December 2003 Archive
November 2003 -January 2004
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 December comment - Looks at our wish list for 2004.
RNW November comment - Looks at the relationship between regulatory penalties and the importance attached to things.
RNW October comment - Considers whether talk radio need be the province of bigots and the crude.
2003-12-31: Sirius President and CEO Joe Clayton in a year-end e-mail to stockholders has highlighted the satellite radio company's seven-year agreement with the National Football League (See RNW Dec 17), citing a Wall Street analyst's comment of it as "a major strategic positive."
Clayton notes that Sirius "In addition to being the only satellite radio provider to bring listeners 100% commercial free music" is "now the only provider to bring sports fans an all-access pass to the NHL, the NBA and now the NFL."
He says the agreement and the investment Sirius is making "could not have been accomplished had we not successfully and substantially strengthened our financial base."
He also highlights the increase in subscribers over the year from fewer than 30,000 to more than 200,000.
RNW comment: Noting the degree to which the success of Sky's satellite TV service in the UK has been based on sports deals, Clayton seems to have acted shrewdly in making his moves on sports rights since fans often perceive sports as a "must have" whereas music and news services are perceived as available from a number of sources.
For both Sirius and XM, all will depend on the US economy in general but it is now looking much more likely that both companies could survive in the long term, even if they are not yet in the clear.
2003-12-31: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ' ends its daily half-hour short wave world broadcast tomorrow in what it calls a "first step in the re-alignment of its distribution platforms, both at home and abroad."
It has also announced that following responses from short-wave listeners to its plans it has made two changes in relation to the major themes that emerged.
In North America, where it had a relatively high level of listeners to its broadcasts, which are aimed at "providing content to Irish people abroad and of informing radio listeners throughout the world on our country and culture" it is to restructure its output to increase its WRN (World Radio Network) transmissions to North America that are carried on Telstar from half an hour per day to two hours per day.
In addition RTÉ notes that its Radio 1, 2FM, Raidió na Gaeltachta and Lyric FM services remain available world wide via the Internet and are broadcast on satellite to the UK and Ireland.
RTÉ Radio 1 is also available throughout Europe on satellite and segments of its output available via satellite throughout the world.
The second them concerned difficulties in receiving alternatives to short wave for regular listeners in Africa who were predominantly engaged in missionary or voluntary work.
RTÉ says that for them its "belief is that satellite, and particularly WorldSpace transmissions [that carry RTÉ Radio 1], is the best and most efficient means of reaching those who wish to hear Ireland's Public Service Broadcaster around the world."
It has decided, on a "once off basis" to invite those who emailed from Africa to apply for a WorldSpace Radio that will be provided free of charge to those in particularly isolated circumstances. The receivers currently cost around Euros 150 (USD 190) although they are expected to fall in price as demand rises.
RTÉ worldwide radio availability:
WRN web site:
2003-12-31: Amongst upheavals in radio markets in the past year, Sydney in Australia has perhaps seen the largest upheaval in radio ratings for both talk and music formats.
In talk, former ratings leader 2UE under the ownership of Southern Cross Broadcasting went down the ranks following the defections of breakfast host Alan Jones to rival Macquarie Network's 2GB but then it fought back.
2UE began the year in 9th rank and Jones had a 17% share of the audience compared to 6% for Steve Price at 2UE but by the end of the year the picture had changed dramatically. 2GB and 2UE were almost neck-to-neck again, Jones' share was down to 12.7% and he was behind Angela Catterns at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Mike Carlton in the breakfast slot for 2UE had pulled his share back to almost 10% whilst John Laws, who had stayed with 2UE, was back in the morning lead.
The changes for music stations were nearly as dramatic as long-time leader Austereo's 2-Day battled with newcomer Nova, owned by DMG.
The year began with 2-Day still in the lead and Nova failing to build further on its early successes. At breakfast time, 2-Day's Morning Crew under Wendy Harmer had a share of around 12% compared to around 7% for Merrick and Rosso ( Merrick Watts and Tim Ross) on Nova.
The year saw a period in which Nova briefly went ahead of 2-Day following changes at the morning show that saw Wendy Harmer's co-host Peter Moon dropped in favour of Melbourne stand-up Greg Fleet.
Then Harmer left to be replaced with a new morning team headed by Judith Lucy, 2-Day was still at the top at year end but only just and Nova still held the lead in the under-40 demographic.
Also under pressure was Triple-M, which fell from third to eighth rank as Austereo concentrated on 2-Day and cut resources to its sister station. Now it's also fighting back with a makeover and more resources.
The year-end surprise, however, was the breakfast victory for Angela Catterns of ABC's 702 in the latest ratings as her more measured style outperformed Jones tub-thumping.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Merrick and Rosso:
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-12-31: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a penalty of USD 25,000 against the former licensee of a New Mexico FM but cancelled a USD 8,000 penalty on a New York station owner.
The cancellation relates to a proposed penalty issued to Radio Lake Placid, Inc., licensee of co-located WIRD-AM and WLPW-FM, for failure to install Emergency Alert System equipment.
Lake Placid had responded with documents showing that its EAS equipment had been removed for repair and re-installed within 45 days, well within the permitted 60-day deadline for such repairs.
The New Mexico penalty involved A-O Broadcasting Inc., former licensee of KTMN-FM, Cloudcroft, and related to the first fine imposed by the FCC for violation of RFR (radio frequency radiation) regulations.
It was imposed following a complaint alleging that the station was not operating at its authorized power and was not in compliance with the RFR exposure limits.
An inspection showed that the antenna, which was mounted on an observation tower used by the U.S. Forest Service to watch for wildfires, was mounted substantially lower on the tower than authorized in KTMN's license.
Measurements taken by the agents showed that operation of KTMN's transmitting antenna at only 40% of its authorized power created RFR fields which exceeded the RFR exposure limits for the general public by more than 300% on the observation tower and in areas outside the fence surrounding the tower that were accessible to the public. A-O had also not complied with special RFR operating conditions set forth in its license.
2003-12-30: The new British media regulator, Ofcom (The Office of Communications), formally took over its duties on Monday, absorbing the roles of five predecessor regulators: the telecommunications regulator Oftel, the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television Commission, the Radio Authority, and the Radiocommunications Agency.
Its chief executive Stephen Carter says the new organization was needed because of overlaps in duties between the former regulators and the convergence of technology; the organization has already come under criticism because its costs in its first year will be more than a quarter higher than the regulators it replaces, an increase it puts down to extra duties imposed on it (See RNW Dec 18).
Ofcom says it intends to regulate with a lighter touch and has duties that include the overseeing of standards of taste and decency on radio and television as well as the regulation of and issued of licences for commercial radio and TV, the telecommunications industry, newspaper mergers; it also has limited functions relating to the BBC.
Concern about some of its roles has been raised both by industry bodies, worried in part about its public interest test when judging whether to allow takeovers and the penalties it can impose, and consumer groups that fear its desire to rule with a light touch will propel it towards allowing too much leeway to industry bodies. Ofcom, for example, has already agreed to a deal to allow broadcast advertising to be regulated by an industry body, in line with the existing practice for print and outdoor advertising, rather than by a regulator.
2003-12-30: Edmonton, Alberta, jazz DJ Bill Coull has retired from Canada's oldest public broadcaster after 41 years with CKUA, which became first public broadcaster and first educational broadcaster when it was founded in November 1927 on the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton.
Over the years CKUA has CKUA has evolved from a government of Alberta operation to a public not-for-profit foundation, with a limited commercial license and a signal is carried province-wide on AM and FM through a network of 17 transmitters as well as broadcasting in western Canada on the Starchoice Satellite channel and around the world through ckua.com.
Coull began with the station as co-host of the Music for Moderns jazz show when he was a 19-years-old University of Alberta student; in January this year, still at the same station, he won the Canada's Jazz Broadcaster of the Year Award.
Coull, who will be 60 in January and has been on extended leave since autumn decided to step aside and asked for a quiet exit with no big retirement party.
A trumpeter as a youth he told the Edmonton Journal he found the station a "stodgy, cultural relic" and resolved to "kick out the jams, get out the spears and do it."
"Sometime in the early '60s, I played the Beatles and it created a storm," he said. "Some listeners were outraged that this upstart would bring pop music to their sacred, beloved CKUA."
He later refined the mix and changed the image of the station, commenting of his pop and jazz programming, "Sure, I played jazz, but I was also in rock bands and was particularly taken with what was happening in San Francisco in the late '60s."
In the mid-80's he read a magazine review extolling the music of Mali's Salif Keta on a holiday-bound airplane and World Music then made its way onto his show.
"I bought the album in Toronto on the way back," he said. " ... It was mind-blowing and opened up this incredible panoply of world music. It was an absolute godsend."
CKUA web site:
Edmonton Journal report:
2003-12-30: A report on US President George Bush's election campaign in the New York Times says the President has taken advantage of Republican-friendly talk radio to take his use of radio "to a new level of sophistication, using it far earlier in the campaign cycle and appearing regularly on shows with even the tiniest of audiences."
It cites the example of a call from the President's campaign press secretary Terry Holt to "The Marc Bernier Show," that airs to an audience of around 50,000 in Daytona Beach, Florida, part of a network of conservative-minded local radio shows in politically important states on which campaign officials are heard daily.
The Times comments that "It is a network that the Democrats do not have - though they are trying to cultivate one - and one that Mr. Bush's campaign strategists believe will give him an edge in an election that could go to whichever side best mobilizes its core voters."
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, said that the policy had marked a change in tactics, noting, "Radio's been traditionally used later in a campaign, and it's been traditionally larger-audience talk radio" then adding that with an evenly-divided nation "you can win a national election 50,000 listeners at a time."
Holt commented that if he and other campaign officials were to appear on national television programs the hosts would try to draw them into a dogfight with the Democratic candidates, something they are not interested in doing.
Hosts like Bernier, on the other hand, let the campaign address the topics it wants to highlight now, what officials call the president's positive agenda on national security, Medicare and the economy.
"We've had discussions with all of the networks and TV shows about doing their shows, and they know there will be a time for politics, and that will signal a change," said Holt. "At the radio stations that happen to want us on, and that we seek to get on regularly, we are talking to a group of people that follows our issues."
RNW comment: From an outside point of view, the tactics may seem effective but they also have a whiff of sulphur about them and a ducking of questioning, especially when viewed from a context of regulatory regimes elsewhere that still require a degree of fairness from broadcasters using public airwaves.
It also seems inherently to vitiate part of the function of the media in querying policies and politicians to the ultimate benefit of the public if a politician is allowed to get away with only appearing on those outlets that give him or her an easy time.
New York Times report:
2003-12-30: Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released for the week to December 14 show seven Christmas channels in the top 50 stations with AOL Classic Holiday in top rank and its Pop Holiday station in fourth rank although MUSICMATCH and Virgin retained their second and third rankings.
In the network ratings, Yahoo's LAUNCH closed up on AOL at the top.
For the week to December 14, 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: AOL Classic Holiday Miscellaneous (*Commercial) - TTSL 963,431 (815,049); CP - 309,344 (291,846). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 757,608 (731,419); CP - 245,098 (237,307). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 318,015 (317,128); CP - 59,005 (54,006). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Miscellaneous AOL Pop Holiday (Commercial) - TTSL 287,567 (242,693); CP 115,313 (111,969). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
5: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 276,364 (294,047); CP 39,601 (39,915). Down from fourth with lower listening and reach.
* Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 218,260 (242,693); CP 102,659 (111,969):
The top five networks for the week to December 14 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,898,781 (6,950,319); CP - 1,827,455 (1,831,023). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 4,098,752 (3,768,761); CP - 943,267 (934,471). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,314,880 (2,224,880); CP - 533,967 (527,337). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 586,160 (606,333); CP - 86,626 (84,068) - Up from fifth despite lower listening and reach.
5: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 455,127 (965,182); CP - 88,849 (125,903) - Down from fourth with much 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 2,769,915, up from 2,714,492 and StreamGuys with TTSL 561,190, up from 522,267.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings (Month of November):
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2003-12-29: This week in our last look in 2003 at print comment on radio we start in the USA with some quotations from Chicago radio personalities from Robert Feder's column in the Chicago Sun-Times, readers responses to them - and what almost could have been a further response and possible solution in part from the New York Times.
From an older column (Dec 17) came the following wish list:
Steve Cochran, midday personality, WGN-AM - "if the companies that owned all of us decided they had enough money for now, and spent more money on making what gets on the air better."
Jay Marvin, midday personality, WLS-AM - "I wish we could go back to the days of live, unpredictable, fun radio, and stop the voice-tracked, in-the-can programming that is heard on much of Chicago radio and that doesn't mean a thing to anyone except the suits in the front offices."
Mancow Muller, morning personality, WKQX-FM - " I'd like every station to be owned by an individual owner so that talent would have more chances to fail. I'd like legit radio theater (like Chicago was known for in the '40s) to come back."
Mike North, afternoon personality, WSCR-AM - "There should be more private ownership in radio. There are no more Danny Lee's in the business. That companies such as CBS/Infinity Broadcasting own eight stations in one market limits creativity and encourages bean counting."
And last week, two reader responses:
Dan London: "I cannot agree more with Jay Marvin's comments about radio and that lame voice tracking. Because of voice tracking, there is really no listener involvement anymore. All we get now is cookie-cutter radio. BORING!"
Steve Dudzik: "I was surprised by Mike North's comments on the need for more private ownership in radio. I was expecting a dumb, smart ass, "wise guy" response. Instead we received something thought-provoking."
The ownership concerns voiced above would not be met in any way by satellite radio but in the opinion of Stephen Holden writing in the New York Times it could in part be meeting some of the programming wants.
"Not since I was a teenager enthralled by the cries and moans of the Five Satins and the Moonglows on early rock 'n' roll radio - sounds that Paul Simon once described as "deep forbidden music" - has the mystique of pop radio been so seductive," writes Holden.
"The source of these sounds is not a local radio station or a bland, faceless cable music service but a satellite pay radio channel. Music beamed by satellite has resurrected the thrill of musical discovery that has all but vanished on what is called terrestrial radio."
." At the very moment when terrestrial pop radio has deteriorated into a wasteland in which the role of D.J. is increasingly relegated to announcing songs selected by market research, satellite radio augurs what may be a new golden era of music radio."
"With its transparent, static-free reception and digitally perfect CD sound, it is a technological leap beyond anything that has been heard on the airwaves. Satellite radio has yet to reach the point where record-company and independent promoters are beating down its doors to influence programming, and representatives of both services insist they intend to keep it that way. Let's hope so. That purity is one reason that subscribing to a satellite service is the closest you can come nowadays to going to Radio Heaven. But the medium's biggest selling point may be the enthusiasm that informs its programming. The programmers on both services are experts in their genres who return the missing ingredient to radio: real care for what they play, which market-tested music can't begin to match."
After comment on the continuing existence of enthusiasm on US radio, the change in tone this week comes from across the Atlantic and Gillian Reynolds in her radio review of the year in the UK Telegraph.
Its flavour is given by the heading: "Terrific broadcasting on the BBC and independent stations is being threatened by looming changes."
The concerns? Three are noted: The advent of the new overall regulator, Ofcom; the review of the BBC; the Hutton Inquiry into the causes of the death of Dr David Kelly."
Filling in on these a little more, Reynolds writes: "First, Ofcom. It will regulate who owns what, from the smallest radio station to the biggest television conglomerate. It will judge who can say what. Its role is to enable the communications business to grow. Its duty will be to ensure that such growth is in the interests of consumers as well as shareholders."
"It comes into operation at the end of this month. Jonathan Ross on Radio 2, for example, must mind his manners and his language in case Ofcom's attention is drawn to him. Unlike its predecessors, Ofcom can impose fines of up to £250,000, even on the BBC. The BBC would pay such fines from the licence fee."
On the review of the BBC and in particular its license fee funding, she comments, "Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has launched a "national dialogue" on what people think of it. She has already set up an enquiry into public service broadcasting, chaired by Lord Burns. "
"Ofcom is also defining PSB. Cynics may say governments launch national dialogues only when they already know what they're going to do. Will they take a slice of the licence fee away from the BBC to distribute among other providers of public service broadcasting?"
And on the Hutton Inquiry that followed a report on BBC Radio 4 that said the government had "the government had enhanced official intelligence data against the advice of a senior security expert" Reynolds commented, "The harm has already been done."
"In a year when BBC radio has been full of superb programmes, on everything from folk song (Radio 4's The Seeds of Love) to how the brain works (the Reith Lectures), with brilliant comedy (the brave and bright Now Show springs to mind, as does the delicious Time for Mrs Milliner by Lynne Truss) with the Archive Hour regularly providing a weekly mind-feast, it is sobering to think that the best radio service in the world has been put at risk, financially, editorially and politically, by its own director general and chairman."
"The BBC has been in trouble with governments before. Churchill called it "an enemy within the gates" in the early days of the Second World War. Eden fought it over coverage of Suez. The Falklands and the first Gulf War brought it into conflict with Mrs. Thatcher. This is the first time I can remember when it handled its own case so ineptly as to endanger the corporation's survival."
She notes actions taken by the Corporation already but concludes, "Too late, too late. Ofcom, charter renewal and Hutton are already haunting Broadcasting House."
After thoughts of a UK enquiry, a BBC Radio 3 documentary recorded in North Korea by Andy Kershaw (and currently still on the Radio 3 web site) prompted thoughts on government inquiries.
For a general comment on the documentary, we quote Sue Arnold's review from the UK Observer: "Kershaw's dispatch from one of George Bush's evil axis regimes was chaotic, informative, colourful, funny, moving - everything, in short, you could hope for in a documentary and the one against which all future travel programmes should be rated. If Father Christmas came from Lancashire he'd sound like Andy Kershaw - gruff, amiable and permanently stuck last week in ho-ho mode as he scanned Pyongyang's bookshops for CDs and guide books with useful conversational phrases."
Included in the topics covered was a mention of a visit to the USS Pueblo, now a museum - the Pueblo for those who don't have long memories or follow history was a US spy ship that was captured by the North Koreans (almost certainly in International Waters whatever the Korean view re-iterated by Kershaw: He does have the grace however, to poke fun at some of the ridiculous facets of the North Korean state) in January 1968.
The Pueblo probably shouldn't have been at sea (it was built in 1944, retired ten years later and brought back into service in 1966 but had a history of various faults and was totally inadequately prepared to allow it to destroy sensitive equipment); it had no way to outrun the Koreans, and was massively outgunned. As a result the Koreans captured sensitive equipment and codes.
The captain and crew were in captivity for 11 months and were badly tortured and then, after their release, subjected to the indignity of seeing an inquiry recommend that two officers including its commandeer be court- martialled (the case was dropped following strong public indignation).
In marked contrast the reaction a year earlier after the Israelis had attacked another US navy ship, the USS Liberty, in international waters and killed thirty-four men and wounded 172 was the award of the Congressional Medal of Honour to its commander but a marked reluctance to engage in any deep inquiry into the events (The crews' sites for details of the incidents are www.usspueblo.org and www.ussliberty.org for those who care to go further).
The digression leads us to an anecdote from Kershaw about a visiting US State Department representative he met in Pyongyang during a previous visit in 1996, who after an 11-course dinner was given a commemorative badge featuring Korean writing.
Thanking his hosts for their hospitality, he felt he had to ask what the badge said. "It says, go fuck yourselves," came the reply.
The Koreans, it would appear, perhaps need a PR makeover to make their diplomatic approach seem folksy!
Before going on to programmes still available online, we again mention Sue Arnold in relation to her review of the year's radio: Most relates to programmes hear or not heard but her ending paragraph is praise indeed for to BBC channels, " I haven't mentioned any digital stations which, considering one opens almost every week, seems uncaring. It is. When any single digital station produces as much variety and excellence as a single day in the life of Radio 3 or 4 I shall think again."
BBC Radio 3 we have already mentioned above for the North Korea programme (See link on side bar for Radio 3: Web site links to audio).
We'd also mention the News Quiz of the Year (available via the listen again feature on the BBC Radio 4 web site- agan see side bar for link).
From the BBC World Service we'd recommend the continuing Inside Putin's Russia series that we mentioned when it began (Columnists RNW Dec 15; this is now on its third of four episodes - from the mining area of Vorkuta in the far north, which was built by Stalin's victims. The series will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 commencing January 5 for those interested. Side bar for World Service link).
And finally from the US, the Christmas Day (Thursday, Dec 25) edition of National Public Radio's "Day to Day" had a wide range of topics ranging from a feature on the Welsh language, why the Canadians can still buy Size A and D batteries but US consumers cannot, "Santa" related Hearing Voices project items, and even guidance on returning gifts, what it means for retailers and how to do it successfully.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder radio hosts' wish lists:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder readers on hosts' lists:
New York Times - Holden:
UK Observer - Arnold review of the year:
UK Observer - Arnold weekly radio review:
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
2003-12-29: In a feature on the UK radio ratings fight between the upstart GfK Media's Radiocontrol meter system sponsored by the UK Wireless Group and the official UK diary-based RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) ratings the UK Telegraph looks at the potential GBP 27 million (USD 48 million) lawsuit that the Wireless Group is threatening against RAJAR.
It quotes RAJAR chairman Lord Gordon of Strathblane as saying, "I'm quite happy if it goes to court. MacKenzie's [Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie] claim is a joke."
The RAJAR diary system defines listening in terms of a minimum five consecutive minutes and RAJAR takes the view that the Radiocontrol system measures not listening but exposure to radio.
It has conducted tests of the Radiocontrol system and Arbitron's Portable People Meter and Lord Gordon commented, "On the evidence of the two meters we tested we would not have been justified in moving to either... The idea that we are some sort of Luddite country that is refusing to move with new technology is just a joke."
Gordon pointed out that there has so far been no widespread adoption of meter systems and suggested they would have caught on by now if they were so successful.
His views were echoed by Douglas McArthur, chief executive of the UK Radio Advertising Bureau who found the tests produced "a massive erratic disparity of results", adding: "This decision wasn't, as some suggest, a 'stitch-up' by the big boys of commercial radio."
MacKenzie, who is reported to have first become dissatisfied with the official when the Wireless Groups talkSPORT flagship had rights to England-Pakistan cricket and he found a taxi driver talking of listening to it on the BBC, would benefit massively from a switch to the GfK system that more than triples the talkSPORT audience.
Mackenzie said, "When we looked at our RAJAR ratings it [the cricket] scarcely got a blip." So he commissioned pollster NOP to do some research. "They asked, did you listen to it. More than 50pc said they listened on Radio 4 or Radio 5, but we had the ball-by-ball. At that moment, we realised human error plays tricks on us."
The Wireless Group has run tests of the Radiocontrol system in Berkshire (See RNW March 22, 2002 ) and, Lancashire in England (See RNW Sept 17, 2002). The diaries of the 215 people involved showed they listened to an average 2.7 stations a week but the meter showed 4.4.
"People tried very hard to get it right and they got it completely wrong," said MacKenzie, citing the case of a 34-year-old man who insisted he spent all day listening to Radio 1. He was listening to Radio 2.
MacKenzie says the resistance to change by other radio companies is dictated by self-interest, noting that he would gain.
"It's because I'm the main beneficiary," he said. "Others would be losers, so they don't want to change.
"They could say, 'Kelv, look old son, we like the way our money comes in at the moment,' but they just say the technology doesn't work. They are stealing off me. I don't give a damn what Lord Gordon says. He has a vested interest in stopping me, so we'll fight it out in the courts. RAJAR are deliberately foot-dragging and it's costing me money."
Lord Gordon remained unimpressed, commenting, "Remember RAJAR doesn't have a monopoly on any system. If advertisers think Kelvin's wristwatch is the best way they would be voting with their feet and the rest of the industry would be stampeding after them."
RNW comment: As the Telegraph notes - and GfK publicizes - a few advertisers have now started looking at the GfK system (See RNW Dec 19).
The question is whether the trickle becomes a flood or most of them hold on for the further tests being conducted by RAJAR.
If RAJAR's pressure results in a better meter system and if. for that matter, pressures from the Wireless Group are an incentive to move as speedily as possible in its introduction, we approve.
We can understand MacKenzie's impatience since he has been pushing a meter system for more than three years and have no problem with his sponsoring the GfK system.
We don't however see anything that makes the differences justify a law suit and in relation to any Wireless Group legal action, we retain our hope that they both lose the case and have to pay costs.
Previous Lord Gordon::
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Telegraph report::
2003-12-28: Unsurprisingly the past week was fairly quiet for the regulators who were on vacation for half the week; in the UK it was the effective end for the Radio Authority, which formally hands over to the new Ofcom regulator tomorrow but has in effect ceased operations. Its web site now redirects to that of Ofcom.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has proposed amendments to services in New South Wales and Queensland.
The former involves a change to the transmission site and radiation pattern for an open narrowcasting radio service to operate on the AM band at the Sydney suburb of Penrith. The change is being requested by the licensee, Penrith Open Narrowcasting Licence Partnership (PONLP), which had problems in securing a suitable transmission site.
In Queensland, the ABA is proposing to allow commercial service 4VL in Charleville and Cunnamulla to change its technical operating conditions and implement day/night switching of its transmission power.
The ABA is also proposing to make FM capacity available for 4VL in Augathella, Morven, Mungallala, Quilpie, Tambo and Wyandra and also to make FM capacity available in Charleville for a new community radio service.
The FM frequency 104.1 MHz, which was licensed to 4TAB for an open narrowcasting service in Charleville but proved unusable in the manner for which it was designed, will be included in the Charleville radio licence area plan. Comments have to be made on the later by January 30 next year and on the former by February 13.
Canada was even quieter for radio activity than Australia; the only radio decision from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was to approve a contour change for CJKX-FM, Ajax, Ontario, following a power increase from 15,560 watts to 19,940 watts.
There was nothing from Ireland or from the UK Radio Authority although its successor, Ofcom, has been issuing a number of guidelines on the manner in which it proposes to operate and responding to queries on various matters.
They included a response to various matters raised (See RNW Dec 24) and subsequent issue of guidelines and Responses and guidelines regarding the penalties it can levy.
The new guidelines come into effect tomorrow and Ofcom says the criteria it will apply in considering the level of a penalty to the seriousness of the contravention, any precedents set by previous cases, and the need to ensure that the threat of penalties will act as a sufficient incentive to comply.
The guidelines were published following a consultation exercise during which the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) expressed concern about the `very heavy fines' that Ofcom was empowered to levy, even on small radio stations. Ofcom noted in its response that the maximum penalties were set and that "the amount of any penalty must be appropriate and proportionate to the contravention in respect of which it is imposed."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced one segment of a USD 21,000 fine imposed on a Virginia AM, taking the total down to USD 19.600 (See RNW Dec 24). It also seems that it may be able to settle the matter of regulating the use of terrestrial transmitters for satellite services without rancour following the submission of wording agreed between the US National Association of Broadcasters and XM Satellite Radio (See RNW Dec 25).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site:
2003-12-28: In another positive sign for US satellite radio, the Washington Post reports improved sales for them over recent weeks, aided by subscription discounts and expanded product lines although neither have released figures.
Sirius spokesman Ron Rodrigues commented, "We were all very busy fourth quarter. And if that's any indication of sales, then sales were good."
At XM, whose subscription is reduced from USD9.99-a-month to USD8.29 a month when subscribers commit for two years, or USD7.48 a month for a five-year package, spokesman Allen Goldberg referred to the approach as "a very compelling thing."
"We have had such strong sales over Christmas, we'll have many people activating right after Christmas, so we've got all our customer service people on high alert," he added.
The line from the companies was backed up by Bill Cimino, a spokesman for the electronics retailer Circuit City Stores Inc. who said, "The popularity has grown this year. We did see it was one of the strong products that grew in November."
Typically, he said, customers had bought the radio service for themselves rather than as a gift, because the popular version has to be installed into a car, and because the service normally requires a monthly subscription fee. But now that there is a portable receiver, some customers bought it as a gift, and paid subscription fees running for a year or two.
