around 5 sets per household, up to 150 million in all, she also singles out a major benefit to commercial radio in the UK from the spectrum allocated to it.
" Commercial radio has been one of the fastest-growing media in the UK in the past 10 years," she writes, " despite the BBC enjoying many competitive advantages, including owning the bulk of the FM spectrum."
"In the analogue world, commercial radio has been allocated only 40% of the spectrum, yet has attracted almost half of all radio listening. In the digital landscape, commercial radio has 75% of the spectrum, which bodes well for significant audience gains and revenue growth."
"More spectrum," she concludes, "will enable commercial operators to offer more targeted services, which I believe will drive audiences. With a limited number of analogue licences there will always be a tendency for commercial operators to cluster around the lucrative demographic of 25-to 45-year-olds. So the broader market is under-served by the whole radio industry.... More focused offerings being made available through digital radio should dilute this clustering effect and enable commercial radio to further increase audiences and hence revenue."
Finally two comments in UK newspaper columns that raised wider issues: One was from the UK Sunday Times in Gerry McCarthy's column on Irish Radio.
After comments on Irish state radio RTÉ's flagship arts show - described as combining "superciliousness, puddle-deep analysis and snobbery" and its contrast with the same broadcaster's Tonight With Vincent Browne in which the host preceded a reading of Aristophanes' Lysistrata with a Browne preceded the reading with a primer in ancient Greek culture - the Persian war, the invention of philosophy, the Athenian empire and the roots of drama, McCarthy delivered a fairly crushing conclusion.
"RTÉ Radio 1," he ended, "currently broadcasts a satirical show that isn't funny - Bull Island - and an arts programme, Rattlebag, that is petrified of the arts."
"Yet a maverick such as Browne presides over a programme that can do either arts or satire with wit and invention. It's inspiring in some respects; but in others it's sort of like depressing."
Finally the conclusion from the UK Guardian of an article by Matthew Engel on US talk radio; the earlier part deals with the shows and their lack of success in their attacks on individuals such as former President Clinton.
The success, says Engel, is that America has been persuaded that the country's media are dominated by lefties, something that he says, if it "were ever true, it is emphatically untrue now."
"Radio," he writes, "obviously belongs to the right. So, by default, does TV, because the agenda is set by the White House, and Bush, Rumsfeld, Fleischer etc get massively more exposure to promote their agenda than anyone gets to counter it - especially at a time when there is no clear, credible and confident opposition leader. And the same applies in the newspapers, where the rigid notions that govern mainstream journalism demand 'objectivity'."
"Effectively that means that the front pages are dominated by government assertions, uncritically relayed."
"Hannity said on his Friday show that three-quarters of Americans believe the left dominate the media. That was a little lie: the poll he quoted showed that 45% believe that and 15% don't, which is not the same thing. The idea itself is a much bigger lie - I gotta tell you."
Chicago Tribune -editorial on cross-ownership:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Reisch:
Seattle Times - Inslee:
UK Guardian - Engel:
UK Guardian - Gordon:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2003-03-10: UK Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield, in an interview with the UK Observer, puts out a bullish view of the future for the company, which has lost market share in London and whose shares are near an all-time low amidst concerns about not just its audience but also general advertising worries.
In an interview with Frank Kane, he spoke of the business as one where costs were fairly fixed meaning that the results of both troughs and upturns fed into results quickly.
In Capital's case he acknowledges that its wounds in London were partly the result of its own actions, saying, "'The music market moved on, and like all brand-leading companies we need to take stock and refresh, reinvent and revitalise. The pop market, which is core, has been challenged by new TV and radio stations that make it more fragmented."
Although Mansfield still argues that there is a place for hits stations like Capital FM, Capital's response has also been to get into niche markets with purchases of stations such as Xfm and Choice and Mansfield told the paper that it may buy up to seven more specialist channels.
He likened the approach to that of satellite operator Sky TV, whose array of channels that serve specialist audiences cross-promote each other intensively.
Mansfield is also upbeat about digital radio, commenting about the comparison between the GBP20 million (USD 32 million) the BBC is spending on it with the fortieth of this that Capital has to spend, "They [BBC] have a duty, because of the digital premium in the licence fee, to make digital successful. Commercial can take advantage of that too."
Mansfield, who called last week for the Japanese to begin manufacture of sets (See RNW Mar 8), added, "The ideal scenario is for a relatively cheap set combining digital and FM. It isn't a question of whether digital will take off in Britain, but when."
UK Observer report:
2003-03-09: The past week was noticeable for yet another hearing on US media regulation and also for the release by the UK Radio Authority of its suggestions for some 30 more commercial FMs to be handed over to its successor, the new super-regulator OFCOM, which takes over in December. Elsewhere there was a steady flow of licence decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has varied two of its licence plans and opted not to allocate a new community licence in Wollongong, New South Wales but to defer the matter for a year.
There were two applicants for the licence - Hellenic Australia Radio Inc, which proposed to serve the Greek community, and Wollongong City Employment Training Inc, which proposed to serve the youth community. In deciding to review the award in a year, the ABA says it will encourage the applicants to operate temporary services to develop their capacity.
The plan variations were:
* On the Gold Coast where new commercial radio service Hot Tomato will move to a different transmitter site on Mount Tambourine because Transmission Australia could not accommodate it as originally planned, In addition community radio services 4RHI - Radio Hope Island and 4CAB - Christian Air Broadcasters Ltd will transmit from alternative sites on Mt Tambourine, while 4MET - Radio Metro Ltd will move to an alternative site at Lower Beechmont.
*In North West Western Australia where the planned changes are to various commercial services of Redwave Media, the only commercial operator in the area. They involve removing the towns of Paraburdoo and Tom Price from the Karratha licence area and moving them in the Remote Western Australia licence area and moving Broome from the Remote Western Australia licence area to the Port Hedland licence area. Comment on this plan has to be made by March 21.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been involved in a number of licence amendment. By province they included:
*Approval of application to allow a lower level of Canadian music than the normal 35% on oldies station CHQT-AM, Edmonton.
*Approval of application by the University of Calgary Student Radio Society to increase the effective radiated power of the radio programming undertaking CJSW-FM Calgary, from 1,900 watts to 4,000 watts
*Approval of application to allow CKKX-FM Peace River, to add a 930 watts transmitter in Fairview and 2000 watts transmitter at High Prairie.
Approval of third extension of deadline for the commencement of operation of additional transmitters at Fox Lake and Lake Manitoba for CINC-FM Thompson. The deadline is now February 2 next year.
*Approval of frequency and contours change for and power increase from 50 to 2,800 watts for CKOE-FM, Moncton.
*Approval of a new contemporary hits 50-watts English-language FM in Cochrane.
Second extension of deadline for starting operation of additional transmitter at Kapuskasing for CHIM-FM Timmins. The deadline is now August 11.
*Approval of new community-based French-language FM community-based campus programming undertaking in Sherbrooke.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to discontinue use of its CBF-2 transmitter at Mont-Brun broadcasting the programming of CBF-FM Montréal (La Première Chaîne).
Approval of amendment of licence of CFVZ-FM Moose Jaw to allow broadcasts relating to Moose Jaw Millers baseball team in addition to the activities of the Moose Jaw Warriors hockey team.
There was no radio activity from Ireland but in the UK, the Radio Authority has published its suggestions for new commercial FMs in the UK (See RNW Mar 5) and also its Quarterly Programming and Advertising Review that, among other things, dealt with the issues of pay-for-play and the contents of songs (See RNW Mar 6).
On the licence awards front it has re-awarded two licences under its special application procedure that applies when no competing application has been submitted on a pre-advertisement of an existing licence.
These were of the Heads of South Wales Valleys licence to Valley Radio and of the Crawley & Reigate FM licence to Mercury FM.
Another award was of the New Yeovil licence in South Somerset to Ivel FM, which is proposing a music and local news and information service targeted at 25-64 year olds.
It also announced the receipt of two applications for a new local licence for North Norfolk; these were from GO-FM (Absolute Radio Norfolk Ltd.), which is proposing a full-service schedule of news, information and adult music for people over 25, and from North Norfolk Radio Ltd., which is proposing a community-based local station of news and information combined with contemporary and classic hits.
In the US, as well as its involvement in media regulation hearings (See below) , the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also been involved in the prosecution of a Florida pirate, who was fined USD 35, 000 (See RNW Mar 7) and another re-classification order, this time of a Denver station to allow a new service for Akron in Colorado.
It involves Akron Broadcasters, which has asked for a frequency for the first service for the town and Clear Channel's KRFX-FM, Denver, currently a class C but broadcasting from a height below the minimum for that class station. The FCC has issued an order that KEFX show cause why it should not be downgraded to a class CO to permit sufficient spacing for the new service.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-03-09: Around 250 people attended the field hearing on US media ownership regulation called in Seattle by Democrat Federal Communications Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein; the former regretted the absence of official support from the Commission but still felt the hearings were worthwhile because of the importance of the issues.
