August 2003 Archive
July 2003 - September 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 August comment - Considers how different regulatory regimes have affected the success of digital radio.
RNW July comment - More of what - or is the technological fix a pipedream? Is technology that could potentially add thousands of broadcast channels a move forward or a delusion without the political will to give access to the airwaves?
RNW June comment - our view of new US media regulations introduced this month.
2003-08-31: The major regulatory news still concerns new US media regulations, due to take effect on September 4 barring court intervention, but there was also a reasonable level of activity elsewhere.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has now invited applications for a new Adelaide commercial FM licence (See RNW Aug 30); it has also allocated two new community licences in Victoria: One goes to West Gippsland Community Radio Inc (3BBR) in Warragul and the other to Horsham and District Community FM Radio (3HHH) in Horsham.
Each was the only applicant for the licence and is already broadcasting on the frequencies under temporary community broadcasting licences that expire on 31 August 2003.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been involved in a number of licence issues, renewals and amendments. In order of province they include:
Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence of CJPR-AM, Blairmore, and its transmitter CJEV-AM, Elkford, British Columbia.
Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence of CHTR-FM Drumheller.
Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence of CBPJ-FM-1, Waterton Lakes National Park.
Approval of New low-power English-language Type A 5-watts community FM in Lillooet.
Approval of new very low power 1.8 watts English-language specialty FM radio programming undertaking in Sunshine Valley, British Columbia. This will be the first service in the valley and programming will include music, local news and weather and community programming.
Renewal until 31 January 2004 of the licence for developmental campus radio programming undertaking CFBX-FM, Kamloops,
Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence for Standard Radio's English-language radio network in Fort St. John, for the purpose of broadcasting portions of the programming from the radio station CHRX-FM Fort St. John.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Approval of new low-power 50-watts English-language Type B community FM radio programming undertaking in Lewisporte, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Second extension, this time until November 4, of deadline for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence the operation of new native FM to serve Ottawa/Gatineau (formerly Ottawa/Hull) in Ontario and Quebec.
Renewal until 31 August 2010 of licence for CIDC-FM, Orangeville, together with removal of licence requirement to spend CAD 3000 annually on Canadian Talent Development; in its place the station is proposing to spend CAD 27,000 annually on local talent development initiatives. The licensee is also authorized to use an SMCO channel for distributing ethnic programming in German.
The CRTC has also approved an application by CJRT-FM, Toronto, to use subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel1 for an Urdu-, Hindi- and English-language service - 60% in Urdu, 30% in Hindi and 10% in English. There had been two interventions against this, one by community-based campus radio CIUT-FM Toronto, whose facilities are already used by Sur Sagar Radio Inc. to provide an SMCO service to Punjabi and Hindi communities in Toronto and from AJIT Newspaper, Advertising, Marketing and Communications Inc., which provides an SCMO service over the facilities of CFNY-FM Brampton that is directed to the South Asian community and offers a substantial amount of Urdu programming.
Approval of a new French-language not-for-profit AM - 1,000 watts daytime and 100-watts night, in Gatineau, Quebec, and Ottawa, Ontario, with programming oriented to children and youth. The station was denied access to contributions by broadcasting distribution undertakings to Canadian programming and eligibility for CAB contributions to Canadian talent development.
Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence of CFSW-FM Chaplin.
Renewal until 31 August 2010 of the licence for Harvard Broadcasting Inc.'s English-language radio network (Saskatchewan Roughriders Football) in Regina, to broadcast football games of the Saskatchewan Roughriders as well as the Canadian Football League's Western Conference semi-finals and final, and the Grey Cup Game.
Approval of extension until August 10 next year of time limit for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to commence the operation of the new transmitter of CBK-FM Regina, in Prince Albert
There was nothing on radio from Ireland but in the UK, the Radio Authority has been involved in five automatic licence renewals on the basis that the holders of these licences are all providing, or are contractually committed to provide, digital sound programme services on relevant local multiplexes.
The stations involved are Classic Gold's Reading, Basingstoke & Andover AM and GWR's Broadland FM in Norwich, Trent FM in the Nottingham/Derby area, 2-Ten-FM covering Reading, Basingstoke & Andover and Beacon FM in Wolverhampton/Shrewsbury & Telford.
The Authority has also announced that it received only one application for the local digital multiplex licence for Cambridge and the surrounding area. It was from GWR subsidiary Now Digital Ltd., which is proposing a service of an initial seven services plus BBC Radio Cambridgeshire; three more services are to be added later.
The initial commercial services proposed are:
*Contemporary hit radio - Q103 (provider: Cambridge & Newmarket FM Radio Ltd.)
*Modern rock - The Storm (provider: The Storm (Digital Radio) Ltd.)
*Chart hits - Smash Hits (provider: Emap Performance Ltd.)
*Dance - Vibe FM (provider: Eastern Counties Radio Ltd.)
*'Access' - various services including s student broadcasting from 19.00 - 00.00.
*SBN - (provider: SBN Ltd.)
The Authority has also announced the result of its public interest determination into Sunrise Radio Ltd's proposed acquisition of Mean Radio Holdings Ltd., licensee of Mean Country 1035 AM; it concluded the takeover could not be expected to operate against the public interest, although it also noted that any request to change the station format would need Authority approval for which it would have to be shown that the change would not narrow the range of programmes from independent radio services for audiences in the licence area.
Looking to the future, the Authority's successor, the new super-regulator Ofcom, has now announced that responsibility for issuing Radio Restricted Service Licences (RSLs) will be transferred from the Radio Authority to Ofcom when the relevant powers are vested in Ofcom under the Communications Act 2003; this is expected to take place towards the end of this year.
In the US, the main focus in public attention to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) still relates to its new media regulations due to come into force on September 4, although they could be stayed by a lawsuit by the Prometheus Radio Project (See RNW Aug 20); there is also renewed interest in Low Power FM with the agency opening a window that will could speed up the start of broadcasts for many of the applicants who hold one of 286 mutually exclusive LPFM applications.
The FCC is now to allow stations to submit major changes to their applications including frequency changes that could allow new stations if agreement is reached between the parties on who will amend their original applications. The FCC is also reactivating its LPFM channel-finder tool to aid applicants search for available alternative frequencies and will expedite the processing of all settlement requests filed by the end of October.
Following a petition from National Public Radio, Inc. ("NPR") and the International Association of Audio Information Services ("IAAIS") the FCC has gone part of the way in extending the deadline for comments relating to the Mitre Corporation's Technical Report, "Experimental Measurements of the Third-Adjacent- Channel Impacts of Low- Power FM Stations".
The two parties wanted to extend the deadline by 90 days until December 10 (See RNW Aug 19) but the FCC felt this was too long and is only allowing an extension until October 14.
In other actions, the FCC has also reduced from USD 22,000 to USD 10,000 penalties proposed for EAS and tower offences on the licensee of two Washington state AMs (See RNW Aug 30).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site :
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-08-31: US Spanish language network Radio Unica has now paid the USD 9.3 million interest on its 11 3/4% Senior Discount Notes due 2006.
The company had opted to use its grace period for the interest (see RNW Aug 6) but had to pay by September 2.
2003-08-30: The UK Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has reported UK commercial radio revenues for April to June this year up 3.3% on a year earlier to GBP144 million (USD 225 million), boosted by a 9% increase in spending from FMCG advertisers led by giant Proctor and Gamble whose annual spend on radio has increased 72%.
P&G's rivals, Kimberly Clark, increased its spending on radio even more dramatically in percentage terms, taking it up nearly 15 fold from GBP 81,000 (USD 127,000) last year to GBP 1.2million (USD 1.9 million).
The Bureau also reported local revenues up 10.6% year-on-year, to just under GBP 41 million (USD 64 million) for the quarter.
Commenting on the figures, Michael O'Brien, Director of Marketing Operations at the RAB said, "Commercial Radio continues its steady growth during challenging times for the advertising industry. The influx into radio by FMCG advertisers - who are traditionally big TV spenders - is a great endorsement of radio's ability to drive sales, something demonstrated by the recent "Radio: The Sales Multiplier" research."
Kimberly Clark Media Director Europe Oliver Cleaver commented that radio "is a Swiss Army knife kind of medium - there are quite a few jobs it can do. For example, we use it for one brand simply to have a conversation with our users; for another brand we have a more aggressive and short-term radio strategy to communicate offers linked to retailers; for a third brand we have a year-round radio sponsorship. I think this indicates the versatility of the medium across a range of very different communication tasks."
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
2003-08-30: In more US radio deals, US giant Clear Channel is again selling rasher than buying, this time in Pennsylvania.
On the block for USD 11.3 million to Forever Broadcasting are News/Talk/Sports WTNJ-AM and country WMTZ-FM, Johnstown, which are valued at USD9.13 million, plus Clear Channel's rights to purchase WICT-FM, Grove City, from GOCOM for USD 2.8 million.
Forever in turn is selling its Country format WVSC-AM, Somerset (Johnstown), to Vital Licenses for USD 25,000 in cash.
Still in the wings, however, is the Univision takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) that had been expected to get Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval by the end of this month and which has already been passed by the Department of Justice.
Speculation is now that the announcement will be made on September 4, when the agency's new media regulations are due to come into effect unless stayed by the courts (see below).
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-08-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 22,000 to USD 10,000 penalties imposed on Jean J. Suh, licensee of KSUH- AM, Puyallup, and KWYZ- AM, Everett, both in Washington State, for failure to have operational Emergency Alert System (" EAS") equipment, failure to conduct required weekly and monthly EAS tests, and failure to post the Antenna Structure Registration number so that it is readily visible on or near the base of the KWYZ tower.
The original penalty of USD 22,000 was proposed in October last year but Ms Suh, a Korean American with English as her second language, asked for a cancellation or reduction to no more than USD 3,000 saying that after the test EAS equipment had been modified to facilitative automatic transmission rather than manual and subsequently, when this did not work, had purchased new equipment. She also said she had previously thought she owned the tower and had registered it in her name but found she only leased it and since the lease expired had been renting it on a month-to-month basis whilst negotiating a purchase or new lease. She also said the penalty would cause financial hardship to the stations.
The FCC on this basis cancelled a USD 10,000 for failure to repaint the KSUH tower as often as necessary to maintain good visibility and the USD 2,000 forfeiture for failure to post the ASR number but it did not accept the other arguments.
2003-08-30: The US Courts may yet delay final implementation of the US Federal Communications Commission's new media rules following the filing by a lawsuit by the Prometheus Radio Project.
In its submission the community radio group contends that without a stay the rules, due to go into effect on September 4, will mean a "massive consolidation of the broadcast industry will occur before judicial review can be completed."
The project also notes that there is "a very significant possibility that Congress will overturn all or part of the [FCC] order."
An oral hearing by the US Appeals Court has been scheduled for September 3.
The new rules have also come under attack from other media diversity groups including the Amherst Alliance that, in a joint filing with the Virginia Center For The Public Press to the FCC - the first on the matter - contends the FCC should have, but failed to, give serious consideration to the "option of lowering the previously applicable radio-ownership limits."
It accused the FCC of ignoring most of the "huge input" it received on the matter including most of the evidence against the eventual decision, of using evidence to justify the decision that was "incomplete, inaccurate, irrelevant or otherwise seriously flawed" and also argued that "The Chairman of the FCC, and others on the Commission, appear to have misunderstood the intent of Congress in writing the pivotal statutory directive they were attempting to implement."
"We are grateful," it wrote, "that the Commission chose not to raise the previously applicable limits on radio station ownership. Nevertheless, the Commission erred by never giving serious consideration to the option of lowering the previously applicable radio ownership limits."
It then asked that the FCC re-open the June 2 decision for the limited purpose of comparing, and choosing between, 2 options- the radio rules adopted on June 2 and "the unexamined alternative of rolling back the previously applicable ownership ceilings and creating, through selective divestiture, more opportunities for small broadcasters to enter the marketplace."
Amherst Alliance web site:
Prometheus Radio Project web site:
2003-08-30: Vancouver CHMJ-AM (Mojo Radio) has been rapped over the knuckles for references to the Holocaust in its broadcast of an episode of the US Loveline radio show in December last year but another complaint against the same station concerning a broadcast the same month of an annual segment of thel Tom Leykis Show concerning drunk driving was ruled not to have breached Canadian codes.
The condemnation came for a Loveline Show in which the host Adam Corolla who had suggested a telephone sex operator seeking advice on how to make her clients stay on the phone longer should use words like "Holocaust," "Vietnam" and "cancer" to dampen her clients' ardour.
He then responded with a sarcastic, "Yeah, yeah, burn those Jews. Gas 'em in the shower, baby. Yeah, yeah" after the caller had said, "Well I'm wearin' a nice black garter. Mmm just thinkin' about the Holocaust right now. Oh this is too much.".
The broadcast led a listener to complain that it was " was offensive, racist and ridiculed the Holocaust experience."
The broadcaster responded that the Holocaust was used as a word reflecting unpleasant images and that the humour in the segment was solely related to the inability of the caller - who had never heard of the Holocaust - to understand what was suggested to her and noted that the " broadcaster's programming responsibility does not extend to questions of good taste.".
The CBSC's British Columbia Regional Panel rejected one complaint under its Human Rights Clause saying that that it did not find any of the comments to be advocating violence toward the Jewish population or was an attempt to denigrate or insult Jews.
It found however that its codes been breached, ruling that, "The humorous constructs erected here on the base of great tragedy constitute improper comment. The broadcast of this segment of Loveline constitutes a breach of the standard requiring the 'full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial.'"
The Leykis show had attracted a complaint that it broadcast was glamorizing irresponsible behaviour and "ensuing carnage on the roads."
The CBSC noted that the host suggested that segment, in which he invited listeners who were driving drunk at that very moment to call in to the show was a "holiday tradition" and that he explained that the purpose of the segment was to prove that despite all the announcements and warnings many people continued to drive while drunk. He also commented on ambiguity in thinking about the offence - a combination of calls for strong action against offenders linked to a desire for leniency from those who had been caught.
It also included an exchange between a driver, who said he had drunk a gallon (4.5 litres) of beer and another caller who attacked him calling him a "moron" and saying he could kill a child.
The CBSC ruling said it wished to make it " perfectly clear that it has no stomach for the promotion of drinking and driving" but after careful analysis had concluded "the goal of the show was decidedly not irresponsible."
2003-08-30: Australia's newest radio station, community station FBi 94.5 FM in Sydney, went on air full time at noon on Friday, following a long fight involving trial broadcasts and protracted legal battles that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
It was established in 1995 in response in response to calls from the city's music and arts communities for a service focusing on the city's cultural life. It was finally awarded its full-time permanent licence in May 2001 (See RNW Licence News May 27, 2001).
The station has a full-strength signal, for which as a community station there was no charge whereas DMG paid a record AUD 155 million (USD 99 million) for its licence for Nova FM in the city (See RNW May 25, 2000).
FBi promises that half its musical output will be Australian content with half of that from Sydney itself, adding on its web site "FBI is committed to giving the local music industry more than just a leg-up, we're here to hoist the legs, arms, head and heart of the beast."
Its regular weekday programming includes The Bridge that runs from 8pm to 10 pm and features two hours of unsigned Sydney bands on Mondays, a city music retrospective on Tuesdays, new Sydney albums on Wednesdays, a weekly 'what's-on' guide on Thursdays and the best of the city's electronica and hip-hop on Fridays.
The All Day Launch, under the guidance of breakfast host Jess Keeley, a former late night Triple-J broadcaster and ABC TV children's host, featured local artists, including hard rock Front End Loader, grunge pop singer Dave McCormack and dance electronica's Baggsmen.
Also in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has now invited applications for a new commercial FM station in Adelaide together with a translator service for the Adelaide Foothills area.
FBi web site:
2003-08-29: Long-time Chicago rock'n'roll radio host John "Records" Landecker has been dropped along with his morning show co-host, Leslie Keiling, and producer, Rick Kaempfer by Infinity's oldies station WJMK-FM.
His contract expires at the end of next week and is not being renewed and the station web site is no longer promoting him.
Reporting in the Chicago Sun-Times Robert Feder says Ken Cocker and John Calhoun will become fill-in hosts on the station's morning show whilst a permanent replacement is sought and quotes WJMK vice president and general manager as saying "We thank John, Leslie and Rick, and wish them the very best in their future endeavours" before going on to portentously promote the station by adding, "The ongoing changes and improvements at WJMK continue."
Feder says that the decision did not seem to be a surprise to 56-years-old Landecker whose ratings had slipped and quotes him as saying, "My heart was definitely in it. I did everything I was told to do by every management I worked for. I played ball with everyone--and that's probably why I was there for 10 years."
"But as a professional broadcaster, I just had a gut feeling this is the way it was going to go."
Landecker began his Chicago career with WLS-AM in 1972 and has also worked at WLUP-FM and WCKG-FM as well as WJMK. He says he hopes to return to radio eventually and in the meantime is to continue his movie reviewing on TV.
Chicago Sun-Times report:
2003-08-29: BBC Radio 1, whose audience was down significantly in the latest official UK RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) radio ratings (See RNW Aug 1) tops the ratings for under-45s, although its audience then falls, according to latest rival figures from GfK Media GB.
Its National Broadcast Media Survey for the period from April 21 to July 20 showed the station reaching 40% of UK adults aged 16-44, followed by that demographic by BBC Radio 4 with 30% and then BBC Radio 2 - the official rankings leader - with 28%, BBC Radio Five Live with 17% and then commercial talkSPORT with 14%.
TalkSPORT, which is lower ranked by RAJAR, is owned by Wireless Group whose chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie is pushing the alternative ratings.
In the over-45 age group, Radio 1 slips to sixth place, with Radio 4, Radio 2, Classic FM, Radio Five Live and talkSPORT taking the five top ranks.
GfK adds that the results should also give some comfort to Sara Cox, whose Radio 1 Breakfast show is performing poorly according to the official figure; GfK says the audience for her flagship show is growing.
Overall the weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from March 24 - June 22 (with in brackets GfK prior period to June 22 and then RAJAR figures to the end of June) in rank order were:
BBC Radio 4 - 18.05 million (17.5 million; 9.70 million): Reach up from 39% to 40%.
BBC Radio 2 - 15.74 million (15.67 million; 13.03 million): Reach unchanged 35%.
BBC Radio 1 - 12.62 million (12.52 million; 9.87 million): Reach unchanged 28%.
BBC Radio Five Live - 8.82 million (9.80 million; 5.80 million): Reach down from 22% to 20%
BBC Radio 3 - 4.30 million (4.0 million; 2 million): Reach up from 9% to 10%.
talkSPORT - 7.16 million (7.17 million; 2.16 million): Reach unchanged at 16%.
Classic FM - 6.81 million (6.95 million; 5.57 million): Reach unchanged at 15%.
Virgin - 4.24 million (4.40 million; 2.80 million): Reach down from 10% to 9%.
Previous GFK ratings:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-08-29: Commercial Radio Australia has announced six nominees for the Best New Australian Artist on Commercial Radio for 2003, sponsored by Austereo and part of the 2003 Australian Commercial Radio Awards.
All of the nominees made the Top 50 singles chart for the first time and remained there for 10 weeks or more during the judging period (July 2002 - June 2003); they are Bec Cartwright, Sophie Monk, Androids, Delta Goodrem, Emmanuel Carella and Amiel.
The award is designed to aid development of new artists or groups based in Australia, with the winner being chosen by voting from commercial radio program and music directors, using eight criteria including the artists' potential to succeed, the appeal of the original material performed, their credibility as a performer, CD sales and listener requests
The winner will receive AUD 50,000 (USD 32,000) worth of airtime across the TODAY and Triple M networks to promote current or future releases.
The award is among 28- including news, talkback, sport and music - to be presented at the 2003 Australian Commercial Radio Awards gala - the 15th year of the awards - ceremony in Sydney on October 18.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2003-08-29: Both satellite radio companies in the US have announced further automobile related developments,
For Sirius it is agreement with RiverPark, Inc., the exclusive distributor of Visteon products to the motorhome market, to offer Sirius as a factory-installed feature on a 2003 models including Winnebago, Fleetwood, Newmar, Gulfstream, Monaco, and Four Winds International.
XM is launching a 10,000-Mile Drive Across America from Manhattan on Labor Day on September 1; two XM disc jockeys driving a customized Cadillac Escalade SUV will attempt to visit and broadcast from every one of the 48 states where XM Satellite Radio is available in just two weeks.
XM has also announced that it has begun an offer to exchange all the 12% senior secured notes due in 2010 that it issued in June as part of a private placement with a new series of 12% senior secured notes due in 2010.
2003-08-29: The latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released show no changes at the top, although stations had lower listening because of the power outage in the US and Canada that began on August 14.
The fall included the listening for top-ranked news/talk station WLS-AM, whose listening was down from 190,821 hours to 174,064; it also dropped a rank, from 12th to 13th, presumably because over-the-air radio listened to on automobile and battery radios was a much more likely choice in the circumstances.
For the week to August 17, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 595,527 (624,275); CP - 177,668 (190,887). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: AOL Top Country (Internet-only) Country format (Commercial) - TTSL 279,116 (281,163); CP - 114,410 (118,113). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 260,776 (277,784); CP - 50,539 (52,971). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Smooth Jazz format AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL - 252,335 (260,783); CP - 58,346 (60,390). Up from fifth with lower listening and reach.
5: AOL Top Pop (Internet-only) Top 40 (Commercial) - TTSL 246,839 (262,835); CP - 156,872 (169,856), Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to August 17 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 5,945,898 (6,111,483); CP - 1,571,746 (1,588,010). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Non commercial) - 3,220,546 (3,916,999); CP - 679,562 (738,186). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 1,739,554 (1,813,042); CP - 383,684 (412,757). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,142,127 (1,243,222); CP - 129,855 (139,637) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio (Sales Network) TTSL - 755,896 (748,748); CP - 126,296 (125,059) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with TTSL 2,288,089, down from 2,472,764 TTSL and StreamGuys with TTSL 437,887, down from 501,630.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2003-08-28: Detroit-headquartered Crain Communications Inc. has announced agreement to sell its two Pine Key, Florida, stations to newcomer to radio Cooke Broadcasting LLC subject to FCC approval.
The company did not confirm the price, reported as around USD 3 million depending on station cash flow, of the stations - Classic Hits WWUS-FM ("US-1 RADIO") and Smooth Jazz ("Conch FM").
They have been owned by Crain for nearly 20 years.
Cooke Broadcasting is commonly owned with Cooke Communications LLC, which owns Florida Keys newspapers and web sites.
John Kent Cooke, Sr., the former NFL Washington Redskins owner and operator who heads Cooke Communications, commented, "The radio stations are a natural extension of our commitment to providing the best local coverage in the Florida Keys."
"Since the purchase of The Key West Citizen, and the Free Press papers three years ago, we focused heavily on local news coverage for our readers and with keysnews.com we expanded that coverage."
"With the purchase of US-1 Radio and Conch-FM our goal is to continue to provide our community with the most comprehensive news coverage and entertainment in the Florida Keys."
In other US radio deals, Michigan charts pop station WCFM-FM, registered to Clare, is being sold by Goldsen Broadcasting for USD 2.88 million cash to newcomer Greenax Broadcasting.
Also in Michigan, Grosse Pointe Farms- headquartered Saga Communications has announced the repurchase of 99,000 shares of its Class A common stock this month under its previously announced Stock Buy-Back Program.
In all Saga has now spent some USD 6.7 million of the existing USD 10 million authorized under the arrangement; the latest shares were bought on the open market and also from Saga President and CEO Ed Christian, who exercised stock options and sold the shares directly to the company.
In Missouri, AAA KLQR-FM, Clinton, is being sold for USAD 1.9 million cash by B&F Broadcasting Inc. to Educational Media Foundation. Educational Media is to petition the FCC to change the status to non-commercial.
2003-08-28: Clear Channel has named Joe Bevilacqua, currently Regional VP/Programming for Clear Channel's Eastern North East trading area and Program Director for WHJY-FM, Providence, to take over as OM/PD of rock format DC101 in Washington from veteran Buddy Rizer, who has resigned after being at the station since 1988 and PD since March 2001.
Bevilacqua has been WHJY PD for 5 years and took over additional RVP/Programming responsibilities in December last year.
Rizer told FMQB that he made the decision to go and has no clear plans as yet, commenting, "I'm looking forward to a nice long sabbatical to figure out what my next challenge will be. Radio is all I've done since I was 15 years old. The tough decision to leave was entirely mine, and one I'm very excited about."
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-08-28: In a further extension of its terrestrial digital radio network, the BBC has now started transmission from Dover, Bromsgrove & Salisbury. They are the first new DAB transmitters to go live under a BBC plan that will increase its digital coverage to 85% of the UK population by the middle of next year.
The move adds around a potential half million listeners to the digital service which, including simulcast analogue networks and digital-only services, now carries 11 channels.
2003-08-28: Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina has decided to keep its non-commercial classical station WNCW-FM but will change its programming according to the Greenville News.
The college trustees, who had been looking at options because of the effect on its funds of the fall in the stock market, voted to keep the licence but change its operating principles to add news content, set up closer involvement with the college broadcasting curriculum and also conduct a review of federal, state and other broadcasting guidelines.
Station manager David Gordon commented of the changes, "They're not a radical departure from anything we're doing right now. We should have clear guidelines. That's a good thing. That's a good thing that's come out of this."
Greenville News report:
2003-08-27: US radio giant Clear Channel is to target the bottom line rather than market share for its stations according to a report in the San Antonio Business Journal.
It says radio CEO John Hogan is directing a shift in emphasis at the company, which saw profits increase despite a revenue decline in the second quarter of this year.
The report says the move was made in part because of the company's size:" "We have had the benefit of looking at what is going on in a wide range of markets where we do business," explains Hogan. "We can now see how things can be done differently."
He says that the adjustment is beginning to make sense to the company's market managers, commenting, "One of the things long important to and characteristic about radio has been market share."
"But while we want to be focused on competing against other radio stations, we want to be even more focused on profitability than market share now."
The policy is likely to curtail activities in some areas and Hogan comments concerning non-traditional revenues, "We no longer want to do the events that cost USD100 to make USD110. We're looking to get a 2-1 return on our NTR events. That's the kind of event we want our managers to create or get involved with."
Another area being put under the accountants' scrutiny is sports-rights feeds where decisions over whether to carry a team's games will depend on whether it's a "good business deal, no matter how popular (the team)."
Already Clear Channel has opted not to continue with the Dodgers in Los Angeles after five years of broadcasting the Major League Baseball team's games.
CCR is also paying attention to other areas such as keeping track of its commercial inventory through implementation of the Tradewinds system, a proprietary tool the company is using at roughly 98 percent of its stations.
Hogan says it allows market managers to better control commercial airtime but denies that the company is involved in "cluster selling" saying, "There is a misconception that we bundle and sell our stations. That's not the case. Worse yet, we think that's bad business."
One area where change has already come is a slowdown in acquisitions - the article notes that Clear Channel took over only four stations in the first half of this year - and Hogan commented, "We felt there were better uses of our cash flow than acquisitions. We made the decision instead to pay down our debt."
Previous Clear Channel:
San Antonio Business Journal report:
2003-08-27: Classical music is to return to the airwaves of New Hampshire state capital Concord after a three-year hiatus thanks to a Low Power FM project by a non-profit group that wants to fill the void left when New Hampshire Public Radio dropped classical music from its programming.
Local music enthusiasts in conjunction developed the project with Harry Kozlowski, program director for the Concord radio stations WJYY and WNHI, and local musician and composer Patrick Hebert.