Washington Post report:
2003-12-27: Finnish state broadcaster YLE is to cease streaming music at the end of this year following a dispute with the copyright society Gramex according to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.
Gramex has changed from a policy of a flat fee for simulcasting of broadcast radio programming to a system of billing according to the online audience and YLE, which has been paying an annual fee of Euros 65,000 (USD 80,000), has decided it is not prepared to accept the new system. It will continue news streams.
YLE Director of Corporate Affairs Jussi Tunturi said Gramex was "trying to turn the Net into a new cash automat" and said its new system would not only be much more complex but would increase fees several times over; YLE takes the view that it has already paid the appropriate copyright payments for the music included in broadcasts but has accepted the flat fee.
Gramex Managing Director Hannu Marttila said YLE had enjoyed the old flat-fee system for a year longer than commercial operators in this field and added that Gramex approached the broadcasters with a suggestion that there might be a reduction in the tariff if the online audience increased substantially, but then learnt about the decision to stop the service from the radio news.
The paper reports that some commercial broadcasters in Finland have already ceased streaming and cites the case of Kiss FM that says if it resumed streaming it would have to pay Teosto (The Finnish Composers' Copyright Society) only Euros 84 (USD 105) a month, while Gramex would demand EUR 11,300 (USD 14,100), more than a hundred times as much. Kiss says it would resume streaming were the Gramex fees at the same level as those of Teosto.
Helsingin Sanomat report:
2003-12-27: US National Public Radio (NPR) is to launch a new radio concert series next month in conjunction with Carnegie Hall, New York, and Nonesuch Records.
The 13-part series, Creators at Carnegie, features performances from this year's inaugural season of Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall's new "third stage" underground performance space, as well as its Isaac Stern Auditorium and programmes will be drawn from Carnegie Hall's new Nonesuch at Carnegie series that features a diverse line-up of the label's acclaimed artists in more than twenty concerts during the 2003-04 season.
The radio programmes will be hosted by Fred Child, host of NPR's daily classical music program Performance Today, with contributions from music hosts at New York-area NPR member stations WNYC-FM, which also carries classical music, Fordham University's WFUV-FM that airs Americana, rock, singer-songwriters, blues, and world music, and jazz-format WBGO-FM; music genres to be featured will include classical, jazz, country, and world music.
NPR will syndicate the show to its members on the first Friday of each month, leaving it up to them when within the month they broadcast it.
2003-12-26: iBiquity is set to give digital radio in the US a further push at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month with displays of receivers for its HD Radio AM and FM in-band broadcast system that has so far been installed by an estimated hundred or so US stations although some three times that number have licensed the technology.
Even those stations that have the system are playing their commitment low-key until receivers are on commercial sale.
IBiquity says the first HD Radio tuner -- a Kenwood KTC-HR100 -- will be in stores to coincide with the show and other models by manufacturers such as Delphi , Phillips, JVC and Panasonic to follow later in 2004.
Reviewing US digital radio in the New York Times, Ivan Berger says that "In a listening test, the sound of WOR, currently the only AM station in the New York area using HD, stood out from that of comparable stations" and adds that the difference would be even more noticeable with music.
On FM, he said the difference is smaller, partly because FM often very clear to start with and partly because the New York area FMs with HD gear (WNEW,WDHA, and WNYC) are still testing the system.
iBiquity he reports says the main advantage "freedom from multipath fading, the FM equivalent of an unwanted secondary image on a TV set."
One benefit of the HD system that he notes is the capability for the receiver to switch to analogue when the limit of the digital signal is reached, rather than cutting out as with a separate digital system. He also notes the price of the equipment - the Kenwood tuner is currently around USD350.
RNW comment: As in the UK, we would expect take-up of digital radio to be slow until equipment prices are significantly lower and in the US, where the only benefit is an increase in audio quality plus some additional display information and data capabilities whilst the UK system was set up to ensure different programming was also aired, we suspect take-up could be even slower.
Add in the effects of digital competition in the US from the satellite radio services and the attraction seems to us even further reduced; certainly if you already have satellite radio it would seem to use you would be motivated to stick with it anyway and if you could only afford one system we can't see much motivation to spend two year's subscriptions on jumping to HD now when its receivers are going to have to become cheaper.
New York Times report:
2003-12-26: Chicago WGN-AM is running close to entering the New Year with two of its biggest names having still not signed new contracts.
The Tribune-owned station is talking to morning host Spike O'Dell and afternoon host John Williams and says it expects to renew both contracts but has no plans to take either off the air should there be no agreement when current contracts expire.
"I would assume that hopefully we'll have both of these guys ready to go by the end of next week," Mark Krieschen, vice president and general manager of the news/talk station told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Even if we don't come to a deal by then, I'm not going to play any games [by taking them off the air]," he added. "I think we all want both of them to be here I fully expect both to be renewed."
In Boston, Entercom took no such chances over afternoon host Glenn Ordway - the Big O -at its sports-talk station WEEI-AM; it's signed him to a new five-year deal estimated to give him an annual salary in the mid six-figure range, what he termed equivalent to "morning drive".
Ordway's The Big Show now seems likely to be syndicated in New England.
Boston Herald report:
Chicago Sun-Times report:
2003-12-25: Radio drama leading man of the 30s and 40s Les Tremayne has died in California aged 90.
His radio career began in Chicago in the 30s and spanned six decades during which he was known for a string of roles including that in the "First Nighter", which ran from 1936 to 43 and also for roles in the Thin Man and The Falcon.
In the 40s he was named as one of America's three most famous voices, along with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bing Crosby.
British-born Tremayne moved to Chicago aged four; he was in a number of movies including "North by Northwest" directed by Briton Alfred Hitchcock and also made many guest appearances on TV.
In the 1980s he co-hosted and co-produced "Please Stand By: A History of Radio" for the Southern California Consortium of Community Colleges.
Tremayne was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995; in all he estimated he had made some 30,000 broadcasts.
Los Angeles Times obituary:
2003-12-25: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and XM Satellite Radio appear to have agreed a rapprochement regarding the rules the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should use relating to ground repeaters for satellite radio services.
In a joint letter to the FCC they propose that repeaters be restricted to use only for simultaneous transmission of programming that is being broadcast from the satellite thus ensuring that NAB fears that the satellite companies would move into local programming.
2003-12-24: Florida judge Jeffrey A. Winikoff has issued a 15-day stay until the ruling has been appealed of his order that prosecutors could examine Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh's medical records (See below).
The order instructs the Florida State attorney's Office to keep the files sealed until the Limbaugh's attorneys complete their appeal of his earlier ruling
Commenting on the ruling, Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black said he was pleased and added, "As I stated earlier, while we are confident that an examination of the records will show there was no doctor shopping, but rather a legitimate need for the doctor visits, we are also confident that the facts will show that the State improperly seized these records and, further, there is no basis for them to have these records at all."
Limbaugh, who on Tuesday, said on his show as part of his "Statement on Ongoing Florida Fishing Expedition" that that the attack on him was politically inspired - "The Democrats in this country still cannot defeat me in the arena of political ideas, and so now they are trying to do so in the court of public opinion and the legal system. I guess it's payback time" - reacted to the stay on his Wednesday show by saying that despite an appeal for them to hold off while the judge considered the appeal for a stay, prosecutors had already started to look at his records.
" this morning, the court granted the stay, but the prosecutors had already begun to read my records," said Limbaugh. "So we got the stay; we got the delay; we have a chance to appeal the judge's decision, but the state went ahead and opened the records and had investigators poring through these things despite our request that they just wait until the judge just rule on our request for a stay."
"They couldn't wait; they had to open them. The elected state attorney himself ordered it."
"The state's attorney, Barry Krischer, personally ordered it from what we're told and his investigators began rifling through my medical records. Yet today the judge granted our stay and now we have a chance to appeal his decision. This means that the records have been ordered sealed again. But the state attorney has already had his investigators poring through them. I'm not surprised. My case is being treated differently than anyone else's is in this matter."
The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office declined comment on the ruling and whether prosecutors had begun looking at the records.
RNW comment: Limbaugh, as well as commenting - in a most selective manner in our view - has had the grace to post the entire transcript of the court hearing on his web site.
The best way to assess the case concerning the medical records is, we suggest, to forget the other comments and read it - it's 100KB and between 15 and 20 pages of A4 print in 10 point, depending on the typeface.
At the same time, we think some of Limbaugh's comments revealing, as for example his comment "We still haven't seen Bill Clinton's medical records, have we?".
It may display Limbaugh's habit of dirt throwing as a technique but we can't quite see its relevance in the context of the court hearing.
Limbaugh could perhaps have a case on the surface in alleging political motivation by Krischer, even more one perhaps of accusing attorneys in the US in general of preferring cases that gain them much publicity.
Perhaps Limbaugh is holding back since he could hardly accuse of being liberal a prosecutor who in the name of "zero-tolerance" against school violence pushed the prosecution of a 15-year-old mentally impaired Palm Beach County schoolboy with an IQ of 58 for stealing USD2 from a classmate's pocket for lunch money.
The boy spent seven weeks, including Christmas, in jail and the case was only dropped after a report on CBS's 60 Mins.
Limbaugh web site (Currently links to audio and transcript of host's comments on his shows on Tuesday and Wednesday plus transcript of hearing):
2003-12-24: UK Capital Radio increased the pay of its executive directors by some 40% in the 2003 financial year according to the company's annual report just published.
The increase comes despite a year of doldrums in London where flagship station Capital FM has seen its lead whittled away as its breakfast show, hosted by Chris Tarrant, who is to leave and be replaced by Johnny Vaughan early next year, lose nearly a quarter of its audience over the summer.
Highest percentage increase went to commercial director Linda Smith whose total remuneration including bonuses and benefits in kind such as share options was up just over 90% to GBP 267,000 (USD 474,000) from GBP 140,000 (USD 249,000) in 2002; the figure is higher because she only joined Capital in February - on a ten month to full year basis the increase was just under 60%.
Chief executive David Mansfield saw his remuneration up 28.7% to GBP 487,000 (USD 865,000); in terms of total remuneration he was followed by operations director Paul Davies with pay up 27% to GBP 292,000 (USD 518,000) and finance director Peter Harris whose pay was up 34.2% to GBP 259,000 (USD 460,000).
Capital chairman Peter Cawdron received a 26.8% increase to GBP 90,000 (USD 160,000).
The report also shows that the contracts of Mansfield and Davies have now been reduced from 18 months to 12 months, bringing them in line with guidelines on best practice.
Looking at the past year, the report highlight's Capital's retention of its reach and commercial share - for the group as a whole reach remained at 27% for the first three quarters of this year and commercial revenue share as 23.9% in the first two quarters but down to 23.4% in the third quarter; its 2003 group revenues at GBP 115.3 million (USD 205 million) were down 3.9% on 2002 and profits at GBP 13.3 million (USD 23.6 million)were down 9.8% and underlying pre-tax profits were down 18%.
Despite the difficult past year, Capital says there have been signs of improvement with October revenues up 8% and November ones up 4% and positive indications for December.
"We therefore expect to see six consecutive months of growth from July to December 2003," it says.
In London, Capital says it expects only a "limited short-term effect" on revenues from audience loss at Capital FM, noting " Any impact is considerably offset by audience gains at our other London stations and around the Group. Also, we increasingly sell advertising packages across all of our stations, so many key advertisers buy airtime across the Group - not just on 95.8 Capital FM."
2003-12-24: Big City Radio is effectively no more; it has filed a certificate of dissolution with the Delaware Secretary of State and voluntarily de-listed its stock. Its stock-transfer books are now closed and no further transfers are being recorded; any payments to stockholders will be made according to its records as of the close of business on Tuesday.
In other US radio business, Emmis has re-structured its overseas holdings. In Argentine it has agreed to sell its 75% controlling interest that it bought in 1999 in broadcasting company Votionis, S.A., to its local minority partners, Daniel Hadad and Viviana Zocco, for approximately USD7 million in cash. Votionis operates one AM and one FM station in Buenos Aires
It has also announced that around USD 3 million the funds are to be used to finance building nine new FM stations in Belgium for which it has been awarded licences by the Belgian Government.
Regarding the sale, Emmis notes that the Argentine peso was substantially devaluated relative to the U.S. dollar early in 2002 and says it will report a currency translation loss of approximately $11 million although on an actual transaction basis, it will have realized a slight gain on the sale.
The sale is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first half of next year.
Regarding the Belgian expansion, Emmis International President Paul Fiddick said the move was "consistent with our strategy to become geographically targeted with our international interests" and added that the company would continue to target desirable properties in a focused geography.
After the sale, Emmis International will consist of Slager Radio, the top-rated national radio station in Hungary, and its interests in Belgium that include five licences acquired by Emmis in August 2003 and that have been renewed plus four new licences. The stations will serve the principal Belgian cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges and Ghent, as well as Aalst, Harelbeke (Kortrijk), Hasselt, Leuven, and Ostend. All licenses are for an initial term of eight years and do not require the payment of any license fees.
Previous Big City:
2003-12-24: Two presenters at UK GWR-owned Beacon FM in Shropshire whose comments during the trial of a British man for the murder of two schoolgirls led to a police investigation and investigation by the UK attorney general have now left the station according to the company.
During the station's breakfast phone-in show last month (See RNW Nov 29) Mark Peters and Lisa Freame asked listeners to call in with their comments after Peters had commented of the account of the accused, Ian Huntley as to how the two girls died in his house, "It's almost like the most unbelievably made-up story in the world ever, really, isn't it? Well, I personally think it is. I can't believe any member of the jury is going to believe that story."
GWR is still waiting to hear if the station is to be prosecuted: British court reporting restrictions prohibit comment on the innocence or guilt of an accused person and the two hosts could face a fine or imprisonment.
GWR issued a statement saying, "Following discussions between Beacon FM and Mark Peters and Lisa Freame, Beacon FM announces that Mark and Lisa will be leaving to pursue opportunities elsewhere."
It added that Nigel Freshman would host the breakfast show for the time being but would not comment further.
2003-12-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced USD 21,000 from to USD19.600 fines imposed on Virginia station owner Hoffman Communications Incorporated, licensee of WGGM-AM, Alexandria, for failing to maintain effective fencing around its antenna structures, for failing to install prescribed lighting, and for exceeding authorized nighttime power limits.
Hoffman had requested cancellation or reduction on the basis that it had made contracted to repairs to the fencing before the inspection, had discovered errors in the official filings for its three towers and had filed notices it believed would remove lighting requirements for two of the towers and because it had acted promptly to cease nighttime operations until it could resume them within allowable parameters.
The FCC held that all the offences deserved penalties but cut the fine relating to the fence from USD 7,000 to USD 5,600 because of the action the company had taken.
2003-12-24: Attorneys for conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who have lost the first round of their battle to keep the host's medical records from prosecutors, have formally denied reports that they are considering a plea bargain for the host in connection with his acquisition of large quantities of painkiller; their statement was made following comments to CNN from Premiere Radio Networks spokeswoman Keven Bellows saying that the attorneys had talked to prosecutors about Limbaugh "accepting responsibility for his actions"(See RNW Dec 23).
The motion to keep the records secret was denied by Florida Judge Jeffrey Winikoff who said that the prosecutors had clearly demonstrated the relevance of the records as part of their investigation. However he ordered them not to disclose the contents to anyone else unless ordered to do so by a court.
Reacting to the decision Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black said that an appeal would be filed, adding. "These records will show that there was no doctor shopping."
"But the larger issue is that the seizure of Mr. Limbaugh's private medical records without going through the process outlined by the state Legislature is clearly an invasion of his Constitutional right to privacy. Mr. Limbaugh was not doctor shopping and he should not have to sacrifice his privacy to prove his innocence."
"The burden is on the prosecutor's office, not only to prove otherwise, but also to go through the appropriate legal process that protects an individual's right to privacy. We are confident we will prevail on appeal."
2003-12-24: BBC Radio 4's flagship "Today" breakfast programme is to have a series of celebrity editors next week on the invitation of its full-time editor Kevin Marsh who commented, "Judging from the letters and emails I get, everybody thinks they can edit Today. Well ... here's the chance for five of our better known listeners to prove it."
The five chosen are -in day order from Monday - author Monica Ali, former cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, singer Thom Yorke of Radiohead, radio critic Gillian Reynolds and academic Professor Stephen Hawking.
The guest editors will be responsible for between a quarter and a third of each programme's output with help from the programmes normal day and night editors and the support of Today producers and reporters.
Commenting on his acceptance of the challenge, Prof. Hawking said, "Today is the most influential programme on the radio so I welcomed the opportunity to raise issues I consider important."
The Today programme has also said that presenter John Humphrys, who recently threatened to resign after his interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury was cut (See RNW Oct 19), has signed a three-year contract to stay with the show.
2003-12-24: A little counting by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder has cost Infinity Broadcasting around USD 10,000.
The story began on December 19 when Feder in his column brought up the conditions for the winner in a competition, "Score Plan for a Man's Man", run by WSCR-AM (The Score).
The winner had been announced on December 16 as the station's biggest ever on-air giveaway and was worth around USD 10,000 to winner Keith Rollins who was adjudged to have written the best essay saying why he deserved to win.
The contest, however, asked for an essay of 200 words or less and a county showed that Rollins' essay contained more than 280 words.
Following the mention Infinity opted to both award the prize to new winner Tony Nowak - chosen at random from eligible entries in line with contest rules - and still pay the original winner.
"We made a mistake and we're sorry about it," said Score manager Drew Hayes. "Now we have two happy Scoreheads."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2003-12-24: The questions of licence fee increases, advance consultation, and how far new codes such as Fairness and Standards Codes (and the EPG Code and Listed Events Code for television licences) will replace all of the existing Codes and guidelines or just some of them are amongst the matters brought up by the new British regulator Ofcom in a summary of its responses to its licensing consultation just released. It also opted to retain fair and effective competition clauses in licence conditions.
On the first matter it says that it is obliged when its decisions would involve a major change in activities or have a significant impact on the public or service providers to either carry out an impact assessment or explain why such an assessment is unnecessary of impracticable because of the need for an urgent decision.
It also noted in response to queries by two licensees wanted licenses to be amended to specify that Ofcom should be react reasonably when using its powers to request information, implementing licence fee changes and considering the revocation of licences that it considered such changes unnecessary because of a general requirement that it operate according to principles under which regulatory activities should be transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted only at cases in which action is needed.
Regarding new codes, Ofcom says it intends to issue these next year after a wide-ranging consultation process and that in the meantime existing codes will continue in force.
It specifically said that the Radio Authority's Technical Code is to remain in force until a replacement has been issued.
On the question of value added tax, which is not currently charged on licence fees but will be in future, Ofcom accepted a request that VAT should only be payable on presentation of a valid VAT invoice that would enable the licensee to reclaim the tax. It also accepted a change for local radio multiplex licences so that the licensees, who often contract out technical operations, will only be responsible for doing all they can to ensure relevant provisions are observed rather than being held responsible for ensuring compliance.
Concern was also expressed by several radio licensees that Ofcom had chosen to include fair and effective competition regulation in licence conditions rather than rely on its powers under the Competition Act but Ofcom decided that it should retain such conditions in licences.
These require licensees to refrain from practices prejudicial to fair and effective competition and to comply with any code or guidance approved by or direction given by Ofcom for the purpose of ensuring fair and effective competition; it commented that ex ante regulation is better at promoting competition in markets where competition is not effective than ex post competition law, which is better at safeguarding competition in effectively competitive markets.
Ofcom web site (Includes link to responses - 174kb PDF)
2003-12-23: According to a CNN report attorneys for conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh have been talking about a possible plea bargain over his purchases of prescription painkillers.
It quotes Keevin Bellows, a spokeswoman for Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks as saying Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, had been talking with the Palm Beach County state attorney's office about "accepting responsibility for his actions."
She added that Limbaugh recognized he might have purchased drugs illegally under Florida law and said he "certainly had more pills than he could ever use" although he never intended to sell them.
"He wants this thing to go away," she said but added, "He won't admit to anything he didn't do."
Limbaugh has now alleged that he was blackmailed by a former maid who later told the National Enquirer and law enforcement authorities about his addiction to the painkillers.
Black told Judge Jeffrey A. Winikoff on Monday that the maid demanded USD 4 million but Limbaugh could not go to the authorities because they would use the information against him.
Black, who wants the host's medical records kept private, argued that prosecutors are attempting to discredit the host by investigating whether he went "doctor hopping " - obtaining multiple prescriptions from a number of doctors but not telling them of the other prescriptions obtained - and also alleges that prosecutors violated Limbaugh's privacy when they seized his medical records
Assistant State Attorney James Martz said reviewing the records would be the only way to determine if Limbaugh withheld information from his doctors and if he violated the law.
RNW comment: As it must be assumed Limbaugh has approved his attorney's strategy we feel his allegations of blackmail should be thoroughly investigated but not considered as relevant to any decision about whether his medical records should have been seized.
The latter matter relates not to motivation but to the facts of whether Limbaugh engaged in illegal activities. The blackmail allegation is a serious matter, however, and we can only speculate on the relevant levels of intelligence of the host and his maid if he does not have any substantiation of his allegations. Certainly if they are being made without substantiation we would feel that the maid ought to be awarded very significant damages against Limbaugh should she decide to pursue the matter; on the other hand, if he has the evidence, we would have expected it to now have been handed to the authorities but have seen no reports to indicate that this is the case.
2003-12-23: Australian DMG radio network has won its legal battle with rival Austereo over use of the catchphrase "'Sounds Different" that was used to launch its Sydney station in April 2001 and its Melbourne station in December that year.
The row began when DMG won the licence for the new commercial FM in Adelaide and Austereo started using the phrase to brand its MMM station in the city.
DMG saw the move as a spoiling tactic and took the issue to court and the Australian Registrar of Trade Marks has now ruled in DMG's favour and ordered Austereo to pay all the costs of the action.
Reacting to the decision DMG Chief Executive Paul Thompson said, "Austereo, in a national newspaper, recently attempted to ridicule DMG's moves to protect its intellectual property. We are very pleased that the Trade Marks Office took the matter more seriously in recognising the merit of our application."
Austereo, which has seen its market lead eaten into by the new network, says it is to appeal the decision.
It has also been revamping its stations and has now announced a new drive show to start on January 12 and air on its 2Day FM station in Sydney and Fox FM in Melbourne. The show is to be hosted by Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O. Austereo has already launched a new breakfast show on 2-Day (See RNW Nov 14).
Despite the pressures Austereo insists it will meet its earnings forecasts for the 2003 financial year. In connection with the resubmission of its Preference Share Buyback Scheme by dominant shareholder Village Roadshow Limited Austereo has repeated its EBIT guidance for the full year of AUD 68-72 million although allowing itself a get-out by saying the "estimates are dependent upon advertising, audience share and competitive conditions."
2003-12-23: Saga Communications has announced a deal to buy three New England stations for an undisclosed price from Great Northern Radio.
The stations involved are WRSI-FM, Turners Falls, and WPVQ-FM, Greenfield, both in Massachusetts, and WRSY-FM, Marlboro, Vermont.
Commenting on the deal, Saga president and CEO Ed Christian noted that in Massachusetts the deal would give his company three FMs and two AMs in the Springfield/Northampton market and two FMs and an AM in Greenfield whilst in Vermont it would end up with two FMs and an AM in Brattleboro.
Saga has also announced that its Board has increased its authorization for the company's previously announced stock buy-back programme from USD 10 million to USD 15 million. So far Saga has repurchased around USD 7.7 million of stock.
2003-12-23: Following the declaration of a "code orange" security alert in the US on Sunday because of intelligence suggesting that Al Qaeda is planning further attacks, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has again limited visitor access to its headquarters. It is closing its lobby in Maine Avenue and insisting that all visitors have to use the 12th Street lobby and be escorted by FCC staff. In addition its Reference Information Center has been closed although it points out that filing and docket information is still available online.
2003-12-23: The Arbitron Internet Broadcast ratings for November show Virgin moving up the station rankings but otherwise the same mix as before at the top end where AOL retained the Network lead and MUSICMATCH the top station slot.
The top five stations for November were (October figures in brackets):
1: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (non-commercial) - TTSL 2,546,302 (3,094,250); CP 736,608 (744,044). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: K-LOVE Contemporary Christian (non-commercial) - TTSL 1,115,624 (1,420,311); CP 113,213 (126,897). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin Radio (commercial) - TTSL 1,107,150 (1,192,445); CP 160,178 (163,441). Up from fourth despite lower listening and reach.
4: AOL Top Country (commercial) - TTSL 1,100,055 (1,264,164); CP 415,100 (397,655). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: AOL Top Pop (commercial) - TTSL 985,327 (1,143,552); CP 543,844 (555,966) Same rank with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for November were (October figures in brackets):
1: AOL Radio Network (commercial) - TTSL 24,974,530 (27,379,327); CP 4,358,877 (4,333,059). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: Yahoo LAUNCH (commercial)- TTSL 15,663,452 (18,311,876); CP 2,498,870 (2,498,962). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (non-commercial) TTSL 7,766,068 (9,378,479); CP 1,550,181 (1,537,326). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
4: Adsertion (sales network) -TTSL 4,420,878 (5,357,224); CP 380,571 (433,295). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) - TTSL 2,133,025 (2,358,331); CP 246,356 (250,333). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
Arbitron is not now ranking content delivery networks but it does list the top two -- Live365.com, which had a TTSL of hours 10,469,202, down from 11,352,734 in October, and StreamGuys with a TTSL of hours 2,161,912, down from 2,390,014.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast monthly ratings:
2003-12-22: With Christmas so close, unsurprisingly seasonal reports on radio proliferated in print last week with some focussing on a positive anticipation and others on the negative of too much to soon.
Concerning the former, Nick Wyke in the UK Times reported on what he termed a "venerable BBC Christmas tradition." The report was on the BBC radio broadcasts of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge that began in 1928 and is celebrating its 75th anniversary on December 24 although the event itself began ten years earlier, on Christmas Eve 1918.
The original service was devised in 1880 by Edward White Benson, later to become Archbishop of Canterbury, whose congregation met in a wooden shed that served as the "cathedral" in Truro, Cornwall, at the time.
The 1928 broadcast was to the home audience only with a potential of some 10 million listeners. There was no broadcast in 1930 because the then new choir director, replacing a man who'd held the post since 1876, thought the broadcast would be too daunting a task for him but soon after then the BBC began broadcasting on overseas programmes although during the Second World War the name of Kings was not broadcast for security reasons.
The programme- which runs from 1500 GMT - is now carried to millions of listeners worldwide with re-broadcasts from around 250 US stations including all the classical music stations of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) ; the first US broadcast in 1979 was handled by National Public Radio (NPR) and carried by some 78 stations and MPR took over handling the event a year later.
Stephen Cleobury, director of music at King's since 1982, told the times planning for the event begins in September with rehearsals by the choir beginning in December. The broadcast now includes a specially commissioned new carol that this year it is Gleam (words by Stephen Plaice and composed by Sir Harrison Birtwistle) which Cleobury describes as "rather exciting".
In contrast to the generally welcoming comments about specific Christmas-related programmes in the UK, there was a marked chilly tone about some of the reports on Christmas radio, or, more specifically "All Christmas" format radio from North America.
There it is worth noting that Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony said in 1621 that on "the day called Christmas Day," that everybody should keep working, although by the 1880s, Massachusetts had largely abandoned it puritanical approach to the occasion.
According to an article, "I'm dreaming of white-noise Christmas on the radio dial" by William Burrill in the Toronto Star "In New York City, citizen groups have reportedly banded together in a bid to banish the "All Christmas music format" from radio as a form of cruel and unusual punishment."
Burrill continued that he was "talking about the endless, relentless, unceasing stark raving, maddening drip-drip-dripping akin to water torture."