They were backed up by Democrat representative Jay Inslee, who represents Washington State's 1st Congressional District and cited Thomas Jefferson's comments that "an enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of the republic" and said he would be spinning in his grave if he knew rules were being considered that would reduce sources of information.
Coverage of the hearing in the two main Seattle papers would seem to add weight to the arguments of those who favour retention of regulations: the cover in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, owned by The Hearst Corporation (which favours ending cross-ownership bans as was mentioned in its report) carried more comment in favour of easing regulations than that of the Seattle Times (which again, as mentioned in its report, favours retention of cross ownership regulations).
Frank Blethen publisher Frank Blethen opposed common TV and newspaper ownership and was quoted by the Post-Intelligencer as saying, "We do not need to own a TV station to survive" and adding that repealing cross-ownership rules and relaxing others "would not only be a serious blow to America's independent free press -- it may be a fatal blow to our democracy."
In his own paper he was quoted as saying media companies with profit margins of up to 50 percent can't seriously claim poverty. "It doesn't pass the smirk test," he said.
Cross ownership he said made sense from a business perspective "but not from a public-service perspective."
The argument in favour of retention was made by most of those speaking at the hearing, including
John Sandifer, executive director of the Seattle local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists who said, "Fewer and fewer entities are controlling what we hear, and the public airwaves are no longer serving the public."
University of Oregon School of Journalism Associate Dean Alan Stavitsky told the hearing that the description of stations as news/talk was largely fallacious as most of them were about talk and most of that came from syndication. He said there was little local news on radio and little local talk, thus denying people outlets for consideration of local concerns.
One local resident outlined reasons for opposing consolidation through telling the hearing of a conversation with a former German soldier in Stuttgart in 1959.
The Times reported that he asked what the soldier's opinion of the Allies was before and after the war. The soldier replied: "When you know from only one hand, you think that is the truth. But when you learn from both hands, then you can decide what is truth. But by then it was too late."
On the other side of the argument, the only testimony reported came from those involved in the business, with arguments being put that lighter regulation creates stronger media companies that can better provide quality programming and news cover.
Becky Brenner, program director at Infinity's country stations KMPS-FM and KYCW-AM said listeners enjoyed more formats than before consolidation and Dave Lougee, general manager of Belo Corp.'s Seattle TV properties, said the company's ownership of both KING/5 and KONG/16 has resulted in efficiencies that have freed resources to put into local news coverage and programming.
There was some dissention on the broadcasters' side with Fisher Broadcasting President Ben Tucker saying his Seattle-based company opposed to lifting the TV network cap that prevents them from owning stations with a combined audience of more than 35 percent of U.S. households because ending it would threaten a local station's ability to break away from network programming.
Seattle Post-Intelligence report:
Seattle Times report:
2003-03-09: The "Private Lives" show hosted on Sundays for more than a decade on Infinity's Chicago WBBM-FM by Karen Hand and Dr. Kelly Johnson returns to the air five nights a week from tomorrow on the company's comedy/talk format WCKG-FM .
The show was dropped last year when Hand's contract was not renewed at WBBM (See RNW Sept 13, 2002); she was then morning news anchor at the station, where she'd been working for two decades.
The new show will air from 1900 to 2000 local, following Steve Dahl's afternoon show.
2003-03-09: Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis returns to the corporation today to host a new Sunday morning show on BBC Three Counties Radio, which broadcasts to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
He hasn't presented programmes for the BBC since leaving Radio 1 a decade ago.
Radio 1 itself, has announced that the former presenters of TV breakfast show RI:SE Colin Murray and Edith Bowman, are to host a new weekend show on the channel starting on March 29.
They'll take over the 10 a.m. Saturday morning slot from Scott Mills, who has been filling in for Jamie Theakston since he left the show last year. Murray already hosts a Radio 1 evening show and Bowman has been co-hosting a Capital FM show with Cat Deeley.
2003-03-08: Disney's ABC Radio has added two more stations this week, one in Texas, the other in New York City.
The Texas acquisition, for which it is paying USD3.2 million to Belo Corporation, is of KENS-AM. Belo purchased KENS-AM in 1997 as part of its acquisition of KENS-TV.
ABC will programme the station under a local marketing agreement from the start of April and the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the final quarter of this year.
The New York deal is the USD 78 million purchase from the Forward Foundation of Talk station WEVD-AM; ABC agreed a deal under which the station would become an ESPN sports outlet in 2001 (See RNW Aug 3, 2001) and has exercised its right to purchase the station.
This was announced in September last year and informal objections raised with the FCC were rejected last month.
Also in New York, Multicultural Broadcasting is again taking control of WLXE-AM, which it has bought from Mega Communications for USD 37 million cash. Multicultural disposed of the station three years ago in a swap with Mega that gave it in return two Washington, DC, stations and USD24.5 million.
Previous Mega Communications:
2003-03-08: The new British regulator OFCOM and the BBC are to conduct a review of the state of digital radio in the UK that the Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell should "take stock, measure performance to date and consider what more needs to be done in the future".
Currently, as well as the BBC's five digital radio channels, the UK has some 30 regional and local digital licences that carry around 300 digital radio stations; Jowell said that this year was "crucial" to the medium, with lower prices for receivers and a fast-growing range of programmes giving it a chance of really taking off.
The UK radio industry wants Japanese electronics manufacturers to start making digital radio receivers to help overcome the shortage and provide more choice.
Speaking to a Social Market Foundation seminar on digital radio, Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield said that getting a Japanese manufacturer to take up digital radio would be the "single biggest catalyst" for its future success, adding that the boom in set sales over Christmas provided evidence for demand but UK government help was needed.
Jenny Abramsky, director of BBC radio and music, told the seminar the BBC was investing £20m a year on its digital content, compared with £250m on its five national analogue stations, and added that the shortage of receivers was the most important factor in holding back its investment in the medium.
2003-03-08: The idea of a mathematical formula to measure media diversity has again been brought up in the US, this time by Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) Media Bureau Chief W. Kenneth Ferree who said the idea could be part of a new "diversity rule" in place of current ownership regulations in the US.
The suggestion was made in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, which last month reported that FCC chairman Michael Powell had offered a reward to any economist who could bring him such a formula (See RNW Feb 11)
Ferree said a formulaic approach would be "clean and easy to explain to a court. That's the way I'd like to see it work" but added that he had not made any formal recommendations as his views may evolve in consultations with the Commissioners
He expressed concern that current rules had mixed aims jumbled up and said he was "guardedly optimistic" that the agency would be able to develop a formula that works; he declined to discuss specifics, saying the actual calculation is "not ready for prime time." FCC economists are testing a draft version on a variety of media markets nationwide, he said.
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-03-08: Mumbai (Bombay) FM listeners spend an average time of 107 minutes a day listening to FM according to a survey by the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB).
The survey, carried out by polling drivers stuck in rush hour traffic, indicated that around 4.5 million of the city's 12 million or so population listen to FM radio daily; over a week the figure goes up to 6.5 million.
The city has seven channels with the most popular by far being Radio Mirchi, owned by Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL), which has around 3 million listeners a day and 4.5 million a week.
Previous Indian Radio
2003-03-07: Florida pirate operator Shlomo Malka has been fined USD 35,000 for contempt of court after he continued operating an unlicensed station in violation of a court injunction issued at the end of January that prohibited him from owning or using radio transmission equipment.
Shlomo was also ordered by the US Southern District of Florida to fully cooperate with the FCC in the continuing investigation of the radio station, and to identify all individuals and advertisers who had any relationship with its operation.
The injunction against his operation has been made permanent and additional fines of USD 10,000 per violation are to be imposed, in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties imposed by the court, should he again offend. He has also been told to relinquish any claims to the equipment seized from the station.
2003-03-07: The UK Competition Commission has now sent out an "issues letter" in connection with the GBP12.5 million (USD 20 million) acquisition of Galaxy 101, Bristol, from Chrysalis Radio by Vibe Radio, a joint venture between GWR and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH); the deal was part of a complicated asset swap announced in September last year (See RNW Sept 27, 2002)
The reference to the Competition Commission in January this year (See RNW Jan 15) caused concern in the UK radio industry because of implications for consolidation of radio companies in the UK; GWR executive chairman Ralph Bernard said at the time that the referral, set against a background of government policy to ease media regulation, appeared to contradict that policy.
The "issues letter" is a standard part of procedure for such a reference; in this case it includes as elements to be considered those concerning the relevant market;
Effect on competition within the relevant product and geographic markets; Other considerations including buyer power; barriers to entry; and the prospects for Galaxy had the merger not gone ahead; Effects on level of prices and variety, quality and innovation in services.
The examination of this merger could set a pattern for the issues to be considered relevant for future planned mergers.