The new station, WCNH-LP, which has now had its licence approved by the Federal Communications Commission, is also being helped by New Hampshire Public Radio, which is offering the new station full use of its classical music library and hopes to be on air by October. It will have no studio and few overheads; Hebert will design the play lists, Kozlowski will act as station manager and the main voice and will read most station announcements, and music will be programmed in advance and sent to an unmanned transmitter from a computer in his home studio.
The station is being set up by Highland Community Broadcasting, which needs to raise USD 25, 000 to start up in addition to which Kozlowski estimates it will need about USD50, 000 a year to run.
The money will have to come from listeners and sponsorships and Kozlowski hopes that eventually the station will be able to broadcast recordings of local concerts; he's also hoping to start spotlighting young, local talent.
Concord Monitor report:
2003-08-27: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is under fire over disciplinary action taken against radio presenter Stephen Crittenden concerning an article written for the Sydney Morning Herald last month.
Crittenden, host of ABC Radio National's "The Religion Report", is a long-time ABC employee, having first joined the Corporation in 1989 as a reporter on ABC Radio Current Affairs programmes; his article looked at Samuel P. Huntington's 1996 book on growing Islamic unrest, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order.
In the book Huntington described Islam itself as a problem for the West, writing, "The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power."
Crittenden in his article commented that, "the Huntington thesis seems to have been remarkably prescient in the light of recent world events".
He had not sought permission for publication and was suspended by ABC's head of national talk radio, Mark Collier, who had apparently asked to see the article before granting permission to publish because of the sensitivity of the topic.
An internal investigation concluded that he had engaged in "serious misconduct" and he could now face dismissal.
Crittenden's supporters, accuse ABC management of wanting to suppress religious and cultural debate and Graeme Thomson, the national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union's ABC division, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the management's actions were short-sighted.
There has also been criticism of the ABC for double standards such as comment by Gerard Henderson is executive director of The Sydney Institute, who in the Australian Age wrote "it is impossible to justify an evident double standard whereby Crittenden has been stood down for an uncontroversial article on so familiar a topic as Huntington's clash-of-civilisations thesis, while some of his ABC colleagues can barrack for Saddam or bag Howard in their newspaper columns with impunity."
RNW comment: We have some sympathy with the ABC in view of the attacks on the BBC for various print work by its correspondents including one report on the BBC Today Programme concerning "sexing up" the risks from Iraq's weaponry before the war on Iraq - exacerbated by a newspaper article by the same correspondent in which he named Prime Ministerial aide Alastair Campbell as being responsible for alterations to a report.
The ABC like the BBC has come under attack from its government for being anti-war (not a problem from the supine commercial US media which has only now started to devote attention to foreseen problem areas of the action - in other words when it was too late) and we suspect part of the reason for ABC sensitivity lies in this background.
At the same time in our view, if it was changing policy or had decided to be tougher about enforcing existing policies about comment by correspondents on sensitive topics, the ABC should have made this crystal clear by issuing a suitable memo and copy of its stance and rules to all staff.
In this case, it does appear that Crittenden might have reasonably assumed from comments that others were being allowed to make that he was entitled to write the article. The ABC equally had a right to ask for prior approval of articles by staff -- and indeed of others who might have to decide whether they could continue with an article and their ABC roles.
Ideally we would hope that a settlement can be made that allows Crittenden to stay, to apologise if he had indeed gone ahead with publication but refused advance sight of his article to his ABC boss, and for the ABC to issue appropriate guidelines to all and then ensure it has a consistent policy about outside work by staff and contributors.
Previous ABC, Australia:
The Age - Henderson comment:
2003-08-27: US Pacifica radio has now passed new by-laws with the approval of its Interim Board and three local advisory boards and nominations for board seats at the network's five stations are to open soon.
Election coordinators are already working at KPFK-FM, Los Angeles, KPFT-FM, Houston, and WBAI-FM, New York, and are expected to start soon at KPFA-FM, Berkeley, and WPFW, Washington, DC.
The new organization is described on Pacifica's web site as a "a hybrid model of a workers' collective and a membership organization of engaged listener-sponsors."
2003-08-26: In a potentially significant extension of the current "play-it-again" service that allows BBC radio programmes to be accessed online for seven days after their initial broadcast, BBC Director General Greg Dyke has announced plans to open up its archive for private, but not commercial use, in the UK.
The idea was put forward by Dyke during his delivery of the Richard Dunn Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival and concentrated on TV with Dyke commenting of its TV library that it was probably the "best in the world."
"Up until now this huge resource has remained locked up, inaccessible to the public because there hasn't been an effective mechanism for distribution," said Dyke. "But the digital revolution and broadband are changing all that. For the first time there is an easy and affordable way of making this treasure trove of BBC content available to all."
The archive would be made available through The BBC Creative Archive that would would make selected BBC material available and Dyke commented, "I believe that we are about to move into a second phase of the digital revolution, a phase which will be more about public than private value; about free, not pay services; about inclusivity, not exclusion."
"In particular, it will be about how public money can be combined with new digital technologies to transform everyone's lives," he added, commenting that commitment was also needed from a wide range of organisations including local government, educational establishments and charities as well as the commercial sector in partnership with publicly funded partners.
RNW comment: In view of the recent attacks on the BBC's licence fee funding, by Internet and media companies and particularly by operatives of Rupert Murdoch's News International including Sky satellite TV - which seems to have almost exhausted the market of those prepared to pay around three-times the BBC licence for what is in essence a sports service plus a few extras and thus has a tremendous financial interest in weakening the BBC - we expect this plan also to get a fair amount of negative publicity.
Having no such vested commercial interests we feel the idea of, to use the BBC's phrase, "Creating public not private value", should be welcomed as being in the public interest far more than continuing any of Murdoch's empire for a day longer.
We hope of course that the plan can also be extended to audio archives, possibly on a basis, as we have suggested before, of a lower quality streaming signal for free and a high quality downloadable service being offered for a fee. We would certainly consider the idea of offering downloads from a BBC radio archive catalogue as potentially being an excellent birthday or Christmas present and could be suborned very slightly (in other words we'd publicise the idea anyway as well worth while) were the BBC to offer us a voucher or two.
In commenting on the TV archive, Dyke highlighted the idea of it being used in a pupil's homework; since radio archives date back much longer than TV, span a wider range of topics because getting pictures was not an essential component of their production, and are also portable and could be played back in an automobile, we hope the focus on TV doesn't lead the BBC to neglect the audio archive in this venture.
Greg Dyke speech:
2003-08-26: In more developments at two troubled US radio broadcasters, Big City's board has unanimously adopted a plan to dissolve the company and Fisher Communications has announced that it has received a NASDAQ Notice of Potential Delisting.
Big City, which once owned 12 stations, has already sold 11 of them and is negotiating the sale of the remaining one, WYYX-FM, licensed to Morris, Illinois; last month it completed the sale of another Chicago area station, WVIV-FM, the former WXXY-FM, Highland Park, to HBC Illinois, Inc., an affiliate of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (See RNW July 23).
Last year Big City defaulted on its senior discount notes due in 2005 and since then has been paying these off through the sales; it says it cannot say what, if anything, will be left for shareholders when it has paid all its liabilities.
Seattle-based Fisher, which has also been selling stations, received its delisting note because of delays in filing its quarterly 10-Q report for the quarter to the end of June this year; Last month it announced that it is to restate its financial results for 2002 and the first quarter of 2003 (See RNW July 21) and until this is done it cannot file the 10-Q.
Fisher has to request a hearing by the 28th of this month and says it intends to do this and automatically stay the delisting; it adds that it is working diligently to complete the restatement of its financial statements and expects to file the Quarterly Report as soon as possible.
Pending the hearing, Fisher stock will continue trading on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol "FSCIE" but Fisher says that after the restatements are completed and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q is filed, it will seek NASDAQ approval to again trade under the symbol "FSCI."
Previous Big City:
2003-08-26: Bustos Media Holdings, which at the end of last week agreed a USD 2.8 million purchase of Adult standards KKSN-AM, Portland, Oregon, from Entercom (See RNW Aug 21), has now added another Portland station to take its holdings up to four AMs in the market.
It's to pay USD 1 million in cash for KGUY-AM, Milwaukie, Oregon, which is already simulcasting the regional Mexican "La Zeta" format of Bustos's KMUZ-AM; Bustos's other station in the market is KKGT-AM.
2003-08-25: The US and Canadian blackout that gave radio a boost as power-hungry TVs became unusable will certainly have led to a spike in listening in the areas concerned but equally certainly many of those potential new listeners will certainly revert to their old habits.
At the same time other technological developments are offering opportunities that did not exist a few years ago, such as niche stations on the Internet, complete with worldwide audiences, and maybe even, thanks to the political pressures that the US's new media regulations have thrown up, a speeding up of the commissioning of low-power FMs in the US as we reported - with due scepticism - in licence news yesterday.
Most of the attention, however, seems to have been devoted over recent years to music, news and community stations with radio drama getting very little look-in.
There are signs, however, according to a New York Times article by David Cote that radio drama is at least alive in the US.
"In fact," he comments, "there are hopeful signs - the rise in popularity of audio books, the ease of digital recording, the advent of content-hungry satellite radio, even a trace of interest by public radio - that could lead to a renaissance."
"While DVD's have become very popular with the other arts, producers of radio drama make more modest use of technology - mainly through compact disc burners and the Internet to distribute their work to a wider audience."
Cote comments on some plans in the US but it is noticeable how much relates to public radio rather than commercial channels, much as it does in the UK although the commercial OneWord digital channel is a welcome UK exception to the rule.
"The popular art form that drew families around the radio to hear Welles, Jack Benny and countless detective, western and soap opera serials did not simply vanish when television began to dominate in the 1950's," comments Cote.
"Through the 1970's and 80's, radio drama enjoyed the support of NPR, which produced series like "Earplay" and "NPR Playhouse" for a new generation. American playwrights, including David Mamet, contributed scripts, which combined the nostalgia of old-time radio with the sophisticated literary tradition of the British Broadcasting Corporation."
The support has waned though and NPR Playhouse went off the air last fall but audio books, suggests Cote, may yet provide a basis for a renaissance. Production of the books is a billion-dollar industry and Cote notes that Eileen Hutton, a board member for the Audio Publishers Association, estimates that perhaps 5 percent of the country's 23 million regular consumers of audio books buy radio drama.
Also encouraging is the growth of satellite radio, which also offers radio drama - the Sonic Theater channel for example on XM that broadcasts existing work by US producers plus programmes from the BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which continue to produce radio drama.
Which if nothing else, is an early cue to recommend the current BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial, The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which was one of Sue Arnold's choices in her weekly radio review in the UK Observer.
She commented of the production, "Having read the book, seen the film [RNW note: A 1993 release directed by James Ivory and starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, James Fox Christopher Reeve, and Peter Vaughan) and heard the radio adaptation by James Friel of Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, I can honestly say that it was the radio play that moved me most."
" If you thought Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson as Stevens and Miss Kenton were perfect, Ian MacDiarmid and Julia Ford were a match made in heaven. Forget Bogart and Bacall, Hepburn and Tracy or even, for Radio 1 fans, Pitt and Aniston. MacDiarmid and Ford were phat."
Back towards the mainstream, the dropping audience of the BBC's popular music channel, Radio 1, has continued to attract comment about its prospects and the changes that should be made.
Among them was a UK Times article by Adam Sherwin that summed up the station in terms of a dilemma "between playing commercial hits and discovering new talent."
Sherwin writes that Alex Jones-Donelly, who controls the channel's playlist, has opted not to play the UK Number 1 by Blu Cantrell and comments that, "It sounds like the act of man with a death wish, with Radio 1's target 15-24 audience being lured away by commercial stations where listeners are never more than five minutes from a top five hit."
Jones-Donelly, however, continues Sherwin, has to face the "pressure being heaped on Radio 1 to observe its public service obligations and uncover the next Coldplay or Ms Dynamite."
"The BBC," continues Sherwin, "has set Radio 1 a target that 40 per cent of its output must be British-based music."
"It is not an obligation that its competitors are required to match. At Chrysalis's Galaxy network of dance stations, which has 10 million listeners, Blu Cantrell and American R&B dominate Radio 1 must be all things to all music fans, but impatient listeners, with tribal tastes, can depart to niche stations."
"Kerrang! offers numetal to 770,000 listeners on digital radio, a rapidly growing market. The number of 4 to 14-year-olds listening to commercial radio rose to 6.5 million in the last quarter, a record high."
Virgin Radio has also seen potential benefits in moving away from a diet of hits and claims that two thirds of its most-played tracks are from UK artists, a higher ratio than Radio 1.
Virgin Radio programme director Paul Jackson says: "We do not have a policy to play a certain amount of British music, but with the wealth of talent there is in the country, how can any station have less than half its music from here?"
"For the first time last year rock albums outsold pop albums; so many of these new bands are British - The Darkness and The Coral, for example. We have a great rock history in the UK, and we want to support the talented artists that this nation produces."
Radio 1 reports Sherwin it to face the challenge head-on and he notes "Radio 1 can claim to have given the first plays to 10 of the 12 artists nominated for this year's Mercury Music Prize, an award seen as the best guide to the most innovative new artists."
Still with music, but moving to politics, back in the USA the Dixie Chicks, who are currently on tour - and due back in London next month- were taken off air by many stations following lead singer Natalie Maines' anti-Bush and anti-war comments made in London in March and the UK Guardian's Nigel Williamson joined them.
Their comments to him could well inflame some Americans afresh, although presumably some of the immediate disrespect for freedom of speech that led to death threats and the trashing of Emily Robison's Texas ranch has abated.
Commenting on the furore and threats made at the time, Maines said, "We were told the official White House quote on our ordeal."
"I thought it was going to be something empowering about the first amendment and our rights as American citizens. I don't know why I thought such an educated thing could have come out of there. Instead it was, 'Their fans have spoken.'"
"Which makes your mind go back to the death threats and the trashing of Emily's ranch and the corporate banning," commented fellow-Chick Marty Maguire.
"So is the President condoning those things?" Robison demands.
"He was asked about the end of the war in Iraq, and he said, 'Freedom is a beautiful thing and these people now have a right to speak and we've given them that'," recalls Maines. "It was everything he should have said when he was asked about us."
Finally technology and a look at digital radio's future in Canada as seen by Keith Damsell in the Toronto Globe and Mail: in it he says the future of digital broadcasting in the country has been clouded by the announcement that Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. is to file to start a service in Canada in conjunction with XM.
Steve Edwards, vice-president of corporate engineering and technology at Rogers Broadcasting, seven of whose stations currently broadcast in digital, said that without question the move wouldn't help with their aims for DAB, terming it another "distraction."
The article notes that only hundreds of digital receivers have so far been sold and a Radio Shack subsidiary that was selling two receivers - priced at CAD 299 (SD 210) and CAD 399 (USD 280) - has now stopped selling them and is to pin its hopes on a CAD 99 (USD 70 ) receiver.
The company's associate vice-president of merchandising David Easden commented, "We ended up with a very cool radio that a number of early acquirers bought in to, but kind of a radio that's out of the average individual's reach. It's great technology but it hasn't maybe taken off quite the way I think the industry had hoped it would."
In that environment, any possible alternative such as satellite could have a serious effect and Ottawa-based broadcasting engineering consultant Wayne Stacey said the future of the medium "is something that's going to have to be debated by the industry and the regulators over the next six to 12 months as to whether the rollout plan that we had is still viable or whether it needs to be adapted."
New York Times - Cote:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Damsell:
UK Guardian - Williamson:
UK Observer - Arnold
UK Times - Sherwin:
2003-08-25: BBC World Service is to broadcast a series of programmes on monsters - of the imaginary and real varieties - next month starting on September 2.
The series on imaginary monsters starts with a programme that looks at the evolution of monsters, that on the following Tuesday will explore the fascination with serial killers and cannibals, the third - on September 16 - will look at monsters created by fears of the development of science and technology including the ideas of creating part-human creatures as related in H.G.Wells' 1896 novel "The Island of Dr Moreau" through to later creations such as "The Incredible Shrinking Man" of the classic 1957 science fiction movie and the comic and movie character The Hulk.
The final programme "Monsters from Outer Space" - on September 2 - will look at myths concerning aliens.
The series on" monsters" that actually existed - "monstrous Science" starts on September 3 with a look at the earth's geological history and how creatures such as dinosaurs functioned.
It is followed a week later with a programme on Giant Squids then on September 17 with a programme on the carnivorous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. The final programme on September 24 looks at monsters that may or may not exist at present including the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland and the giant ape-man -- the Big Foot or the Sasquatch - from the forests of North America.
Also in the season will be a radio dramatisation of the Oscar winning 1983 classic An American Werewolf in London starring Jenny Agutter, who starred in the original movie, and Brian Glover; this will be first aired on September 13
2003-08-24: Yet again the US Federal Communications Commission was in the middle of continuing fallout relating to its new media regulations but elsewhere things were fairly routine for the regulators last week.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) is making an additional FM frequency available to 3HFM (MIXX FM), Hamilton, to allow it to serve the town of Portland, Victoria, which is currently inadequately served. 3HM has been conducting test transmissions on the allotted frequency from a transmitter at Mt Clay since April this year.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been involved in a number of licence renewals and also with conversions from AM to FM.
In order of province, they include:
Renewal of licence of CKMX -AM, Calgary, and its short wave transmitter CFVP until August 31, 2010.
In Alberta, the CRTC has also approved a frequency change for CIAM-FM Fort Vermilion, and a new 50,000 watts transmitter in Bonnyville for CKLM-FM, Lloydminster.
Renewal of licence of CHWH-FM, West Hawk Lake.
In New Brunswick, the CRTC has also approved and also a new transmitter in Edmundston for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to rebroadcast the programming of its national English language network service Radio One.
Renewal of licence of low-power CFNS-FM, Amherst, until August 31, 2010.
Renewal of licence of CHER -AM, Sydney, until August 31, 2010.
Renewal of licence of CFCO-AM, Chatham, and its transmitter CFCO-1-FM until August 31, 2010.
Renewal of licence of CHYR-FM, Leamington, until August 31, 2010.
In Ontario, the CRTC has also approved Tri-Tel Communications Inc.'s acquisition of the assets of CKTT-FM, Timmins.
Prince Edward Island:
In Prince Edward Island, the CRTC has approved an extension until 31 August 2004 of the local management agreement under which Newcap and Maritime Broadcasting operate CHTN-AM, CFCY-AM and CHLQ-FM Charlottetown.
Under the agreement, Maritime, which also owns and operates the only other commercial radio station in Prince Edward Island, CJRW-FM, Summerside, acts as manager of all three stations.
In Yukon Territory, the CRTC has agreed to a request from the Parliamentary Broadcasting Society, Whitehorse, to revoke the licence for CHLA-FM, Whitehorse.
The CRTC has also issued a public notice, with an intervention deadline of September 25, concerning a number of applications for new licences and conversions to FM.
In order of province they include:
An application for an English-language adult contemporary music format commercial FM in Brooks.
An application by the Frog Lake Cowboys Club for a Type B native radio programming 10 watts FM in Frog Lake.
An application to convert CJCM Grand Centre (Cold Lake) from AM to FM and also to simulcast the station's programming on AM for three months from the date of implementation.
An application for the conversion from AM to FM of CIYR -AM, Hinton, along with permission to simulcast the programming of the station on AM for three months from the date of implementation.
An application for the conversion from AM to FM of CKYR-AM, Jasper, along with permission to simulcast the programming of the station on AM for three months from the date of implementation.
An application by the B.C.I.T. Radio Society for a 20-watts English-language FM campus instructional radio programming undertaking in Burnaby.
An application for a new English-language Hot Adult Contemporary format 1600 watts commercial FM in Vermillion Bay with additional transmitters located in Dryden (1800 watts) and Kenora (1700 watts).
An application for a 50-watts English-language commercial Christian music service FM in Blackville.
An application for a 50,000 watts English-language classic hits musical format FM in Camrose.
For once there was no radio related activity in the UK but in Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a ten-year licence agreement with South East Broadcasting Limited (WLR-FM) for its County Waterford service. It is the sixth contract to be signed with a local commercial station for a licence in the Commission's re-licensing process that began in April 2001. WLR has held its licence for 14 years.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still involve with reactions to its new media regulations issued in June and now subject to a number of "stay" petitions.
The Commission has also announced a series of initiatives to enhance localism among radio and television broadcasters, which includes a speeding up of the activation of low power FM stations.
Concerning these FCC chairman Michael K Powell announced that the commission was to open a settlement window shortly, and to waive its processing rules to permit mutually exclusive applicants to use all available frequencies to resolve conflicts and gain new station licenses.
RNW comment: We have considerable scepticism about this initiative; we hope we are wrong but fear that this initiative will merely dissipate some of the energy currently directed against the FCC policies of Powell and end up with the big media lobby effectively emasculating FM again.
Powell's statement contained the usual honeyed words about FM but we have no faith in his commitment. We would have had much more respect for Powell had he also announced that an urgent re-evaluation of third adjacent spectrum rules would also be conducted in the wake of the Mitre report and then, if its conclusions are found to be technically correct, removed the restrictions, thus allowing many more LPFMs. That of course would have upset the commercial lobby and we still await evidence that Powell, to use another US politician's words, has the "cojones" to do that. We'll be delighted to be proven wrong.
On other matters, the FCC also announced an inquiry into the impact (literally - some millions of birds are estimated to be killed by flying into towers in the US each year) of broadcasting towers on the migration of birds (See RNW Aug 22).
Again the release included honeyed words from Powell but, as we reported, a lawsuit had been served months ago on the agency concerning "unreasonably delayed" action by it in complying with mandatory duties imposed by various statutes on this matter.
The FCC also reduced significantly the fine imposed after a Florida church operated an FM at more than 30,000 times the permitted power for an unlicensed transmitter, and cancelled the fine on two other operators (See RNW Aug 19).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site :
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
2003-08-24: Unlicensed Vermont 10 watts low-power station radio free brattleboro, which was shut down in June by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agents, is defying the Commission and returning to the airwaves according to the Brattleboro Reformer.
The paper says the station has collected signatures of support - and funds - from some 2000 local residents to support its resurrection.
It points out that the station can only be heard inside Brattleboro and has also changed frequency three times to clear the way for bigger broadcasters and queries the reason behind the FCC's paying attention to the station.
The paper also criticizes the FCC over its media regulation, which it says is skewed towards big media, and notes that provisions in the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000 prevent the FCC from considering applications from organizations that had previously been unlicensed broadcasters.
This, it says, leaves radio free brattleboro "has little choice but to either allow itself to be muzzled, or take its mandate from the people who own the airwaves."
"It has made the right choice, " concludes the paper, "and its 10-watt signal today sends the message loud and clear."
The paper also says that the FCC's new regulations will have "a chilling effect on free speech and media access" in a nation dominated by corporate media and notes that a survey of "Iraq war news coverage by the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting showed that just three out of 393 sources for stories broadcast by the major networks surveyed were against the war."
RNW comment: Although we are in favour of more low power stations and agree with many critics of US media, the FCC as a government agency has to follow the rules laid down by the lawmakers and thus has little option should a complaint be made against a station like rfb apart from taking action.
We do not think the FCC is neutral when it comes to action - just consider the relative effects of the penalties it imposes on a small pirate and a big corporation that breaks rules, both those that relate to indecency and those that relate to technical and safety-related offences.
If the decisions were to be related to income and the same percentage applied to the corporations as to amateurs, many of the big corporations would by now have had to take more care about compliance or would have lost tens of millions of dollars at least from their bottom lines.
We also take the point about reporting of news, which the paper links to commercial pressures, but would suggest that this is a matter where intelligent and patriotic Americans have to significantly re-think their attitudes to media and also dispense with some of the country's self-deluding myths.
We think that many Americans were not prepared for what is happening in Iraq now - forecast fairly accurately by media in other countries - but the situation is where it is now not where it could have been.
Brattleboro Reformer report:
radio free brattleboro site:
2003-08-23: An editorial in the Washington Post on Friday called for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the USD3 billion Univision takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC), saying that after more than a year considering the deal, it is time for the FCC to act.
It argues that opponents contentions that Spanish-language media constitute a separate market from those in English and that the merger would "create a conglomerate that would dominate the market" are "unwarranted."
The post argues that there has been a significant expansion in media - TV, radio and newspapers - serving the Hispanic market over the past decade and notes that His0anic's 58 Spanish language stations are less than a tenth of the "673 Spanish-language radio stations, plus eight English or bilingual stations directed at Hispanic listeners."
"Despite the differences in language and format, there is in fact no separate market for Hispanic media," says the Post. "Hispanic-oriented media companies deserve the chance to compete on an equal footing with other conglomerates. What Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting propose is no different from what the giant media have been doing for years."
It notes that the Department of Justice has required Univision to significantly reduce its interests in Entravision and concludes, "Further steps to preserve competition in certain cities may be warranted. But there is no public-interest justification to block this merger."
Washington Post editorial:
2003-08-23: India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has told the country's Parliament (Lok Sabha) that the second phase of India's FM radio expansion project is to go ahead soon after guidelines have been prepared by a task force.
He added in response to a question that as well as commercial channels state-owned All India Radio (AIR) has retained a large number of FM frequencies and other FM channels have gone to Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for its distance education programme.
In the first phase of private FM in India said Prasad, 22 companies had operated channels and the government had earned 235 crore rupees (USD 51.3 million) from them.
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-08-23: BBC Radio 1 has denied reports that breakfast host Sara Cox, whose audience was a record low in the latest ratings, has been told she will be axed from the show unless its ratings improve. Cox has a contract until April next year and a BBC spokeswoman referred to this and dismissed the stories as "absolute rubbish".
The host was criticised this week in the BBC's Radio Times magazine by veteran British DJ Noel Edmonds, himself a former host of the show, and currently standing in for Johnnie Walker in the BBC Radio 2 drivetime slot whilst Walker receives treatment for colon cancer.
In an interview for the magazine, he commented, "She talks about 'shagging', I word I wouldn't dream of using in public. She's coarse and unpleasant - very 'yesterday'."
"I do the school run and we joke my kids can listen to Radio 1 until she says something crude. Usually I haven't got into fourth gear before that happens."
2003-08-23: Viacom-owned Infinity Radio has announced a further phase of management and organizational changesfollowing changes announced last month (see RNW July 17); they include a number of regional management appointments and the elimination of its Central Region.
Seattle Market Manager Lisa Decker is to become VP/Western Mid-Size markets and Don Bouloukos, appointed in last month's changes as Philadelphia Market Manager, is to become VP/Eastern Mid-Size markets.
Decker will remain based in Seattle and will be responsible for operations in Fresno, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Portland, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego and Seattle.
Bouloukos, who retains his Philadelphia Market Manager responsibilities and will be based in the city and New York, will also oversee Buffalo, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Greensboro, Memphis and Rochester.
With the elimination of the Central Region, EVP Brian Ongaro will be re-assigned to Infinity's Western Region where he will replace Clancy Woods who left Infinity in its July reorganization.
All three plus Scott Herman, who was appointed Eastern Region EVP in July, will report to Infinity President and COO Joel Hollander, who succeeded John Fullam in the post in May (See RNW May 16); Hollander was formerly President and CEO of Infinity-operated syndicator Westwood One.
Hollander continues to oversee Infinity's New York and Los Angeles stations and has also announced changes in each city.
In New York, Lee Davis, Vice President and General Manager of WFAN-AM, will add oversight of WCBS-FM and WCBS-FM Vice President and General Manager Maire Mason will become General Manager of Blink WNEW-FM.
In Los Angeles, Pat Duffy becomes Vice President and Market Manager of News Stations, including KNX-AM and KFWB-AM and Maureen Lesourd, previously Market Manager for Infinity's Detroit stations, becomes Vice President and General Manager, KRTH-FM.
Commenting on the appointments, Hollander said, "Under this structure, we have put in place a management team that complements the strengths of our executives and leverages our presence in the major markets."