Burrill noted, "There are exactly 362 stations in the U.S. - with no fewer than eight in the Manhattan area alone! - that have adopted the All-Xmas format this year" and then went on to say things were easier in Toronto where "97.3 EZ Rock - has grabbed the Toronto monopoly on the "All Santa, All The Time" format.."
He then went on to comment on some of the songs - or mangled pronunciations thereof - being aired including "Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching Ass To War" and who could forget "He's Got The Whole World In His Pants."
Other gems were "Release the pounding boy", "Holy Imbecile, tender and mild," "Round John Virgin" and "Barney's the king of Israel" not to forget reindeer Rudolph's "nasty wife named Olive" as in "Olive the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names."
Still, bearing in mind that in modern-day America it wouldn't be that difficult to imagine a Passover at which credit cards were promoted in the temple as opposed to money changers being expelled therefrom perhaps Burrill should just be grateful Toronto has ONLY ONE All-Christmas station to cope with.
A final comment related to Christmas came from Armando Iannucci writing in the UK Daily Telegraph.
After referring to a stint as "a panellist on [BBC] Radio 4's The News Quiz" that meant he had paid more attention to small eccentric stories he recalled one from the US where "A self-proclaimed behavioural expert, with an implausible-sounding name like Dr Frankelhammer, conducted an experiment in American department stores to test people's reaction to Father Christmas. "
"He observed the expressions on people's faces as they left Santa's grottoes and noted that the grown-ups looked a lot more happy than the children."
"It was as if these children knew that they were experiencing something more manufactured than magical, but were prepared to play along with their seniors in order to qualify for the promised Game Boy. The adults, on the other hand, were re-living their childhood. They were wishing on themselves that state of innocence they threw off as teenagers, but now wanted back - if only through their children."
After Christmas, however, there will still be non-seasonal radio so we move on to article from the UK and the other from the US, on newer forms of the medium.
In the UK Guardian Yinka Adegoke reported on the likely benefits to online radio of increased take-up of broadband that has already seen a significant increase in listening and asks, "So could online radio, particularly the genre-led, pre-programmed offers from the likes of AOL, Yahoo!'s LaunchCast service - the top two US networks with 4.3 million and 2.5 million listeners respectively - and RealOne, pose a serious threat to commercial traditional radio?."
The question elicited differing responses reflecting the backgrounds and hopes of those asked. In the UK Capital Radio launched genre stations online in 1999 but then pulled back from the service
Its head of digital development Tom Laidlaw says Capital is now concentrating on using the web to build closer interactive brand relationships with its listeners.
"We see the web as a new distribution platform rather than as a new frontier," he said and voiced doubts that that ISP-based music-only stations can build the kind of relationship with listeners that many traditional stations have, commenting, "A radio brand is something you trust to give you what you want. You know you'll like what it plays."
A more positive view of online audio came from Dave Goldberg, Yahoo!'s VP & general manager of music, who said of the take-up and future of its Launch radio services. "These are pretty loyal listeners. We've seen tremendous growth in numbers and in the time they spend listening."
He then added, "We're more supplemental than competing. We're not cannibalising listeners yet - we might do in the future."
Similar views came from Real Networks whose director of international programming, Patrick Walker, said that genre-led, pre-programmed, ad-free radio gives consumers what they want, commenting, "Listeners can access third-party radio stations via our player anyway, but there is always a large number of people who want to listen to ad-free radio."
Expressing a slightly different perspective James Cridland, managing editor of Virgin Radio New Media, which has a number of its own genre stations, said, "People want more than just non-stop music" adding of services that keep a track of tastes and then create a tailored product for a listener, "After you train it so well the element of surprise goes - this is the thing that well-programmed traditional radio stations will always do for you
Adegoke noted that a recent poll for Virgin showed that up to 10% of its 4.75 million listeners first heard of the station somewhere other than through an FM/AM broadcast and Cridland commented of this, "The only reason we're online is to grow our audience. I don't care if they're online or offline."
Also expressing some scepticism about the unalloyed benefits of new approaches last week was Elisabeth Mahoney in the UK Guardian.
In one of her radio reviews she noted the success of Emap's digital stations Kerrang!, Q radio, and Smash Hits compared to the BBC's 6 Music that manages a weekly audience of not much more than a fifteenth of the total of the three Emap stations.
"This may sound like good news: vast numbers of listeners sampling the brave new world of digital radio," she writes. " And it is, until you listen to them. With the very slight exception of Kerrang!, which does at least have a sliver of personality and - shock, horror - the occasional presenter talking between tracks, these stations are 24-hour back-to-back trackathons, broken only by inane jingles reminding you what you are listening to "
"Little more than pre-programmed jukeboxes, these stations eschew what most of us recognise as radio: an act of communication, a special connection between listener and station. There are no presenters as such (though there are odd, and I mean odd, bursts of chat: "it's just after 12 and you're listening to Mojo radio," a hitherto silent woman trills, at just gone 11), no news bulletins, no regular time checks or sense of what day it is, and precious little in the way of audience interaction. You soon start to crave a presenter, even a bad one."
" BBC 6 Music, in contrast to these bland and insulting "stations", is a serious and passionate proposition. How depressing that it is so far being trounced by lame competition."
The same lament not that long ago might have been directed at US satellite radio that was consuming large amounts of investment and bringing in so little income that many pessimists thought that it might fail completely.
Now the view, especially of XM which has a million-plus subscribers compared to the 200,000 or so of Sirius, is more optimistic in financial terms; the comment is certainly more appreciative in other terms as was the case of a column by David Pogue in the New York Times.
Asking why people would bother paying for radio when it is available free, he responded with the answer, "Because satellite radio is fantastic - a cultural source unlike any other Because the 100 channels are largely free of commercials, their program directors don't have to appeal to all the mainstream, all the time. Satellite radio offers specialized full-time channels for pop, rock, hip-hop, dance and country (dozens), classical (several), comedy recordings, sports, advice and news, old-time radio dramas, audio books, Spanish-language programming, religious talk, children, and on and on."
" . Thanks to the lack of ads and interruptions, satellite radio resembles a CD or an iPod - yet it has a limitless playlist. Because you can find forgotten gems, experimental music and eclectic programming, it resembles a college radio station - yet you never lose the signal as you drive."
"All of this was true, of course, when satellite radio first appeared two years ago," noted Pogue who went on to add, "Today, satellite radio is even better."
The reasons: Firstly that it then people could be investing heavily in a service that might go belly-up but is now far less likely to do so and secondly that there are now many more choices of receivers and they are much less pricey.
Pogue however offers a note of warning based on the history of US cable TV. That, he notes," also started out as a fee-based reaction to the commercials and unimaginative programming of the networks. Over the years, most cable channels began carrying just as many commercials as network TV did Neither satellite radio company promises to freeze its current prices or percentage of ads."
And looking ahead to listening choices over the week, we first note that Radiohead is being allowed to programme BBC6 Music this week, which should provide an interesting experience. After that to BBC Radio 4, which on December 26 at 1830 GMT broadcasts its annual compilation News Quiz Of The Year.
For those with more of a sporting interest BBC Radio Five Live on Christmas Day at 10:00 GMT airs Five Live's Sporting Century and for Comedy BBC Radio 4 on New Year's Eve at 11:30 GMT has Stanley Baxter And Friends, the first of four short comic plays.
New York Times - Pogue:
Toronto Star - Burrill:
UK Guardian - Adegoke:
UK Guardian - Mahoney:
UK Telegraph - Iannucci:
UK Times - Wyke:
2003-12-22: In an attempt to develop more intensive use of radio spectrum, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued its first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning "smart " radio systems that have the capability to adapt their use of spectrum to local conditions, such as determining optimal powers and frequencies to use in an area and whether certain transmissions are permissible in a particular location.
Cognitive radio can also switch from frequency to frequency and transmit signals using different formats or modulation schemes, permitting more intensive use of frequency than previously possible and some features are already used in commercial mobile wireless services and wireless local area networks (WLANs).
The FCC notice seeks comment on" the ways in which the Commission can encourage and remove regulatory impediments to continued development and deployment of smart radio technologies, including, for example, facilitating the ability of licensed spectrum users to deploy them for their own use to increase spectrum efficiency, and to facilitate secondary markets, allowing licensees to lease their spectrum access to third parties using such technologies."
It also seeks comment on ways in which smart radios can facilitate opportunistic use of the spectrum by unlicensed devices, while protecting incumbents from harmful interference and on rules permitting additional technical flexibility, including allowing unlicensed devices in limited bands to use higher transmit powers in rural and underserved areas. This would potentially reduce network infrastructure costs, facilitating broadband and other services in these areas.
The Notice seeks comment on how smart radios could facilitate public safety interoperability. Specifically, because of their frequency agility, smart radios may potentially be used as a communications bridge between two different radio services - effectively translating the signals from one service into the format and frequency of another. This could enhance the ability of different public safety entities to communicate with one another in the event of an emergency.
Welcoming the move, FCC chairman Michael K. Powell commented, "Recent advances in smart radio technologies have the potential to provide more innovative, flexible, and comprehensive use of spectrum while at the same time minimizing the risk of harmful interference. On a real-time basis, smart radios determine their location or environment, have the flexibility to select the best frequencies to use, know how to avoid interference with existing users, and can use vacant spectrum channels."
"Of special note is the potential of smart radios to facilitate spectrum leasing transactions, including possible leasing of public safety spectrum that would not otherwise be possible without the technology."
"The possible uses for smart radios are wide ranging. The challenge before the Commission is to determine how we can open the door for these technologies so as not to shut out any of their tremendous potential."
Also welcoming the move, Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps wrote, "Cognitive radios have the potential to be a powerful tool for increasing spectral efficiency while keeping interference at acceptably low levels. So, I hope that this NPRM keeps us moving in the direction of allowing consumers and companies to take advantage of these new technologies. I am also eager to explore the idea of allowing higher power levels for unlicensed technologies in rural areas. The wireless networking community has been asking for this for a long time now."
Similar welcoming statements were also made by Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin and Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein who noted that he found "the discussion of interruptible spectrum leasing very interesting. Such a development may enable previously reluctant licensees to explore a technological fix to address some of the current challenges of spectrum leasing. While I remain unsure that we should actually allow public safety licensees to potentially lease their spectrum to commercial providers, I appreciate the value in having a discussion on the technical aspects of interruptible spectrum leasing and its possible use by public safety licensees."
2003-12-22: Florida Palm Beach County prosecutors have now filed a motion saying they have met legal requirements to examine conservative radio host's Rush Limbaugh's sealed medical records seized as part of their investigation into Limbaugh's prescription drug use.
According to the Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel the three-page filing provides no new information but just presents the argument that prosecutors have met the legal requirements to review the records; a hearing is due on the matter today in front of Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Winikoff.
Prosecutors obtained four search warrants from two judges, one in Palm Beach and another in Los Angeles, to seize the records of three Palm Beach doctors and another doctor in Los Angeles in connection with their investigations as to whether the host violated the state's "doctor shopping" law by getting the four doctors to write overlapping prescriptions and failing to tell them about each other. Limbaugh has not been charged with any crime and his attorney has filed to keep the records secret and also said their seizure is preventing him from getting proper medical treatment (See RNW Dec 18).
Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel report:
2003-12-22: Russia's federal state unitary enterprise Russian TV and Radio Network (RTRN) and state radio company Voice of Russia have chosen the DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) system for their newly announced, digital short-wave transmission pilot project, authorised at the start of this month by Russia's State Commission on Radio Frequencies and that runs through December 2005.
Results of the test are to be presented to the commission in early 2006 and authorization of Russ's DRM network is expected soon after that.
Voice of Russia, which has been a DRM member since 1998, is the third largest international radio broadcaster in the world with a weekly audience of around 100 million, behind BBC World Service and the Voice of America.
2003-12-21: The past week was more one of reports from the regulators than one of decisions although there was a steady flow of the latter.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) issued revised Technical Planning Guidelines including revision of the AM, FM and analog TV emission standards that form part of the guidelines, clarification of start up and change of transmitter site procedures, clarification of conditions under which AM and FM radio services are afforded protection from interference, and changes to the minimum level of service requirements for AM radio, FM radio and analog Television, to enable the ABA to exercise discretion in application of the guideline to commercial services.
The ABA has also varied its plan for the Remote North East Zone to improve the availability of commercial services 4RBL and 4BRZ; the changes involve making additional channel capacity for 4RBL to operate at Inglewood and Texas and alternative technical specifications available for the service to operate at Childers/Gin Gin, Beaudesert, Stanthorpe, Canungra and Kilcoy and also for 4BRZ to operate at Childers/Gin Gin, Inglewood, Texas and Kilcoy and alternative technical specifications available at Beaudesert and Canungra.
In addition the ABA has made channel capacity available for new community radio services in the Warrumbungle area of New South Wales, Dunedoo NSW and Weipa, Queensland and channel capacity for an open narrowcast service in Inglewood, Queensland.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued its fourth annual report that amongst other things showed French language radio revenues growing faster than those for English language stations and a continued decline in AM stations but overall growth of radio (See RNW Dec 20).
It also issued a number of licensing decisions. In order of province they included:
*Approval of a new 2,200 watts Adult contemporary English-language FM in Brooks for Newcap Inc. This would complement the existing country format programming of CIBQ-AM, Brooks.
*Approval of new 50,000 watts English-language Classic Hits format FM for Newcap Inc. in Camrose. The Commission noted that this is intended to complement the existing Country music programming of Newcap's CFCW-AM, Camrose.
The CRTC noted that for the two stations proposed above the applicant made a commitment to allocate monies for direct funding of Canadian talent development, part of would go to the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network (AVRN). The applicant also stated that the working relationship Newcap Inc. has developed with AVRN through its broadcasting operations across Canada would provide the new FM station with access to many new Aboriginal artists.
*Approval of new 10 watts Cree and English-language native Type B FM radio programming undertaking in Frog Lake, Alberta.
*Approval of new 100,000 watts Adult Contemporary format English-language FM for Newcap Inc. at Grand Centre (Cold Lake) following the conversion of CJCM-Am to FM.
*Approval of conversion of Newcap Inc.'s CJYR-AM, Edson, to FM. The new transmitter would operate with an effective radiated power of 95 watts.
*Approval of new 1,200 watts Adult Contemporary English-language FM for Newcap Inc. in Hinton that would provide the same programming as that currently provided by CIYR-AM, which has been converted to FM. Some 40% of programming would come from sister-station CJYR, Edson.
*Approval of new 12-watts not-for-profit, Instructional campus FM radio station in Burnaby.
*Approval of application for new 45 watts low-power, English-language Christian music FM at Blackville.
*Approval of contour change and power increase from 3,000 to 5,000 watts of the transmitter CJKX-FM-1 Sunderland for CJKX-FM Ajax.
*Approval of application for classic rock CKUE-FM, Chatham, to add a 400 watts transmitter at Windsor allied with the addition of a studio at Windsor to produce 42 hours of programming each week.
*Change of contours of transmitter at Kapuskasing for CHIM-FM following transmitter relocation because of closure of original site.
*Revocation at licensee's request of licence issued to Seaway Campus Community Radio Station for the low-power community radio programming undertaking CISD-FM Iroquois.
*Approval of application to change the contours of CJAN-FM Asbestos and increase its power from 6,000 watts to 11,100 watts.
In addition to the above, the CRTC denies an application by Genex Communications Inc. for an amendment to the licence for CKNU-FM, Donnacona, to remove a condition restricting the solicitation of advertising to the Portneuf area.
The Commission noted that in this application, and in the two other applications to amend the licence of CKNU-FM that the Commission denied in 2000 and in 2002, Genex pursued essentially the same objective - access by CKNU-FM to Québec's advertising market.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has signed a further local commercial licence agreement and also advertised licenses for a number of areas (See RNW Dec 17) but in the UK it was a matter of reports rather than licensing decisions with the UK Radio Authority issuing its final quarterly complaints bulletin that in fact covered two months only since December complaints will be referred to its successor, Ofcom (See RNW Dec 19).
Ofcom itself issued its first annual report - and also came under criticism because it to spend 27% more in the next financial year than had the combined regulatory bodies it is replacing (See RNW Dec 18).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order that sets forth proposals and seeks comment on the use and applications for cognitive "smart" radio systems (on which we will report tomorrow).
It has also been involved in a number of enforcement actions and has also granted in part a journalist's request under Freedom of Information legislation to view details of Infinity's response to the FCC demand for detailed information concerning management approval of the Sex for Sam promotion that led to the sex in St Patrick's Cathedral stunt and subsequent firing by WNEW-FM of hosts Opie and Anthony.
Infinity had sought protection of personal information and corporate information that it said could harm its competitive position when it responded to the commission with names of those involved and copies of documents relating to the promotion.
The FCC commissioners agreed that some sensitive details could be withheld but the documents could be released. Infinity was allowed ten days to release the documents or take the issue to the courts.
The FCC has also adopted a notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order that sets forth proposals and seeks comment on the use and applications for cognitive "smart" radio systems (more on this tomorrow) and been involved in various enforcement actions.
They included reductions in penalties for a Missouri station owner and a Tennessee tower owner (see below) and also the imposition of a USD 4,000 penalty on a Nevada broadcaster for failing to respond to a commission written inquiry (see RNW Dec 18).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:(includes link to technical guidelines - 391 kb PDF):
BCI web site
CRTC web site: (includes link to annual report -945 kb PDF):
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site (includes link to annual report - 348 kb PDF):
UK Radio Authority web site (includes link to quarterly bulletin - 780 kb PDF):
2003-12-21: Eleven Sydney radio stations representing all the commercial radio networks in the city plus the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) are now broadcasting digital radio signals as part of a month-long pilot programme.
Taking part are WS-FM, Nova 969, 2GB, 2CH, 2UE, 2DAYFM, 2KY, 2SM, ABC Classic FM, ABC dig internet radio and SBS, which are simulcasting their signals in analogue and digital to test listener and advertiser reactions.
Initially 100 listeners were be selected to participate in test panels made up of taxi drivers, youth, opinion makers, PC users and racing enthusiasts; the number is to be expanded to 500 listeners as a greater range of digital radio receivers becomes available.
2003-12-21: The conservative US Talk Radio Network has dropped its lawsuit against the operators of three web sites critical of radio host Michael Savage (real name Michael Weiner), particularly the savagestupidity.com site that, as well as criticizing comments by the host calls upon the public to write to advertisers asking them to withdraw support from the show and urging a boycott of advertisers who continue their support.
The Talk Radio Network, based in Grants Pass, Oregon, had filed suit in May in Illinois, alleging that the defendants are running commercial Web sites that make false and malicious statements about Savage and attempt to interfere with Talk Radio Network's relationships with advertisers, specifically Culligan, an Illinois-based company.
The suit asked the court to shut down the Web sites and force the operators pay several hundred thousand dollars in damages.
savagestupidity.com and MichaelSavageSucks.com had already claimed victory over attempts to block their domain names (See RNW July 1). The other site involved in the latest action was TakeBackTheMedia.com
Public Citizen, which has a history of defending speech on the Internet, had filed a brief on behalf of Thomas and Gunilla Leavitt of Santa Cruz, California, the creators of savagestupidity arguing that the suit was flawed.
They argued that the comments made by the Leavitts did not constitute libel of a public figure, that audio excerpts of Savage posted on the site were "fair use" of material is protected under the First Amendment and also that the suit should not have been filed in Illinois when the Leavittts were based in California.
"Each excerpt," said the Public Citizen brief, "simply illustrated the site's contention that Savage is a racist, sexist, anti-Semitic bigot."
"The Leavitts have every right to criticize Savage's statements. Also, calling for a boycott is a time-honoured action that has long been protected by the First Amendment, and the court would have recognized that," said Paul Alan Levy, an attorney with the Public Citizen Litigation Group who represented the Leavitts. "We're pleased that the company has seen fit to drop its case."
Thomas Leavitt commmented, "They never had a case, and they knew it. This filing [asking for the suit to be dropped] is an acknowledgement of that fact. This was never anything but an attempt to intimidate us into silence by hanging a USD 1,000,000 plus price on our heads."
Michael Savage official web site:
Public Citizen web site:
Public Citizen filing (209 Kb PDF)
2003-12-21: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD19, 000 to USD 3,000 on financial hardship grounds a penalty proposed on Missouri station owner Hunt Broadcasting Group, Inc., licensee of KPWB-AM and KPWB-FM, Piedmont, for failure to provide an effective locked fence enclosing the base of station KPWB-AM)'s antenna, failure to provide transmitter control and monitoring capabilities, failure to maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment, and failure to maintain all required items in the joint public inspection file for KPWB-AM and KPWB-FM.
The initial penalty was proposed in September last year and Hunt responded asking for cancellation on the basis of correcting the violations, and inability to pay. The FCC noted that correcting the violations was not a mitigating but reduced the fine on hardship grounds.
The FCC also reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 8,000 a penalty on against Signal One, LLC for failure to continuously exhibit all medium intensity obstruction lighting on its tower during daylight hours on its near Madisonville, Tennessee.
Signal in response among other arguments suggested that the FCC agent could have confused its tower with another close by and also asked for cancellation on the basis of a past history of compliance. The FCC reduced the penalty on the latter basis but dismissed Signal's other arguments.
2003-12-20: The past week has seen around USD 100 million of radio deals in the US with the greatest change for a state being in Utah where Clear Channel has been both selling and buying.
On the block were country KKAT-FM, Ogden, and chart/pop KZHT-FM, Provo, which were picked up for USD 26 million in cash by Superior Broadcasting, its first stations in the Salt Lake City market.
Being bought by Clear Channel from Mercury Broadcasting Company for a so-far undisclosed sum are alternative KCPX-FM, Centerville, and soft AC KOSY-FM, Spanish Fork; both stations were already being operated by Clear Channel under a joint sales agreement. Clear Channel already owned five stations in the Salt Lake City market, two AMs and three FMs.
Clear Channel also sold in West Virginia, where it picked up USD 1.35 million in cash from Keymarket for chart/pop WVKF-FM, Bethlehem, in the Wheeling market where Keymarket already has three stations.
In Missouri and Illinois, Cape Girardeau, Missouri-based Zimmer Radio Group is selling 17 of its 32 stations for a total of USD 43 million to newly formed group Mississippi Valley Radio.
Being sold in the deal are six stations in the Carbondale, Illinois, market -- WCIL-AM & FM, WJPF-AM, WOOZ-FM, WUEZ-FM and WXLT-FM - - plus 11 Missouri stations, five in Cape Girardeau - KCGQ-FM, KEZS-FM, KGIR-AM, KGKS-FM and KZIM-AM- and KJEZ-FM, KKLR-FM and KWOCAM in Poplar Bluff, plus KLSC-FM and KMAL-FM in Malden and KSIM-AM, Sikeston.
Further north, Nassau Broadcasting is adding five stations in Maine.
Being bought for an undisclosed price from WMTW Broadcast Group LLC are WMEK-FM, Auburn, WLAM-AM and WTHT-FM, Lewiston, plus WMTW-AM, Gorham and WMTW-FM, North Windham, both in the Portland market.
In Indiana Porter County Broadcasting is paying M&M Broadcasting Inc USD 4.9 million cash for WXRD-FM, Crown Point, and WZVN-FM, Lowell, and Renda Broadcasting is paying USD 3.25 million in cash to RMS Management for WDAD-AM and WQMU-FM.
The deal gives Renda, which already owns WCCS-AM and WLCY-FM, all four stations in Indiana County and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says that after the deal closes all four stations are to be moved to a single new site.
Two other deals closed during the week, Cumulus Media's USD 25 million purchase from Syncom Radio Corp. of KCHZ-FM and KMJK-FM in Kansas City and Entercom's USD 44 million buy of Oregon stations KOTK-AM and KWJJ-FM, Portland, from Fisher Communications.
Fisher Communications has also announced that it has now transferred its property management business to a new company, Egis Real Estate Services, L.L.C., formed by substantially all the former Fisher Properties management team.
In addition Big City Radio took a further step towards its final demise.
It has announced that it is to file a certificate of dissolution in Delaware following the close of business on December 23. Big City has already agreed to sell all its stations and dealing in its shares will end that day and the company will be delisted.
Previous Big City:
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-12-20: The fourth annual Broadcasting Policy Monitoring Report just released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) shows that revenues for French language radio stations in the country grew at nearly twice the rate as revenues for their English counterparts; it also shows a continuing steady increase in the overall number of commercial stations in the country although the number of AM stations has declined.
Overall at the end of 2002 Canada had 838 stations including 131 campus and community stations, 99 CBC/SRC stations and 608 commercial AM, FM, and digital stations.
Of these 515 were commercial radio stations, up from 500 a year earlier and 473 five years earlier; 311 were FMs, up from 286 a year before and 218 five years previously whilst the number of AMs was 204, down from 214 a year earlier and 255 five years earlier. The figures include 9 AM to FM conversions over 2002, down from 19 the year before that, with a total of 61 conversions over five years.
From 2001 to 2002 revenues for English language AM and FM stations increased by 2.7 percent, while those for French language stations grew by 5.3 percent.
Within the language division, English FM revenues increased by 5.4% whilst English AM revenues fell by 3.4% and French Fm revenues were up 5.7%, with AM revenues up 3%.
In the French language sector, Astral Media with 29 stations in 2002 had a 60% revenue share followed by Corus with ten stations and a 14% share; the latest figures reflect the exit from radio of Télémédia in 2001; prior to that Astral had a 28% revenue share, Corus 17% and Télémédia 24%.
In the English language sector Corus led with 42 stations and a 19% share, followed by Rogers with 49 stations and a 17% share, Standard with 50 stations and a 17% share, CHUM with 29 stations and a 12% share and Newcap with 42 stations and a 5% share; Télémédia had 72 stations and an 11% share in 2001.
Daytime listening shares were 51% for English FMs and 23% for English AMs with French FMs taking 19% and French AMs 3% and other stations taking 5%
Overall there has been a slight drop in the percentage of Canadians listening to radio, 93% of Canadians 12 plus listening at least 15 minutes a week in the fall of 2002 compared to 94% in the fall of 1998 but listening per week remains around an average of 20 hours.
The industry has also seen a steady consolidation with the ten largest broadcasters increasing their share of national radio revenues from a combined 73% in 2000 to 79% in 2002; this has been mirrored by the listening to stations owned by the ten largest groups English groups, up from a 53% share in 1998 to 64% in 2002.
The report also shows that, as argued by the industry, consolidation has led to an increase in format diversity, but only very slightly.
In 2002, the five most popular English language formats were CBC's Radio One and AC with 9% each, country with 8%, classic rock and hot AC with 6% each and news/talk with 5%.
The report also notes that the Internet is beginning to affect listening. There has been a steady increase in using the Internet for listening to music or watching videos particularly amongst broadband users with an overall commensurate decrease in the use of broadcast media, particularly TV viewing, but the report notes that in the fall of 2002 listening to radio via the Internet amounted to only 0.2% of all listening.
CRTC Report (946 KB PDF -134 pages):
2003-12-20: Chicago African-American talk station WVON-AM midday personality Monique Caradine is to leave the station after seven years there; she told listeners to her "Mo in the Midday" show that she intends to pursue TV opportunities and launch a consulting business.
WVON president and general manager Melody Spann-Cooper told the Chicago Sun-Times that the departure was entirely amicable.
"Monique has helped us bring younger people to a talk format, which traditionally attracts older listeners. She has done very well with that. I just wish her well and I know she'll be successful in all her endeavors," she said.
Chicago Sun-Times report:
2003-12-20: SMG has announced that Bobby Hain, currently Business Development Director, SMG Radio, is to become Managing Director of Scottish TV following the appointment of Sandy Ross, the current managing director, as head up SMG Television's new International Development arm.
Hain, who worked for Virgin Radio before it was bought by SMG, the then Scottish Media Group in 2000, will take responsibility for all of Scottish TV's operations, reporting to Donald Emslie, chief executive of SMG's television division.