Concerning the question of jurisdiction, the Commission notes the condition that is relevant, the supply of at least a quarter of the local radio advertising in the Severn Estuary licence area, and says its current view is that a "merger situation qualifying for investigation exists between GWR and Galaxy on that basis; but that no merger situation qualifying for investigation exists between SRH and Galaxy."
The commission will also consider the nature of the advertising market in the area; whether radio should be considered part of a market including newspaper and TV advertising, whether radio advertising should be considered as a discrete market and also whether the GWR FM and Galaxy 101 stations target different listeners to the degree that radio advertising for them appeals to a different market.
It will also consider the geographical nature of the market and advertising in the full licence region and in small areas within it and the way in which advertisers use radio advertising - as a core element for a campaign, targeting specific groups of consumers by different forms of media, how far radio is a substitute for or complement to other advertising, how sensitive advertisers are to changes in prices, and so on.
Related to these will be the effect of the merger on the degree of competition to GWR in the area, the effects on service to audiences and advertisers, and whether the price being paid reflects an expectation that the acquiring company will be able to use greater market power to increase profits, potentially in a manner against the public interest.
UK Competition Commission web site (Links to information on enquiry including "Issues" announcement - 138 kb PDF)
2003-03-07: Toronto-based Canadian media company CHUM has announced a new management operating committee that will replace its traditional management structure.
Under the new structure the company's operating divisions will be led by a "cross-functioning team reporting to the President" that will replace the former positions of president for radio and president for television.
Appointed to the new Management Operating Committee are radio executive Paul Ski, TV executive Stephen Tapp, marketing vice-president David Kirkwood and vice-president of finance Taylor Baiden. Other appointments are to be made later.
CHUM President and CEO Jay Switzer said the "new executive matrix allows us to take full advantage of core strengths and management experience in radio and television, yet provide the added dynamic of an interdependent group that shares in the stewardship and success of all operations. It allows us to nimbly respond to the multiple demands of our complex business by remaining flexible and creative."
2003-03-07: The latest Arbitron MeasureCast Ratings covering the week to February 23 show MUSICMATCH's artist match and Stream Audio retaining their top station and network rankings with jazz format KPLU-FM moving into fifth rank, displacing Jazz FM, which dropped to ninth.
For the week to February 23, Arbitron-Measure Cast's top five stations ranked by Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) with (in brackets) TTSL and Cume persons (a measure of the cumulative audience -CP) for the previous week - were:
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH - TTSL 306,154 (311,356); CP 138,751 (132,552). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: Adult alternative Radioio Eclectic - TTSL 287,033 (283,365); CP 65,217 (61,586). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin FM - TTSL 252,793 (207,817); CP 54,299 (47,024). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Classical format WQXR-FM- TTSL 209,829 (237,263); CP 35,244 (35,704). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: Jazz format KPLU-FM - TTSL 167,330 (152,401); CP 33,727 (22,881): Up from eighth with higher listening and reach.
*Jazz format Jazz FM fell to ninth from fifth with TTSL of -110,832, little more than half the 206,813 it had a week before; CP was 25,452, down from 29,571.
The top five networks for the week to February 23 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: StreamAudio TTSL 1,326,802 (1,366,223); CP 195,810 (197,209). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: MUSICMATCH Inc. TTSL 1,287,571 (1,323,120); CP 397,702 (389,570). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
3: Clear Channel Worldwide TTSL 1,122,429 (1,047,773): CP 187,622 (197,209)- Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
4: Warp Radio TTSL 590,618 (628,764); CP 148,233 (152,761) - Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
5: Live365.com - Top 25 TTSL 575,409 (643,953); CP 126,657 (136,022) Down from fifth with lower listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron-MeasureCast ratings:
2003-03-06: Salem stock plunged more than a fifth on Wednesday, ending down 21.6% at USD 18.44, following release of its 2002 results, which were below analyst's expectations; it also issued guidance that it said reflected economic uncertainty because of the Middle East situation and also increased competition faced by the Salem Radio Network.
The religious broadcaster reported double-digit growth in revenues, EBITDA, and Broadcast Cash Flow (BCF) for the final quarter of 2002 and in revenues and EBITDA for the full year.
For the quarter, broadcasting revenues were up 10.9% to USD40.6 million, BCF was up 12.7% to USD14.2 million, and EBITDA was up 23.7% to USD11.5 million.
Overall Salem reported a net loss of USD0.7 million USD0.03 per diluted share) for the quarter compared with a net profit of USD1.0 million (USD0.04 per diluted share) a year before; it adds that excluding discontinued operations its profit for the quarter was USD1.2 million (USD0.05 per diluted share) compared with USD1.3 million (USD0.05 per diluted share) a year earlier but notes that the 2001 figure would have been break-even had it excluded gain on sale of assets and adjusting for the impact of accounting standard SFAS 142.
Same station results for the quarter were a 10. 8% increase in revenues and a 19.4% increase in BCF.
For the full year, broadcasting revenue was up 14.8% to USD156.2 million, BCF was up 8.5% to USD52.4 million and EBITDA was up 15.3% to USD38.4 million; overall Salem was in the black to the tune of USD14.0 million (USD0.59 per diluted share) compared with a net income of USD4.4 million (USD0.19 per diluted share) in 2001.
However excluding discontinued operations Salem lost USD2.0 million for the year, (USD0.08 loss per diluted share_ compared with profit of USD5.5 million (USD0.23 per diluted share) in 2001 and notes that excluding gain on sale of assets and adjusting for SFAS 142, it would have lost USD0.8 million (USD0.03 per share) in 2001.
Commenting on the results, Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said, "Despite what continues to be a challenging and uncertain economic environment, we have once again reported double digit growth in both revenue and EBITDA. Our block programming business continues to provide a very stable revenue base, which is complemented by the continued growth in our developing contemporary Christian music radio stations."
For the current quarter Salem says it had same station revenue growth of 9% for January 2003 and expects to achieve approximately 9% for February 2003with first quarter same station revenue growth expected to be in the high single digits; it is projecting broadcasting revenues for the quarter between USD38.2 and USD38.7 million and broadcast cash flow of between USD11.5 and USD12.0 million. EBITDA is projected to be between USD7.5 and USD8.0 million in the first quarter of 2003.
Salem will also report a one-time loss of USD6.4 million, resulting from the early retirement and refinancing of its 9.5% senior subordinated notes due 2007, which were redeemed on January 23, 2003.
This will take loss per share for the first quarter of 2003 to between USD0.22 and USD0.20 per share; excluding the redemption loss per share is projected to be between USD0.06 and USD0.04 per share.
For 2003 as a whole Atsinger commented that Salem expected " a year of continued growth."
" We successfully renewed over 95% of our block programming contracts for 2003 at an average rate increase of 5%, he added, continuing, "In addition, our developing contemporary Christian music stations are experiencing strong revenue and cash flow growth. As a whole, Salem continues to be well positioned for strong growth and we look forward to another record year."
Atsinger also noted at Salem's conference call that its syndicated hosts Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved had lost around 90 affiliates following the launches of shows by Sean Hannity on ABC Radio Networks and Bill O'Reilly on Westwood One.
He said this was a one-off and that the company was signing up new affiliates - it now has a total of around 1550 compared to 1600 before the launch of the Hannity and O'Reilly shows. Any new talk show launches, he said, were as likely to take affiliates away from Hannity and O'Reilly as from Salem.
In other US radio business, comparative newcomer Qantum Communications, formed in 2002 by former Aurora Communications principals Frank Osborn, Frank Washington and Michael Mangan, has jumped from three to 29 stations with an USD82 million cash purchase of 26 stations from Root Communications.
The stations involved are (by state):
Alabama -- WKKR, WMXA, WTLM and WZMG, Auburn:
Florida -- WMXZ and WWAV, Fort Walton Beach:
Georgia -- WBGA, WGIG, WHFX, WMOG, WYNR and WWSN, Brunswick and WCJM and WPLV, West Point:
North Carolina -- WDZD, Ocean Isles Beach:
South Carolina -- WDAR, WDSC, WEGX, WGSS, WJMX-AM & FM, WPFM and WSQN, Florence, and WGTR, WWSK & WWXM/Myrtle Beach.
In Pennsylvania, a price of USD 23 million has now emerged as the sum Susquehanna Radio Corp. is paying to Lancaster-York Broadcasting for Oldies WSOX-FM in Red Lion.
2003-03-06: The issue of what it terms "pay-for-play" practices in the US under which independent record promoters act as middlemen between record and radio companies is taken up by the UK Radio Authority in its Quarterly Programming and Advertising Review for the final quarter of 2002 just released..
Referring to various allegations being made in the US about such practices, the Authority's Director of Programming and Advertising, Martin Campbell, says the Authority is "determined to do all it to prevent the shoots of such practices from springing up over here."
It notes that the opening of the UK market to foreign buyers could lead to a possible danger of such practices being brought to the UK and makes it clear that it takes the view that such practices "effectively turns the radio station into a retail outlet" although "the presence of the 'middle man' distances the stations from accusations that they might be acting illegally."