"Lisa and Don are industry veterans and proven executives whose experience and creativity will be vital to our future success. I am confident that this reorganization will allow Infinity, one of the premier radio groups in the country, to build on its leadership position in the industry."
2003-08-23: The latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released show AOL increasing its dominance, retaining both its top network ranking and three of the top five station spots although MUSICMATCH kept top station spot. Listening for the top-ranked stations was generally higher with MusicMatch recording an increase of 7.4%.
For the week to August 10, Arbitron'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 (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 624,275 (581,249); CP - 190,887 (188,099). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: AOL Top Country (Internet-only) Country format (Commercial) - TTSL 281,163 (286,137); CP - 118,113 (128,867). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 277,784 (278,508); CP - 52,971 (53,640). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: AOL Top Pop (Internet-only) Top 40 (Commercial) - TTSL 262,835 (263,614); CP - 169,856 (174,130), Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz format AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) - TTSL - 260,783 (258,874); CP - 60,390 (61,980). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
The top five networks for the week to August 10 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,111,483 (6,075,423); CP - 1,588,010 (1,628,593). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Non commercial) - 3,916,999 (3,378,342); CP - 738,186 (699,670). Same rank with higher listening and higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 1,813,042 (1,729,660); CP - 412,757 (409,391). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,243,222 (1,246,529); CP - 139,637 (133,659) - Same rank with lower listening and higher reach.
5: Warp Radio (Sales Network) TTSL - 758,765 (748,748); CP - 125,059 (121,934) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
Arbitron does not now rank Content Delivery Networks (CDN) alongside other networks but does report on them; for the week the top Content Delivery Networks were Live365 with 2,472,764 TTSL and StreamGuys with 501,630 TTSL.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings (Month of July):
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2003-08-22: Route 81 Radio LLC., based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, has announced that it has agreed to purchase 13 radio stations serving the Elmira-Corning, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Philadelphia/West Chester and Harrisburg/Carlisle.
The group, which was recently formed to acquire radio properties in the northeast and mid-atlantic US, says it is purchasing four stations from Citadel Broadcasting Company and the others from Eolin Broadcasting, Inc., WCOJ Radio Company, Inc., and Seven-Thirty Broadcasters, Inc. It has not given details of price to be paid.
The stations involved include Pennsylvania stations WHYL-AM, Carlisle-Harrisburg; WKJN-AM and WCWI-FM, Carbondale-Scranton; WNAK-AM, Nanticoke; WAZL-AM, Hazelton; and WCOJ-AM, Coatesville plus New York stations WENY-AM and WENY-FM, Elmira; WCLI-AM, WCBA-AM, and WCBA-FM Corning; and WGMM-FM Big Flats.
Route 81, which is backed by New York City based equity firm Avalon Equity Fund, LP, is headed by President and CEO Lloyd B. Roach who commented, "Roach "Route 81 Radio plans to build on the existing radio station's strengths and grow them through "plain old radio" strategies that I have successfully implemented in the past."
He added. "Radio station should have close ties to the communities they serve and provide local content and information to its listeners."
In other US radio business, Green Group's radio and TV holdings, all in New Jersey, have been acquired by New York-based Access.1 Communications for USD 22 million.
The stations were placed in trust after group founder Howard Green died in September 2002; they include WMGM-TV plus radio stations classic rock WMGM-FM, Atlantic City, News/Talk WOND-AM and Gospel WUSS-AM,Pleasantville, Sports WGYM-AM, Hammonton, and Oldies WTKU-FM,Ocean City.
According to the Atlantic City Press USD 11 million will go to a charitable foundation established by Green and the remainder to the estate of his long-time business partner Donald Simmons, who died in 1999. Access.1, which will own 15 radio stations and programme supplier Superaradio when the deal closes, says it is not intending to make any significant changes at the stations.
In Milwaukee, the parent company of Journal Broadcast Group, says it is planning an initial public offering of 17.25 million shares of Class A common stock to be priced between UD 13.50 and 15.50.
Of these 16.9 million will come from Journal and the Abert Family Journal Stock Trust will sell another 396,000.
Journal owns the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, flagship WTVJ-TV/Milwaukee, plus other broadcast holdings over the US including 36 radio stations.
The underwriters, Morgan Stanley, Robert Baird & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, will have the option to buy some 2.6 million additional shares to cover over allotments.
2003-08-22: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell has announced that he intends to appoint Bryan Tramont, currently serving as his Senior Legal Advisor, as FCC Chief of Staff to replace Marsha MacBride who earlier this week announced that she was leaving the agency (See RNW Aug 20). Tramont has also served as Senior Legal Advisor to current Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy and former Commissioner Harold Furchtgott- Roth.
The FCC has also announced that former Florida Public Services Commission Chairman Julia Johnson, currently President of public policy consulting firm Netcommunications, is to chair the FCC's new Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age.
The Committee is tasked with providing guidance to the Commission on policies and practices that could increase the diversity of ownership and could create opportunities for minorities and women to advance to managerial positions in the communications sector as well as other related sectors of the economy.
It will make reports about guidelines, incentives, regulations, or other approaches needed to promote diversity in the communications sector and to set best practices for this.
2003-08-22: The UK gained further digital radio offerings this week, some through digital TV. In Scotland, SCORE Digital, owned by Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) , went on air in Inverness. Its digital multiplex is offering three commercial services in addition to carrying the BBC national regional service, Radio Scotland, and the Gaelic language service, Radio Nan Gaidheal (See Licence News Oct 22, 2001 SRH3).
Also becoming more widely available are BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, which are now available on Freeview digital terrestrial TV in Wales; they were already on digital satellite TV throughout the UK and on the Internet.
Nearly a fifth of UK adults now listen to radio through their TV sets according to RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research).
2003-08-22: Amid all the politics over media regulation, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found time for the bids, migratory ones that is.
It has adopted a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to gather comment and information on the impact that communications towers may have on migratory birds.
The inquiry is part of the Commission's environmental and historic preservation action plan announced by FCC Chairman Michael K Powell in May this year and is part of the agency's effort to balance the interests of the environment whilst "accelerating the deployment of communications infrastructure that is critical to the rapid rollout of advanced communications services, as well as for public safety and homeland security."
The inquiry will collect information to aid assessments of how many migratory birds may have been killed through hitting towers and the factors that may affect fatalities such as tower height, lighting systems, type of antenna support structure, and location.
It will be conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which estimates that anywhere from 4 to 50 million birds die each year through flying into towers; there is speculation that in some cases they are attracted by the tower lights.
In February this year the US Forest Conservation Council, Inc., Friends of the Earth, Inc., and the American Bird Conservancy, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the FCC for what they termed "unreasonably delayed" action in complying with mandatory duties imposed by various statutes concerning the impact of transmission towers on migratory birds (See RNW February 24).
The commission also notes that because "Certain migratory bird species may hold particular cultural or religious significance to Indian Tribes" it is committed to consult with federally recognized tribes as far as its practical before implementing any actions or policy that would "significantly or uniquely affect Tribal governments, their land and resources."
2003-08-22: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that an episode of the Pepper and Crash Show, on CKVX-FM (Xfm), Vancouver, in October last year was so sexually explicit as to breach the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics.
The Council had received a complaint from a listener who had the show on her car radio whilst driving her 14-years-old son to school and had not been able to change the station in time to avoid the most explicit part of a discussion of "snowballing."
One of the hosts had indicated that he did not know what the term meant and a listener telephoned to explain it (the act of keeping semen in the mouth after oral sex and then kissing the man involved, and transferring the semen to him to swallow it).
The broadcaster had responded to the complaint by saying that its target audience was 18-35 years old males and that the hosts had attempted to deal with the sexual topic in a light-hearted and humorous way and had advised the audience of the adult nature of the conversation.
Its station manager/program director commented in a reply," Although not recognizable by all of our audience, the issue discussed that morning is certainly not unknown to our listeners. A number of them called in that morning to identify the act in question and even to provide further information or opinions on the topic. Overall, the discussion on the issue was light-hearted and slightly humorous in nature."
The council commented that the advisories, though helpful, were not a defence when inappropriate programming was aired observed that the host's "disclaimer" had been "thrown in" only after some explicit remarks had been made, and concluded that the "explicit discussions and definition of 'snowballing' that followed it fall unequivocally into the category of unduly sexually explicit content."
2003-08-21: Amid continuing controversy over the new media regulations promulgated by the US Federal Communications Commission(FCC) in June, a diverse group comprised of Capitol Broadcasting Company, the Communications Workers of America, US Consumers Union, the Parents Television Council and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has filed with the commission for a "stay" of the regulations.
In its filing the group asks that the changes contained in the Commission's 2002 Biennial Review and due to take effect on September 4, should be delayed "until 60 days after adjournment of the First Session of the 108th Congress sine die."
It justifies this by commenting that chaos would result if the changes took place as scheduled and on the basis of opposition in Congress that could lead to legislative changes, saying that is asking for the stay "in light of the pendency of legislation which would suspend enforcement,
or overturn, part or all of the 2002 Biennial Review Order,1 and because of the interdependence of the Commission's local and national broadcast ownership rules."
"Prudence and respect for the legislative process," adds the group, "require that the Commission stay its decision."
Also in reaction to the controversy, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael K Powell has now formally announced a "a series of initiatives to enhance localism among radio and television broadcasters"; the move was presaged in comments to the Aspen Summit that we reported yesterday (See RNW Aug 20).
In his announcement Powell defended the rule changes announced in June as following "the most comprehensive review of its structural broadcast ownership rules in history" adding, "It is important to understand that ownership rules have always been, at best, imprecise tools for achieving policy goals like localism."
"That is why the FCC has historically sought more direct ways of promoting localism in broadcasting. These include things such as public interest obligations, license renewals, and protecting the rights of local stations to make programming decisions for their communities."
Powell noted concern amongst legislators and commented, "The Senate Commerce Committee recently held hearings and brought greater attention to the issue of localism in broadcasting. I applaud the Committee's efforts and hope to work in concert with them and the many Members of Congress who support localism."
The move itself has been attacked at the summit by Viacom president and COO Mel Karmazin who said the broadcasters already did a good job, adding that the lawmakers were not "responding to the facts."
"If ever the FCC were to look at localism and to see the kind of job that local media serve in their community, I think the track record would be awesome," he said.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report on Karmazin comments:
2003-08-21: Following the lifting of the freeze on transactions announced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the end of last week (See RNW Licence News Aug 17), a large number of US radio deals have now moved forward. Amongst the higher-priced of these are:
*Clear Channel's USD 6.5 million cash purchase of four stations in the McAllen-Brownsville market in Texas and USD 2.2 million cash purchase of WYCL-FM, Pensacola, Florida.
The Texas stations are Regional Mexican KBOR-AM and Oldies KQXX-AM, Brownsville, plus Regional Mexican KTJN-FM, Mercedes and KBOR-FM, Mission; they are being bought from Edgar Trevino.
Clear Channel already owns two stations in the market and if the deal is approved will end up with the largest cluster there.
Oldies WYCL-FM in Pensacola, which is being bought from Concord Media Group, was already being operated by Clear Channel and the purchase seems to have resulted from the clause in the new FCC rules that counts stations operated under Local Management Agreements and Joint Sales Agreements against an owner in a market where other stations are already owned; the station was originally part of a 42-station purchase Clear Channel was making from Paxson Communications but the WYCL purchase was dropped and went through other owners before being bought by Concord.
Clear Channel is also selling two Georgia stations - country WVMG-AM and FM, Cochran - for USD 675,000 in cash to Communications Capital Managers LLC. .
*Entercom's USD 2.8 million cash sale of Adult standards KKSN-AM, Portland, Oregon, to Amador Bustos, former President of the former Z Spanish Radio Network and of Entravision's radio division; Bustos's Bustos Media Holdings already owns two stations in the market and Entercom owns seven other stations taking into account its pending USD 44 million purchase of country format KWJJ-FM and talk KOTK-AM from Fisher Communications (See RNW May 31). Entercom is already operating these two stations under a time brokerage agreement.
*Great South RFDC LLC's USD 1.2 million cash purchase of Southeastern Broadcasting Co.'s Gospel WKLF-AM and Country WEZZ-FM, Clanton, Alabama.
*First Broadcasting Company's USD 1.5 million cash purchase from Whitehall Enterprises of Full Service WAAM-AM, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-08-21: US talk show host Michael Savage, whose "Savage Nation" show was dropped by ABC following a contract dispute and whose TV show was cancelled by MSNBC following comments to a caller that he was a "sodomite" who should "get AIDS and die" (See RNW July 9) is now back on the air in New York where his show has been taken by WOR-AM
Savage, who lives in San Francisco, is actually Michael Alan Weiner from Brooklyn; his show replaces Ken and Daria Dolan's financial talk show that WOR had been airing from 8-10 p.m. although this is still being aired on other WOR network stations.
2003-08-21: US Internet e-commerce firm BRM Media, which is promoting the .FM and .AM Internet addresses to which it holds exclusive rights, has announced that Emmis Communications' Hot 93.3 FM in Austin, Texas, has become the latest station to sign on with it.
BRS Media's dotFM is the exclusive worldwide registry for Web addresses ending in .FM and was the first domain registry in the world to offer premium multimedia domains like .FM.
Since 1998, dotFM has enlisted thousands of web sites and radio stations from round the world to move to a .FM web address.
2003-08-21: Listening for AOL, the top radio network in the Arbitron Internet Broadcast ratings for July, and that for the top station, MUSICMATCH, was up more than a fifth on that for June taking the additional day in the month into account.
Listening was up for most of the top ranked stations with AOL continuing its dominance; it had three stations in the top five, 11 of the top 20 and 26 of the top 50 stations.
The top five stations for July were (June figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (non-commercial) - TTSL 2,348,767 (1,938,314); CP 601,887 (545,748). Same rank with significantly higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin Radio (commercial) - TTSL 1,333,099 (1,048,651); CP 181,778 (172,559). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: AOL Top Country (commercial) - TTSL 1,181,453 (924,541); CP 410,916 (262,946). Up from sixth with significantly higher listening and reach.
4: AOL Top Pop (commercial) - TTSL 1,178,664 (964,246); CP 632,924 (451,783). Down from third despite significantly higher listening and reach.
5: AOL Smooth Jazz (commercial) - TTSL 1,113,546 (954,519); CP206,684 (154,173) Down from fourth despite significantly higher listening and reach.
* Classical format WQXR-FM fell from fifth to ninth although TTSL was up to 955,006 to 944,008. CP was down to 84,685 from 87,086; it remained the top-ranking classical station.
The top five networks for July were (June figures in brackets):
1: AOL Radio Network (commercial) - TTSL 26,211,800 (21,679,740); CP 4,257,805 (3,515,790). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Yahoo LAUNCH (commercial)- TTSL 10,285,403 (9,816,571); CP 1,541,995 (1,450,801). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (non-commercial) TTSL 7,224,323 (6,547,106); CP 1,321,045 (1,275,972). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: Adsertion (sales network) -TTSL 5,170,467 (4,891,470); CP 352,416 (345,892). Up from fifth with higher listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio (sales network) -TTSL 3,390,111 (3,314,842); CP 380,403 (386,957). Up from sixth with higher listening although reach was down.
*Live365.com, which was second in June with TTSL of 10,962,524 and CP of 1,567,685, is absent from the rankings, because of a decision not to include content delivery networks this month, although its streaming, which totaled 10,212,666 hours was still measured. The second ranked content delivery network, StreamGuys had a TTSL of 2,287,024.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast monthly ratings:
2003-08-20: In a surprise comment to the Aspen Summit held by Washington think tank the Progress and Freedom Foundation, US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell has said that the agency will look at the effects of media concentration this fall (autumn) according to an AP report in the New York Times.
The report said Powell gave no details of what would be involved, saying that these would be provided at a news conference today (August 20).
The report says the move is seen as a "nod" to critics of the FCC's June easing of media ownership regulations and quoted Powell as saying, "As much as I'm invested in the rules that we did ... I have an obligation as an expert adviser to make sure this is channelled into something constructive There is a sentiment being expressed by the American public, a concern about the media, a concern about big media.''
Powell said an effort in the Senate led by Senators Byron Dorgan (Democrat-North Dakota) and Trent Lott, (Republican, Mississippi) to undo all the FCC changes "doesn't make any sense to me'' as it would reinstate old rules that already have been rejected by courts.
"You're at risk of creating conflict and incohesion that I think puts the rules at very serious risk,'' Powell said. "It's not the right way to talk about how to do this.''
Reacting to the comments, Andrew Schwartzman, president of the Washington-based media watchdog Media Access Project, said he would watch what Powell did, not what he said. "He's going full speed ahead in implementing the rules,'' Schwartzman said. ``He can study to his heart's content and it's not going to change what's going on.''
RNW comment: Since the court's rulings were based on legislation enacted by the US Congress, we are slightly puzzled at the tenor or Powell's comments since presumably Congress would have the right to change previous legislation and impose new regulations. Whether Dorgan and Lott can muster the support to do this is of course a different question.
New York Times/AP report:
2003-08-20: Premiere Networks has announced that it is to "watermark" much of its audio content using Verance's Confirmedia patented technology.
Premiere president and COO Kraig T. Kitchin commented, "Verance's Confirmedia technology can potentially offer our network advertisers valuable information that correlates radio advertising exposure with product and service sales across 100 markets and more."
Verance CEO Steven A. Saslow said the move was "the next logical step in our mission to provide broadcasters and agencies the benefits of our technology and friction free web based information tools. Premiere is taking a leadership role that should revolutionize the industry."
2003-08-20: Latest Irish radio ratings released by the JNLR/MRBI survey covering the year to June 2003 show listenership in the country remaining steady compared to the survey to April at 86% of the population but down 2% on the 2001-2002 year.
Compared to a year earlier independent local stations recorded a reach of 53%, the same as the previous year and increased their share by 1% to 44%.
The national channel figures showed state broadcaster RTÉ Radio One down 3% to 28%, 2FM down 1% to 26%, and Lyric FM down 1% to 3%. National commercial channel Today FM retained its 16%.
In market share terms, local stations were up 1% to 44%; RTÉ Radio One was down 2% to 25% and 2FM and Lyric FM retained shares of 18% and 10% respectively. Today FM retained its 10% share.
Among local stations, Highland Radio had the highest reach -73% - with a share of 59%, followed by Mid-West Radio (71% and 55%) then North West Radio (60% and 55%).
In Cork, Cork 96 FM/County Sound had a reach of 50%, down 75, whilst Red 104-106 FM maintained its 18% and in Dublin 98 FM added 3% to reach 22%, whilst leader RTÉ Radio One was down 2% to 33%, FM 104 was down 2% to 19%, 2FM was up 1% to 17% and Today FM retained its 12% reach.
IN market share terms, RTÉ Radio One was down 6% to 36%, 98FM was up 4% to 17%, FM 104 retained its 13%, 2FM was up 1% at 12% and Today FM was up 1% at 18%
Previous Irish Ratings:
JNLR web site:
2003-08-20: Marsha J. MacBride has announced that she is resigning as Chief of Staff of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); she originally joined the agency as an attorney in the Political Programming Branch of the Mass Media Bureau's Enforcement Division in 1991 having previously practiced communications law in Washington for six years.
After a break in the private sector during which she was Vice President, Government Relations, for the Walt Disney Company, she rejoined the commission in 2001 as Chief of Staff to chairman Michael K Powell; she had served Powell, then a commissioner, as Legal Advisor in her earlier stint with the agency.
In a statement she said, "It is with difficulty I choose to leave my post as Chief of Staff at this time. Although the Chairman has a challenging agenda ahead of him, the time is right for me to pursue new opportunities."
Powell commented, "It is with deep regret that I accept Marsha's decision to step down. Marsha is my most trusted and loyal advisor. She has served me, the FCC and the American people with exceptional skill and grace for the past two and a half years as Chief of Staff."
"She is an exceptional leader who has worked tirelessly to make the FCC more efficient and more responsive to the needs of the American public. She is a friend, and I will sorely miss her as we forge ahead with the Commission's work."
2003-08-20: In further signs of the growing health of digital radio in the UK, the Digital Radio Development Board (DRDB) has announced that Frontier Silicon has shipped more than a quarter of a million DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) modules based on its Chorus DAB and digital audio processor during its first 12 months of production.
Frontier Silicon, whose modules are in more than 80% of receivers sold worldwide, says that it is on track to a target of shipping double this number during the next twelve months.
The DRDB has also announced that two further DAB receivers are now available in the UK market - the Goodmans GCE7007DAB automobile digital radio that also handles FM/MW/LW RDS analogue radio with TAS, 30 station pre-sets, and a CD player and the Evoke 2 DAB/FM portable radio from PURE Digital. The Goodmans model is prices at just under GBP 200 (USD 320) and the Evoke is just under GBP 160 (USD 255).
2003-08-19: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell has told the Aspen Summit held by Washington think tank the Progress and Freedom Foundation, that the threat of terrorism and what he termed "despicable activity'' by some companies could tilt the US towards more regulation that he felt could harm innovation and the economy.
Powell said he was concerned about an increase in belief in regulation as opposed to free markets because, "the telecommunications sector and the high-tech sector are at a point in history where they can ill afford to be lined up with that kind of thinking'' but he laid part of the blame at the door of those companies that had committed fraud and generated support for regulation.
"The despicable activity engaged in by Enron and MCI and Adelphia -- and the list is long -- violates the trust of their employees, violates the trust of the market, violates the trust of consumers and people cry out to be protected,'' said Powell.
RNW comment: Powell's response to the question of what should be done is that the government has to take some action but not too much; we would feel far more agreement with him if one simple law had long ago been enacted, namely that in terms of gross abuse, especially where it hits those who have a right to feel protected as in cases of pensions or public assets, all directors of a company involved should be subject to a potential total confiscation of assets, with very strict rules on what can go to a spouse and children, to whom the same rules would be applied if they were found to have gained advantage from the original abuse.
That would have left Kenneth Lay poorer than the pensioners from whom he took security, which would at least be some justice; it might however leave US politicians from the President downwards worrying about a pauper's old age but then again it might also make them more concerned about others.
New York Times/AP report:
Progress and Freedom Foundation summit site:
2003-08-19: A survey by the BBC's Radio Times magazine shows the Beatles to be much more popular in the UK than the Rolling Stones; of the 2,000 readers who responded to a survey on the magazine's web site, 69% voted for the Beatles leaving the Rolling Stones with only 31% support.
Amongst those going for the winners were pop-singer Craig David, actress Julie Walters and broadcaster John Humphrys whilst the Stones garnered support from radio and TV host Chris Tarrant and comedian and BBC 6 Music presenter Phil Jupitus.
2003-08-19: The US Federal Communications Commission has reduced by USD 9,000 a penalty for operation of an unlicensed FM in Florida and also cancelled penalties of USD 10,00 and USD 9,000 on two other operators.
The fine reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 1,000 was imposed on Ordino Joseph of the Noah's Ark Baptist Church, Naples, Florida; he had operated an FM whose power exceeded the limits permitted for low power unlicensed stations 31, 953 times.
Joseph responded by admitting the offence but asking for cancellation or reduction of the penalty on financial grounds, because he co-operated with agents and shot down the transmissions, that he had only intended to reach a couple of miles from his church, and that he had a history of overall compliance.
The FCC rejected all but the financial hardship one, reducing the fine on this basis.
Cancelled was a proposed USD 10,000 penalty issued to Networx Corporation, Pittsford, New York, for unauthorized operation of FM broadcast transmitters; the Commission concluded after review that there was insufficient evidence to support its originally finding and dropped the penalty.
Also cancelled was a proposed USD 9,000 penalty on American Family Association, Inc., licensee of KAUF-FM, Kennett, Missouri, for Emergency Alert System offences and failure to maintain all required items in its public inspection file; concerning the public inspection offence it opted to admonish the AFA.
AFA had argued concerning the USD 4,000 penalty for EAS offences that its equipment began malfunctioning on July 9, 2002 and it turned it off to avoid spurious signals knowing that it was permitted to continue operations for 60 days pending repair or replacement of the equipment; the inspection had taken place only eight days later. EAS logs had backed up the company's statement.
Concerning the public inspection files, AFA had argued that it maintained a duplicate public file for KAUF at its headquarters and mailed each item for the public file to the station with explicit filing instructions. At the time of the offence, it said the station manager, who had fallen behind on filing, was on holiday. AFA added that it had now streamlined its procedures and kept a frequently updated compact disc at KAUF with public file documents at its studio for public access.
On this basis, the proposed USD 5,000 penalty was cancelled and an admonishment substituted.
2003-08-19: BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which is at the centre of the row between the corporation and the British government over a live comment by its defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan over government manipulation of evidence about Iraq's preparedness for war, comes in for criticism from a different angle in the UK Guardian.
A comment by Roy Hattersley, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party that is now, as New Labour, the government, takes the programme to task for being "obsessed with making news, not reporting it."
"Its declared purpose is to lead the news," continues Hattersley. "Its admirers speak of it setting the news agenda for the day. Its determination to be mentioned on radio, television and in the newspapers would be more appropriate to an aspiring starlet than a serious news broadcast."
He comments that this has now trivialized the real issue of whether or not the war was justified by diverting attention to the conduct of Gilligan and also takes up other issues where in his view the programme is aiming for conflict and entertainment at the expense of information.
"Today," he comments, "succeeds in its objective by always stimulating controversy and, wherever possible, arranging confrontation. The result is often about as informative as two cats fighting in a sack - not least because politicians, knowing the Today formula, have worked out defence mechanisms by withholding information."
RNW comment: Much of what Hattersley says is self-evidently true but we wonder how he would react to most American talk radio compared to which the Today programme is incredibly restrained and balanced as indeed it is compared to most of the British newspapers as anyone reading their current cover of the enquiry into the death of Dr Kelly the scientist who was, as Gilligan's source, would immediately find. The cover could be of a totally different story in many cases; depending upon the prejudices of the paper and its proprietors one side or another gets excessive or little cover underneath headlines that are frequently much more biased and misleading than anything that Gilligan said.
One rule, it would seem, applies to public sector broadcasting and virtually none to the private sector print media.
UK Guardian comment:
2003-08-19: US National Public Radio (NPR) and the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) have asked the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a 90-day extension until December 10 of the deadline by which comments may be filed regarding the MITRE Corporation's report on the Third-Adjacent-Channel Impacts of Low-Power FM Stations (See Licence News, RNW July 20).
In their filing, the two organizations say that they "have a particular interest in the testing of potential interference to the reception of radio services for the print-disabled offered via full power and translator stations."
"NPR members," they comment, "operate many full power and translator stations, and many offer radio reading services provided by IAAIS members" and they add that "the extension of time requested is warranted to permit a thorough analysis of the test plan and procedures, which were not subject to prior public review or comment, the test data, and the related Commission policy and rule changes that the MITRE Corporation has proposed.
RNW comment: Following publication of this report, there have been calls, with which we are in general sympathy, from various organisations for a full-scale review of thrid adjacent channel protection requirements with the aim of reinstating LPFM as originally planned on a much larger scale than is now possible.
At the same time, it does seem reasonable that NPR and the IASS should be given sufficient time to respond but should there be no significant problems shown for them ,we would hope that US lawmakers will take on the braodcasters lobby and reinstate LPFM on the scale originally planned.
Link to Mitre report on LPFM ( 730 pages - 4.7 Mb PDF):
2003-08-18: This week we could hardly start without mention of the power outage in the northeastern US and the Canadian province of Ontario that brought to the fore yet again the strength of radio as a medium -and ironically in some ways could yet provide a US market boost for the clockwork radio invvented by Briton Tevor Baylis and that was developed to aid the poor in South Africa who could not afford batteries for their radios (See RNW Jan 21, 2000); we certainly think that an enterprising businessmen could sell a few in New York at the moment.