He commented, "For anyone who grew up in Scotland watching Scottish TV, this has to be the dream job. Television faces many interesting challenges in the coming months and I'm looking forward to building on Scottish TV's success."
2003-12-20: Veteran Los Angeles radio journalist Donn Reed has died of cancer aged 88. Reed specialized in on-the-scene reports and was said to have been the first Los Angeles radio reporter to report on traffic from a helicopter.
He was nest known for his work for KABC-AM and KMP-AM from the 1950s to 1970s.
San Francisco Chronicle obituary:
2003-12-19: The latest and last Complaints Bulletin that will come from the UK Radio Authority before it hands over to the new Ofcom regulator shows that the Authority considered and upheld in the two months to the end of November a slightly greater number of programming complaints but fewer advertising complaints than it did a year earlier in the full third quarter. Complaints received in December will be passed on to Ofcom.
The Authority's rulings include an unprecedented warning to Capital Radio over two of its northern England stations that failed to keep to their format, a ruling against Manchester KEY 103 whose host talked to a woman caller about how she could have carried out an attempted suicide and rulings against talkSPORT for racist comments. talkSPORT was responsible for more than half the taste and decency complaints upheld.
In all the Authority considered 67 complaints in the two months, 34 of them programming related, compared to 82, 31 of them programming related, in the final quarter of last year; it upheld 13 programming complaints compared to 12 and three advertising complaints, compared to 15.
Of the programming complaints, two concerned accuracy, the same as a year ago, and one was upheld compared to none a year ago. There were also two balance/bias/fairness complaints considered in each period, none being upheld this year compared to one a year earlier.
Taste and indecency complaints considered, however, were up substantially with 26 in the two months of this year compared to 16 in the full quarter a year earlier; of these two were on one matter and three on another and in all ten were upheld compared to seven.
There were two promise of performance/format complaints compared to one a year earlier with one being upheld in each period and also two complaints on other matters, down from ten, with one being upheld, down from three.
Of the 33 advertising complaints considered, down from 51, seven fell in the harmful category, six of them being about one matter; this was up from five complaints a year earlier but none were upheld compared to four. Misleading category complaints halved from 20 to ten with three upheld compared to seven and offensive complaints were similarly down from 25 to 11 --- three each on two matters - and again none were upheld, compared to four upheld a year earlier. Other complaints totalled five, two on one matter, up from one, but none was upheld in either period.
The two accuracy complaints upheld this year involved Reading 107 FM and Oxford and Banbury station Fox FM.
The former, which was considered resolved, related to the broadcast in error of a previous Saturday lunchtime bulletin instead of the pre-recorded bulletin for the current week.
The complaint against Fox related to a news report about an "honour" killing of a daughter by a father of Kurdish origin and the complainant said that there was a misleading emphasis on the father's religion rather than his cultural background.
The station had responded by saying that the reports had made it clear that the Muslim Association of Great Britain had been quick to condemn the murder and had in an interview indicated that ignorance and illiteracy rather than religion were the root causes. The Authority, however, took the view that the brevity of the headline and report could have given "a misleading impression of Muslim beliefs without qualifying that most Muslims found the murder unacceptable."
More than half of the ten taste and decency complaints upheld involved one station, the Wireless Group's talkSport.
* A complaint about a presenter terming a family from the TV series "Wife Swap" who lived on benefits of GBP 37,000 a year, a "scumbag family." The station said the comment was a "throwaway" remark. The Authority agreed that the presenter used the term deliberately and in isolation and also agreed that it was offensive and inappropriate and upheld the complaint.
*Two complaints about comments about Greek men that the complainants felt were racist and offensive. They had been made in response to a caller who had attended a soccer game in Greece and aid Greek fans tipped him out of his wheelchair. The presenter made remarks to the effect that Greek men were Neanderthal, not very far up the evolutionary scale, and suggested that they "dabbled" in homosexuality. The station said the presenter had not meant to be offensive and was responding in his usual style of being irreverent and politically
incorrect, which was meant to be humorous. The Authority found the humour dubious and that the comments exceeded the bounds of acceptability and upheld the complaint.
* A complaint by a woman who called the programme and asked the presenter's opinion on whether her young children should be allowed to use chalk to draw on the walls and pavements. When she challenged his opinion he called her a "lazy, ridiculous woman", and implied that she was the kind of parent who should attend parenting classes. The Authority found his comments ill-judged and were particularly concerned that he ended the call, thus denying the woman the opportunity to respond to his comments.
*A complaint that a presenter made comments that the complainant thought were inappropriate and "almost amounted to inciting racial hatred". The complainant further noted that a caller who wished to challenge the presenter's view was insulted and cut off.
The Authority said it did not feel the presenter's comments in opposition to an amnesty for asylum seekers amounted to inciting racial hatred but it did feel comments about "importing more scum bags" and telling the caller he was an "idiot" for holding what the presenter considered to be 'liberal' views was unacceptable.
*A complaint about comments about a presenter's comments about travellers was unacceptable because it implied that a hostile act against a gypsy site was understandable. The comment was made flippantly concerning an e-mail of a listener who claimed to have directed a firework at a traveller's encampment and, after two presenters had condemned the intention, one said, "No, that's a bit harsh, or has he got a point?" The authority also noted that both presenters used the term 'gyppo' and thought this, together with the flippant remark that the complainant objected to, was ill-judged.
Also upheld were:
*Three complaints against SMG-owned Virgin over a routine between hosts that ended with one of them saying he would be prepared to eat the limbs of a dead baby if it meant the national debt of a third world country could be wiped out.
The authority said it was clear the whole routine was surreal, but it was also clear the presenters should have pulled back once they realised, as they acknowledged on air, that they had gone too far. The station noted that this was the first complaint against the hosts in their five years with the station but considered the incident a serious lapse of judgement that could attract a fine if a similar offence occurred in future.
*A complaint against Manchester station Key 103 in which the presenter was responding to a caller who suffered from Lupus and had described how she suffered from depression and attempted suicide.
He had described how the woman should have carried out the suicide and also made comments about the government scientist Dr David Kelly, who had committed suicide.
The Authority said "the presenter's clear suicide 'instructions' were unacceptable and had been made without due consideration of their possible harmful effect on the wider audience, particularly those who were vulnerable and might copy them. In addition, the detail given and the remarks about Dr Kelly clearly overstepped the boundaries of good taste and decency."
Key's managing director agreed that the comments were unacceptable and said he had warned the presenter of disciplinary action should there be a similar breach of boundaries in future.
Another complaint, against Capital FM, over comments made by a presenter to a sports commentator who had returned from Turkey to the effect that the "Turkish people have a long history of stabbing" was considered resolved.
The station said its Managing Director had spoken to the complainant and the presenter had then offered an apology to the complainant. The Authority said it noted the station's regret and individual apologies for the offence caused as well as assurances that there would be no recurrence.
In addition the Authority rejected a complaint made against Chrysalis's Galaxy in Birmingham over a competition that resulted in GBP 5,000 (USD 8,800) being burned in a "Bank It or Burn It" competition under which the competition winner had to convince the audience that the money was better spent on himself or herself or it would be burned (See RNW Nov 29).
The Authority noted that the station's charity involvement had been misrepresented in reports over the event and commented, ". Although the competition mechanism was bizarre, and unwelcome to some, nothing had taken place on air that raised regulatory issues for us and we therefore believed we had no grounds to intervene."
The promise of performance/format complaint that was upheld concerned Capital Radio owned Century 105 in North West England whose format requires 50% adult contemporary, with the remainder made up from a mix of modern easy listening, classic easy listening and Soul/Motown. The complainant said the station's output was too format oriented and also complained that not enough speech was being broadcast.
The Authority monitored the station output and issued a "Yellow card" requiring the station to be brought back within its format. Changes made delivered this with regard to music output but as far as speech both this station and Century radio in the north-east ere found to be seriously under-delivering speech with no sign of improvement. "News bulletins," commented the Authority, "bulletins were as short as they could be, even with the inclusion of sport and weather."
The Authority said Members approved the sending of a 'final warning' letter to Century, recommending that the Authority's regulatory successor, Ofcom, monitors Century again early in the New Year and considers appropriate sanctions if any of the stations are found to be outside their Formats.
The "other" category complaint upheld involved BRMB's "Celebrity Nutcracker" competition.
The complainant said she had entered the competition on four occasions and given her answer to the producer only to subsequently hear someone else give the same answer and win prize money of GBP 690 (USD 1,220).
She felt she had been unfairly treated and the Authority, while noting that the first person to give the correct answer did not necessarily win under the rules and that the competition had not been conduced unfairly, said that it was important that competitions were perceived to be conducted fairly.
It accepted that the answers had been sought so that a winner's jingle could be cued up but nevertheless said it felt that, so that there should not be perceptions of unfairness, answers should not be sought before entrant went on air.
In addition, one taste and decency complaint against a satellite service licensee was upheld and another against a restricted service licensee considered resolved.
The latter involved a complaint about a broadcast by Radio Hartlepool of a Robbie Williams track with explicit swearing on it including. The station had dismissed the presenter involved who had "taken it upon himself to choose his own music."
Upheld was a complaint against satellite service Panjab Radio over an opinion on the Sikh's evening prayer. The complainant said the presenter said everyone "should do a version advocated by himself. Anyone who did not was wrong."
"He further," said the complainant, "went on to insult 'Mahapurkh' (people who have reached a high state of spirituality). It was apparent that he classed these individuals as frauds and blamed them for distorting Sikhism, when in fact it is him who is distorting the truth since there is intense debate about the length of the evening prayer There are very few within the Sikh nation who actually read the shortened version of the evening prayer he was advocating."
The Authority said that while the presenter obviously saw his view as the correct one there was no justification for public condemnation of the beliefs of those that had another viewpoint. It recommended that Ofcom keep the matter on file and warned the station that failure to observe Code Rules in future might result in regulatory penalties.
The advertising complaints upheld included the usual mix of complaints in the misleading category where excessive or unjustifiable claims were made by advertisers and also a complaint against a Channel 4 TV advertisement "urging young, hot blooded males to apply for a new television programme 'Lapdance Island'" that was in fact not to be made.
The Authority said that the intention of the campaign was not to recruit for programming, but to demonstrate the fact that people are willing to go to some lengths to be involved in these types of programmes, in a humorous and light-hearted way.
It ruled that the advert was misleading since there was no chance of anyone who responded appearing in any programme.
The Authority also made a harmful category ruling against a Kellogg's Cornflakes advert against which rulings had been made at the end of the previous quarter.
The script involved a man's daughter being asked to waken him so they can secretly partake in an early-morning additional helping and not tell her mother was considered harmful because it suggested it was alright for a child to lie to parents.
One advertising complaint was also upheld against Satellite Service Licensee Tamil service International Broadcasting Corporation concerning a bogus advert for a temple that had been placed by a person who had been expelled by the temple.
Previous UK Radio Authority:
Previous UK Radio Authority Complaints Bulletin:
UK Radio Authority web site (Links to Bulletin - 780Kb PDF):
2003-12-19: Plans for a nationwide US liberal talk radio network are well advanced according to the author and comedian Al Franken, who is tipped to host a three-hour show on the network (See RNW Dec 2).
He told Newsday that he's been in talks for several months with the backers of the idea and that the network could start operations as early as March next year.
Franken, who has not yet signed any contract would not give details of others involved, saying, "We're playing around with names, but we won't make the announcement until it's the right time."
He also took the opportunity for a dig against conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh, who has undergone treatment and is still being investigated in connection with an addiction to painkillers, commenting, "And if I do this radio show, I'm going to try to do it drug-free."
2003-12-19: Talks between the UK Wireless Group, owner of the talkSPORT station, and radio ratings organisation RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) aimed at averting legal action over the formers claim to have suffered business damage because of the ratings collapsed yesterday.
A meeting between the sides ended after only an hour with a spokesman for talkSPORT speaking of "shocking revelations" and saying they would have "serious repercussions" for RAJAR but refusing to give details.
RAJAR also refused comment on what had happened at the meeting but said it did not know what the revelations referred to were about.
The Wireless Group has sponsored alternative meter ratings from GfK Media that show its station with more than double the ratings it gets under the official ratings (See RNW Dec 18) and appears to have succeeded in getting a number of organizations to consider using the GfK data in planning campaigns.
Last week Transport for London and its media agency said they were comparing the two ratings and the government advertising body, COI Communications is also reported to be considering use of the GfK ratings.
RNW comment: Our view on this matter remains unchanged and we hope that the Wireless Group both launches action and gets its fingers severely burnt.
The differences between the methodology of the two systems is widely known, particularly the RAJAR requirement for five minutes continuous listening as opposed to two short samples under the GfK method, and advertising agencies are free to choose what weight they give to either system or indeed any other system that may be introduced.
RAJAR has spent some GBP 800,000 (USD 1.4 million) on comparative tests of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) and the GfK system and is to spend another GBP 500,000 (USD 885,000) in further tests on versions of the two systems that have been enhanced following feedback from earlier tests. RAJAR may be being cautious but we see the Wireless Group's campaign as more akin to a stunt with continuous bluster aimed at enhancing its own fortunes rather than a serious attempt to get as good a ratings system as is possible.
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-12-19: The approach of Christmas has seen AOL Classic Holiday more than double its listening and retain its rank as the top Internet Station in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings just released; MUSICMATCH in second place, sorted out its server problems and listening was back up to its normal levels. Network rankings at the top were unchanged.
For the week to December 8, 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: AOL Classic Holiday Miscellaneous (*Commercial) - TTSL 815,049 (385,398); CP - 291,846 (216,509). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 731,419 (380,605); CP - 237,307 (205,098). Same rank with much higher listening and higher reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 317,128 (295,173); CP - 54,006 (57,101). Same rank with higher listening but lower reach.
4: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 294,047 (168,387); CP 39,915 (42,992). Up from sixth with much higher listening but lower reach.
5: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 250,633 (210,951); CP 115,085 (115,328). Down from fourth despite higher listening although reach was slightly down.
* Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 242,693 (197,055); CP 111,969 (154,094): Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
The top five networks for the week to December 8 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,950,319 (5,304,446); CP - 1,831,023 (1,724,150). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 3,768,761 (2,993,782); CP - 934,471 (835,763). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,224,880 (1,046,810); CP - 527,337 (449,464). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 965,182 (716,221); CP - 125,903 (110,964) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 606,333 (539,571); CP - 84,068 (86,189) - Same rank with higher listening but lower 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 2,714,492, up from 2,210,345and StreamGuys with TTSL 522,267, up from 446,424.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-12-18: Arbitron and Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) have announced a deal under which the latter licences use of the former's Portable People Meter (PPM) system and its technology for use for both radio and TV audience measurement in selected countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
The two companies have been co-operating in marketing the PPM round the world for some four years and Arbitron president and CEO Stephen Morris said the agreement formalized the relationship and was "another important step in establishing the Arbitron Portable People Meter as a future-proof solution for tracking television and radio audiences around the world."
TNS Worldwide Sector Head for Audience Measurement Mike Gorton commented, "As the media environment becomes increasingly more complex, broadcasters and advertisers around the world need better measures of radio and television audiences. The Portable People Meter, together with its audio encoding technology, provides one of the most reliable and versatile solutions to this challenge."
The deal comes as Arbitron pushes its technology, which uses encoding in the broadcast audio signals, against competing systems that include the wristwatch meter device developed by GfK media (see below) that matches stored audio samples against audio broadcasts.
Another potential competitor - or collaborator- Atlanta-based IQStat uses a device around the size of a VHS tape, to connect to automobile radios and then sent back data to the company that then provides aggregate data to clients via a web interface.
It also uses global positioning system (GPS) technology to track when the car drives past outdoor advertising and can be linked with sites to change advertisements according to profiles of vehicles passing.
It says its data is complementary to the service provided by Arbitron although it can offer ratings. Information measured include a record of whether a radio is on or off and if the former to which station it is tuned, whether someone is listening to a tape or CD rather than radio, the volume level, whether the vehicle is moving or not; it is also programmed with demographic details of the listener.
Tests are already under way in Atlanta with some 100 vehicles expected to be taking part by the end of this month, increasing to around 500 by the end of the first quarter of next year.
Those taking part are paid USD 50 and if the Atlanta tests are successful it plans to introduce the system in Tampa, Florida, and subsequently in Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Indianapolis.
IQStat web site:
2003-12-18: The new UK media regulator Ofcom has come under criticism after admitting that its operating costs will be more than a quarter higher than those of the five regulators it is replacing and that broadcasters and businesses will have to pay more for its services.
Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter said at a briefing to launch the regulator that like-for-like running costs would fall by 5% but it would also have to carry an extra GBP 36 million (USD 64 million) in annual costs because of extra duties imposed on it by parliament, the repayment of a government start-up loan and VAT (Value added tax).
For the 2004 to 2005 financial year Ofcom says its costs will be GBP 164 million (USD 290 million), 27% up on the combined costs of the regulators it includes - the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television Commission, the Radio Authority, the Radiocommunications Agency and Oftel.
The organization has a staff of 880, 740 of them from staff from its predecessor organizations, which employed a total of 1,152 staff. Salaries will account for GBP 53 million (USD 94 million) of the total budget for the next financial year.
Negotiations are due to start in the New Year with various licensees and they are expected to be heated with demands for the regulator to trim its costs.
2003-12-18: Conservative US talk show host Rush Limbaugh has filed a petition in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court asking for a hearing this week on his request to have his medical records, seized with other documentation including computer records and financial documents by law enforcement officials investigating the host's use of prescription painkillers, kept secret.
The host's lawyer Roy Black says that warrants that alleged doctor-hopping -- obtaining overlapping prescriptions from four doctors without them being aware of their colleagues' prescriptions - amounted to a "fishing expedition"; he has argued that Limbaugh has a constitutional right to privacy over the records, and that the seizure of the records by the State Attorney's Office was making it difficult for him to obtain treatment from his doctors.
He also says that Florida law only allows for the subpoena of medical records after a patient has been notified and given an opportunity to contest it in court.
The Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel says the motion also says, "No citizen would wish these highly personal details to be held by minions of the state to finger through at their leisure. Nor would any sane person wish his medical diagnosis and medical prescriptions to be widely published on television shows, tabloid newspapers, Web sites and the like."
"Mr. Limbaugh has already suffered the indignity of watching a list of his doctors and medications dramatically leafed though on air by television reporters. One can only imagine the exposure these records will receive if the state is allowed access to them."
Limbaugh has admitted addiction to painkillers and taken treatment for the problem. The warrants show that between March and September last year he obtained 1,733 hydrocodone pills, 90 OxyContin pills, 50 Xanax tablets and 40 pills of Kadian -- time-release morphine.
Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel report:
Palm Beach Daily News report:
2003-12-18: Latest unofficial UK radio ratings from GfK Media, which uses a wristwatch audio sampling device to track what is being listened to, show the top London speech stations to have more than twice the audience ascribed to them by the official RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) ratings, which use a diary system.
The diary figures are based on listing stations to which someone has listened for five consecutive minutes whereas the GfK system registers listening based on two consecutive sound samples, each of four seconds' duration.
The four stations with the greatest increases in London are the Wireless Group's talkSPORT with a RAJAR weekly reach of 510,000 and a GfK reach of 1.524 million (plus 199%), BBC London Live with a RAJAR reach of 441,000 and GfK reach of 1.304 million (plus 196%), AM LBC news with a RAJAR reach of 279,000 and GfK reach of 731,000 (plus 162%) and FM LBC with a RAJAR reach of 558,000 and GfK reach of 11.179 million (plus 111%).
The difference in ratings on the two systems for music stations is far less with the greatest difference in London being for Magic FM, which has 36% more reach according to GfK.
GfK Media director Nick North said the differences were predictable, adding, "By its nature, a recall survey will disadvantage stations with a 'dip in, dip out' pattern of listening."
GfK's national figures also show dramatic increases for speech-based stations with talkSPORT having the largest gain with 6.6 million listeners a week whereas RAJAR shows it to have 1.9 million and BBC speech networks Radio 4 and Radio Five Live also showing large gains.
The GfK system is sponsored by the Wireless Group, which is threatening RAJAR with a GBP 27 million (USD 48 million) lawsuit because of the damage it says is being done to its business by the official figures.
RAJAR has already conducted tests of the GfK system and Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system but said neither met its requirements and is to spend GBP 500,000 (USD 883,000) on further tests of the two systems.
Overall the weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from May 12th to November 16th (with in brackets GfK prior period, running from July 14th to October 12th, and then RAJAR figures to the end of September) in rank order were:
BBC Radio 4 -million 16.35 (17.19 million; 9.53 million): Down from 38% to 36% of potential national 45 million adult audience.
BBC Radio 2 -15.01 million (15.78 million; 12.477 million): Down from 35% to 33%.
BBC Radio 1 - 12.51 million (12.63 million; 9.85 million): Unchanged 28%.
BBC Radio Five Live -9.09 million (8.81 million; 5.716 million): Same 20%
BBC World Service -4.60 million (4.71 million; 1.411 million); Unchanged 10%.
BBC Radio 3 -3.51 million (3.90 million; 2.214 million): Unchanged 8 %.
talkSPORT -6.58 million (6.59 million; 1.904 million): Unchanged 15%.
Classic FM -5.56 million (5.75 million; 6.46 million): Down from 13% to 12%
Virgin - 3.80 million (3.91 million; 2.86 million): Down from 9% to 8%.
GfK figures for the London area showed that for the period from May 12th to Nov 16th (in brackets previous figures from July 14th to October 12th) the three most popular stations were:
BBC Radio 4 with 3.99 million (4.0 million): Down from 40% to 39% of the potential 10.25 million audience.
BBC Radio 2 with 2.8 million (2.8 million): Unchanged 27%.
Capital FM with 2.49 million (2.57 million): Down from 25% to 24%.
For the same period the top five London stations (in brackets previous figures from July 14th to October 12th) in terms of weekly audience were:
Capital FM with 2.49 million (2.57 million): Down from 25% to 24%.
Heart FM - 2.41 million (2.32million) - up from 23% to 24%.
Magic FM 1.93 million (1.96 million) - unchanged 19%.
Kiss FM 1.67 million (1.64 million) - unchanged 16%.
Virgin Radio (AM and FM combined) 1.56 million (1.57 million) - Unchanged 15%
BBC London Live was eighth with 1.30 (1.30 million) - unchanged 13%.
*talkSPORT, which was sixth-placed commercial station in London before, fell to sixth with a weekly audience of million 1.52 (1.56 million) an unchanged 15%.
Previous GfK ratings:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
2003-12-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a USD 4,000 penalty on Donald W. Kaminski, Jr., licensee of KHWK-FM, Tonopah, Nevada, for his failure to respond to a written inquiry by the commission.
The FCC said it sent a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") proposing a monetary forfeiture based upon Mr. Kaminski's failure to respond to our inquiry concerning the ownership and operation of KHWK and a related FM translator but, although receipt was confirmed, it received no reply.
2003-12-17: Sirius has announced a seven-year USD 220 million plus agreement with the US National Football League (NFL) for the satellite broadcaster to become the NFL's Official Satellite Radio Partner and to broadcast all NFL games live nationwide.
A filing by Sirius shows that during the period of the deal the NFL is to get USD 188 million in cash, USD 32 million in Sirius stock and warrants to purchase 50,000,000 shares of our Sirius common stock at an exercise price of USD2.50 per share.
The deal has been approved by the owners of the NFL member clubs and the Sirius board and is expected to be completed by the end of January; USD 10 million of the cash is to be paid in connection with the announcement and execution of our agreement with the NFL, a further USD85 million will be deposited in escrow, and no further payments will then be required until August 15, 2009.
Sirius will create "The NFL Radio Network," an around-the-clock exclusive stream of NFL content for SIRIUS subscribers that will provide news, features, and a wide-range of other programming highlighting the NFL and its teams and will also include programs from The NFL Network television channel, the television network dedicated to the NFL that launched in November.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said the agreement represented "a major enhancement to our superior programming line-up and it underscores our ongoing commitment to enrich the SIRIUS subscriber experience."
Although the deal will include play-by-play commentary on NFL games from local stations, Clayton said this did not imply a move into local broadcasting and emphasized that Sirius was offering a nationwide service. Sirius already has similar agreements for coverage of other sports under deals with the US National Basketball Association and National Hockey League.
2003-12-17: UK radio host Zoë Ball is to reduce her commitments to Capital's London Alternative and new rock station Xfm, where she currently hosts the drive time show, and will host a new Friday show next year.
She will be replaced by fellow Xfm DJ Lauren Laverne who will host Xfm's drive time show from January 5.
Ball, who married musician and DJ Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) in 1999 and has a son, Woody, born in December 2000, says she wants to spend more time with her family. She had previously taken time away from her show when her marriage ran into a difficult patch after which she was re-united with Cook.
In commenting on the move, Ball, a former BBC Radio 1 breakfast show host, welcomed her successor but also had a dig at competitor Sara Cox, who is moving from the Radio 1 breakfast slot to host its drive time show in the New Year but will then be on maternity leave, saying, "She'll definitely give Coxy a run for her money in the afternoon who let's face it, will probably be too busy worrying about her swollen ankles to concentrate on her show."
"I can't wait to spend more time with my son," she added. "I'll be able to do all the normal things again like take him to school and put him to bed, basically be a full time mum. Plus, I still get to hang out with my Xfm mates when I do my new show on Fridays."
Laverne, who has hosted the Saturday mid-morning show on Xfm for two years and has also filled in for Ball, said of her new role, "This is pretty much the jackpot, really. Working with lovely people, at the coolest station in the country and playing records I love."
Xfm's Programme Controller Andy Ashton commented, "Xfm already has one of the most enviable DJ line-ups and it's just about to get even better. Not only do we get to keep Zoë, but we now have Lauren on the daytime line-up too who is undoubtedly one of the most exciting radio DJs out there."
2003-12-17: Overnight radio listening in Australia is on the increase with average listening to commercial radio from midnight to 05:30 up to 3 hours 52 minutes compared to 3 hours 28 minutes a year earlier according to a survey conducted by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
The survey showed a weekly audience of 1.8 million in the time slot with the greatest increase in listening over the prior period being for women - females ten and over increased their listening by nearly a third, from three hours 24 minutes to four hours, 23 minutes; in contrast listening amongst those aged 55 and over, the dominant group with 491,000 tuning in each week, was up by 44 minutes a week.
Amongst those aged 40-54 there were 446,000 listeners each week whilst for those aged 25-39 the number was 421,000.
Listening was highest between 4am and 5.30am with most listening at home - 74% - followed by listening at work- 13% - and in vehicles - 12%. Commercial radio attracted 7-% of overnight listeners.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2003-12-17: A battle over which organization should represent unionised workers at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation-Radio-Canada (CBC) has been won by the Canadian Media Guild (CMG).
The decision ends a 50-year spell during which rival Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) and its predecessor union, NABET has represented some workers at the broadcaster.
The struggle began when the Corporation in 1999 asked Canada's labour board to rule that it could negotiate with a single bargaining unit and the board's subsequent decision in February this year that the current labour structure at the CBC was no longer appropriate in light of changing technology and the CBC's need to have a more efficient labour structure.
A vote ordered by Canada Industrial Relations Board resulted in a vote of 59% for the CMG and 41% for the CEP from a 71% turnout; it means that the guild, which already represented some 4,1000 journalists, producers, on-air personnel and administrative staff, will now absorb around 1,900 technicians and others who had been represented by the CEP.
In all 4169 votes were case, 2452 from CMG members and 1717 from CEP members; there were 40 spoiled ballots and 90 were disputed.
Guild president Lise Lareau said the vote, which was won by a narrower margin than had been expected by many guild members, nevertheless represented a "decisive victory".
This important victory gives us good ground to build a bigger and stronger union at the CBC," she added. "It shows that a majority of CBC employees recognize the Guild's track record at the Corporation."
The guild is a local of TNG Canada, which is affiliated with TNG-CWA in the United States, and the CEP had portrayed it as an American union but the guild says it has a large degree of autonomy.