Clearly distinguishing the practice as a "Corporate" one as distinct from the payola scandals in the US that involved individuals, Campbell says, there is no evidence of this practice in the UK although he admits, "Incentives to play particular tracks or artists have always operated (e.g. offers of tickets, interviews, CDs, joint sponsorship of live shows etc); this reflects the nature of the business and fluctuates with market pressures."
"Station decisions to exclude certain tracks or artists," he writes, "often make headlines (such as Radio 1's spat with Status Quo) but this generally has more to do with tight targeting than any deliberate market manipulation. "If stations put on high rotation those acts with which they have a commercial relationship," he continues, "this might be argued as being to the detriment of other artists and at the same time disadvantaging smaller record companies and radio stations."
"Any overstepping in this direction would run foul of the rules against product placement. Attempts might be made to replicate Pay-for-Play practices in the UK therefore the Radio Authority has made clear its view that any such practices will not be tolerated."
"Pay-for-Play practices clearly result - apart from the financial and moral questions," he says, " in a lack of diversity within playlists. There is no comparison with front-of-store retail promotion (placing certain products in prominent positions) because the job of commercial radio is to reflect taste, not hi-jack it. Small labels and breaking artists suffer, as does anyone refusing to 'buy in' to Pay-for-Play deals."
"Pay-for-Play would be perfectly legal, both here and the US, if such tracks were played clearly as paid-for commercials," he continues. "There have been a couple of isolated examples of this."
"However, in creative radio terms the growth of such broadcasting would produce far too many drawbacks. No comment could be made about the music (because that would be to comment on commercials) and the station would be destroying any suggestion that the listener was being handed carefully selected output."
"Pay-for-Play is product placement by another name, pure and simple. Mindful that the radio world shares and adapts many practices, the UK Radio Authority is flagging up as clearly as possible its position with regard to all aspects of Pay-for-Play."
"That is firstly that such practices lie firmly outside that which broadcasting legislation permits in the UK, and secondly that it will use its regulatory powers to stop any movement in the direction of such practices. "
Campbell also takes up in the review the question of song lyrics following controversy in the UK about "gun culture", which he writes has "put the spotlight on what some see as the celebration of guns and violence within certain music genres."
He notes that rap music in particular has had the finger pointed at it, although, he adds, "No one seriously felt that when music halls echoed to the strains of The Man Who Broke The Bank at Monte Carlo it was creating a nation of gamblers. Or that when Johnny Cash sang about shooting a man in Reno 'just to watch him die' it affected the sales of handguns."
However, he says, notice should be taken of the Authority's recently revised "Programme Code, which urges stations to think carefully and make 'considered judgements'."
"This will undoubtedly involve," he writes, "considering formats, radio edits, scheduling, RAJAR, editing possibilities, research, 'school run' times and the like. There is no 'anything goes' rule with music any more than there is with presenter chat. It is all about context."
"It is the recognition of this responsibility that anything that offends against good taste or decency, or might incite crime or lead to disorder, is prohibited. Song lyrics might have that capacity."
"The important thing is that programmers are aware of what they're playing, when they're playing it, to whom they're playing it, and whether playing it is a responsible move."
" The difficulties begin when controversial songs are put to air with no thought when the first positive move will be to pick up the pieces."
The review also notes that during the quarter to the end of December 2002, the Authority two 'yellow cards' warnings- one to Ritz 1035 (now Mean Country 1035), in Greater London, for broadcasting automated output of an unacceptable quality (an issue resolved at the end of September 2002) and another to 96.3 QFM in Paisley, for broadcasting insufficient speech and local content.
The eview also has a summary of the Authority's Quarterly Complaitns Bulletin, which was released in January (See RNW Jan 18)
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous Radio Authority Complaints Bulletin:
Previous Radio Authority Quarterly Review:
UK Radio Authority web site (Links to Review ---803 kb PDF)
2003-03-06: Sirius bondholders have now joined the company's shareholders in approving its USD1.2 billion recapitalization. The company said 91% of the bondholders had agreed to the exchange of their debt for stock adding that there had been 100% acceptance for its term loans, approximately 90% of its senior secured discount notes, approximately 85% of its senior secured notes and approximately 89% of its convertible subordinated notes.
Completion of all transactions - expected this week - the recapitalization will convert approximately USD636 million in debt and USD519 million in preferred stock into common stock.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph P Clayton said of the agreement, "This is a major milestone for SIRIUS that now enables us to move forward with a strong balance sheet."
"With our commercial-free music and additional products coming online this year, including portable 'Plug & Play' and in-home units, and with our car manufacturer programs taking shape, we believe that 2003 will be a defining year for SIRIUS, and a catalyst for long-term success."
2003-03-06: Nielsen Media Research has increased its involvement in its joint research programme with Arbitron to evaluate the latter's Portable People Meter system.
The two companies first became involved in joint tests of the system in June 2000 and the latest agreement will involve Nielsen in committing additional funding and resources to further research into the system.
Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris said that Nielsen would take a "a more active role in examining the outstanding methodological issues that we both agreed to address to make the PPM a more effective data collection tool" whiles Nielsen Media Research president and CEO Susan Whiting commented that Nielsen would "increase its involvement in this joint research program with Arbitron by evaluating methods for improving response rates in the PPM sample, assessing its audio capabilities, and analysing results from using both Nielsen and PPM meters in the same sample homes."
2003-03-06: The BBC has appointed Richard Clark, currently its Home News Editor, as Editor of The World at One, PM, The World this Weekend and Broadcasting House programmes.
He succeeds Kevin Marsh who took over as editor of the Today programme in November last year (see RNW Nov 23, 2002) following the departure of Rod Liddle after a row over his newspaper column in the UK Guardian (See RNW Sept 28 2002).
Clark, who will take up his new post on March 17, began his journalism career in local newspapers before moving to BBC local radio, working for BBCs Radio Kent and Bedfordshire before joining the Today show as a duty editor, later being appointed Assistant Editor and Deputy Editor of the programme.
Stephen Mitchell, Head of BBC Radio News, said, "Richard is an outstanding journalist with a wealth of experience in radio current affairs as well as across the wider BBC News operation. "
"He is committed to maintaining the high quality of our output across the range of programmes for which he is now responsible and I know he will do an excellent job."
Clark himself said he was "thrilled to be returning to the Radio 4 sequence programmes and am delighted to be joining one of the most journalistically rigorous and creative teams in news and current affairs."
2003-03-05: Media companies in Europe and the Far East have reported mixed results with the worst from the UK's SMG, owners of Virgin Radio, whose group pre-tax profits were down 28% for 2002 to GBP 26m (USD 41 million).
Turnover was slightly down 0.85% to GBP 278.4 million (USD 440.1 million) as was EBITDA, down from GBP 65.7 million (USD103.9 million) to GBP 65.6 million (USD 103.7 million). Total operating profit was down just under 3% to GBP 55.5 million (USD 87.7 million).
Putting a bold face on the results, Chief Executive Andrew Flanagan said the company had "delivered a strong performance in continued tough trading conditions."
"We grew advertising revenues across the Group and held total operating profit broadly in line with last year," he continued. "We have well-branded, profitable assets and are well positioned to benefit from the advertising upturn when it comes. "
"The successful sale of our publishing business will reduce debt and sharpen our focus on the national advertising market and we are strongly placed to capitalize on the opportunities that the Communications Act will present."
However he was cautious about prospects and said SMG was managing its business "on the basis that any material recovery in advertising markets will not occur before 2004."
Virgin radio profits and revenues fell for the second year running -- turnover was down 7% to GBP 25.9 million (USD 40.9 million) but cost cutting held the drop in operating profit to 4.75% at GBP10 million (USD 15.8 million)
The station was hit by changes at its breakfast show, where Steve Penk walked out and Darryl Denham failed to pull in audiences; he later switched slots with drivetime duo Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd (See RNW Jan 6) but SMG attributed most of its fall in advertising to the greater downturn in national advertising compared with local radio advertising.
"2002 represented a year of transition for Virgin Radio, as we rebuilt the station following a volatile 2001," said SMG adding,"We continued to refine its music offering and carried out extensive
Audience research to ensure that the station's programming satisfies the listening tastes of its
Target 20-45-year-old audience."
It said that inevitably there were losses in audience during the period of change but it was positive about its new schedule and is spending GBP 3 million (USD 4.7 million) to increase the station's profile.
"We continue to view the radio sector as very attractive and expect that once the current downturn is over that it will revert to its historically high rates of growth," said SMG. It emphasized its commitment to radio by noting, " New licence opportunities arise on a regular basis and we are currently in the process of applying for the Maidstone, Glasgow and West Midlands licences.
Better results came from Europe where SBS Broadcasting SA, whose holdings include 19 radio stations in Denmark, Sweden and Finland, has reported final quarter 2002 net revenues up 14% to Euros 170 million (USD 184 million) with station operating cash flow up 30% to Euros 32 million (USD 34.9million) and full year 2002 revenues up 6% on 2001 to Euros 511 million (USD 557 million) with station operating cash flow up 35% to Euros 51 million (USD 55.3 million).