The benefits of radio, either battery powered portables or car radios was the subject of a number of articles in the US and Canada, all with a similar take but different examples as searches of the main US and Canadian papers will reveal.
The lead in a New York Times report on the topic by Mike Mcintire also indirectly raised another aspect of radio; the radio owner mentioned as a source of news for many fellow-New Yorkers happened to be blind: he commented, "This is usually how I get my news, but I guess for most people, they don't."
We also note in passing that US public radio showed a strength that its commercial rivals and the main networks lacked - it went outside New York and gave a wider range of reports than the latter with reports from other cities such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Newark and also from Toronto.
As power is restored US radio will of course rapidly revert to normal and that normal can encompass some fairly crude material as illustrated by a Philadelphia Inquirer article by Annette John-Hall dealing with a phenomenon that seems fairly widespread, the female shock-jock.
They however do not seem to quite reach the level of crudity as some of the most notorious of their male counterparts, their appeal seems to be of the same nature - tittle-tattle and sexual innuendo, much of which, were it to be subjected to even elementary fact checking with the penalty being the stake, would lead to a veritable bonfire of the jocks.
Typical samples quoted of the output of New York afternoon host Wendy Williams, "self-described Queen of Radio" include eliciting from the frontman of an alternative rap-group the information that he has been intimate with Nicole Kidman, Janet Jackson and is a "well-hung" heterosexual (needles to say representatives of the stars involved were dismissive of the claims).
Williams, who was sidelined by WQHT-FM in 1997 for "refusing to tone down her act", refused an subsequently quit, is now with WBLS-FM and her "Low Down" segment is syndicated to 15 stations; she also seen nationally on VH1.
The article quotes San Francisco journalist and former DJ Davey D, who operates the Hip Hop Daily News Web site as saying some artists know how to use her show for publicity but for some artists just coming up she could be the "kiss of death."
WLBS general manager Kernie L. Anderson commented, "We don't sit here and wonder if she'll step over the line. I assume that we're going to get letters from lawyers... We brought her in with our eyes wide open, knowing what she does."
He said some celebrities had filed lawsuits against Williams but they had all been settled out of court.
Williams is currently touting her book in which she talks about cocaine addiction, plastic surgery, and three miscarriages and John-Hall says Williams "in person is friendly and not particularly foul-mouthed" and in quotes Williams self-description:" "I am who I am. A wild card, and slightly out of control."
She also seems to have an inflated idea of what she is, saying about changing the book from celebrity gossip to center on herself, "My standing in the community is too important" and adding that it was important for her audience to hear "a woman's story of triumph over adversity." "
Also featured in the Inquirer article is one of Williams' competitors, Tarsha Jones, who is on the evening shift at WPHI-FM (The Beat) in Philadelphia.
She had the distinction of being taken off the air for three weeks last month, after a lurid remark she made about Whitney Houston's 10-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and a male member of Houston's family.
But if you think that's bad enough, a short line in the UK Guardian's "Pick of the Day" by Phil Daoust about BBC Radio 4's "Belzec - The Search for Justice" (Still available online) puts things into context. Some 600, 000 Jews were murdered at Belzec in Poland, one of the Nazi's first death camps and when a group of guards from the camp was prosecuted only one was found guilty, being sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. And to top that? "The graves at Belzec are regularly visited by locals. They come with spades, looking for the Jews' buried gold." The morals of a shock-jock???
For a more positive note, we again turn to some number crunching by UK Sunday Times radio columnist Paul Donovan; this time he has turned his attention to ranking UK radio shows as opposed to channels or stations.
"The Top 10 television shows come out every week," notes Donovan, "but nobody has ever, to my knowledge, come up with the radio equivalent."
"This is not as strange as it may seem. The figures are not as easy to compile as for television, as they are collected in a different way. Also, neither the BBC nor commercial radio has any particular wish to publicize the list. The BBC feels it sets one network against another and does not reveal more useful detail such as the age of listeners and audience trends. Commercial radio is aware that it makes none of the highest-rated national shows. So both sides emphasize other achievements that reflect well."
Donovan then lists the top ten compiled from the latest RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) ratings - figures are the number of people 15 and over who listened to each show for at least five minutes in each week in the quarter.
Heading the list is BBC Radio 2's Wake up to Wogan with 7.87 million followed by Ken Bruce, also on Radio 2, with 6.51 million and the BBC Radio 4 Today show with 6.48 million.
In all Radio 2 has seven of the top ten shows, Radio 4 is helped to second spot by the farming soap, The Archers, which comes in eighth rank with 4.61 million, and Sara Cox takes sixth place with her BBC Radio 1 breakfast show, although Donovan notes that this has lost half a million listeners a week over the past half year.
And finally two BBC show from the past week that is still available online and in our view worth a hearing by anyone remotely interested in the way politics is currently conducted; one was the World Service's "Spinning to Win" hosted by Robin Lustig and the other "The Reunion" on BBC Radio 4 in which Sue Macgregor talked to five Iranians, now exiled, who were senior figures in the Shah's regime.
A sentence from one of them should give pause for thought to those who supported the Khomeini regime and its successors - he noted that one of the first legal reforms introduced by the Mullahs was to reduce the age of marriage for girls to nine!
Philadelphia Inquirer - Annette John-Hall:
New York Times - Mcintire:
UK Guardian - Daoust:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2003-08-18: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell has told the Los Angeles Times during an interview that he has no intention of quitting the agency despite criticisms of the agency's handling of two key decisions this year - one on telephone competition and another on the rules governing media ownership - and contrary to some published reports.
The interview began on the topic of telecommunication and high-speed internet services, both of which Powell says he remains committed to, before moving on to the issue of media regulation.
Asked about reaction to the FCC's new media regulations Powell responded, "I don't write the media rules. Congress writes the media rules. We implement them. So I believe the rules that we produced were a faithful reflection of what Congress had intended and what the courts held we were obligated to do."
He then continued, "I am not free to do whatever the hell I feel like, whether it be deregulating or regulating. I will be the first to concede I didn't see this kind of outrage coming."
To a question about producing a package of regulations that were more complicated than the "diversity good, concentration bad" argument of opponents Powell pointed out that the courts had reacted adversely to previously contradictory and incoherent FCC rules.
Powell also countered some of the criticisms of the way he worked by pointing to the amount of technical work done by the agency that was very important but did not get publicity and contrasted this with media regulation, which he described as a "very small part of our portfolio that touches the nerve of the public imagination."
He then noted that Congress had mandated a biennial review but concluded about media rules, "any chairman who has half a brain wouldn't touch this stuff if he could get away with it because it's so explosive."
"When I came along the luxuries were gone. I think I am the first chairman that lost discretion. It's like mandatory sentencing running the FCC now."
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-08-18: US independent advertising sales and marketing company Interep has now been delisted by the NASDAQ Stock Market and from today will be eligible for quotation on the OTC bulletin board.
Interep was given warning that it did not meet Nasdaq requirements for listing in June (See RNW June 4) and requested a hearing that delayed the delisting.
However reasons given by the company at the time to remain delisted were not accepted by the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel.
Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild commented of the decision, "While we are disappointed that the Panel has decided to delist us, we believe that the move to list our shares on the OTC bulletin board will not affect the overall value of our stock holdings, or our market growth," said Ralph Guild, Chairman and CEO of Interep. "We will continue to grow our business and meet with new and existing investors to increase our shareholder value."
2003-08-17: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators although in the US the freeze on station transactions imposed when new media regulations were introduced at the start of June has now been lifted.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has allocated to new community radio licence for the Blacktown area of Sydney to Blacktown City Community Radio SWR Association Incorporated (SWR FM).
SWR, which is offering a more varied community service than competitor applicant Western Community Radio Association Incorporated (West FM), which had also offered a general service but with more of a focus on multilingual broadcasting and youth.
The licence was originally advertised in February 2001 but a decision was then taken to delay allocation and it was re-advertised in March this year.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has again been involved in a number of licence renewals, particularly of religious stations in Quebec. In order of province, the renewals included:
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for CKER-FM, Edmonton.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for CKST-AM, Vancouver.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for CJSE-FM, Shediac, and its transmitter
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for CKFW-FM, Sorrell Lake.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for CHSC-AM, St. Catharines.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for CIUT-FM, Toronto.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for religious French-language VF8012, Gatineau (Hull).
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for religious French-language VF8005, La Patrie.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for religious French-language FM VF8010, La Tuque.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for religious French-language VF8014, Montmagny.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for religious French-language FM VF8011, Saint Georges Ouest.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for religious French-language FM VF8000, Sherbrooke (Rock Forest).
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for religious French-language FM VF8004, Woburn.
Renewal until August 31, 2010 of the licence for CHWA-FM, Watson Lake, and its transmitter VF2330 at Upper Liard.
There was nothing relating to radio from Ireland and in the UK the only action from the Radio Authority was to issue its assessment of the award of the award last month of the Reading and Basingstoke digital multiplex to GWR subsidiary Now Digital Limited. Now was the sole applicant and is proposing to launch with programme services, in addition to BBC Radio Berkshire (See Licence News May 25).
It comments that members thought the line-up "offered a good balance of established services, which between them catered for the musical interests of listeners of all ages. Local content will be provided by the two simulcast local services, and SBN on the access channel, which proposes to include locally produced student programming."
It notes that the local 2-Ten-FM service to be simulcast targets the under-40s with contemporary and chart music, together with the AM Classic Gold, also to be simulcast, and three digital only services -- Kiss and The Storm aimed at an under-35 audience and Saga that targets the over-50s - between them cater for the musical interests of listeners of all ages.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has now lifted the freeze on various station transactions that it imposed when it introduced its new media regulations at the beginning of June (See RNW June 16); it has also been involved with a number of penalties for technical offences and also denied an Entercom request to keep confidential material supplied in connection with an indecency complaint (See RNW Aug 12) and cut the penalty on an Ohio CB radio operator, who had caused interference, from USD 5,000 to USD 500.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site :
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-08-17: North American radio hoaxers seem to have had a good week last week; in Canada they fooled Formula One Racing boss Bernie Ecclestone into talking for eight minutes to someone he thought was Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and in the USA, Fox TV were fooled into thinking they were talking to California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger when in fact it was an impostor speaking.
The Canadian stunt came from Sébastien Trudel and Marc-Antoine Audette of CKOI- FM, Montreal, who managed to get through fairly easily to Ecclestone but found more difficulty in getting him to commit himself in any way about the status of the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix.
According to the Montreal Gazette, Ecclestone said he was not trying to "Blackmail" Canada about dropping the race --the first time he had effectively confirmed rumours about this - and then went on to ask whether there was any way the tobacco advertising exemption in Canada could be extended.
It said the supposed Prime Minister replied that Canadians were already angry, partly because of the dismal racing season of F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve.
"I don't know whether the problem is Jacques or what it is," Ecclestone replied. "I think he was grossly overpaid and was there just to take the money" and bogus Chrétien then began to ask about a possible job with F1 after his retirement in the fall.
Legislation banning any form of tobacco advertising, including logos on Formula One cars, comes into effect in Canada on Oct 1 and the Canadian government, although wanting to keep the race, is not likely to change the law.
The US stunt involved Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, The Regular Guys, of WKLS-FM, Atlanta, who set up a call from one of their friends, impersonator Josh Thompson, to Fox and Friends on the FOX News channel.
Thompson originally impersonated Schwarzenegger's press agent and convinced the shows producers who then went live to Thompson as Arnie.
He then promoted the radio show on the network, saying, "I think that it's important that you guys also listen to The Regular Guys in Atlanta because I think they're great!"
Montreal Gazette report:
Regular Guys web site:
2003-08-16: The power outage that hit much of the northeastern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario showed the value of radio as opposed to other media, with numerous examples of people in cities gaining thir news of events from portable and car radios.
Many stations, working on emergency generators, significantly departed from their formats to give news updates, sometimes taking them from TV services; the networks back-up systems worked and their feeds remained up and running although many people were unable to tune in because of absence of power for their TV sets.
A number of radio stations were inadequately prepared and went off the air, including all-sports radio WFAN-AM in New York although its sister station WCBS-AM, which has a separate transmitter, remained up and running as did the satellite radio operators.
New York-based Sirius went to back-up systems immediately the power was cut and XM is based in Washington, DC, which was not affected.
In Canada, CBC TV was out briefly but CBS's Radio 1 service was hit for an extended period although its CBC Radio 2 channel remained on air. Toronto FM's all broadcast from the CN Tower, whose back-up system ensured that those who managed to feed their signals to it remained on air but its AM stations had to rely on their own emergency power.
The outage also hit other forms of communication including mobile (cell) phone systems in areas where their towers are run from mains power and are not backed up and also landlines to many companies where the cut affected switchboard systems.
Newspapers were affected by the effects of the cut on their printing presses and their web sites, even if they remained operational - some papers sites went down and others opted for a more basic news-driven approach and trimmed features, were of use only to those in offices with emergency generators or with laptops and a working dial-up connection.
2003-08-16: XM Satellite Radio has now formally confirmed in its 10Q filing that it is preparing for a possible entry into the Canadian market via the Canadian Satellite Radio joint venture with John Bitove Jr. we reported on earlier this month (See RNW Aug 12). In its filing it says it "has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement contemplating the establishment of a joint venture entity that would be authorized to provide the XM service in Canada" referring to the agreement with John Bitove Jr. that we reported.
It adds that the joint venture "has begun the process of seeking authority from the Canadian government to provide satellite radio service in Canada" and adds that it "anticipates that the joint venture, once established, would be independently financed and would not require XM to commit capital to the venture."
XM also notes in the filing that it is still operating its terrestrial repeaters under a temporary licence on a "non-interference" basis; the licence expired in March last year and the repeaters have been operated since then until final determination of an extension request submitted a week before the expiry.
Terrestrial radio operators have challenged the permission and alleged that the repeaters may cause interference.
Previous Canadian Satellite Radio:
2003-08-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now ended the freeze on various station transactions that was announced on June 2 when new Media ownership regulations were published by the Agency.
It has now revised the relevant forms -- Form 301 to apply for a construction permit, 314 to assign a licence or CP, and 315 to transfer control of an entity holding a CP or licence.
The FCC also reduced from USD 5,000 to USD 500 on financial hardship grounds a proposed penalty on an Ohio man for use of an external radio frequency power amplifier ("linear amplifier") as part of his Citizens Band ("CB") radio station.
The FCC was brought into the case following complaints that the equipment operated by Frank Kluz, of Lancaster, Ohio, was causing interference to home electronics equipment, such as televisions, radios and telephones, in his neighbourhood.
According to a doctor who wrote on Kluz's behalf, because of mental problems Kluz was unable to understand and wilfully violate the rules.
A letter was attached from another doctor that said Kluz had "suffers from several medical conditions, including dementia and a possible brain tumour, and has poor reading comprehension."
Based on Kluz's own statement regarding operation of a linear amplifier and other information, the FCC rejected this argument but it accepted an argument of inability to pay and cut the penalty accordingly.
2003-08-16: A newsreader from state-run All India Radio took drastic action this week to press his pay claim; Bhaskar Vohra climbed a 100-metre (300 foot) high TV tower in central New Delhi and threatened to set himself on fire.
Police spent around three hours talking to him on his mobile phone before talking him into coming down from the tower; he said he had been fobbed of for around 18 months in his attempts to speak to India's information and broadcasting minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, about the issue of newsreaders pay of around 225 rupees (USD 5) a shift.
Vpohra wants this doubled and complained that freelance newsreaders, who could only work 12 shifts a month, also often had to wait four or five months to be paid.
Previous Indian Radio:
2003-08-15: Cox Radio has reported record second quarter revenues - up 1.2% on a year earlier to USD 115.2 million - and station operating income, which was up 0.7% to USD 46.5 million.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil commented that the "growth this quarter in net revenues and station operating income are the best radio results of the three largest radio operators, once again demonstrating our ability to grow revenues and market share in a challenging and uncertain economic environment."
"Excluding the results of WFOX-FM, " he added, "our recent start-up in Atlanta, our revenues for the quarter was up 2%. We are especially pleased that 11 of our 18 clusters delivered revenue growth that either matched or outpaced their respective markets. We look forward to a successful second half and remain focused on running our business with our consistent long-term focus."
Overall Cox profits for the quarter were up 3.4% to USD 18.1 million (18cents per share compared to 17 cents a year earlier) but Neil was cautious about prospects.
"While national business is strong, " he said, "visibility on local business continues to be a challenge. As a result, we remain cautious in our guidance for the third quarter and expect to deliver revenue growth in the 0% to 2% range. Our strong second quarter results combined with our success in the Spring ratings demonstrate the strength of our operations and provide a solid foundation for future success."
He was more positive about the longer term, telling a conference call that although things were currently "bumpy" he hoped the momentum being gained would set things up for a good start to 2004.
In California, the Southern California Broadcasters Association says the Los Angeles radio market has "held up fairly well as we move into the third quarter of 2003" and says the first six months of this year was pacing 10% ahead of 2002 and brought Los Angeles "its first $100 million month of revenue."
Overall it expects revenues, which were USD 950 million in 2002 to top USD 1 billion this year and says the recall and gubernatorial election will provide an additional windfall; in the last gubernatorial election media spending - broadcast and print - in Los Angeles alone was some USD 30 million.
In other US radio business, Delta Radio is reported to have agreed a USD 1.5 million cash sale of its Mississippi stations - four in Cleveland and two in Greenville- to MRS Ventures.
Southern California Broadcasters Association report (28kb PDF)
2003-08-15: Arbitron response, consent and return rates in its Spring 2003 survey all fell according to
a summary for all 287 markets measured in the survey that has just been released.
Overall, the average response rate (the percentage of the total eligible sample that returned a usable diary) dropped 1.6 points, from 35.3 last spring to 33.7. The return rate (the percentage of people who were sent a diary by Arbitron who returned a usable diary) dipped from 55.8 to 55.4 percent, and the consent rate (the percentage of eligible sample who live in households that said "yes" to keeping an Arbitron diary) was down 2.6 percent from last year, dropping from 62.7 to 60.1 percent.
However, the response rate stayed exactly the same, at 29 percent, in top ten markets. In those markets, Arbitron offers diary keepers in Black and Hispanic homes an additional cash bonus for returning a completed diary.
Arbitron is currently testing the impact of such cash incentives on a wider basis.
2003-08-15: The board of trustees of the Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina, has decided to delay until its regular meeting on August 26 any decision concerning the future of the college's classical music format WNCW-FM.
A number of broadcasters and community groups have expressed interest in purchasing the station since the college asked its president to look at the options for its future following a significant drop in income from its investments.
Asheville Citizen-Times report:
2003-08-15: The latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released yet again show AOL dominant, retaining its top network ranking and three of the top five station spots although MUSICMATCH kept top station spot.
For the week to August 3, Arbitron'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 (*NC) - TTSL 581,249 (544,310); CP - 188,099 (179,735). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: AOL Top Country (Internet-only) Country format (*C) - TTSL 286,137 (257,565); CP - 128,867 (106,462). Up from third with higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (*C) - TTSL 278,508 (269,166); CP - 53,640 (55,926). Down from second with lower listening and reach.
4: AOL Top Pop (Internet-only) Top 40 (*C) - 263,614 TTSL (252,784); CP - 174,130 (161,182), Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz format AOL Smooth Jazz (*C) - TTSL -258,874 (239,137); CP - 61,980 (55,872). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to August 3 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (*C) - TTSL - 6,075,423 (5,659,970); CP - 1,628,593 (1,513,480). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (*C) - 3,378,342 (2,692,144); CP - 699,670 (646,339). Same rank with higher listening and higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*NC) TTSL - 1,729,660 (1,664,531); CP - 409,391 (401,404). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (*SN) TTSL - 1,246,529 (1,162,165); CP - 133,659 (132,828) - Same rank with lower listening and higher reach.
5: Warp Radio (*SN) TTSL - 748,748 (751,939); CP - 121,934 (126,466) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-08-14: Spanish language US radio network Radio Unica has announced a 1% increase on a year ago in net revenues to USD 12.3 million for the second quarter of this year but broadcasting revenues were down 2% to USD 9.7 million and Unica's net loss was up from USD 5.1 million (24 cents a share) to USD 5.5 million (26 cents a share).
EBITDA, however, was up 115% to USD 300,000 from USD 100, 000 and EBITDA for its radio was converted from a negative USD 200, 000 a year ago to a positive USD 100, 000
For the first half of the year UNICA lost USD 12.9 million (61 cents s share) compared to USD 13.1 million (63 cents a share) a year earlier and revenues increased by 8% to USD21.9 million.
Unica, which opted to utilise the grace period for interest payments on its bonds (see RNW Aug 6) cancelled its post-results conference call but chairman and CEO Joaquin F. Blaya commented of the results that while they "were impacted by the soft advertising environment, we have continued to prudently manage our costs, as reflected in our 115% improvement in our EBITDA for the quarter."
"We continue to review all of our options for improving our capital structure and we are continuing discussions with our bondholders," he added. "We will make further announcements as information becomes available."
2003-08-14: A report on US satellite radio in the New York Daily News speculates that one of the companies, probably Sirius, could pick up the Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) show, dropped by Infinity after the Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral row, in an attempt to boost its subscriptions.
It quotes Robert Unmacht, long-time editor of the radio trade sheet M Street Journal, as saying, "I've always thought that's where they'd end up. It makes sense for them to be in a medium that's not under any FCC content regulations."
The report is mainly positive about the future for the services and says Unmacht thinks XM at least - with around 700,000 subscribers so far - may be close to ensuring survival: "I'm not sure what their break-even point on subscribers is," he said. "But when they hit a million, I suspect they aren't going away."
Unmacht said XM had not only got to market first but had done better at marketing and promotion and had a "huge advantage" because receivers were available in 500,000 GM cars.
He also suggested satellite could benefit by promotion to tap niches not served in a local market. "Take out ads in New York pointing out that on satellite radio you can get country, pop standards and '50s oldies," he suggested. "That's the real strength of their programming: It can serve many niches."
Previous Opie and Anthony:
New York Daily News report:
2003-08-14: Australian digital radio trials should start by the end of this year following a decision by the Willoughby City Council to approve a digital radio antenna on Willoughby Tower thus allowing the commencement of Sydney-wide trials.
Initially 100 listeners will be selected for a trial being organised by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), which is leading the project on behalf of the 10 commercial radio stations in Sydney and the two national services, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service.
CRA says installation of the new antenna will be carried out this month with transmitter and field installation then to follow; the initial 100 radio listeners will be selected on the basis of age, sex, demographics, geographic location, listening patterns and entertainment related technology use. As receivers with greater functionality become available, a trial of 500 listeners is planned.
The Sydney trials are likely to be followed by trials around the country in other metropolitan centres and in regional areas if the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) allocates the appropriate spectrum as requested by the Australian radio industry and CRA CEO Joan Warner said that once the Sydney trial was up and running they would "expect at least temporary allocation of the nominated spectrum to be forthcoming."
She added that the trial would be the "most comprehensive listener and advertiser driven test of this new technology undertaken anywhere in the world" and would "allow Australian listeners to experience the benefits of digital radio for themselves and will be critical in assessing what the "digital product" will be, and, which technology will work best for the Australian market."
2003-08-14: iBiquity Digital Corporation has announced an enhancement for its In-band on-Channel HD radio system developed in conjunction with Coding Technologies and termed HDC using the latter's Spectral Band Replication (SBR) to improve audio quality at low bit rates.
According to Milford Smith, chairman of the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) DAB Subcommittee, although there is some improvement for FM signals, the real benefit is for AM where it describes the improvement as "spectacular."
"Several months ago," he added, "the NRSC steering committee suspended the standard setting process for IBOC digital radio and requested that iBiquity find an effective solution to address our concerns. In my opinion, they have found that solution. Working in conjunction with my colleagues on the steering committee of the NRSC DAB subcommittee and its sponsoring organizations, we will give very serious consideration to resuming the standards setting process."
iBiquity president and CEO Robert J. Struble said they had been working behind the scenes for quite some time on HDC and believed "all of our commercialization partners will be thrilled with the audio quality of HD Radio. With the incorporation of HDC, our expectations are for a faster rollout amongst radio stations and receiver manufacturers."
2003-08-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has gone part of the way along the road with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and Saga Communications, who had filed a motion to extend the deadline for comment on the new market definitions announced in its new media regulations issued in June.
The FCC plans to replace contour-based definitions in most markets with definitions based on Arbitron markets and the NAB and Saga wanted to deadlines for comment and responses to comments, set at September 4 and 19th, extended to October 20 and November 19 respectively.
The petitioners said in their filing they needed more time to assess the impact of the options suggested by the Commission as well as to attempt to develop a market definition specific to radio and NAB has contracted with a consultant to study the Commission's options as well as others and requested additional time to accumulate and review the data.
The FCC says, "...the public interest would be best served by granting a brief extension" and has set the new deadlines at October 6 and 21.
In another FCC decision, an Oklahoma station owner has effectively lost three licences as a result of his handling of the acquisition of a third.
The FCC had been investigating the conduct of Ralph H. Tyler licensee of KTSH- FM, Tishomingo, Oklahoma, about possible misrepresentation or lack of candour concerning the operational status of KTSH and the amount paid to South Central Oklahoma Christian Broadcasters, Inc. for the construction permit for the station.
It has however now come to a deal and ended the investigation but Tyler loses the licence to the station and also has to divest his interests in two other stations - KOCY-AM and KWCO-FM, Chickasaw, Oklahoma.
The FCC in its ruling says that , "Based upon the record before us, and in light of Tyler's voluntary surrender of the KTSH( FM) authorization and acknowledgement of, and acceptance of responsibility for, his wrongdoing, we conclude that no substantial or material questions of fact exist as to whether Tyler possesses the basic qualifications, including those related to character, to hold, obtain, assign or transfer any FCC license or authorization."
Under a consent decree, Tyler agrees to surrender for cancellation the license for KTSH and to request the dismissal, with prejudice, of all of his applications and pleadings currently pending before the Commission regarding the station, including his application to modify the KTSH authorization to specify Tuttle as the community of license, to cease broadcast operations of KTSH when the order is adopted. He also agrees to divest his interests in the other two stations, which are owned by Tyler Enterprises, L. L. C
2003-08-13: Latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey show no change in the top Sydney rankings with second paced tallk network 2GB increasing share of listening whilst talk rival 2UE lost shareand fell a place to fifth rank..
DMG's Nova, maintained its lead with the 18-25 demographic but its share for their listening fell for the second month running -from 34.4 to 29.9; Austereo's 2-Day, second placed with this demographic, increased its share of their listening from 15.2 to 19.6.
Alan Jones retained the top breakfast slot for Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB but his share fell from 16 to 14.7; Steve Price at talk rival Southern Cross's 2UE also lost share -down from 8.6 to 8.0.
In the morning slot John Laws lost his top talk crown for 2UE as his share fell from 10.8 to 9.6 whilst 2GB took its share up from 9.7 to 11.2.
Over the country, Austereo saw its overall audience share drop slightly - from 27% of the 10 plus audience in the last ratings to 26.8% but it now has a slightly younger set of listeners; in the 18-24 demographic it increased its share from 46.2% to 47.1% but in the 25-39 demographic its share fell from 39.3% to 37.2%
City by city, the top three were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM - Same rank with 21.1 (23.9); 5AA -14.7 (14.3) - up from third; 5MMM - 13.5 (14.6) - down from second:
*Brisbane - B105FM - Same rank with 17.9 (17.8); NEW 97.3 FM with 13.4 (13.9)- up from third; Triple M with 12.9 (14.1) - down from second:
*Melbourne -3AW with 14.1 (15.9); ABC 774 with 12.3 (10.6) - up from fourth; Fox FM with 12.1 (12) - down from second; *Nova with 10.4 (10.8) was fourth, down from third:
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 21.5 (22.2) All New 92.9 with 12.3 (11.1)- same rank; 96 FM with 11.6 (10) - up from fourth; *ABC 720 with 9.8 (10.6)- fell from third to fifth:
*Sydney - 2-Day with 12.6 (11.4); 2GB 11.1 (10.9); Nova 10.3 (10.5) -No change in rankings; *2UE to fifth with share down from 8.5 to 7.9.