The CEP will continue to oversee its contracts with the CBC until the Canada Industrial Relations Board decided when to issue a new bargaining certificate to the Guild. This is expected in January and the guild says that new, single contract will be negotiated for all members beginning in the spring of 2004.
2003-12-17: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised new community licences for Mullingar Town, Shannon Town, Drogheda Town, Carrigtohill Village South Inishowen Peninsula, in the second phase of its expansion of services.
It has also announced that it has signed a ten-year sound broadcasting contract with Midland Radio Group Limited, trading as Shannonside Northern Sound for the franchise areas of Cavan/Monaghan and Longford/Roscommon/South Leitrim.
It is the 11th new contract signed with a local commercial station since December 2001 when the BCI began the process of re-licensing local stations; in all 22 new licences have been awarded.
2003-12-16: Arbitron's RADAR 79 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering September 19, 2002 - September 27 this year again shows no changes in rankings at the top with ABC Daytime Direction Network again retaining first rank followed by Westwood CNN Max Radio Network and Premiere Pulse Network in third place.
The ABC Daytime network gained some 159000 listeners a week to end up with a weekly audience of 9.45 million up from 9.29 million in the RADAR 78 survey; its AQH rating rose from 3.9 to 4.0.
CNN Max lost 108,000 listeners a week to end with a reach of just fewer than 7.45 million and AQH rating up unchanged at 3.2.
In third place, Premiere Pulse Network lost some 19,000 listeners to end up with a weekly reach of 5.42 million and the same 2.3 AQH.
ABC Morning News Radio Network in fourth place gained some 33,000 listeners a week to end up with just under 5.30 million and the same 2.2 AQH and fifth placed Premiere Morning Drive AM Network lost 23, 000 listeners a week to end up with just over 5 million and the same 2.1 AQH.
During the RADAR 79 survey period, an unchanged 75 percent of U.S. consumers, age 12+, heard one or more network radio commercials in the course of a week. Among the prime audience demographics sought by advertisers, the commercials that aired on the 38 radio networks now rated - up one on RADAR 78 following the addition of Dial-Global Complete FM - reached unchanged percentages 76% of Adults, age 12-34; 78% percent of Adults, age 35-49; and 72% of Adults, age 50+.
As in the past, radio did better among upper-income adults with 78% of adults living in households earning USD 75,000 a year or more are in the network audience each week.
The survey size for RADAR 79 reflects a phased sample increase from 12,000 to 65,000 diarykeepers across the US during the 2002 to 2003 year; It is to be further increased to 70,000 in March next year.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2003-12-16: Irish broadcaster Eamon Dunphy, who walked away from a successful radio show to host a TV chat show that has now been axed (See RNW Dec 8), is reported to be involved in talks with Dublin station NewsTalk 106 about a comeback radio show.
Dunphy is said to be talking about a prime evening show with a similar format of phone-ins and studio guests to his former Last Word show on Irish national commercial channel Today FM.
Previous NewsTalk 106:
2003-12-16: Australian group Southern Cross Broadcasting has launched a friendly offer for the film and television production Southern Star.
The all-share offer values Southern Star at around AUD 99 million (USD 75 million) and is comprised of a total of 7,128,000 Southern Cross convertible preference shares ("CPS"), each valued at AUD 12.50 and convertible to Southern Cross ordinary shares between July next year and March 2004, for all of the shares in Southern Star, including those issued on exercise of Southern Star options, around 16 Southern Star shares for each CPS.
In addition should the offer, which ahs been recommended by Southern Star's board who cumulatively own more than half the company, become unconditional, Southern Star will declare a special dividend of $10 million in aggregate payable on Southern Star shares held on the relevant dividend record date.
Southern Star's share price rose 26% per cent to AUD 0.86 following the bid and those of Southern Cross remained stable at AUD10.70.
A recent plan to set up a joint venture company between Southern Cross and Macquarie Radio Network that would have reduced costs for both organisations fell through (See RNW Nov 27) but Southern Cross said this was not related to the current offer.
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-12-16: The BBC's digital entertainment radio channel BBC 7, which is now one-year-old, has marked its anniversary by moving to 24-hour operation; it previously went off air from 3 a.m.
In addition BBC 6 Music has now announced that the rock band Radiohead, who are to operate the channel from December 22 to 28 (See RNW Nov 13) have now finalized their plans for the week's broadcasts, which will include tracks chosen by each member of the band.
Monday highlights include two specially recorded acoustic numbers - Karma Police and On The Beach - performed by lead singer Thom Yorke and guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood.
The Tuesday broadcast features Ed O'Brien talking about the band and selecting his favourite tracks, that on Wednesday Thom Yorke doing the same, and on the Friday Jonny Greenwood will be in the studio with vinyl records he has collected on his travels.
2003-12-15: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with two reports concerning the state of the radio industry, one in the UK and the other in the US.
From Chicago, courtesy of Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder comes a tale of rare candor and honesty from a US radio executive. The executive concerned was Chicago WFMT-FM classical station Vice President for Radio Steve Robinson who was speaking in New York where he was accepting a Deems Taylor Award for innovative music programming at the station from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
Commenting on the "vicious conglomeratization" of US radio, Robinson continued, "We all know that just a few companies control the majority of radio stations, we all know that one company owns one out of every nine stations in the country, but what I didn't realize is that just two companies control nearly 50 percent of all radio advertising on American radio. That's a staggering fact," he said.
"I would urge my fellow broadcasters to stick their necks out once in a while. As the radio industry continues to consolidate, our responsibility to program challenging music and public- affairs programs becomes that much greater. I guarantee it won't hurt your station in the long run or even the short run."
Robinson is still working so need we add that WFMT is a public broadcaster?
Having recorded criticism of US commercial radio, over to the UK for criticism of commercial links by UK public broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation.
It came in Vincent Graff's media column in the UK Independent after controversy over the Corporation's acceptance that it would plug Coca Cola, sponsor of the official UK chart show that is broadcast on BBC Radio 1 (See RNW Dec 3)
Referring to a past BBC children's TV editor Biddy Baxter who strictly enforced many guidelines and particularly the one barring commercial plugs on her show, Graff comments, "The BBC's producer guidelines forbid such advertising. Children, in particular, ought to be given a space away from commercial pressures. That is one of the things the BBC is for."
He then continues, "Well, sort of. This week, it emerged that the BBC's music charts are to be sponsored by Coca-Cola. In a deal said to be worth about £1m over two years, the soft-drinks company is to receive two name checks every week on the Radio 1 chart show and one in the credits of Top of The Pops."
"How," he asks, "does the BBC square those commercial references with its public-service obligation to avoid such things? Its guidelines allow it to mention the name of sponsors of outside events. It claims that the reading of the chart rundown is just such an event, akin to a Barclaycard Premiership football match."
The pass, Graff notes was sold four years ago when a previous sponsor of the show was given similar mentions despite some internal objections after the company that owned the "chart" threatened to go to commercial broadcasters with the show.
We tend to agree with Graff's comment. "So, the BBC pays over licence-fee cash to the record industry in exchange for permission to broadcast a chart that gives publicity to the record industry. And, now, publicity also to a fizzy drink. It sounds nuts, because it is."
After the state of radio, some comments about shared hosting from Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
He starts by noting the edge on the BBC Radio Five Live breakfast show currently co-hosted by Victoria Derbyshire - due to take maternity leave at the end of this week and then return to a solo mid-morning slot - and Nicky Campbell.
Derbyshire herself described the breakfast show when she began with the words, "Audible prickliness describes Nicky and me on the radio earlier in the year but no longer, I hope. It probably took us until around May or June to get used to working together. "
"Peter Allen described co-presentation to me as being 'like a marriage but without the good bits', which sums it up perfectly. Some days are great, others less so."
After describing the Derbyshire-Campbell relationship as "one of stinging nettles (can produce good wine but needs to be handled with care)" Donovan refers to the relationship between Peter Allen and his co-host Jane Garvey as "year-round apple blossom."
The duo have won three Sony awards, two for their breakfast show on Five Live and a third for their current work on the 1600 local time Drive show, and Donovan comments of them, "They meld beautifully, friendly but never over-intimate, with an almost telepathic sense of humour. Immensely professional and relaxed, they have a palpable ease with one another. Allen told an audience in Cambridge recently that whenever he had to work with another woman, it was never quite the same."
" As a listener, you feel they probably, just a tiny bit, fancy one another, but never do anything at all about it, which is exactly how it should be. It is the greatest on-air relationship since that of Timpson and Redhead [John Timpson and Brian Redhead, former BBC Radio 4 Today breakfast show hosts] in the 1980s, who were to the Today programme what Morecambe and Wise were to British comedy."
"Nowhere else on the airwaves does the double act attain such perfection, though there are plenty of duos to show that it thrives "
And back to the US again and some comments from US National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin about a facet of its on-demand audio on the website - forcing those who want to listen to first listen to "streaming underwriting" - in other words an advert for a sponsor.
Dvorkin notes that he has received a number of complaints about this and quotes the response from Maria Thomas is vice president for NPR Online who says the "underwriting placements you're hearing are part of a test we're running to help raise revenues to support the cost of npr.org's operations."
Thomas goes on to note that donations go to local public radio stations not NPR and that the latter "must find ways to support the cost of the online operation."
"We need to explore various revenue streams," continues Thomas, " and are experimenting with online underwriting (we conform to the same guidelines that govern on-air underwriting), commerce and, in the future, subscription models. The underwriting messages on the site now are the first of our online underwriting placements. We hope users will understand that these messages are inserted to help support our growing costs, which will allow us to continue to provide the valuable time-shifting service for free."
Which if nothing else is a cue to recommend one of those programmes. In this case it is the "Talk of the Nation" show from Friday, December 12th (Still on the NPR site) that among other things deals with the growing use of microbes to clean up hazardous waste and toxic chemical spills and also with the future of flight, 100 years after the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Both topics were dealt with in a way that was interesting and informative to the non-scientific and technical audience.
For those interested in another perspective on the Wrights, BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday (2100 GMT) offers "The Wright Brothers: First Flight Special".
Our next recommendation is for those with more of a historical bent: It's "Inside Putin's Russia", a four-part series hosted by the former BBC Moscow correspondent Bridget Kendall that began last week and is made up of comments to Kendall from ordinary Russians about their hopes and fears for their future and that of their country. It began in St Petersburg where it found stark differences in attitude between the younger and older generations, unsurprisingly since so many of the older generation were unable to build up resources in Communist times, do not have the time to build up resources and operate in a state that provides no reliable pensions or indeed reliable services of any kind for the poor.
And finally a treat for Cole Porter fans. BBC Radio 3's composer of the week this week is Cole Porter; listen at noon GMT from today as Donald MacLeod pays tribute
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
National Public Radio - Dvorkin ombudsman page:
UK Independent - Graff:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
BBC Radio 3 web site:
BBC Radio 4 web site:
BBC World Service - Inside Putin's Russia:
National Public Radio web site - links to on-demand programming:
2003-12-15: Toronto-headquartered Canadian broadcaster CHUM Ltd. is giving radio acquisitions highest priority in plans to expand through acquisitions or opening new outlets according to its chief executive Jay Switzer.
Montreal-based rival Astral Media also said at its annual meeting this month that it was strongly positioned for expansion (see RNW Dec 11)
Speaking after the company's annual meeting Switzer said CHUM, which owns 30 stations in Canada, had not reached the regulatory limit on the number of licences it could hold in many of the 13 markets in which it operates and would be looking at expansion in cities it already serves.
He added that it would look at joint ventures and partnerships as well as straightforward acquisitions
As far as TV was concerned, Switzer said expansion would depend on the results of its bid for new stations in Edmonton and Calgary.
CHUM also said its advertising revenue had been strong over recent months although much was being placed at shorter notice.
The meeting approved a two-for-one split of the company's shares, expected to take place next month.
For the first time ever, former CHUM founder and former chairman Allan Waters, now 82, did not attend the meeting; his son Jim took over as chairman last year (See RNW Dec 1, 2002).
Previous Allan Waters:
Previous Jim Waters:
2003-12-15: Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Bruno Brookes has become a millionaire following the flotation of his in-store radio company Immedia Broadcasting with a valuation of around GBP 13 million (USD 21 million) on the London Alternative Investment market (AIM).
Brookes founded the company in 1999; it provides radio content to some more than 3000 retail outlets such as convenience stores and garages with services such as the advertising-funded Newsagents Radio,
It also operates Lloydspharmacy Live, a subscription based tailored radio service broadcast to approximately 1,000 of Lloyds Pharmacy's stores, and says the net proceeds of the float will be used to develop its business.
2003-12-15: Just as US radio stations start switching en-masse to Christmas music programming- around 400 are now broadcasting the format - a report from Harker Research that notes that more than 100 stations had switched before Thanksgiving Day this year says that while most Americans like to hear Christmas music only a small minority want an all-Christmas music service.
The results were similar to those of a survey a year ago and showed 11% wanting only one or no Christmas songs an hour, 49% wanting 2-3 songs, 26% about half Christmas songs and only 14% an all Christmas Music service.
Those surveyed were against a switch before Thanksgiving by 2-1 with other comments made including suggestions that continuous Christmas music could be annoying and that switching to it early and playing it too often over commercialised the occasion.
2003-12-14: Last week was very quiet for the regulators, with nothing from Australia and little from elsewhere, although the US was busier than other areas..
Canada was very quiet on the radio front with the sole radio related decision from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) being to approve a power decrease from 1,430 watts to 1,170 watts and antenna height increase from 264 to 298.7 metres for CFXJ-FM Toronto; the CRTC is also likely to soon be considering applications for satellite radio licences in the country following a joint-venture agreement between the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Sirius (See RNW Dec 12)
There was nothing of radio note from Ireland but in the UK, the Radio Authority, which is soon to hand over to the new Ofcom regulator, has announced a negative public interest determination relating to Midland News Association Ltd's proposed acquisition of a controlling interest in Telford FM.
Midland News Association owns several local newspapers in the station's coverage area, including the Shropshire Star, and the Authority concluded that to allow the deal would go against the public interest.
The decision has led to concern over its implications about any attempts by newspaper groups to move into local radio, something the groups had expected to be allowed following passage of the Act.
However the Act does contain a potential for public interest referral under clauses secured by rebel peers, although such reference will not be automatic.
The Authority had noted that The Authority noted that under the provisions of the Communications Act 2003 the proposed arrangement would not be subject to ownership restrictions or face an obligatory public interest test but could be subject to the discretionary special public interest regime for certain media mergers provided for in the Enterprise Act 2002 as set out in the Communications Act 2003.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also had a fairly quiet time, although it has did confirm the statutory maximum fine on Infinity's WKRK-FM, Detroit, for indecency offences on the Deminski and Doyle show (See RNW Dec 9).
Also in Detroit, the FCC has also proposed a USD 4,000 penalty on Disney-owned ABC's WDRQ-FM, for failure to broadcast full and accurate details of its "War of the Sexes" contest (Also Dec 9)
The FCC also has also red-flagged, on ownership concentration grounds, Cumulus's planned purchase of country format WKXP-FM, Kingston/ Poughkeepsie, New York (see RNW Dec 12) although it has approved a much bigger deal, the USD 175 million acquisition by Bonneville of 15 Simmons Media Group stations that was first announced in November last year (See RNW Nov 9, 2002).
In the courts, the Commission has now filed its response in the Philadelphia Circuit Court of Appeals to defend its June 2 media ownership regulations (See RNW Dec 11)
Looking ahead, the FCC has announced that its next public hearing on broadcast localism, originally to have been held this month, is now to be held in San Antonio, Texas, on January 28 (See RNW Dec 12).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
Ofcom web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2003-12-14: In the UK, UBC Media Group, has announced more contracts from the BBC; one is a 3-year-deal to licence from UBC's digital radio software division, Unique Interactive, the company's Digital Radio Scrolling Text management software. The software is already used by a number of UK commercial stations including Classic Gold Digital, Emap digital stations, and SMG's Virgin Radio.
UBC has also agreed with BBC Radio 2 subject to the final approval of presenters, contracts for ten series to be produced by Unique. In all the deal would nearly double the total programming hours provided by Unique to Radio 2 this year.
UBC chief executive Simon Cole commented that the software deal was "a significant milestone as it extends the services that the group is providing to the BBC beyond audio programming" while the Radio 2 deal reinforced its "market leadership in that core business".
2003-12-14: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that material broadcast during the programme Tout le monde debout hosted by Patrick Lavoie on CIKI-FM, Rimouski, Quebec, was unduly sexually explicit an breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics.
The programme involved, broadcast in November 2002, involved a regular segment in which the host conspires with friends and family members to play a joke on a person celebrating her or his birthday; on this occasion the host called a woman celebrating her 18th birthday and gave her full name, age, and university residence, and then said he wanted to go out with her because of what he had been told about her sexual prowess.
In particular he referred to the "Quebec top and the wheelbarrow", saying, "There's only about one girl in a hundred who does that in Québec, so that's why I'd really like to go out with you tonight."
The complainant, who was not the woman involved, was told by the station that the idea of the segment was "first and foremost a joke" and that it was taken light-heartedly by the audience and victims, whose personal details were provided by those close to them, but felt that this was an inadequate response.
She suggested the broadcaster did not adequately address the issues that concerned her, namely, sex-role stereotyping and the respect of the listeners and added that the broadcaster had not taken into account the social impact of such comments and how they tended to simplify the myths surrounding sexual aggression against women.
The CBSC ruled that, although in this case there was not a question of consent of the "victim", the broadcast had been unduly sexually explicit and added that the issue was the audience, not the "victim". "The issue," it said, "relates to the sensibilities of the listeners, not of the object of the humour."
2003-12-13: Canadian radio advertising revenues in the year to the end of August were CAD 1.15 billion (USD 875 million), up 6.5% on the previous year to according to figures just released by the country's Radio Marketing Bureau (RMB).
This was more than double the 2.9% increase in the year to the end of August 2002 and would have been even more but for the effects of the SARS outbreak, mad cow disease, and power blackout that hit figures for Toronto stations in the summer; up to that period the industry had been recording year-on-year gains of 7.4%.
"Given that advertising revenues for all media in Canada grew by approximately three per cent during the past year, radio's increase of 6.5 per cent was a strong performance," said Radio Marketing Bureau president John Harding who noted that, despite the problems, Toronto stations "still posted an increase in ad revenue of 0.8 per cent" in the final quarter of the fiscal year.
Harding also praised radio's performance during the blackout, saying, "On the other hand, the blackout was radio's finest hour. Stations were back on the air quickly and were a vital source of news, updates and information."
Still in Canada, the latest ratings from BBM Bureau of Measurement show Corus Entertainment's "Top Dog" CKNW-AM is no longer British Columbia's "most-listened-to station", a title it claimed some 50 years ago and which is now held by Jack FM, which a year ago introduced a format of hits from the past four decades.
Rogers-owned Jack edged past the long-time leader's 13.3 share to take a 13.4 % share of the 12 and over audience in the province; it did even better in key 18-49 and 25-54-year-old demographics where its share was more than a fifth.
CKNW, founded in 1944, adopted the "Top Dog" mascot in 1949 and the slogan "B.C.'s most listened-to station" in 1954. In June last year it fired its then top rated host Rafe Mair, who had been with it for 19 years, following a clash over his refusal to conform to the company's employee behaviour code (See RNW June 11). Mair is now working for 600AM (See RNW July 27), which had solid gains in the ratings.
RMB web site:
2003-12-13: South Korea is expected to become the first country in the world to launch a national Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) platform, using the Eureka 147 Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) standard following a decision by the government to invest some USD 41.5 million to develop DMB technology.
South Korea is planning to have three national multiplexes on air by the end of 2004; they will ultimately be able to deliver video and data streaming to consumers who can tune in on handheld mobile devices.
World DAB President, Annika Nyberg commented of the development, "We are delighted that South Korea has chosen Eureka 147 as the standard on which to base this exciting development in digital broadcasting. With an impressive timetable for rolling out DMB, we believe South Korea will be the first to take mobile video streaming commercially forward."
Previous World DAB:
2003-12-13: Infinity-run syndicator Westwood One has announced that 55 more Infinity stations are being added to its RADAR networks, CBS, CNNMax, NBC, Source Max, and NeXt.
The addition means that from December 29 all Infinity stations will become part of Westwood's RADAR networks.
Gaining most stations is the CNNMax Network, which adds 37 stations, followed by the NBC Network, which will add 28 and then The Source Max Network and The NeXt Network, each of which add 18. The CBS Network will add seven stations.
Westwood One President of Sales Peter Kosann commented, "With the addition of these 55 Infinity stations -- primarily concentrated in the top 50 markets, our RADAR networks will enjoy a double digit surge in audience as well as continued stability due to the multi-year relationship with Infinity."
Previous Westwood One:
2003-12-13: Former BBC Radio 2 lunchtime host (Sir) Jimmy Young is to record a special Christmas Day programme exclusively for BBC Radio Gloucestershire; the show will be broadcast from midday until 2.00pm and repeated on New Year's Eve, 1.00- 3.00pm and will include a look by Young at his early years in Gloucestershire.
Young, who was born in born in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, was ousted from his show and replaced by Jeremy Vine in 2002; There were plans for a new weekend show from January this year but Young decided to leave the BBC.
His last show was broadcast on December 20, 2002 (See RNW Dec. 21, 2002), and he made it clear his departure was not of his choosing, saying, "Just so that we're all singing from the same hymn book, it was not my idea to go - I didn't want to leave you at all and I know from your messages that you don't want me to go either "
"Nothing to do with me guv..." "...the song's fading away and indeed so am I...." "It's the last programme - it's not what I want but that's what's been decreed so that's what we have to do..."
2003-12-13: A combination of seasonal taste and a major plunge in listening to MUSICMATCH because of server problems saw AOL Classic Holiday channel take the top station honours in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings, pushing MUSICMATCH into second place.
Also heading down was Contemporary Christian K-Love, which dropped from second to sixth rank. Network rankings at the top remained unchanged but listening was lower at the top except for Virgin Radio; Arbitron also noted that UK EMAP joined the network rankings at number 13.
For the week to November 30, 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: AOL Classic Holiday Miscellaneous (*Commercial) - TTSL 385,398 (218,340); CP - 216,509 (116,780). Up from eighth with higher listening and reach.
2: Internet only artist-match MUSICMATCH (*Non Commercial) - TTSL 380,605 (721,268); CP - 205,098 (235,565). Down from first with much lower listening and lower reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 295,173 (264,286); CP - 57,101 (53,396). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 210,951 (256,702); CP 115,328 (102,950). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
5: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 197,055 (227,793); CP 154,094 (131,022): Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
*Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) fell from second to sixth with TTSL 168,387 (281,369); CP - 35,136 (42,992).
The top five networks for the week to November 30 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 5,304,446 (5,885,222); CP - 1,724,150 (1,491,985). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 2,993,782 (4,113,031); CP - 835,763 (956,476). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 1,046,810 (2,161,715); CP - 449,464 (514,188). Same rank with much lower listening and lower reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 716,221 (1,176,718); CP - 110,964 (137,428) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 539,571 (494,594); CP - 86,189 (81,575) - 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 TTSL 2,210,345, down from 2,657,829 and StreamGuys with TTSL 446,424, down from 568,496.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-12-12: US broadcasters are mulling the likely effects on their bottom lines of a US Supreme Court decision voted by 5-4 to uphold most of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA or McCain-Feingold campaign finance law) that in particular bans political parties from raising and spending uncapped, unregulated "soft money," and also requires so-called issue ads, adverts by non-party groups that effectively support a particular candidate, to be paid for with regulated money in the periods immediately before elections.
Political advertising makes significant contributions to results but it is not clear how far the limitations will affect spending: Issue adverts, for example will not be banned but they will not be able to name candidates for federal elections.
Under the new rules, candidates can collect up to $2,000 per donor in each election and parties can raise $25,000 per donor each year.
Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor said in their comments about the effect of an unregulated system, "Many years ago we observed that 'to say that Congress is without power to pass appropriate legislation to safeguard ... an election from the improper use of money to influence the result is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection."
" We are under no illusion that BCRA will be the last congressional statement on the matter. Money, like water, will always find an outlet. What problems will arise, and how Congress will respond, are concerns for another day."
" "Just as troubling to a functioning democracy as classic quid pro quo corruption is the danger that officeholders will decide issues not on their merits or the desires of their constituencies, but according to the wishes of those who have made large financial contributions valued by the officeholder. Even if it occurs only occasionally, the potential for such undue influence is manifest. And unlike straight cash-for-votes transactions, such corruption is neither easily detected nor practical to criminalize. The best means of prevention is to identify and to remove the temptation."
Among the dissenting comments was one from Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who said, "a close association with others, especially in the realm of political speech, is not a surrogate for corruption; it is one of our most treasured First Amendment rights. The court's willingness to impute corruption on the basis of a relationship greatly infringes associational rights and expands Congress' ability to regulate political speech..."
"No doubt Congress was convinced by the many abuses of the current system that something in this area must be done. Its response, however, was too blunt."
Other dissent came from Justice Clarence Thomas who said, " The chilling endpoint of the Court's reasoning is not difficult to foresee: outright regulation of the press..."; Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who commented," The First Amendment commands that Congress 'shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.' The command cannot be read to allow Congress to provide for the imprisonment of those who attempt to establish new political parties and alter the civic discourse..."; and Justice Antonin Scalia whose referred to a "law that cuts to the heart of what the First Amendment is meant to protect: the right to criticize the government..."
The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) held back in its response with President and CEO Edward O. Fritts commenting, "The decision by the Supreme Court will cause substantial changes in the manner in which federal candidates utilize broadcasting to reach the voters. This is a complex 300-page opinion that will require extensive evaluation before its full impact is understood."
RNW comment: Although we have some reservations about the implications of this decision, a finely-balanced one as the Supreme Court vote indicated, we cannot accept the implications from some of the dissenters that seemingly equate the ability to buy influence and the freedom to comment. We think Clarence Thomas is taking logic to the point of absurdity in practical terms and Scalia to have a problem with the idea of logic.
As so often, this seems to be a matter of the best balance to be achieved rather than one of absolute principle: We do not think corporations should be allowed to claim rights that are normally associated with individuals (albeit we might go further along the road were all if organizations required to opt in or out of "human rights" clauses with political restrictions on organizations opting to be "commercial" and normal human sanctions, including jail, automatically applying to the directors of those companies opting the other way and then being responsible for actions that harm humans.)
At the same time, we would be chary of restricting rights of individuals to spend money on putting forward their viewpoint most of the time, although we would not object to restrictions in pre-election periods as are common in many countries.
2003-12-12: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) localism task force goes to the heart of big corporation radio for the second of its six scheduled public hearings on the subject of broadcast localism, which is to be held in San Antonio, Texas, on January 28; the meeting was originally to have been held this month.
Clear Channel is headquartered in the city but no details have so far been issued of any Clear Channel involvement in the meeting, which will include contributions from a number of panellists.
FCC chairman Michael Powell is to preside over the meeting, which is to be attended by Commissioners Kathleen Q. Abernathy, Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps.
In Washington, C, the FCC has announced an Open Commission Meeting on December 17 that will amongst other things consider topics relating to software-defined radio.
The FCC has also red-flagged, on ownership concentration grounds, Cumulus's planned purchase of country format WKXP-FM, Kingston/ Poughkeepsie, New York, from Concord Media Group.
Previous Clear Channel:
2003-12-12: Colorado Public Radio Host Mark Sheldon, who was also a singer and choral conductor, has died of cancer at his home in Denver, Colorado, aged 43.
Sheldon began his radio career as a classical music host and producer while still at graduate school and later worked with KYBU in Utah producing broadcasts of the Utah Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Teton Music Festival, with Minnesota Public Radio producing national broadcasts of the Minnesota Orchestra, and with Indiana Public Radio before joining Colorado Public Radio in 1999.
There he achieved national recognition for his Sunday morning program, Sacred Classics.