It trimmed its loss for the quarter by 29% to Euros 15.4 million (16.8million) and for the full year by 69% to Euros 35.7 million (USD 39 million).
Same station revenues for the quarter were up 13% to Euros 168 million (USD 183.5 million) and for the year were 4% to Euros 488 million (USD532 million).
Commenting on the results, CEO Markus Tellenbach said, "In a year in which our advertising markets posted flat growth our station group recorded exceptional results across all operating metrics. We leveraged our efficient operating infrastructure to translate our revenue growth into a same station operating cash flow improvement of 42%, while our operating income moved into positive territory with a gain exceeding 100%."
"During the past year, we continued to strengthen our competitive position, posting both ratings and market share gains at the majority of our stations. Our focus on cost controls and driving additional operating leverage resulted in our full year same station cash flow margin improving over 37%. We are executing on our business plan and remain on target in pursuing our margin goals."
"We enter 2003 with improved fundamentals and a solid financial position, " he concluded.
In Australasia, APN News and Media, which owns regional newspapers, radio broadcasting and outdoor advertising in Australia and New Zealand, reported strong 2002 results from its radio and newspaper divisions that offset problems with the outdoor division.
Profits were up 87% to AUD90.2 million (USD 56 million) and earnings per share were up 16% to AUS 0.28.
Chief Executive Brendan Hopkins said: "The overall growth in group revenue and profit was driven by a strong second half result from the publishing businesses in both Australia and New Zealand. Radio also had a strong fourth quarter in both markets."
APM radio revenues in 2002 were up 22% to AUD 239 million (USD 147 million) and EBIT was up 6%, including a one-off revenue and EBIT contribution from the New Zealand Radio Network (NZRN) share equalization.
The principal EBIT contribution was of AUD 4.6 million (USD 2.8 million) from the equalization of shareholding in NZRN between APN and Clear Channel Communications
Like for like radio revenue grew by 1.3% and EBIT was marginally down. Excluding the impact of the NZRN equalization, second half revenues were up 7%, with EBIT 7% ahead on a like for like basis.
In Australia, said APN, ARN's strong fourth quarter largely compensated for the earlier weakness in national advertising and in New Zealand The Radio Network (TRN) continued to lead the local market with the number one audience share in the three main markets of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. In total, 55% of New Zealanders listened to one of the Company's stations each week.
So far this year, it said the Radio division has performed above expectations in the first quarter of 2003 and while forward bookings are short, early indications for the second quarter are positive in both Australia and New Zealand.
In US radio business, Georgia=based Morris Communications is buying six Kansas radio stations owned by EBC - three Salina stations: KSAL-AM, KYEZ-FM and KZBZ-FM; Abilene stations KABI/AM and KSAJ-FM; and North Fort Riley station KBLS-FM.
Previous SBS Broadcasting:
2003-03-05: The UK would get around 30 new commercial FM stations if "licensing opportunities" detailed by the Radio Authority translate into action by OFCOM, the new media super regulator for the UK which will take over the Authority's functions in the Autumn (Fall).
This amounts to an increase of more than a tenth - the UK currently has 266 commercial FMs as well as some 60 AM licences - with eleven new licences on the Authority's current working list.
The Authority says that, after the Carmarthenshire licence advertisement, it expects that a Glasgow licence to be advertised in April, will probably be the last it handles.
A further nine stations will then remain on the working list that goes to Ofcom -- Ballymena; Kidderminster; Cornwall (second countywide licence); Blackburn; Norwich; Banbury; Durham; Ashford, Kent; and Torbay.
It says that if the possible new services it lists in addition to these are issued, then, in most parts of the UK, the potential new licences identified would "for most practical purposes exhaust the supply of frequencies usable for commercially sustainable services."
It also points out that in some major areas there is no frequency remaining available and in others only very limited frequency, one of the factors that has helped promotion of digital in the UK.
The Authority plan would not affect its Access Radio development under current plans.
It has split its suggestions into two lists, the first for metropolitan areas.
This list comprises, with only one licence available unless otherwise stated:
Edinburgh: similar size to existing ILR licence
Manchester: at least one medium-scale licence, possibly two
Newcastle and/or Sunderland: medium-scale
Middlesbrough: medium-scale, but possibly contiguous with Newcastle and/or Sunderland (if so, providing a 'regional' licence option)
South Hampshire (Southampton and Portsmouth); possibly two
Cardiff or Newport: medium or larger scale
Swansea: probably two licences
Bristol: medium or larger scale, but not extending to Bath
Humberside: subject to an existing service changing frequency
Norwich: possibly one other, beyond licence already on 'working list'
The authority notes that all the services would use frequencies in sub-bands assigned primarily to commercial stations but notes that three further possibilities exist but had been omitted because they would need to use frequencies in or adjacent to those used primarily by the BBC.
It also excludes use of a sub band reserved for use by restricted service licences.
It also lists a number of areas where there may be potential for further services but where more study is needed: These are:
Dundee and/or Perth
Exeter and/or Torbay
Beyond this it says there is no scope for any new licences of scale in:
East Midlands (Leicester, Derby, Nottingham)
South & West Yorkshire (Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford)
The second list is for possible services in non-metropolitan areas; in this it lists:
Chorley: subject to decisions about the number of Manchester licences from List A
Barrow-in-Furness: 'town only'
Two small-scale licences in the Thames Estuary area: there are more than two known areas of demand, including Gravesham/Dartford; Swale; Sheppey; Southend-on-Sea, and other districts in South Essex
Halifax-into-Calderdale: Halifax town, plus relay transmitters in valley
Devizes and/or Andover: broadly small-scale; more detailed study required
Abingdon: coverage heavily constrained by interference; maybe only a mono service.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-03-05: Sirius stockholders have approved the proposed USD1.2 billion recapitalization of the satellite radio operator.
Sirius says that at its special stockholders' meeting in New York City there was a vote of around 68% in support of its proposed restructuring that would follow successful completion of its debt exchange offer which expired on Tuesday.
Under Sirius' plans, around USD700 million of debt would be exchanged for common stock, around USD519 million of preferred stock would be replaced by common stock and warrants and newly-issued stock would be sold to raise around USD 200 million of extra cash.
The company's certificate of incorporation would be amended to increase the authorized shares of common stock from 500 million to 2.5 billion.
In addition to the above some 63% voted to approve the company's 2003 Long-Term Stock Incentive Plan, and around 90% of those who voted agreed to accept the pre-packaged plan of reorganization as a fall back position.
2003-03-05: Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein have now announced the agenda for the field hearing on media ownership rules to be held in Seattle on Friday (March 7).
It will be split into three panels, one on the impact of media consolidation on news; a second on the impact of media consolidation on music and entertainment; and the third on the impact of media consolidation on localism.
Panellists will be drawn from the Pacific Northwest to maximize local input on these critical issues and will include representatives of the recording industry, journalists, television and radio broadcasters, labour representatives, and others. Members of the public will be invited to comment after panel hearings.
The two Commissioners say the purpose of the hearing is to give those outside Washington, DC, an opportunity to voice their opinions about media ownership issues and Commissioner Copps commented, "This is the biggest decision the FCC will make this year, and it will affect your television, radio, newspapers, cable TV, and Internet news and entertainment for years to come - and this is the Pacific Northwest's only opportunity to speak directly to the decision makers. I hope everyone concerned will come make their voices heard."
RNW note: More noteworthy than the announcement itself is the source; this reflects the opposition of Republican FCC chairman Michael Powell to holding numerous meetings on this issue. The sole field hearing in which he has become involved was last week's hearing in Richmond, Virginia (See RNW Feb 28 and March 1).
2003-03-04: The family of former US President Lyndon B Johnson has sold its interest in the Austin, Texas, LBJS Broadcasting Co. to Emmis Communications in a deal agreed subject to regulator approval in conjunction with the family's partner Bob Sinclair for around USD105 million.
The stations involved are News-Talk KLBJ-AM, Rock KLBJ-FM, Adult Alternative KGSR-FM, Alternative KROX-FM, Oldies KEYI-FM , and CHR KXMG-FM.
They are currently run in partnership with Sinclair and the deal, officially between Emmis and Sinclair Telecable Inc., will give Emmis 50.1% of the group with an option to buy Sinclair's 49.9 percent interest in about five years.
Under the transaction, Emmis will buy LBJ's stake in the partnership and Sinclair will then contribute the assets of KEYI-FM to the partnership, leaving Emmis with a 50.1% interest and Sinclair with a 49.9% interest. Although Sinclair will have board representation in the partnership, Emmis will manage the day-to-day operations of the stations.
The broadcasting business was started by former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, now 90, in 9142 when she bought the family's first radio station in 1942 with $17,500 in inheritance money.