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-08-13: Ever since Samuel Smiles published Self-Help in 1859, there has been a significant market for those purporting to show the way to success and among the latest in the line are US radio hosts Jeff and Rich Sloan, founders of the StartupNation radio show that began in December last year in Detroit and Portland, Oregon.
In June this year the pair, who are featured in a New York Times report, launched the name as a multi-media web site operation as a resource for entrepreneurs and the radio show is to go into syndication next month.
Before the move into radio and onto the Internet, the companies had been in a variety of businesses including founding a venture development company and when that market became tougher they came up with the idea of marketing themselves as start-up specialists.
"Inventors of all stripes," reports the Times, "find their way onto the show's phone lines, from Bob Greczanik of Seattle, who described himself as an energy healer, to Jeff Goldblatt of Atlanta, creator of the Rejection Hotline, which provides phone numbers that jaded daters can give to unwanted suitors. "
"The Sloans pepper their callers with queries ("How are you protecting your idea?") and pep talk ("Now you're talking!"). They also have guests like Jill Blashack, chief executive of Tastefully Simple of Alexandria, Minnesota, which sells food through home parties. Each show ends with the line, 'Stop working for the man, and start it up!'"
Although for many the motivation may be largely money, according to the Sloans, although they enjoy material thins, the idea is not to hoard cash or live the good life: "Money for us is about security, freedom and choices, not material things," Jeff said.
New York Times report:
Startupnation web site:
2003-08-13: This year's inductees into the US Radio Hall of Fame are Singing cowboy Gene Autry, Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon, long time Los Angeles talk host Michael Jackson, Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin and veteran farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson of WGN-AM, Chicago.
The five are to be inducted at a ceremony on November 8 in the Chicago Cultural Centre.
Autry, now deceased, was originally a yodelling cowboy on KVOO-AM in Tulsa in 1930, moving on the to WLS National Barn Dance and then hosting the Melody Ranch on CBS Radio.
Samuelson has been WGN's director of agricultural services at WGN and host of its syndicated "U.S. Farm Report" since 1960.
2003-08-12: Citadel Broadcasting, reporting its first figures since it went public again (See RNW Aug 2) has reported second quarter revenues up 4.5% on a year earlier at USD 95.4 million, EBITDA, excluding non-cash stock compensation, up 12.7% to USD 39 million (Including non cash stock compensation it was up 23.1% to USD 36.8 million), and free cash flow up 46.6% to USD 23.6 million.
It turned an operating loss of USD 5.2 million into a profit of USD 1.5 million with an overall loss before taxes down from USD 21.2 million to USD 12.2 million and after tax up slightly from USD 18.295 million (19 cents per share) to USD18.954 million (20 cents per share).
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman, commented, "The Company is pleased with its record second quarter results. The Company was able to achieve revenue increases and double-digit EBITDA and free cash flow growth in a relatively difficult economic environment."
Looking ahead, Citadel says it expects revenue increases of approximately 4% and EBITDA increases of approximately 10% for the remainder of 2003.
2003-08-12: Australia's largest FM radio network, Austereo, has announced that its Chief Executive Brad March is resigning and is being replaced by the group's Chief Operating Officer, Michael Anderson, who had been overseeing the group's day to day operations.
March was with Austereo as Group General Manager of Programming for the Today Network from 1994 until 1996 when he became Group Director of Programming. He became a director of the group I Jun 1996 and was appointed as Managing director in December 1997.
Anderson joined Austereo as Sales Director of FOX FM in 1990 and was Group General Manager of Sales from 1991-1996 and then became Executive Director of Sales in 1997.
He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in an Austereo management reshuffle in May this year that created the role and also saw Group General Manager, Brian Bickmore appointed to the position of Managing Director Corporate Development & International Media.
His role is closely tied to Austereo expansion attempts that have already included the taking of holdings in radio operators in Greece (See RNW July 17, 2001) and the UK (see RNW Dec 4, 2000).
Austereo has been under pressure from competition from new competitors who have taken new commercial FM licences, particularly DMG's Nova Group, and has also been affected by the Australian government's defeat in attempts to ease cross-media regulation in the country in addition, radio in Australia has seen TV pick up most of the rebound in advertising in recent months.
There have also been suggestions that its majority shareholder Village Roadshow Ltd. that owns nearly 56% of the company, might sell part of its share in the company to ease its own financial problems (See RNW Aug 4).
2003-08-12: According to the Toronto Star, Canadian businessman and former Toronto Raptors owner and Olympic bid leader John Bitove Jr. and XM satellite radio are teaming up in a new venture, Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. (CSR), that plans to file an application with the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a satellite broadcast licence to bring a version of XM to Canadian listeners.
So far no satellite licence has been issued in Canada and CRTC spokesperson Denis Carmel told the paper, "It is a very significant development that satellite radio is coming to Canada."
"Consumers will be getting a greater choice of what they want to listen to, which will have an impact on the entire broadcasting market."
In the US both XM and rival Sirius, whose commercial service was launched later, have recently seen a surge in customers and the new venture could potentially boost XM.
According to the Star details of the plans will be included in XM's 10-Q quarterly update to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The paper notes that Canadian regulations require a non-Canadian company offering a radio broadcast service in Canada has to either establish a Canadian-based subsidiary or team up with a Canadian owned and controlled company. In this case Bitove's CSR would have control.
XM spokesperson Chance Patterson commented, "Since we already have a satellite footprint that extends deep into Canada, this provides a great opportunity to expand our business."
"As we move though the process with the CRTC they'll give us guidance as to the conditions of the license and other details."
It is not clear how far the new service will be subject to Canadian content rules and Stewart Lyons, one of the partners working with Bitove said, "When it comes to content, there are guidelines in place for a lot of other existing formats, but we are really breaking new ground here."
CSR, reports the paper, is working on forging relationships with existing Canadian broadcasters including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio and its French-language sister SRC, which means the satellite system may end up, as in the United States, carrying already-familiar programming. Sirius has also said it is interested in offering its service in Canada, but has so far not made any firm moves and the paper comments that the satellite companies may face more problems in Canada than in the US since two of their main selling points - advert free and high technical quality programming - is already on offer from the CBC,, especially in areas where its digital transmissions can be received.
As well as its Canadian plans, XM has now ordered a fourth satellite, XM4, from Boeing for delivery in late 2005; Boeing supplied XM's first two in-space satellites and a third ground spare but those in space have had problems with their solar arrays and will have a shorter life than expected.
All are 702 models and Alcatel Espace of France, which provided the Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) payload for the earlier satellites is also to provide the payload for XM4. The latest model will provide a number of upgrades and is designed to generate 18 kilowatts at the start of its life, reducing to 15.5 kilowatts at the end of its 15-year design life.
On the consumer front, it has also announced a new receiver package, the Roady, in conjunction with Delphi Corporation.
Priced at under USD 120, it is a pocket-sized receiver that connects into a vehicle stereo system. It weighs around five ounces (140 grammes) and has a display screen with options to show the name of the artist, song and channel currently being played.
Toronto Star report.
2003-08-12: Although they have a long way to go - and would almost certainly be off the air if they went anywhere near as far as right-wing US talk hosts have done in bias - the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has the same kind of problem with the two main radio hosts in the London area as the Democrats do in the US according to a report in the UK Guardian that refers to LBC morning host Nick Ferrari as colliding with the Mayor "with venomous intent."
Ferrari, notes the paper, was a former writer and executive on the Sun (tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation), which once described Livingstone as "the most odious man in Britain".
"With a tone reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh and the rightwing, anti-Clinton "shock jocks" in the US," writes Hugh Muir, "presenters such as Ferrari and Jon Gaunt, his rival at BBC London, cast themselves as the only ones willing to stand up to the liberal establishments in Whitehall and City Hall."
"Around the country, James Whale on TalkSport, Scottie McClue on the Edinburgh station Forth2 and James Stannage on Manchester's Magic 1152 follow the same line to varying degrees."
"They inhabit a world where they speak the truth, while others fudge and lie. They stand up for the ordinary man. Mostly, it so happens, that ordinary man is conservative, embittered and white."
After giving examples of policies of the mayor that Ferrari has vehemently opposed, says the paper, matters escalated after Ferrari was censured by the broadcasting standards commission for a show in March when he was responsible for "the programme's active reinforcement of prejudiced views about asylum seekers" (See RNW Aug 4 )
Livingstone picked up on the ruling and wrote to Ferrari's superiors asking what action they intended to take and Ferrari hit back on the air.
He told listeners he accepted the BSC's ruling but the mayor wanted him sacked and wanted to impose "boundaries" on his programme. Listeners then queued up to denounce the mayor for trying to stifle free speech, and, reports the Guardian, "even the two callers brave enough to tell Ferrari that he is "a bit racist" wanted no truck with a mayor apparently intent on stamping out dissent."
"The fact that Livingstone merely quoted the BSC when he referred to 'acceptable boundaries' Ferrari had crossed was neither here nor there," it continued. "Listeners had been called to the barricades. It was disingenuous (RNW comment - a kind but disingenuous description in our view) - and hugely entertaining radio."
The paper then makes comment about the rise of talk radio, commenting, "They all rely on the willingness of listeners to phone and interact - to let off steam against football managers, bureaucrats, asylum seekers, but above all their politicians. They can't be bothered to go to meetings, or to write to the council, or to vote once every four years, but they can dial a freephone number. They can seek comfort from a distant voice who will agree that everything is the fault of big government, trendy education or lax immigration controls."
"The rise of the political shock jock is another symptom of our ailing political process. They have been able to portray themselves as champions of the disgruntled and dispossessed. The void they fill exists because politicians have so palpably failed to do the job."
(RNW comment: Although not fans of most politicians, would feel the latter comment is half thought through. Some issues are complicated with a fine balance of judgment, often as to what is least worst, and the majority of people can't be bothered to go through the facts. Thus their prejudices and the seduction of seemingly straightforward answers can easily be manipulated, particularly by the bigoted dishonest - and in our view many talk hosts are just that. This pollutes politics and political discourse; the complicated question is where the best balance lies between freedom of expression and freedom to express bigotry and there are no simple answers to that one.)
UK Guardian report:
2003-08-12: Clear Channel has announced a re-organization of its regional radio regions that will add three new regions -- Central, Rocky Mountain and Northwest - to its existing seven and add three new senior vice-presidents although no names have been released.
Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan commented, "Clear Channel Radio has spent the last several years integrating stations into our unique, decentralized structure and we are focused on enhancing the value of those assets. In addition, these changes will enable us to increase our service to the communities we serve, as well as improve our client relationships."
"This is an enormous positive for the company and we are confident that this group will excel in the new regional organization and provide the best services to our listeners and customers."
COO Mark Mays said in a statement, "The radio industry has been in a state of evolution for the past several years and John Hogan has structured Clear Channel Radio to thrive in this environment. The introduction of this new regional organization will
help us to maximize the value of our current radio portfolio by converting increased ratings into revenue."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2003-08-12: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied a request to keep confidential material submitted by Entercom in relation to an indecency complaint and has also been busy with a number of penalties for technical offences.
The Entercom case involved an afternoon broadcast on February 6 this year by KNRK-FM, Camas, Washington; Entercom had included a compact disc recording of the material but requested that it be kept confidential on the basis that the Commission request for the recording of the hour of its station's programming that contained the material that is the subject of the complaint exceeded its authority and that the programming had not been available to anyone outside Entercom since the broadcast. The FCC, which requested the material to put the actual subject of the complaint into context, took the view that the broadcast itself put the material in the public domain and rejected the confidentiality request.
The penalties imposed were:
* Of USD 11,000 on Billy R. Autry, licensee of WKRA-AM, Holly Springs, Mississippi, for failure to enclose the station's antenna within an effective locked fence or other enclosure, operating with excessive power during post- sunset hours, and failing to discontinue operation at night.
A Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) issued in March this year had evoked no response, so the penalty was confirmed. Autry has also been given 30 days to submit a report outlining actions he has taken to correct the defaults.
*Of USD 3,000 to Farnell O'Quinn, licensee of WUFF, Eastman, Georgia, whose antenna was found to be around a third of a mile (0.5 Km) South/South-east of its authorized location. A penalty of US 4,000 was originally proposed and Quinn, who had subsequently filed to correct the coordinates, had argued against this on various grounds, saying the company had been given the coordinated by qualified engineers, was a small market station and thus could face financial problems, and on the basis of a past history of compliance. The Commission was provided no financial data but did reduce the penalty on the basis of a history of compliance.
*Of USD 3,000 to Best Country Broadcasting, LLC, owner on an antenna at Bogalusa, Louisiana, for failure to register it. No response had come to a notice issued in February and Best has been given 30 days to demonstrate that it has filed a registration application.
*Of USD 10,000 on Pinnacle Towers, Inc. for failure to clean and repaint an antenna in Des Moines, Iowa, so as to maintain good visibility.
A penalty of USD 20,000 - twice the base penalty of USD 10,000 because of a past history of violations - was originally proposed in July last year but Pinnacle in a response in August argued among other things that the penalty had not taken into account its recent bankruptcy filing and that its history of non-compliance with the painting rules was overstated and discriminatory against large tower owners (Pinnacle has 2,200).
No financial information was provided but the FCC did accept that the history of violations did not justify doubling the penalty and cut it back to the base USD 10,000.
2003-08-11: This week we have decided eschew further comment about media regulation - still continuing in the UK and US to consume a fair amount of print - in favour of comment about programmes, thus giving the BBC some extra publicity in part because its programmes can now normally be heard on the Internet for up to a week after transmission whereas those of most commercial stations cannot be picked up again on this basis and in a sense writing about them is often akin to a version of the torments of tantalus .
We will however leave that aspect of this report until later and start in the US with a New York Times report from Clea Simon about Transom, a web site founded to help people get their work onto US public radio. It was founded two years ago by the nonprofit group Atlantic Public Media and operates from Woods Hole, Massachusetts; according to its web director, the site averages from 3,000 to 4,000 page views per day.
It contains a number of sections with advice, including technical advice on equipment and technique, as well as reviews of various examples of work; it also has a feature of inviting submissions and each month posting one of them for others to listen to - and learn from.
Transom's founder and producer, Jay Allison, a 25-year radio veteran who also started WCAI and WNAN, the public radio stations serving Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket (now overseen by WGBH of Boston) commented, "Because public radio is a resource for us as citizens, it makes sense to have our participation. At Transom, we want the doors to be open and the tools of the trade available."
The article is in part pegged on the work of Ake Warga, who first started making tapes when working in Hollywood as a camera technician and began recording conversations with a friend who had joined the Peace Corps. He found the site some five years later when looking online for advice after a colleague asked for help recording an audio documentary about homeless people's pets.
Warga credits the site with teaching him how to use editing software and giving him peer feedback that allowed his work to improve and eventually to selling his stories to nationally distributed programs such as "This American Life," "The Savvy Traveler," and "The Next Big Thing".
Ira Glass, host of "This American Life" was among those appreciative of the benefits of the site, commenting both on the problems of developing new talent and the differences from when he began.
"When I was 19, I walked into NPR headquarters and talked my way into a job"- he said. "Now if you're young and you go to a radio station, they'll turn you into a news stringer.
"You're not going to learn to do stories that are emotional or funny or personally expressive."
And from an American project to help newcomers on the air to some UK comments on the return of an old-timer; in this case it is Noel Edmonds who is currently back on BBC Radio 2 after decades of absence from the radio and despite considerable wealth that has brought him varied business interests and a significant estate in Devon.
He's standing in for Johnnie Walker at drivetime for two months while the latter has treatment for cancer and his return sparked a profile in the UK Telegraph by Jan Moir who noted how he discovered the value of celebrity during trips to America in the 70's and subsequently not only became the first celebrity to make more than GBP 20,000 (USD 30,000) for a single personal appearance and then maximized his earning power by learning to fly helicopters so that he could make two or three appearances a day. He then added sponsorship for the helicopters and made even more.
As well as the return to radio, he is working on two television formats that he is keen to sell, and does not rule out presenting at least one of them. "I am very nervous. It's great to be back, but I hope I don't make a fool of myself with all the new equipment," he said.
According to Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times, Edmonds didn't muff it. "For someone who last did a radio show 20 years ago," wrote Donovan, "he was pretty good."
After speculating as to why someone in his position would bother with a radio comeback, Donovan comments, "at least one other Radio 2 broadcaster could, with profit, listen and take heed."
He then gives details of a "groveling apology" apology made to a Dorset publican who had objected to "to a long rant about his food and service made on Jonathan Ross's show last April, not by Ross himself, but by his sniggering producer, Andy Davies."
The point Donovan is making is not to do with the particular comments, he makes clear but because the show has "become a law unto itself, almost as Chris Evans did on Radio 1."
"Rules, guidelines and canons of good behaviour are largely ignored by Ross and his team, who know that the BBC will often turn a blind eye, providing he continues to haul in listeners," writes Donovan. "Davies felt he could say what he did, and at such length, because on this show anything now goes. Ross is heading out of control."
Donovan details some of Ross's objectionable comments - flippant comment about the tragedy in which 58 illegal Chinese immigrants died in a boiling-hot lorry, jokes about Romanian orphans and stroke victims, date rape, hospice patients and mentally impaired people and also for on-air product plugs
Donovan notes that Ross has been rebuked but "carries on as before because he knows he can get away with it."
"Why, " he concludes, "should anyone care about a few complaints when 3m are listening to one of the wittiest men in broadcasting? And yet, as shown by Edmonds (and Wogan, Wright and Maconie), it is possible to be innovative and funny without constant recourse to smut or onanistic obsession. Rules are not rules if they apply only to most and not to all."
(RNW comment - Maybe the answer should be a reference to Opie and Anthony; Maybe Ross, like them, will one day, step so far over the line as to find himself out of the game!).
Finally the BBC programme we alluded to earlier; it's another BBC Radio 4 documentary which like the edition of Archive Hour we referred to last week, may not have been as "entertaining " as Ross but certainly was compelling.
To quote Sue Arnold's review of "Pipeline Politics" in the UK Observer, "File on 4", I confess, is not a programme I review often, grounded in gravitas and steeped as it invariably is in statistics. This one, Pipeline Politics, especially, I thought, would be the audio equivalent of one of those dreary business-section supplements whose columns of grey print are broken only by even greyer mugshots of CEOs. How wrong could I be? "
"This was Machiavellian intrigue at its quintessential best. It could have been called Caucasus Cabaret with the voices of double-bluffing diplomats, wheeler-dealer oilmen and wily politicians giving the sort of performances you'd pay to see on the Edinburgh Fringe."
After reviewing the way in which the US, massively dependent on foreign oil, has started to look for safe sources outside its traditional major suppliers - Saudi Arabia and Venezuela - she looked at the politics behind the development of Azerbaijani supplies and the need for a safe pipeline to get it rather than using existing routes through Russia and Iran of which, as Arnold notes, "along with oil they carry political agendas."
"Radio," comments Arnold, "is the perfect medium for investigative reporting because voices, literally, say it all. Print can be flat, television lurid, but the timbre of a voice encapsulates the character."
"My favourite was Vafa Gulizade, one-time policy adviser to the Azeri President, who sounded exactly like Tom Lehrer's plagiarising mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky. 'Azerbaijan used to report to Politburo in Moscow,' he said. 'Now it reports to President at Politburo in Washington.' "
"If I had been reporter Maurice Walsh, I doubt I could have kept a straight face."
New York Times - Simon:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Telegraph - Moir:
Transom web site:
2003-08-11: The lack of attention paid to BBC Radio 3, and in particular its classical music content, is brought up by the UK Sunday Times radio columnist Paul Donovan in an article that also has some useful titbits about the classical music that makes it to air in the UK at the moment.
He pegs the article on the fact that the UK's longest-running classical music programme, Composer of the Week, is 60 years old this week but the anniversary is not mentioned in the BBC listings magazine, The Radio Times, and the channel itself is not marking the diamond jubilee until next month.
Then, noted Donovan, "it does so by moving it from 9am to noon and reinstating its late-night repeat in response to what its controller, Roger Wright, calls 'many listener requests"'.
"The press, too, tends to ignore it," continues Donovan. "There are a mere 298 newspaper articles on it in our library, compared with, say, 2,636 for Desert Island Discs and 4,526 for The Archers.
And yet it really is worth celebrating, this robust flagship that sails the seas of the world's great music and anchors itself in the work of a different composer every week. Donald Macleod, usually solo, sometimes with a guest, traces influences, offers entertaining vignettes, and plays the composer's evolving output over five mornings each week."
Donovan then goes into statistical mode and, collaborating with a music graduate from London University since the BBC's computerised records only go back 70 years, created a top 20 for the programme's 60 years with the aid of hundreds of old copies of Radio Times in the Westminster public reference library.
Bach tops the list, followed by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Handel, a list that Donovan notes is similar to the rankings for performances at the South Bank Centre in London - Mozart, Bach, Schubert (sixth on the Donovan list), Handel, Haydn, and Beethoven.
Nicholas Kenyon, director of the Proms and former controller of Radio 3, commented, "The fascinating thing about this list that however much the repertory expands, the central composers whose importance we all value stay the same."
He explained some glaring absences thus: "Composer of the Week is a very specific format and, therefore, there are famous composers who do not feature at all - Mahler, Bruckner, Wagner and Shostakovich, who feature prominently in Proms programmes, but didn't write works that fit easily into the Composer of the Week framework."
UK Sunday Times report:
UK Sunday Times - Top 20 list.
2003-08-10: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with a low level of activity almost everywhere.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has varied its plans for the Innisfail licence area in Queensland to make a frequency available for a new open narrowcasting service in Tully, to be auctioned in the first half of next year, and also to make extra capacity available for commercial channels 4KZ and 4ZKZ.
The former will now gain extra frequencies to operate on AM in Tully and FM in Cardwell with an increase in operating power to 300 W, Murray Falls, and Hinchinbrook.
4ZKZ will gain FM frequencies in Hinchinbrook and East Palmerston.
The ABA is also proposing to make additional frequencies available for commercial radio service 4RBL and associated service 4BRZ in the Remote North East Zone licence area, also in Queensland.
4RBL would gain new channels at Inglewood and Texas and alternate channels at Childers/Gin Gin, Beaudesert, Canungra and Kilcoy whilst the associated 4BRZ service would gain frequencies at Childers/Gin Gin, Stanthorpe, Inglewood, Texas and Kilcoy and alternate technical specifications available at Beaudesert and Canungra. Comment on the proposed changes has to be submitted by August 21.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has mainly been involved in licence renewals although it also authorised some new stations.
In order of province, activities included:
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CFFR-AM Calgary.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CKIS-FM, Calgary, and its transmitters CHRK-FM-1, Banff, and CHRK-FM-3, Invermere, British Columbia.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CHLB-FM, Lethbridge.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CFMG-FM St. Albert.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CFRN -AM, Edmonton.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CHRB-AM, High River.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CHQT -AM, Edmonton.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CBC Tourist/Weather/Traffic information/Environment Canada station, CBPI-FM-1 Waterton Lakes National Park.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CKNW-AM, New Westminster.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CBC Tourist/Weather/Traffic information/Environment Canada station, CBPK-AM, Revelstoke.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CBC Tourist/Weather/Traffic information/Environment Canada station, CBPZ-AM, Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CBC Tourist/Weather/Traffic information/Environment Canada station, CBPM-AM. Sicamous
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for Type A community radio CIMS-FM, Balmoral, and its transmitter CIMS-FM-1, Dalhousie.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for the religious French-language station CFNT-FM, CILA-FM Cookshire-Eaton (Cookshire).
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for French-language Type B FM community radio station VF7002 Newcastle (the originating station) and its temporary transmitters at Baie Ste-Anne, Néguac and Rogersville.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for Type A native radio station CFNT-FM, Tobique Indian Reserve
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CFBG-FM, Bracebridge.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for campus/instructional station CIOI-FM, Hamilton.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CFOS-AM, Owen Sound and its transmitter CFPS-AM, Port Elgin.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CKLP-FM, Parry Sound.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CJCS -AM Stratford.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for religious English-language station, VF8016 St. Thomas.
Licence renewal until 30 June 2004, for low-power radio station, CHEV-AM, Toronto.
Approval of new Type A community French-language 49 watts FM in Tête-à-la-Baleine, Quebec.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for French-language religious radio station VF8003, La Guadeloupe.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for French-language predominantly religious radio station CIRA-FM Montréal
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for French-language religious radio station VF8006, Piopolis.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for French-language religious radio station CJRF-FM, Sherbrooke (Bromptonville).
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for French-language religious radio station VF8009, Windsor.
Licence renewal until Aug 31, 2010 for CKBR-FM, Dillon.
Ireland was quiet as far as radio was concerned and the UK was not much busier; there the Radio Authority has authorized extensions for the coverage area of two stations in Southern England, Delta FM, which operates in Alton and Haslemere, and Spirit FM, which covers Chichester, Bognor Regis & Littlehampton.
Delta's area now includes Petersfield and Spirit's includes Midhurst through the addition of relay transmitters.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) has come under attack from Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps for inaction over indecency offences (See RNW Aug 9); it did take some enforcement actions though but these were on the technical side where it fined a New York pastor for operating a pirate transmitter and Infinity radio for broadcasting a phone call without informing the other party of its intention (See RNW Aug 6).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site :
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-08-10: Univision stock ended Friday 13% up at USD 32.96 after it reported profits nearly doubled at USD41.6 million (16 cents per diluted share for the second quarter compared to USD 22.2 million (9 cents per diluted share) a year earlier but revenues were down 1% to USD320.2 million from USD 322.8 million in 2002 when Univision benefited from soccer World Cup income.
Of its divisions, TV operations fared worst with revenue down 4.5 % to USD 287.9 million but its music division showed a 53% increase from USD 19.0 million to USD 29.1 million and Internet had a 6.7% increase to USD 3.2 million.
Chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio, described the quarter as "very solid" with "strong operating income growth, again underscores the strength of our businesses and the unique
growth attributes which fuel them."
For the third quarter, Univision expects net revenues and operating income before depreciation and amortization to increase by mid teen percentages.
Its report made no comment concerning its takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC), which is expected to gain regulatory approval soon.
Still with Spanish media in the US, Radio Unica has announced that it has cancelled
its second quarter 2003 earnings conference call, scheduled for Wednesday, August 13, although it will still release its results that day. Earlier this month it said it was using the grace period to pay interest due on its bonds but would pay them by the September 2 due date (see RNW Aug 6) and it commented that it is in continued discussions with its bondholders and will make further announcements when the information is available.
2003-08-10: A November 2002 edition of the Phil Hendrie Show, who is syndicated by Premiere Networks, has been found in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics because it contained abusive or unduly discriminatory remarks about Italians.
In its ruling the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) said that Hendrie's comments in relation to the reported cloning of a human baby by an Italian doctor that "some wop made a baby" and subsequent self-exculpatory remarks including the comment that "Of course I use the word "wop", "guinea". I don't know if you can understand this, but there's no, really, any real offence intended" were in breach of the code.
The show was carried by CKTB-AM, St. Catharines, Ontario, which had said that "Hendrie was taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to contemporary social issues and that he was criticizing the doctor's actions, not his ethnicity."