A memorial service is to be held on Saturday (December 13).
Colorado Public Radio tribute:
2003-12-12: Sirius has announced a joint venture with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC/Radio-Canada to take its satellite service into Canada and the venture is to file for a licence with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The move follows a similar joint venture, Canadian Satellite Radio, confirmed in August by rival XM, which is in partnership with Canadian businessman and former Toronto Raptors owner and Olympic bid leader John Bitove Jr.
No name has been released for the new venture but Sirius and CBC are holding talks with holding talks that may lead to other Canadian financial or broadcasting investors joining the venture.
CBC/Radio- Canada President and CEO Robert Rabinovitch noted that two of its main channels, namely Radio One and La Premiere Chaine, would be on the service and commented, "By expanding the choices available to Canadians, this new service will enable the national public broadcaster to better fulfill its mandate by extending its reach and enhancing its services to Canadians."
"As a result of CBC/Radio-Canada's involvement, the new venture will also provide significant opportunities for existing and emerging Canadian artists to showcase their talent and be heard not only across Canada, but throughout North America as well.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said, "60 of our 100 premier channels are commercial-free, and this makes SIRIUS an ideal match for Canada's public broadcaster and its unparalleled Canadian programming content."
Previous Canadian Satellite Radio:
2003-12-12: BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Sara Cox, who is to move to drive time in the New Year, announced on her show on Thursday morning that she is three months pregnant with her first child.
Cox, who is married to club DJ Jon Carter, told her listeners, "I've been busting to tell you, quite literally, because I can't hold my belly in any more. I'm three months pregnant! I'm really excited."
The BBC said Cox, whose last breakfast show airs on December 24, would take up her new role before taking maternity leave and added that they were sure she would return after the birth.
2003-12-12: Arbitron's RADAR 79 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) national radio ratings report to be released on Monday is to add two new categories - for 21 plus men and women - taking its total number of categories to 126.
It says the enhancements are a result of its switch to a diary system away from the phone polling system that had been in operation when it bought RADAR from Statistical Research, Inc. in 2001 (See RNW July 3, 2001).
Preliminary figures for RADAR 79 show that in a typical week US radio reaches 96% of those 18 plus living in households with annual incomes of USD 75,000 or more with 95% of college graduates listening compared to 92% of those who did not go to college.
Over the week, radio reaches 94% of those 12 and upward, a total of 224 million and more than 181 million; 76% of the 12 and older population listen over a weekend.
81% of 18 and over listeners tune in whilst in a vehicle, 66% of them at home and 27% at work.
Arbitron has also announced an agreement with TNS Media Intelligence/CMR under which the latter will provide TNSMI/CMR's spot television advertising tracking data to Arbitron's regional and local advertising agency customers, which provides multimedia planning and buying software and services as well as audience measurement information to more than 3,000 national advertising agencies and advertisers.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 78):
2003-12-11: Chicago-based ABC Networks radio commentator Paul Harvey has pulled back from but not apologised for comments he made last week in an item on cock fighting that described Islam as a religion that "encourages killing" (See RNW Dec 7); Doug Limerick, sitting in for Harvey, who is on vacation, read out a prepared statement on the noon edition of Harvey's Show on Tuesday that said he had received letters from friends in the American-Muslim community who called and "expressed their disgust with those who have hjijacked their religion to achieve their goals through violence"and "reminded all of us that Islam is a religion of peace, that terrorists do not represent Islam."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington- based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, had called for an on- air apology and asked concerned Muslims to contact both Harvey and his sponsors.
It said the call resulted in hundreds of calls, faxes and e-mails noting that Islam prohibits murder, gambling and cruelty to animals.
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad commented after the broadcast, "We would like to thank all those who took the time to speak out in defence of Islam. Once again, we see that positive actions bring positive results."
Awad also made an open offer to arrange a meeting between Harvey and American Muslim leaders to begin a dialogue on issues related to Islam.
2003-12-11: Montréal-headquartered Astral Media, which in October announced full year profits up nearly a fifth on the previous year (See RNW Oct 25), expects to improve further on those figures and to be well placed to take advantage of expected consolidation n Canadian broadcasting according to President and CEO Ian Greenberg.
He told shareholders at the company's Annual General Meeting in Toronto that radio would benefit from strong ratings and brand loyalty aided by synergies and cost savings from the integration of stations acquired from Télémédia whilst TV would be driven by the continued roll-out of digital cable and direct-to-home satellite services, strong ratings from first-rate programming and increased advertising demand for Astral's highly-targeted specialty services.
Greenberg also predicted Canadian broadcasting consolidation with Astral being on the buying side, telling shareholders that Astral saw "a future with fewer but larger broadcasting companies who have the financial, operating and marketing resources to succeed in consolidating an increasingly competitive environment."
"With the industry's cleanest balance sheet, high-performance brand assets and a breadth and depth of operational expertise and marketing prowess, we believe that Astral is in an enviable position - ready to take advantage of the right opportunities whenever they arise," continued Greenberg.
Astral is expecting expects both EBITDA and net earnings from continuing operations to grow 12 to 15% in fiscal 2004.
Also in Canada, Toronto-headquartered Corus Entertainment has told shareholders at its annual meeting that, following a solid fiscal 2003 (See RNW Oct 24) that it is to pay its first dividend on December 31. The company's board has approved a semi-annual dividend for holders of class A and class B shares of 2 cents and 2.5 cents, respectively and President and CEO John Cassaday said it was being paid because "our shareholders deserve to share in our success beyond simple share price appreciation." If kept at this level, the dividends will cost Corus around CAD 2 million (USD 1.6 million) a year.
2003-12-11: This week has been notable for a number of short stories reflective of changing times and technology affecting radio.
First a move forward for Infinity Radio which has finally [sort-of] started streaming the signals of New York Oldies station WCBS-FM and Chicago country outlet WUSN-FM - but only to AOL customers.
Three more stations are to follow - Los Angeles New Adult Contemporary /Smooth Jazz format KTWV-FM, Washington, DC Urban Hits WPGC-FM and Chicago rock station WXRT-FM. Both WCBS and WUSN promote the AOL link on their sites.
The deal was first announced in April as part of a marketing alliance tied in to AOL's broadband push (See RNW April 2).
AOL made more of the launch than by Viacom with Jim Van Huysse, general manager of the AOL Radio Network commenting, "This is a great win for our members," said. "Infinity represents many of the most popular and recognizable stations in the country, across all formats. The addition of their leading Oldies, and Country stations, along with the upcoming launches of top Smooth Jazz, Urban and Rock stations, from across the country provide a perfect compliment to our wide-range of best-of-breed radio programming some of its stations after long holding out against the idea.
RNW comment: In view of the timidity of Infinity's approach to streaming we can only assume the deal is guaranteed to produce them income; Certainly it's no mainstream commitment to the idea and we regard it as a marginal add at best to what is already available online.
Then from Robert Feder's column in the Chicago Sun-Times, the death of the weekday "Noon Show" farm report on Chicago WGN-AM, which is to be killed from January 5.
It's been going more than 60 years, hosted for many of them by Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong. The former was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame earlier this year (See RNW Aug 13).
Described as the best-known agricultural broadcaster in the country, Samuelson has been heard over WGN since 1960 providing the Midwest farmer with agricultural news and information; Armstrong joined him at WGN in 1977.
The duo will retain their two Saturday programs on the Tribune Co.-owned station whose vice president and general manager Mark Krieschen said that most farmers and agribusiness investors served by the program now have the ability to access the same information through other means.
Feder notes that advertising for the show has dropped to around USD 1 million a year from a peak of nearly five times that amount and also that it interrupted audience flow from the talk shows that precede and follow it.
"We have a need to compete with programming that appeals to a wider audience in the marketplace," Krieschen said. "Let's face it: 'The Noon Show' had a very niche target. But it was kind of a stopgap for us. We think this will help the flow of our programming."
Also from Feder a sign of what can happen with modern technology: He notes that Clear Channel-owned WKSC-FM, which relies heavily on voice tracking and automation, put out nothing but jingles, promos and commercials for five hours from midnight to 5a.m. on Monday this week because of computer system problems. Not a single song was played during the whole period (RNW comment: We rather hope all the advertisers get let off all charges for the period as any station that can allow such a situation to run for a whole five hours ought to face some kind of downside.)
Also less fortunate in the use of technology was a woman in New York state who was taken to hospital after her sport utility vehicle was hit from behind while she was on the phone to WABC-AM discussing the Michael Jackson case.
Cheryl Picker said she had stopped on the side of the road when she was hit just before 9 a.m.
And finally a show that's still apparently going strong after 50 years; it's Canada Calling, a winter radio show broadcast on a number of Florida stations plus others in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and the Bahamas, that keeps Canadians in touch with news from home.
The first broadcast was made on December 10, 1953, by broadcaster Dave Price and he reputedly was spurred to setting up the programmes when, on holiday in Fort Lauderdale, he had problems getting the results of a Stanley Cup hockey game.
Current host Prior Smith who has been in the post for 27 years transmits daily feeds of the programme from a home studio near Lakefield, Ontario, via satellite.
As well as news and sports information, he also favours stories about blizzards and other winter woes back in Canada (RNW comment: presumably to make the listeners glad they aren't at home!)
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Canada Calling:
Canada Calling web site:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2003-12-11: The BBC has appointed Mark Byford, Director, BBC World Service and Global News, as Deputy Director-General from the start of the New Year.
Byford will report to BBC Director-General Greg Dyke and retains his news role as well as being responsible for ensuring all BBC programming complies with its regulations and for an enhanced BBC complaints operation.
A new Director of the World Service, who will report to Byford, is to be appointed.
The BBC says the new appointment is its most important decision in changes to its complaints system and Dyke commented, "This means the second most important person in the management structure will now have a particular responsibility for compliance and complaints."
Under the new system, the Editorial Policy Department, which deals with programming issues before broadcasts and is headed by the former Director of the Broadcasting Standards Commission Stephen Whittle will, in future, report directly to the Deputy Director-General.
A new post of Controller of Complaints, whose department will deal with issues raised after transmission, is to be created; the holder of this post will also report to Byford and the existing Programme Complaints Unit will move across to this new department.
2003-12-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said in a 126-page filing to the Philadelphia Circuit Court of Appeals that its new media-ownership rules, released on June 2, arose from a "responsible exercise of the agency's expansive authority to regulate television and radio broadcasting in the public interest" and that it was legally correct in drafting the rules.
The submission was in opposition to an earlier filing by the Prometheus Radio Project that led to the staying by the court of the implementation, that had been due on September 4, of the new rules (See RNW Aug 30) which Prometheus argued would have meant a "massive consolidation" in US broadcasting before judicial review could be completed
The FCC said its rules had been drafted to respond to changes in broadcasting and stressed that the US Supreme Court had "emphasized time and again that the commission's power to adopt and revise broadcast ownership rules in the public interest."
The rules, passed by a 3-2 party line vote, allow one company to own newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same city and also to allow one company to own TV stations reaching 45 percent of the nation's viewers, a cap that was reduced to 39% by both Houses of Congress in a vote that avoided a Presidential veto of a demand to keep a former 35% cap that would have forced divestments by News Corporation and Viacom, both of which had exceeded the 35% limit.
It also took up opposition from those who want fewer restrictions, saying that the current abundance of media voiced had not yet "eliminated" the need to protect against undue dominance by a group of groups of a marketplace.
2003-12-10: UK Radio ratings company RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research Limited) has appointed former Associated Newspapers' executive Sally De La Bedoyere as managing director to succeed Jane O'Hara. She will take over on January 5 next year.
De La Bedoyere who was managing director of the London Evening Standard from 2000-2002 left the paper in September 2002 and has since then worked as a has been working as a media consultant.
She said she was looking forward to the challenges of her new role and added, "Despite my background in publishing, I am a great fan of the radio medium and am enormously excited by all the changes currently taking place across the radio industry and the role RAJAR is to play in the coming years."
RAJAR chairman Lord Gordon of Strathblane, who is also chairman of Scottish Radio Holdings, said the RAJAR board had been impressed by De La Bedoyere's "excellent track record in media" and also by "her enthusiasm for the challenges that lie ahead for RAJAR."
"The next couple of years look set to be a period of great transition in the radio industry with the growth of digital and Internet stations and the possibility of new methods of research," he added. These developments will, of course, be reflected in the role RAJAR is expected to fulfil. It is very important for the radio industry that the day-to-day running of RAJAR is in professional and capable hands and we feel confident that Sally is this person."
Implicit in the comments are two issues that will face De La Bedoyere; they are a possible move away from diaries to a meter system and possible legal action from The Wireless Group, which says it is to sue RAJAR for GBP 27 million for losses caused because the diary system works against it in the ratings (See RNW Nov 28); the Group's chairman Kelvin MacKenzie sponsored his own media surveys, which give the Wireless Group's flagship station TalkSport much higher ratings, from Gfk Media using the Radiocontrol wrist device.
Previous Lord Gordon:
Previous Wireless Group:
2003-12-10: Latest Australian ratings from the AC Nielsen McNair survey show Austereo's 2-DAY back in top rank in Sydney; it pushed Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB down to second equal with ABC 702 whilst DMG's Nova fell back a rank to fourth and Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE remained in fifth rank but pulled back share again.
In the Sydney breakfast slot Angela Catterns took top honours for ABC 702 with a 12.8 share pushing Alan Jones at 2GB into second rank as his share fell from 14.9 to 12.7. 2GB's commercial talk rival 2UE, which dropped former Melbourne 3AW drive time host Steve Price from the slot in September in a swap with its drive time host Mike Carlton, pulled its share up sharply from 8.2 to 9.9, taking it from fifth to third.
ABC also took the lead at drive time where Richard Glover also took the top spot for the first time, his 12.1 share pushing previous leader Nova into second place.
In the morning slot, John Laws increased his share from 10.6 to 11.3 and took top rank, pushing Ray Hadley at 2GB into second place with 10.4; Nova, which had shared the lead with 2GB, was fourth with 9.2, after 2-Day in third with 9.9.
Austereo celebrated its return to the top in Sydney with CEO Michael Anderson noting that it had led in seven of the year's eight surveys and adding about the group's overall position in Australia, "Not only did we maintain and build on our strength under extraordinary pressure, we implemented bold strategies across the country. We have aggressively re-asserted our leadership."
"This year our competitors threw everything at us - a new station went to air in Perth and new stations in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne spent at exceptional levels to try to gain traction. This kept the pressure on, but thanks to the talent and hard work of our on and off air teams we've maintained leadership and in many areas achieved significant growth".
"We're not expecting 2004 to be any less challenging, but we love a good fight and we won't be standing still. We've got a formidable new line-up in key timeslots around the country and we'll be rolling out a number of other new initiatives in the new year that we're confident listeners will respond to."
Nova, as is its habit, had a wry comment, saying of the Sydney results, "Nova 969 is still the leading Sydney radio station for under 40's phew!"
"In a survey period where not one station in Sydney managed to crack the 10% mark - Nova 969 dropped to a 9% overall bugger!"
"However Nova remains the favourite for 18-24 and 25-39 year olds."
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: SAFM - same rank with 23.1 (20.2); 5AA - 16.6 (17.1) - same rank; 5MMM - 12.8 (15.5) - same rank:
*Brisbane - B105FM - same rank with 18.0 (17.7); NEW 97.3 FM with 14.2 (14.1)- same rank: Triple M with 13.2 (13.6) - same rank;
*Melbourne - 3AW with 16.2 (15.1); Fox FM with 12.7 (11.2) - up from third; ABC 774 with 11.8 (13.1) - down from second;
Nova fell to fifth from fourth with 10.0 (10.0) as Gold gained share from 8.8 to 10.2 and moved into fourth rank.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM same rank with 20.7 (20.9); All New 92.9 with 12.2 (11.1)- up from third; ABC 720 with 10.1 (12.6)- down from second; *Nova dropped on rank to sixth as its share fell from 9.1 to 8.8
*Sydney - 2-Day with 9.8 (9.6) - up from second; 2GB 9.7 (11.3) - Down from first; ABC 702 9.7 (8.4) - up from fourth;
* Nova with 9 (10.7) - fell from second to fourth and 2UE again pulled back some share - from 7.7 to 8.8 but remained in fifth rank.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2003-12-10: Sirius says it has now reached 200,000 subscribers to its satellite radio service and is upbeat about its prospects for holiday sales for which it has four "Plug & Play" products available as well as a home unit with limited quantities of a boom box from Audiovox expected in stores before Christmas.
"This is the first time that we are going into a busy holiday selling season with a full complement of products at retail, and we believe that this will help to drive subscriptions this year, as well as position us favourably as we transition into 2004," commented president and CEO, Joseph P. Clayton.
Sirius' rival XM reached a million subscribers at the end of October.
2003-12-10: SMG's Virgin Radio is to revamp its schedule from January 3 with a number of changes including a major gamble on newcomer Kelly-Anne Smith, who joined the station only months ago from Nottingham where she had been on Capital-owned Century FM (See RNW Aug 5).
Kelly, who is 26, is to be given the weekday drive time slot from January 3, taking over from Daryl Denham, who had already been moved out of the breakfast slot (See RNW Jan 6) and is now to host the weekend breakfast show.
Kelly had been hosting the 7-10 PM "most Wanted" show, which now goes to Ben Jones, who currently hosts the early afternoon slot from 1-4 PM. This slot will go to Neil Francis.
BBC Radio 1 is also introducing changes in the New Year and in an interview in Heat Magazine, Sara Cox, who loses the breakfast show to Chris Moyles (See RNW Oct 8) has disclosed that she was given no advance warning of the planned change.
She said she was "really calm" when Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt broke the news to her: "I was just like: "Who is it?"
"I just wanted to make sure it was going into good hands. And he was like: "It's Chris." I got completely confused and said: "Chris Evans?" And he went: "No, Moyles."
"F***ing hell - it's what he wants. I was pleased. Because it's a chance for him to put his money where his f***ing mouth is - he's been after it for so long. For the record, I think he will do a good job."
Ox added that she looked forward to "waking up with Jon Carter [her husband] and not getting out of bed and leaving him there when it's still dark."
2003-12-10: Marsha MacBride, former Chief of Staff to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell, is to become Executive Vice President of the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) Legal and Regulatory Affairs Department.
She takes over the role from Jeff Baumann, who is retiring from NAB in February following 20-years with the organization and will join NAB next week.
Commenting on the appointment, NAB President Edward O. Fritts said they had "found someone with vast knowledge of broadcast-related issues, who is savvy in the ways of Washington, and who will be sensitive in responding to membership needs."
"Marsha is a superior legal talent, and we're lucky to have her joining the NAB team," he added.
RNW comment: A case of the gamekeeper turning poacher?
2003-12-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed the USD 27,500 penalty imposed on Infinity's Detroit station WKRK-FM for indecent comments made on the "Deminski and Doyle Show" in January last year.
Infinity did not deny the language used or that it was indecent but did claim that the Commission's long-standing indecency standard is unconstitutional on its face under the First Amendment and that the increase from the USD 7,000 base amount to the statutory maximum of USD 27,500 was unjustified.
The comments involved the hosts discussing with nine callers various sex-linked acts including excreting on a woman, ejaculating on her, "slapping" and "punching" her, and having oral, anal and vaginal sex with her.
The Commission in response noted that under the Communications Act the Commission is instructed to take into account the "nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offences, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require."
"We have little difficulty," it said, "concluding that this is an egregious violation justifying imposition of the statutory maximum. The material that Infinity broadcast was extremely graphic, lewd and offensive and continued over an extended period of time and included conversations with nine callers over a 30-minute period we disagree with Infinity that it is unconstitutional under the First Amendment for the Commission to increase the amount of an indecency forfeiture based on the seriousness of the violation. The Communications Act permits a forfeiture of up to USD 27,500 for a single indecency violation."
The FCC in its original notice of apparent liability in April this year (See RNW April 4) had not only proposed the maximum penalty; it also indicated that in future it would consider licence revocation for such offences and that each utterance in a programme could be treated as a separate offence and this guidance was challenged by Infinity.
It claimed that this guidance was unconstitutional but the Commission did not take up the issue, commenting, "We do not address Infinity's arguments regarding the constitutionality of revocation or imposition of separate forfeitures for multiple violations because we do not impose those sanctions in this case."
As with the original notice, separate statements were issued by various Commissioners including one from FCC chairman Michael K Powell, who commented, "The blatant broadcasting of filth of this extreme nature has no place on our nation's airwaves. Broadcasters should take this latest action as yet another sign that the Commission will continue to rigorously enforce our indecency regulations."
Democrat Commissioner Michael J Copps dissented and issued statements saying the penalty was "inadequate to address the serious nature of this station's actions" and was "not even a slap on the wrist to Infinity for airing what can only be described as vulgar and disgusting indecency."
"This Commission," said Copps "should have conducted a hearing on revocation of this station's license."
Republican Commissioner Kevin Martin, although concurring with the decision, also repeated his unhappiness with the level of the penalty and said," I believe each of these 9 calls could be separate "utterances" or "material" for purposes of the statute and our rules."
"Because of the extremely graphic, lewd and offensive nature of this broadcast, I would have applied the statutory maximum fine for each call, for a total of USD 247,500."
The other Democrat on the Commission, Jonathan Adelstein, whilst agreeing with the ruling, issued a statement saying that broadcasters had now been given fair warning of potentially more serious penalties should there be future offences.
"These sanctions," he wrote, "include the potential initiation of revocation proceedings for serious, repeated violations of our rules. Broadcasters are also on notice that the Commission may find them liable for multiple violations that occur in a single program where statements can be viewed as separate indecent utterances. This approach could result in substantially higher forfeiture amounts in the future."
"I am disappointed that the licensee in this case continues to challenge this sanction rather than accept responsibility for such an extreme violation of our rules."
Also in Detroit, the FCC has also proposed a USD 4,000 penalty on Disney-owned ABC's WDRQ-FM, for failure to broadcast full and accurate details of its "War of the Sexes" contest.
The action followed a complaint by a winner of a prize of two passes to a movie premiere that were valid only for one evening but to which he found he could not gain access because of large crowds at the theatre that evening.
ABC had responded that staff had told the winner by phone after his win and when the passes were sent that admission was not guaranteed; it added that after he had failed to gain admission it offered him tickets to another movie playing that night, gave him several WDRQ promotional items, and purchased tickets for him to see the movie at a later date. It admitted, however, that the station had not broadcast announcements saying that admission was not guaranteed to the winner nor that it could substitute other prizes of equal value but says that it was now doing so in connection with such competitions.
The Commission commented that there had been a clear breach of the rules.
2003-12-09: UK Guardian Media Group (GMG), which has been criticized about the percentage of jazz in its Jazz FM station in London, is now closing Jazz FM in Manchester and re-launching it as Smooth FM with a broader range of music. The group already operates the Smooth format on digital radio.
GMG radio chief executive John Myers told the UK Guardian, which is also owned by GMG, that the station had struggled under its current name; it attracts only around 350,000 listeners a week out of a potential audience of 5.3 million and Myers said the name put people off the station.
Surveys conducted in the area showed more than half the potential listeners would try a station called Smooth, but only 11% said they would tune in to one called Jazz.
"We did two lots of research and found that the north-west could do with a re-brand," said Myers. "Once people sample it, they like it, but they wouldn't even trial it. So we want to re-badge and re-market the station and we think we'll get a lot more people to trial it."
The change will not affect Jazz FM in London where the audience is attracted rather than deterred by its jazz associations and Myers said that as a result staff would increase because resources would no longer be shared with the London station.
Jazz FM in Manchester is to go off the air in mid-February and come back as Smooth on March 1. Regulatory problems are not anticipated since the station's licence allows it to play up to half its music from non-Jazz genres.
UK Guardian report:
2003-12-09: Salem Communications has increased its fourth quarter guidance and says it is now expecting net broadcast revenue of between USD44.1 million and USD44.6 million - compared to earlier guidance of USD43.8 million-USD44.3 million -and station operating income of between USD16.1 million and USD16.6 million compared to USD16 million-USD16.5 million and says the quarter so far has been healthy.
In October Salem says same-station revenues grew 12% year-on-year and for November it is predicting a 10% year-on-year growth with the same figure for the quarter as a whole.
Its president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III, commented, "Despite continued softness experienced by the radio industry, we expect Salem to achieve same station revenue growth of approximately 10% for the fourth quarter. Salem is on course to deliver the best same station results in the radio industry for the third consecutive year. This demonstrates our ability to deliver successful growth and industry out-performance from our portfolio of start-up and developing stations. This station portfolio, we believe, continues to be the youngest in radio."
The guidance came against a background of upbeat predictions from Robert J. Coen, senior vice president and forecasting director at Universal McCann, and John Perriss, chief executive at the London-based ZenithOptimedia Group, who were speaking on Monday at the at the opening session of the 31st annual UBS Media Week Conference in New York.
Coen increased his US domestic advertising growth predictions for next year to USD 266.4 billion, up from a June forecast of USD 263.8 billion and Perris increased his predictions of US advertising growth for the year from 5% to 5.1%.
In other US radio business, Nassau Broadcasting is to spend USD 18.3 million purchasing six Maine stations from Mariner Broadcasting. The stations, Mariner's entire radio holdings, are WBQI-FM, Bar Harbor; WBYA-FM, Islesboro; WBQQ-FM, Kennebunk and WQEZ-FM-Kennebunkport; WBQW-FM, Scarborough; and WBQX-FM, Thomaston
2003-12-09: Planned cutbacks in foreign language broadcasts by Radio Free Europe were attacked in a Washington Post editorial on Monday, which describes the services giving "an American point of view but are not generally regarded as propaganda."
"They have millions of listeners across the new democracies of Eastern Europe as well as a long tradition," adds the paper.
The plans would include the complete ending of services in seven languages and of services to Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia and the Baltic states and trimming by around a quarter the services to Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Serbia.
The Post says the logic behind the cuts is said to be financial but the savings are very small by US budgetary standards with overall funding for the 11 countries amounting to around USD 11 million a year.
"Like the relatively low funding for the newer but equally effective services of Radio Free Asia, the cuts to Radio Free Europe do not, therefore," says the Post, "really reflect a new administration push to control spending."
"Instead, they are yet another example of the administration's poor choice of foreign policy priorities. With a short attention span and little understanding that allies, too, require attention and diplomacy, the administration seems to have let whole chunks of the world fall off its diplomatic radar screen altogether."
"No iron law says that new democracies will remain democracies or even remain American allies. In this unstable part of the world, the sober presentation of an American point of view is still necessary."
Previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
Washington Post editorial:
2003-12-08: In our look at print cover of radio last week, two articles caught our eye as involving valuable statistical analysis, one from the US concerning public radio finances and another concerning the UK broadcasting watchdog courtesy of Sunday Times radio columnist Paul Donovan.
He begins his column by asking which presenter and station have had the most complaints upheld against them by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission which last week issued its 70 monthly bulletin which, including one judgement against the BBC over a dramatisation of the life of singer Alma Cogan (See RNW Dec 6).
On this ruling Donovan writes, "On Friday, on the BSC's orders, Radio 4 had to air a grovelling apology - also carried in The Times - to Sandra Caron and Alan Carr, sister and uncle of the late singer Alma Cogan, whose life it controversially dramatised against her family's wishes last year."
He then notes that the watchdog along with four other regulators will be replaced on December 29 by the new super-regulator Ofcom and adds that it was set up in 1997 after pressure from the anti crude language and obscenity crusader Mrs Mary Whitehouse before going to look at a selection of its rulings over the years.
Only one national network, BBC Radio 3, has completely escaped censure in the commission's life but not a single station has been censured for a breach that related to violence whereas TV was responsible for hundreds of findings in that category.
Overall the three stations subject to most complaints were BBC Radio 1 with 27, followed by BBC Radio 4 and Virgin Radio with 18 each.