Staff were told of the deal by the former president's daughter Luci Baines Johnson, chairwoman of the privately held LBJ Holding Co.
"This is a day of mixed emotions for generations of Johnson's," she said. "For sixty years we have owned and operated Austin radio stations and had the privilege of working with the best and brightest employees serving the community we all love. We are grateful to be 'passing the baton' to our partners Bob and David Sinclair who have proven for eight years their commitment to Central Texas and to Emmis Communications who has demonstrated through their ownership of Texas Monthly a profound commitment to excellence in communication and civic responsibility. We wish them and their radio employees and loyal audiences every success and Godspeed."
Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan commented, "Over the last two years we have focused on revenue growth and managing our costs with the result being reduced debt and leverage." "However, we felt that a radio company like ours could not pass on an opportunity like Austin. This transaction does not have a material impact on our debt leverage, and makes us a major player in an exceptional growth market."
Emmis noted in its release that in 2002, the cluster had net revenues of approximately $23.5 million and cash flow of approximately $9.7 million, despite one of the stations being a stick property with strong growth potential. It said it expects the acquisition to be accretive to both free cash flow per share and earnings per share in FY 2004.
Closure is expected in Emmis' second fiscal quarter, after which it will own 27 radio stations in eight markets.
Emmis has also put on hold the spin-ff of its TV assets: Smulyan told the Bear Stearns Media Conference in Palm Beach, Florida, that if they had gone ahead with the idea now, they could have ended up with two small companies with a tremendous layer of cost.
The company hadn't given up on the idea, he added, noting that Emmis had hoped from the start to make a major acquisition that would make the spin-off more natural.
2003-03-04: US radio revenues were up 6% in January compared to a year ago with local revenues up 3% and national revenues up 20% according to the latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
RAB's index, which sets pre-dot com boom 1998 as a base of 100, was 141.6 for January with the local index 140.2 and the national index 152.3
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "The strong revenue growth we have seen for a year now in Radio is in direct relation to the medium's unparalleled resiliency."
"While the geopolitical climate has created an uncertain environment, Radio's base in the local marketplace, its broad spectrum of advertising categories and its ability to react quickly have positioned the medium well for continued acceleration."
2003-03-04: Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) has announced a USD24 million cash deal with First Broadcasting Investments, L.P. to acquire KNGT-FM, Jackson, California, serving the Sacramento area.
The deal also includes a broadcasting tower at present leased by HBC in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is expected to close in the second quarter of this year if it gains regulatory approval.
Still with the US Spanish language market, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has launched its new "La Sabrosa 93.5" FM station in the Los Angeles area. The station will be simulcast on KZAB-FM in Torrance and KZBA-FM in Ontario.
The frequencies had been used for around 18 months as KFSB-FM and KFSG-FM by Foursquare Church under a local marketing agreement; it gave control back to HBC at the weekend.
The new station has a format described by SBS as targeting "a vast audience of underserved Hispanic radio listeners with an upbeat mix of the Cumbia, Merengue, Punta, Soca and Salsa music genres not currently available on Los Angeles radio."
SBS President and CEO Raúl Alarcón said the new station would complement its existing cluster of KLAX-FM ("La Raza 97.9'") and KXOL-FM ("El Sol 96.3"0, "giving SBS three distinct and differentiated music formats to better serve LA's Latino audiences and the advertisers that target their dynamic purchasing power."
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
2003-03-04: Speculating on the possible changes in the Australian media world should planned government legislation that lifts many current restrictions go through, the Sydney Morning Herald comes up with a list of likely sellers and some takeover targets.
Amongst those seen as likely to sell interests by the paper are Village Roadshow, which could dispose of its controlling stake in Austereo, and Reg Grundy, who might sell his stock in RG Capital Radio, and the UK's DMG whose Australian interests are still making losses with its Nova radio stations unlikely to move into profit for three or four years.
Takeover targets, suggests the paper, include Southern Cross Broadcasting, and possible buyers it suggests could be Rural Press and APN News & Media.
The paper quotes Tim Hughes, managing director of RG Capital Radio, as saying, "Before Christmas I put the chance of the legislation going through at 40 per cent, 60 per cent. But now I would put it at 70 per cent."
More cautious is Rural Press managing director Brian McCarthy, who puts the prospects of changing the media rules at 50:50.
The Australian government needs to gain the support of four independents to get its legislation through the country's Senate.
Previous APN News and Media:
Previous RG Capital:
Previous Rural Press:
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-03-03: For this week's look at print comment on radio, we have chosen as the main theme various items on US talk radio in relation to the plans for a "Liberal" talk network to challenge the current conservative dominance of the genre.
So far, the comments are pretty well all in the con category. But one comment, was markedly different, that of Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher that we found in Slate. He suggests that there's already an answer to Rush Limbaugh that regularly makes the ratings in the US: the shock jocks!
The search for a counter to the conservative hosts by Anita and Sheldon Drobny is, he says, doomed "because it's based on four premises, three of which are utterly false."
The premises that are untrue, he writes, are the idea that the radio corporations want to air only Republican ideas (Wrong: they want rating and don't care about the politics, says Fisher); That the bug gap in talk radio is between left and right (Wrong says Fisher: It's between men and women with older men listening to AM radio, younger more liberal men to FM talk and women listening mostly to music); and that talk radio is inherently conservative because liberal ideas are too complex for the medium ( Nonsense, says Fisher. Content is secondary to being storytellers and showmen for the talk hosts).
The true premise, says Fisher is that "Talk radio is an important piece of pop culture and thus of political America." He notes the ratings of the top morning shows in most major US cities and writes, " that morning show, in most cases, is a talk show. But it's not Rush or even Dr. Laura and her pinched morality. No, it's the guys liberals and conservatives alike deride as "shock jocks": frivolous, foul-mouthed, fabulously popular Howard Stern, Chicago's Mancow, and their more overtly political cousins, Don Imus and the morning mayor of black America, Tom Joyner."
AM talk, he says, targets "middle-aged white guys Surprise: They tend to be conservative. But FM talk (Stern, Joyner, Mancow, Don and Mike in Washington, Tom Leykis in Los Angeles) scores with young men, guys who like their radio on the risqué side, with a bulging menu of sex jokes and a powerful message that this is America and you can do whatever you want. Hint to Democrats: You may not like to admit this, but these are your voters."
After comments on the nature of the shock jocks' shows and their audiences, Fisher says that the jocks '"daily diet of searingly intimate conversation with callers hits many of those hot-button issues [abortion, gun control, death penalty, religion, race], and they do it almost unfailingly from a left-libertarian perspective. They are classic social liberals."
"Shock jocks are this country's progressive talkers, ranting for hours on end on behalf of civil liberties, sexual freedom, the rights of the little guy against the nation's big corporations and institutions They may not share Limbaugh's fascination with electoral politics, but on the issues that divide this country into red and blue, they are every bit as popular and powerful as the supposedly unchallenged conservatives. Shock jocks talk about sex, television, and what's hot. They talk about what people are talking about, which, if you listen carefully, usually are exactly the same issues that determine how people vote: personal freedom, mores, economic well-being, family, what it's like to be a guy or a woman or an American right now."
Tackling the same subject from a different perspective, Alex Beam in the Boston Globe agrees with Fisher in that "entertainment" is the name of the game and he also picks up on a bit of Limbaugh background mentioned by Fisher and indeed quotes some of the Fisher comments about shock jocks.
"Rush Limbaugh wasn't even Rush Limbaugh for a long time," notes Beam. " For more than a decade, he broadcast under the name of Jeff Christy, a frequently fired program host in medium-size markets around the country. Halfway through Ronald Reagan's reign, Rush tumbled into a shtick that works, and he's shticking with it."
Indirectly his next paragraph puts some of the conservatives where they belong in terms of veracity, or rather mendacity: "Take the example of another right-wing broadcaster, Roger Ailes of Fox News. He sent Geraldo Rivera to cover the war in Afghanistan. Do you think that was an ideological statement? No, it was a stroke of genius. Ailes correctly anticipated that Geraldo would step in something soft and brown, and he did, trumping up a report from ''hallowed ground'' where Allied forces supposedly died. The ground in question turned out to be several hundred miles away."
"Accuracy? Who cares? Geraldo and Fox News got their headline."
Beame then picks up the Fisher shock-jock point before continuing with his third point, that "America has a first-class, government-subsidized liberal radio network called National Public Radio. It's smart, and it is in every market, putting up huge audience numbers it isn't supposed to brag about."
A third perspective came from former NPR and commercial talk host Emil Guillermo in the San Francisco Chronicle. Guillermo is sceptical and in some ways scathing about the plan, saying the Drobnys should save their money for something else.