The CBCSC Ontario panel commented that, "the remarks were unduly discriminatory, while being based on ethnicity: 'If, as suggested by the broadcaster, the host was 'attempting to show his disgust with the doctor's actions, not making social comment on his ethnic background, there can be no doubt but that he failed miserably.'"
2003-08-09: After a flat May, June radio revenues have given a "glimpse of the recovery that is anticipated for the second half of the year" according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Compared to June 2002, overall revenues were up 4%, local revenues were flat, and national advertising, which was up 4% in May, rose 16%.
Year to date figures showed overall revenues up 3%, national up 7% and local revenues up 1%.
RAB's index, which sets pre-dot com boom 1998 as a base of 100, was 133.5 for June with the local index at 134.4 and the national index was 126.6; For the year to date the figures were 137.6, 135.0 and 142.7 respectively.
RAB president and CEO Gary Fries said the June figures demonstrated "Radio's stability even in an uncertain economic environment. "
"Local business has been delayed by concerns over the economy and global affairs, but has held steady. All indicators point to growth and recovery for the 3rd and 4th quarters."
Previous RAB monthly figures:
2003-08-09: Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC), which is soon expected to be taken over by Univision, reported strong figures for the second quarter of this year with revenues up 12.9% to USD 77.4 million, EBITDA up 35.3% to USD27.4 million and profits up 24% to USD12.9 million (12 cents per diluted share compared to nine cents a year earlier).
It notes that but for expenses relating to the Univision deal of USD 2.4 million in the quarter it would have made a profit of USD 14.9 million (14 cents a share).
Hispanic attributed the revenue rises primarily to a revenue growth for non start-up stations of USD 6.1 million and from start-ups (stations acquired, programmed under a time brokerage agreement or reformatted from the last nine months of 2001 onwards) of USD 2.5 million.
For the third quarter Hispanic says it expects revenue growth of 10.13% over 2002 Q3 with EBITDA in the range of USD25-27 million compared to EBITDA in Q3, 2002, of USD23.9 million after excluding USD 600, 000 of merger costs
Regent Communications also had a strong quarter with broadcast revenues for the second quarter up 24.3% to USD 21.5 million over a year ago, station operating income up 22.6% to USD 14.1 million and a profit up 11.8% to USD 1.9 million (4 cents a share each quarter).
Same station revenues showed up much more weakly with broadcast revenues from 0.9% to USD 16 million and station operating income up 1.5% to USD 5.8 million.
Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs commented, "Our bottom line results exceeded expectations despite the challenging economic and advertising environment."
"Given current market conditions, we are operating our stations as efficiently as possible, while prudently investing in our programming, sales and marketing resources."
"While we are disappointed with the pace of the advertising recovery thus far, we believe we are taking the right steps to maximize our results today, while positioning our stations to fully benefit as the advertising market rebounds. We have continued to convert our strong ratings into market leading revenue shares at the majority of our clusters."
"...our start-up and developing stations, which represent 60% of our portfolio, are progressing according to plan. All of these trends highlight our commitment to developing and operating leading middle and small market radio stations and delivering growth in shareholder value over the long term."
For the third quarter, Regents says it expects broadcast revenues from USD 21.6 to USD 22.1 million and station operating income from USD 6.4 to USD 6.8 million with earnings per share of approximately 4 cents.
2003-08-09: Digital radio is fast developing into a mass market product in the UK according to high street retailers and the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau; A survey by the Dixons/Currys chain shows that it is now getting around half of its radio receiver income from digital and supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's are to stock digital radio receivers.
DRDB Chief Executive Ian Dickens commented recently, "The fact that two of the UK's key supermarket brands have seen the potential for DAB digital radio is a clear sign that the transition from early adopter to mass market take up, is underway."
"The recent promotional campaign from the BBC and commercial radio stations resulted in a dramatic consumer response, which is expected to be repeated in the golden sales quarter of Christmas. Both Tesco and Sainsbury's will be ready to capitalize on this valuable new market, as they join the digital revolution."
The DRDB says that in the UK in the last 12 months, the number of retailers stocking DAB digital radio has grown from 600 to over 3,000
The growth in digital take-up was also brought to the fore on Thursday at the annual general meeting of UBC Media, the company that owns national digital radio stations One Word and Classic Gold; its chief executive Simon Cole commented that consumers had responded with enthusiasm to the launch of affordable DAB digital radios
Cole also has some positive news for UBC over advertising sales, noting that after being behind the industry at the start of this, there had "been a sharp recovery in commercial airtime sales in both June and July, which gives me greater confidence about prospects for the commercial airtime sales division for the rest of the year."
The UK has seen an increasing number of "affordable" digital radio receivers come on the market, a number of them below GBP 100 (USD 160) and this week Perstel launched the UK's first sub-£100 handheld digital radio; it is available exclusively at Dixons and Currys.
The Perstel BlueNote is smaller than an audio cassette and features a landscape design with a telescopic aerial. It has a headphone socket and a four-line full graphic LCD screen, which can display programme guides, station information and news headlines depending on the radio station.
Perstel had already put its Adapt DR-101 DAB/FM radio receiver on the market, a model around the size of a small mobile phone, priced at GBP169 (USD 270).
In Canada, however, digital it still struggling according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen.
It says the technology sounded great when General Motors in 2001 announced plans to make Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) receivers standard or optional equipment in a number of its models to be sold in Canada but so far not a single DAB-equipped vehicle has left the factory.
Currently a receiver in Canada costs around CAD 700 (USD 500) upwards and the report says that a check with auto dealers showed no demand for it although some Nissan models come with DAB buttons on the dash.
The report also notes the slow take-up of digital among Canadian commercial broadcasters (The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is broadcasting in digital) with only around 65 DAB stations around Canada: in the UK take-up was fostered by a policy of automatic renewal of analogue licences for stations providing a service on a digital multiplex (RNW note-maybe another reason to stop the automatic renewals of licences so that pressures can be brought by governments and regulators in some areas of development).
Canada's take-up of the technology has also been stymied by a requirement that digital broadcasts be simulcast on either FM or AM, although one Toronto station has recently been granted a DAB-only licence, and the potential availability of US satellite radio stations (RNW note: In the UK, regulatory policy specifically encouraged the provision of extra services on digital multiplexes).
Ottawa Citizen report:
2003-08-09: Almost a year after the "Sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral" incident that led to the axing of syndicated Infinity's New York Opie and Anthony Show ( hosted by Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) after many complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (See RNW Aug 20, 2002), Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps has attacked the FCC for inaction over the matter.
"Nothing has changed over the past year in the FCC's enforcement of the indecency laws," Commissioner Michael Copps said in a statement. "When we allow complaints to languish for a year, the message is loud and clear that the FCC is not serious about enforcing our nation's laws."
"Congress expected action from the FCC, but all too often our citizens' complaints are ignored. I wonder when the FCC will finally take a firm stand against the 'race to the bottom' as stations continue to push the envelope of outrageousness even further."
He also attacked the FCC for what he felt was a low penalty imposed on Infinity for indecency offences on the Deminski and Doyle show on WKRK-FM, Detroit (See RNW April 4), saying, "Recently, the FCC proposed a mere USD 27,500 fine against another station owned by this same company - on WKRK- FM in Detroit - after it aired some of the most vulgar and disgusting indecency that the Commission has examined."
"Nothing has changed over the past year in the FCC's enforcement of the indecency laws. And at the same time, the Commission's actions have ensured that things will get even worse."
Copps also said new media regulations passed on a majority vote by the three Republicans on the Commission would lead to more indecency on US airwaves, commenting, "Instead of enforcing indecency laws, the FCC recently rewarded giant station owners by dismantling the FCC's media concentration protections."
" It stands to reason that as media conglomerates grow ever bigger and control moves further away from the local community, community standards go by the boards. It is a time to increase, not diminish, our vigilance and our enforcement of the law."
Opie and Anthony, who are still being paid by Infinity under their contract, have not worked since their show was dropped by Infinity's WNEW-FM, New York, and Westwood One's ended syndication of the show.
On their website that say they are "doing just fine", adding, "We're bored S-less but doing fine. You should hear the unbelievable radio shows we have been doing for each other over the phone...we're so pathetic!"
As to when they might be back on air, they say, "We just don't know at this time. We have been kept completely in the dark since the demise of the show."
"We know for a fact that we will return BIGGER and BETTER than before. It's still unclear as to when and how that is going to happen. My phone could ring tomorrow with the news that this nightmare is over, and then again it might not. I estimate that at the worst, we'll be in exile for another ten months."
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Opie and Anthony web site:
2003-08-09: Clear Channel says the lawsuit filed against it and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) by Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has now come to an end.
The original suit claiming violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, unfair practice and defamation - and damages of USD 500 million that could be trebled under anti-trust laws - was dismissed with prejudice on January 31 (See RNW February 2), and now the plea for reconsideration has been dismissed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
In its quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Clear Channel says the court's ruling concludes the case in the district court; it also says in the report that it is co-operating fully with the US Department of Justice over two separate anti-trust inquiries concerning the company.
One of these concerns allegations of violation of anti-trust laws in a radio market and the other that it has limited airplay of artists who do not use its concert services in violation of antitrust laws.
Previous Clear Channel:
Clear Channel quarterly report filing (302 Kb PDF: Section concerning recent legal proceedings is on P10).
2003-08-08: There were mixed results from strong to fairly static in the US second quarter figures released Thursday including those from Entravision, NextMedia, Radio One Inc and Saga.
Spanish-language broadcaster Entravision reported revenues up 13% to USD 64.1 million with radio revenues up 15% to USD 23.5 million and turned a loss of USD 4.4 million in the second quarter of 2002 (6 cents a share) to a profit of USD 1.2 million this year (1 cent a share).
Broadcast cash flow from Entravision's radio operations was up 41% to USD 8.8 million and overall BCF was up 25% to USD 24.7 million.
Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa commented, "Our second quarter revenue and cash flow growth was among the strongest in the media industry, highlighting our improving fundamentals and the exceptional strategic position of our assets. Audience delivery at our television stations, including our TeleFutura stations, remains very strong, and we believe that we are well positioned to continue to grow our television business above the industry average in the second half of the year."
"Ratings at the majority of our radio stations have continued to improve and the performance of our six-station cluster in Los Angeles, including our new formats, is exceeding our expectations. In addition, we experienced robust demand at our outdoor division, bolstered by significant occupancy increases in New York and Los Angeles."
Ulloa noted the sale of Entravision's publishing business, saying it "reflects our decision to focus exclusively on our television, radio and outdoor operations, while the proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce our debt."
"Given our diversified asset base in the nation's most densely populated Hispanic markets and our improving operating fundamentals, we remain very well positioned to drive shareholder value," he said.
Denver-headquartered NextMedia Inc. reported net revenues up 7.4% to USD 27.7 million and operating income up 20% to USD 6 million for the quarter. The company cut its net loss from USD5.2 million for the year ago quarter to USD 3 million this year but notes that the figure last year included a loss of USD 3.3 million related to the sale of Panama City radio assets.
On a pro forma basis, net revenue was up 0.7% to USD 27.7 million, BCF was up 7.8% to USD11.1 million and Adjusted EBITDA was up 7.4% to USD 8.7 million.
For the third quarter it is forecasting net revenue between USD27.8 million and 28.2 million, BCF will be between USD10.3 million and 10.8 million, and Adjusted EBITDA will be between USD8.3 million and 8.5 million.
Carl Hirsch, Executive Chairman, and Steven Dinetz, President and CEO of NextMedia stated, "Despite the lacklustre advertising market during the second quarter, we continued to implement our growth strategy. While our radio revenues were flat, we believe our leading market positions will enable us to grow revenue and Broadcast/Billboard Cash Flow, or BCF, when advertising conditions improve.
Urban specialist Radio 1 Inc. had broadcast revenues up 1% on a year earlier at USD 80.9 million with advertising revenue up 2% but special events and non=traditional revenues down 13% as "less profitable revenue-generating events were terminated or downsized."
EBITDA was almost flat at USD 40.2 million but net income was up 19% from a year earlier at USD15.7 million (15 cents a share) and free cash flow was up 25% to USD 22.5 million.
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said the quarter was "even more difficult than the first quarter of 2003, as the war had a negative impact on advertisers' buying decisions and industry pricing throughout the period."
"Nevertheless," he added, "Radio One managed to grow its revenue in the face of this difficult environment and results were above the mid-point of our revenue guidance for the second quarter."
"It is also important to note that underperformance relative to market growth at our Houston stations resulted in an approximate 150 basis point reduction in our overall revenue performance. We are focused on correcting the problems at our Houston properties and believe that the worst of that market's performance is now behind us."
Radio One is forecasting third-quarter increases in broadcast revenues of 1% to 4% on 2002.
Saga Communications reported revenues up 6.8% over a year earlier quarter to USD31.8 million with net income up 15.4% to USD 4.2 million (20 cents a share) including a gain of USD357, 000 primarily due to the sale of WVKO-AM in conjunction with the acquisition of WODB-FM in Columbus, Ohio without which the rise in net income would have been 5.7%.
Station operating income was up 3.6% to USD 11.3 million in the quarter and free cash flow was up 4.1% to USD 5.2 million.
Same station revenues were up slightly - some 0.3% to USD 29.3 million and same station operating income was up 2.1% to USD 11 million.
Saga says it expects third-quarter revenues to be in the range USD 31-32 million with station operating income of USD11.5 to 12.5 million and full-year pro-forma revenues and station operating income to be flat to 2% up.
Previous Radio 1 Inc.
2003-08-08: XM Satellite radio has reported a total of 692,253 Subscribers at the end of June - 43% up from the first quarter - but it also disappointed investors by reporting a larger than anticipated loss of USD 161.9 million, up 38% on the loss of USD117.2 million a year earlier; the per share figure was the same at USD 1.38 following the issue of new shares as part of refinancing.
Revenues were up more than four-fold at USD 18.3 million compared to USD 3.8 million and they helped reduce the EBITDA loss buy USD 8.3 million although after taking into account a USD19.4 million non-cash accounting charge for de-leveraging activities and a USD6.0 million non-cash stock-based compensation charge, XM's overall EBITDA loss was up 21.7% to USD95.8 million compared to USD78.7 million in the second quarter of 2002.
XM says it was also helped by a reduction in the cost of attracting a new subscriber from USD591 in the second quarter to 2002 to USD 160 this year.
As well as adding nearly 210,000 new subscribers, XM also announced that General Motors had now rolled out the 500,000th car including factory-installed XM and said this number was expected to top a million by the end of March next year.
XM says it now has XM had total cash and cash equivalents of USD345.9 million and undrawn credit and equity facilities from GM of USD114.4 million.
There was bad news from XM, however, concerning its satellites. When they were launched in2001 they were supposed to work until around 2018 but solar panel defects mean they may only have a useful life until 2008 and XM's insurers have rejected a USD 400 million claim made by the company.
Because of the problems, XM will have to launch its spare satellite next year and buy another spare in 2005 at a cost of around USD 320 million; XM says it has funds to launch the spare satellite but not to buy a new spare unless it can get an insurance settlement or raise alternative finance.
Commenting on the results, XM President and CEO Hugh Panero noted that XM's second-quarter performance was highlighted by strong subscriber growth and said it remains on track to reach cash flow breakeven in late 2004.
"XM continues to show significant progress in adding subscribers, controlling costs and achieving key operational milestones," Panero said. "By the end of the third quarter, XM Radio will be rapidly approaching one million subscribers, a major milestone for satellite radio."
XM's shares fell 23% on Thursday to end at USD 10.19; its rival Sirius, which reported its figures a day earlier (See RNW Aug 7), also saw a fall, of 10.5% to USD 1.53.
2003-08-08: The Univision takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) seems set to be approved this month but probably along a party-line vote if leaks from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are correct.
According to the Washington Post, all three Republicans on the commission - chairman Michael K Powell and Commissioners Kathleen Q. Abernathy and Kevin J. Martin - are in favour but Democratic commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps have yet to make up their mind and may still wish to impose conditions on the deal, which has already received Department of Justice anti-trust approval subject to reduction of holdings in Entravision.
Univision and HBC in the meantime has been garnering support for the deal amongst Hispanic groups to counter opposition expressed by competitors and various Hispanic groups.
It announced that it had gained support from a number of groups including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Media Coalition and National Puerto Rican Coalition, and the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA).
Univision chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio said the companies were "gratified to have received such broad support from a wide range of respected organizations within the Hispanic community" and added, "Combining the resources of Univision and HBC will allow us to build on the existing efforts of both companies to provide the highest quality service, information and entertainment to Hispanic America."
HBC chairman and CEO Mac Tichenor, Jr. said: "This pro-competitive merger is an important milestone that will level the playing field and usher in a new era in which Spanish-language media companies will be able to compete for audiences and advertising dollars on a more equal footing against the large English-language conglomerates."
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Washington Post report:
2003-08-08: India domestic media groups, acting under the umbrella of the Indian Media Group (IMG), has asked Prime Minister Vajpayee to make its media guidelines tougher, in particular in relation to foreign investment by Rupert Murdoch's Star News.
The Financial Express reports that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said that the law will be implemented "in letter and spirit" but refused to go into details and flatly refused a request to give specific directions, or even advise Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on what he should be doing about Murdoch's Star News.
The IMG group called for a uniform media policy covering all media with Aroon Purie of India Today saying, "The same norms should apply for print and electronic media."
Bennett, Coleman managing director Vineet Jain protested that Murdoch's radio and television channels were "cleverly violating" India's laws and said that in radio companies with a paid up capital of a few thousand rupees were running advertising expenses worth tens of millions times that.
The group gained no specific commitments and Prasad commented, "We cannot cage technology by a uniform media policy." He said he favoured an expansion-friendly policy, and he wants to be a facilitator for both print and electronic media."
The IMG group also raised the issue at a further meeting with Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and other ministers at which Advani defended his government's decision not to have taken a macho stand over Murdoch's channel. "We don't want to be embarrassed in the courts," he said
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Financial Express report:
2003-08-08: It was yet another week of no changes for the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released with MUSICMATCH retaining its top station spot and AOL the top network ranking.
For the week to July 27, Arbitron'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 (*NC) - TTSL 544,310 (533,189); CP - 179,735 (173,594). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (*C) - TTSL 269,166 (291,861); CP - 55,926 (58,119). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3 AOL Top Country (Internet-only) Country format (*C) - TTSL 257,565 (278,003); CP - 106,462 (114,942). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: AOL Top Pop (Internet-only) Top 40 (*C) - TTSL 252,784 (276,034); CP -161,182 (177,262), Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz format AOL Smooth Jazz (*C) - TTSL - 239,137(261,157); CP - 55,872 (60,378). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to July 27 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (*C) - TTSL -5,659,970 (6,169,899); CP - 1,513,480 (1,617,260). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (*C) - 2,692,144 (2,713,048); CP - 646,339 (638,298). Same rank with lower listening and higher reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*NC) TTSL -1,664,531 (1,627,072); CP - 401,404 (390,411). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (*SN) TTSL - 1,162,165 (1,163,329); CP - 132,828 (125,862) - Same rank with lower listening and higher reach.
5: Warp Radio (*SN) TTSL - 751,939 (764,169); CP - 126,466 (125,172) - Same rank with lower listening and higher reach.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-08-07: In more US second quarter results, Cumulus Media has shown a revenue increase but Spanish Broadcasting System and Westwood One each reported revenue declines.
Cumulus reported revenues up 7% on last year to USD 74.5 million in the first quarter, fuelled primarily by gains at recent acquisitions but overall it went into a loss of USD 1.2 million (2 cents a share) compared to a profit of USD 5.42 million (9 cents a share) a year earlier.
The figure included losses of USD 11.1 million on the extinguishment of debt including redemption of USD 88.8 million of 10 3/8% Senior Subordinated Notes and the retirement of the Company's existing $175.0 million eight-year term loan facility in connection with refinancing activities, both completed in April 2003
Cumulus EBITDA was up 6% to USD 27 million and free cash flow was up 59% at USD17.2 million for the quarter.
On a pro forma basis, net revenues for the quarter were down 2.2% to USD 74.8 million, but pro-forma Station Operating Income was up 1% to USD30.8 million. Same Station revenues were down 1.3% to USD 56.1 million.
Commenting on the results, Chairman, President and CEO Lew Dickey said, "Q2 marks our eleventh consecutive quarter of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow growth. Operating in a difficult revenue environment, our team exhibited expense control discipline that is key to generating Free Cash Flow. Our operating strategy and performance combined with our newly optimized capital structure, consisting exclusively of bank debt and common stock, should allow us to translate the benefits of future economic upturns into dramatic Free Cash Flow growth."
During his conference call Dickey said he thought the advertising market had reached a low point for 2003 during the quarter but added that there were now signs of improvement.
In the quarter, Cumulus national advertising revenues were down 5% and Dickey said that he expected it to rebound in the third quarter.
Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has reported second quarter net revenues down 3.6% at USD 38 million, station operating income flat at USD 5.7 million; overall it reported net income fro the quarter of USD 789,000, down from USD 12.85 million a year before but for the six months to the end of the June it had a loss of USD 12,000 compared to a loss in the first half of 2002 of USD 87.6 million.
The figures as published seem to us more a case of obfuscation than clarity but include pro-forma revenues up 2.6% at USD 38 million and pro-forma same station net revenues up 0.5% at USD 37.1 million, both excluding AOL barter revenue.
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr. said, "We are pleased to report results ahead of expectations for the quarter ended June 30, 2003. Our results underscore the commitment and dedication of our employees to serve our listeners and customers with the best product and service in the industry."
"We are especially pleased with our performance in the Los Angeles market with top ratings and double-digit revenue growth posted by our stations KLAX-FM and KXOL-FM. Looking ahead, we see a slightly improving advertising climate and believe that we are serving the proper niche markets that permit us to capitalize on the continued growth of the Hispanic market."
Alarcón told investors that SBS was considering options on how best to pay for KXOL, which cost it USD 250 million, including possible station sales in San Francisco and San Antonio where it was reviewing some "very firm" offers.
Westwood One, which last month warned that second quarter figures were going to be down on 2002 (See RNW July 3) has delivered revenues down 5.8% at USD 132.7 million with operating income down 16%% to USD 41.7 million and profits down 20.3% to USD 24.3 million (23 cents per diluted share) from USD 30.5 million (28 cents per diluted share).
It blames a softening in advertising that began in the quarter and says the full year is expected to end with revenues flat to slightly up in 2002 and operating income to be flat to slightly down.
President and CEO Shane Coppola said the company "remains strong and well-positioned for the long term."
"As we disclosed in July, despite the first half softness, we continue to see modest improvements in our business in the second half of the year," he added.
"That improvement, combined with our tight cost controls, will enable us to return to delivering solid quarterly results."
Westwood One has continued to buy back its shares, spending around USD 127 million on the purchase of more than 3.8 million shares so far this year.
Previous Westwood One:
2003-08-07: UK Guardian Media Group (GMG) has announced a deal in which it is paying nearly GBP 600 million (USD 965 million) for the 52% of Trader Media Group Limited, the publisher of Auto Trader and more than 70 other publications and operator of Europe's busiest automotive website, a move that is likely to impact on its ability to expand in UK radio.
The deal values Trader Media Group at GBP1.14 billion (USD 1.83 billion) and Bob Phillis, Chief Executive of GMG and Chairman of TMG, said of the deal, "TMG is a business that we know intimately and bringing ownership within GMG is a major strategic acquisition. The profitability and cash flows from TMG will further secure the financial independence of the Guardian and the Observer, thus underpinning their editorial independence - the two key objectives of our owners, the Scott Trust."
Phillis told the UK Guardian, that as a result of the deal should any of the top three UK radio groups - Capital, Emap, or GWR, come up for sale in the short term, GMG could not cope with the deal as its short term priority would be to pay off debt built up by the acquisition.
In the longer term he was more positive about bidding for radio assets, commenting, "I personally believe the much vaunted and discussed consolidation in the radio sector is a little way out yet."
"In the medium term radio is part of our agenda, one we will monitor and follow. My hope would be the consolidation process is just a little way out. The further out consolidation is, the stronger the position we will be in to reduce debt we have built up in buying Trader Media."
"Radio is an important part of our portfolio," added Phillis. "What we have tried to do within GMG is have a mix of media businesses contributing to the overall success of the group."
He said details of financing the acquisition had yet to be finalized but the company would not be using up all of its £164m reserve of cash.
"We are going to ensure we always have sufficient cash in the business to meet the investment requirement of national newspapers and regional newspapers," he said.
UK Guardian report:
2003-08-07: Sirius subscriptions for its satellite radio service have now topped 105,000, a 55% increase in the second quarter of the year, but its average revenue per subscriber fell from USD10.84 in the first quarter of this year to USD 7.91 in the quarter because of rebates leading to stock market disappointment despite losses being down 10.3% on a year ago at USD 111.80 million; in per share terms this amounted to 12 cents a share compared to USD 1.62 per share a year earlier, largely because of the issue of new shares under refinancing arrangements.
Sirius revenues were up to USD 2.1 million from USD 70,000 a year ago and President and CEO Joseph P Clayton commented that the "continued growth in SIRIUS subscribers confirms that we are getting traction in the marketplace, and that our commercial-free music programming is gaining a wider audience."
Sirius has recently introduced "Plug & Play" products from Kenwood and Audiovox into retail stores and Clayton said that Sirius had been able to reach its subscriber target without them but with them they expected "the pace to pick up even more."
For the first half of the year, Sirius reported a net loss applicable to common stockholders of USD 60 million (USD 0.09per share) compared with USD 214.7 million (USD 2.85per share), for the first half of 2002; the figure this year included a USD 256.5 million gain in connection with the completion of the company's restructuring in March 2003, and a deemed dividend of USD79.5 million associated with the elimination of its convertible preferred stock in March 2003.
In the quarter Sirius has also announced a number of specialty market deals including ones with Avionics Innovations, Formula Boats and Winnebago (See RNW Aug 5 Sirius1)and has just announced another deal with
Applied Media Technologies Corporation, to offer the Sirius service to businesses including restaurants, hotels, retail stores and malls.
Sirius stock ended the day 11.79% down at USD 1.72; rival XM shares were down 5.41% at USD 13.29.
Both Sirius and rival XM have been given a potential boost by a Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) survey that says US consumers are likely to be receptive to the benefits of their services.
The survey found that 94 percent of Americans listened to the radio in their cars, and more than two -thirds of those who did found the audio quality to be worse than from CDs.
The CEA suggests that they are already primed for the advantages of digital and satellite radio and are also are attracted to the ability of digital and satellite radio to display a variety of data such as song title and artist, traffic reports and, especially, weather updates.
"This study shows that there is significant interest, and a very specific market demographic which is primed for digital radio and satellite radio services," noted Sean Wargo, CEA director, industry analysis. "This is a very new industry, but clearly manufacturers and retailers can tap into an already existing group of consumers."
The survey found that the sex of the listener had no effect on the interest in digital radio but younger people were more interested than older ones. Of those in the 18-34 age group 69% expressed interest compared to 56% of those 35 and older.
When it came to satellite radio women expressed more interest - 51% to 46% - and again the younger demographic had more interest - 63% of those 18-34 compared to 38% of those 55 plus.
Wargo commented that the challenge for satellite radio will be selling consumers on the notion of paying for radio and noted that 51%said they would not be willing to "However," he added, "history has shown through the launch of cable TV in the 60's, consumers will pay more to receive access to higher quality and greater choice."
2003-08-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a New York clergyman USD 10,000 for operation of a pirate transmitter and Infinity Radio USD 4,000 for broadcasting a phone call without informing the other party that it intended to do so.