Getting the gavel for most ruled-against broadcaster is Jonathan Ross whose Radio 2 show was responsible for nine upheld complaints "generated by his jokes about hospice patients, children "on a Variety bus", stroke victims and the rape drug Rohypnol, and his use of the word "wanker".
Second equal, with 8 rulings upheld against each, are Sara Cox and Chris Moyles, about whose activities Donovan comments that this is "evidently the number needed to present the Radio 1 breakfast show."
Behind them? "Capital FM's (departed) Steve Penk notches up six, including one for a racist prank call, Virgin's (axed) Jon Holmes five and Robin Banks, Tommy Boyd, Chris Evans, Mark Radcliffe and James Whale four each."
Donovan notes the lack of teeth of the regulator - the BSC, like its Canadian equivalent, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) , can only order the adjudication be broadcast (and in the UK carried in a newspaper was the Cogan apology as already noted).
Donovan concludes, however, "...better an imperfect regulator than no regulator at all. The natural tendency of egoistic broadcasters is to push at the boundaries of acceptability, and it is helpful to have this balanced by forces that moderate and restrain."
The problem with forces that moderate and restrain is the fear that they can become too strong and censor or restrict, a fear implicit in comments made by former BBC Radio 4 Today show presenter Sue MacGregor in an interview by Tim Luckhurst in the UK Independent.
MacGregor, while not speculating on the outcome of the Hutton report into the death of a government scientist who committed suicide after being named as the source for comments on the show that the British Government had "sexed up" Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability, issues a warning that it should not be allowed to scare the Corporation into playing safe.
"It would be a very great shame if the odd slip that may have got one or two people into trouble was an excuse for [installing] executive editors on programmes who turned them into bland mush," she told Luckhurst. "I think we must all be on the alert, very much on the alert."
She also commented on the freedom she had gained now that she had left the programme, not only in terms of being able to sleep normal hours, but also political freedom.
In a reference to this and also to freelance BBC presenters who moonlight for print media - or rather did since the BBC has now banned such columns and told presenters to choose between their broadcast careers or other work - she commented, "Those of us who weren't writing columns in national newspapers were meant to be strictly neutral" and then went on to recount how at an event last summer she heard herself "answering a question by saying 'Well, of course, the Tories are currently unelectable.'"
"Afterwards," she continued, "I thought, 'Oh God! Did I say that? How appalling. Shall I row back on that?' And then I thought: 'No, I'm allowed to say that now.' It was a great, breakthrough moment."
MacGregor, who chose to leave the show gracefully, says she wouldn't consider for a moment working the early hours required by the Today breakfast programme but does miss live work.
She has presented a number of programmes and series since leaving Today but says, "Much as I enjoy doing these programmes, they are recorded and I have a dreadful impatience with things that have to be done and then cut and put together again. Live, you try and get it right first time, which generally works. When you are allowed the slack of recording in the studio I do find the adrenalin harder to summon up."
Although MacGregor's fears relate to censorship rather than finance, the latter is vital to getting anything on the air and the USD 200 million gift to US National Public Radio (NPR) by the late Jean Kroc, widow of MacDonald's founder Ray Kroc (See RNW Nov 7) may yet be valuable to the organization's broadcasting freedoms.
The gift itself was the subject of an article by David Folkenflik of the Baltimore Sun that we noted in the San Francisco Chronicle.
After referring to her interest in the news - on the Internet, wire services and NPR, Folkenflik relates how Kroq first met NPR president and CEO Kevin Klose, later sent him a holiday card with a warm personal greeting that also contained a personal cheque for USD 500,000 made out to NPR, and then in late summer, aware of her failing health, sent her adviser Richard Starmann to Washington to "learn more about NPR and to push executives there to think big -- what would they do with more money?"
"We had an inkling that she had an idea to make a significant contribution," Klose said, but he did not have an idea of its magnitude - USD 25 million for immediate needs and the remaining USD 175 million be held by the NPR Foundation, to generate approximately USD10 million annually in interest in perpetuity."
In contrast to NPR's windfall, Washington public station WAMU-FM is in the middle of a crisis because of a shortfall (See RNW Nov 22), a shortfall analysed by Jennifer Frey in a Washington Post article.
Frey writes that scrutiny of the station's documents, shows "no items that are revelatory in their excess, no large, unjustifiable expenses that might explain how the once financially stable public radio station has plummeted into the red over the past four years. There are no thousand-dollar designer trash cans lurking in the numbers, no junkets to Caribbean islands, nothing that smacks of illegality or unethical spending."
" What emerges, instead, is a complex picture that involves not just spending decisions, but also accounting ones. It is the story of a station that -- under the stewardship of Executive Director Susan Clampitt and in conjunction with American University, its license holder -- took on an ambitious strategic plan and spent the money believed necessary to achieve it."
Frey notes the failure to meet revenue expectations during the period, but goes on to the relationship with American University and in particular a decision to charge the station "16 percent of its revenues to cover "indirect costs," such as what the university provides in office space, human resources, payroll, legal counsel and information technology."
She says that according to fired former WAMU Executive Director Susan Clampitt those fees, more than USD 1.5 million in fiscal year 2003, now exceed actual expenses, meaning that donor checks written to WAMU are indirectly supporting AU as well.
"As long as the university keeps skimming money from WAMU's top line, it's going to be very hard to achieve balanced budgets and have the kind of programs that WAMU has now, " Clampitt said.
The University denies the charge and says all money given to WAMU is spent on the station.
The University's vice president for finance Don Myers did pedal a little carefully, commenting, "American University has had a multi-decade commitment and I think it gets lost in some of this attention. What about all the other years when they had red ink and the university was supporting the station?"
He estimated University support for the station at that more than USD10 million over the station's 42 years.
Frey notes that before the charge was implemented in 1998, the University valued to services provided to give a figure to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which considered the sum as revenues; CPB bases its grant to stations on their revenues.
In the six years up to 1998, the fee rose from just under USD 610,000 to more than USD 660, 000, which in 1997 was 16% of the station's revenues.
Clampitt's predecessor Kim Hodgson, who quit part way through the 2000 fiscal year, in which the station had a USD 150,000 deficit, says part of his motivation for departing was concern at the accounting change.
"I felt that it had undermined the integrity of the station and my own integrity," Hodgson says. "A percent of revenue simply couldn't be tied to any reasonable calculation of costs."
Commenting on this analysis, Myers said the university felt the system worked for them and added, "I do not necessarily think it would be cost-efficient for WAMU or our supporters to set up a stand-alone auditing system that, in the end, may show that they end up owing the university more."
The conflict, reports Frey, is part of a wider pattern in US public radio as a pattern has emerged in which some universities have re-evaluated the level of support they give, others have stopped payments and yet others have levied charges for some specific services.
Frey quotes Tom Thomas, co-CEO of the Station Resource Group, a planning and strategy organization of public radio stations, as saying, "You have, I think, two very legitimate positions where people are coming from."
" Universities look at this from a long-term view: 'We've spent 20 years investing in this station, incurring a loss in many places. We're at a time now where the public radio service ought to be able to carry its own and then some, so at this point we can concentrate on initiatives in another part of university life.' . . . But people at WAMU feel this is too great a toll at a time when the station is trying to reach a new level and make significant impact to its audience."
One more comment before the shows - or rather shows currently available online and that we consider worthy of a listen. The comment is on BBC Radio 2's The Music Box, a two-part series presented by Kate Thornton that tells the story of the rise and rapid growth of non-stop music television in the UK.
The first in the series aired on Saturday at 2100GMT and dealt with the influence of MTV.
Reviewing the broadcast, Sue Arnold in the UK Observer, commented, "Kate Thornton certainly did her homework. She reminded me of an Observer football reporter who was sent to the Midlands to do a piece about Coventry winning the FA Cup in 1987. He was away for a week, came back exhausted, threw down his notebook and said 'OK, I've interviewed every single person in Coventry, now what?'"
"Thornton appeared to have interviewed everyone in the music industry - and those vice-presidents, senior executives, video directors, programme editors and quality con trollers sure take themselves seriously. Here's a taste of what they said: 'MTV is at the cutting edge of youth culture... I don't think people would accept MTV for what it is if it didn't have a strong social agenda... It speaks on issues like Aids, violence, drugs, literacy and elections... It's a very big part of growing up, it's a very big part of music culture, it's a very big part of walking the Earth.' "
"Somewhere in the middle of these jaw-clenching pontifications someone shouted 'Free your mind and your ass will follow', which may or may not have contributed to the argument."
And then two other BBC programmes worth a listen - after a diversion to note that US National Public Radio, which we have neglected, also has a good range of programming on its web site.
The first was on BBC World Service and was the first in a series of four programmes, Being Different, in which Geoff Adams-Spink, who was disabled from birth as a result of his mother taking thalidomide, talks with disabled people across the world about their experiences in comparison with his.
The first programme took him to Uganda where he met Member of Parliament James Mwandha, disabled after he contracted polio at the age of two.
Finally for those with a taste for drama and science fiction, BBC Radio 4's two-part dramatisation of John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos is still available on the station's web site.
It's the current Classic Serial first broadcast on Sunday but repeated on Saturdays so at the moment both episodes are available - listen to Saturday for the first, Sunday for the second.
BBC Radio 2 - Music Box site:
BBC Radio 4 "Listen Again" site (links to Classic Serial):
BBC World Service -Being Different site (Real Audio):
San Francisco Chronicle - Folkenflik:
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Frey:
2003-12-08: Irish author and former soccer international and radio talk host Eamon Dunphy 's career is now in crisis after his TV show on commercial channel TV3 was axed at the end of last week.
Dunphy, who abandoned his successful evening radio show, The Last Word, on national commercial channel Today FM, for the TV show, recently admitted on air that he uses drugs and may have problem finding a new broadcast show.
The Dunphy Show had performed weakly in its three-months run with audience dropping from more than 340,000 at its peak to just over 150,000.
Previous forays into TV by Dunphy also fared badly - a series of The Weakest Link hosted by him failed to reach targets and his sting as host of state broadcast RTÈ's Premiership soccer programme on Saturday nights was also unsatisfactory.
2003-12-07: Last week was generally very quiet for the regulators as far as radio was concerned with perhaps the most noteworthy action coming from Australia where the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions the results of its enquiry into the John Laws morning programme on Sydney 2UE.
As we have reported (See RNW Dec 5) the ABA has also now proposed an extra condition on the station's licence requiring it to engage an approved independent third party to monitor the John Laws program, for limited periods nominated by the ABA.
In New South Wales, the ABA has proposed changes to its licence plan for the Young area to allow it to improve reception in the towns of Cowra and Cootamundra; it proposes a transmitter move and higher antenna height for the Cowra translator service and a power increase from 50w to 100w and a higher antenna for the Cootamundra translator service. Comments on the plan has to be made by December 19
In Canada, the only radio-related announcement from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was approval of a power increase from 800 watts to 6,770 watts and allied contour changes for CJLL-FM Ottawa/Gatineau, Ontario and Quebec.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced a further extension of its contract with Radio Kilkenny, whose broadcasts will now end on December 31. The station lost out to CK Broadcasting Limited (KCLR FM) in the contest for the new franchise area of Carlow/Kilkenny.
There was nothing of note from the UK, where the Radio Authority is due to hand over to the new Ofcom super regulator towards the end of the year although the Broadcasting Standards Commission in its latest bulletin issued a swathe of rulings against radio in the fairness complaints section of the report (See RNW Dec 6)
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has raped the knuckles of two non-commercial stations for breaches of rules about carrying advertisements (See RNW Dec 2 and Dec 6).
It has also turned down Radio One's plea to reconsider a penalty of USD 8,000 imposed on WBOT-FM in Massachusetts but reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 8,000 the penalty it had proposed on the owner of a Georgia tower for failing to clean and repaint the structure.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site
CRTC web site:
FCC web site :
2003-12-07: ABC Radio talk host Paul Harvey has been asked to apologise for comments he made in his Thursday noon show (December 4) saying that Islam encourages killing. The comment came at the end of a segment on cockfighting in Iraq; Harvey said, " Add to the thirst for blood a religion which encourages killing and it is entirely understandable if Americans came to this bloody party unprepared."
The call for the apology came from the US Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which pointed out that Islam not only did not encourage killing but also forbade cruelty to animals" and gambling. It also noted that in 1999, following protests, Harvey issued an on-air apology to Muslims for remarks suggesting that Islam was a "fraudulent religion."
Last month CAIR attacked syndicated US radio host Dr Laura Schlessinger for what it termed an "anti-Muslim tirade" on her Nov. 17 syndicated radio show" (See RNW Nov 22).
2003-12-07: Freak is escaping the Madhouse in Chicago according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times who reports that award-winning traffic reporter Walter Kozielski, known as Freak, is moving to Disney-ABC owned alternative rock station WZZN-FM, the Zone, where he will host his own overnight show and report traffic for the morning show.
Feder says that Kozielski did not have a contract from Emmis for his work on Erich "Mancow" Muller's Morning Madhouse Show.
Before moving to Emmis along with Muller in 1998, Kozielski hosted a showcase for heavy metal, punk, industrial and hair bands at then active rock format WRCX-FM, which was changing to a jamming oldies format.
Before radio, Kozielski worked as a roadie for various rock bands including Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Slayer.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2003-12-06: Radio was responsible for most of the fairness complaints that were upheld in the latest bulletin issued by the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) although it escaped censure completely on matters of standards.
In all the Commission listed 188 complaints, 29 concerning radio and the remaining 159, including advertisements and trailers, concerned video; comparative figures in the previous bulletin were
89 complaints, 26 of which involved radio and the remaining 63, including advertisements and trailers, concerned video.
There were 17 fairness complaints compared to three in the previous bulletin; of these nine concerned radio and eight TV compared to just three TV complains in the previous bulletin.
The BSC upheld seven of the radio complaints, five of them in part, and was unable to adjudicate on another because the station failed to provide a recording; of the TV complaints, two were upheld and six not upheld. None of the fairness complaints had been upheld in the previous bulletin.
Of the remaining 171 complaints involving standards, no radio complaints were upheld and 20 were rejected; five TV complaints were upheld, three of them in part, 11 considered resolved, and the remaining 135 not upheld.
No statements were required from the broadcaster in 110 of the TV cases and 18 of the radio ones.
In the previous bulletin of 86 fairness complaints, five were upheld, one of them concerning radio. Another radio case was not considered because of failure to provide a recording and four others were considered resolved with no statements required from the broadcasters in 62 of the 87 standards cases.
The complaints upheld were:
*A complaint against Radio XL over a discussion programme in which a woman was allegedly stranded in India after her husband stole her passport and returned to the UK. The station had not given him any chance to reply and the commission noted that, although he was not named, sufficient information was given to enable people in his community to identify him. It said the discussion was warranted but not giving detail that permitted identification.
In addition the commission noted that it had received another complaint about this broadcast but the broadcaster had failed to provide a statement and transcript in response, making it impossible to adjudicate on the complaint. The BSC noted that in a recent complaint about a different programme Radio XL had also failed to provide a full transcript and has referred the matters to the Radio Authority to consider imposing sanctions for the station's failure to comply with its duties under the Broadcasting Act 1996.
*A complaint against BBC Radio Scotland on behalf of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) over comments in relation to campaign in the north east of Scotland to protect birds of prey that suggested gamekeepers were a danger to birds of prey. No opportunity to respond to the allegations had been given.
Upheld in part were:
*Another complaint, again on behalf of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, against the BBC Today programme relating to a report concerning the same campaign; this was upheld in part because its comments made in an interview were not used, thus denying the opportunity to respond
*A complaint against BBC Radio 4 for its "Stage Mother-Sequinned Daughter" serialisation of the life of the singer Alma Cogan: The Commission rejected complaints about invasion of privacy, saying that the story of the singer's life was already in the public domain, but held that the "the serialisation was unfair in the dramatisation and characterisation of Miss Caron's parents and sister and failed to have regard for the feelings of surviving family members."
*A complaint against the Stephen Rhodes Consumer Programme on BBC Three Counties Radio relating to a complaint against a removal company: The commission said a request from Kevin Connolly of the company for verification of the BBC researcher's bona fides was reasonable and thus it was unfair to portray the company's responses as being deliberately unhelpful.
It also found unfairness "in eavesdropping on a telephone conversation live on air between the researcher and Mr Connolly and subjecting it to running commentary without Mr Connolly's knowledge." It rejected a complaint about denial of an opportunity to respond.
*A complaint against Good Morning Ulster on BBC Radio Ulster on behalf of Martin McGuiness relating to comments in which reference was made in an interview with author Nigel West to an informer's testimony that he had head McGuiness "boasting about what took place during Bloody Sunday"[The shooting of a number of demonstrators in Derry/Londonderry in 1972].
The commission said the presenter should have made it clear that McGuinness had frequently denied the allegations that he had fired the first shot on Bloody Sunday but rejected other parts of the complaint.
*A complaint on behalf of Hizb-ut-Tahrir against the BBC Asian Network over a discussion on suicide bombers: Unfairness was found in introducing another participant as "an expert on Middle Eastern affairs" thus giving him greater credibility than had it been made clear that he had been connected with the Hagshama, World Zionist organisation and also to Hizb-ut-Tahrir's representative Dr Imran Waheed in giving the impression that he had walked away from the discussion when he had been "stood down" by the programme-makers from his location in another studio. It did not find the discussion itself to have been conducted unfairly.
Previous BSC Complaints Bulletin:
BSC web site (Links to report 157 kb PDF):
The following four stories were "lost" during a computer malfunction and we so far have not been able to get them back.
We have put in summaries with links to keepthe links going until (If) we manage to get back the information from a damaged hard drive.
2003-12-06: US Federal Communications Commission admonishes Michigan noncommercial station for carrying adverts.
2003-12-06: Annenberg Foundation donation saves New York Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinee broadcasts for another season.
2003-12-06: Radio One Inc and Premiere Networks sign two-year deal for new Urban One network.
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Radio One Inc:
2003-12-06: Arbitron says Portable People Meter now an "if - not when" but is looking at electronic diary system.
2003-12-05: Three years after new rules were introduced in the wake of the Australian cash-for-comment scandal that involved talk show hosts accepting but not disclosing sponsorship payments, Sydney station 2UE, now owned by Southern Cross Broadcasting, and its morning host John Laws, have been caught again.
The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) after an investigation has found that the station breached its new standard on 19 occasions and also in six cases breached the special licence condition imposed upon 2UE following the Commercial Radio Inquiry in 2000. Most of the cases relate to failure to disclose a sponsorship deal with Australian communications company Telstra and others to a sponsorship deal with Australia's largest insurance and road service group, the NRMA (National Roads and Motorists' Association Limited).
The ABA is to refer the matter to the Director o f Public Prosecutions and is also "proposing to impose an additional licence condition that will require 2UE, at its expense, to engage an approved independent third party to monitor the John Laws programme, for limited periods nominated by the ABA, and provide a report, including a transcript, direct to the ABA."
"This, " says the ABA, "will provide an ongoing incentive to ensure compliance with the disclosure requirements by enabling the ABA to undertake spot checks on the program."
The ABA comments, "The Disclosure Standard and the special licence condition imposed on 2UE were aimed at ensuring that current affairs programs on the influential medium of commercial radio are accurate and that information is not presented in a misleading manner by withholding relevant facts."
"Where a radio presenter is personally sponsored by third parties, and the presenter comments on matters directly related to those third parties, listeners are entitled to know that a commercial relationship exists between the presenter and those parties. "
"The licensee of 2UE," it adds, " has repeatedly failed to maintain the standards of disclosure relating to commercial radio presenters."
Should there be a prosecution, 2UE could be fined around AUD 1 million (USD 740,000) if the maximum were imposed in each of the 25 cases.
Southern Cross managing director Tony Bell described the breaches as trivial although he said the company would comply with the monitoring agreement.
"There has been no intention to conceal any information. It was just simply a minor technicality where John Laws didn't use the exact wording required," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The matter is also a possible factor in the collapse of a deal between Southern Cross and Macquarie Radio Network, owner of rival Sydney talk station 2GB (See RNW Nov 27).
Southern Cross withdrew from the agreement and Macquarie's major shareholder John Singleton told the paper Southern Cross had pulled out of a resource-sharing deal between the two stations because it risked losing its licence over the matter.
"I've been around long enough to think that's the real reason. The licence is now in danger of being suspended and there's criminal charges pending against the licensee," he said.
In a first statement saying it was dropping most of the deal, Bell said, "While we had reached an in principle decision to proceed with the joint venture, in working through the detailed agreement over the past few days it became clear it was not in the interests of our listeners and staff."
"Both companies share a desire to gain financially from a strong strategic alliance, but the community reaction to the proposal, combined with some strategic differences, convinced us not to proceed with a shared news service."
"Clearly, there were concerns raised by a range of stakeholders who are important to us and as a broadcaster, we have responded to those concerns."
That statement indicated talks were proceeding on other matters with Bell saying, "We will continue to work with MRN to explore other cost savings options. We believe we can still achieve close to the financial benefits we identified through the joint venture proposal by other initiatives."
Subsequently, however, a shorter statement was released calling of the whole deal and saying, "Southern Cross Broadcasting wishes to clarify its media release issued this morning.
Southern Cross Broadcasting and Macquarie Radio Network will not be proceeding with their proposed joint venture in respect of Sydney radio stations 2UE and 2GB/CH."
"Whilst it was our understanding this morning that Macquarie Radio Network was prepared to explore other cost savings options, it has subsequently become apparent that this is not the case."
The proposed deal had been attacked by staff at both stations and also by politicians including the New South Wales Premier; it had boosted Southern Cross's share price but is collapse wiped out the gains.
RNW comment: Although it is now clear that 2UE will not lose its licence, the same may not be true of the jobs of Bell and possibly Laws. Bell was behind the purchase from the Lamb family at the high price of AUD 90 million (USD 66 million) of 2UE, Brisbane station 4BC and the Sky Radio Network, in 2001 when 2UE was the dominant talk station in Sydney (See RNW March 23, 2001).
The deal ran into serious trouble when 2UE star breakfast host Alan Jones was enticed to Macquarie last year (See RNW Feb 8, 2002) with a deal that gave him a significant equity stake. 2GB has now overtaken 2UE in the ratings.
If pressures do build for a scapegoat, Bell is certainly in the firing line, and Laws, who has seen 2GB's show overtake his in the latest ratings, could also be vulnerable.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-12-05: Conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh, who is under investigation in connection with his taking of prescription painkillers, has already started muddying the waters.
In a statement from his attorney Roy Black, which Limbaugh read in the first person to begin with, the host and his lawyer attack, albeit indirectly, the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office.
The statement begins by noting that the Office has "seized the medical records of four doctors who treated Rush Limbaugh for serious medical conditions and the pain resulting from them" and goes on to say that the records show "that Mr. Limbaugh suffered extreme pain and had legitimate reasons for taking pain medication."
The statement then goes on the attack " Unfortunately, because of Mr. Limbaugh's prominence and well-known political opinions, he is being subjected to an invasion of privacy no citizen of this republic should endure."
After saying that Limbaugh was neither part of a drug ring nor a target of a drug investigation, the statement continues, "Unfortunately, because of Mr. Limbaugh's prominence and well-known political opinions, he is being subjected to an invasion of privacy no citizen of this republic should endure."
"We won't speculate on why the State Attorney's Office is handling Mr. Limbaugh's case the way it is. But what should be a responsible investigation is looking more and more like a fishing expedition."
RNW comment: Having started off with sympathy for Limbaugh that sympathy is fast evaporating.
He may or may not have overcome his addiction but he certainly hasn't become much more honest. The crux of the allegations made against him is that he bought large quantities of drugs illegally and that he suborned a member of his staff to make the purchases.
If these allegations prove untrue, he should receive sympathy concerning his medical problems.
However in view of his attitude to the investigation of the Clintons his response here is very much pot and kettle as well.
In addition, although he carefully skates over the serious allegations against him, the host should surely have absolutely nothing to fear if these records show routine amounts of prescriptions being made out to him.
Somehow we think he doth protest too much and has a serious intellectually difficulty in thinking through the implications of his comment.
Limbaugh web site:
2003-12-05: The UK Radio Academy honoured five British broadcasters by making them members of its Hall of Fame in a lunchtime ceremony at the Savoy hotel in London on Thursday.
The Hall was launched in April with 5 living members plus 20 posthumous awards (See RNW April 10) and now has 30 members; the five most recent additions are Chris Tarrant who is about to leave Capital FM after 17 years, John Peel who has been with the BBC for 40 years, Sue MacGregor who hosted BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour for 15 years and was a Today Show presenter for 17, John Dunn, the former BBC Radio 2 DJ, and Douglas Cameron, who recently announced his retirement after 42 years in broadcasting, 30 of them with LBC.
Previous Radio Academy (UK):
Radio Academy web site:
2003-12-05: Italian radio host Roberto Ferrari is planning to be the first DJ to broadcast from space; he has begun training as a cosmonaut in Russia and hopes to broadcast from the International Space Station to his own Milan-based station Radio Deejay, which will relay the show on its terrestrial network.
Ferrari is still seeking sponsorship for his venture that will last around two weeks and cost between USD 13 million and USD 20 million.
Ferrari has already undertaken preliminary training and will train further next year with the actual trip to space being planned for some time in 2005.
He says he is "tremendously serious" about the space trip, which is being organized in conjunction with International Adventures, which offers near-space trips in Soviet military jets and drives in racing cars amongst its other activities.
International Adventures web site:
Roberto Ferrari web site:
2003-12-05: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings, but Yahoo's Launch again closed the gap with AOL in the network rankings; in station terms, Virgin pulled up another rank.
For the week to November 23, 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 721,268 (668,561); CP - 235,565 (234,341). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 281,369 (299,281); CP - 42,992 (43,768). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 264,286 (276,176); CP - 53,396 (52,703). Up from third despite lower listening although reach was up.
4: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 256,702 (295,449); CP 102,950 (128,043). Down from third with lower listening and reach.
5: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 227,793 (259,478); CP 131,022 (166,046): Same rank with lower listening and reach.
The top five networks for the week to November 23 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 5,885,222 (6,422,606); CP - 1,491,985 (1,744,927). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 4,113,031 (4,090,475); CP - 956,476 (936,418). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,161,715 (2,108,700); CP - 514,188 (514,671). Same rank with higher listening but reach was down slightly.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,176,718 (1,238,109); CP - 137,428 (154,425) - Same rank with lower listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 494,594 (526,441); CP - 81,575 (81,011) - Same rank with lower listening but slightly higher 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 2,657,829, up from 2,582,070 and StreamGuys with TTSL 568,496, up from 544,731.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings:
2003-12-04: The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) is currently marking its 60th anniversary; it began with test transmissions in 1943 from a harem in Algiers and now supplies two English language radio services to British Forces based round the world. In addition a BFBS Ghurkha Radio provides a mixture of Nepali and English language programming for Ghurkha soldiers in the British Army.
The services is now part of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), a self-supporting registered charity funded by the UK Ministry of Defence whose surpluses, are donated as welfare support for the Armed Forces.
SSVC's current chief executive and managing director David Crwys-Williams, a former air force pilot and commander of British Forces in Cyprus and the Falklands who rose to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal is to host a party in Whitehall today to celebrate the anniversary.
BFBS English language transmissions are Radio 1 made up primarily of popular and rock music and Radio 2 made up of news, current affairs and sport; scheduling is complicated because broadcasts originating from the services headquarters in Buckinghamshire, England, are time-shifted so that programmes are aired to troops at the same local time wherever they are as for example the UK Top 40 which goes out every Monday evening at 7pm local time on BFBS Radio1.
The service is a few months younger than American Forces Network (AFN), whose first transmission was made from London on July 4, 1943; both were much later innovations than their German counterpart which originated in broadcasts of music and information in May 1917 to troops in the German army who were stationed on the Western Front during World War 1
Much later, around mid-1941, the Germans in Yugoslavia re-activated the former Radio Belgrade medium and short-wave stations as Sender Belgrade with broadcasts that included the song Lili Marlene; the song was picked up by other German stations end became a regular part of their broadcasts and the BFBS transmitter in Algeria subsequently used it as part of the sign on routine each broadcast day.