After giving some of his background on NPR and KSFO-AM, he says that "Limbaugh's dominance has meant that the commercial talk-radio audience has developed in just one way -- and liberals don't go there. Instead, they'll listen to the public-radio offerings. Or maybe put up with -- egad -- a libertarian "
Guillermo notes that fewer liberal listeners mean fewer shows for them but then goes to what he considers the secret behind the success of Limbaugh: "Rush's secret is that he's no politician, just a pure radio guy. He's a DJ in the old sense of the word, an entertaining personality, and a platter-and-patter guy. "
He then goes on, "Since Rush is also no journalist, he's free to mix in some biased news and half-truths. And it's just the amount of news the audience wants. In a recent survey, a Gallup poll found that 22 percent of Americans got their news from talk-radio shows, double compared to four years ago. And nearly twice as many Republicans as Democrats listed talk radio as their news source. They don't want information. Just something to parrot. Rush and his audience are not about debate. They confirm each others' existence from the same side. They don't call themselves Dittoheads for nothing. "
"The bottom line is, the talk-show pros know what they're doing. They've built an audience, and it's a pool of all the same fish."
The problems that Limbaugh would have with being treated seriously as a newsman by all but the most ignorant go the other way as well, of course, a point that comes up in Gerry McCarthy's column about Irish radio in the UK Sunday Times. Writing of a stand-in period on Irish state broadcaster RTE's "Today With Pat Kenny" programme, he writes of temporary host Leo Enright, "A veteran reporter of space missions, whose spiritual home is Cape Canaveral, Enright was ill at ease with Kenny's menu of celebrity and current affairs, one that requires contact with the wrong kind of stars. "
" Listening to Enright attempt a transformation from techno-literate journo to ego-masseur of the famous, the reason why grown men do this became clear."
" The world has changed, and these guys are smart enough to know it. They have realised that celebrity has become the coin of our culture; hard-won expertise in areas such as science and politics is gone with the dinosaurs. "
"The sense of discomfort comes from the fact that neither Kenny nor Enright can ever truly belong to this new order. They know which way the wind is blowing but their brains are hard-wired with the discipline and rigour of the old regime."
RNW comment: Indeed so. And we suspect the same may well be true of anyone with an open mind (one of the meanings of liberal before the propagandists perverted it) who tries to do a Limabaugh : their brains are probably hard-wired the wrong way just as Limbaugh's ,we suspect, would be for an intelligent and open-minded phone in show!
Boston Globe - Beame:
Slate - Fisher:
San Francisco Chronicle - Guillermo:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
2003-03-03: BBC Radio 3, which has already moved to encompass a significantly wider range of music above its main classical output, has announced a further strengthening of its non-classical output together with expansion of its classical repertoire.
Its changes also include a new line-up of presenters to host the Saturday morning show over the summer period including Jenny Agutter, Deborah Bull, Simon Callow, Ian Hislop, Armando Ianucci and Vikram Seth.
On the Jazz front, jazz documentary programme Jazz File introduces three new performer/presenters - Jools Holland, George Melly, André Previn- and also the return of Woody Allen.
It is also expanding and continuing partnerships with outside groups including new partnerships with the Royal Philharmonic Society and the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters and developing a diversity project under which orchestras work with others from different fields; under this the BBC Concert Orchestra is exploring classical music by Jewish composers, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will work with Hungarian musicians, the BBC Symphony Orchestra will work with musicians from Rajasthan and the Philharmonic is to team up with Chinese musicians.
The channel has also announced a number of changes from September that will include moving Andy Kershaw's world music programme to an extended Sunday night slot while experimental music programme Mixing It moves to an extended Friday night slot; a new Baroque and Early Music programme; and a new Saturday afternoon programme, Discovering Music with Charles Hazlewood that will be an interactive development of Radio 3's current Discovering Music strand.
BBC Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright commented, "One of the network's many aims is bringing music to a wider audience and I am delighted that in a series of new education initiatives we will introduce 20,000 children to live BBC orchestral music over the next year."
2003-03-02: Yet again the main radio regulatory news over the past week was the US debate on media regulation, brought to the fore by Thursday's Federal Communications Commission (FCC )public hearing in Richmond, Virginia (See RNW Feb 28 and March 1).
Deregulation is also on the agenda in Australia and in the UK, but legislation has still not been enacted in either.
In Australia, where the government needs four more votes in the Senate to pass its media regulation, two independent senators, have decided to submit separate proposals that would allow proprietors to operate two forms of media -newspapers, radio and TV - in a metropolitan market but not all three; they also want a minimum number of operators to be specified in each market to ensure diversity of voices.
One of the two, Senator Meg Lees, says she is likely to propose a minimum of four in areas except for the major Sydney and Melbourne markets. The Australian government proposal would remove the prohibition on a proprietor owning more than one newspaper, radio station or TV station in the same metropolitan market and would also remove a law that prohibits foreign investors from owning more than 15% of a newspaper or 20% of a TV station.
In terms of routine regulatory radio action, there were a number of decisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) but not much from other areas.
In Australia the only radio-related release from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was to issue a warning concerning the risks of allowing urban encroachment on the country's metropolitan AM transmission sites (See RNW Feb 27).
In Canada, radio actions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) listed by province - included:
*Extension for the second time of the deadline for the Simon Fraser Campus Radio Society to commence operation of a new community-based campus radio station in Burnaby: the deadline is now August 5 this year.
*Approval of new transmitters in Camperville, Dauphin River, Ilford and Lynn Lake to transmit the programming of CINC-FM, Thompson.
The first three will be just under 30 watts and that for Lynn Lake just under 40 watts.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Extension until 27 February next year of the deadline for Northern Lights Community Radio to commence operation of a new community radio station in Forteau.
*Extension until September 30 of the deadline for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to commence the operation of the new transmitter at Deer Lake for CBN-FM St. John's.
*Approval of a 45,000 watts new English-language Christian music FM in Belleville for United Christian Broadcasters Canada
*Approval of an application to allow oldies CKLC-AM, Kingston, to broadcast 30% rather than 35% of Canadian popular music because there are a relatively limited number of Canadian musical selections in this genre.
*Approval of an 18,400 watts Pop Adult music French- language FM in Ville-Marie for Radio Témiscamingue to replace CKVM- AM and to continue operating its CKVM-1-FM Témiscaming transmitter in order to carry the programming of the new FM station. The applicant had said that it planned to be affiliated with the CBC's French-language radio network for its national and international newscasts and for four hours of programming to be broadcast from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. However the CBC, which has been given permission for a transmitter in Ville-Marie, said that it would not allow this affiliation and the Commission says it will only issue the licence once Radio Témiscamingue has submitted a report stating how it plans to replace the CBC programming referred to in its application. Radio Témiscamingue has three months to provide the information.
There are also technical issues regarding interference and the Commission has set a deadline of nine months to commence operation rather than the normal 24-month period.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced its decisions regarding the Limerick AM licence and also those in its fifth tranche of local licence awards.
The Limerick AM has been provisionally awarded to North Munster Radio with whom the BCI will shortly enter into contract negotiations.
The Donegal North area licence was awarded in principal of the to the incumbent Highland Radio; the award is subject to the receipt of clarification on a number of matters within the application and the successful conclusion of contract negotiations.
In the case of the Donegal South/Sligo/Leitrim North licence, the Commission has invited all three applicants -- North West Radio NWR FM Ltd., Ocean FM Limited, and North West Broadcasting Ltd. - to attend an oral hearing.
There were no radio announcements in the UK and, in the US, attention was concentrated on the media regulation issue.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
2003-03-02: Stockholders of both Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) and Univision Communications Inc. have voted to approve the latter's acquisition of the former in a USD3.5 billion deal.
The takeover, which is expected to be completed around the middle of this month, is subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval but has already passed the hurdle of possible Department of Justice objections through an agreement under which Univision will cut its current 27% holding in Entravision Communications Corporation to 10% over six years and also convert all its Entravision stock into a new class of non-voting preferred stock. (See RNW Feb 28).
Still with Hispanic radio in the US, Radio Unica has announced that it has paid USD9.3 million in interest that was due by March 3 on its 11-3/4% Senior Discount Notes due 2006.
It also says it is "presently in discussions with representatives of the holders of the notes" - it had delayed payment of the interest, using a 30-day grace period.
2003-03-02: Sirius, which has a long chase to catch up satellite radio rival XM's lead into service and numbers of subscribers, has announced the start of shipment of its second-generation chipset to receiver manufacturers.
An initial order of 60,000 of the Agere Systems chipset is going to South Korean company Kiryung Electronics, a major supplier to manufacturers, and the new chip should be in sets in stores in the spring.
The new chip, which to integrate all digital portions of the receiver circuitry, excluding memory, into a single chip, reduced the receiver design dimensions to the size of a credit card, from that of a videocassette and also halves the power consumption, improving thermal performance.
2003-03-01: Following yesterday's Richmond, Virginia, field hearing by the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) on US media regulation, the Commissioners have expressed general satisfaction with the proceedings.
Chairman Michael Powell said he thought it went "very well" and Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps, who wants more public meetings, professed himself satisfied with the turnout of citizens as opposed to the lobbyists who are in regular touch with the Commission.