The USD 10,000 penalty went to the Rev. Yvon Louis of Brooklyn, pastor of Calvary Tabernacle Inc.; he had been issued with a notice in July last year following an inspection of the church's radio station in November 2001 at which time a warning was given. Further unauthorised transmissions were noted in December that year and January 2002 and Louis had argued that his transmissions were permitted because he exchanged his one watt transmitter for a Part 15 compliant transmitter after the December 17, 2001, inspection.
The FCC said tests showed the signal exceeded permissible levels and upheld the penalty.
The fine on Infinity related to the broadcasts by WBLK-FM, Buffalo, New York, of a conversation between on air personality Shae Moore and Brenda L. Tanner, a telephone customer service representative for Adelphia Communications, Inc., a cable television company in the process of Chapter 11 reorganization.
Infinity had admitted the broadcast without notice and said it had taken disciplinary action and issued a memo to all on-air employees at the station reiterating its policy.
It argued that the incident was an isolated one but the FCC held that the base penalty of USD 4,000 should still apply.
2003-08-06: US Christian-oriented broadcaster Salem Communications has reported same station revenues for the second quarter up 7.8% to USD 43.2 million and same station operating income doing even better, up 20.2% to USD 15.8 million as it turned a loss of USD 1.6 million (7 cents per diluted hare) in the quarter a year ago to a profit this year of USD 1.8 million (8 cents per diluted share.)
Overall Salem reported net broadcasting revenue up 8.4% to USD 43.4 million from and operating income more than doubled at USD 8.9 million compared with USD 4.4 million for the same quarter last year.
Commenting on the results, president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said they demonstrated "a strong and successful performance for the first half of 2003, despite an uncertain economic environment."
"Our same station revenue growth rates have, once again, led the industry as a result of the continued growth of our music stations, complemented by the consistent and reliable nature of our block programming business," he added. "This revenue growth, combined with careful cost management, has resulted in a very noteworthy 21% growth in station operating income."
For the third quarter, Salem is projecting net broadcasting revenue between USD42.8 and USD43.3 million, net income between USD 0.06 and USD 0.07 per share and station operating income between USD 15.0 and USD 15.5 million.
Atsinger also said at the company's conference call that its Radio Network Division has recovered from the loss of some 90 affiliates earlier this year (See RNW March 6) when shows hosted by Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly were launched by rival Talk networks.
Salem is now back to more than 1600 affiliates for the division and Atsinger said it had been making steady progress in the quarter despite a soft national advertising market.
In marked contrast to Salem, which outperformed its sector and analysts expectations, Seattle headquartered Fisher Communications has reported a loss from continuing operations for the quarter to the end of June of USD 3.582 million (41 cents a share) and a consolidated net loss, including losses from discontinued operations, of USD 4.146 million (48 cents a share),
As previously announced (See RNW July 21), Fisher is also working to complete its retesting for goodwill impairment and the restatement of its financial statements for 2002 and the first quarter of 2003.
Fisher also announced agreement, subject to due diligence for sale of its estate subsidiary's two remaining commercial properties for approximately USD64 million; it says it expects to use most of the money raised to reduce debt.
Radio Unica, which at the start of August opted to use its grace period and not pay USD 9.3 million of interest on its 11.75% Senior Discount Notes due 2006 has now said it will make the payment by or on September 2, the cut-off date for payment before defaulting.
If it fails to pay, some USD 158 million of principal and interest may be declared immediately due.
2003-08-06: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael K, Powell, who according to reports lat month (See RNW July 22) had said he wanted to leave the post has, like his father, Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that the reports of his wanting to step down are untrue and that he will be staying on.
His special policy adviser Jonathan Cody told the Associated Press after a meeting between Powell and his aides on Monday that the chairman "assured senior staff that it is his firm intention to continue to lead the commission and implement our agenda."
The AP report, carried by a number of US newspapers, looks at the politics surrounding the deregulation pushed through by Powell and the criticism he had faced; Cody said Powell was now looking beyond the media ownership debate and "is energized to get on to the rest of the agenda." The commission this fall will return to dealing with the nation's adoption of digital and wireless technology, one of Powell's favourite issues, Cody said.
The FCC itself has become one of the first US government agencies to take advantage of wi-fi technology with an announcement that it is to provide free wireless Internet access to visitors at its Washington, D.C. office.
The system will use the 802.11a and 802.11b (WiFi) protocols and the FCC will provide technical support although used take responsibility for all transactions made using the service. For the moment prior personal identification is not being requested of those using the service but the FCC will, if requested by outside authorities, provide data from system audit logs to support external investigations of improper Internet use.
In a statement announcing the innovation, Powell commented, "When you come to the FCC, leave the cords at home. We're embracing the power of WiFi and the freedom and convenience of wireless Internet access it gives to consumers."
2003-08-05: Florida-based Beasley Broadcast Group has announced revenues for the second quarter to the end of June up 0.5% on a year earlier to USD 28.5 million but income from continuing operations was down 5.3% to USD 7.1 million and station operating income was down 4.1% to 9.8 million; there were no station acquisitions or disposals in the quarter but a USD 2.5 million gain on the sale of 150,000 shares of FindWhat.com took net income up 69% to USD 4.4 million (18 cents a share).
For the first half of the year, revenues were down 0.4% to USD 53 million, income from continuing operations was down 4.9% to 11.7 million, and station operating income was down 3% to USD 16.3 million.
Same-station revenue for the first six months of 2003 was down 0.1% to USD 53.0 and same station operating income was down 1.9% to USD16.3 million.
Overall for the half-year, Beasley reported a profit of USAD 6.2 million (26 cents a share) including a USD 3.3 million gain on sales of FindWhat.com shares; In 2002 it reported a loss of USD8.4 million (34 cents per diluted share) after taking into account a USD 12.1 million impairment charge as a result of adopting accounting standard SFAS 142.
Beasley says it expects third quarter revenues to fall by around 2% based on current economic and market conditions.
Commenting on the results, chairman and CEO George Beasley said the revenues reflected increases in its Miami, Las Vegas and Ft. Myers market clusters that offset falls at its Philadelphia cluster and certain other markets located near military bases.
"We continued to prudently manage station operating expenses during the period as we limited station operating expense growth to only 3% over 2002 levels," he commented.
"Given the mixed economic outlook and limited visibility in our markets, we remain cautious about revenue prospects for the remainder of 2003. Our advertisers are continuing to purchase spots less than three weeks in advance, making it difficult to predict long-term revenue trends with certainty. We are encouraged by the strength of local advertising in some of our key markets year-to-date, and we look forward to converting any future broad-based revenue growth into improved operating results."
In other US radio business, Salem and Susquehanna have announced completion of two previous announced acquisitions.
Salem, whose results are due out after we publish, has closed on the USD8.5 million acquisition of four Jacksonville stations - WJGR-AM, WZNZ-0AM, WZAZ-AM and WBGB-FM - from Concord Media Group (See RNW Feb 21).
The stations are to retain their existing formats and Salem president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III commented, "It is rare that we are able to buy stations in our strategic formats and we look forward to applying our expertise as the leaders in religious radio programming in the Jacksonville market. This is a great opportunity to successfully operate an existing cluster of stations."
In Pennsylvania, Susquehanna Radio has completed its purchase of Oldies WSOX-AM in its home market of York from Lancaster-York Broadcasting for USD 23 million (See RNW March 6).
Previous George Beasley:
2003-08-05: While the main battle between the US satellite radio companies is for the in-vehicle audience, Sirius is expanding the boundaries with recent deals.
In one case it has announced Federal Aviation Authority approval of receiver, to be manufactured by Avionics Innovations, Inc., for use in aircraft.
The receiver is designed to integrate into any aircraft's intercom system so pilots and passenger can automatically switch between essential communications and Sirius programming; it operates on 14-28 volts of direct current, allowing use in all general and business aviation aircraft.
The other agreement is with Thunderbird Products/Formula Powerboats to offer a Sirius system and a year's subscription as a standard feature on all 2004 Formula powerboats. The two companies have also agreed to continue their race sponsorship programme.
Sirius also recently announced an agreement for its receivers in Winnebago vehicles.
RNW comment: We now await a deal with the Nasa and the US Navy for FREE Sirius in space and navy vessels, including submarines! Or can those involved already get it via the Internet?
2003-08-05:Two BBC Radio Five Live hosts may soon be switching from breakfast to late night and vice versa following the departures last month of morning host Fiona Glover who is to move to the US to develop her writing career (See RNW May 31) and weekend late host, former Conservative MP and Minister Edwina Currie.
Currie, who had been presenting "Late Night Currie" for five years, remarried two years ago and said she now wished to have a "more normal life - if possible."
No successor has yet been named for either but Julian Worricker, who has been standing in since Glover left, and Matthew Bannister, currently hosting a late-night show from 10 p.m. on weekdays - he took it over when Glover moved to mornings at the start of this year, are rumoured to be the most likely to take over from Glover.
Shelagh Fogarty, currently weekend breakfast host on Five Live , is said to be likely to take over from Currie in her 10p.m. weekend slot.
At SMG-owned Virgin, the UK Guardian reports, virtual unknown has been signed from Century FM in Nottingham to host a weekday evening show dedicated to breakthrough bands and cutting-edge music.
26 years-old Kelly (Kelly-Anne Smith) was described by Virgin programme controller Paul Jackson as "passionate about her music".
He added, "She hasn't been in radio long but has demonstrated her class wherever she has been. Kelly and Ben Jones [another recent signing] are the future stars of British radio and we are delighted to have them both here/"
Virgin has been better known for more mainstream pop and says it is focussing its commitments on new bands.
Kelly's show will follow Darryl Denham's drivetime show that runs to 7 p.m. and will in turn be followed by agony uncle slot Jezza's Virgin Confessions that will more an hour forward to start at 10p.m.
Previous SMG (Virgin owners):
UK Guardian report:
2003-08-05: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is mired in a row with the country's communications minister Richard Alston who has alleged an anti- Iraq war bias in its reporting and has failed to get additional government funding, has announced plans to cut AUD 26 million (USD 17 million) a year from its budget, mainly through slashing a number of TV programmes.
Managing director Russell Balding said the cuts were needed to stay within budget and would affect 100 positions although only around 25 staff would be made redundant.
ABC radio will have its budget cut back by AUD 2 million (USD 1.3 million) a year, News and Current Affairs spending will be cut by AUD 5.4 million (USD 3.6 million) a year including AUD 530,000 (USD 350,000) from removing its cadet journalist program.
TV schools production will also be removed at a saving of AUD1.83 million (USD 1.20 million) a year and AUD 7.27 million (USD 4.8 million) a year will be saved by the closure of digital TV channels.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2003-08-04: It has to be a fairly good week for radio when two British broadsheets carry articles praising radio as opposed to TV.
A UK Guardian leader, pegged to latest ratings, commented, "Years ago pundits were predicting the demise of radio because of the inevitable success of television. Moving pictures plus sound must be better than sound alone."
"Not so. Radio is snapping at the heels of its upstart rival and recently has actually put its neck in front in terms of listening hours per week. A new generation is watching less television and turning to the Internet and new forms of radio. The figures show that the numbers who have listened to the radio through their mobile phones has doubled during the past year to 1.3 million. At the moment hardly any phones have embedded radios and they are mainly analogue models. As prices continue to tumble, special chips will be appearing in phones enabling them to receive digital radio signals - offering radio more opportunities for growth."
" One explanation is that viewers are switching off from so-called "crap" late-night television to hear music or serious radio programmes. It may be too soon to be talking about a new golden age of radio, but it is fascinating that three new technological platforms - mobile phones, digital television and the Internet - have revived the fortunes of a medium that was once thought to be in terminal decline."
There was more in the same vein - some of could even have come from the same vein - from the Financial Times Media Correspondent Gautam Malkani in a report that quoted Tim Schoonmaker, chief executive of broadcasting operations at Emap, as saying," Radio is taking back the night from crap TV programmes. It is commanding a presence in people's living rooms that it hasn't had since the 1950s."
This article also noted the growth of listening through digital TV, a habit that with Internet and digital radio listening has added 1 million listeners a week to the audience for Emap's Kiss, taking it to 2.6 million a week.
Over the past year noted the paper, the percentage of adults listening to radio through TV sets increased from 13 to 20 per cent - with 5.9m adults tuning in at least once a week. Internet listeners rose from 11 per cent to 14 per cent, with 1.8m listening once a week. Radio has particularly benefited from the success of Freeview digital terrestrial TV that has fewer channels than satellite TV but offers a number of digital radio services including all the BBC digital channels, Emap stations and the OneWord digital speech channel.
US radio doesn't get the same encomiums as far as we can tell but it does have one success story over the past fifteen years, indeed Rush Limbaugh would probably go along with anything suggesting that he is THE success story.
But first another US success story that Limbaugh, who overcame hearing problems thanks to surgery, would presumably admire.
It was an Associated Press report we saw in the Baltimore Sun about baseball radio announcer Enrique Oliu, who is described as having, like all good announcers, "a passion for the sport and a gift for making listeners feel as if they're at the stadium."
In his case the skill comes through overcoming a very significant disability since Enrique is blind.
According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame he is the second blind announcer to call a game in the majors- nine years ago, minor league announcer Don Wardlow was invited by the Florida Marlins to do three innings of a game against the Chicago Cubs.
Enrique is now in his fifth season as the color analyst for Spanish broadcasts of Tampa Bay Devil Rays' home games and before that was a public address announcer for college baseball games before he got his big break in 1989, when he did three innings of color for the minor league Jacksonville Expos.
He also worked as an analyst for the St. Petersburg Pelicans before realizing his goal of calling major league games.
A self-described "stat freak", he grew up in Nicaragua listening to baseball and soccer on the radio and he says his "passion for baseball grew from sitting with my dad in Nicaragua, where baseball is still king. Dad played sports and always treated me like a sighted kid. If I wanted to ride a horse or wanted to do this or do that, I could always do that."
His wife Debbie, a Devil Rays receptionist, helps him in his preparation by reading reports to him and also during games when she sits behind him and describes what is happening on the field.
But back to Limbaugh, who has just marked his 15th anniversary, and among the articles on this was one by Steve Carney in the Los Angeles Times that looked at his success in taking a local programme in Sacramento into a nationwide syndicated success that attracts a weekly audience of some 20 million according to Premiere Radio networks, his syndicator.
The never modest Limbaugh commented, "I've wanted to be in radio since I was 12, and my whole life I thought I would end up being the most successful at it."
Some backed up his assessment, even going so far as to say his political stance (Republican and bigoted would probably be considered a fair description by many Democrats) was irrelevant to his success: Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrison said, "I believe that if Rush Limbaugh were a liberal, he'd be just as successful."
"He's enormously talented. He's got a great voice. He also has a tremendous aptitude for explaining abstract political subjects in an understandable way. He's a very original thinker. And he's funny - he's a very entertaining guy."
As regards that political stance, Limbaugh says his show combines "serious discussion of the issues with irreverent, off-the-wall humor, with credibility on both sides."
This is not a view universally shared: "I think he's a brilliant propagandist for conservative and Republican issues," said Steve Rendall, senior analyst at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, the liberal media watchdog group, and co-author of "The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error," which challenges some of the assertions Limbaugh has made on his show.
Rendall said Limbaugh's authoritative tone appeals to fans, but he believes the host has fostered a divisive political climate of "us against them."
"Limbaugh is a major contributor to the name-calling and the degraded discourse that started on talk radio and has spread to cable news and elsewhere," he said. In that environment, "you can't disagree without being disagreeable."
In many ways Limbaugh would probably agree:" "There's no question I engender disagreement. There's no question people don't like me," he said Limbaugh. "Those who are "challenged or threatened by my effectiveness, they're the ones who are mad. Listen to any feminist, listen to any environmentalist, listen to the antiwar crowd."
Those comments illustrate the degree to which Limbaugh's rise was made possible through the scrapping in 1987 of the Federal Communications Commission "fairness" doctrine, which required broadcasters to air opposing viewpoints on controversial subjects.
Limbaugh currently has a contract for a reported $285 million that runs until 2009 but says he doesn't intend to quit.
"I've always said I'm never going to retire until every American agrees with me," he said, apparently only half kidding. "When I get up in the morning for a week or two straight and I don't care what's in the news, if I lose my passion, then that's the time I'll move on."
RNW comment: With an ocean between Limbaugh and us, we're insulated from his output, which may well be compulsive listening, but assuming that his books and web site are in any way typical we'd certainly go along with David G. Hall, senior vice president of programming at Premiere who said of the show to Carney, "It's not journalism at all, it's just a talk show." Certainly Limbaugh doesn't have much skepticism about supposed "facts" that support his prejudices or inclination to check out those that do not as a number of web sites make clear.
Which, if nothing else, leads us to end with a BBC programme that we found compulsive listening and from Americans who in our view are, or were, far more worthy humans and indeed heroes than ever Limbaugh is likely to approach. Thanks to the Internet, it should still be around for another week.
The programme was Lance Corporal Mike Baronowski's Vietnam, broadcast in BBC Radio 4's Archive Hour.
It was built around audio tapes that Baronowski, who began as a private and who was killed in action on November 29, 1966, had sent home to his family, and interspersed these with comment from his sister, brother, and two marine comrades, each of them thoughtful men who'd been through a lot.
Baronowski had a surprising talent for the medium and a strong sense of humour and sound-effects as illustrated by battle sounds created using a water canteen and a spoof Marine Corps Recruitment advert that included the memorable line about a "God-given right to kill or maim at a distance."
Limbaugh probably wouldn't like it said, but the comment may well be true for many members of the US military nowadays.
For Baronowski -and others in Iraq today - the distance wasn't enough. In his case he died around lunchtime after his patrol went past a Vietnamese village that was deserted - a clear warning sign. His comrades noted that they killed the two Viet Cong responsible for his death but as they said of that when news of his death reached his sister, "She didn't care. Wasn't going to bring her brother back."
Baltimore Sun - AP report:
Financial Times - Malkani:
Los Angeles Times - Carney:
UK Guardian - leader on radio.
2003-08-04: In Australia, Village Voice is reported by the Sydney Morning Herald to be considering the sale of an AUD 63 million (USD 42 million) stake in Austereo although, adds the paper, it says it would not relinquish its control.
The Herald reports that speculation resurfaced that Village Voice major shareholders and co-chairman, the Kirby brothers, might sell their entire 59.7% stake in Austereo.
According to the report, the proposal is an attempt to head of a litigation threat by preference shareholders who have been angered by the suspension of dividend payments on the preference shares.
Village Voice's managing director, Graham Burke, told the paper that Austereo remained a core part of Village's operations. "[A sale] has been considered and, categorically, a controlling interest in Austereo is not for sale," he said.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-08-04: The latest complaints bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) upheld one complaints against radio, compared with two upheld in its previous bulletin (See RNW July 2).
In all the Commission dealt with 101 complaints, 25 more than in the previous bulletin. Six of these involved radio and the remaining 95, including advertisements and trailers, concerned TV compared with 18 and 58 a month earlier.
There were five fairness complaints compared to three in the previous bulletin, all concerning TV; of these one was upheld and one considered resolved compared to one upheld in the previous bulletin.
Standards complaints totalled 96, up from 73, no statements being required from the broadcaster in 57 cases of which four were radio cases.
The radio cases for which statements were required one TalkSport and was rejected and the other, which was upheld, involved Nick Ferrari's phone-in show on LBC.
In the programme concerned, callers were encouraged to provide stories about the treatment of asylum seekers in comparison to the treatment of UK citizens and the complainant had said this amounted to the encouragement of racist remarks.
LBC said that the programme was intentionally designed to be provocative and the subject of asylum seekers had been a legitimate subject for discussion; it did not consider that the presenter overstepped the mark.
After listening to tapes of the show the standards panel disagreed, commenting that "notwithstanding the legitimate nature of the subject of the discussion and the presenter's well-known approach and style, the programme's active reinforcement of prejudiced views about asylum seekers had exceeded acceptable boundaries for transmission."
In the TalkSport case references to Iraqi soldiers-said to be actively supporting "a regime capable of heinous crimes against humanity" celebrating the capture of a vehicle as "Iraqi barbarians" were held to be acceptable; the panel commented that "that it was an established feature of programmes of this nature for the presenter to express views strongly and took the view that on this occasion
the description complained of had been targeted at the military involved rather than the wider population."
Previous BSC and BSC Complaints bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 125 kb PDF -RNW note: This was damaged and only one of a number of versions of Acrobat that we tried was able to repair it).
2003-08-03: Last week was a fairly desultory one for the radio regulators, although in Ireland there was welcomed backing from the courts for a licence decision; in the US it seems the process of challenging the new Federal Communications Commission regulations is likely to start with the National Association of Broadcasters (See RNW July 31).
There were no radio decisions from Australia in the week and in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was mainly involved with routine amendments and renewals of licences.
In order of province, these included:
Renewal of licence of CJAY-FM, Calgary, and its transmitters, CJAY-FM-1, Banff, and CJAY-FM-3, Invermere,, until 31 August 2010.
Renewal of licence of CFCW-AM, Camrose, until 31 August 2010.
Renewal of licence of CJXX-FM, Grande Prairie, until 31 August 2010.
Approval of power increase of CILC-FM Magna Bay, a transmitter of CILK-FM Kelowna, from6.3 watts to 50 watts. There had been opposition by Jim Pattison Industries Ltd., licensee of CIFM-FM and CKBZ-FM Kamloops, and Standard Radio Inc., licensee of CKXR-AM, Salmon Arm.
Renewal of licence of CFPP-FM, Sherbrooke, until 31 August 2010.
Renewal of licence of religious French-language FM radio programming undertaking VF8008 Weedon, until 31 August 2010.
The CRTC also announced a public hearing with a deadline for interventions of September 4 to consider a number of applications including:
Application by The Kamloops Campus/Community Radio Society for a licence to operate an English-language FM community-based campus radio station in Kamloops.
Application to convert adult contemporary CKBC-AM, Bathurst, to AM
Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to operate an English and French-language FM (weather and environmental information) radio station in Algonquin Park.
Application by the Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertakings CJWL-FM Iroquois Falls and CHPB-FM Cochrane.
Application on behalf of a non-profit corporation to be incorporated to operate an English-language FM native Type B radio station in Fort Frances to serve the Couchiching First Nation community.
Application by CKUL Radio Society for a licence to operate an English-language FM community-based campus radio station in Lethbridge.
Application by Trafalgar Broadcasting Limited, as part of a corporate reorganization, to acquire the assets of radio station CJYE-AM and its transitional digital radio undertaking CJYE-DR-2 serving Oakville.
Application by the Lakehead University Student Union, on behalf of a non-profit corporation for a licence to operate an English-language FM developmental community-based campus radio station in Thunder Bay.
Application by Fairchild Radio Group Ltd. for a licence to carry on a transitional digital radio undertaking associated with its existing AM station CHKT Toronto.
Application to convert CBC station CBGA-AM, Matane, to FM.
Application to transfer the assets of a new FM station in Québec as part of an intracorporate reorganization involving Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Cogeco Diffusion Inc.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a ten-year contract with the Independent Broadcasting Corporation Limited (trading as LMFM) for the local service for counties Louth and Meath where LMFM has been operating for the past 14 years.
In addition the BCI has welcomed two Irish High Court decisions to back its awards of radio licences for the Kildare and Carlow/Kilkenny franchise areas to Kildare FM Radio Limited (trading as Kfm) and CK Broadcasting Limited (trading as KCLR).
Each of the decisions had been challenged separately by the existing licence holders who had lost their franchises - Kilkenny Community Communications Co-Operative Society Limited (trading as Radio Kilkenny) and Carlow Kildare Radio Limited (trading as CKR FM).
In the UK, the Radio Authority has not announced any radio licensing decisions but it did publish its Quarterly Bulletin on complaints (See RNW Aug 1) and its quarterly Programming & Advertising Review (see below).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has had a fairly quiet week apart from the routines. It has released an amendment to its new media regulation regulations concerning the definition of markets but notes that the change is a tidying up and is "not substantive in nature."
It has also denied an application by Royce International Broadcasting Company, which recently lost its long battle to hang on to KWOD-FM, now owned by Entercom (see RNW July 31) - to review a decision to go ahead with the auction of a new AM broadcast station at Folsom, California.
Royce, whose application is mutually exclusive with one by Susquehanna Radio Corporation for a minor modification to the facilities of Susquehanna's KTCT-AM), San Mateo, had applied to move the location of a construction permit for KIOQ-AM, Folsom, following what it described as "protracted and litigious zoning proceeding" with the planning department and board of supervisors of El Dorado County.
It filed a major change application after being granted numerous extensions to, and reinstatements of, the KIOQ construction permit, and after the Bureau returned an August 7, 1996, major change application to increase nighttime power.
In February 1999 Royce was allowed, against Susquehanna's opposition, to have its application treated not as a modification of its then-pending CP but as an application for a new AM.
The FCC rejected Royce's arguments and refused the review.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-08-03: The US Radio Music License Committee (RMLC), which represents all commercial U.S. radio stations except stations represented by the National Religious Broadcasters Music License Committee, and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), have announced agreement on new royalty charges for songwriters and composers of music used by the stations.
The agreement covers a ten-year period from 1997 to 2006 and cover royalties estimated at more than USD 1 billion. For the period from 1997 to 2002, interim fees that have been in force will remain unchanged but for 2003 through 2006 fees will be based on a new formula of set fee levels for BMI and radio stations; the agreement also includes a separate fee for the right to stream music on web sites.
The previous agreement was based on a percentage of station revenues and had been resented by the broadcasters because they felt it intrusive in auditing their books and also more costly and complicated to administer.
BMI's President and CEO Frances W. Preston commented, "The new licenses offer an increase in our royalties and a predictable revenue stream from 2001 through 2006 totalling more than USD1 billion. It avoids a court proceeding, saving our songwriters, composers, and music publishers millions of dollars in legal expenses and years of delay."
Clear Channel CFO Randall Mays, chair of the RMLC, added, "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with BMI that provides for set fees for the industry rather than calculating BMI license fees based on a station's revenue."
"This was one of our key objectives for the industry, along with obtaining Internet streaming rights, and we were able to achieve it by agreement rather than through continuing legal proceedings. "
Previous Randall Mays:
2003-08-03: Among the issues highlighted by the UK Radio Authority in its latest quarterly programming and advertising review is the issue of the degree to which a station is permitted to "farm out" news coverage to organization's outside the station's coverage area.
This was the subject of a consultation last year (See RNW July 28, 2002) and Martin Campbell, the Authority's Director Of Programming & Advertising, notes that the guidelines developed apply to every local commercial and regional analogue station.
"Unless specific agreement has been given by the Authority," he notes, "local news is covered as part of the 'locally produced and presented' programming requirements in the Format, and therefore local news operations should be carried out, in the main, from within a station's MCA."
"Furthermore," he continues, "the Authority requires a journalistic presence based at each station, unless other arrangements have been discussed and agreed with us."
"We therefore expect all stations to be operating an in-house news operation unless permission for any other arrangement has been given, even when a news hub has been agreed."
"If stations are operating news services which use readers from outside the area, and that arrangement has not been agreed, then such an arrangement amounts to a breach of the Format requirements."
Campbell notes that the Authority is not demanding an in-house news desk for the sake of it but does wish to retain the presence of local, on-site journalists and adds that when the discussions were held it was known that the new OFCOM regulator was to be given a remit in respect of local content in the Communications Act and it would thus be inappropriate to make decisions that would bind OFCOM.
On that basis, the Authority, he says, will insist on stations keeping to the format rules that they have agreed to and will regard it as a licence breach should a station institute changes unless those have been agreed and expressly written into its Format agreement.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous UK Radio Authority Quarterly Programming and Advertising Review:
UK Radio Authority Quarterly Review (1.15 Mb PDF)
2003-08-03: Longtime Missouri radio personality Jim Butler, best known for his nighttime show on KMOX-AM, has died in California aged 76.