Unlike AFN, which is part of the US military, BFBS staff is all civilians and are independent of the British military although funded by the Defence Ministry in a similar way to that in which the BBC World Service, although funded by the British Foreign Office, remains independent of government.
BFBS local broadcasts are usually made from containers converted to house broadcasting equipment, computers and air conditioning that can be carried on the back of a truck; they take in material from headquarters via satellite but also produce local programming, a mix of news and views on such matters as pay and local conditions plus sporting activities and also announcements of matters of importance relating to local conditions. In Cyprus, when the Turkish army invaded in 1974, BFBC became a prime source of guidance on evacuation from the island for tourists and military families.
BFBS currently broadcasts in various locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Canada, as well as from Belize and the Falklands; in Iraq it broadcasts from the southern port city of Umm Qasar and also from Baghdad.
BFBS web site:
2003-12-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 8000 penalty on Radio 1 One Inc. for various violations relating to WBOT-FM, Brockton, Massachusetts, of failure to have operational Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment), to establish a local or toll- free telephone number in the community of license, to establish monitoring procedures to determine compliance with operating power regulations and failure to maintain a station log).
Radio One had asked for reconsideration on the basis that the FCC treated it differently than American Family Association, Inc. Because it proposed a USD 4,000 forfeiture against the latter for failure to have operational EAS equipment, but originally proposed and assessed an USD 8,000 forfeiture against Radio One (as part of a larger amount involving other violations) for its failure to have operational EAS equipment.
The FCC dismissed Radio One's plea saying its argument lacked merit and continuing, " the alleged EAS violation in the AFA case was less serious than the one here. In the AFA case, the licensee had EAS equipment installed at station KAUF- FM but the equipment was turned off at the time of inspection while it was undergoing repair. Here, Radio One had no EAS equipment (operational or otherwise) installed at station WBOT (FM). "
"Moreover, with respect to Radio One's challenge to the Bureau's original proposal of an USD 8,000 forfeiture for the EAS violation, we note that what is relevant at this point is the forfeiture that we have imposed, not what the Bureau originally proposed. We also note that even if the amount of our forfeiture attributable to the EAS violation (USD 5,200) 6 is too high, Radio One has not explained why that portion of the forfeiture should be cancelled rather than reduced to USD4,000 or why the remaining USD2,800 of the forfeiture not attributable to EAS should be affected at all."
The FCC has also reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 8,000 penalty on Barinowski Investment Company, LP for failure to clean and repaint its antenna structure to maintain good visibility; the reduction was made on the basis that Barinowski had arranged and pre-paid a contractor to repaint the antenna before the FCC inspection but cancellation was refused on the basis that Barinowski had made a business decision not to paint the tower until he acquired a new tenant.
The FCC added, " we do not believe that waiting four months to remedy such a serious safety hazard is an exercise of good faith sufficient to justify cancelling the forfeiture."
Previous Radio One Inc:
2003-12-04: Virgin Radio, which already operates radio stations in China, France, Thailand and the USA, is planning services in Japan and Australia according to the UK Guardian.
It says the plan is to familiarise consumers with the Virgin brand before introducing other services and quotes Will Whitehorn, spokesman for Sir Richard Branson, as saying, "We developed Virgin Radio successfully in the UK and it was always the long-term ambition to develop radio in areas where we want to develop the Virgin brand - it helps with awareness."
Whitehorn denied reports from Australia that the company was involved in talks with AM network operator WorldAudio and said Virgin would spend the next six months looking at companies and potential partners in the country.
In the UK Virgin Radio is now owned by SMG, the former Scottish Media Group, but the Virgin Group retains the rights to the name and licenses it to SMG.
Previous Virgin Group:
UK Guardian report:
2003-12-04: Canadian copyright association SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), which collects music royalties and distributes the funds, has been asking Canada's Supreme Court to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to pay potentially hundreds of millions of dollars for allowing music files to be downloaded on the Internet.
A report in the Ottawa Citizen says that SOCAN has also asked if companies can be held accountable for website content accessible by Canadians but located on Internet servers in other countries.
The idea has aroused almost universal hostility and ISPs, who collect around CAD 1.3 billion (USD 1 billion) a year for their services and could be asked to pay out up to 10% of that, say all customers will have to pay extra should SOCAN win its case.
SOCAN already collects around CAD 122 million (USD 94 million) from a levy on blank recording media plus fees for music used in various public locations and by broadcasters.
RNW comment: Recording mainly speech radio as we do, the levy on blank media is already unfair but just about acceptable in our case but the extension to ISPs of any fee relating to downloads would be grossly unfair to the many people who rarely download music or video from the internet.
Any fees should logically go to those who provide the downloads not the ISP.
In addition this idea is fraught with serious implications should it get through in terms of all the other greedy organizations who will jump on the bandwagon.
We can only hope the Canadian court gives the suggestion the short shrift it deserves and regret that courts worldwide don't have an option that they should regularly exercise of "punitive damages" for organisations like SOCAN when, in our view, they push things well beyond the limit.
Ottawa Citizen report:
2003-12-03: US radio revenues were down 1% on a year earlier in October as local revenues fell by 2% although national advertising was up 1% according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
On a year-to-date basis, revenues are now up 2% overall, with national revenues up 7% and local ones flat.
In RAB's Sales Index, which takes 1998 year as a base equated to 100, the October combined index was 121.9; the national index was 127.6 and the local index 119.2 with corresponding year-to-date combined index figures of 136.8, a national total of 143.6 and a local total of 134.8.
Commenting on the figures, RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "As the economy rebounds and consumer confidence returns, Radio's revenue growth in the local marketplace will also bounce back."
2003-12-03: In more US radio deals, Cumulus Media has agreed a total of 15 station acquisitions in Minnesota and South Dakota in three separate deals totalling around USD 78 million; payment in all cases is to be in Cumulus stock, although Cumulus retains the option to pay cash.
Nine stations are being bought from Southern Minnesota Broadcasting Co. - KROC-AM, KROC-FM and KYBA-FM serving Rochester, Minnesota, and KYBB-FM, KIKN-FM, KKLS-FM, KMXC-FM, KSOO-AM and KXRB-AM serving Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
A further three - KOLM-AM KWWK-FM and KLCX-FM, all serving Rochester - are being bought from Olmsted County Broadcasting Co., Howard G. Bill and Lucille S. Bill, and the final three - KFIL-FM, KFIL-AM and KVGO-FM, also serving Rochester, are being bought from KFIL, Inc. and KVGO, Inc.
Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey commented, "We are extremely pleased to announce our entry into two new cities with leading clusters in both markets. Furthermore, by using our common stock as currency, we should be able to further de-leverage our balance sheet and increase our free cash flow."
In Louisiana, Citadel is getting USD 4.25 million from Pittman Broadcasting for five stations -- KDYS-AM, KVOL-AM, KFXZ-FM and KXRE-FM, Lafayette, plus WOPR-FM, New Orleans. Pittman already has two stations serving the New Orleans market - WOMN-AM and WUUU-FM, Franklinton.
In Florida, the Miami Herald reports that Radio Unica, which filed for a pre-packaged Chapter 11 voluntary bankruptcy at the end of October, has given notice of lay-offs as it prepares for its USD 150 million sale to Multicultural Broadcasting.
The deal still awaits approval by the Bankruptcy Court and Federal Communications Commission and is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
Unica chief financial officer Steven E. Dawson told the paper that its 76 Miami staff had been told they would not be employed by Unica as of January 26 and added that Multicultural was not "not picking up the majority of employees.''
He said around 150 employees at other stations are also to be laid off unless Multicultural says it wishes to hire them.
In Washington state, Seattle-headquartered Fisher Communications has now announced completion of its sale of its two Georgia TV stations for approximately USD 39 million; the funds are to be used to reduce Fisher's debts.
Miami Herald report:
2003-12-03: A GBP 2 million (USD 3.5 million) two-year deal between Coca Cola and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Official Charts Company, which compile the UK official singles and album charts, has led to criticism of the BBC which will give plugs to the sponsor on its Radio 1 charts show, Radio 2 album chart, and TV Top of the Pops programme.
Although the BBC was not party to the deal it says it will mention the sponsor during the radio show and in credits on the TV show; its producers' guidelines permit "two verbal credits" for a sponsor, delivered in "a non-promotional style" - and reference in the end credits of television programmes.
The deal was announced just as Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, asked Ofcom, the new media regulator, to draw up a tough new code on junk food and drink advertisements in a move to combat child obesity and has run into criticism both in terms of the sponsor and as being a back-door form of advertising.
Mark Story, managing director of Emap's radio programming, said indirect sponsorship could be construed as commercial activity and might damage the BBC's efforts to have its royal charter renewed in 2006.
"If the BBC is subject to commercial mentions, it's hard to see what the point of the BBC is," he told the UK Guardian.
"They may well find that, if they get into that situation, it may go against them in terms of what they want to be supported by the licence fee. Radio 1 does contribute money towards paying for the chart. This is still making a commercial endorsement on the BBC. It's a decision they may bitterly regret later on."
Chrysalis radio division chief executive Phil Riley told the paper, "The BBC has been acting in a commercial manner in all sorts of areas for dozens of years. It's like commercial creep. Everything it gets away with emboldens it to do the next thing."
" What the BBC is doing with Coca-Cola is exactly how commercial radio entered sponsorship market in the mid-80s with co-funded programming."
There was also criticism from Kath Dalmeny, a policy officer at the Food Commission, who said there were serious health implications in targeting a young audience with a sugary drink and added, "Coca-Cola is being extremely two-faced and hypocritical by getting involved in such a deal. They have had a lot of very positive publicity recently saying that they will not target the under-12s in their advertising. "
"We will be lodging a complaint with the BBC. For the BBC to be promoting a highly sugary drink at a time when everyone is concerned about the health of children and their calorie intake is extremely inappropriate."
UK Guardian report:
2003-12-03: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has banned a radio advert in which Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams promoted his book on the Northern Ireland peace process "Hope and History: Making Peace in Ireland."
The ban was imposed on the basis that it breaches political advertising guidelines under Ireland's 1988 radio and television act and the BCI commented, "The advertisement is for a book written by the current leader of a political party and is his perspective on real events, of a political nature, in which he, and his party, have been and continue to be involved."
Adverts for Adams' books have previously been banned under the country's broadcasting act but his publisher expressed surprise at the latest ban, which has been imposed years after the dropping of a general broadcasting ban imposed on Sinn Féin and those who directly supported paramilitary violence
Although Ireland has recently changed its regulations concerning religious advertising, there is still a blanket ban on any kind of political advertising.
2003-12-03:The planned joint venture between Southern Cross Broadcasting, owner of Sydney 2UE talk station, and Macquarie Radio Network, owner of its main rival 2GB (See RNW Nov 30) has so far been received favourably by investors and analysts although attacked by a number of politicians; the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has also called for more details.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the broadcasters plan to merge their newsrooms and share advertising sales, commercial production and technical support and it says analysts estimate that Southern Cross could save around AUD 3 million (USD 2.2 million) a year from the deal but adds that media buyers have queried the viability of a combined advertising sales team.
"When you combine anything like this, one of the products is going to get hurt . . . there is an implied discount," it quoted an industry insider as saying.
RNW Comment: It seems almost automatic to us that investors seeing a chance to trim costs will regard a change as positive but we are puzzled as to why current assumptions on this project are that it will just go ahead smoothly.
Apart from regulatory reaction, which could well block merging of newsrooms, the straight commercial demands of each organisation are likely to lead to conflict when it comes to advert sales.
We suspect this deal, like many, will start with optimistic projections but then unravel to varying degrees along the road as realities and differences of interests intrude.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2003-12-03: MUSICMATCH and AOL retained their top station and network rankings in the latest Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings, whose release was delayed by last week's Thanksgiving holiday; yet again was a matter of no change at the very top, but listening was generally higher.
For the week to November 16, 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 668,561 (657,851); CP - 234,341 (232,457). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
2: Contemporary Christian K-LOVE (Non commercial) - TTSL 299,281 (344,615); CP - 43,768 (45,617). Same rank with lower listening and reach.
3: Country format AOL Top Country (Commercial) - TTSL 295,449 (303,291); CP 128,043 (126,603). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
4: Hot Adult Contemporary Virgin AM & FM (Commercial) - TTSL 276,176 (247,691); CP - 52,703 (46,255). Up from sixth with higher listening and reach.
5: Top 40 AOL Top Pop (Commercial) - TTSL 259,478 (263,353); CP 166,046 (162,826): Down from fourth with lower listening but higher reach.
* Smooth Jazz AOL Smooth Jazz (Commercial) fell from fifth to sixth with TTSL 248,977, down from 256,913 and CP - 60,150, down from 61,784.
The top five networks for the week to November 16 (Previous week's figures in brackets) were:
1: AOL Radio@ Network (Commercial) - TTSL - 6,422,606 (6,545,078); CP - 1,744,927 (1,713,706). Same rank with lower listening but higher reach.
2: LAUNCH TTSL (Commercial) - 4,090,475 (4,066,530); CP - 936,418 (923,084). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
3: MUSICMATCH Inc. (*Non Commercial) TTSL - 2,108,700 (2,085,981); CP - 514,671 (506,562). Same rank with higher listening and reach.
4: The Adsertion Network (Sales Network) TTSL - 1,238,109 (1,197,072); CP - 154,425 (152,617) - Same rank with higher listening and reach.
5: Virgin Radio (Commercial) TTSL - 526,441 (518,409); CP -81,011 (76,551) - 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 TTSL 2,582,070, up from 2,561,817 and StreamGuys with TTSL 544,731, up from 514,164.
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Ratings (Month of October):
Previous Arbitron Internet Broadcast Weekly Ratings:
2003-12-02: In more US radio deals, Radio One Inc has announced a USD 35 million agreement to purchase WSNJ-FM, Bridgeton, New Jersey, from New Jersey Radio Partners, LLC; the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year and is intended to give Radio One a third station serving the Philadelphia market.
Suburban WSNJ is to move to new premises with a stronger signal.
In Missouri, Citadel has now completed its USD 5 million sale of KHTO-FM and KZRQ-FM, Springfield, to Journal Broadcast Group, giving the latter five stations in the market.
Citadel bought the stations in its USD 133 million purchase of 11 stations from Wilks Broadcasting (See RNW May 13).
In Michigan, Saga Communications has announced that in November it repurchased 56,000 shares of its Class A Common Stock for around USD 7 million under an existing USD 10 million authorization. Saga says it believes its stock is still undervalued and it intends to continue its buy-back strategy from time to time.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2003-12-02: According to the UK Guardian, the two commercial stations that currently broadcast soccer commentaries live in London are planning to drop their deals next season, leaving the field open for BBC Radio 5 Live to gain a virtual monopoly on live cover of the game in the capital.
Capital has a deal with Arsenal, Charlton and West Ham and Rival Wireless Group's talkSport with Chelsea, Tottenham and Fulham.
Capital said it would not bid to renew its contracts when they come up for renewal at the end of the current soccer season and its operations director Paul Davies said that while football commentary had been a mainstay of Capital Gold since its launch in 1988, live rights no longer represented value for money.
"Our commitment to sport is as strong as ever but with spiralling costs for commentary rights and live football coverage widely available on TV the web and specialist radio channels, we have taken the decision to stop providing live football commentary on the Capital Gold and Capital FM Networks at the end of the football season," the company said in a statement.
talkSport has not committed itself but appears unwilling to renew its current deal although it could now try and pick rights up cheaply.
There could also be competition from Chrysalis's LBC talk station but it is estimated that any bids will be much lower than the existing deals as will the BBC's bid when it comes to renew its current GBP 45 million (USD 77 million) deal for exclusive national rights to Premier League commentary.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2003-12-02: A US Democratic investment group that is planning to start a "liberal" radio network to counter the dominance of right-wing hosts in the medium says it is now close to station purchases in five cities - Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco.
The idea of the network was announced in February (See RNW February 18) with initial finance coming from a group of wealthy Democrats led by Chicago venture capitalists Sheldon and Anita Drobny; the Drobnys later sold much of their stake to New York investor Evan Cohen.
According to the New York Times, executives with the newly formed company, Progress Media, hope to have the network running by early spring; CEO Mark Walsh, an Internet entrepreneur formerly with VerticalNet and America Online, said, "We're steady as she goes to have a broadcast debut in early 2004, which gives us time to be part of the election year."
Progress Media president Jon Sinton said the company had hired Lizz Winstead, one of the creators of "The Daily Show," the spoof news show on cable TV, to oversee entertainment programming whilst Shelley Lewis, a long-time network news producer who was most recently in charge of "American Morning" on CNN, will oversee news programming.
It has also hired Martin Kaplan, associate dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, to host an early evening talk show about the news media, and is also pursuing talks about shows by comedians Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo.
Commenting on his plans, Kaplan said they would include countering some of the far right voices, commenting, "It will be a chance to make fun of the pomposity and the bullying which the right has engaged in, and which a good chunk of the mainstream media has bought into," he said. "The self-righteousness of the right is now their greatest weakness, and I think we need to put those people on a whoopee cushion."
New York Times report:
2003-12-02: The Australian commercial radio industry's brand campaign has been "highly successful" according to the industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), which says that a study conducted by TNS has shown half the advertisers surveyed saying they now have a better opinion of radio and/or intend to use more radio in their marketing mix.
Amongst the findings of the study were a figure of 81% of respondents saying that radio is effective in prompting consumer action, 79% saying they thought it reached all types of consumers, 77% viewing breakfast as the ideal time to capture white collar workers with advertising and 65% regarding the medium as cost effective. The AUD 20 million (USD 14.5 million) year-long campaign, the biggest ever commitment by Australia's commercial radio industry, began airing nationally on all radio networks at the end of June aimed at delivering the message that radio advertising is twice as effective at reaching audiences throughout the day as TV.
Radio was seen as being particularly effective for prompting an immediate response and the most popular sectors for radio advertising were retail, fast moving consumer goods and finance. Eighty-per cent said radio was an effective way to target younger people and 76 per cent said it was effective in integrated multi-media campaigns*.
The campaign will be intensified with the launch of a second phase in early 2004, which will comprise a series of new 45-second spots.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2003-12-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has admonished Jones College, licensee of non-commercial educational station WKTZ- FM, Jacksonville, Florida, for broadcasting advertisements.
The action follows a number of announcements made on the station in March this year that the Commission deemed to promote the goods or services of "for-profit" entities including an auto trade, furnishings company and golf club.
The station said that the announcements were in a weekly two- hour programme "Swingtime" provided to the station without charge by programmer Norm Vincent and that it received nothing from him or the underwriters who sponsor the show; it did however say that Vincent had now "truncated" the announcement to ensure future compliance.
The FCC rejected the argument that the station was not at fault because it received no monetary payment and noted that licensees are responsible for complying with the rules. It decided however not to impose a financial penalty in view of the station's previous unblemished record.
2003-12-01: We start this week's look at print cover of radio with two items reflecting aspects of Hispanic Radio in the US, both of which reflect well on the medium's strengths when it comes to expanding horizons.
The first is from Washington Post staff writer Nurith C. Aizenman and reflects the demographic changes in the US, in this case through a look at a half-hour Sunday morning show - described as "heavy on county announcements and earnest jingles promoting road safety " - on WILC-AM, a Laurel-based Spanish-language station that covers the Washington area.
The programme is hosted by two Prince George's County officials - William Campos and Erick A. Oribio - and is cited as the latest evidence of a shift in attitudes to the burgeoning Hispanic population of the county.
The area has already moved from a majority white to a majority black population but had not adjusted to the new changes; According to the 2000 Census, about 54,000 people, or 7 percent of county residents, speak English less than "very well" -- nearly double the number 10 years ago. About two-thirds of such residents are Spanish speakers, including both immigrants and U.S.-born children.
There is no county budget for the work of the officials and the radio show is funded by a beer distributor and the State Highway Administration as part of a campaign to reduce the high number of pedestrian deaths and accidents among Prince George's immigrants.
In marked contrast was a story from the New York Times by Seth Kugel that picked up on the presence of an advert on La Mega, the city's top-rated Spanish-language radio station, for The Forward, a Jewish weekly that until 1990 was published largely in Yiddish.
The advert was in English, as are a number carried by the station, but it turned out that the magazine hadn't specifically placed them but had bought a advertising packages from ABC Radio Networks.
Jon Darnell, who is in charge of marketing for The Forward, said radio network advertising is cost-effective and helps the newspaper attract a national audience. "In the areas where you have the lowest density of Jewish population, we tend to get a better Jewish per-capita response," he said, also referring to a recent story in The Forward on the increasing use of Spanish in Miami synagogues.
"There are undoubtedly some listeners on that Spanish station who would have really enjoyed those articles," he said.
On two different continents, radio is also spreading the word in ways that big brother TV finds more difficult to reach, for cost and technical reasons; the story in this case came from the UK Guardian where Douglas Rogers reported on the short-wave broadcasts from London of SW Radio Africa, the only opposition voice for many in Zimbabwe, where official media dominate.
The station broadcasts three hours a day - 1600-1900 GMT from London not Zimbabwe - with a mixture of music, news and political interviews including calls from Zimbabweans who keep their identities secret for fear of reprisals from the regime of President Robert Mugabe.
The station was founded by broadcasting veteran Gerry Jackson, a former DJ on ZBC's pop music station Radio 3 who was fired for "insubordination" after airing live phone calls from people being beaten by police during food riots in Harare in 1997.
In 2000, she fought and won a legal battle in Zimbabwe's Supreme Court to set up the country's first independent radio station, Capital FM but it was raided by soldiers within a week. They smashed equipment and the station was closed down by presidential decree; it stayed closed despite a court's sentences on those who had conducted the raid (See RNW Oct 18, 2000).
Jackson told the paper, "I'd rather be playing Led Zeppelin. But as Zimbabweans we have other responsibilities now."
The station has eight staff at the station - four black and three white Zimbabweans, plus a British website designer - but it has no budget to pay correspondents and relies heavily on calls from ordinary Zimbabweans.
Its hosts include Zimbabwe's legendary music DJ John Matinde - a former head of Radio 3 - and Mandy Mundawarara, the first-ever black voice on Zimbabwe-Rhodesia radio but some of the hardest-hitting interviews have been by Georgina Godwin, a former morning drive DJ back home.
She recently broadcast a threatening rant at her by Jocelyn Chiwenga, the firebrand wife of the head of the Zimbabwe National Army. Godwin had ensured withdrawal of a prize awarded by a Spanish-based organisation to Chiwenga - who has personally conducted farm invasions and once told a white farmer, "I haven't tasted white blood in 22 years" "She called me in a rage," says Godwin proudly, "and I put the call on air."
The strength of the station, however, lies in its contributions from the country itself, from a team of "informal correspondents" with mobile phones, among them a travelling salesman and a member of the Zimbabwean police, who file under false names. "They are as good as trained reporters," says Jackson. "Erudite and observant, never irrational or rabid or calling for the overthrow of the government." Stories can run for more than 20 minutes and correspondents, who speak in whatever language they like, are never interrupted or told to hurry up. "It's open-forum, no-format, free-thinking radio," says Jackson.
For calls on the stations phone-in show, callers are given a mobile phone number in Harare to phone to leave contact details and are then called back; the station tells them to keep their identities secret. "We encourage them to speak openly and honestly but not to use their surnames," says Mundawarara. "They're taking the risk, we're not."
The dangers to those calling SW Radio Africa are obvious but there are also dangers in live radio anywhere, a point highlighted by Paul Donovan in his weekly Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
In this case, speaking on BBC Radio 4's The Message, it's weekly look at the media, Julia Hobsbawm, Britain's first professor of public relations and head of a leading PR company, commented on the show, "I wouldn't take on Michael Jackson at present because I believe he's guilty."
The show concerned was hosted by stand-in Kevin Bocquet (it is no longer on the BBC web site) and Donovan notes that at the end of the item Bocquet said that Jackson would be pleading not guilty and at the end of the programme emphasised this in a statement, written by the programme's editor, that said, "Just before we close, I want to pick up on something that was said earlier by one of our guests. Julia Hobsbawm was expressing a personal opinion based on no additional information. Michael Jackson is pleading not guilty."
Donovan, who later gives some other examples of problems from live broadcasts, reflects, "That so few incidents like this occur in the first place, and that those that do are so swiftly neutralised, shows just how much preparation goes on behind the scenes every day to minimise the likelihood of such lapses."
"Guests are carefully selected, broadcasters meticulously trained. Given that so much output is live (half of Radio 4, for instance), you might expect, and might even welcome the excitement of, more such gaffes and risky remarks. Certainly, the possibility of that is what gives live broadcasting its particular frisson."
Finally, some more programmes worth a listen to on the Internet, apart from SW Africa Radio (link below).
One in the series of AIDS related programmes being broadcast by the BBC in the run up to World Aids Day (today) was Full Blown, the Friday Play on BBC Radio 4 last week; written by Anita Sullivan it deals with the story of Roz, a 30-years-old woman - played by Claire Skinner - who discovers she has full-blown AIDS. An unsettling drama! And for those who missed the Nelson Mandela concert, it is still possible to download tracks.
And a final reference, this time to the BBC Radio 4 science series A Brief History Of The End Of Everything that explores how ideas about the end of the universe have been shaped by religion, belief, and the contemporary state of scientific thinking and observation.
Aids Concert site:
BBC Radio 4 "Listen Again" site (links to programmes referred to):
New York Times - Kugel:
SW Africa Radio site:
UK Guardian - Rogers:
UK Sunday Times -Donovan:
Washington Post - Aizenman:
2003-12-01: The BBC has added two more digital radio transmitters in the UK in the past week, one covering Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne from its Hastings transmitter and the other much of Norfolk centred around Norwich from its Tacolneston transmitter.
It had already added 14 other new transmitters since August, bringing more than four million new people into BBC national digital radio coverage, which now reached some 70% of the UK population. Under current plans coverage should reach some 85% of the population by the middle of next year.
In the wider world, BBC World Service has brought four new 24-hour relays into service in Mozambique; the transmitters in the provincial capitals of Bier, Nampula, Quelimane and Xai Xai join an existing transmitter that has been operating in the national capital, Maputo, since 1998.
The launch also coincides with the BBC World Service's current HIV/Aids Season that includes a BBC Portuguese service broadcast of an interview with Graca Machel, one of Africa's greatest HIV/Aids campaigners and wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, as well as interviews with Health Ministers from five Lusophone African Countries and special features from reporters in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe.
Nelson Mandela himself is active in Aids-related campaigning in South Africa, and was amongst those supporting the Nelson Mandela concert broadcast from Capetown on Saturday on BBC World Service as part of the AIDS season; it followed a similar concert from London a week before (See RNW Nov 22).
2003-12-01: Canadian broadcaster John McKeachie of CHUM's Vancouver sports station Team 1040 broadcaster has had his media pass withdrawn until the end of the year by the Canucks and Orca Bay following a visit to the off-limits visiting Blackhawks private suite last week. The action has been taken under NHL bylaws that give every franchise the right to refuse admission to those who fail to acknowledge its policies.
McKeachie, who had previously reprimanded for crashing the Canucks' off-limits training room, had ignored a request from the concierge not to trespass and also disregarded security staff.
Vancouver Sun report:
2003-12-01: UK Capital Radio is expected today to appoint two new members to its board, one from inside and one from outside the company.
Coming from outside is the Selfridges stores group chief executive Peter Williams whilst the internal appointment is of Nathalie Schwarz, the company's head of legal affairs.
Schwarz will be responsible for strategic development including any merger and acquisition activity that may arise, particularly should there be radio industry consolidation following the easing of ownership limitations. She will also have a brief to look after the company's digital radio activities and to deal with the regulators.
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November 2003 -January 2004
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