Amongst the US radio leaders at the hearing were Clear Channel Chief Operating Office Mark Mays and Radio One Inc. President and CEO Alfred Liggins III.
Mays argued that consolidation had breathed new life into radio and increased the service to communities, noting that a decade ago, when half of US radio stations were making losses, news operations were among the first areas cut back when stations fell on hard times. When consolidation permitted economies of scale, he said, the savings were re-nvested in stations.
Mays, who was on the panel discussing localism issues, also said that Clear Channel had thrived by knowing local communities and catering to their needs and tastes, not by providing a homogenized product across its station formats.
"We operate Clear Channel in a completely decentralized manner," he said. "We operate like an association of small, local businesses. Our local station managers and PDs make every decision about what music gets played at our stations, based on extensive local audience research, listener requests, and first-hand knowledge of their own communities. At Clear Channel, there is no such thing as a centralized playlist."
Liggins, who was on the Diversity Issues panel, said that regulations aimed at encouraging minority ownership of media had both helped to broaden the diversity of viewpoints and increase the service to minority communities. He said that such rules could lad to a better service for all minority audiences and added that he strongly believed that minority-owned radio stations provided more a greater focus on the concerns of minority communities.
In its report on the hearing, the Washington Post did a count of those present.
By midday, it said, 195 "of the people" had made their way to the Richmond Convention Centre for the hearing. Of those it said, 119 were "were white men in suits; many of those men were grumbling about the trip down from Washington. Twenty-two people were scheduled to address the commission; 13 of them had travelled here from the District.
Most of those at the hearing, said the Post, wanted to talk "more about content than the media's methods."
Brent Bozell III, president of the Parents Television Council commented that his guess was that not one per cent of Americans cared about media competition but they were "disgusted, revolted, fed up, horrified -- I don't know how else to underscore this -- by the raw sewage, the ultraviolence, the graphic sex, the raunchy language that is flooding into their living rooms day and night."
It also mentioned comments from Mike Shay, project manager for low-power community FM station WRYR, owned by the South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development, an anti-sprawl group that uses its airwaves to inform citizens about developers who seek to alter the nature of communities along the Chesapeake. The station runs on volunteer staff with sponsorship from local businesses, which put in the USD600 a month it costs to keep the station on air.
"Everybody seems to like the idea of WRYR," said the Post, but "nobody seems quite certain about how to foster more of that and less of what much of commercial broadcasting has become."
Previous Mark Mays:
Washington Post report:
2003-03-01: The BBC World Service branch of the UK National Union of Journalists has written to BBC chairman Gavyn Davies condemning the firing of two Arabic service journalists last month (see RNW Feb 21) and demanding their re-instatement.
The union says the BBC failed to follow its own disciplinary procedures and says the subsequent e-mail concerning the firing of producers Adli Hawwari and Dr Abdul Hadji Jiad that was sent out by World Service Director Mark Byford and human resources head Stephen Dando was "riddled with half-truths and falsehoods, attempting to justify their illegal action."
It asks," Why, for example, was no mention made of the fact that Adli, the local union rep, only days before his dismissal helped the BBC avert a strike ballot in the Arabic Service, with his skilled negotiations over a much disputed restructure."
The letter also points out that on the day of their dismissal, Hawwari was producing World at One programme while Dr Jiad was duty editor, responsible for the day's news.
"By sacking them 90 minutes before transmission, Byford and Stephen Dando caused maximum disruption to the Arabic Service output," said the letter.
The two men were fired after a history of complaints and legal actions against the Corporation that the BBC said had cost it nearly GBP1 million and had led to a "complete breakdown in trust and confidence" that made their positions untenable; the letter pointed out that the last complaint from either of the men was almost a year ago.
2003-03-01: Mexican radio group Grupo Radio Centro SA de CV, which owns 14 stations in Mexico City, has reported revenues up 11.3% to Ps267.9 million (USD 25.7 million) for the final quarter of 2002 compared to a year earlier; for the year its revenues were down 5.3% to Ps 710.1 million (USD 68.1 million), a fall the company puts down to a slowdown in the Mexican economy in 2002, although this was partly offset by political advertising revenues in the final quarter of 2002.
Fourth quarter EBITDA (operating income before deducting depreciation and amortization) was up 81.9% to Ps. 163.8 million (USD15.7 million) and broadcasting income, defined as broadcasting revenue minus broadcasting expenses, excluding depreciation, amortization and corporate, general and administrative expenses, for the quarter was up 63.6% to Ps. 175 million (USD 16.8 million) and profit was up more than four-fold to Ps 121.2 million (USD 11.6 million).
For the full year 2002, EBITDA was down 5.1% on 2001 to Ps. 203.7 million (USD 19.5 million), full year broadcasting income was down 6.1% to PS.248.9 million (USD 23.9 million), and profits were down 87.7% to Ps. 2.2 million (USD 209,000).
The company reduced its bank debt by around USD 8.5 million during 2002 to USD32.7 million.
Previous Grupo Radio:
2003-03-01: A Swedish radio buff has come across a mystery AM station that he and fellow radio enthusiasts now think is part of the US operations aimed against Iraqi leader President Saddam Hussein according to an AP/Wall Street Journal report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
When enthusiast Bjorn Fransson first picked up the new signal in early February, he was puzzled by its unusual strength and the constant repetition of words that, to his ears, sounded like "radio secret."
He recorded the station and put details on the Internet with the result that a Finnish enthusiast who tuned in to the same frequency and posted on the Internet a note saying the station name sounded like Radio Tikrit"; subsequently the schoolteacher played the recording to some Arabic-speaking students in his maths class and they told him the station was "Radio Tikrit", eponymous with President Hussein's hometown,
The station's message has gradually evolved from railing against the US and Britain as "ravens of evil" and calling Iraqis to prepare to fight against America to denouncing the Iraqi leader as a tyrant according to BBC monitoring.
This, say some, indicates that the station is a "black clandestine" psychological operation, an operation that starts by imitating features of enemy broadcasts and then later, by shifting direction, aims to unsettle opponents and create the impression that former loyalists have changed sides,
San Francisco Chronicle/ AP report:
2003-03-01: Radio got a virtually clean sheet in the latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC); it upheld no complaints compared with two in its previous bulletin (See RNW Feb 8) although four more were considered resolved.
In all the Commission dealt with 136 complaints, 41 more than in the previous bulletin. 16 of these concerned radio and 120, including advertisements, concerned TV compared with 13 and 82 respectively a month earlier. Ten of the TV complaints were upheld in all or part and two TV complaints were considered resolved.
Of six fairness complaints compared to four in the previous bulletin, all were against TV and one was upheld in part compared to none upheld in the previous bulletin.
Of the remaining 130 standards complaints, 17 were against radio and 113 against TV compared to 12 and 79 a month earlier; no statements were required from broadcasters in 64 cases, 56 of them TV compared with 49 TV a month before and eight radio compared with three.
The radio complaints resolved involved Galaxy 105, Real Radio, BBC Radio Five Live, and BBC Three Counties Radio.
Of the complaints against commercial radio, the Galaxy complaint concerned what the Commission termed an "ill-considered joke " about Daniella Westbrook's drug problem that Galaxy accepted had not worked and following which its staff had been briefed accordingly in terms of not encouraging drug use and that against Real Radio involved the use of the word "gypo" that the complainant felt was a racist term. The station had already severely reprimanded the presenter concerned who had used the term in a light-hearted manner.
The BBC complaints concerned what the complainant called peremptory treatment and abuse of a caller to BBC Radio Five Live concerning which there had been a public apology by both the presenter and the channel controller, who had spoken to the presenter about the matter, and about an off-the-cuff remark on BBC Three Counties Radio considered offensive by a listener. In this case the station manager had already cautioned the presenter.
Previous BSC and complaints Bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 133kb PDF)
2003-03-01: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced the launch of a new Web-based suite of e-marketing capabilities in conjunction with GetActive Software; it says the suite will boost its service both to its member stations and to listeners by providing local stations access to personalized e-marketing and e-membership functionalities.
US public TV service PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) has been using GetActive since March 2002, and has deployed GetActive services to dozens of its member stations.
NPR has also announced two senior appointments.
Michael R. Riksen, who has been director of government relations for equipment manufacturer Harris Corporation since 1988, joins NPR as Vice President for National Affairs. He will represent NPR before various arms of the US government, legislature and regulators and will have an immediate priority of communicating the benefits from a public radio conversion to digital technology.
NPR President and CEO Kevin Klose said that Riksen's "extensive experience with technology and communications issues will bring tremendous benefits to NPR and public radio stations as we continue to draw new audiences, expand our programming and harness the power of digital radio and other new opportunities."
The other appointment is of Walt Swanston as director of diversity management, a new position, to shape diversity strategies in staff development for NPR. She is joining NPR from the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF), where she directed the organization's diversity, educational and international programs for the past three years.
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