Butler joined KMOX in 1951, working at first on the morning show; he later became an executive at the station, retiring in 1989.
After his retirement, Butler, who had poor vision, hosted a weekly radio programme in San Francisco in which he read news stories and did commentaries for the blind. He was also active in charity work reading to the visually impaired.
Butler, who wore thick glasses to overcome poor vision, was a longtime volunteer for the blind. In San Francisco, he hosted a weekly radio program in which he read news stories and offered commentary for the blind, Michael Butler said. He also did charity work in which he read letters and other items to visually impaired people.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2003-08-02: Citadel in a strong day's trading ended Friday at USD 20.65, up 8,68% on its Thursday Initial Public Offering Price of USD 19.00; in all nearly 10 million shares were traded.
The offering was of 22 million shares, although Citadel has also granted the IPO underwriters an over-allotment option to purchase up to 3.3 million additional shares. The net proceeds of the offering will repay around USD 389 million of outstanding senior debt and will leave Citadel with some 120 million outstanding shares of common stock.
Citadel's predecessor of the same name was bought by Forstmann-Little in 2001 in a USD 1.7 billion deal and taken private.
In the first quarter of this year, Citadel reported losses of USD 33.8 million on revenues of USD 77.2 million compared to losses of USD 36.7 million and revenues of USD 72.6 million for the first quarter of 2002 but operating cash flow was up 68% to USD 19.7 million
In other US radio business, Disney has reported a 10% increase on last year in the second quarter to USD 400 million (19 cents a diluted share) on overall revenues up 6.9% from USD5.8 billion to USD 6.2 billion; its broadcast and films operations performed strongly but its theme parks had a thin time with revenues down 6% to USD 1.7 billion.
Disney's media networks business increased revenues by 19% USD 2.5 billion in the quarter: Operating income for the division was up 33% to USD 384 million.
US independent advertising sales and marketing company Interep fared far worse with a 3.7% fall in commission revenues to USD22.8 million that turned a second-quarter profit of USD 311,000 (two cents a share) in 2002 into a loss of USD 4.53 million (44 cents a share) this year.
The company puts the fall down mainly to advertiser concerns over the war in Iraq during April and May; it also saw contract-termination revenue drop from USD 4 million to USD 570,000.
Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said business began to pick-up in mid-May, adding, "This strength has continued throughout the summer months. We believe that this momentum will continue to build throughout the remainder of the year."
He told a conference call that there were positive sings for the rest of the year and for next year and forecast third quarter revenues up in the high single-digit range with even more encouraging signs for the final quarter.
In US radio deals, Mapleton Communications is entering the Santa Barbara market in California with a purchase of Smith Broadcasting Group's news/talk KEYT-AM; Details have not been given.
In Missouri, Legend Communications is moving into Clinton with a USD 1.75 million purchases of Classic Rock KDKD-AM and Country KDKD-FM from Clinton Radio.
And in Puerto Rico, Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) has announced the completion of its USD 32 million purchase from El Mundo Broadcasting Corp. of WKAQ-AM (the oldest station on the island) and FM in San Juan and WUKQ-AM and FM in Mayaguez (see RNW Feb 14).
Previous Citadel (before taken over by Forstmann-Little):
Previous Forstmann-Little (Citadel owner June 2001-Aug 2003):
2003-08-02: UK Chrysalis has announced the sale, subject to shareholder approval, of its TV arm for GBP 45 million (USD 72.5 million) in cash plus further deferred cash payments of up to GBP 5.8 million (USD 9.3 million) to a consortium of newly-formed companies headed by former British TV executives.
Chrysalis, which has said it wants to concentrate on radio acquisitions, says it will make a profit on the disposal in excess of GBP 13 million (USD 21 million) and its board has declared a Special Dividend of five pence a share, subject to completion of the sale and to be funded from its proceeds.
Proceeds of the sale left after payment of the dividend will be used to trim debt that was just under GBP 60 million (USD 97 million) at the end of February.
Chrysalis says that, following the disposal, it will be "a more focused music and media group, with a strengthened balance sheet" and Chairman Chris Wright commented that the deal, "puts the Group in an excellent position to benefit from any opportunities which may arise from the regulatory changes introduced by the new Communications and be better placed to maximize the opportunities which may arise from the new Communications Act."
Chief Executive Richard Huntingford said it was "a good transaction for all stakeholders. For shareholders we are both receiving a full price for Chrysalis Television and making a further important step to becoming a more focused media group, capitalizing on our leading positions in music publishing and radio."
Chrysalis noted that its radio operations continue to outperform the industry average in respect of revenue growth.
It has particularly noted the success of its LBC-FM station in London, which was re-launched at the start of the year and in the latest RAJAR ratings increased listening by 40% and gained 70,000 listeners at a time when BBC talk stations Radio 4 and Radio Five Live lost audience (RNW Note: BBC London, however, gained 17,000 listeners a week in the same survey).
In other UK radio business, GWR chairman Ralph Bernard has told its Annual General Meeting that its Classic FM flagship suffered a 16% fall in advertising in the first three months of this year compared to 2002, when results were boosted by the World Cup and the Queen's golden jubilee.
Bernard added that compared to 2001, the decline had been 2% and said that on the plus side its local radio group, which generates more than two-thirds of the group's revenues had seen revenues up 8% on a year ago.
Bernard was also upbeat about the future of its digital business. UK digital radio sales were boosted last year by the introduction of cheaper receivers and the introduction of further models combined with a marketing drive is expected to take UK digital receiver sales past the half-million mark over Christmas this year and double that by the end of next year.
"GWR has been instrumental in the development of Digital Radio and the Group now owns the prime assets in this field," said Bernard. "These include a controlling interest in Digital One the only national commercial multiplex, and three national digital radio stations. In addition, GWR's wholly-owned subsidiary Now Digital, recently won the Thames Valley multiplex which enables GWR to complete continuous local digital coverage from Essex to Bristol."
"Recent significant developments underpin the Board's view that our digital assets will become highly valued in due course."
2003-08-02: Canada's public radio service (from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)) has had steady growth in listeners over the past five years, rising from sixth place to third among Canadians' listening choices in the fall of 2002 according to latest figures from the Statistics Canada agency on the performance of radio formats.
At the same time, the gap in listening time continued to widen between teenagers aged 12 to 17 and adults aged 18 and over and Statistics Canada comments that public radio's popularity increase was fuelled by an aging population and an increase in education; public radio listening goes up with both age and education.
American stations accounted for only 3.0% of Canadians' total listening, the same proportion as five years ago.
English- and French-language CBC stations took their audience share up from 9.5% in 1998 to nearly 11% in 2002, taking third place overall. This spot was the longtime domain of country music, until it was pushed out by talk radio in 2001.
Public broadcasting's audience share grew in all provinces except Prince Edward Island, where the number actually declined, and Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan, where it has remained fairly steady over the past five years.
In terms of radio formats in Canada,:
*Adult contemporary has retained its lead with a share of around 25% over the period.
*Gold/oldies/rock stations are in second place with a share that has gone up from around 13% to just over 18%.
*The CBC/SRC audience has gone up from around 10% to 11%, taking it into third place.
*Talk has lost share from around 12% to 10% and is currently fourth.
*Country has lost share from around 13% --which had made it third until talk took over the spot in 2001 - and is now fifth-ranked with around 9.5%.
*Sixth was contemporary, which lost share from just over 10% to around 9%.
The trend was similar for both Anglophones, whose listening to public radio went up from 10.5% to 11.4% and francophones whose listening went up from 6.7% to 9.5%.
The audience increase also came in all age groups with teenagers' listening, which is low, going up from 1.5% to 2%, whilst adult male listening went up from 9.3% to 10.3%, and adult female listening from 10.6% to 12.1%.
Overall Canadians spent an average 20.2 hours a week listening to the radio, a figure which has not changed in the last five years but within this FM listening has been increasing at the expense of AM; in 1994, AM had 40% of listening but this has now gone down to 26%.
Commercial station income has reflected the change from FM: over the past two years FM revenues went up 7.4% and 5.1% whilst AM revenues fell 2.4% and 3.3%.
The agency has expressed caution about interpretation of the results, which were based on a survey of 82,344 Canadians aged 12 and older, with a return rate of 44%; it notes this rate "is modest by Statistics Canada standards, it is in line with Canadian and international broadcasting industry practice for audience measurement."
Previous Statistics Canada:
2003-08-02: Although the established UK RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) ratings just out (See below) show BBC Radio 4 and its "Today" breakfast show losing audience in the second quarter of the year, alternative ratings from GfK Media that use the RadioControl wristwatch metering system show them hitting a record peak.
GfK's National Broadcast Media Survey also shows BBC Radio 4 as the most-listened to network, ahead of Radio2, which leads the RAJARs.
The GfK figures show Radio 4 to have the highest reach of a BBC network with 17.5 million listeners a week compared to the 9.695 million shown by RAJAR: GfK lists the Today programme as having 3.68 million listeners a day compared to the 3.75 million of BBC Radio 2's top rated breakfast show.
Weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from March 24 - June 22 (with RAJAR figures in brackets) were- in ranked order:
BBC Radio 4 - 17.5 million (9.70 million):
BBC Radio 2 - 15.67 million (13.03 million):
BBC Radio 1 - 12.52 million (9.87 million):
BBC Radio Five Live - 9.80 million (5.80 million):
BBC Radio 3 - 4.01 million (2 million):
talkSPORT - 7.17 million (2.16 million):
Classic FM - 6.95 million (5.57 million):
Virgin - 4.40 million ( 2.80 million):
On the negative side, GFK says that BBC Radio Five Live's breakfast show, hosted by Nicky Clarke and Victoria Derbyshire lost two-thirds of its audience over the period; it also notes that Classic FM's breakfast show has held steady with some 913,000 adult listeners each day following the replacement of its long-time host Henry Kelly by Simon Bates in June (See RNW June 10).
2003-08-01: The latest UK radio ratings for the second quarter to the end of June from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) just released brought more comfort to those who had invested in digital radio, which saw its audience increasing as the overall audience dipped in the summer/
There was also comfort for UK Capital Radio, whose breakfast show on London flagship Capital FM increased its audience although it was hosted for most of the ratings period by Neil "Dr" Fox who was standing in for regular host Chris Tarrant.
The improvement, of 77,000 listeners a week, will increase Fox's chance of taking over the role permanently should Tarrant leave at the end of his contract as it widely expected; overall Capital increased its audience by 211,000 listeners a week taking it to a total of 2,624,000.
This increased its reach by 2% to 25%, and took its share of listening up from 8.1 to 8.9%; Capital's shares ended the day up 4% at GBP4.94.
Capital's rivals in the London breakfast show contest lost audience: At nearest rival, Chrysalis's Heart FM, where Harriet Scott has now been appointed co-host to Jonathan Coleman after Emma Forbes was poached by Capital, the weekly audience was down 26,000 to 858,000 although this increased its share from 5.7% to 6.5%.
At Emap's Kiss, Bam Bam, who has turned down an offer from Capital, lost 84,000 listeners to 761,000 with share down from 3.9% to 3.8% and, at SMG's Virgin, Pete and Geoff's Morning Glory lost 11,000 to 543,000.
Kiss was aided by its digital presence - it has nearly a million listeners outside London - to a weekly reach of 2.57 million, a 5.7% rise on the first quarter and Emap's Smash Hits and Kerrang digital stations also performed well.
Worst news in London was for BBC Radio 1, where Sara Cox's breakfast show lost more than a quarter of its audience, down 203,000 to 554,000: The show lost 433,000 listeners a week nationwide and the channel itself dropped below 10 million listeners a week for the first time ever.
Overall British radio reached 90% of its potential audience in the quarter, down from 91%, and the BBC fared less well than commercial stations with its share of the audience falling from 53.5% to 53% whilst the overall commercial share rose from 44.5% to 44.9%.
Its bright spots were Radio 2, which had a record share of 16.3%, up from 15.7%, despite losing some 210,000 listeners a week, and World Service, which increased its audience by 67,000 listeners a week although its share was changed at 0.7%.
The worst performing BBC station was Radio 1, which as already ntoed, lost audience heavily yet again.
Director of BBC Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky commented, "This is an impressive share performance by the BBC which still commands 53% despite the fact that more stations than ever are being measured. Realistically we must expect that this share will gradually be eroded as even more stations come aboard."
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 473,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.87 million, a weekly reach of 20%, down from 21%, and a listening share of 7.6%, down from 7.9%.
*BBC Radio 2 lost 209,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13,025,000 million, a weekly reach of 27%, as before, and a listening share of 16.3%, up from 15.7%.
*BBC Radio 3 lost 96,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2 million, a weekly reach of 4%, as before, and a listening share of 1.1%, as before.
*BBC Radio 4 lost 339000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.695 million, a weekly reach of 20%, as before, and a listening share of 11.4 %, down from 11.8 %.
*BBC Radio 5 Live lost 612000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.803 million, a weekly reach of 12%, down from 13%, and a listening share of4.4%, down from 4.7%.
*BBC World Service, in its second ratings, recorded a weekly audience up 68,000 at 1.463 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 3% and listening share of 0.7%
*BBC Asian Network, in its first ratings, had a weekly reach of 421,000, amounting to a 1% and an 0.3% share.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM lost 304000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.568 million, a weekly reach of 14%, as before, but a listening share of 4.5%, down from 4.6%.
*The Wireless Group's TalkSport lost 89000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.160 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and a listening share of 1.6%, down from 1.7%.
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) gained 88000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.796 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 6%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.6%.
Digital national networks:
*Kerrang gained 2, 000 listeners to 773,000 a week, and unchanged reach of 2%, and a listening share of 0.3%
*Oneword had a weekly audience up 11,000 to 61,00, too small for reach and share to be listed.
*Smash Hits had a weekly audience up 94,000 to 853,000, and unchanged reach of 2% and a share of 0.3%.
*Mean Country, in its first ratings, had 126, 000 listeners a week, too small for reach and share to be listed.
Previous GWR (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2003-08-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may approve Univision's USD 2.3 billion takeover of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) as early as next week under a party-line vote with the Republican members of the Commission in favour and Democrat Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael J. Copps against according to the Los Angeles Times.
The paper says FCC staff have concluded that the deal would pose no significant barriers to other broadcasters seeking to enter the US Spanish-language market and recommended approval of the deal, which has already passed Department of Justice scrutiny subject to conditions relating to Univision trimming its interest in Entravision.
According to the Times report, FCC staff concluded that there were no significant barriers after conducting a study that found that more than 163 radio stations had converted from English to Spanish in one recent four-year period, while only 77 stations switched from Spanish to English.
Univision is the largest Spanish TV broadcaster in the US and HBC its largest Spanish radio network and rival Telemundo TV network, owned by GE, and other critics including various Hispanic organizations have argued that the combined Univision-HBC would dominate the us Spanish-language market and severely restrict competition within it.
Washington lawyer Philip L. Verveer, who represents Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), told the paper, "The deal raises a special set of concerns about competition and diversity that are specific to Hispanics in the U.S. This is already a very concentrated market, and this deal will, if allowed to go through, substantially reduce both viewing and listening choices for the country's Spanish-speaking audience."
Los Angeles Times report:
2003-08-01: The latest report of the BBC Complaints Unit, covering the period from April to June this year, shows seven complaints concerning items on radio were upheld compared to eight in the previous bulletin.
The report shows an unusually high 48.5% of complaints were upheld, mainly because of one BBC TV promotion that led to 182 complaints. In all, the unit dealt with 645 complaints concerning 227 items in the quarter compared to 709 complaints relating to 239 items in the first quarter of this year.
Of the total complaints, 87 related to matters of fairness and accuracy, down from 137; they related to 65 items, up from 59.
A further 555 related to matters of taste and standards, down from 567; they related to 159 items, down from 176. The remaining three complaints about three items concerned other matters, down from five complaints relating to four items in the previous quarter.
The radio complaints upheld were:
*One fairness and accuracy complaint of "other bias "relating to the BBC Radio 4 daily religious slot "Thought for the Day". In this a speaker, who opposed various aspects of the establishment of the Church of England, such as the requirement that the monarch be a Protestant, was held to have strayed over into advocacy.
Six complaints of matters of taste and standards. These were:
* A "poor taste" complaint against Up All Night on BBC Radio Five Live in which, during a live link-up with a California station, the US host made an homophobic remark. The unit said that the British presenter chose to move on rather than confront her co-host about the remark when the latter action would have been preferable.
*An "intrusiveness" complaint against Juliet Morris on BBC Radio Five Live in which the reporter gave out the address of the family of a Briton who had carried out a suicide bomb attack in Israel, contrary to BBC policy.
In the same quarter, the BBC Governors Appeals Committee considered seven appeals, five on matters of fairness and accuracy and two of matters of taste and decency, upholding one appeal in full and one in part. In the first quarter of the year it had only partly upheld one TV complaint.
A further appeal, concerning the policy that contributors to the Thought for the Day slot in BBC Radio 4's Today programme belong to an identifiable religious faith or tradition, was remitted to the full Board of Governors; this complaint had originally been considered by considered by Glenwyn Benson, then the BBC's Director of Factual & Learning, who ruled that a short religious slot within Today reflecting on an issue of the day from a religious perspective could not be considered discriminatory, as speakers from a non-religious perspective have ample opportunities to have their voices heard at other times and places in the BBC's schedules. The full board of governors concurred with this view and dismissed the complaint.
The appeal that was upheld concerned a TV news report on the UK's draft Mental Health bill and the one partly upheld involved three items about the Euro in an edition of the Radio 4 Today programme. The complainant maintained that the series showed a clear pro-euro bias. They were two interviews - one with the Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, and another with economist Professor Robert Mundell - plus a news report about a survey by the trade union Amicus of its members demonstrating support for the euro.
The Appeals committee considered the interview with the minister to be fair but felt that he economist's pro-euro view had not been made sufficiently clear and also that the programme had over-stated the sample size of the survey due to a misinterpretation of the news release.
None of the other appeals, all of which were rejected, involved radio.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin:
BBC web site re complaints (Complaints report is 81Kb PDF and Governor's Appeals report is 74Kb PDF):
2003-08-01: The latest Complaints Bulletin, running to the end of June this year, issued by the UK Radio Authority shows that the Authority considered around half as many complaints again as it did a year earlier and upheld nearly twice as many.
In all it considered 166 complaints compared to 101 a year earlier, upholding 37 compared to 19.
Of the total 89 were programming compared to 52 a year earlier and 142 in the first quarter of this year; 11 were upheld compared to seven a year earlier and nine in the first quarter of this year.
The remaining 77 complaints were advertising related compared to 49 a year earlier and 60 in the first quarter of this year; 26 were upheld compared to 12 a year earlier and 26 in the first quarter of this year.
Of the programming complaints upheld, eight related to balance, bias and fairness, and three concerned taste and decency.
The Complaints Bulletin shows a breakdown (Q1, 2002 figures in brackets followed by first quarter 2003 figures in square brackets) of programming complaints as follows:
* Accuracy - One (One)[Two] of which none (none) [none] was upheld:
*Balance/Bias and Fairness - 16 (Six)[Nine], of which eight (None) [One] were upheld; four of these concerned one matter and three another.
*Taste and decency - 58 (22)  of which three (five)[six] were upheld; 37 of these concerned one matter on which the complaint was not upheld. It concerned comments made by the Blazin' Squad's during a live rap..
*Promise of performance or format - - Five (Three)[Six] of which None (One)[None] was upheld; four of these concerned one matter.
* Other - Nine (20) of which None (One)[Two] was upheld.
The advertising complaints breakdown (again with 2002 figures in brackets followed by first quarter 2003 figures in square brackets) was:
* Harmful - Five (Eight) [four], of which Four (One)[One] were upheld; three of these concerned one matter.
* Misleading - 43 (19) of which 21 (Four) were upheld; of these 15 were on one matter, and two each on two others.
* Offensive - 27 (20) of which None (Seven) was upheld; of these five were on one matter, three on each on two more and two on another matter.
*Other -Two (Two)[Four], of which One (None)[None} was upheld.
Of the programming complaints, the Balance/Bias and Fairness complaints upheld were:
*A complaint against TalkSport of offensive remarks made by the host during a phone=in discussion of the Middle East. A caller, who had expressed horror that Palestinian children in their classrooms had been targeted by Israeli soldiers accused the presenter of being "as sick as the man who pulled the trigger" for suggesting that Palestinians had brought it on themselves. The presenter had remarked in sarcastic fashion "Okay, I'm a sick bastard. I hope they killed them all to tell you the truth quite frankly ".
*Another middle East related complaint against TalkSport. In this case a number of complaints were made because the presenter had called Palestinians "scumbags", albeit in a context of demonstrations of support of the Iraqi government. There were also complaints that callers who rang to challenge the remarks were not given adequate opportunity to put their views.
*A complaint against LBC by a complainant who said a caller, who challenged remarks accusing various governments, including that of Israel, of double-standards, had not been given adequate time to put his views. The host had cut the caller short when he had made an analogy between the actions of the Israeli Army and the (largely unarmed) British police. It was ruled that, although the opinions expressed would have been open to challenge, the caller should have been given more time to put his point of view.
*A complaint against GWR's Orchard FM, Yeovil, about a £20,000 Birthday Game' competition run over its Mix Network of stations that set an upper age limit of 47 when it had simply specified that a randomly-selected year was to be read-out on-air and listeners born in that year were encouraged to ring in. GWR had said it had not intended to mislead but it was ruled that any restrictions had to be made clear.
The taste and decency complaints upheld were:
*A complaint against Hallam FM, South Yorkshire, over the playing of an unedited version of a song, thus airing the repeated words, fuck you Jordan".
*A complaint against Isle of Wight FM where the host of a lunchtime phone-in, who was outraged to a TV documentary, referred to its presenter as a "bastard." The station had already reprimanded the host.
*A complaint against Wirral's Buzz FM over comments by a host in which he referred to "'some thieving gypsy."
Three other complaints were considered resolved because of action taken by the station involved.
*A taste/decency complaint about a broadcast on Clyde FM in which a caller, who had what the station termed a fairly strong Ayrshire accent had called a footballer an "Arsehole". The station had apologized to people who complained to it and it was accepted that the broadcast pf the word had been accidental.
*An "other "category complaint against Magic FM, London, over a fault that allowed an overlap of music and a news bulletin. The station had installed hardware and taken other measures to prevent recurrence.
*Another "Other" category complaint, this time involving wind-up calls by Real Radio in Central Scotland to an American gas company. The station had accepted that the call in question was both a clear breach of codes and also termed it a "lapse in judgment." The complainant had withdrawn the complaint ,which was thus considered resolved, but the station was given a "severe warning regarding its compliance record."
In addition to complaints involving commercial stations, a complaint was upheld against Express FM (Portsmouth), holder of a restricted service licences.
This was a taste/decency complaint over programming in which schoolchildren were invited to create programmes very much on their own terms, including the selection of music. Among other things this had led to the playing of an Eminem track including the word "motherfucker."
In addition, the Authority noted a taste/decency complaint against Apna Panjab Radio (Slough) concerning comments about "Khalistan", thus dividing India into two. The station was unable to produce tapes and the complaint was not pursued but the station was warned about the failure to provide them be taken into account when the group next applied for a licence.
Also partially upheld was a complaint against satellite service licence holder Panjab Radio. The complainant said a presenter had been rude, hostile, offensive, arranged for her to receive threatening calls and, in a programme had "incited" listeners against her.
The station responded that the complainant "had "quite extreme 'alternative views and understanding' of the Sikh scriptures" and that her comments were "inappropriate and offensive for devout followers of the Sikh religion. It said, "At no time did (the presenter) nor anyone else from Panjab Radio divulge her details or incite others to violence against her."
The Authority listened to tapes together with an expert and , although critical of the way some of the things were handled, did not find the complaint fully justified but commented that "one of the presenter's remarks about Satan, and his failure to challenge remarks made by a caller to the evening programme did appear to us to breach our Programme Code Rule 7.2. We therefore upheld this part of the complaint."
Among the advertising complaints upheld were :
*Complaints against advertisements for the 'British Prostate Association' (BPA) that claimed to provide free literature when payment was in fact required. In addition there were problems with the content of some of the literature when it was checked and the adverts had been barred. (Harmful category).
*A complaint against Virgin FM for carrying a Text Chat advert containing material of an adult/sexual nature that had been broadcast inappropriately throughout the day (Harmful category).
*A complaint over a directory inquiries advert including a number that could not be reached from landlines provided by all service provided. The advert had subsequently been amended (Misleading category).
* A complaint against Asian Sound Radio over an advert that sounded as if it related to a counseling service but that the called found put her to a man "who purports to be able to break black magic,
solve my love problems, business problems etc." The Authority noted that such advertisements required special category clearance and warned the station that if another breach of rules took place regulatory sanctions would be considered (Misleading category).
*A carpet group advertisement that was considered misleading over the conditions that applied to get a 10% discount (Misleading category).
*An airline advertisement that was misleadingly low about the price of a flight to Belfast because it did not include a mandatory insurance surcharge (Misleading category).
*A "Central Heating Advisory Service" advert that gave the impression that it was a non-profit advice service when it was in fact a business (Misleading category).
*A dating agency advertisement that understated the cost of calls (Misleading category).
*A supermarket advert that referred to a special offer of a free ticket when the offer was only of a child's ticket but this was not made clear enough (Misleading category).
*Complaints about an advertisement concerning road safety in London that said "speed cameras are only placed in crash hot spots and they reduce serious injuries by 35%" and "all speed cameras in London are now painted yellow so you can see them in advance."
One complainant also claimed that the advertisement said, "all money raised went into improved road safety", but that it did not mention "all the administration costs in collecting these fines",
Some of the complaints were upheld, some partially upheld and some rejected, depending on the details (Misleading category).
*An advert that said four tyres would be fitted and balanced for only GBP50 when in fact the charge was GBP28 each (Misleading category).
*A solicitor's advert that identified a political candidate and congratulated him, thus breaching rules concerning political advertising. The offence, by Asian Sound Radio in East Lancashire was their second such offence and in June the station was fined GBP 3,000 (See RNW Licence News June 22)
Previous Radio Authority:
Previous Radio Authority Quarterly Complaints Bulletin:
UK Radio Authority complaints bulletin (231 Kb PDF)
2003-08-01: Yet again MUSICMATCH retained its top station spot and AOL the top network ranking in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released; there were two commercial networks (*C) carrying audio or video advertisements as opposed to banners or pop-ups), one non-commercial network (*NC), and two sales networks (*SN) in the top five networks.
For the week to July 20, Arbitron'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 (*NC) - TTSL 533, 189 (507,716); CP -173,594 (168,413). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (*C) - TTSL 291,861 (323,679); CP - 58,119 (58,540). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3 AOL Top Country (Internet-only) Country format (*C) - TTSL 278,003 (269,326); CP - 114,942 (108,320). Up from fourth with higher listening and reach.
4: AOL Top Pop (Internet-only) Top 40 (*C) - TTSL 276,034 (275,238); CP - 177,262 (174,432), Down from third despite higher listening and reach.
5: Smooth Jazz format AOL Smooth Jazz (*C) - TTSL - 261,157 (254,645); CP - 60,378 (59,337). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to July 20 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (*C) - TTSL - 6,169,899 (5,991,891); CP -1,617,260 (1,561,809). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (*C) - 2,713,048 (2,499,368); CP - 638,298 (625,890). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*NC) TTSL - 1,627,072 (1,589,055); CP - 390,411 (390,172). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (*SN) TTSL - 1,163,329 (1,138,984); CP - 125,862 (122,632) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Warp Radio (*SN) TTSL - 764,169 (786,015); CP - 125,172 (127,618) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
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